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  1. #1
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    MTB vs Disc Golf - What are we doing wrong?

    First, I want to say I don't have a problem with disc golf, or people who play it. What I'm looking for here is thoughts on why the two sports are embraced differently. Stay with me for a minute.

    Typically, when we enter a park to build trails we are under an agreement not to remove any trees larger than 4" in diameter. It's not unusual to also have land managers request that if we have to "remove vegetation" that we bias towards removing invasive species rather than native species. None of this is a problem. If we wanted to ride on roads, we'd ride road bikes. We understand the conservation minded slant here - we want to preserve the woods in as wild and natural state as possible. It IS part of the attraction of mountain biking.

    Yet, it's not unusual to have folks complain. We get kick back all the time - some bird watcher will complain about activity in the woods scaring off the birds or other wildlife. Some tree hugger sees a 2" root chopped up to bench a trail, and has an all-soy vegetarian cow about it. I'm sure most of you know what I'm talking about.

    Let us contrast this with disc golf course construction. A path is cleared, maybe leaving a couple of large trees, but otherwise wide enough for a two lane road, right through the middle of the woods. This typically includes trees from the myriad of <2" saplings that we've all heard someone cry about being pulled out for a mountain bike trail to trees up to 6" in diameter where I've witnessed DG course construction. At first, when I saw it, I honestly thought there was a new water line, or gas line, or something of that nature going through the area. The level of destruction (construction?) is similar. And yet....

    When I do a quick search encompassing what I consider my "local riding area" (this is what I consider my I'll go for a ride today, where do I want to ride?) that contains 10 trail options for me, there are literally (I counted) 47 disc golf courses. And more are being built. In one case, they're being built over/through/intertwined with a mountain bike trail. Now, I'll disqualify the two of those courses that are on private land. So that's 45 disc golf courses in public parks. When you contrast the push back we get when we try to get permission to build trails - even when we present them as multi-use trails, for hiking or cycling - vs the apparent open-armed greeting the idea of a disc golf course gets, I wonder this:

    What are we, as mountain bikers, doing wrong? Why is such a destructive process met so openly and welcomed, while it seems like we have to fight tooth and nail to gain every inch of ground made available to us? Can anyone shed any light on this? I'm all ears.

  2. #2
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    This will be interesting for me. A land manager near our metro area is doing a major park building project where disc golf or MTB will be new use. So far we're saying we don't see how it has to be one or the other in a place with 1100+ acres and a lake.
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  3. #3
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    Wow, I never knew disc golf was so popular, that is a lot of courses. I know if only two here in metro Atlanta.

    All I can think of is the perception. I would think disc golf is perceived as a mellow family activity and maybe these people have an impression of mountain biking as being a Red Bull Rampage type thing, bikes screaming through the woods recklessly at high speed. If you have the opportunity, I would definitely talk with some of these people and try to find out why they feel as they do.

    I will say, I do enjoy flow trails but I have kind of mixed feelings about them. To me, the old style trails just have a natural feel to them, almost like the deer just wore them in, whereas the flow trails feel very manmade and unnatural in the woods with their big banked curves, jumps and wider tread. And I can see hikers really noting that, there really isn't a difference between an old style trail and a hiking trail where as they may feel like outsiders hiking on flow trails and it makes them very aware that bikes will be going much faster than they hike. But of course, I don't know what type of trails you're talking about in your woods.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by chazpat View Post
    But of course, I don't know what type of trails you're talking about in your woods.
    More old school trails. It's not that we don't build flow trails, but particularly for multi-use situations, old school trails that have flow as opposed to flow trails.

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    My guess then is that it is a sharing thing. I'm guessing the golf courses are not where they will be hiking so it doesn't interfere with them whereas they have to share the trail with bikes. Are the hikers helping build the trails at all? Would there be trails if the bikers didn't build them? If they are not careful (the hikers), they may get what they wish for and be sorry.
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    That makes no sense. I would think the crazies would have a kinipshin about the deaths of so many trees.

    If I were to venture a guess, I would guess that mountain bikers appear more threatening - we use machines that allow us to achieve much higher speeds that appear much more disturbing to the environment. Nevermind that most of us don't go much faster than the local fauna fleeing from hikers and horses, but that's another matter.

    I bet there's also the perception of mountain bikers being associated with the younger generation. It's a well-established, fully accepted pass time for older generations to shit on the younger ones.

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    Timely discussion, as we're about to thread a trail through an existing popular disc golf course.

    Do you think the difference is liability and the "Red Bull" stigma of extreme mountain bikes whipping through the woods and jumping off of everything compared to the relaxed, inebriated pace of Disc Golfers, or "Frolfers" as they are called here?

