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  1. #1
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    Danville Georgetown Potential MTB Restrictions

    I went to a trail use meeting sponsored by King County regarding the future use of the Danville Georgetown natural area. This area has many trails maintained by the Backcountry Horseman of Washington, and is frequently used as an equestrian riding area.

    Some folks within the equestrian community (not necessarily the BCH) are proposing to close the trails to mountain bike use due to the challenges of horse / bike encounters. They didn't have a lot of specific examples of issues that have taken place at Danville Georgetown, but some had bad encounters at other horse / bike trails.

    The equestrian group's proposal is to make the Danville Georgetown area a horse training area for new riders and new horses to learn how to trail ride, and then eventually the horses can start to use mixed use trails where they will encounter bikes.

    Considerable opposition came from the folks involved with the mountain bike club at the school. While a special use permit could be issued to allow the school to continue doing events there, it'd be harder to run the program & kids wouldn't be able to practice during non-sauctioned times.

    I'm not sure what they are going to do. The horseman made a strong showing and convincing arguments, and the bike community (who have voluntarily refrained from using the trails) was smaller in numbers. I'm not opposed to voluntarily refraining from trail use but don't like rules against mountain bikes becoming part of King County Code.

    They're taking public comment through early May, and it might be extended if they don't think they've gathered enough comments. Please send me a note if you want the information on how to comment on this proposal.
    Last edited by cycling_engineer; 04-25-2013 at 08:13 PM.

  2. #2
    That Waters Guy
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    The King County Executive Horse Council (who?!) web site lists this as open to bikes:

    KCEHC Trail Guide

    But yes, I would like a chance to comment.
    Rolland

  3. #3
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    The link to the trail meeting is below:

    April 18: Public comment sought on Danville-Georgetown, Henry?s Ridge open space trail plans

    David Kimmett is the person who is taking comments. You can e-mail him at the address on the website shown.

  4. #4
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    Let me provide a bit of clarity on the topic since I was at the meeting also and I have been in the middle of this. I met with the current president of the BCH and two members at my house along with the Director of Evergreen 6 weeks ago. We collectively agreed to continue with the "informal" agreement that "mountain bikers ride at Henry's Ridge" and "equestrians ride at DG". This agreement has been in place for a number of years. The enhancement that we included in the letter to the county was to post some signage at each site noting who built and maintains the trails and note which user group predominantly uses the trails.

    The signed proposal was with the Tahoma branch of the BCH that built and maintains the trails at DG. The opposing equestrian opinions were predominantly from a group out of Enumclaw. The Enumclaw group is the one pushing to keep the bikes out. Not sure about you but I would prefer to ride trails built by mountain bikers for mountain bikers and that I what Henry's Ridge provides. I think the only real exception to this agreement is there is a mountain bike club at the junior high that uses the trails at DG once a week for about an hour. Then there are a handful of neighbors to DG that occasionally ride at DG. Other than that I am not really sure who rides bikes there or really would want to.

    Evergreen should be pushing out a news blurb with info on how to provide public comment.

  5. #5
    That Waters Guy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Summit Ridge Guy View Post
    Not sure about you but I would prefer to ride trails built by mountain bikers for mountain bikers and that I what Henry's Ridge provides.
    Yes, totally. I didn't mean to indicate that I was not supportive of previous agreements, high school kids, or heck, even horse people.

    Frankly the horse folks have largely been mostly reasonable of late. I look forward to the day when we can say the same about the (pr)Issy Alps people!


    Rolland
    Rolland

  6. #6
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    If I mixed up the horseman's group, that's my bad and I apologize to the BCH folks that may see this. There were many groups - several which represented horse users - and I may have gotten them mixed up. I did hear the president of BCH stand up and say that he did not favor restricting public access from public lands. (i.e., he thought mountain bikers had the same rights to using land as equestrian.)

    The part that concerned me at hte meeting was the vast majority of those speaking were in favor of closing Danville Georgetown to mountain bikes. Those who wanted it left open to mountain bikes were in the minority. Even among the non-speakers, several people from the horse community talked to me and wondered why bikers needed to bike "everywhere" and how it was a "safety issue" to have bikes and horses on the same trail. I pointed out that horses can ride wilderness trails, and they said, "well, those are a bit of a drive to get to."

