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  1. #1
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    Consequences of unsanctioned trail building

    A recent USFS project that proposed several significant new trails also includes a travel restriction limiting bicycles to system routes. That might sound reasonable: hard to argue with staying on the trail. But the area has many uninventoried routes that are decades old, and have been ridden for as long. They’re now off-limits for mountain bikes, and the wildlife/hunting groups are talking about putting up game cameras. The reason for the travel restriction is the concern that if new trails give mountain bikers access to new landscapes, pirate trails will proliferate. It’s a BS argument, but the USFS accepted it.

    Consequences of unsanctioned trail building-tsh_drod_p17cap.jpg

    This isn’t theoretical hand wringing. The perception that mountain bikers build unauthorized trails has cost us trail access. I write “perception” because there is very little rogue construction here. The few examples I'm aware of were quickly closed with the help of the MTB community. Most user-created routes here are made by adjacent landowners, because everyone wants their own trailhead. But the perception that mountain bikers build their own downhill trails is deeply ingrained in the conservation community.

    The project I’m referencing is the Tenmile – South Helena project in the Helena – Lewis & Clark National Forest. They haven’t pushed the final ROD yet, but the response to objections went out a few weeks ago. The DROD is here.

    It seems like I’ve seen more acceptance of unsanctioned trailbuilding on MTBR recently. For a high-profile MTB forum, that should be unacceptable. I know a lot of riders disagree with this. There are still a lot of people who insist that “build it and they’ll adopt it” is a viable strategy for public lands. I know it's worked in the past in a number of places, but as we mature as stakeholders, it's costing us. It makes it hard to argue that we deserve our seat at the planning table. I’m not saying advocates should accept responsibility for our entire user group any more than a hiking club would take responsibility for hikers who cut switchbacks. But I’ll say this: MTB culture of celebrating rogue trail building is past its shelf life.

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    Quote Originally Posted by evasive View Post
    ...It seems like I’ve seen more acceptance of unsanctioned trailbuilding on MTBR recently. For a high-profile MTB forum, that should be unacceptable. I know a lot of riders disagree with this. There are still a lot of people who insist that “build it and they’ll adopt it” is a viable strategy for public lands. I know it's worked in the past in a number of places, but as we mature as stakeholders, it's costing us. It makes it hard to argue that we deserve our seat at the planning table. I’m not saying advocates should accept responsibility for our entire user group any more than a hiking club would take responsibility for hikers who cut switchbacks. But I’ll say this: MTB culture of celebrating rogue trail building is past its shelf life.
    Couldn't agree more, and thanks for posting this.

    I could go on at length, but I'll leave it at that.
    "The only way we can truly control the outcome of a ride is not going on it, which is a choice I'm unwilling to make." -K.B.

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    Nice post evasive. Around here the going penalty with the USFS has been a $500-$1000 fine and banishment from the national forest for 6 months to a year. Plus, the black eye it gives the mtb community. At least that was what happened in the Red Rock District of the Coconino National Forest. In our district (same nat. forest) there is an ongoing investigation and the same LEO is in charge but it's hard to get any info out of the rec staff. I do know there are game cameras on several trails.

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    I forgot to mention it in my OP, but this is very relevant when the STC is advocating for access to Wilderness areas. Anyone who supports that had better be clear in their opposition to unsanctioned building.

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    Some good points made. New England rider here. So much easier to go through proper channels to get good trails done. For all concerned. And better in the long run.

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    Agree. I'm grateful for the people that blazed unsanctioned trails in the beginning, for without them, I'd still be riding gravelled double-track hiking paths and logging roads and thinking that's all mountain biking has to offer.

    But as these paths are adopted and approved by landowners, we need to put aside that practice and take our seat at the planning table.

    One of the arguments advocacy groups make to public landowners for opening up trail access, is if we give people an official place to ride and build, they will stop building rogue trails. When people keep doing that -- especially on public land where there are already approved trails and especially in an unsustainable way -- it shoots holes in that argument and makes us look selfish.

    If sanctioned trails are not giving the rogue trail builders the experience they want, then they need to get involved with the advocacy groups. If they aren't at the table when trails are planned, or at the trail side with shovel in hand when work is being done, then their voice won't be heard. It's entirely possible to build challenging, scary, difficult trails, that are sustainably built and landowner approved. For proof of that, one need look no further than the North Shore Mountain Bike Association.

    Closer to home, a little over a decade ago, we had one official place to ride -- Gatineau Park -- which mostly consisted of wide gravelled hiking paths. Through the efforts of the Ottawa Mountain Bike Association, other advocacy groups, and individuals, we now have several approved trail networks, including two downhill mtb trail networks, five fatbike singletrack trail networks, and a bike skills park on the way. We have very little of what would be described as "flow trail" green circle dirt sidewalks. Many of our trails are narrow, rocky, rugged, technically difficult, and even downright scary at times. Take a look at the pictures & videos I have posted in the past if you need proof.
    Last edited by ray.vermette; 01-09-2018 at 11:45 AM. Reason: rewording
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ray.vermette View Post
    ...If sanctioned trails are not giving the rogue trail builders the experience they want, then they need to get involved with the advocacy groups. If they aren't at the table when trails are planned, or at the trail side with shovel in hand when work is being done, then their voice won't be heard. It's entirely possible to build challenging, scary, double-black diamond trails, that are sustainably built and landowner approved. For proof of that, one need look no further than the North Shore Mountain Bike Association.
    This isn't a great example. As far as I'm aware all the double black trails on the North Shore were unsanctioned builds, and many are still unsanctioned.

    Most (all?) public places in B.C. follow the Whistler Trail Standards, which place a moratorium on new double black trail construction.

    To be honest I'm not aware of anywhere worldwide that allows double black construction (as defined by those standards) outside of a lift-access bike park.

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    Quote Originally Posted by evasive View Post
    A recent USFS project that proposed several significant new trails also includes a travel restriction limiting bicycles to system routes.
    IME, that's a policy adopted by the USFS everywhere and all other land managers. No one allows bike traffic on any non-system trails, they can't. Non system trails generally have two origins, historic trails the LM either wants to go away, or non longer wants to maintain and rogue trails built by individuals outside of the proper channels.

    Regardless of the value of any of those trails, the only way they become legit, or legit again is when a new master plan process is undertaken, all the trails in the area are surveyed and evaluated and during the public process you can press to include the ones that make the most sense. Until that happens, which is usually only every decade or two, they'll remain non system. And really, the most effective way to push for new trails, or the return of old ones is from within an organization with an exisiting relationship with the LM. Building a half assed rake and ride illegally won't accomplish much outside of annoying them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cerebroside View Post
    This isn't a great example. As far as I'm aware all the double black trails on the North Shore were unsanctioned builds, and many are still unsanctioned.

    Most (all?) public places in B.C. follow the Whistler Trail Standards, which place a moratorium on new double black trail construction.
    AFAIK, many were unsanctioned builds, but are now authorized and maintained by NSMBA under various landowner agreements.

    Here is a list of trails authorized by just the recent CMHC agreement alone:

    •Severed
    •New Severed Entrance
    •*****foot
    •Penny Lane
    •Good Sir Martin
    •Deer John
    •John Deer
    •Bridle Path (sections)
    •Sticks and Stones
    •Sticks and Stones Access
    •Cardiac Bypass
    •Academy Climb
    •Salamander
    •R&R
    •Applicator
    •Rapid Transit
    •Rapid Transit Connector (RTC)
    •Baden Powell – included subject to interest from BCMC or other hiking based group
    •Boogie Man (sections)
    •Boogie Nights (sections)
    •Pangor (sections)
    •Blair Range Trails (including Blair Range Trail, Blair Range Descent, Thornbrush)
    •Gnomer Climb
    •Forever After (sections)
    •Upper Dales (sections)
    •Dales (sections)
    •Dales Connector
    •Incline (sections)
    •Corkscrew (sections)
    •New Corkscrew Powerline Exit (sections)
    •Water Tower Access
    •Hill Drive Access

    There are black diamond and double black diamond trails in that list.

    Can you provide a reference to the section of the Whistler Trail Standards which prohibits black diamond trail construction? Thanks.
    Mountain bikers are generally a rational bunch...until someone moves a rock on our favorite trail and we lose our minds - LMN

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harryman View Post
    IME, that's a policy adopted by the USFS everywhere and all other land managers. No one allows bike traffic on any non-system trails, they can't. Non system trails generally have two origins, historic trails the LM either wants to go away, or non longer wants to maintain and rogue trails built by individuals outside of the proper channels.

    Regardless of the value of any of those trails, the only way they become legit, or legit again is when a new master plan process is undertaken, all the trails in the area are surveyed and evaluated and during the public process you can press to include the ones that make the most sense. Until that happens, which is usually only every decade or two, they'll remain non system. And really, the most effective way to push for new trails, or the return of old ones is from within an organization with an exisiting relationship with the LM. Building a half assed rake and ride illegally won't accomplish much outside of annoying them.
    It's not universal to NFS lands. The OHV rule specifically addresses this (response to comments p.21), declared that nationwide prohibition on cross-country bicycle use was unwarranted, and reserved the authority to local USFS officers. Previous to this, there was no restriction on cross-country travel by bicycles in this forest. Legally you could ride anywhere, just as you could walk anywhere. I think (but am not 100% certain) that this is the first such restriction in Montana. Hikers/hunters/equestrians can continue to use those routes because they aren't subject to restrictions on cross-country travel. They just can't maintain them. But... I'm left wondering just how much to throw people under the bus. Take a look at this page, for example. None of these trails are system routes, but they're advertised as numerous and well-marked.

    We argued that we don't have any issue with staying on system trails, provided the forest did a comprehensive inventory of existing routes and use. That didn't go anywhere. Pushing for travel planning is the next step, but the forest is currently working on a forest plan update, so there isn't any interest in opening a travel plan process until the new forest plan is in place. The draft plan includes a recommendation for a special recreation area that would include the closure area. That would allow the USFS to give recreation equal weight as wildlife, fire, hydrology, etc. in their planning. Obviously we support that.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ray.vermette View Post
    AFAIK, many were unsanctioned builds, but are now authorized and maintained by NSMBA under various landowner agreements.

    Here is a list of trails authorized by just the recent CMHC agreement alone:
    ...
    There are black diamond and double black diamond trails in that list.

    Can you provide a reference to the section of the Whistler Trail Standards which prohibits black diamond trail construction? Thanks.
    They have definitely taken ownership of double black trails, but my point is that they don't permit new double black trail construction. All the CMHC stuff was built unsanctioned and authorized well after the fact, which is kind of the point of the thread.

    References:

    "Follow the IMBA Guidelines and the Whistler Trail Standards when planning, constructing, rehabilitating and maintaining trails. Note: consistent with Whistler Trail Standards, Expert Unlimited trails will not be authorized, however there may be some of these elements on a trail based on conditions specified by the Ministry"
    - Authorizing Recreational Mountain Bike Trails on Provincial Crown Land: Operational Policy, Rec Sites and Trails BC.

    "The RMOW recognizes Expert Unlimited as a difficulty level but due to the small size of the user group, the RMOW will not pursue ownership of these trails, however there may be some of these elements on a trail provided there is a clearly defined alternate route around."
    - Whistler Trail Standards, RMOW.

    Various regions are going to have their own interpretation, but AFAIK all double black stuff is or was rogue.

  12. #12
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    Great thread. Subscribed!

    I'm trying to wrap my relatively nOObie advocacy head around all angles of this situation as we see it happening on a pretty grand scale right here in my neck of CA. I'm part of the local advocacy group here and over many, many years, we've developed phenomenal relationships with the LM's from State Parks and the City where the majority of our trails exist but it seems the USFS aspect is a whole different animal. I believe we have some solid contacts within but there are so many changes on the inside as well as the FS just having a hugely different policy/perception of mtb's on trail.