    Perhaps the older generation likely representing the Park board are ball/club golfers themselves and think that disc golf is just a nice way for these young kids to stay out of trouble. Therefore they may be more accommodating since they can relate to it a little more than bike trails.
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  8. #8
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    I would also guess it's a perception issue.

    MTB is often viewed as "aggressive" and "fast" and "risky" whereas disc golf is viewed as "mellow" and "relaxing" and "family-friendly".

    FWIW, the disc golf courses I'm familiar with tend to inhabit slightly different spaces. The only one I've seen with a bike path threading through it was in a wide open public park "grassy space" and the bike path was a crushed stone MUP on a levee. Everywhere else I've seen, the disc golf courses have been in different places than hiking or biking trails, and I have only seen one that was carved into the woods in a place where mtb trails might have been fun (but there really wasn't enough space for a decent length of mtb trail).

    I have seen mtb coexisting with some interesting things, though. There's a privately owned mtb park near me that threads through a zipline course, and both of those uses occupy what used to be a regular golf course. Pretty sweet to see fairways and greens dug up for pump tracks and jump lines. Used to be an 18 hole course, but is now a 9 hole course. It's a resort property, and there are also some private cabins scattered about. I know of another private property where mtb trails thread through a zipline course, too.

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    There's a disc golf course in the same park as one of my local trails. There's multiple riders on the MTB trails all day everyday. I've only seen people playing disc golf once in the past 4 months...and the city has decided to expand the disc golf course.

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    As Harold said I think the different spaces thing is a big factor. Most disc courses I know of are built in a corner of an already long existing smallish public park. Where as new mtb trail is typically cut into an area that has very little current use or reviving old trail systems long since forgotten by the general public. So the perception is one of encroahing into wild areas.

    Another perception...or reality is of disc being a pretty passive activity vs mtn biking. Little Johnny isn't going to break his neck & become paralyzed when he walks a block to the local park to play frisbee with his friends. He may end up becoming a fat pot head with an unkept beard that walks around in the woods with a purse full of frisbees and a beer in hand but his parents don't realize that yet.

    I will say when I do occasionally play disc the place is tracked up all to hell becuase discs inevitably go every which way. From this stand point the hypocrisy (if there is any) is very real.
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    He may end up becoming a fat pot head with an unkept beard that walks around in the woods with a purse full of frisbees and a beer in hand but his parents don't realize that yet.


    Sopt on

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy3220 View Post
    There's a disc golf course in the same park as one of my local trails. There's multiple riders on the MTB trails all day everyday. I've only seen people playing disc golf once in the past 4 months...and the city has decided to expand the disc golf course.
    Jeremy, between you and I, the park you're talking about (Rotary, to name it) is exactly the one that brought this thread on. But it was just the straw that broke the camel's back.


    For those thinking liability, I get it. But as someone who HAS been known to play a round of disc golf, if you've never been hit with one of those discs, it's only marginally better than being hit with an actual golf ball. Also, I've seen (possibly intoxicated) disc golfers throw things other than frisbees at passing mountain bikers on more than one trail. Which brings us to locations..

    We have a lot of long established parks that have trails - some long established, some new - that also have disc golf courses. Sometimes they overlap and share space, and sometimes they don't. It's a fact of life we live with in this area, that our trail systems basically exist on 100 acre wooded corners of parks that they either couldn't or decided not to bulldoze for a sports field of some sort. Two of our trail systems also share parking lots with R/C airplane fields. Occasionally I ride through those trails and see a plain hung up in a tree or on the ground near the trail and wonder at the fact no one has gotten hit by one yet. What I'm saying is, around here, because of the general lack of public land, the amount of space we get for a trail system is usually on par (excuse the pun) with the sort of space/land you'd think about for a disc golf course, although they tend to try to keep about half of the baskets at least on the edge of the woods, many of them are down corridors carved through the woods.

    And yes, those discs go everywhere, and the areas around those corridors get trampled pretty badly when someone bounces a disc off a tree and it goes sailing of into the woods for parts unknown.

    Maybe the answer then, is education all around. People who don't know any better see mountain bikers as insane creatures hucking off everything in sight (including hapless hikers) while disc golf is viewed as completely safe. Perhaps the educated view should be one of soberly assumed risk takers vs. stealthily intoxicated frisbee chuckers stumbling around in the woods?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cotharyus View Post
    Jeremy, between you and I, the park you're talking about (Rotary, to name it) is exactly the one that brought this thread on. But it was just the straw that broke the camel's back.
    Clarksville or Montgomery County sent out a parks survey recently asking citizens their what they'd like to see added or improved at the parks. I'd guess if you're polling a random sample of the public, you'd have more people say they'd want to see a DG course at their local park than a MTB trail.

