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  1. #1
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    Another shot at opening Bill's Trail?

    From the latest Tamarancho newsletter:

    6. Take Action Now to Support Opening Marin Trail

    Bill's Trail, in SP Taylor State Park in West Marin, is a 3.3 miles long buff trail, that climbs 1,000' up Barnabe Mountain, through dense woods, and includes a series of ten switchbacks and 7 bridges.

    Currently it is used by hikers and equestrians and it is closed to mtn bikers.

    The State Park has just completed an EIR, that would designate this trail as "multi-use" and would complete a looped trail system for mountain biking. SWEET.

    County bicycle advocates and IMBA have been seeking access to this trail for many years. We are pleased to report that the preferred alternative involves making changes in the trail to permit mountain bikes to have access.

    We are delighted at the strong desire on the part of State Parks to open Bill's trail to bikes. It is essential that mountain bikers express their support in large numbers, as we anticipate strong opposition to the "Change in Use".

    Please let State Parks know that you want mountain bikes to have access to Bill's Trail, and that you strongly support the preferred alternative.

    For sample letter and more details go to www.access4bikes.com

    Although with SP Taylor on the state park hit list for 2012, might not matter.

  2. #2
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    Wow, it got approval...
    State parks officials grant mountain bikers access to Samuel P. Taylor trail - Marin Independent Journal


    Mountain bikers have won approval from state officials to ride a popular four-mile trail through Samuel P. Taylor State Park, but when that might actually happen is unclear.

    California State Parks officials announced Tuesday that bikers will be able to use Bill's Trail in the park, but not until some $350,000 is found to improve the trail. Park officials said there is no timeline for such work.

  3. #3
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    "We will continue to be concerned about this particular trail," Dennis said. "The trail is 4 feet across and it will not be wide enough for a biker and a horse. They won't fit," she said.

    The logic here always escapes me, no concern that two, three foot wide horses who may or may not be well behaved, will "fit". Just fear of the 30 lb bicycle with a handlebar the width of a pair of human shoulders is going to cause the problem!!

  4. #4
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    Sounds encouraging. I have personally worked on Bill's trail with the Forest Knoll's freewheelers -at the invitation of CA State Parks. This at a time when bike access was not even on the table. It was a good will volunteer effort. They greatly appreciated our work (one task was to bring the bridges into compliance for equestrians!) As usual, only our group showed up. No equestrian volunteers were present. Hmmmm.

    Nonetheless, this will be an important test piece for access -there, and in other areas. Its very important to make a good impression here. This trail may be open to bikes on odd or even days only. Whatever the case, how we participate in this experiment will affect access in the future. This might be the most important litmus test so far. How we are perceived by the land managers -and especially the other user groups will be key. Let's get this right!
    I like to bike.

  5. #5
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    Wow!!! That takes stupidity to a whole new level. $350K to improve a lousy few miles of trail. I can't be the only one who thinks that this is insane. The worst part is that once they actually spend the money, they will forever ruin the trail. Best way to enjoy Bill's trail is to ride it at night when nobody's watching before State Parks ruins it.
    Faster is not always better, but it's always more fun

  6. #6
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    The current State supervision over such projects looks to develop trails bulletproof to legal challenge and accommodating to the wide variety of users with whom we will share this trail. The EIR, resulting from legal challenges 2 years ago, has been performed with equal diligence to assure legal durability. This is not done by a long shot but dotting the Is and crossing the Ts makes a strong foundation, but a somewhat sanitized trail.
    Last edited by Berkeley Mike; 09-25-2012 at 08:06 PM.
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  7. #7
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    Agree, at least it's a step in the "right" direction. A shot at opening it up is better than nothing, and it ain't over until it's over.

  8. #8
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    I'm glad to see Bill's trail having a shot at being opened, but clearly the antis are winning the battle by attrition. If State Parks have to spend $350K per trail plus the cost of the EIR for every trail they have to open to bikes, I doubt my kids will get to ride many of them by the time they're my age. Math does not work to our advantage. The enviro nuts know it and will use the threat of litigation at every turn to make it too costly. Of course, it's not smart because every dollar spent by state parks on inane projects like this are taken away from other important things. Okay, I'm done ranting.
    Faster is not always better, but it's always more fun

  9. #9
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    Look at it this way; at least we can say we rode it back in the day.
    I don't rattle.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by zorg View Post
    Wow!!! That takes stupidity to a whole new level. $350K to improve a lousy few miles of trail. I can't be the only one who thinks that this is insane. The worst part is that once they actually spend the money, they will forever ruin the trail. Best way to enjoy Bill's trail is to ride it at night when nobody's watching before State Parks ruins it.
    Totally agree. $100K per mile of trail is ridiculous and unsustainable. The trail is already built, this is for "improvements". And that doesn't include the cost of the EIR. All this money spent due to nimbyism on the part of the Marin Conservation League. What a waste.