    We've just recently decided to take an initial step to get our feet wet on a pretty simple maintenance project involving an existing, non-OHV designated trail that's been getting poached and damaged by OHV's. Even though it's a legal and recognized trail in the Nat'l Forest, we are being forced to go through the NEPA process and spend thousands just to get approval to go in and simply fix the damaged areas. No reroutes, no new trail, just fixing what is already there. We're starting there with the thought of future work on an a heavily poached/unsanctioned network of trails right here on our NF lands that border the city where there are only 2 recognized trails. The unsanctioned builds are being done by a small group of regulars. They are unattached to our org. Their building has been prolific as of late. Some of it done wisely but mostly not to any current sustainable standards if they were going through the process legitimately. It continues to happen unchecked and I'm just venturing a guess, because the USFS just doesn't seem to have the ability or manpower to stop it with current staffing.

    I'm concerned as well as very curious what will come of this when we reach the point that USFS does decide to have a say in the matter. What's that going to do for future legitimate trail plans? I'll be watching this thread closely for ideas and experience.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cerebroside View Post
    They have definitely taken ownership of double black trails, but my point is that they don't permit new double black trail construction. All the CMHC stuff was built unsanctioned and authorized well after the fact, which is kind of the point of the thread.
    Fair enough. I have removed "double black" from my post, because there has been at least one new advanced trail approved and constructed after landowner agreements have been put in place.

    My point was it doesn't have to be all machine built beginner flow trail. It's possible to build more challenging stuff.
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    Quote Originally Posted by evasive View Post
    MTB culture of celebrating rogue trail building is past its shelf life.
    Nah, there are plenty of rogue builders out enjoying what they've done for decades. Many of them want what you may not. Boys will be boys and all that.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by ray.vermette View Post
    Fair enough. I have removed "double black" from my post, because there has been at least one new advanced trail approved and constructed after landowner agreements have been put in place.

    My point was it doesn't have to be all machine built beginner flow trail. It's possible to build more challenging stuff.
    Oh no doubt. Sanctioned builds aren't going to challenge everybody though, at least so far. Will be interesting to see if that changes when the people building double black stuff aren't able to build rogue anymore.

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    Following for the future train wreck.

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    I think it's going to be hard to shake this perception in certain areas given mountain biking's roots are closely tied to unsanctioned trail building. Even if that's not how a vast majority of builders roll today. It might take decades to overcome and continuing the rogue building mindset further delays that. Having to work through so much bureaucracy to get new trails built can't help the situation either.

    Quote Originally Posted by evasive View Post
    MTB culture of celebrating rogue trail building is past its shelf life.
    Agreed. It was probably more necessary to get things started, but now that we have a seat at the table it can only hurt future outcomes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aero901 View Post
    I think it's going to be hard to shake this perception in certain areas given mountain biking's roots are closely tied to unsanctioned trail building. Even if that's not how a vast majority of builders roll today. It might take decades to overcome and continuing the rogue building mindset further delays that. Having to work through so much bureaucracy to get new trails built can't help the situation either.
    Yes.

    Agreed. It was probably more necessary to get things started, but now that we have a seat at the table it can only hurt future outcomes.
    The sport, at least where I grew up was born on rogue building. A seat at the table, hmmmm. Speaking for myself, what drew me into woods riding early on was getting away from it all. No trail heads, no maps, no trail signs or trail names, no trail markers. No marketing, no packaging, no selling, no scene. Just going out in the woods for a rip on trails that we created. Scratched in low impact, no digging. No noise. It's how I prefer to and still ride today mostly. Creating trail, for some of us, is as rewarding or more so than riding itself. And some of us have a hard time fathoming just riding and not putting in the hard work, rogue or otherwise.

    It is what it is and will never go away. I highly doubt we'll see an increase in rogue building tho.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aero901 View Post
    I think it's going to be hard to shake this perception in certain areas given mountain biking's roots are closely tied to unsanctioned trail building. Even if that's not how a vast majority of builders roll today. It might take decades to overcome and continuing the rogue building mindset further delays that. Having to work through so much bureaucracy to get new trails built can't help the situation either.
    No, it can't. Moab Trail Mix seems to have done a good job of getting approval for an ambitious regional system, which makes more sense from a 'spirit of the law' view of NEPA. I'll be curious to see if the Recreation Not Red Tape Act goes anywhere, but it addresses special use permits, not trail building. However it does propose that BLM and USFS managers be evaluated on the achievement of recreational goals.

    Quote Originally Posted by HacksawReynolds View Post
    Yes.



    The sport, at least where I grew up was born on rogue building. A seat at the table, hmmmm. Speaking for myself, what drew me into woods riding early on was getting away from it all. No trail heads, no maps, no trail signs or trail names, no trail markers. No marketing, no packaging, no selling, no scene. Just going out in the woods for a rip on trails that we created. Scratched in low impact, no digging. No noise. It's how I prefer to and still ride today mostly. Creating trail, for some of us, is as rewarding or more so than riding itself. And some of us have a hard time fathoming just riding and not putting in the hard work, rogue or otherwise.

    It is what it is and will never go away. I highly doubt we'll see an increase in rogue building tho.
    Totally valid and there's a place for that. A lot of trail builders don't have any interest in the advocacy work, and that's fine. But when one undermines the other, we're collectively shooting ourselves in the foot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by evasive View Post
    A lot of trail builders don't have any interest in the advocacy work, and that's fine.
    Like me. I'm not a board member. I don't attend meetings. I just do trail work. I leave the advocacy work to people who like doing that. The work they do allows me to do what I do.
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    Quote Originally Posted by evasive View Post
    Totally valid and there's a place for that. A lot of trail builders don't have any interest in the advocacy work, and that's fine. But when one undermines the other, we're collectively shooting ourselves in the foot.
    Yep I hear ya. Never easy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ray.vermette View Post
    Agree. I'm grateful for the people that blazed unsanctioned trails in the beginning, for without them, I'd still be riding gravelled double-track hiking paths and logging roads and thinking that's all mountain biking has to offer.

    But as these paths are adopted and approved by landowners, we need to put aside that practice and take our seat at the planning table.

    One of the arguments advocacy groups make to public landowners for opening up trail access, is if we give people an official place to ride and build, they will stop building rogue trails. When people keep doing that -- especially on public land where there are already approved trails and especially in an unsustainable way -- it shoots holes in that argument and makes us look selfish.

    If sanctioned trails are not giving the rogue trail builders the experience they want, then they need to get involved with the advocacy groups. If they aren't at the table when trails are planned, or at the trail side with shovel in hand when work is being done, then their voice won't be heard. It's entirely possible to build challenging, scary, difficult trails, that are sustainably built and landowner approved. For proof of that, one need look no further than the North Shore Mountain Bike Association.

    Closer to home, a little over a decade ago, we had one official place to ride -- Gatineau Park -- which mostly consisted of wide gravelled hiking paths. Through the efforts of the Ottawa Mountain Bike Association, other advocacy groups, and individuals, we now have several approved trail networks, including two downhill mtb trail networks, five fatbike singletrack trail networks, and a bike skills park on the way. We have very little of what would be described as "flow trail" green circle dirt sidewalks. Many of our trails are narrow, rocky, rugged, technically difficult, and even downright scary at times. Take a look at the pictures & videos I have posted in the past if you need proof.

    Hey Ray,

    Total derail, but I took a look at some of those trail and they are looking great. I'm about 80 min south of Ottawa and though not a city person myself I dig Ottawa, and my wife and daughter love it.

    As an alternate riding destination I'm thinking about coming up you way this Spring. The MSM trails look good. I'm looking for technical, challenging riding. Is there a few hours worth of riding in that system? What other areas might you suggest?

    You can PM to keep it off this thread.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HacksawReynolds View Post
    The sport, at least where I grew up was born on rogue building. A seat at the table, hmmmm. Speaking for myself, what drew me into woods riding early on was getting away from it all. No trail heads, no maps, no trail signs or trail names, no trail markers. No marketing, no packaging, no selling, no scene. Just going out in the woods for a rip on trails that we created. Scratched in low impact, no digging. No noise. It's how I prefer to and still ride today mostly. Creating trail, for some of us, is as rewarding or more so than riding itself. And some of us have a hard time fathoming just riding and not putting in the hard work, rogue or otherwise.
    I think that's true for a lot of us. But, there is no escaping that fact that if you're building unsanctioned trails on public land, you are doing so illegally, period. And doing so undermines the hard work (both advocacy and physical trail building) of others who are trying to obey the law, and not piss off land managers who may be tempted to clamp down on us as user group entirely.

    I live in an area that used to see a lot of illegal trail building, and no doubt there were two sides to that argument. It was hard to get anywhere with local land managers at the time, and people got frustrated and took things into their own hands (which still doesn't make it right). And then, the FS ended up adopting a lot of those unsanctioned trails, which unfortunately sent an unintentional message that this was an ok thing to keep doing, and it will eventually get adopted - this was leading to a situation that wasn't sustainable, and could have ended badly for the future of mtn biking in our area. Luckily, with the advent of more organized trail advocacy/trail building groups, this illegal building was brought under control with the recognition that both sides were willing to come to the table and work together more through sanctioned partnerships. Very little of illegal building happens these days, and it's frowned upon by a lot of us, because we know it's endangering our continued, legal access.

    We are now being seen as a responsible user group by the local FS - a reasonable voice, willing to work with other interests, and a group that is willing to put the sweat equity into building and maintaining these trails (which the FS loves, since they don't have the resources). This is a vastly better approach than continued antagonism between the FS and 'rogue' trail builders.

    We also need to recognize that while the approval process with land managers can be frustratingly slow and bureaucratic, some of this is due to bigger-picture management concerns that we may not even be aware of, or at least concerned about, given our own myopia. If we want our sport to be sustainable, we need to acknowledge that we aren't the only important user out there, and be willing to be patient, compromise, etc. Easier said than done, I know - but it serves us well in the end.
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    The sport, at least where I grew up was born on rogue building. A seat at the table, hmmmm. Speaking for myself, what drew me into woods riding early on was getting away from it all. No trail heads, no maps, no trail signs or trail names, no trail markers. No marketing, no packaging, no selling, no scene. Just going out in the woods for a rip on trails that we created. Scratched in low impact, no digging. No noise. It's how I prefer to and still ride today mostly. Creating trail, for some of us, is as rewarding or more so than riding itself. And some of us have a hard time fathoming just riding and not putting in the hard work, rogue or otherwise.

    It is what it is and will never go away. I highly doubt we'll see an increase in rogue building tho.

    Took the words out of my mouth.


    Its comical how little impact a scratched in, natural featured trail creates, and then how someone can make such a big deal over it. Where I live, a year of no maintenance and you can barely tell the trail is there. Compared to one pass of a logging skidder and scratched in trail is a non-issue in terms of environmental impact.

    Maybe outside of metro areas where traffic is heavy its different. Also, "over done" or trails "over worked" full of man-made features that stick out of the forest like a sore thumb should be curtailed. But, in the grand scheme of things, the handiwork done by a few rogue trail builders is so inconsequential that to make issue of it is ridiculous. Abiding to ridiculous laws, well....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J View Post

    Its comical how little impact a scratched in, natural featured trail creates, and then how someone can make such a big deal over it.....Compared to one pass of a logging skidder and scratched in trail is a non-issue in terms of environmental impact.
    I don't think anyone is necessarily arguing what you are saying. But it's kinda missing the point the OP is making.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smithhammer View Post
    I don't think anyone is necessarily arguing what you are saying. But it's kinda missing the point the OP is making.
    You are right. I just sort of spouted off.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J View Post


    Took the words out of my mouth.


    Its comical how little impact a scratched in, natural featured trail creates, and then how someone can make such a big deal over it. Where I live, a year of no maintenance and you can barely tell the trail is there. Compared to one pass of a logging skidder and scratched in trail is a non-issue in terms of environmental impact.