    Even though MTB riders hit up the trails frequently, it's probably the same few people for the most part. DG attracts a lot of casual players since it's such a low commitment activity. DG is something any family or group of friends can do with little to no cost.

    The reality though is that the MTB trails actually get used more.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy3220 View Post
    Clarksville or Montgomery County sent out a parks survey recently asking citizens their what they'd like to see added or improved at the parks.
    It's a point of confusion. The city sent out that survey. Rotary is a county park. Regardless your point is valid regarding commitment and frequency of use. Although I have intentionally not ridden Rotary on many occasions for going on 3 years now. I don't mind sharing the trails with walkers/hikers/disc golfers, but when walkers have headphones in and can't hear you ask to pass when you come up behind them, it gets annoying. As does the park being torn up for sewer lines, new disc golf courses, new roads, new lights, new bath rooms, new concrete sidewalks along the creek in place of old single track, etc. It's too bad a city as big as Clarksville doesn't have a decent mountain bike trail, nor yet a good place to put one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cotharyus View Post
    It's too bad a city as big as Clarksville doesn't have a decent mountain bike trail, nor yet a good place to put one.
    The North Ford Street MTB Trail is really a shame. It's mostly abandoned and about to be reclaimed by nature it looks like (no DG course at least /s).

    I think Clarksville is the 5th largest city in TN and has nearly the population of Knoxville and Chattanooga. They really dropped the ball on public parks and infrastructure.

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    My theory is that the people that hate mountain bikes, in general, hate to see other people having fun. Mountain biking is way more fun than disc golf, therefore, no need to be up in arms about a disc golf course.

    In all seriousness though, I think the opposition to mountain biking is deeply rooted in folks not wanting to share public trails. So, they spread misinformation about environmental damage etc, to keep mountain bikers out.

    In my area, the DG courses are built in city and county parks, whereas we have a lot of surrounding forest land (USFS, BLM, State Forest) where the hiking/mtb trails are, so there isn't much intersection of the two activities (hiking/disc golf). The DG courses are also mostly built in underutilized open park spaces. Some of them encroach on forested areas, and have either removed or trampled out all the understory in the forest, but I haven't seen any significant tree removals for the DG courses.

    I think the environmental footprint of a DG course is far higher than a MTB trail when you factor in irrigation, lawn mowing, fertilizer/pesticide use etc., but since the hikers/bird watchers tend to gravitate towards the same forest land/trails that mountain bikers do, rather than close in city/county parks where the DG courses are, there isn't as much overlap and conflict with DG.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy3220 View Post
    The North Ford Street MTB Trail is really a shame. It's mostly abandoned and about to be reclaimed by nature it looks like (no DG course at least /s).

    I think Clarksville is the 5th largest city in TN and has nearly the population of Knoxville and Chattanooga. They really dropped the ball on public parks and infrastructure.
    North Ford is frustrating. It's an orphaned city project that isn't being actively maintained because the city won't give permission to maintain it. When Mark Tummons was the parks director for the city, he used an RTP grant to buy a machine with which to build trail. Mark viewed the property at North Ford as the perfect place for MTB trail, and the project was really his baby. The trail out there (3 miles?) is all that machine was ever used to build. Otherwise, parks has somehow managed to tear the machine up digging up sprinkler lines. After Mark left, so few people knew what was going on with North Ford that some point, the person theoretically in charge of the project actually said: "What? What mountain bike trail? We have a mountain bike trail?" I'm not kidding. He told me himself that he said that when he found out about North Ford.

    At any rate, all work was stopped on the project, no one from the city maintains it, and again, they won't give permission for anyone else to maintain it or to continue work on it. I asked 6 months ago if they would allow volunteers to continue building using the approved proposal, but they refuse to actually have the meeting where they discuss that. They are currently trying to find a reason to close North Ford to the public so they don't have to keep a porta-john out there, or maintain the parking lot. The individual in charge - who I quoted above - is from California and is scared to death there will be a law suit stemming from the trail being there at all.

    What amazes me is that in spite of all of that, the city has purchased the piece of property on the Red River off of Madison Street and proposes to call it an "urban wilderness" (a la K-town) and build hiking trails there. It is apparent that no one from the city who was involved in spending money on that project knows that no one who works for the city at this time knows how to build trail, and it's clear based on the budget for Ford Street (non-existent) that they won't be hiring a professional builder, so I expect the urban wilderness to be a cluster **** as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cotharyus View Post
    After Mark left, so few people knew what was going on with North Ford that some point, the person theoretically in charge of the project actually said: "What? What mountain bike trail? We have a mountain bike trail?"
    That's really bad considering the publicized grand opening ceremony was only three years ago.

