• 08-25-2008
    BikeMojo
    Big Bend NP Seeks input on Muti-Use MTB Trail
    Big Bend National Park News Release
    For Immediate Release: August 18, 2008
    Contact: David Elkowitz (432) 477-1107


    Big Bend National Park Seeks Comment, Sets Public Meetings on Proposal to Develop Multi-Use Mountain Biking Trail

    Big Bend National Park
    - The National Park Service (NPS) proposes to construct a new multi-use trail, to include mountain biking, in Big Bend backcountry. The public, organizations, and other agencies are invited to help the NPS identify issues, questions and concerns related to the proposal.

    The 30-day Public Comment period begins August 22. Public meetings will be held in Study Butte on September 10 and in Alpine on September 11. Comments will be considered in development of an Environmental Assessment (EA), a decision-making process that will analyze the proposal and alternatives to the proposal. The EA will be developed in the coming year.

    The proposed new trail would be located in currently undeveloped backcountry, northeast of Panther Junction. Nearly five miles of trail would be constructed for use by hikers, horseback riders, and bicyclists. The proposal includes creating a trailhead parking and picnic area near the Panther Junction Visitor Center, and a second trailhead along the Grapevine Hills road. The area is not within the Recommended Wilderness areas of Big Bend backcountry, which remain off-limits to mountain bikes.

    The purpose of the proposed project is to provide new recreational opportunities to park visitors, including an experience not currently available to bicyclists. The proposal results from a 2002 Memorandum of Agreement between the NPS and the International Mountain Biking Association, established for the purpose of identifying mountain biking opportunities in the national parks.
    Because federal regulations currently prohibit use of bicycles off of existing paved and unpaved roads in all units of the National Park system, formal federal rulemaking would be required to create an exception at Big Bend, including publication in the Federal Register and an associated public comment period.

    The 30-day public scoping / comment period begins August 22, 2008 and ends September 20, 2008. Public Meetings will be held September 10, 7 to 9 p.m. at the Brewster County Community Center in Study Butte, and September 11, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Sul Ross State University - Espino Conference Center. Meetings will follow an Open-House format, with a general presentation beginning at 7:30 in Study Butte and 7:00 in Alpine.

    To provide comments and identify issues for consideration, visit the National Park Service Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website at: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/bibe during the comment period. Written comments may be submitted on the PEPC website, at a public meeting, or may be sent to: Superintendent, P.O. Box 129, Big Bend National Park, Texas, 79834.

    The EA will be prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, the Council on Environmental Quality regulations (40 CFR 1500 et seq), and NPS Director's Order 12: Conservation Planning, Environmental Impact Analysis, and Decision-making.

    Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment - including your personal identifying information - may be made public at any time. While you can ask in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.
  • 08-26-2008
    yater
    It's not really worth messing with if it will be shared with equestrians. Big Bend MAY be an exception because of it's location...but generally, horses ass up the trail for everyone else.
  • 08-26-2008
    Blade-Runner
    Good old horses (equestrians)
  • 08-26-2008
    MikeyLikesIt
    "nearly five miles"...

    In a park the size of Big Bend I think they could have 200 miles of trail that no one would even know was there except those that use it. But hey!, it's a start, and I'm glad it's being considered.

    BTW, my bike has never eaten any plant nor has it pooped on a trail.

    Mikey
  • 08-30-2008
    BikeMojo
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by yater
    It's not really worth messing with if it will be shared with equestrians. Big Bend MAY be an exception because of it's location...but generally, horses ass up the trail for everyone else.

    Many, if not all the trails in the Lajitas/Terlingua are multi-use. And very few have been assed up. For the most part they only ride the trails near the Lajitas stables. These trails in the park would be almost an hour from the stables.
  • 08-30-2008
    BikeMojo
    I have been in communication with Jeff Renfrow of Big Bend Trails Alliance.

    He has been working with IMBA on talking points. If you should take the time to contact the park in support of cycling in the park, please consider these points.