  11. #11
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    I could be bitter after spending over a dozen volunteer trailwork days in Samuel P Taylor SP over the last 15 years or so. All off which on trails closed to bikes (Bill's, Devil's Gulch and Pioneer Tree). But I'm staying positive and looking forward to one day riding Bill's when it's legal. You can thank the MCL for the huge price tag. By the way the trail is actually 4 miles long at 6%.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by zorg View Post
    Wow!!! That takes stupidity to a whole new level. $350K to improve a lousy few miles of trail. I can't be the only one who thinks that this is insane. The worst part is that once they actually spend the money, they will forever ruin the trail. Best way to enjoy Bill's trail is to ride it at night when nobody's watching before State Parks ruins it.
    +1
    im with ya on this one Zorg!!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by LWright View Post
    "We will continue to be concerned about this particular trail," Dennis said. "The trail is 4 feet across and it will not be wide enough for a biker and a horse. They won't fit," she said.

    The logic here always escapes me, no concern that two, three foot wide horses who may or may not be well behaved, will "fit". Just fear of the 30 lb bicycle with a handlebar the width of a pair of human shoulders is going to cause the problem!!
    What happens when two horses have to pass? That seemed to be the reason the 680 trail is so wide and cost so much. Mr Ed is costing us a fortune.

    On multi-use trails, when I see a horse, I stop. I ask the rider what is the best thing I can do for the horse. I've had an old cowboy say, "Just ride on by, we want the horses to get use to bikes." To "please step off the trail." I see horses on the trail so seldom, I am willing to be very accommodating and not give a single rider anything to complain about.

    One time I got off my bike and started walking down a dirt road when I saw some horses. Turns out it was the same guy that was really angry about a mtn bike / horse conflict. My walking my bike made him very happy me and we became friends for a number of years.

    For our friend Terry (I haven't read it)
    Research for the Development of Best Management Practices to Minimize Horse Trail Impacts on the Hoosier National Forest
    http://www.parks.ca.gov/pages/1324/f...t,%20final.pdf

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevXR View Post
    Research for the Development of Best Management Practices to Minimize Horse Trail Impacts on the Hoosier National Forest
    http://www.parks.ca.gov/pages/1324/f...t,%20final.pdf

    This is a great read.
    I don't rattle.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by MCL
    the trail runs along Devil's Gulch Creek, which is home to protected coho salmon and steelhead trout.
    What, are bikers going to cross the stream and run over fish?

    Quote Originally Posted by MCL
    We will continue to be concerned about this particular trail. The trail is 4 feet across and it will not be wide enough for a biker and a horse. They won't fit. There are very steep slopes that will make it hard for people to stop. This is really disappointing."
    Why don't you just say you don't want bikes on the trail?


    Quote Originally Posted by Cali State Parks
    but not until some $350,000 is found to improve the trail. Park officials said there is no timeline for such work.
    Why don't you just say you don't really feel like getting around to it?

    Why not just let the MTB trail work groups do this work for you for free? But then again, I was reminded of one of the comments on some other anti-mtb news article. Some guy was saying about how mtb'ers "volunteer" to make a trail, and then they make it however they like, with berms and jumps and etc. And I was thinking, yeah, he has a point.

  16. #16
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    Nuggets from the DEIR:
    One individual involved in the original trail construction recalled that it was constructed
    as a full multiuse trail open to hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians. According to this
    account, sometime after its opening, DPR received complaints from equestrians about
    conflicts with mountain bikers. To resolve the conflict DPR attempted to restrict bikes to
    up-hill direction only; however, conflicts and complaints continued. Mountain bikes were
    finally excluded under a Superintendent’s order; the trail has been used exclusively by
    hikers and equestrians since that time. (Hanson, 2011)
    There is no evidence however, of a Superintendent’s Order either prohibiting mountain
    bikes or allowing equestrian use on the trail. Additionally, the map on the park brochure
    indicates that Bills’ Trail is a hiking only trail. A complete and documented history of
    Bills’ Trail may be forever elusive due to the passage of time and personnel. Although
    DPR has attempted to convey an accurate history, whether the trail has historically been
    single use, dual use or multiuse does not impact the proposed project. The baseline
    conditions on which the project was evaluated include hiking and equestrian use.”
    Additionally, the Project Description in the FEIR (2.11) has been revised to read as follows:
    “Although most evidence suggests that Bills’ Trail is a hiking only trail, it is currently used
    by equestrians and hikers. More recently, mountain biking interest groups have
    petitioned to open Bills’ Trail to biking as well. DPR proposes to change the ‘use’ of
    Bills’ Trail to allow mountain biking in addition to hiking as well as formalizing equestrian
    use, making the trail consistent with the Department’s policy to construct multi use trails.
    In order to convert the trail to Class I that would sustainably and safely allow all three
    user groups, DPR must “catch up” with the deferred maintenance that has narrowed the
    trail, reduced drainage function, allowed exotic species to flourish and reduced user
    safety.”


