The decline of mountain biking…thanks to us- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    The decline of mountain biking…thanks to us

    Dagmar resort has the joined the list of privately run mountain biking resorts to have closed its doors for good. Earlier this year, Porcupine Ridge (part of Santa’s Village property) closed its doors to mountain biking as well.

    You know, I have to say, we are contributing to the beginning of a series of trail closures. We would rather ride on public land for free, instead of paying a small trail fee of $5.00 to $10.00 to ride on trails that are thoughtfully designed, cut, and maintained for our and only our exclusive usage.

    There is no guarantee that public land trails will be around in the future. Government land managers of these public lands have a love/hate relationship with mountain bikers, more leaning towards hate as other land users (such as hikers and equestrians ) compete to have us eliminated.

    Private resort owners believed that we would be more than willing to pay for trails that are geared to just mountain bikers, you know “exclusively for us”. And why not???? We pay thousands of dollars on bikes and gear. And many of us pay $50 a day to go skiing or snowboarding in the winter, on what would be considered the crappiest hills in Canada (but better than the prairies I guess).

    So keep it up…..if you are not willing to contribute for the use of trails….don’t be surprised if they are not there anymore. Mansfield Outdoor Center and Hardwood Hills may be next.

  2. #2
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    Q

    Quote Originally Posted by Ricksom
    Dagmar resort has the joined the list of privately run mountain biking resorts to have closed its doors for good. Earlier this year, Porcupine Ridge (part of Santa’s Village property) closed its doors to mountain biking as well.

    You know, I have to say, we are contributing to the beginning of a series of trail closures. We would rather ride on public land for free, instead of paying a small trail fee of $5.00 to $10.00 to ride on trails that are thoughtfully designed, cut, and maintained for our and only our exclusive usage.

    There is no guarantee that public land trails will be around in the future. Government land managers of these public lands have a love/hate relationship with mountain bikers, more leaning towards hate as other land users (such as hikers and equestrians ) compete to have us eliminated.

    Private resort owners believed that we would be more than willing to pay for trails that are geared to just mountain bikers, you know “exclusively for us”. And why not???? We pay thousands of dollars on bikes and gear. And many of us pay $50 a day to go skiing or snowboarding in the winter, on what would be considered the crappiest hills in Canada (but better than the prairies I guess).

    So keep it up…..if you are not willing to contribute for the use of trails….don’t be surprised if they are not there anymore. Mansfield Outdoor Center and Hardwood Hills may be next.
    What was the reasoning behind Dagmar closing? I've never been so I cant comment on the trails but was the reason lack of interest?
    I do agree that paying a small fee is acceptable for riding a purpose built park and it bothers me to read on here sometimes people by-passing the gates and entering parks 'free' -beating the system so to speak... i buy an annual pass from Halton Conservation ($90/year) which entitles my car and all its occupants admission to any of the Halton C.A's. I think some people dont understand that this money not only helps maintain the trails but enables tham to secure more land (agrrement forests etc.) and helps stop the ever growing concrete jungle. (Ok you Urban riders can stop drooling) but i love being able to head out to Hilton Falls ride for hours and not see anyone else except for that deer that just jumped across the trail (happened on Saturday!!)

    rant, rant,rant, blah blah blah

  3. #3
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    closures

    I have to admit that I'm new to mountain biking and not up on trail advocacy and all, but I have an opinion to share. First though I want to know what a "privately run mountain biking resort" is...would a place like Albion or Hilton Falls be included here, or because they're part of "parks" are they public land? I see the Bruce Trail as free, public land (that doesn't, for the most part, allow biking), but not Albion. So can you say there are 3 types of "places to ride"? I ask this because I've ridden at Albion all year and they are usually packed and riders pay there way and totally support the place. I don't see the situation at Albion being like the one you describe.

    I think the reasons why a trail closes are important though. If it's a privately owned business, where they pay a lease and have expenses such as insurance & general maintenance, why didn't they succeed? If their product, the trails, are poorly maintained and uninteresting, or too far to drive to for city dwellers, I won't pay to ride there if I can get a better product somewhere else. A bike resort is like a ski resort, it's a business and if they don't offer value to their customers, they will be out of business.

    So I don't know if it's that people are biking but doing it for free on public land, or if they are paying to go elsewhere, and Dagmar isn't competitive!?!

    I've never ridden on trails for free, maybe I don't know about them or they don't exist in my area, but I have no problem paying Albion $5 to use their trails. In fact, I would pay $10 if that was the price.

    Lastly, is Insurance possibly a problem here? I don't know what a private resort pays for insurance, but I've seen some crazy stunts result in injury before, and I have to think this could be an issue.

  4. #4
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    hmmm

    as much as I was saddened to hear that Dagmar closed, mainly for the reasons you point out ie another mtb facility gone, it IS a business after all.

    I've ridden there many times and always paid my way but they didn't offer the type of trail riding I was looking for. Their small 'stunts' area was cute but never expanded and that's the kind of riding I'm into.