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    Mountain bikers are pro-conservation and usually make a point to spell it out in trail proposals. Could this bring a more critical eye to the development of such trails? Maybe, by some crazy logic, being up front about this makes outsiders think we're trying to hide something?

    DG courses are large enough they can transform the landscape. From forest to lawn for a local course. Trails are small and require minimal landscape change so they stand out in a patch of undisturbed forest/desert.

    It could also be disc golf's recent popularity explosion hasn't given the enviros time to catch wind of the impacts.

    Fear of lawsuits and risk has been one of the bigger hurdles we have to deal with when proposing new trail or feature development. I think a lot of this stems from the high perceived risk of mountain biking largely because of extreme portrayals in media. Couple this with LMs ignorant of government immunity law and it's hard to get things done.

    And don't forget those who don't like to see others having fun and use "environmental concerns" as a way of making sure everyone is as miserable as they are.

  20. #20
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    What do you think is the best breed of dog for Disc Golf?

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  21. #21
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    I think you're giving too much credit to the critics.
    I'd bet almost anything that what's really going on is what Scott Adams called a "fake because". I call it reasons vs excuses.

    Reasons are logical and can be addressed; and once addressed minds can change. Excuses can't be addressed. A bird watcher just doesn't like bikes in "their" park, but they don't feel they can just say that they consider the park theirs, so they make up an excuse. You can't address the excuse because it isn't really the reason.

    Hyper risk-averse land managers do this all the time - my experience. Either they're afraid of the liability, be it from people hurting themselves or the Sierra Club suing them, or they're afraid of changing things, or they just want to ride out their careers without making waves or additional work for themselves... whatever. You're never going to get a chance to address the real reason because they don't feel they just say it (and it might be simply "this is my corner of the sky, the answer is 'no' because I said so.")

    Disc golf gets a pass because they understand it and aren't afraid of anything about it. They aren't afraid of little Jonny's mom suing them because he stubbed his toe tossing a frisbee. It doesn't piss off the tree-hugger types because the course doesn't go deep into the woods - that's area is still theirs like it was before mountain bikes.

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    Disc golf, is this a thing? I have seen maybe 2 courses in all of New England?

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    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    Disc golf, is this a thing? I have seen maybe 2 courses in all of New England?
    There are a bunch around. Hell, Devens has 3 of them alone.

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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joules View Post
    It doesn't piss off the tree-hugger types because the course doesn't go deep into the woods
    We obviously have *very* different DG courses around here. Some have several holes that have baskets and tees so far back in the woods, you can't even see a field from where they are.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy3220 View Post
    There's a disc golf course in the same park as one of my local trails. There's multiple riders on the MTB trails all day everyday. I've only seen people playing disc golf once in the past 4 months...and the city has decided to expand the disc golf course.
    That would be frustrating. Good stewardship of tax money would suggest municipalities use usage studies before wasting money.

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    Everyone I ever know that did disc golf, did to check it out, and have never played since. The courses here get little use, and some haven't been mowed in several seasons. I'm sure disc golf is popular somewhere, I just don't know where, or why. It's a novelty sport with few viewing it as serious business. I think most municipalities misjudge the interest in it.

    It's convenient to throw up a disc golf course along the edges of a golf course, and that's where they should stay. Minimal cost, plenty of locations available, no cross-sport interference. If there is sufficient forest bordering a golf course and you want to have both, ensure there is enough growth to stop the discs from making it to the trail and go for it.

    Those discs are heavy, if I get hit by one I'm going to punch somebody with it.
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    Although there are definitely more "invasive" acres of disc golf courses out here in Montana than there are "invasive" mountain bike trail acres, you don't even know the half of it until you have to compete with horses.

    Horses:

    1. Get the right away over hikers and bikers

    2. Tear the living shit out of any trail system, widening, trenching, and flat out destroying their walk/bike-ability.

    3. Are generally exploited for commercial uses.

    4. Shit everywhere.


    So when I read through this thread it really makes me wanna make one about Horses vs Mountain Bikers.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6foot4 View Post
    So when I read through this thread it really makes me wanna make one about Horses vs Mountain Bikers.
    Except the idea behind this thread wouldn't apply to horses in most places. The idea is Disc Golf seems to be in a massive growth phase, to the point MTB trails are being over-run by a disc golf course in at least one park local to me, and there are two major "in the woods" disc golf courses being constructed in this area right now. As far as I know, there are no new public horse trails being opened. While most folks here feel your pain (when I was growing up, horse trails made for fox hunting were what I had easiest access to for riding - all too steep, all rutted) I don't see horseback riding making explosive growth on public land competing with mountain bike trails. If it's just how bad we hate X group, I'm sure there's a half a dozen horse hate threads here already, no need to start a new one.