    Maybe outside of metro areas where traffic is heavy its different. Also, "over done" or trails "over worked" full of man-made features that stick out of the forest like a sore thumb should be curtailed. But, in the grand scheme of things, the handiwork done by a few rogue trail builders is so inconsequential that to make issue of it is ridiculous. Abiding to ridiculous laws, well....
    Yep. I was on the board of an advocacy trail building org for years many years ago then helped out building sanctioned trail on and off in multiple states until a few years back when a new "heavy machinery approach" to trail building became the norm. It just doesn't sit well with me. Take all that material away that should (IMO) stay put. And then every fall, leaf blow all that organic material off of the trails? Yup just keep taking and taking. So unnecessary. And then you factor in the money that now goes into building "sustainable" trails. Crazy. Sorry I just can't like it.
    Last edited by HacksawReynolds; 01-10-2018 at 05:11 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J View Post
    ...But, in the grand scheme of things, the handiwork done by a few rogue trail builders is so inconsequential that to make issue of it is ridiculous...
    ...until a rogue trail builder builds in National Forest, or on land owned by The Nature Conservancy, or State Park land, etc. Then it's up to those of us who do advocacy work (not because we like it, because someone has to do it) to run damage control and try to repair relationships that have been years and even decades in the making. It pisses me off in a big way to have to grovel due to someone else's stupidity.

    For too many years we sneaked around because we were afraid to ask. In reality, doing your homework and putting a solid proposal on the table often gets approval and gains us credibility.

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    Quote Originally Posted by radair View Post
    ...until a rogue trail builder builds in National Forest, or on land owned by The Nature Conservancy, or State Park land, etc.
    Yeah that's not good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cerebroside View Post
    This isn't a great example. As far as I'm aware all the double black trails on the North Shore were unsanctioned builds, and many are still unsanctioned.

    Most (all?) public places in B.C. follow the Whistler Trail Standards, which place a moratorium on new double black trail construction.

    To be honest I'm not aware of anywhere worldwide that allows double black construction (as defined by those standards) outside of a lift-access bike park.
    https://www.evergreenmtb.org/trails/tiger-mtn

    https://www.evergreenmtb.org/trails/duthie-hill

    https://www.evergreenmtb.org/trails/summit-ridge

    https://www.evergreenmtb.org/trails/galbraith
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    Quote Originally Posted by cerebroside View Post
    To be honest I'm not aware of anywhere worldwide that allows double black construction (as defined by those standards) outside of a lift-access bike park.
    I haven't read the Whistler trail standards, but Blackrock Freeride area in Oregon also has some non-lift access free-ride trails that qualify as double black if not Red/Pro Line.

    Blackrock Mountain Bike Association | Blackrock Trails and BRMBA Crew

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    https://www.trailforks.com/trails/brake-check/

    When BRMBA originally rated their trails they only used green, blue, and black designation, so they didn't use any designations higher than single black diamond. BRMBA is in the process of installing new signage and several of the trails currently signed as single black diamond are being upped to Double Black.

    As a frame of reference, I've ridden all the features on Fade to Black and Dirt Merchant at Whistler Bike Park (both rated double black) without issue, and I've ridden nearly every double black tech trail in the park (haven't gotten to Lower Joyride and Clown Shoes yet), but there are numerous features at Blackrock that I have not, and may never hit.


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    Unsanctioned trail building in my town led to the IMBA chapter folding about 8 years ago and nearly killed mountain biking altogether in city parks. It fragmented our community and lines that were drawn back then are still in effect today, with deep suspicion between parks friends groups, mountain bikers and other trail user groups. A lot of damage has been undone, but creating a unified voice for advocacy has pretty much been impossible. To top it off, the squad that nearly got the kibosh put on mtbs, are still building their poorly constructed and unsustainable fall line trails in the park, putting legitimate trail building by builders from the MTB community in constant jeopardy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gigantic View Post
    Unsanctioned trail building in my town led to the IMBA chapter folding about 8 years ago and nearly killed mountain biking altogether in city parks. It fragmented our community and lines that were drawn back then are still in effect today, with deep suspicion between parks friends groups, mountain bikers and other trail user groups. A lot of damage has been undone, but creating a unified voice for advocacy has pretty much been impossible. To top it off, the squad that nearly got the kibosh put on mtbs, are still building their poorly constructed and unsustainable fall line trails in the park, putting legitimate trail building by builders from the MTB community in constant jeopardy.
    So was unsanctioned trail building ever an issue in the parks before the IMBA chapter was formed in your town?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Curveball View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by twd953 View Post
    I haven't read the Whistler trail standards, but Blackrock Freeride area in Oregon also has some non-lift access free-ride trails that qualify as double black if not Red/Pro Line.
    ...
    Nice! Not familiar with the history of those trails, but if those are sanctioned builds on public trail systems then it's great that that people are pushing the envelope.

    The Whistler guidelines are actually pretty restrictive. You can google for the PDF, but the main things that end up making stuff a double black by their definition would be mandatory gap jumps, mandatory drops over 1 m (3.3 ft), mandatory bridges over 3 m (10 ft) high with no fall protection, mandatory grades over 120%.

    Edit: Whistler bike park is private and uses different guidelines; Whistler Trail Standards are for the valley trails on public land managed by RMOW (Resort Municipality of Whistler).

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    Quote Originally Posted by cerebroside View Post
    Nice! Not familiar with the history of those trails, but if those are sanctioned builds on public trail systems then it's great that that people are pushing the envelope.
    Indeed, those are sanctioned trails and that's not a complete list for Washington by any means. I left off quite a few.
    Riding Washington State singletrack since 1986

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    Quote Originally Posted by Curveball View Post
    Indeed, those are sanctioned trails and that's not a complete list for Washington by any means. I left off quite a few.
    Good to hear, hopefully they manage to permeate north of the border a bit.

    I've always been interested in riding Washington, but the cool stuff I see down there tends to be unsanctioned (Xanadu, Surf'n'Turf, etc).

  37. #37
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    Reason vs Rules...

    Quote Originally Posted by radair View Post
    ...until a rogue trail builder builds in National Forest, or on land owned by The Nature Conservancy, or State Park land, etc. Then it's up to those of us who do advocacy work (not because we like it, because someone has to do it) to run damage control and try to repair relationships that have been years and even decades in the making. It pisses me off in a big way to have to grovel due to someone else's stupidity.

    For too many years we sneaked around because we were afraid to ask. In reality, doing your homework and putting a solid proposal on the table often gets approval and gains us credibility.


    Agree. Over the top, rogue trail building, in truly sensitive areas, that significantly endangers productive, established relationships with land managers must absolutely be avoided.

    One can argue that situation is representative of an extreme form of the situation.



    On the other end, some areas exist where user pressure is low and open land is abundant, and land managers are very lenient with trail building. In those situations you may have a few individuals building very low impact, visually appealing, natural featured trails, that blend with the forest. Many of our local trails fit this. They are rather old, school, techy, and aside from their twisting nature resemble narrow hiking paths and game trails rather than dirt sidewalks. One Fall’s worth of leaves left to lie and you would not even know those trails are there. Most trails are “scratched” in and evolve over years with small changes and routine maintenance. Not to sound too corny, those trails are very “organic”.

    Unfortunately, I’ve seen where you will have a “club” get involved, led by a few who may have read something like the “Biker’s Guide to Trail Building”. They eagerly engage the land managers and embark on large scale operations. Workers are recruited and miles of wide, high impact, visually disruptive, dirt sidewalk are then carved into the forest. Wooden ramps, nails, and chicken wire coated planks pepper the scene. Signage hanging off trees around every other corner.…

    …The land managers see the impact; the Club feels empowered - Now, all of a sudden you have “rules” made by those groups.

    These rules and thinking ignore the miles of pre-existing, natural featured, organic trails, that have existed for years, and have rightly flown under the radar, or the land manager had no issue with such low impact operations. What becomes of the builder who’ve followed that approach, and who still wishes to? They become criminalized.

    Now, instead of “scratching” in and maintaining low impact, natural trails, they are forced to fill out forms and sit in meetings. They trade in a strong back and callouses for politicking. They are reduced to pleading their case so that maybe someone will “allow” them to rake in a 6” wide path on public ground their taxes pay for.


    It is sad when you see rules trumping reason.


    If you need rules because a particular area has a high population of too many unreasonable people, those rules become necessary evils at best. But rules when rules are not needed... poison.
    Last edited by Miker J; 01-13-2018 at 03:53 PM.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J View Post
    Agree. Over the top, rogue trail building, in truly sensitive areas, that significantly endangers productive, established relationships with land managers must absolutely be avoided.

    One can argue that situation is representative of an extreme form of the situation.



    On the other end, some areas exist where user pressure is low and open land is abundant, and land managers are very lenient with trail building. In those situations you may have a few individuals building very low impact, visually appealing, natural featured trails, that blend with the forest. Many of our local trails fit this. They are rather old, school, techy, and aside from their twisting nature resemble narrow hiking paths and game trails rather than dirt sidewalks. One Fall’s worth of leaves left to lie and you would not even know those trails are there. Most trails are “scratched” in and evolve over years with small changes and routine maintenance. Not to sound too corny, those trails are very “organic”.

    Unfortunately, I’ve seen where you will have a “club” get involved, led by a few who may have read something like the “Biker’s Guide to Trail Building”. They eagerly engage the land managers and embark on large scale operations. Workers are recruited and miles of wide, high impact, visually disruptive, dirt sidewalk are then carved into the forest. Wooden ramps, nails, and chicken wire coated planks pepper the scene. Signage hanging off trees around every other corner.…

    …The land managers see the impact; the Club feels empowered - Now, all of a sudden you have “rules” made by those groups.

    These rules and thinking ignore the miles of pre-existing, natural featured, organic trails, that have existed for years, and have rightly flown under the radar, or the land manager had no issue with such low impact operations. What becomes of the builder who’ve followed that approach, and who still wishes to? They become criminalized.

    Now, instead of “scratching” in and maintaining low impact, natural trails, they are forced to fill out forms and sit in meetings. They trade in a strong back and callouses for politicking. They are reduced to pleading their case so that maybe someone will “allow” them to rake in a 6” wide path on public ground their taxes pay for.


    It is sad when you see rules trumping reason.


    If you need rules because a particular area has a high population of too many unreasonable people, those rules become necessary evils at best. But rules when rules are not needed... poison.
    That's a long diatribe of justification.

    In the past, and our sometimes unfortunate present, people have illegally built trails on public lands or land that doesn't belong to them. They've ostracized the mtbr's in their area in the minds of all other user groups. This creates an uphill battle of legitimacy. In many places, clubs and groups have formed in response to being told no over and over. They've had to start from a hole. Digging themselves out of it. Sometimes they've been able to go back and get illegal trails sanctioned and recognized. Now they maintain them and work through proper channels to get new trails built. Hopefully trails that are sustainable. Almost my entire riding area is based on what were once illegal trails. We are very fortunate that our regional BLM office has recognized our local chapter as a force for good in the area. All of our new trails are sanctioned, signed and maintained. They are also extremely popular. Continuing to advocate for illegal trail building or even justifying it just sets everyone back when we meet with land managers. We are often our own worst enemies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J View Post
    Agree. Over the top, rogue trail building, in truly sensitive areas, that significantly endangers productive, established relationships with land managers must absolutely be avoided.

    One can argue that situation is representative of an extreme form of the situation.



    On the other end, some areas exist where user pressure is low and open land is abundant, and land managers are very lenient with trail building. In those situations you may have a few individuals building very low impact, visually appealing, natural featured trails, that blend with the forest. Many of our local trails fit this. They are rather old, school, techy, and aside from their twisting nature resemble narrow hiking paths and game trails rather than dirt sidewalks. One Fall’s worth of leaves left to lie and you would not even know those trails are there. Most trails are “scratched” in and evolve over years with small changes and routine maintenance. Not to sound too corny, those trails are very “organic”.

    Unfortunately, I’ve seen where you will have a “club” get involved, led by a few who may have read something like the “Biker’s Guide to Trail Building”. They eagerly engage the land managers and embark on large scale operations. Workers are recruited and miles of wide, high impact, visually disruptive, dirt sidewalk are then carved into the forest. Wooden ramps, nails, and chicken wire coated planks pepper the scene. Signage hanging off trees around every other corner.…

    …The land managers see the impact; the Club feels empowered - Now, all of a sudden you have “rules” made by those groups.