    Not sure about you but I would prefer to ride trails built by mountain bikers for mountain bikers and that I what Henry's Ridge provides.
    Yes, I agree. I have no need to ride Danville Georgetown and don't plan to in the future. And I think the voluntary agreement is perfect.

    However, I don't think this voluntary agreement should become law.
    Last edited by cycling_engineer; 04-25-2013 at 02:55 PM.

  7. #7
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    What about an every other day thing like Middlefork?
    Tarekith.com

    '12 RM Slayer70, i9 Torch, Flow EX, XT Brakes, 5050 s3.

  8. #8
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    (I wrote a post and then decided I'd hold off, so it's gone now.)

  9. #9
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    In all honesty, I completely agree with you. I think if more user groups started to have their own trails, especially if they are the ones maintaining them, that we'd all be better off. There's more than enough opportunity to share trails, having some place you can go and not have to worry everything that goes along with that just calms people nerves.

    I think that's one big reason Duthie is so popular. It's not just the incredible trails, but that we can ride them however we want without having to worry about spooking hroses, or running over hikers.
    Tarekith.com

    '12 RM Slayer70, i9 Torch, Flow EX, XT Brakes, 5050 s3.

  10. #10
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    Just to add a bit more perspective. I too agree the trails should not be multi use especially between horses and bikes. I don't recall wether Tiger is still open to horses but I believe it is. How many of you want to see horses out there? I have in the past but I think for the most part they avoid it. But if you go to the Taylor Mt. (Hobart) area you will see plenty and if you pay attention to the residences of the area you will understand why. I say let them have the George Town area. I think as Mt. Bikers we are getting a lot of positive support from the powers to be. A lot of the areas that we all like were established by hikers and equestrions long before Mt. Bikes.

  11. #11
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    Anything we can ride, horses can go except Duthie. My family have worked with locals at Danville and I know some of the BCH people. Only people who dislike bikes are outsiders to the area.

  12. #12
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    I am going to present the argument for opposing the policy of defined areas that are single-use. I've been hearing this more and more, and there's some real downsides to this policy for us as bikers.

    This is a very dangerous path to go down if it becomes land owner policy, and will result in reduced trail mileage for mountain bikers. It's the reason we can't ride much of Tiger - this culture of separated uses is nothing but bad for us.

    Yes, there needs to be exceptions on a case-by-case basis. Certain trails should be hiker only, biker only, or horse only. Bridle Trails should be horse only and Duthie bike only. But if we start going down a path of separated uses in defined areas, we lose trails.

    The trail planning for Reiter Forest is a great case study for this. They drew shapes on a maps defining certain areas for certain uses. There is a nice perimeter trail that could be multi-use that would be an amazing and long ride, with views, good terrain, etc. But because of the horse only blurb it would need to go through (on the perimeter), it's a total non starter. The separated uses killed this possibility.

    Also think about Tiger. There are hiker-only trails that are infrequently used by hikers. I think they would be much better as multi-user trails that we could ride.

    This is why supporting a policy of separated use will mean we lose a lot of future trail mileage. Shared use with sensible single-use trails where appropriate is a much better design.

    Keep in mind that governments are inherently bound to rules and lack flexibility. Policies can have unintended consequences, and the potential for negative consequences are high with a policy of separated uses.
    Issaquah & Seattle real estate agent. Buy or sell a home with me and I donate $500 to Evergreen MTB Alliance
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  13. #13
    That Waters Guy
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    Quote Originally Posted by juice View Post
    Keep in mind that governments are inherently bound to rules and lack flexibility. Policies can have unintended consequences, and the potential for negative consequences are high with a policy of separated uses.
    What Justin said!
    Rolland

  14. #14
    I should be out riding
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    Spot on. The default should be every trail open to every user, with restrictions applied on a case by case basis.