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    Did not read all the responses, but it s as simple as this. Despite all industry effort to turn MTB into something for EVERYONE, via over built trails, the complete inversion of drivetrains to 22:42, e bikes....it still requires more than walking and waiving your arm......at least for now. People who make decisions to manage public land in many cases don t give a funk about anything but liability and self promotion. Disc golf is a no brainer. They can celebrate their achievements, provide something that is not financially exclusive like our sport clearly has become, and risk very little. Concerns of impact on nature are used by these folks as red herrings to blow off groups whos pursuits don't fit their bell-curve driven image of what "normal" people do for exercise.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cotharyus View Post
    Except the idea behind this thread wouldn't apply to horses in most places. The idea is Disc Golf seems to be in a massive growth phase, to the point MTB trails are being over-run by a disc golf course in at least one park local to me, and there are two major "in the woods" disc golf courses being constructed in this area right now. As far as I know, there are no new public horse trails being opened. While most folks here feel your pain (when I was growing up, horse trails made for fox hunting were what I had easiest access to for riding - all too steep, all rutted) I don't see horseback riding making explosive growth on public land competing with mountain bike trails. If it's just how bad we hate X group, I'm sure there's a half a dozen horse hate threads here already, no need to start a new one.
    I think it's just a relatable gripe brotha...

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    Quote Originally Posted by 6foot4 View Post
    I think it's just a relatable gripe brotha...
    Oh, trust me, I feel you..

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    MTB vs Disc Golf - What are we doing wrong?-clayton.gif I live in a small town in NC. They recently built a brand new park with a disc golf course. I've never seen anyone playing there. I don't know anyone that plays it. It's confusing....
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveVt View Post
    People who make decisions to manage public land in many cases don t give a funk about anything but liability and self promotion. Disc golf is a no brainer. They can celebrate their achievements, provide something that is not financially exclusive like our sport clearly has become, and risk very little.
    I think this is the main reason. I work with a lot of people in their 20's, they've all played DG but none are frequent players. None of them ride MTB. However, I probably go biking more often than they all go disc golfing combined. I think more people like the idea of a DG course and those in office know it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy3220 View Post
    I think more people like the idea of a DG course and those in office know it.
    It's going to depend on how those surveys are set up, from what I've seen most are set up poorly. If it says "which facility would you be more likely to use, disc golf or mountain bike trails?" the vast majority of people would choose disc golf, looking at it as something they could do and for a very low cost. But of course, that does not mean they ever will do it and the vast majority won't. Even if the survey questions are set up better, people will still answer based on the perceptions of what they maybe would do rather than the reality of what they will do. It would be better to do some studies of existing facilities and see what actually gets used.

    I'm fortunate in that here around Atlanta, the mountain bike groups have great relationships with the land managers, letting us build mountain bike trails in county and city parks. I think that they like that the mountain bike groups pay to build and maintain them and then also allow hikers (on some of them mountain bikers have the right of way). And I believe at least one county sees them as a revenue source, bringing people into the area to spend money. They are very supportive with rescue services as well.
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    IMHO the "general public" sees disc golf as a more wholesome activity when compared to MTB'ing (the Red Bull effect). To a land manger disc golf is clearly a "low impact" activity whereas biking is only marginally "low impact".

    I do share the concerns about the amount of land needing to be cleared but the few disc golf courses I'm aware of (in California) have been built in areas where the course has been designed around the existing terrain conditions. Zero tree removal (some limbs may have been trimmed) and zero dirt work other than holes to set the baskets in.

    I do still enjoy tossing a Frisbee around but I've never been even the slightest bit inclined to do the disc golf thing (or real golf for that matter). Maybe 25 years ago on my way to work I'd stop at a park to go jogging; the park had the first disc golf course I'd ever seen. At first I thought nobody used it but then I'd drive past at different times and there were dozens of cars parked along the road accessing the course. Folks were using it during their lunch breaks and it was pretty busy on weekends too.

    As a lark I just checked Strava for "disc golf" as an activity and it isn't listed as of yet but when I did an activity search for "walking" and "disc" there were 2 full pages of almost nothing but disc golf entries. Out of 50 or so one was somebody walking a dog and another was somebody doing walks for disc surgery.

    I'll bet Strava will have the category listed within a year!
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  36. #36
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    I started playing disc golf this past year now that I live close to two courses. One course is in a park with about 20 miles of mtb trails. FWIW we don't have many access issues here in central Virginia.