    These rules and thinking ignore the miles of pre-existing, natural featured, organic trails, that have existed for years, and have rightly flown under the radar, or the land manager had no issue with such low impact operations. What becomes of the builder who’ve followed that approach, and who still wishes to? They become criminalized.

    Now, instead of “scratching” in and maintaining low impact, natural trails, they are forced to fill out forms and sit in meetings. They trade in a strong back and callouses for politicking. They are reduced to pleading their case so that maybe someone will “allow” them to rake in a 6” wide path on public ground their taxes pay for.


    It is sad when you see rules trumping reason.


    If you need rules because a particular area has a high population of too many unreasonable people, those rules become necessary evils at best. But rules when rules are not needed... poison.
    Yup.

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    In my area all single track is illegal and was an unsanctioned build. Land managers have no intresses in bikes and active shut down established trails. It's become a game of whack a mole.
    Not how I want to it to be or how it should be. Everytime there is a meeting mountain bikers outnumber all other users combined. Hopefully the tide will turn by the time my kids are able to ride in the hills around my house.
    Making shit harder than it needs to be isn't awesome, it's just...harder.

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    Quote Originally Posted by alexbn921 View Post
    In my area all single track is illegal and was an unsanctioned build. Land managers have no intresses in bikes and active shut down established trails. It's become a game of whack a mole.
    Not how I want to it to be or how it should be. Everytime there is a meeting mountain bikers outnumber all other users combined. Hopefully the tide will turn by the time my kids are able to ride in the hills around my house.
    That's really unfortunate.

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    I think this is a good example of a poorly made rogue trail. Not only was it not authorized by authorities. but the builders did not follow proper sustainability guidelines, with fall line sections. I hope to close this thing down before it jeopardizes the construction of our new paved flow trail.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVwMCAIZdWo

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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    That's a long diatribe of justification...

    ...Continuing to advocate for illegal trail building or even justifying it just sets everyone back when we meet with land managers. We are often our own worst enemies.

    Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk

    Like I opened with...

    "Over the top, rogue trail building, in truly sensitive areas, that significantly endangers productive, established relationships with land managers must absolutely be avoided."


    This is not a black and white issue. Its not about the righteous following God given commandments vs the savage, evil, rogue builder.

    There are places where the environment and evolution has resulted in a clear cut need for regs and they are reasonable and productive. If that is your case, excellent and thanks for you work. Personally, I would not, nor would I advocate, rogue building there.

    Other places are not all like that. It is evolving and grey and some regs may not be reasonable nor productive.

    Diatribe - hmmmm. I'm going to have to think about that.

    You are making a stretch by suggesting I am advocating or justifying illegal trail building. (Personally, I do work with the local land manager and all is good.) But, if a rule is BS and counterproductive a builder should find a way around that - ideally by formal chanels.


    What my post was getting at was we need to take a look at what we are calling "illegal" and why, and how these rules are being made and by who.


    Question everything.

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    If yer gonna create rogue, pick your areas wisely, be wicked discrete, and keep it primitive. No digging, no flagging, no raking leaves in the fall. Ride them in. LOW impact.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bpressnall View Post
    I think this is a good example of a poorly made rogue trail. Not only was it not authorized by authorities. but the builders did not follow proper sustainability guidelines, with fall line sections. I hope to close this thing down before it jeopardizes the construction of our new paved flow trail.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVwMCAIZdWo

    Not everyone is blessed with your amazing terrain bryan

    The problem is when 9 million people live within a relatively short drive, and those scratched in trails become 10-15' wide scars.

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    Hi Drew! I always get busted posting on these forums by people that know me, and then I feel embarrassed! You talking about UCSC? Don't worry, pretty soon all the trails will merge together and there will only be one trail. We are lucky here, as we don't have a free for all building scene. Having people that don't want to do trail work can be a blessing! I wanted to ask you how is that project you were working on coming along? Did you find a suitable route? Also, there is a new trail near your Mother in law's house- not a Demo Flow, but pretty flowy compared to that video.

  47. #47
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    Rake-and-ride "scratched in" trails can survive the test of time. Even ones that are poorly situated on flat terrain or straight down the fall line of a hill. So long as they are kept a secret.

    But mountain bikers have never been good at keeping secrets.
    Mountain bikers are generally a rational bunch...until someone moves a rock on our favorite trail and we lose our minds - LMN

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    Can we dispel with the myth that the only type of trail that can be built with IMBA guidelines is a machine-built flow trail and dirt sidewalks?

    It's possible to build challenging trail following these guidelines.

    Don't like IMBA? That's ok. Follow some other organization's trail manual if you prefer. They all pretty much espouse the same principles of sustainable design.

    Sustainable design does not equal boring trails.
    Sustainable design does not equal machine built trails.
    Sustainable design does not equal high-impact building.
    Mountain bikers are generally a rational bunch...until someone moves a rock on our favorite trail and we lose our minds - LMN

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    Quote Originally Posted by ray.vermette View Post
    Can we dispel with the myth that the only type of trail that can be built with IMBA guidelines is a machine-built flow trail and dirt sidewalks?

    It's possible to build challenging trail following these guidelines.

    Don't like IMBA? That's ok. Follow some other organization's trail manual if you prefer. They all pretty much espouse the same principles of sustainable design.

    Sustainable design does not equal boring trails.
    Sustainable design does not equal machine built trails.
    Sustainable design does not equal high-impact building.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ray.vermette View Post
    Rake-and-ride "scratched in" trails can survive the test of time. Even ones that are poorly situated on flat terrain or straight down the fall line of a hill. So long as they are kept a secret.

    But mountain bikers have never been good at keeping secrets.
    Ya well the beauty of scratched in trails is that even if found, ridden hard and degraded over time, the initial investment of time, energy, and impact that went into them was so minimal that it's nothing to completely bury old degraded ones and create a new route in their place. Minimal work and yer keeping that singletrack single.

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    That is baloney. The problem with scratched in trails is that they do poorly over time. They become conduits for erosion. And hence the reason that newer trails are being built which are engineered for much better sustainability.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HacksawReynolds View Post
    ...completely bury old degraded ones and create a new route in their place. Minimal work and yer keeping that singletrack single.
    If only all rogue builders were as environmentally conscious as you.

    Many don't bother fixing their mistakes, or learning from them. They just go on to build more rogue trail, making the same mistakes, and blaming other rider's behavior, or Strava for their trails' demise, rather than asking themselves what they did wrong.

    Whatever happened to doing something right the first time?
    Last edited by ray.vermette; 01-19-2018 at 08:51 AM.
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    I think all trails should be built with the idea that it will eventually get heavier use and that you shouldn't plan on rerouting it once it becomes eroded. Do it right the first time. And yes, sustainable, "IMBA type" trails can be knarly and minimalist- take Blackjack at Buffalo Creek, CO as an example. It just seems that most committee made trails tend to be on the mellow side and the trails IMBA showcases in their newsletters usualy tend to be wide, obtrusive, machine built types trails. I personally like trails that are a little more like the trails shown in the photos above. How could anyone get upset if they found a nice trail like that to hike on?

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by bpressnall View Post
    I personally like trails that are a little more like the trails shown in the photos above. How could anyone get upset if they found a nice trail like that to hike on?

    If the rigid rule followers/makers at your local club felt it broke their rules you'd see plenty upset.


    Now, before anyone attacks me and suggests I'm advocating illegal building, that is not what I'm doing. Just trying to point out there are many who feel rules that prohibit such benign building -- in areas that can sustain such ventures -- should be questioned.


    You know, the more I think about it, I'm likely just coming from a very different environment that most others on this board. I've been lucky enough to live in areas where I did not have to contend with many others in the woods when it came to trail building. Its been great to just get out and build and ride without dealing with a bunch of rules and regs, signs and threats, conflicts and meetings, etc. Sort of the reason most of us got into mountain biking 20 plus years ago.

    Builders who have to contend with those nasty issues are forced to navigate the BS just so they can volunteer and scratch in the dirt. Thanks for your work and expertise in being able to still get trails built. I'm not that savvy politically so I'm going to try to stick to building in less populated, less sensitive areas.

    Its clear there are areas that need rules, regs, and red tape to keep building under control. Other areas, not so much control is needed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by endo_alley View Post
    That is baloney. The problem with scratched in trails is that they do poorly over time. They become conduits for erosion. And hence the reason that newer trails are being built which are engineered for much better sustainability.
    Nah not in my 30 years experience. Which includes areas that see up to hundreds of riders per week since the early 90's. It's all about proper routing of the trail given the lay of the land that yer working with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bpressnall View Post
    I think all trails should be built with the idea that it will eventually get heavier use and that you shouldn't plan on rerouting it once it becomes eroded. Do it right the first time. And yes, sustainable, "IMBA type" trails can be knarly and minimalist- take Blackjack at Buffalo Creek, CO as an example. It just seems that most committee made trails tend to be on the mellow side and the trails IMBA showcases in their newsletters usualy tend to be wide, obtrusive, machine built types trails. I personally like trails that are a little more like the trails shown in the photos above. How could anyone get upset if they found a nice trail like that to hike on?
    Exactly. Those rake n rides that I created and posted pics of are so low impact that they are barely visible, ride awesome and incorporate many fun rock features thruout the entire loop. Have another 300 acre parcel that abuts that^^^^^^600 acres that is ready to be walked and scouted for another 6 or so miles of tight natty rake n ride that should begin to take shape this spring. Actually my trails aren't even rake n ride. They are literally clip/clear and ride. Let the tires do the work.👍

  57. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Switchblade2 View Post
    I just got finished reading all the posts and I have to agree with Hacksaw, a properly routed trail with minimal build can be as sustainable as any club built landmanager approved trail.
    What’s the relevance to the topic at hand?

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    2 bench cuts in 30 years, one was on the Cape almost 20 years ago in a very steep kettle hole where I thought it would be fun to route the trail and one was this early winter using just a rake and some large stone found in the woods nearby. Normally I keep ALL of my trails away from any wet or low areas which is why I typically only build during the wettest times of year so I can clearly see where the trouble areas might be. ZERO of my trails have ever needed drainage or water bars of any sort. Will post pics of both bench cuts in a bit.

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    Have only used a shovel once and that was on the Cape bench cut in the late 90's.

    Here's that cape bench cut almost 20 years later pic taken last year. Still nice and tight. True singletrack. This is just a short portion of the bench. Hillside is MUCH steeper than it looks.
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    And here's the short bench I raked in recently using a very conveniently felled tree to rake the dirt from the hillside against and along. There was NO other option but to bench this spot as the trail skirts a gnarly wetland on one side and impossibly steep hill on the other and someone's back yard just beyond that lol 
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    And with snow while slowshoe grooming
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    Quote Originally Posted by evasive View Post
    A recent USFS project that proposed several significant new trails also includes a travel restriction limiting bicycles to system routes. That might sound reasonable: hard to argue with staying on the trail. But the area has many uninventoried routes that are decades old, and have been ridden for as long. They’re now off-limits for mountain bikes, and the wildlife/hunting groups are talking about putting up game cameras. The reason for the travel restriction is the concern that if new trails give mountain bikers access to new landscapes, pirate trails will proliferate. It’s a BS argument, but the USFS accepted it.

    It's a reason, not the reason. They are responding to concerns regarding the effect bicycle traffic may have on big game species. That was the first reason given. The FS stated they are proposing several significant new trails. You will now have new trails and they want to close some old user built trails and state there is a concern about big game species. The FS has a history of using owls or game migration routes to stop trails from being built or to force reroutes. Not much you can do about that. It hardly seems like an example of you losing access because of unauthorized trail building. You are actually gaining access to "significant" new trails.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    It seems like I’ve seen more acceptance of unsanctioned trailbuilding on MTBR recently. For a high-profile MTB forum, that should be unacceptable.

    Says you. There are a lot of variables. Some are mentioned by posts in this thread. You don't know enough about each particular trail to know if the work is acceptable or beneficial. It's just your opinion.