    Another good one:
    A second factor may also prove to deter some mountain bikers from Bills’ Trail over the long
    run. Bills’ Trail will lack many of the features popular with the mountain biking community.
    For example, IMBA ranks trails based on the degree of difficulty from easiest to extremely
    difficult. With the profile of the trail at 48” and approximately 100 pinch points installed Bills’
    Trail would rank in the “easy” category of mountain bike trails. While there may be an
    increase in mountain bikers and a corresponding decrease in existing users, it is expected
    that any significant increase will be temporary. Once they experience the speed-limiting
    nature of the trail many mountain bikers will likely choose to ride other trails that better
    appeal to their style of riding and the spike in this user group will ultimately flatten.

    Stats don't lie:
    A survey of reported incidents was conducted as part of the Statewide
    Program EIR for trail change-in-use projects and the number of agencies reporting incidents
    or injuries is extremely small. While many commenters have recounted anecdotes of
    incidents from mountain bikers at other parks, such incidents are very infrequent when
    compared to overall trail miles.
    Faster is not always better, but it's always more fun

  17. #17
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    Wat I enjoyed from the FEIR;
    §4360
     In summary: equestrian users are allowed on designated trails, non-motorized
    cyclists are allowed on all trails unless specifically prohibited, and hikers are
    allowed on all trails.

    2.16. Trail Safety and User Conflict/Rule Enforcement
    While public safety is of paramount concern for DPR, it should not be confused with conflict.
    Conflicts can be defined as a situation in which people perceive a threat (physical, emotional, power, status, etc.) to their well-being.
    Some conflicts may lead to safety issues and are appropriately addressed in Chapter 4.13.
    Preventing user conflicts, both with respect to safety and with user attitudes, is
    certainly a goal of the project.
    Conflicts related to user attitudes towards one another are considered to be social issues, which are not treated as significant effects on the environment under CEQA.

  18. #18
    Oaktown Honkey on Strava
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    Can we be careful using this trail?

    Please try to be polite to other (legal) users of this trail. I only go up it as the downhill would be lame anyway(but pretty for sure). Never on weekends for me. When seeing horse people, this is a trail I actually get off my bike for a sec. I really don't see many others out here, cool to keep it that way. Strava is not good on non bike trails. Thanks for all your work to those above. I gave up on advocacy in the early 90's. I just ride and pay tickets. Screw it.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by zorg View Post
    I'm glad to see Bill's trail having a shot at being opened, but clearly the antis are winning the battle by attrition. If State Parks have to spend $350K per trail plus the cost of the EIR for every trail they have to open to bikes, I doubt my kids will get to ride many of them by the time they're my age. Math does not work to our advantage. The enviro nuts know it and will use the threat of litigation at every turn to make it too costly. Of course, it's not smart because every dollar spent by state parks on inane projects like this are taken away from other important things. Okay, I'm done ranting.
    This is exactly why Parks has been developing a programmatic EIR for trail use changes - so that they don't have to go through this process every time they want to change who may use which trails. Bill's Trail has been a big lesson to Parks. I hear through the grapevine that a draft programmatic EIR is expected sometime this fall.
    Quote Originally Posted by jbt56
    Are you a whiny Marin liberal, or a hand-wringing Berkeley liberal?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Piranha426 View Post
    This is exactly why Parks has been developing a programmatic EIR for trail use changes - so that they don't have to go through this process every time they want to change who may use which trails. Bill's Trail has been a big lesson to Parks. I hear through the grapevine that a draft programmatic EIR is expected sometime this fall.
    Bill’s Trail has been closed for a couple years...where’s the progress???

  21. #21
    Oaktown Honkey on Strava
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    Bills Trail is a perfect gradient for singlespeeders climbing to Mt Barnaby. The last section on fireroad is a beast! I dont take my gear bike there. I think most people would find it a somewhat boring trail. Maybe beginners would enjoy the long slog, as its like a 1/4 mile between switchbacks. Its beutiful in there, and does stay a little green through the summer, near the bottom. It would be a moral victory to reclaim this trail for Mt Bikes, but we would be better off fighting for access on other "connector" trails around Marin, in my opinion. Re-read post 5. Trail was fine before any maintenance as far as I was concerned.

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