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  1. #1
    Rider, Builder, Dreamer
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    Interesting Article on Pinkbike


  2. #2
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    If I'm building a trail, I expect it to be used by everyone who can get to it. If it's on public land it's a public trail. This means I have to build it to handle a certain amount of traffic, and a variety of rider abilities. If people destroy my berms, then I didn't build them very well. If people are cutting corners, then I didn't pay enough attention to sight lines. That said, unless you show up to trail days with a desire to work, you don't get to tell me what elements should go into the trail. Well, you can talk all you want, but I'll just smile and nod politely before going back to what I was working on.

  3. #3
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    I agree with everything pinkrobe said. I'd just like to add that it's a lot better if as many people as possible are instilled with a sense of shared ownership. Think about the different level of respect you pay to something you own versus something you merely use. Simply setting rules isn't going to be nearly as effective or enforceable for that matter. Education and a sense of ownership are the key.

  4. #4
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    I like the part about people buying into one vision. The rest seemed kind of pointless. The topic seemed to be about illegal trails. If people are going to argue turf over land they don't own..well, why bother.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjohnson View Post
    I like the part about people buying into one vision. The rest seemed kind of pointless. The topic seemed to be about illegal trails. If people are going to argue turf over land they don't own..well, why bother.
    Yeah, that was the funny/sad part.

  6. #6
    It's about showing up.
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    Survival in the out lands.
    I don't rattle.

  7. #7
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    I enjoyed the whole "show up or shut up" message about doing trail work and complaining about a trail not being designed the way you like. I also liked the "You probably want someone to be a trail boss, and that person is not you" message.

    The focus on illegal trails was pretty obnoxious though; would loved to have seen more talk about legitimate trails.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by sambs827 View Post
    The focus on illegal trails was pretty obnoxious though; would loved to have seen more talk about legitimate trails.
    I think the point is (unsaid) there is an entire hierarchy of bureaucratic protocol of legal trailbuilding w/ rules, standards, safety compliance, fees in some cases and appointed overlords. The beginning was a bunch of kids with shovels, an idea, a vacant lot, some old water heaters (now called rhythm bumps), other discarded appliances and crappy bicycles (mine w/ banana seat. Remember nobody built you a BMX park back in the day, you had to build it yourself. There was no legal or illegal just hidden in the woods that nobody gave a **** about. These trails progressed into some awesome trails, jump tracks, DH artfully crafted, well made, cared for and enjoyed. Suddenly somebody felt they needed to control our enjoyment, it's not like were racing from Barstow to Vegas (not that there is anything wrong with that). My guess is most "legal" trails today were built without permission on public (Our) land before the term "illegal trail" was even conceived.

    Private land I can't totally speak for that, I am a strong defender of private property rights, my suggestion is keep a low profile and that is the point of the article.

  9. #9
    zrm
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    You build an illegal trail IMO, you have no right to complain about what happens with it. Building an illegal trail is and act of self entitled disregard for the rules and I don't have much empathy for someone complaining that someone else is acting with a similar sense of self entitlement.

    What really gets me about this stuff is how so many of these illegal trail builders even seem to consider this very basic premiss.

  10. #10
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    Legality is a matter of institution and with that come a set of rules sustained by a commitment of cooperation. Absent that we have only incidental agreement.
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  11. #11
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    It's an interesting article, no doubt about it. I think if common sense reigned supreme, there wouldn't be any need for "rules" even if there was a trail boss for calling the shots on building a trail. Unfortunately, common sense is....uncommon at best. Which means there need to be rules of some sort. Unfortunately, you then get into the question of who gets to make those rules. Public land, where a club or organization is authorized to build and maintain trails? The trail boss gets to lay down the law, it may have to be approved by a parks director or someone like that, but the signs go up, and that's it.

    It gets more complicated if multiple groups are authorized to build and maintain trail on public land. If the organizations are butting heads, it's going to be a mess. But multiple groups authorized on public land is my reality, every day. A mountain bike club (me), a hiking group, boy scouts - and the parks department doesn't really care. They want the trails there because they understand that if they're well designed, the people using the trails are "good" for the park and the community. But they don't have the manpower or funds to maintain the trails. So it's all "You want trails you deal with them. If we have to step in, they go away." sort of thing. Fortunately, we (all three groups) interact well, and have excellent relationships established. As a result, conflicting trail ideas are usually handled easily by compromise, multiple routes through a section, or simple admission that "That section of trail was not originally authorized, but it was built by mountain bikers, it's not suitable or desirable for hiking, so do as you please with it, we're just glad someone is actually going to fix it." - this sort of thing makes my day. We've had hikers take up mountain biking, mountain bikers take up hiking, and lots of crossover between groups on trail work days. Who owns the trail? It doesn't matter, because we have a good understanding between groups, and all of us will speak up and tell someone when they're doing something wrong (riding wet trails, for instance).

    Since most of the article focuses on ...trails built under the table.... I'll talk about that for a second too. If I built the trail (I probably didn't, but for the sake of argument) I don't expect to find someone fundamentally altering the trail. That'd be grounds to end up as a new rolling contour feature on my trail. If someone else built the trail, I'm not going to fundamentally alter the trail in any way. In fact, I likely won't do anything but ride it, unless I run into the person who built it, and they ask if I can lend a hand. On the other hand, trails like this, you frequently have no actual rights regarding the trail, other than simple protocol as stated above. When you build the trail, you have to accept that you live in a world full of idiots that you can't control, and that eventually, one or more of them will show up, and do what idiots do. Eventually, that's going to cause problems, but if you're dealing with "under the table" trail, then you just have to expect this, and when the situation is exposed, you can either take up negotiations to make it above board, abandon it, go cry in your beer, or whatever. But you have to accept that you have limited (or zero) actual control over the situation. If you can't accept that fundamental truth, move on.

  12. #12
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    We fall between the ends of the spectrum - there are plenty of illegal trails in the National Park, but parks are on side with us and the plan is to renovate to IMBA standards and legalise them as they come on line. We are not under any excessive pressure and the emphasis is on making sustainable trail.

    Riders on the other hand put us under a lot of pressure. As an example, yesterday a rider appeared on a closed (not yet been opened) section of trail. I said hi, but also "the trail is actually closed". "Oh is it? I came in half way up and didn't see any signs". Obviously that included the sign and tape closures he went right past to ride through areas freshly worked and very soft. Same trail previously had end to end log closures added to stop poachers and they threw them all off to ride it. That meant more time cleaning the area to prevent someone falling onto a stabber in the future. Official Parks closure signs get ignored, mesh fencing gets shredded and trails too soft to ride get rutted up.

    Respect is pretty thin in the MTB community to be honest.

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