    I know a lot of riders disagree with this. There are still a lot of people who insist that “build it and they’ll adopt it” is a viable strategy for public lands. I know it's worked in the past in a number of places, but as we mature as stakeholders, it's costing us. It makes it hard to argue that we deserve our seat at the planning table.

    It almost never does what you say it does. It doesn't always mean the user built trails will be adopted either. But most are. The FS and other land managers are complete dopes. When they see well built trails that make sense and connect users to other well built trails, they quickly realize they just found a way to bypass NEPA. They can adopt the trail and sort of take credit for it. Most users don't even know the origin of that trail.

    I’m not saying advocates should accept responsibility for our entire user group any more than a hiking club would take responsibility for hikers who cut switchbacks. But I’ll say this: MTB culture of celebrating rogue trail building is past its shelf life.

    Not even close to past it's shelf life. It's what got us to this point and it will continue to help solve problems local groups are incapable of solving.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harryman View Post
    IME, that's a policy adopted by the USFS everywhere and all other land managers. No one allows bike traffic on any non-system trails, they can't. Non system trails generally have two origins, historic trails the LM either wants to go away, or non longer wants to maintain and rogue trails built by individuals outside of the proper channels.

    I do not trust your experience. You are using language like "no one allows bike traffic on any non-system trails". That is not true. They do allow bike traffic on non-system trails. I see it every week in several different locations. So when someone starts typing and using your words, I know they are uninformed and trying to mislead people.

    Even you thoughts on the origins of non-system trails is lacking. Define historic trail. What does that even mean? A lot of trails were cut in by Moto users and then ridden in further by mountain bikes. There are also game trails all over the mountains that mountain bikers have adopted. There are old sheep-herding trails that were converted to mountain biking trails. There are also trails created by hotshots crews that were fighting fires years ago. Those trails also became popular with bikers and were modified over the years. Equestrians occasionally bushwhack through the forest, creating a trail that can be explored and possible improved for bike use. Social trails are hardly rogue trails. They are a result of people hiking from one location to another, where there is no existing trail. Bikers explore those and use the ones that make sense and give them a good riding experience.


    Regardless of the value of any of those trails, the only way they become legit, or legit again is when a new master plan process is undertaken, all the trails in the area are surveyed and evaluated and during the public process you can press to include the ones that make the most sense. Until that happens, which is usually only every decade or two, they'll remain non system.

    Are you making all this up? Now you are saying "the only way" non-system trails become legit is when a master plan is undertaken. You seem to be a lover of government rules and regulations and accept it as gospel. Well, it's not the only way. The FS often incorporates user built trails with no fanfare at all and no new master plans. So it is not the only way. I've watched the Fs go out and survey a newly built trail, then hire a conservation corps crew to cover it up. Then the trail got uncovered and ridden in again. Then the FS simply gave up and called that trail a system trail that they had built as part of a long-term trail plan. Very pragmatic of them, I must say. And it makes what you are claiming, totally false.

    And really, the most effective way to push for new trails, or the return of old ones is from within an organization with an exisiting relationship with the LM. Building a half assed rake and ride illegally won't accomplish much outside of annoying them.

    You are not the person who can say what is the most effective way to get new trails. Your opinion is suspect to me because of how dogmatic you are.

    There are always going to be problems that will not get solved by well intentioned people holding meetings. Especially when those people are government employees. I do volunteer trail maintenance weekly. Sanctioned even. I took a simple approach to making a 60 foot wide wash more friendly to bikes. It had maybe 16" of dry sand in it that forced riders to dismount and walk through it. It annoyed most of them. The solution was simple. Buy a transfer shovel and get to work. Move the sand until you get down to mineral soil and create a 36" wide path for bikes to pass through. If it rains hard, some of that sand might be redistributed back across the new route. OK, so go back once or twice a year and clear it off. Dozens of riders have expressed gratitude for making their experience more enjoyable. But what about the land manager? They said to cease and desist. Do not move any more sand, even just a couple feet to create a corridor. Why is that, you ask? Because some lonely compliance person sitting behind a desk downtown heard about sand being moved in a wash on government land and discovered a federal law prohibiting the rerouting of any water source. Sort of like when the Hatfields stole water from the McCoys by naming up the stream and rerouting it. Seriously, this is what some city employee came up with.

    So I pointed out something. I said that before I moved the sand 18" from center line to the left and to the right, trail users had been coming through the wash on foot, on bikes, and on horse. Each time they did, they moved the sand slightly to one side or the other, creating a low spot. Then, on occasion, the city park rangers would drive a John Deer Gator down the trail and drive through the wash, also moving the sane several inches from where it's tires pushed down on it. So my question to the compliance person was; how many inches can the sand in that wash be moved before it violates the federal law against rerouting a moving source of water (the wash has water in it maybe 2-3 days out of the year, on average). They are not entirely sure what the law allows and so for now, they just want to play it safe and stop all moving of sand, even if it is just 18".

    That is the quintessential example of why the MTB community needs fixers. They need a person or persons who solve problems discreetly. The land manager may notice and may never notice. And they probably just don't care. They often tell me that. They say they don't care what we do, but they cannot authorize certain trail improvements. Then they wink twice, letting me know that if certain improvements happen, there is no likelihood the people doing it will get in any trouble.

    So you go on lecturing everyone on what is right and what is wrong and why people who solve problems outside of the rules are a threat, and those of us that are fixers will keep doing what we do, often with the unofficial blessing of land managers, and with great praise from trail users. We do not need your approval. I suppose we would prefer you quit spreading false information on this site, though. You might encourage riders into thinking it serves the greater good to rat out trail fixers and problem solvers so they don't jeopardize your ten years of meetings with land managers.

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    Did you consider that the reason you have that degree of oversight is because of the history of illegal trail building? I can think of a number of districts, in different forests and regions, where the rec trails coordinator has told groups they had a free hand to do what they want within the general trail corridor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boris Badenov View Post

    The solution was simple. Buy a transfer shovel and get to work. Move the sand until you get down to mineral soil and create a 36" wide path for bikes to pass through. If it rains hard, some of that sand might be redistributed back across the new route. OK, so go back once or twice a year and clear it off.
    I wonder if building a proper turnpike is not the most logical solution to fixing this wash problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Switchblade2 View Post
    I just got finished reading all the posts and I have to agree with Hacksaw, a properly routed trail with minimal build can be as sustainable as any club built landmanager approved trail. For some reason it seems like many club built land manager sanctioned trails need full wide bench cuts to bring them to a system status.

    I doubt Hacksaw’s trails have much bench cutting. He probably does a good job scouting out the terrain and routes his masterpieces where very little if any dirt work is required to make the route fun to ride.

    Why clubs land managers like to spend tons of time and money on constructing trails needs some discussion.
    I like rake and ride trails as much as the next guy, they're a ton of fun to ride and a heck of a lot easier to build. There's a larger reason that you guys are overlooking about why wider, machine-cut benches are required by land managers, for sustainable incorporation into the trail system: in most public parks in my city, the official system of trails are by default, Multi-User Trails. This means that the trails have to be safe, durable and sustainable with heavy traffic by not only bikes, but hikers and equestrians as well. Unfortunately, this means cutting 3' wide benches on sideslopes with an SK or a Mini-Ex, multiple grade reversals, climbing turns instead of switchbacks and closing fall line trails that may be super fun to ride, but are susceptible to erosion and a potential to harm the watershed.

    There are 1.1 million annual visitors to one of the city parks I build in, with over 50 miles of trails, about 25 miles of which are open to mountain bikes, (of which maybe 2,000 are mountain bikers and a couple dozen people on horses). in this park, rake and ride trails simply don't work as multi user trails: they would degrade quickly under traffic, with poor sight lines & unsustainable climbs. User conflict would be off the charts, with limited opportunities for passing resulting in close calls between hikers, horses and bikes. In other parks where I volunteer, rake and ride trails are possible, simply because of fewer numbers of park users.

    However, having a growing group that is relatively affluent, mostly male and white, using urban park facilities and spending hundreds, if not thousands of hours building and maintaining trails in the park has had unintended consequences. 15 years ago, this particular park had 8-10 miles of primitive and technical trails and was also home to tent camps of homeless people, packs of wild dogs and was a haven for illicit drug use, prostitution and vandalism. the trails were mostly user built on an ad hoc basis. About 10 years ago, the parks and rec department took notice and reached out to the people responsible for building and maintaining a bulk of the trails. A friends group was established and a plan was laid to maintain the trails on an official basis. Some of the trails had poor drainage or were prone to erosion, and were rerouted, using the rake and ride method as before, to maintain the character of the original trails. there were a few complaints about the trails being dumbed down, as a couple of challenging, but erosion-prone sections were rerouted, but for the most part, hardly anyone noticed.

    in the past 4 years, mountain biking in my city has exploded, with the numbers of riders growing exponentially. Along with the increase of riders in the park, came a marked decrease in vandalism, illegal drug use, homeless inhabitation and other illicit shenanigans in the park. This was not unnoticed by the city, and the rightfully sought to capitalize on the gentrification of this 150 year-old, urban park that is almost entirely surrounded by underprivileged neighborhoods. Building on the volunteer work, the city sought to invest in the park to make it more accessible to the immediate neighborhood surrounding the park, as well as the city at large. Part of that, included building a multi-user, equestrian and hiker accessible trail that followed an abandoned trolley line that ran trough the park from the 1880's through the late 1940's. Unfortunately, that proposed line cut through a bulk of the already existing rake and ride trails, and they were slated by the park managers to be abandoned. Fortunately, the park's friends group, led by mountain bikers, pushed back, and a compromise was reached, preserving about 80% of the rake & ride trails, building a machine built, "flow trail" that is accessible to pedestrians, equestrians and riders of all skill levels. Because of this new trail, park use from the surrounding neighborhood has gone up, while crime has continued to decline.

    Another volunteer group built a pumptrack in the park and about 2 miles of flow trails behind it. The pumptrack has been popular with kids from the surrounding neighborhood, particularly because they also have a fleet of box bikes available for loan. a number of these kids have in turn, gotten into mountain biking, transitioning from the pumptrack to the flow trails behind it, to the multi user trail running through the park and onto the more technical, legacy rake and ride trails. because of the increased variety of trails available, the park has also become a popular training area for a couple of the local high-school NICA mtb teams, local Little Bella's chapter, and other cycling outreach organizations.

    One may take the myopic view and bemoan the loss of primitive trails and the increased bureaucracy created by clubs and land managers building trails that ultimately results in dumbing them down, or you can look at the opportunity and investment in public lands that comes as result of that, ultimately opening up our sport for more people, creating safer, more environmentally sustainable parks and ensuring that those trails will be open and available for generations of trail users, not just a small group of bros.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gigantic View Post
    However, having a growing group that is relatively affluent, mostly male and white, using urban park facilities and spending hundreds, if not thousands of hours building and maintaining trails in the park has had unintended consequences. 15 years ago, this particular park had 8-10 miles of primitive and technical trails and was also home to tent camps of homeless people, packs of wild dogs and was a haven for illicit drug use, prostitution and vandalism.
    You need to be careful what you post buddy. If word gets out that more mountain bikes trails means no more hookers and blow, there may be riots.

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    Quote Originally Posted by twd953 View Post
    You need to be careful what you post buddy. If word gets out that more mountain bikes trails means no more hookers and blow, there may be riots.
    We're talking West Philly here: hookers and heroin.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boris Badenov View Post

    You are not the person who can say what is the most effective way to get new trails. Your opinion is suspect to me because of how dogmatic you are.

    So you go on lecturing everyone on what is right and what is wrong and why people who solve problems outside of the rules are a threat, and those of us that are fixers will keep doing what we do, often with the unofficial blessing of land managers, and with great praise from trail users.
    If you're going to lecture someone about not telling you what will or won't work in your situation, then you don't get a free pass to keep telling everyone else that what you think is working great for you and switchblade in Flagstaff and Sedona universally applies to everywhere else in the country (or other countries for that matter).

