Laurel Mountain-A Rant.- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    Mmmm Rocks Good
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    Laurel Mountain-A Rant.

    I know this is old hash BUT I am going to rant a bit. To whowever is "fixing" trails up at Laurel Mtn, STOP! Repairing or maintaining trails is a beautiful thing. Sanitizing a trail to make it "rideable" by your standards is a horrible thing. The trails at Laurel Mtn used to be some of the most technical rocky trails we had in the area. Then the XC Ski club paved a lot of trails into something they could use when there was 4" of snow on the ground. That is old news and not meant to rile up the XC ski folks. That aspect of sanitizing has been addressed and a happy medium has been reached. The new sanitizing I'm talking about is the placing of rocks between rocks to make the trail more rideable for those who do not yet have the skills to ride the trails as was. Plus I am seeing shortcuts being made to avoid rocky areas. NOT COOL AT ALL. Add enough shortcuts and we'll get thrown out of all the trails. Instead of sanitizing trails, learn to ride them by practising over and over and over till you can clean a section. If you do not learn to ride the trails w/all the rocks in place, you never will. Please stop adding little rocks between the big ones to make the trails easier. Drives me nuts to roll up to a section I always struggle to clean, only to find a virtual highway through the rocks. End of rant. Thank you.

  2. #2
    Ride da mOOn Moderator
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    Good job! From our site...

    NEPMTBA-PARTS Trail Stewards would kindly ask for your assistance to please refrain from performing any "unapproved" modifications of the trails. One of the greatest thrills in mountain biking is the challenge the trails can provide and building your skills one ride at a time. There are some trails or sections of trails that are ridden cleanly every time we ride them and others that may force us to dab or walk a bit (there is no shame in that) and always be safe and ride within your means wearing the proper fitting safety gear. Always get off and walk(especially if it's the first time you have seen) a section that you feel is too difficult, survey it and check your line then proceed to attempt the challenge, and never ride blindly into a section without first checking it out by foot. That is all a part of the challenge/fun of riding unpaved trails. Riders come in all abilities from the first timers to the expert rider, so what is ridable for some is not by others. Changing the trail for your ability can spoil the trail for others. Such modifications such as log buildups, removal/addition of rock, and/or alternative lines can even ruin the relationship with the park staff resulting in trail closures and in some cases be illegal as non certified person could endanger other users. As your skills progress I promise you that you will be rewarded. In parks where multiple lines are allowed. We provide more or multiple lines in gradients of difficulty. This gives the trail user a chance to try different more difficult lines or just go back to the easier line. We have a photo file of all skill challenges in the parks we work in on file so we can refer to them for future use. Of course you are always invited to attend one of our scheduled trail workdays where you can have a hands on approach led by trail builders the proper way to construct and maintain trails. We will also offer skills clinics scheduled and announced on our website for those who would like to learn from pros "how to" Thanks for your understanding in this matter. Let's all work together to make our parks the best ones they can be - Remember you ride at your own risk so be prepared - "Safety first" leads to many miles of Fun!

    ...Since someone is taking the time to do "unwork" maybe, you could host a skills day or trailcare day and try to get everyone to come out and help them to learn new things. The reason they mod the trail is they can't and don't know how to ride it! Teaching them makes it better for everyone.

    Just my 2 cents!

  3. #3
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    First of all, I agree completely with the OP. Trails should never be sanitized. I too get frustrated when I come to an obstacle that I've been trying to clear for months, even years, and find it modified to be totally rideable. I like to think that MTB'ing is like golf - play it where it lies.

    That said, I'm not optimistic that this problem will ever go away. Everyone has a different idea of what's "rideable", or even what's "challenging". To some, the act of building a trail is a way to make an unrideable area more rideable. I've had some great bushwhacks where an actual trail would've ruined it (never in a place where this is discouraged).

    I don't modify trails and I don't condone it, although I encounter trail modifications all the time. Some I like and some I don't. I have no idea who makes them. It could be the approved trail building group.

    My local trails have some insane lines through house-sized boulders, that were made almost rideable by the addition of smaller boulders in between. I'll never be able to ride those lines, but some do. Was it wrong to place those rocks? Would it be wrong to add one more, or replace one that fell out of place?