    Quote Originally Posted by juice View Post
    I am going to present the argument for opposing the policy of defined areas that are single-use. I've been hearing this more and more, and there's some real downsides to this policy for us as bikers.

    This is a very dangerous path to go down if it becomes land owner policy, and will result in reduced trail mileage for mountain bikers. It's the reason we can't ride much of Tiger - this culture of separated uses is nothing but bad for us.

    Yes, there needs to be exceptions on a case-by-case basis. Certain trails should be hiker only, biker only, or horse only. Bridle Trails should be horse only and Duthie bike only. But if we start going down a path of separated uses in defined areas, we lose trails.

    The trail planning for Reiter Forest is a great case study for this. They drew shapes on a maps defining certain areas for certain uses. There is a nice perimeter trail that could be multi-use that would be an amazing and long ride, with views, good terrain, etc. But because of the horse only blurb it would need to go through (on the perimeter), it's a total non starter. The separated uses killed this possibility.

    Also think about Tiger. There are hiker-only trails that are infrequently used by hikers. I think they would be much better as multi-user trails that we could ride.

    This is why supporting a policy of separated use will mean we lose a lot of future trail mileage. Shared use with sensible single-use trails where appropriate is a much better design.

    Keep in mind that governments are inherently bound to rules and lack flexibility. Policies can have unintended consequences, and the potential for negative consequences are high with a policy of separated uses.

  15. #15
    That Waters Guy
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    I haven't seen anybody post the official comment process. It's kind of cumbersome but I sent mine any anyway:

    1. Submit your comments at the end of the meeting
    2. Mail to: King County Parks, Attn: David Kimmett, 201 S. Jackson St. # 700, Seattle, WA 98104-3855
    3. Email to david.kimmett@kingcounty.gov
    a. Scan and send email
    b. Download comment form and send email
    4. Comment forms available at: http://edit.kingcounty.gov/recreatio...ewardship.aspx

    PLEASE SUBMIT BY NO LATER THAN MAY 7, 2013. THANK YOU.
    Rolland

  16. #16
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    If the forms seem a bit too tedious, you can just e-mail your comments to David Kimmett. He takes those as well, and it's a lot easier!

  17. #17
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    Comment by May 7th on Possible King County Trails Bicycle Closure near Black Diamond

    Hey Folks,
    Here's more background on this issue and how best to respond, courtesy of Glenn Glover, Executive Director at Evergreen. Please do take action!

    Thanks for supporting the cause!!

    Stacy
    ---

    Comment by May 7th on Possible King County Trails
    Bicycle Closure in Black Diamond Area


    King County is considering amending the management plans for two properties in the Black Diamond area: Henry's Ridge used mainly by mountain bikers, and Danville Georgetown, used primarily by horse riders.

    The county has received strong pressure from a small group of equestrians that want Parks to officially close Danville Georgetown to bicycles, arguing that there aren't enough areas for them to ride their horses without having to deal with bikes. We believe the current voluntary separation effort is working well, and that creating a formal closure is not a wise choice.

    Please take a minute to let King County know your thoughts...

    Specifically, mention that carving up our parks between users is a poor use of resources which in the long run could result in reduced access for our fast growing sport. Let them also know that you support multi-use trails and that you want the county to encourage the many positive benefits of having communities sharing, and caring for, their great trail resource together.

    Click here to download the comment form: http://your.kingcounty.gov/dnrp/libr...3_pub_mtg.docx
    then fill it out and submit it right away. The public comment period ends this Tuesday, May 7th!

    More background on this issue...

    For years there has been a voluntary effort by both user groups asking our respective users to avoid the other area as much as possible. Evergreen has supported this but has drawn the line at asking the local middle school riding club to keep out of Danville Georgetown, or expecting local residents not to ride trails through the area to get to Henry's Ridge.

    This is NOT a battle with the equestrian community in general. We have a very good working relationship with horse riders around the state. In fact there is significant support within the equestrian community, including the Backcountry Horsemen of Washington - Tahoma Chapter, for continuing the system that has worked very well for years: voluntary separation

    So if a voluntary separation is working well, why oppose a Parks regulation that would mandate closures for each group? Because this is setting a very bad precedent - managing for a non-existent conflict and closing another area to bicycles.