    Unauthorized trail building undoubtedly has played a huge part in the history of how many of the trails most of us love to ride came into being. That is undeniable. In certain situations working outside of the official process can still yield results, even if the process may be a bit messy and uncomfortable. However, you can't dismiss the fact that it can also cause problems.

    In my area, we've been developing a high profile trail system with BLM and using that as an example to other local land managers (USFS, a university research forest, and a private timber company).

    We had some very public campaigns to help get the word out to the community to attract more volunteers and raise funds to buy tools and such, and have done a lot of outreach to those other land managers/owners.

    After seeing what we have accomplished, 2 things happened. First, all three of those other land managers/owners approached us and asked us if we would build sanctioned trails on their lands as well. The second thing that happened was a huge explosion of unsanctioned, and blatantly obvious trail building on the university forest, and the adjoining private timber company land. Both of those lands have had unsanctioned trails on them dating back many decades (and built by moto riders, hikers, trail runners, equestrians, and mountain bikers) that for the most part have been tolerated and flown under the radar. That is, unless someone did something high profile like building rickety north-shore stunts out of twigs and old rusty nails.

    About the time the unsanctioned trail building hit its peak, with new trails popping up in the most obvious and in your face locations, we had an ice storm that brought down thousands of mature Douglas Fir trees, and some genius went out on the private timber company land with a chainsaw and cut out a bunch of those 30"+ diameter trees across an unsanctioned trail. Those trees were slated for salvage logging, and having chunks cut out of the middle cost the timber company tens of thousands of dollars.

    Around that same time, somebody cut a couple of new unauthorized trails on that timber companies' land, one of which was through an open clearcut and painfully obvious, and another through some sensitive habitat for an endangered butterfly species. The timber company is responsible for ensuring that habitat isn't degraded, so this put them in a bad spot.

    So, as a result, the timber company shut down all trail access to their adjacent lands and got the county sheriff involved to enforce the closures. Members of our organization have had a very positive relationship with this company for nearly 30 years and they have allowed us to hold multiple yearly mountain bike races on their land, on trails they allowed for that purpose.

    The university forest management, also seeing similar issues with an explosion of high profile unauthorized trail building, some of which caused damaged to some decades long research studies, similarly started clamping down on the unauthorized building, started putting up trail cams to catch builders, and also got the County Sheriff involved.

    Now, we have one of the Sheriff's deputies that has a hard on for catching mountain bikers and unauthorized trail builders, and he has ticketed a number of mountain bikers (and supposedly arrested one who got lippy with him) on the timber company land. He regularly shows up to the trailhead of the fully authorized BLM trail system (often when we are at the trailhead for officially sanctioned build days), and he tries to lecture and intimidate trail builders and mountain bikers, bragging about how he's going to catch them. This is on the other end of the county, 30 miles from where the unauthorized trail building was happening.

    So, a situation where we had several land managers/owners practically begging us to build and maintain trails for them, has deteriorated into one where those of us that are going the official route are now having to work our asses off to regain their trust, and literally and figuratively repair the damage that was done, and trail projects are now getting hyper scrutinized.

    So, while you may want to celebrate all unauthorized trail builders as the white knights that give us every opportunity to ride, our experience has been that times have changed, and in an age of strava heat maps that any land managers can look at to see what is going on their land, and social media (and internet forums) where people just can't help bragging about their activities, there is little left that can qualify as under the radar. And a new crop of unauthorized trail builders that don't have the common sense not to cut in a new unauthorized trail that drops onto a fire road 10 feet from the most popular trail head in the area that sees many thousands of multi-use visitors, and a number of other bonehead moves that I illustrated above, have not only put the brakes on years of efforts to gain land manager trust, but they have caused closure of a lot of miles of older unsanctioned trails that long predate their activities. And they put use of most of the other unsanctioned/social trails in the area at risk as well, as everything is now scrutinized.

    So, if you have a situation where you are talking with the land managers and they are giving you the unofficial wink and nod to do what you do, I absolutely applaud your efforts.

    But, we, as a MTB community, just have to be very aware that high profile unsanctioned trail building that feeds the outlaw mountain biker image often times doesn't do us any favors.

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    Is that the name of one of your trails? I like it!

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    I see a common evolution from illegal rogue building by individuals to legal sanctioned trail networks built & maintained by advocacy groups, landowners, and professionals.

    Communities are at different points in that evolution due to various factors: population, availability of land, how well the mtb community is able to organize, and responsiveness of the landowners.

    When mountain bikes first started showing up in numbers in my community (Ottawa) around the mid/late-80s, riders naturally gravitated to Gatineau Park; a large mountainous and wooded natural conservation park that abutted a greater metropolitan area numbering around 1 million.

    Many of Gatineau Park's hiking trails were originally carved by early settlers over a century ago, and later by cross-country and back-country skiers decades ago. While perfectly fine for winter use, many of these trails were (and still are) not sustainably built for summer use. Many are built on too steep a grade, with no design consideration for water drainage or user conflict.

    These trails saw very light use during the summer, but with the addition of mountain bikers, summer usage soared dramatically and poorly built trails fell apart. There was no local advocacy group to defend mountain bikers, or to encourage responsible behaviour or good trail etiquette. There were many instances of bikers buzzing hikers at high speed on the park's many straight and steep gravel paths. Pretty soon, mountain bikers were being painted as villains, speed addicts and destroyers of trails.

    Mountain biking was quickly banned in the park from all but a limited number of trails. The trails we were allowed to ride on were predominately boring, gravelled walking paths, wide enough to drive a truck down. The landowner's rationale was that these wider paths allowed more room for users to pass each other, thus less opportunity for user conflict, plus the gravelled surface was less easily damaged by bike tires. The reality was that these paths were wide, straight, and frequently steep, encouraging cyclists to ride even faster by hikers, and the gravel was easily washed away by a heavy rainstorm event every few years, leaving a rocky, rutted trail that mountain bikers would be blamed for.

    Individuals, and later, advocacy groups, tried to educate the park's landowner on sustainable trail construction and to get the ban reversed, but to no avail. Conservation officers patrolled hiking-only trails and handed out fines to bikers.

    Mountain bikers went underground; first by riding and maintaining existing, unofficial, social trails blazed by hikers and back-country skiers, then by blazing their own trails under the cover of darkness. Illegal trails proliferated in Gatineau Park. At the same time, individuals were building rogue trails on real-estate developer-owned land on the city's edges; most significantly in the west end in an area known as South March Highlands. Many of these trails were (and some still are) poorly situated or unsustainably built, but over time, through trial-and-error and trail building clinics, builders have discovered what worked and what didn't, discovered rock armouring and other techniques, and re-routed their trails to take advantage of Canadian shield rock barrens and water-shedding terrain.

    Despite being designated an environmental conservation area due to various species at risk, the South March Highlands trail network was under constant threat of development. Builders and riders recognized this threat and formed a non-profit advocacy group called OMBA (Ottawa Mountain Bike Association). With the help of IMBA Canada (run independently from IMBA U.S.), OMBA successfully lobbied the city to protect this area and to allow OMBA to continue to maintain the trail network.

    OMBA's pitch, in a way, was simple: if you want to protect the environment, then let us build & maintain sustainable trails that engage the users. If you do that, then people will use those trails, and people will stay on those trails, and the impact to the environment will be minimized. If you don't, people with no training or skill will wear their own social paths and build their own unsustainable trails that will degrade the environment far worse.

    OMBA clearly identified the problem (environment degradation) and presented a solution (mountain bikers) at a time when other user groups were identifying mountain bikers as the problem and bans as the solution.

    So that is the story of how a mountain biking advocacy group came to build and maintain (with permission of the landowner) a rough, rugged, and technically demanding trail network in an area the city has given its highest environmental zoning protection.

    It hasn't been all sunshine and rainbows. Wooden technical trail features -- often sketchily-built or using trees hacked from the forest -- had to be torn down. Trails were closed. Other poorly-draining trails needed remediation and OMBA was accused of trail sanitation for those fixes, despite having some very accomplished downhill riders and builders on the executive board and a firm commitment to keeping difficult trails difficult.

    In one particular case, a rotten rickety ladder bridge with rungs missing and nails sticking out -- which crossed wetlands -- was replaced with a safe and properly built boardwalk, using funds from the city, and OMBA was accused in that effort of using membership fees to make wheelchair accessible bridges. Individuals from time-to-time remove rocks from the trail and built ride-arounds for technical features, which OMBA spends significant time shutting down, and there are suggestions that OMBA is somehow behind it or that they don't care that it's happening. Advance riders groan that OMBA doesn't do enough for them and why aren't there jumps, teeter-toters, and elevated skinnies, and OMBA has to explain that it doesn't own the land, that it has to work with the landowner, and that the landowner doesn't feel that those kinds of man-made features are appropriate in a natural conservation area.

    Fast-forward to today, and we now have new trail networks in the east and west ends and to the north that were approved and built from the beginning with landowner approval. OMBA successfully lobbied the government to allow fatbike access on some of Gatineau Park's snowshoe trails and the Ottawa fatbike scene continues to grow, with groomed trail access at various sites, a race, social and demo events.

    OMBA recognizes that advanced riders are still looking for advanced features to challenge them, and a skills bike park on city land with city approval is in the planning stages, with subsequent stages to possibly include jump lines and other advanced features.

    As mountain biking has matured over the decades, mountain bikers that were in their youth when mountain bikes first arrived here, are now in their 40's and 50's and in positions to make decisions on mountain bike access. Mountain biking is no longer seen as an adrenaline-fueled sport just for kids, but a legitimate recreational activity practiced by "kids" of all ages.

    Finally, with persistent lobbying efforts spanning over a decade by OMBA, IMBA Canada, and committed individuals, Gatineau Park will adopt over 100 km of rogue trails and will allow mountain biking on official trails that we were previously banned from. OMBA has been, and will continue to be, working with the land owner to advise them on sustainable trail building & maintenance best practices. This does not imply machine-built flow trails and dirt sidewalks. Far from it. The trails that will be added to the official network are rough, rugged and demanding, and will remain so.

    As with the earlier adoption of South March Highlands, some unsustainable trails in Gatineau Park will be closed. Sketchy wooden features and dirt jumps will be torn down. Other unsustainably-built trails will require remediation. Some riders will label this as sanitation or dumbing-down, as they have before, and as they always do. They don't understand what is involved, and they never get involved, aside from complaining on public forums.

    The answer for them is simple: go buy some land and you can build whatever you want, however you want, whenever you want. As long as you aren't breaking the law, or being a bad neighbour, have at it.

    If you are building on someone else's land, you gotta play by their rules. For a government landowner, that means give-and-take. That means building sustainably. That means building trails that can handle heavy use in a variety of weather. That means building trails with user management, risk management, water management, and land management in mind. That means addressing the needs of a variety of users with a variety of skill and fitness levels. That means being mindful of the environment and being aware of species-at-risk and archeological sites. That means having meetings, negotiating, compromising, planning, documenting, allowing time for all that to unfold, and getting permission before you dig. Again, this does not automatically mean machine-built flow trail dirt sidewalks, or endless meetings and no progress. If that has been your past experience, that's unfortunate, but it doesn't have to be that way if you and others like you get involved, participate, and speak up.

    If that sounds like a lot to handle, it's because it is. It's more than one individual can reasonably handle on their own for long. Which is why I encourage all of you to get involved in a local advocacy group if you aren't already.

    If you refuse to do that and instead continue to build illegal rogue trails without the landowners permission, then all I ask is you do not boast about it on public forums, posting pictures of your work, providing ammunition for the likes of Mike Vandeman and other anti-mtb zealots to use against mountain bikers that are trying to do things above-board and by the book.