    If a tree falls and blocks a trail, when is it appropriate to cut it out of the way? When is it appropriate to build a log ramp to make it rideable? I know some log piles that only the top 5% of riders can clear. Was it wrong for someone to build these? Perhaps the top 1%could have cleared the obstacle without the ramp.

    I'll never change a trail that someone else built. I just want to make the point that as long as different people have different skills and riding styles, you'll have people that want to change things to their liking, whether that be sanitizing or de-sanitizing. And you'll never find agreement on which way that should go.

  4. #4
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    DonO,
    Not all of us are big, strong, rock crushing, IPA drinking, big hit bike riders like you. Some of us ride carbon bikes, drink Miller lite, wear spandex, and prefer SMOOTH trails.
    My last trip to Laurel, I tore my spandex shorts, scratched my shiny carbon cranks and shook up the can of light beer I was carrying. All because of those [email protected]#$% rocks.
    John

  5. #5
    SP Singletrack rocks
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    Quote Originally Posted by drnich
    DonO,
    Not all of us are big, strong, rock crushing, IPA drinking, big hit bike riders like you. Some of us ride carbon bikes, drink Miller lite, wear spandex, and prefer SMOOTH trails.
    My last trip to Laurel, I tore my spandex shorts, scratched my shiny carbon cranks and shook up the can of light beer I was carrying. All because of those [email protected]#$% rocks.
    John

    LOL!!!

  6. #6
    Mmmm Rocks Good
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    Girly man beers will do that to a person!

    Quote Originally Posted by drnich
    DonO,
    Not all of us are big, strong, rock crushing, IPA drinking, big hit bike riders like you. Some of us ride carbon bikes, drink Miller lite, wear spandex, and prefer SMOOTH trails.
    My last trip to Laurel, I tore my spandex shorts, scratched my shiny carbon cranks and shook up the can of light beer I was carrying. All because of those [email protected]#$% rocks.
    John
    That light beer will do that to you! Make you into a girly man w/minimal skills!! Thanks for the giggle!

  7. #7
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaMtnBkr
    I know this is old hash BUT I am going to rant a bit. To whowever is "fixing" trails up at Laurel Mtn, STOP! Repairing or maintaining trails is a beautiful thing. Sanitizing a trail to make it "rideable" by your standards is a horrible thing. The trails at Laurel Mtn used to be some of the most technical rocky trails we had in the area. Then the XC Ski club paved a lot of trails into something they could use when there was 4" of snow on the ground. That is old news and not meant to rile up the XC ski folks. That aspect of sanitizing has been addressed and a happy medium has been reached. The new sanitizing I'm talking about is the placing of rocks between rocks to make the trail more rideable for those who do not yet have the skills to ride the trails as was. Plus I am seeing shortcuts being made to avoid rocky areas. NOT COOL AT ALL. Add enough shortcuts and we'll get thrown out of all the trails. Instead of sanitizing trails, learn to ride them by practising over and over and over till you can clean a section. If you do not learn to ride the trails w/all the rocks in place, you never will. Please stop adding little rocks between the big ones to make the trails easier. Drives me nuts to roll up to a section I always struggle to clean, only to find a virtual highway through the rocks. End of rant. Thank you.
    Agreed. But its been going on there for as long as I can remember. More recently, I've been noticing this sanitizing getting more aggressive elsewhere, and even there. I suspect it may have something to do with the higher profile of outdoor adventure sports in western PA as of the past several years. It draws more riders, who are often not skilled enough to ride a feature and feel that nobody can and think they are making a positive change.

    I'm not sure how to combat this problem...

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by dascro

    I'm not sure how to combat this problem...
    i can think of a few ideas,


    i think that the OP knows for a certainty that i'm with him on this subject. i see it a lot in rothrock where i'm about the only person out there initiating the level of challenge that i used to love visiting laurel mt for.

    on the plus side, perseverence has paid off for me recently. for 2 years i had this really nice log ride built and it would get torn down again and again. the last rebuild has stayed longer than any of the previous incarnations.

    it sucks, but i can only say that communication is the key. sadly, our beloved sport has been infiltrated by the believers in the "sissyfication of america" plan.

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