    Big Bend Talking Points:

    * Mountain bikers are not seeking access to areas in Big Bend already managed as wilderness.
    * Mountain biking has been shown to be a low-impact activity that is compatible with traditional backcountry user groups.
    * Mountain bikers are legitimate backcountry users that have a strong resource protection ethic.
    * Seeking access to sustainable trails for the purpose of enjoying the backcountry.
    * Big Bend already has great riding on dirt roads, but the addition of shared-use trails would greatly enhance its appeal as a mountain biking destination.
    * Mountain bikers have an impressive history of volunteering to help build and maintain trails open to MTB access. If you would be willing to volunteer for trail building and maintenance of trails open to mountain biking, please say so.
    * If you live in Texas, please say so.
    * If you would consider planning a mountain biking trip to Big Bend, please say so.




    Take 5 minutes and fire off a comment to them...

    http://parkplanning.nps.gov/commentF...cumentId=24487
  • 09-03-2008
    marzjennings
    Just saw this post and even though I've not had the chance to visit Big Bend yet I am thinking of planning a trip this fall. While it's great that new trails are being constructed, I doubt I'll bother hitting a 5 mile loop after traveling down from Houston to be there.

    One question for any veterans of Big Bend; as I said I'm thinking of heading down soon, but it'll more than likely I'll be on my own. Is attempting to hit some of the longer loops in Big Bend on my own just not a good idea or really stupid idea.
  • 09-03-2008
    MikeyLikesIt
    marzjennings,
    I've seen a few lone MTBers on the backroads...be aware that there is little to no cell phone service in the park so if you get in trouble, your on your own. Currently, MTBing is allowed only on paved and unpaved roads...not on the hiking trails. If you are a strong rider with some common sense, ie. carry or cache enough water, spare tubes etc., then I'd say go for it. Even in winter, it can get very hot in the afternoon down by the river. You may want to leave an itenerary at the headquarters. Also, check the weather history before you plan your trip...their seasons differ slightly from ours, ie., May is the 'hottest' month IIRC.

    Big Bend Ranch State Park, from what I understand, is more MTBer friendly than the National Park. That is where I'll be heading this winter.

    If you like the dessert and solitude...you will love Big Bend...take time to listen to the silence.
    Mikey
  • 09-03-2008
    BikeMojo
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by marzjennings
    While it's great that new trails are being constructed, I doubt I'll bother hitting a 5 mile loop after traveling down from Houston to be there.

    It is a start.

    And as MikeyLikesIt mentions, currently in the National park, cycling is restricted to the paved and dirt roads.

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MikeyLikesIt
    Big Bend Ranch State Park, from what I understand, is more MTBer friendly than the National Park. That is where I'll be heading this winter.

    The same folks that worked hard to open up and develop the Contribando Trail in BBRSP are the ones working hard to open up the National Park.

    The Contrabando is a great ride, with many spectacular views. And keep in mind it is multi-use as well (read: open to horse traffic)


    some pix here
    and here




    So with the Lajitas Trail System, The Contrabando and trails in the National Park it makes for a perfect long weekend trifecta.
  • 09-03-2008
    Asbury
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MikeyLikesIt
    marzjennings,
    I've seen a few lone MTBers on the backroads...be aware that there is little to no cell phone service in the park so if you get in trouble, your on your own. Currently, MTBing is allowed only on paved and unpaved roads...not on the hiking trails. If you are a strong rider with some common sense, ie. carry or cache enough water, spare tubes etc., then I'd say go for it. Even in winter, it can get very hot in the afternoon down by the river. You may want to leave an itenerary at the headquarters. Also, check the weather history before you plan your trip...their seasons differ slightly from ours, ie., May is the 'hottest' month IIRC.

    Big Bend Ranch State Park, from what I understand, is more MTBer friendly than the National Park. That is where I'll be heading this winter.

    If you like the dessert and solitude...you will love Big Bend...take time to listen to the silence.
    Mikey

    Good advice. You are definitely on your own, cell phones are useless. Remote is an understatement, it's like riding on the moon.
  • 09-03-2008
    marzjennings
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Asbury
    Good advice. You are definitely on your own, cell phones are useless. Remote is an understatement, it's like riding on the moon.