    Porcupine Ridge was a change of land managers from what I've heard. I had spent quite a bit of time there in the past, in fact it was one of my favorite places to ride in the area, I also always dropped money in the box at the parking lot. Regardless of mountain bikers actions, if the new land owners don't want peple riding their bikes in there then that's it. I understand that Ecclestone (sp?) is trying to get access setup for next year but it's only rumours at this point.

    I've also tried out Mansfield, again nice place but not enough technical progression for me (read stunts 'n jumps), same with Hardwood Hills, the place that continually charges more money without offering much more year after year in their trail offerings. I think it's a great place for more purist xc types and family riding though.

    If these places want to charge money then they have to cater to the paying client, if they don't offer what clients are looking for then said clients will go elsewhere. I chose to ride at Blue Mountain this past summer, paid $225 for my pass, had a blast and got my money's worth. If Hardwood hills want to build a wicked stunt park, I'd certainly pay to ride there.

    If these facilities go under it will not be because of us, it's called bad business planning.


    Clem

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by HubbaMan
    If these facilities go under it will not be because of us, it's called bad business planning.
    Clem
    Totally agree,

    These places just have to realize that if we're to pay.. we'd at least good service.

    Example: In the vicinity of Dagmar, there is Ravenshoe, which is awesome, free, marked and fairly technical. So why would I even bother with Dagmar?

  6. #6
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    that sucks

    us too, as prolly many more out there, got suckered into going to Dagmar last year..
    I picked up one of thier flyers, advertising "NorthShore" type trails with a little map of the stunt area... what a freekin' joke there was nothing there worth even looking at we ended up hooking up with a group of xc'ers (who all thought we were on glue with out "big" bikes in there) and rode the trails with them.. got to admit, the place had some amazing singletrack... sad to see it close..
    I Ride, I Know

  7. #7
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    As far as dagmar closing, I'd believe that this years OCUP is what pushed the decision forward. At the beginning of the race the singletrack was nice, tight and mint. But as many of you may recall, the ground was saturated going into the race and it was pouring for the better part of the race. By the end of the 1st lap in sport category the single track was a meter wider and your tire would sink a good 2 inches anywhere on the c ourse. On one of the winding hair pin descents it looked as if a landslide had occurred. mud spewed every where, huge gouged out rifts in the track and tons of bulldozed brush. Not a pretty site, I cant speak for santa's village, but i'd say that was a huge contributing factor.


    I'd say the next place we should watch out for is Kelso. The place is already run by very picky people who close the park at even the remotest hint of rain. And considering they got rid of snakes and ladders for a tube run says that MTB'ers arent priority.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by trekracer8000
    As far as dagmar closing, I'd believe that this years OCUP is what pushed the decision forward. At the beginning of the race the singletrack was nice, tight and mint. But as many of you may recall, the ground was saturated going into the race and it was pouring for the better part of the race. By the end of the 1st lap in sport category the single track was a meter wider and your tire would sink a good 2 inches anywhere on the c ourse. On one of the winding hair pin descents it looked as if a landslide had occurred. mud spewed every where, huge gouged out rifts in the track and tons of bulldozed brush. Not a pretty site, I cant speak for santa's village, but i'd say that was a huge contributing factor.
    Oh ya, I remember Dagmar....



    and, I agree. That race certainly did not help matters at Dagmar. Tough call though...I wouldn't want to have been Chico that day.

    Up here in Ottawa, we've got it pretty good. We've got Camp Fortune, just outside Ottawa. Over the years, they've invested a lot of time and resources into rehabilitating the infamous course. It's now a fraction of it's former self, but is it ever a blast to ride! We run our local bi-Wednesday night races up at Fortune. A small fee is added to the race fee, or you can buy a season's trail pass for $40....not bad.

    Fortune has also invested a lot of energy on the DH-side. Again, a lift-pass is forsale.

    Unfortunately, the much of the remainder of the Gatineau Park is closed to bikes. There are some bike trails, but these are groomed, high-speed, gravel paths. Good cardio work, but nothing in the way of technical.

    We've also got Kanata Lakes in the westside of Ottawa, which is just north of the Corel Centre. There used to be a local bi-Wednesday night race series held just down the road from the main city center. Turn-out was excellent, course was demanding and very challenging, etc. Unfortunately, the land is no longer available for the race series, but much of it is still accessible to riding.

    Over the years, Kanata Lakes has morphed into an incredible network of trails. Many of which, are only a year or two old. Some are still unknown to most...these are the trails I thrive on. Very reminiscent of riding closed Gatineau Park trails, i.e., very technical, rocky and rooty, with plenty of tight switch-back corners, drops, ledges, etc....kinda like some of the fun sections on the Bruce. It not only tests you physically and mentally, but also tests your components and bike.

    I'll often ride right from my door-step to a series of intermediate connector trails that interweave through Bell's Corners and then into Kanata Lakes. My loop is about ~75km and I never double-back on myself, so it makes for a great endurance ride. Fortunately, it's all free!
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  9. #9
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    I stand corrected, sort of

    Well, I didn’t realize Dagmar would not be missed. I found it to be one of the most challenging technical XC trails next to Hardwood and Mansfield. However, if people are not much into XC riding anymore these days, then I stand to be corrected. I guess I am the old fart these days reminiscing of days gone by.