    At a recent public meeting on this issue only two incidents of conflict were raised by the many equestrians in attendance and none of them had occurred at Danville Georgetown. Remember that there are other areas and other groups that may be standing next in line to close public lands to us.

    You can learn more about the proposals being considered here: http://your.kingcounty.gov/dnrp/libr...y-mar30-11.pdf
    Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance
    sustainable trails. rider powered.

  18. #18
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    There is some truth to the above and some clarity needed. Equestrians being kicked off the trails has become a way of life for the equestrians. This is in sharp contrast to the success of mountain bike access. There are some shocking statistics. Why Duthie Hill used to belong to an equestrian and equestrians built the trails! Many equestrians are okay with shared-use, but many others have special needs and are afraid that the bikes will take over Danville, just like they have populated many trail systems. Case in point, Taylor is multi-use and historically the bikes stayed on Tiger and the horses stayed on Taylor. Now there is a bike race planned for Taylor and the flood gates will open, making many equestrians scared for their lives. Another case in point is Tiger Mountain where the horse people built the trails and now have been pushed to a small loop. As far as the school use goes, no one is trying to stop the bike club from using the trails for their meets. The horse people have also proposed a trail from the school to the rest of the bike trails slightly north. Plus the school has 30 acres that they could build an awesome park they could use 24/7 but have chosen not to do so. It is the horse people who keep losing and are trying to hang on to what little they have left. I am glad folks are getting out there. I think multi-use usually works. But this racing business is going to start a problem. The bikes have become dirt bikes without motors and we all know what happened to the dirt bike access.

  19. #19
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    Don't forget that horses can use any trail that we have use of, except Duthie, we lost all of Cougar mountain, which have many horse trails. We have lost all of Squak mountain which is open to horses. We have lost most of Tiger mountain and now just regaining some trails back. I do not buy that horses are losing trails. Please tell me if I'm wrong and which trails they are losing.

    As a former horseman (first 21 yrs of my life), I understand how to be around horses. Talk to the horse and riders and if you are scared and unsure on what to do, ask the rider. Most I come across want and need your help to acclimate their animal. The horse I rode 35 yrs ago was used to dirt bike and shotguns. Training is the key.

  20. #20
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    King County property: 96 miles of bike/no horses. 12 miles of horse/no bike. This does not include Danville-Georgetown and Henry's Ridge, which are being discussed at this time. Henry's Ridge already has a memorandum of understanding from the county that it will be developed as a mountain bike park using mountain bike trail building standards (IBMA Guide to Sweet Single Track Trails), which are not suitable or safe for horses. I have another statistic, but I don't yet have the details, which is that horses lost access to 10 area (county?) parks in the last decade.

  21. #21
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    Where do horses have no access in King County and we do??

  22. #22
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    I think Sven's question is valid and should be answered. I think the 96 miles that allows bikes but does not allow horses while only 12 miles that allow horses and do not allow bikes is hogwash.

    The only place that King County policy prohibits horses, to my knowledge, is Duthie Hill.

  23. #23
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    Duthie Hill, Tolt McDonald, Pinnacle Peak, Cavanaugh Pond, Burke-Gilman, Lake Sammamish Trail (all but a couple miles), Cedar River (most), Green River (most), Interurban, Marymoore, and informally at Henry's Ridge. No trailer parking at Grand Ridge, limited trailer parking at Soaring Eagle, Maury Island, Black Diamond Natural Area. The 12 miles is on Cougar Mountain. The State has been more generous, I believe to us both (?). The important thing here than I am trying to be sure you all are getting both sides of the story regarding Danville and Henry's Ridge. Most horse people have no problem with shared-use. But there are those who have kids or have physical challenges where a run-in with a racer could prove disasterous. It would be nice to have a choice.

  24. #24
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    Bingaman Pond, Soos Creek (has been paved with a little bit of soft surface)

  25. #25
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    Thanks for the clarification No Wheel, but I would not consider the rail trails mountain bike trails. Also any paved trail is not a mountain bike trail.

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