    Sounds great. It'll be nice not to have to say 'rider up' every 30yards (MP and AHs)

    I've ridden some remote places and some expedition types rides, but usually in groups. I may have to get serious about planning this trip. Is there somewhere ok to stay or do most folks drive in and camp? Plus do I need a 4x4 to reach any of the trails head and is my small Mazda not man enough for the job?

    I've ridden some desert trails before and I've used filters and iodine to clean water from watering holes and refill my camelbak. Are there any springs or watering holes mapped or should I plan to start a ride with 8 litres of water on the bike (2 full camelbaks plus 2 bottles)?

    Cheers for all the info.
  • 09-03-2008
    MikeyLikesIt
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by marzjennings
    Sounds great. It'll be nice not to have to say 'rider up' every 30yards (MP and AHs)

    I've ridden some remote places and some expedition types rides, but usually in groups. I may have to get serious about planning this trip. Is there somewhere ok to stay or do most folks drive in and camp? Plus do I need a 4x4 to reach any of the trails head and is my small Mazda not man enough for the job?

    I've ridden some desert trails before and I've used filters and iodine to clean water from watering holes and refill my camelbak. Are there any springs or watering holes mapped or should I plan to start a ride with 8 litres of water on the bike (2 full camelbaks plus 2 bottles)?

    Cheers for all the info.

    Your Mazda can get you almost anywhere in the park, as long as you go slow. Stay off of the River Road if it is wet. Only one road, Black Gap Road, is 4wd only. You can log onto the 'Big Bend' website (sorry, I don't have a link) and download a map and get a lot of other info. There are tons of places to cache water so you won't have to haul it all with you. There are lots of back country campsites that your Mazda can take you to. Just don't expect much camp site selection during spring break...most other times you will have the park pretty much to yourself. There are some springs/wells but they are unreliable at best so I wouldn't count on them. Carry or cache your water. Carry your filter/iodine too just in case.

    The Park Rangers at Big Bend are some of the friendliest and most helpful I've ever seen. When you enter the park, you will have to check in at the headquarters. Tell them your intentions and they will help you plan your itenerary, pick a campsite, give you road conditions, water availability, etc. They will even give you locations to cache water, etc. No one knows the park like they do. They will also tell you some of the best places to visit...I can't stress too much how helpful these guys are. They are your friends. :thumbsup:

    There is a Lodge in the Basin with rooms but you will need reservations well in advance. Campsites are first come first served.

    If you go, you must, and I mean you MUST, find a spot somewhere in the back country to just sit and watch the sunset...and listen... You will hear no cars, no machines...nothing... just nature and your own breathing and heartbeat. It's amazing how much noise an insect crawling across the 'desert pavement' can make...and the birds...just go!

    And when you get back...tell us about it!
    Mikey
  • 09-04-2008
    BikeMojo
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MikeyLikesIt
    If you go, you must, and I mean you MUST, find a spot somewhere in the back country to just sit and watch the sunset...and listen... You will hear no cars, no machines...nothing... just nature and your own breathing and heartbeat. It's amazing how much noise an insect crawling across the 'desert pavement' can make...and the birds...just go!

    Sunset is awesome in the Big Bend area. Last time I was out, I was with the locals at Desert Sports, when everyone ran outside. I went out to catch an awesome sunset. The thing that got me though, was that even the locals run to catch it. It is so spectacular that it seems you never get used to it.

    Sunrise is no slouch either.

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MikeyLikesIt
    And when you get back...tell us about it!
    Mikey

    And photos... while it is hard to capture the vast 'nothingness' of all that is out there, photos would be appreciated also.
  • 09-04-2008
    Toff
    Also if the little waterfalls are flowing, i highly recommend climbing down in the little canyons they fall into as it goes from desert on top to a very small tropical jungle at the bottom.

    Very very neat.

    I've never brought my bike there but theres TONS of quality hiking.
  • 09-04-2008
    MikeyLikesIt
    Here's a shot...



    I've got tons of photos but this is the only one I have on Photobucket...and for some reason, I can't upload anymore. :madman:

    Mikey
  • 09-06-2008
    MikeyLikesIt
    E-mail sent.

    Thanks for the links and the headsup, BikeMojo.

    Mikey
  • 09-19-2008
    BikeMojo
    /bump

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