    If you aren't able to get permission to build, that sucks. Some of us have, and our mountain bike communities by-and-far prefer it this way, and we do not want to have to go back to the days of sneaking around in the dark to build, risking fines and criminal records, and having our work destroyed. Many of us have a good thing going. Try not to ruin it for us.
    Last edited by ray.vermette; 01-19-2018 at 03:14 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bpressnall View Post
    I think this is a good example of a poorly made rogue trail. Not only was it not authorized by authorities. but the builders did not follow proper sustainability guidelines, with fall line sections. I hope to close this thing down before it jeopardizes the construction of our new paved flow trail.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVwMCAIZdWo
    Nice! Not much more sustainable than a line across bare Sierra Nevada granodiorite.
    Riding Washington State singletrack since 1986

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    If you refuse to do that and instead continue to build illegal rogue trails without the landowners permission, then all I ask is you do not boast about it on public forums, posting pictures of your work, providing ammunition for the likes of Mike Vandeman and other anti-mtb zealots to use against mountain bikers that are trying to do things above-board and by the book.

    If you aren't able to get permission to build, that sucks. Some of us have, and our mountain bike communities by-and-far prefer it this way, and we do not want to have to go back to the days of sneaking around in the dark to build, risking fines and criminal records, and having our work destroyed. Many of us have a good thing going. Try not to ruin it for us.
    Yeah whatevah Ray. Put this in yer pipe and smoke it.
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    And uh Micheal who?

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    Quote Originally Posted by HacksawReynolds View Post
    Yeah whatevah Ray. Put this in yer pipe and smoke it.
    Consequences of unsanctioned trail building-hacksaw.jpg

    And uh Micheal who?
    I'm with Ray. Too many crap trails going in these days. And WTF dude can't you figure out how to post a pic that isn't sideways?

    As for Mike Vandeman he's still up to his old tricks, this time in Durango, CO. An editorial from this week: https://durangoherald.com/articles/2...is-destructive

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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    As for Mike Vandeman he's still up to his old tricks, this time in Durango, CO. An editorial from this week: https://durangoherald.com/articles/2...is-destructive
    When OMBA submitted the proposal for the skills bike park, Mikey wrote a letter opposing it. I don't know if he's ever been to Ottawa; not even sure he could point it out on a map.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    I'm with Ray.
    Nttawwt 😘

    Too many crap trails going in these days.
    which is why rogue building is thriving these days.


    And WTF dude can't you figure out how to post a pic that isn't sideways?
    getting a new phone soon, arite?

    As for Mike Vandeman he's still up to his old tricks, this time in Durango, CO. An editorial from this week: https://durangoherald.com/articles/2...is-destructive
    First world problems.

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    ^ Why hasn't this joker been neg'd repped into oblivion, or banned yet?

    Go post over on Pinkbike. The adults are trying to have a conversation.
    Mountain bikers are generally a rational bunch...until someone moves a rock on our favorite trail and we lose our minds - LMN

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    Quote Originally Posted by ray.vermette View Post
    ^ Why hasn't this joker been neg'd repped into oblivion, or banned yet?

    Go post over on Pinkbike. The adults are trying to have a conversation.
    Lighten up Francis. You sound like a little girl. This is a forum. We have differing opinions on the topic at hand. And probably others. If we didn't then this world would be a very boring place.

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    In certain cities/areas, the land doesn't allow just to rake & ride. There's heavy brushing, benching, stumping just to build the trail. That type of building takes days and is much too heavy to do without being seen. Housing and roads are closing in and there isn't much land to play with anymore. I think the days of rogue trail building in these areas are gone. That is why you're best to go through the long legal process to build.
    "We'll ride it until they pave it."

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    Quote Originally Posted by HacksawReynolds View Post
    Lighten up Francis. You sound like a little girl. This is a forum. We have differing opinions on the topic at hand. And probably others. If we didn't then this world would be a very boring place.
    Different opinions are good... if you can articulate them. But you don't. You aren't contributing to this conversation, or the previous ones, in any meaningful way.

    Unless emojis and grainy sideways photos of boring rake-and-ride trails that no one rides are in your "opinion" a contribution.
    Mountain bikers are generally a rational bunch...until someone moves a rock on our favorite trail and we lose our minds - LMN

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirtrider127 View Post
    In certain cities/areas, the land doesn't allow just to rake & ride. There's heavy brushing, benching, stumping just to build the trail. That type of building takes days and is much too heavy to do without being seen. Housing and roads are closing in and there isn't much land to play with anymore. I think the days of rogue trail building in these areas are gone. That is why you're best to go through the long legal process to build.
    And some land just isn't suitable or meant to have trails "built" thru it if it's going to take that much effort to tame what's on offer.

    It's ok to have tracts of land where there are no trail networks built up to almost mimick the housing and roads that are closing in.....

  80. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by HacksawReynolds View Post
    And some land just isn't suitable or meant to have trails "built" thru it if it's going to take that much effort to tame what's on offer.
    So no trails in the rocky mountains eh?

    Doesn't it seem a bit hypocritical to scratch in rogue trails wherever you deem appropriate and then b*tch & moan about others who create b-lines and braids on "your" trails?
    I brake for stinkbugs

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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    So no trails in the rocky mountains eh?
    I've spent time riding in the Rockies and your Rockies argument doesn't apply here.

    Doesn't it seem a bit hypocritical to scratch in rogue trails wherever you deem appropriate and then b*tch & moan about others who create b-lines and braids on "your" trails?
    I never said that anyone created b-lines or braids on MY trails. MY trails are free from those phenomenon, fortunately.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HacksawReynolds View Post
    I've spent time riding in the Rockies and your Rockies argument doesn't apply here
    Why is that? Just saying that a lot of places require more than just "rake and ride" to build trails. Plenty of benching is needed.

    Do you allow other people to ride on YOUR trails?
    I brake for stinkbugs

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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    Why is that? Just saying that a lot of places require more than just "rake and ride" to build trails. Plenty of benching is needed.
    Of course they do. I've twice been a tax payer in Utah and pretty much all of my rides went straight up into the Wasatch mtns from my driveway. However, not all areas in the Wasatch are suitable for routing/building trail. Sounds to me like the area mentioned above surrounded by encroaching development, housing and roads may be way more work than it's worth IMO. Again, some areas are not meant to have trails routed thru them.

    Just like in a very popular sanctioned riding area near me. One particular trail about a mile long was routed in and around a wetland area. For part of the year it eventually dries up for its entirety. But, a whole lotta continual work has gone into keeping it "sustainable" with bridges, extra material brought in and "seasonal" trail braids around wet areas. Great trail when dry, but not an area where a trail should ever have been built IMO.

    Do you allow other people to ride on YOUR trails?
    If they can find them. this trail is at least a dozen years old and there's miles of it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HacksawReynolds View Post
    If they can find them. this trail is at least a dozen years old and there's miles of it.
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    Cool, if I'm ever in your neighborhood I'm going to hunt some of those down and strava the $hit out of them
    I brake for stinkbugs

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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    Cool, if I'm ever in your neighborhood I'm going to hunt some of those down and strava the $hit out of them
    Ha!!! If you ever find your way out here I'd be more than happy to take you on a tour. I did take a group of 13 thru some stuff a little over a month ago that none of the 13 had been on before (and they live in the area) and after the 2 hour ride they were all like "what the...." Haha so awesome. They were kind enough to ask me if I had a "no STRAVA" rule before we set out, so that was nice. Almost half the crew were rogue trail builders so they get it.👍

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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    Why is that? Just saying that a lot of places require more than just "rake and ride" to build trails. Plenty of benching is needed.

    Do you allow other people to ride on YOUR trails?
    Yes. Many of these previous photos are on fairly flat ground. And you can get away with a lower level of engineering. But in the Western USA mountains a proper benching technique, tail and corridor layout, and especially proper climbing turn layout is much more necessary. After all, it is MOUNTAIN bike riding.

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    Quote Originally Posted by endo_alley View Post
    Yes. Many of these previous photos are on fairly flat ground. And you can get away with a lower level of engineering. But in the Western USA mountains a proper benching technique, tail and corridor layout, and especially proper climbing turn layout is much more necessary. After all, it is MOUNTAIN bike riding.
    Ed Zachary! Most of that "rake & ride" theory would never apply to my area on the coast of CA. Sure would be nice is if it did...but it doesn't and not even close except for maybe an occasional few feet here and there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Switchblade2 View Post
    Hack I love your trail concepts. Easy to build, fun to ride and easy to maintain. I hope some day ride some of your favorites with you.

    We use to have a bunch of trails like that but most of them got adopted or are in the PROCESS of being adopted.
    Cmon out anytime! And uh we do have mountains here too. I've lived east and west so I have a very good understanding of the differences and similarities. Even with substantial elevation changes you can still route a trail with minimal effort in a lor of instances. My local short loop here gains you 1500 vert of climbing in 9 miles. Nothing crazy but the climbs are 500 ft of vert per mile on rocky rooty techy tight singletrack. All rake n ride. So funny that people just assume that everything's flat based on some pictures. It's never flat here in my area.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ray.vermette View Post
    When OMBA submitted the proposal for the skills bike park, Mikey wrote a letter opposing it. I don't know if he's ever been to Ottawa; not even sure he could point it out on a map.
    Mike V., posted some ridiculous hater comments to an article in our local paper about our trails we're building in Oregon.

    At this point, I just laugh, knowing that long after Mike V is pushing up daisies I'll still be riding my mountain bike in singletrack.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HacksawReynolds View Post
    Lighten up Francis. You sound like a little girl. This is a forum. We have differing opinions on the topic at hand. And probably others. If we didn't then this world would be a very boring place.
    On the land that you build, is it state land? Federal land?

    What would be the process for gaining official approval for new trails in your area?

    I'm curious about specific reasons that you don't go through official channels. Not judging, just curious.
    Riding Washington State singletrack since 1986

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    Quote Originally Posted by Curveball View Post
    On the land that you build, is it state land? Federal land?
    Neither. It's a mix of private and conservation.

    What would be the process for gaining official approval for new trails in your area?
    I have no idea. I only build for myself. Then share with a select few. If trails are found then they are found. Pretty much all that I've built over the years have withstood the test of time. A few have been moto'd out over the years but that goes with the territory where I was building at the time. The beauty of scratching in well routed trails in rapid fire fashion is that if you lose them due to development or deterioration from a user group, you never put that much time or effort in to put them in in the 1st place so no big loss. When you love building trail you love the process as much as the final product. There's a private parcel that I put a nice 5 mile loop in some years ago that got completely destroyed by an ice storm and then logging. Well that loop only took me a couple months to create and I enjoyed it for a year or two and when it was destroyed I was like eh no big deal I've got other irons in the fire anyway and created a bigger loop elsewhere.

    I'm curious about specific reasons that you don't go through official channels. Not judging, just curious.
    No worries. Yeah there are plenty of places with busy trail heads, signed and named to death trail networks of what once was nice singletrack turned into track and a half by the hordes over time. I prefer the tight stuff where I know I will hardly ever see another tire mark.

  92. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by HacksawReynolds View Post
    Neither. It's a mix of private and conservation.



    I have no idea. I only build for myself. Then share with a select few. If trails are found then they are found. Pretty much all that I've built over the years have withstood the test of time. A few have been moto'd out over the years but that goes with the territory where I was building at the time. The beauty of scratching in well routed trails in rapid fire fashion is that if you lose them due to development or deterioration from a user group, you never put that much time or effort in to put them in in the 1st place so no big loss. When you love building trail you love the process as much as the final product. There's a private parcel that I put a nice 5 mile loop in some years ago that got completely destroyed by an ice storm and then logging. Well that loop only took me a couple months to create and I enjoyed it for a year or two and when it was destroyed I was like eh no big deal I've got other irons in the fire anyway and created a bigger loop elsewhere.



    No worries. Yeah there are plenty of places with busy trail heads, signed and named to death trail networks of what once was nice singletrack turned into track and a half by the hordes over time. I prefer the tight stuff where I know I will hardly ever see another tire mark.
    It's a whole lot worse that you do it on private land. I can almost understand giving the finger to the government when building trails, but to do that to Joe Shmo...not impressed.