    Stunt freeriding, as exciting as it may be to most of you, will always be a hair’s edge away from being eliminated. Private resort owners will sooner or later get that painful lawsuit, making their insurance company very unhappy. Public land owners, like Ravenshoe and Kelso, have always had a wary eye on stunt building, and have occasionally done a mass removal of them. Durham Forest (Glenn Major to be exact) once had a beautiful stunt filled trail called Snakes and Ladders, which was completely removed after a year in existence.

    All I ask is just be careful who you support, for the land owner may not be sharing your same enthusiasm into the future. If you are not happy with the offerings of private resort owners, then by all means speak up and talk to them. Many times they are hungry for feedback and opinions to make their stuff better. Silence is NOT GOLDEN for them!

  10. #10
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    I don't think you are completely wrong...

    I'm not in Ontario but I've heard this comment about paying sites several times in the mountain biking community. It seems like some people would want everything for free.

    As far as I'm concerned I would be very happy if all the sites (government or private) would be maintained and not free. This does not mean charging $40-50 a day like ski resorts but a fair price for the terrain and facility they have. This would insure that we have continuous and various facilities to mountain bike. If trails are well maintained, horror stories like the Dagmar mud fest would not occur because they would have built small wood bridges in sensible spots and better drainage in others.

    As far as insurance is concerned, if there is an employee at the entrance to collect the fee, they just need to have you sign a discharge document. I know of a few spots in Vermont that do that. This way they don't have to jack up prices like the ski industry just to pay for rising insurance costs. It's up to us bikers to make sure we are covered by our own insurance if we want to mountain bike.

    Anyway, that's just my 2 cents! I'm extremely sad when I see another bike spot closing, even if it was not the best place we are constantly loosing variety and our sport declines.

    Cheers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ricksom
    Well, I didn�t realize Dagmar would not be missed. I found it to be one of the most challenging technical XC trails next to Hardwood and Mansfield. However, if people are not much into XC riding anymore these days, then I stand to be corrected. I guess I am the old fart these days reminiscing of days gone by.

    Stunt freeriding, as exciting as it may be to most of you, will always be a hair�s edge away from being eliminated. Private resort owners will sooner or later get that painful lawsuit, making their insurance company very unhappy. Public land owners, like Ravenshoe and Kelso, have always had a wary eye on stunt building, and have occasionally done a mass removal of them. Durham Forest (Glenn Major to be exact) once had a beautiful stunt filled trail called Snakes and Ladders, which was completely removed after a year in existence.

    All I ask is just be careful who you support, for the land owner may not be sharing your same enthusiasm into the future. If you are not happy with the offerings of private resort owners, then by all means speak up and talk to them. Many times they are hungry for feedback and opinions to make their stuff better. Silence is NOT GOLDEN for them!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ricksom
    Well, I didn’t realize Dagmar would not be missed. I found it to be one of the most challenging technical XC trails next to Hardwood and Mansfield. However, if people are not much into XC riding anymore these days, then I stand to be corrected. I guess I am the old fart these days reminiscing of days gone by.
    People are still interested in XC riding it's just called trail riding now and they use trail bikes but don't tell the marketing people or the customers that. Nobody wants to be a XC wieny or is it weeny.
    Where are the technical areas in Mansfield? It's a good ride but it is not technical at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ricksom
    Stunt freeriding, as exciting as it may be to most of you, will always be a hair’s edge away from being eliminated. Private resort owners will sooner or later get that painful lawsuit, making their insurance company very unhappy. Public land owners, like Ravenshoe and Kelso, have always had a wary eye on stunt building, and have occasionally done a mass removal of them. Durham Forest (Glenn Major to be exact) once had a beautiful stunt filled trail called Snakes and Ladders, which was completely removed after a year in existence.
    Stunt building without permission is stupid, stupid, stupid and I'm pretty sure everybody on this board will agree with that. Riding off trail is also stupid, stupid, stupid but these discussions have happened many times in many places. I'm assuming that if a Public land owner is removing stunts than permission was not given to build.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ricksom
    All I ask is just be careful who you support, for the land owner may not be sharing your same enthusiasm into the future. If you are not happy with the offerings of private resort owners, then by all means speak up and talk to them. Many times they are hungry for feedback and opinions to make their stuff better. Silence is NOT GOLDEN for them!
    I was going to respond to this but then I realized I just came up with a good case study that a trail owner should do and I'm not giving that info out for free. If they can't think of it themselves than they need to hire somebody who can.
    Last edited by Braids; 10-26-2004 at 10:45 AM. Reason: fixed an open quote

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ricksom

    So keep it up…..if you are not willing to contribute for the use of trails….don’t be surprised if they are not there anymore. Mansfield Outdoor Center and Hardwood Hills may be next.

    It's not my fault I swear! If i lived closer, I would ride these places tons!
    When under pressure, your level of performance will sink to your level of preparation.

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