    I think 95% of the issue here is the disc golf course isn't going to be shared with hikers. The course is its own separate entity thats out of sight and out of mind from people who think they're "in sync" with nature and conservancy. Since it isn't on their trails they don't think about the environmental impact of washed out trails going straight up hills to the next t-box, cutting out large trees and people trampling vegetation to find a non bio-degradable plastic disc. New courses even need to "wear in" around the most common places people lose a disc.

    There is one large "natural area" here that the city recently voted to make multi use. This park is literally a huge reservoir (artificially flooded river) for the city and its surrounding land has very poorly designed hiking trails all the way around it. Many trails go straight up will forcing sediment run off straight into streams that feed the reservoir when it rains. This park is HIKING ONLY, not even allowed to trail run or walk your dog. After the city voted to allow cycling, running and dog walking the county immediately shot it down because of an outdated code that hasn't been updated since 1981. The code is their political reason but the real reason is a bunch of rich pricks nearby want to keep it as their own personal hiking spot. The kicker here is two other COUNTY parks centered around a reservoir have been allowing cycling and dogs for decades and one even has a dog park deliberately bank side for dogs to swim in. The county has been breaking their own rules for years and after all of this has banned cycling from these other two parks. The fun part about these two county parks that recently banned cycling to meet their code still allows running and dog walking. Including letting dogs swim in one reservoir at the dog park.
    Ragged Mountain Natural Area and our Trail Partnerships – Charlottesville Area Mountain Bike Club

    So from my experience "environmental impacts" are only the easiest excuse to not allow mountain biking. Most people don't care about the impact, its about how it effects their personal use. Oh and at Ragged Mountain, the multi use trails were set to be completely separate from the hiking trails. The two would only be forced to merge for about a 1/4 mile.

  37. #37
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    ^ Never heard of a hiking trail that banned trail running.
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  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by chazpat View Post
    ^ Never heard of a hiking trail that banned trail running.
    People still run there. Otherwise I kid you not running doesn't seem to be a "natural" enough activity for this flooded "natural area." Its posted at the entrance that only hiking, bird watching and canoeing is allowed. The canoeing/kayaking part is wishy washy because you need a day use permit that the water company stopped issuing years ago.

  39. #39
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    I would be curious to hear from people who have MTB trail going through Frisbee Golf Courses and how they coexist. We have been approached by a group that is expanding their course and it goes over a small portion of our trails. They asked if we could move the trail. I don't see the that it would cause an issue as long as the trail crossed near the tee boxes vs the greens. Worst case you ride up on a group about to tee off - no big deal just yield and assuming they would wait till you ride through - right? The only other issue I see is we groom in winter and yes some do golf in winter - but not always on snowshoes. Foot holes on groomed snow would be impossible to avoid.

  40. #40
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    We barely coexist. Trash, dogs, strollers, smokers... it's really kind of a drag. For the most part the trails we do have that snake through their course (trails were there first) are "upstream" from the tee off direction. This is critical.

  41. #41
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    This thread has interested me. I’ve been involved in a nonmotorized recreation planning effort for some nearby public lands. The area has no real infrastructure, just lots of old doubletrack, some crappy singletrack, and a couple disc golf areas. None of the above is sanctioned. The goal of the project is a trails and management plan that has already been vetted by all the local parties prior to consideration by the land manager. That includes hikers, runner, equestrians, bikers, adjacent landowners, wildlife interests, etc.

    There really wasn’t a lot of concern about multi use trails, or even over the directional, bike-preferred trails. But the disc golf courses raised more concern, particularly from adjacent landowners. Trash was the major issue, but not the only one. The guys who run the local DG nonprofit do a yeoman’s job of hauling trash out, too. Pirate courses with trash tones hung up all around have just put a bad taste in a lot of neighbors’ mouths.

    I guess that until activities get legitimized, participants are their own worst enemies from an advocacy point of view. I was surprised that disc golfers were behind the mountain bikers in this case. Hopefully more formalized and legitimized courses help with that.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by trapperK2 View Post
    I would be curious to hear from people who have MTB trail going through Frisbee Golf Courses and how they coexist. We have been approached by a group that is expanding their course and it goes over a small portion of our trails. They asked if we could move the trail. I don't see the that it would cause an issue as long as the trail crossed near the tee boxes vs the greens. Worst case you ride up on a group about to tee off - no big deal just yield and assuming they would wait till you ride through - right? The only other issue I see is we groom in winter and yes some do golf in winter - but not always on snowshoes. Foot holes on groomed snow would be impossible to avoid.
    So, yeah. We've got a park that has had trails in it for 20+ years that they put a DG course in ...last year? And expanded it this year? The trails started off unofficial. Some of them were used by jeeps, ATV's, dirt bikes, horses and mountain bikers, all on the same day. Anything motorized was eventually banned, then someone brought an un-flagged kicker and a hiker got hurt, so horses got banned too, leaving just hikers and mountain bikers on the trails. The parks department never cared about or for the trails - they were rerouted off the old mudholes and "built" such as they are by a motley collection of hikers and mountain bikers. The county's official stance on the trails is "As long as we can't see it from our trucks, you do whatever you want." I assume the DG course is a little more sanctioned.

    The DG course crossed one of our trails on hole 1 near the basket, and proceeded to run greens along (beside) some trails, as well as clear entire corridors down where other trails used to be, leaving some large trees, and a metric ton of 2-4" stobs sticking up. We've routed away from some of these areas, but other areas are narrow sections of the park where, for instance, we have only one real option for a trail to connect everything on the two sides of the park. In areas where trails and DG lines intersect, hikers have had near misses from discs, mountain bikers have had rocks thrown at them, and in one place were the basket from a previous hole is down a 25-30% slope from the tee for the next hole, a trail has been worn in straight up and down the hill across one of our trails and has started washing out, exactly as anyone with experience might predict.

    I suspect my experience is a worst case scenario, but I also suspect that a lot of people putting in DG courses don't know or care anything about sustainable trails. I would encourage your involvement in the planning and execution of the course with a positive attitude - IE we can coexist, and I can help you make this better. In some instances, simply knowing someone on the other side of a conflict can smooth the conflict out some. It can certainly contribute understanding. On the other hand, when one side takes to its task with an officiated heavy handedness, and trods roughshod on the other side it's a bad scene.

  43. #43
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    A DG course seems like the exact opposite of what you want in a state park or conservation land. Clearing large swaths of trees? Encroaching on natural habitat for wildlife, etc? At least hiking/mtb trails maintain some semblance of balance with nature. DG course might as well be a parking lot cut into the woods.

  44. #44
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    What can we do about it.

    There are a few issues that likely lead to the "criminalization" of mtb.

    However, its not useful to dwell on those things that are out of our control.

    What is in our control, or at least partial control, is the dissemination of the Red Bull image to the general public. And, the new style "flow trails", so "every one can ride" -they look more like sidewalks in the woods rather than mtb trails.


    The mtb sport/industry seems to be trying its hardest to forget old fashion, core, trail riding. Trails that are narrow, natural, and could just as easily be hiking trails. Massive buffed out jump lines, perfectly sculpted berms, intricately designed wooden features (that inevitably fall to disrepair) - all these things stick out sorely in the middle of a forest and leaves a bad taste in the general public's mouth.

    Bike design is increasingly pushed to where unless you have wide open, mach-speed, trails they are boring to ride.

    These are the things under our control. Will addressing them really help? Not sure. We've likely gone to far.


    IMO, a good trail, is one where if it was not used or maintained would virtually disappear back into the forest in a year or two. That's here in the NE. I'm sure its different in dryer, rockier places.

    Hey, I'm totally up for AM riding with air time and features, but they should be made by incorporating all ready present natural structure - so they don't stick out.


    Keep the wilderness wild. Keep it low key. We will get farther, maybe.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J View Post
    There are a few issues that likely lead to the "criminalization" of mtb.

    However, its not useful to dwell on those things that are out of our control.

    What is in our control, or at least partial control, is the dissemination of the Red Bull image to the general public. And, the new style "flow trails", so "every one can ride" -they look more like sidewalks in the woods rather than mtb trails.


    The mtb sport/industry seems to be trying its hardest to forget old fashion, core, trail riding. Trails that are narrow, natural, and could just as easily be hiking trails. Massive buffed out jump lines, perfectly sculpted berms, intricately designed wooden features (that inevitably fall to disrepair) - all these things stick out sorely in the middle of a forest and leaves a bad taste in the general public's mouth.

    Bike design is increasingly pushed to where unless you have wide open, mach-speed, trails they are boring to ride.

    These are the things under our control. Will addressing them really help? Not sure. We've likely gone to far.


    IMO, a good trail, is one where if it was not used or maintained would virtually disappear back into the forest in a year or two. That's here in the NE. I'm sure its different in dryer, rockier places.

    Hey, I'm totally up for AM riding with air time and features, but they should be made by incorporating all ready present natural structure - so they don't stick out.


    Keep the wilderness wild. Keep it low key. We will get farther, maybe.
    I 100% agree. I enjoy sometimes riding flow trails but they are ugly scars through the woods and it seems to be the most popular type of trail to build now. I prefer natural looking trails as you described and I'm sure hikers do as well.
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  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cotharyus View Post
    So, yeah. We've got a park that has had trails in it for 20+ years that they put a DG course in ...last year? And expanded it this year? The trails started off unofficial. Some of them were used by jeeps, ATV's, dirt bikes, horses and mountain bikers, all on the same day. Anything motorized was eventually banned, then someone brought an un-flagged kicker and a hiker got hurt, so horses got banned too, leaving just hikers and mountain bikers on the trails. The parks department never cared about or for the trails - they were rerouted off the old mudholes and "built" such as they are by a motley collection of hikers and mountain bikers. The county's official stance on the trails is "As long as we can't see it from our trucks, you do whatever you want." I assume the DG course is a little more sanctioned.

    The DG course crossed one of our trails on hole 1 near the basket, and proceeded to run greens along (beside) some trails, as well as clear entire corridors down where other trails used to be, leaving some large trees, and a metric ton of 2-4" stobs sticking up. We've routed away from some of these areas, but other areas are narrow sections of the park where, for instance, we have only one real option for a trail to connect everything on the two sides of the park. In areas where trails and DG lines intersect, hikers have had near misses from discs, mountain bikers have had rocks thrown at them, and in one place were the basket from a previous hole is down a 25-30% slope from the tee for the next hole, a trail has been worn in straight up and down the hill across one of our trails and has started washing out, exactly as anyone with experience might predict.

    I suspect my experience is a worst case scenario, but I also suspect that a lot of people putting in DG courses don't know or care anything about sustainable trails. I would encourage your involvement in the planning and execution of the course with a positive attitude - IE we can coexist, and I can help you make this better. In some instances, simply knowing someone on the other side of a conflict can smooth the conflict out some. It can certainly contribute understanding. On the other hand, when one side takes to its task with an officiated heavy handedness, and trods roughshod on the other side it's a bad scene.

    Not a unique experience at all.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by chazpat View Post
    I 100% agree. I enjoy sometimes riding flow trails but they are ugly scars through the woods and it seems to be the most popular type of trail to build now. I prefer natural looking trails as you described and I'm sure hikers do as well.
    I don't necessarily agree with calling flow trails an ugly scar. Usually they're built with well designed grade reversals that prevent erosion and I feel like they are maintained with more detail. I've come across a few hikers on a flow trail who commented how nice the new trail was compared to the loose rocks and steep grades of the trails further up the mountain.

    I will admit the SVBC trail builders here in Central VA do make extremely good trails that don't come across to much as being a "flow" trail but ride with a great flow. The berms are subtle and rocks are layed up with a lot of variety from smooth trail to chunky rock gardens. Tons of alternate lines too that you'll keep finding even after a dozen runs or so.

    I can definitely see a lot of hikers feeling uncomfortable walking on a flow trail. It is blatantly obvious that its designed for high speed descending. With that being said as a hiker myself its hard not to hear a bike coming down the trail long before they're in view. I think a lot of hikers are either oblivious of their surroundings or just like to blow it way out of proportion.

  48. #48
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    ^ The ones around me are built with Georgia red clay forming huge berms that rise well above the natural surface; as you said, blatantly obvious that its designed for high speed descending.
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    I haven't seen this mentioned yet I think....they must be getting more people to meetings.
    I throw and ride and have plenty of options for each. I would think Nashville area has tons of riding.
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  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by bamwa View Post
    I haven't seen this mentioned yet I think....they must be getting more people to meetings.
    I throw and ride and have plenty of options for each. I would think Nashville area has tons of riding.
    There's a fair amount of riding to be had, spread around pretty well, 6 or 8 miles at a time mostly. The thing is, there are a LOT more disc golf courses. Now, yes, one of those courses is in a wide open flat grass park that's basically got nothing but a play ground and a disc golf course in it, right next to an airport. But there's a huge number of courses going in and I can't help but wonder if there's really that many people throwing. I guess it's one thing to have 30 people show up to ride a trail, and something else to have 30 people show up to throw an 18 hole course.

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by chazpat View Post
    ^ The ones around me are built with Georgia red clay forming huge berms that rise well above the natural surface; as you said, blatantly obvious that its designed for high speed descending.
    Ours are designed for high speed ascending too. The grade reversals make them more sustainable and manage were water gets sent sideways. If you know how to pump you watch yourself getting speed when others are JRA.

    They’ve taken damage in freeze/that season but in a way are probably better than having a longer section of cupped trail and fast runoff.


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    One point I haven't seen mentioned: Several of the disc courses around here are pay to play ($10/day for access) so it's seen as a revenue generator for a park.

  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loren_ View Post
    One point I haven't seen mentioned: Several of the disc courses around here are pay to play ($10/day for access) so it's seen as a revenue generator for a park.
    The only course around here I'm aware of that "asks" for anything is privately owned, invite only, although they are fairly free with invites, for instance, one day a week they "invite everyone to come play" and while there is no charge, they do have a donations bucket.

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