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    People will keep building rogue trails until there are sanctioned trails built that are challenging. For now, building rogue seems to be the only way to make it happen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skelldify View Post
    People will keep building rogue trails until there are sanctioned trails built that are challenging. For now, building rogue seems to be the only way to make it happen.
    Not here. We have lots of sanctioned and very challenging trails on both public and private land.
    Riding Washington State singletrack since 1986

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skelldify View Post
    People will keep building rogue trails until there are sanctioned trails built that are challenging. For now, building rogue seems to be the only way to make it happen.
    Or, you will get the USFS closing all trail access to mountain biking. I admit that I shared a similar attitude 20 years ago when nobody else went back in many of these forests. But that doesn't seem to work in the present climate. It is not a sustainable attitude.

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    Sounds like some builders live in heavy use areas where closely working with land managers and following rules and regs is a must. Fortunately those builders speaking hear seem to have productive relationships with the authorities. Any type of unsanctioned building in those places would likely be a big problem and need to be avoided.

    On the other hand, many builders live in much lower pressure areas where land managers are less concerned about what is being built as long as it is low profile. Low impact trails built in the NE typically go to weed in less than a year if not ridden or maintained, and often visually look like little more than game trails once the leaves fall.


    I think, in many cases, the problem takes care of itself. If you live in a low pressure area, then you are not going to have many builders out there to draw attention and cause problems. If you live in a high pressure area you have to deal with the red tape, but come building time you have many hands to make the load light.


    Where I see a problem is when you have a low pressure area but a few whistle blowers are drawing attention to low profile work - low profile work that land managers would have otherwise ignored until someone with control issues went and made a stink.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    It's a whole lot worse that you do it on private land. I can almost understand giving the finger to the government when building trails, but to do that to Joe Shmo...not impressed.

    Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk
    Impressing you was never my intention.

    90% of the land in my state is privately owned. Do you actually think that a huge wireless company is gonna give two sh1ts that some simple scratched in game looking trails are on their land that they 99.9% will never see? Just because the land is private does mean that I'm playing on just any "Joe Shmo" land.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skelldify View Post
    People will keep building rogue trails until there are sanctioned trails built that are challenging. For now, building rogue seems to be the only way to make it happen.
    No, people will keep building rogue trail simply because they enjoy it. A whole lot of it happens out this way by many guys I know. It's just how it is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HacksawReynolds View Post
    No, people will keep building rogue trail simply because they enjoy it. A whole lot of it happens out this way by many guys I know. It's just how it is.
    It's clear to me by reading your posts how much pleasure you take in building and maintaining trails. I see that same enthusiasm in other dedicated trail builders.

    Some here simply do not understand the dynamics of why we do what we do. Today I walked a few miles around a mountain near where I live, to scout out a new trail. I will be meeting with a government official and trying to convince her to agree to funding and building it. Plan B is to get a local mountain biking association to pay for a portion of the work and get the city to match their donation. Plan C would be to find a more creative way to get the trail built.

    That is how I approach rogue trail building. Sometimes it is the best first option, while other times, there are several other approaches that might get the job done more efficiently.

    Public lands can be a patchwork of lands managed by various groups. In Arizona, you can have Forest Service land that bumps up against State Trust Land and then runs into National Park Service lands. There is also a mix of BLM lands and city preserve lands. You could have a situation where two out of three land managers are open to new mountain biking trails, but State Trust Lands prevent any proposals from happening because they have a specific mandate to hold onto these lands until a point where they are auctioned off to raise money for public schools. Even if State Lands offer an easement, it is temporary, until the land is sold. As a result, other land managers refuse to get involved, saying they need a written agreement that any trails they build will be allowed forever. That is silly. Build the trail and in ten or twenty years, when that land is sold, accept that you will probably lose the corridor.

    I mention that particular scenario because that would be the perfect opportunity for rogue builders to come in and cut in a trail on State Trust Land, to connect to lands with developed trails. It could be as simple as running motorcycles across the gap for 2-3 miles and roughing in a line that can be better ridden in by bikers, while occasional brush work is done to better define the trail. That is exactly the sort of trail land managers are willing to adopt, knowing that at one time it was built without permission. And without those rogue builders, two great trail systems, only a few miles apart, would never be connected.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skelldify
    People will keep building rogue trails until there are sanctioned trails built that are challenging. For now, building rogue seems to be the only way to make it happen.
    Quote Originally Posted by HacksawReynolds View Post
    No, people will keep building rogue trail simply because they enjoy it...
    Oddly, I find myself agreeing with Hacksaw on this one. People build rogue trail simply because they enjoy building trail.

    The justification that rogue trails are being built because sanctioned trails are not challenging doesn't hold water because:

    1. Many rogue trails aren't all that challenging.
    2. There are sanctioned challenging trails being built as discussed earlier in the thread. Just because it's not happening in one area doesn't mean it can't happen if builders speak up and get involved.
    Mountain bikers are generally a rational bunch...until someone moves a rock on our favorite trail and we lose our minds - LMN

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    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J View Post
    Where I see a problem is when you have a low pressure area but a few whistle blowers are drawing attention to low profile work - low profile work that land managers would have otherwise ignored until someone with control issues went and made a stink.
    Who needs whistle blowers when the builders themselves post pictures and boast about their work on public forums?
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    Quote Originally Posted by ray.vermette View Post
    Who needs whistle blowers when the builders themselves post pictures and boast about their work on public forums?
    I'll go a step further. I've contacted the local newspaper and invited the editor out to witness and photograph a work project. The editor is a mountain biker who feels the same as others in that he believes many land managers do the bare minimum of trail work, as they do not ride and are not passionate.

    One hiking group was part of a newspaper article where they shamed the Forest Service, saying they were poorly managing an area of land. The hikers (Friends of Walnut Canyon), asked that the Forest Service give up that land to the Park Service who they felt would better maintain it. You probably think that the FS hated that group or at least refused to work with them after they publicly shame the FS. Nope. The FS stopped working on two other trail projects and met with the hiking group, asking them what they needed to do to earn their respect. Within weeks the Fs began building a cloverleaf set of trails on a Mesa that I got to work on, to satisfy the concerns the hikers.

    I joked with my friends at the FS, telling them the next time I wanted a new trail built for mountain bikers, I might have to go ask the Flagstaff Daily Sun to write a negative article about them.

    Pictures prove their has been a failure of land management. Land managers have a job to do and can be held accountable. Pictures are a great way to show them what they need to be doing. Biker J can call it a control issue, and in a way it is. You can control the behavior of a failing group of land managers by first showing the public they are failing. Otherwise they might go on failing to do their jobs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boris Badenov View Post
    I'll go a step further. I've contacted the local newspaper and invited the editor out to witness and photograph a work project. The editor is a mountain biker who feels the same as others in that he believes many land managers do the bare minimum of trail work, as they do not ride and are not passionate.
    That’s not in the land manager job description.

    A good LM should be motivated to find the appropriate balance of all the competing concerns and uses. I’ve come across some USFS rec specialists who do ride and are stoked about trails, but it’s not a requirement for success. Passionate or not, the best scenario is a LM who sees the need and identifies appropriate places for motivated volunteer partners to create or improve trails, and then supports their work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boris Badenov View Post
    I'll go a step further. I've contacted the local newspaper and invited the editor out to witness and photograph a work project. The editor is a mountain biker who feels the same as others in that he believes many land managers do the bare minimum of trail work, as they do not ride and are not passionate.

    One hiking group was part of a newspaper article where they shamed the Forest Service, saying they were poorly managing an area of land. The hikers (Friends of Walnut Canyon), asked that the Forest Service give up that land to the Park Service who they felt would better maintain it. You probably think that the FS hated that group or at least refused to work with them after they publicly shame the FS. Nope. The FS stopped working on two other trail projects and met with the hiking group, asking them what they needed to do to earn their respect. Within weeks the Fs began building a cloverleaf set of trails on a Mesa that I got to work on, to satisfy the concerns the hikers.

    I joked with my friends at the FS, telling them the next time I wanted a new trail built for mountain bikers, I might have to go ask the Flagstaff Daily Sun to write a negative article about them.

    Pictures prove their has been a failure of land management. Land managers have a job to do and can be held accountable. Pictures are a great way to show them what they need to be doing. Biker J can call it a control issue, and in a way it is. You can control the behavior of a failing group of land managers by first showing the public they are failing. Otherwise they might go on failing to do their jobs.
    I see where your coming from Boris but it's a hornet's nest when taking the USFS to task for not doing their job. Other groups also feel the USFS is doing the bare minimum. For example, here's an excerpt from a letter written by a Sierra Club member obtained via FOIA.

    Consequences of unsanctioned trail building-sierra-club-complaint.jpg

    The FS is still leery of being accused of being in collusion with the mtn bike community. It still hampers advocacy efforts today including trying to establish a mobile trail crew where we can do basic maintenance on system trails that the FS cannot afford to do.

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    Where I live, a local field Ranger for the USFS does not have the authority to design and build new trails. Or even whether or not to accept rogue trails as part of the trail system. There is usually a travel plan which is designed by higher authorities in the system. They have a wide set of aims for forest management. Their purpose is not entirely limited to creating a playground for recreationalists. Any specific changes to the national forest travel plan require a written proposal which must either be accepted or not accepted by the proper authority. Often times funding for a project must be found. And often NEPA and other studies are required by law. So when I hear that a local office of the Forest Service makes a hasty decision regarding the travel plan, I think there must be more to the story.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skelldify View Post
    People will keep building rogue trails until there are sanctioned trails built that are challenging. For now, building rogue seems to be the only way to make it happen.
    Challenging? Ever pedal in New England? Lots of tech and chunk. And rocks, big and small. MA builder here. Sometimes our challenge is building something eaiser to accommodate a broader range of riders. YRMV.

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    Quote Originally Posted by endo_alley View Post
    Where I live, a local field Ranger for the USFS does not have the authority to design and build new trails. Or even whether or not to accept rogue trails as part of the trail system. There is usually a travel plan which is designed by higher authorities in the system. They have a wide set of aims for forest management. Their purpose is not entirely limited to creating a playground for recreationalists. Any specific changes to the national forest travel plan require a written proposal which must either be accepted or not accepted by the proper authority. Often times funding for a project must be found. And often NEPA and other studies are required by law. So when I hear that a local office of the Forest Service makes a hasty decision regarding the travel plan, I think there must be more to the story.
    Yes.

    The USFS updated their planning process earlier this decade, and now operates under the 2012 planning rule. There is a process and a hierarchy of decisions. All travel planning, recreation planning, etc. has to be consistent with the goals laid out in the forest plan, which is revised on a ~30 year timeframe. Forests are going through plan revisions in the wake of the rule, which is why we’ve been seeing a lot of advocacy alerts in recent years. The forest plan identifies geographic units that might have unique management goals, and the desired conditions for wildlife, recreation, etc is laid out. More detailed planning, such as travel plans, are required to be consistent with the goals of the forest plan.

    The degree of latitude that a local official has depends a lot on what decisions have already been made in the broader plans, and what travel, environmental, or recreation planning may have already been done.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ray.vermette View Post
    Oddly, I find myself agreeing with Hacksaw on this one. People build rogue trail simply because they enjoy building trail.

    The justification that rogue trails are being built because sanctioned trails are not challenging doesn't hold water because:

    1. Many rogue trails aren't all that challenging.
    2. There are sanctioned challenging trails being built as discussed earlier in the thread. Just because it's not happening in one area doesn't mean it can't happen if builders speak up and get involved.
    Also rogue trail builders will always keep building because some, like myself, find "established" sanctioned networks to be so unsightly due to all of the signage, 4 ways junctions and intersections, crowded trails, one way trails, busy trail heads.

    I occasionally ride areas like that but my daily riding takes me where I much prefer which is no signs, no other riders, no marketing, no hype, just me and the trail.

    I don't want what many of you want when it comes to a woods riding experience.

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    And another thing. You so often here, "rogue trail builders/building gives us and our sport a bad name". Haha that's YOUR trip, not mine.

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    MTB Advocacy Groups to Landowners: give mtbrs a place to ride and build, and they will stop rogue building.

    Anti-Mtb Groups to Landowners: if you give mtbrs land, you are rewarding bad behaviour, and they'll keep doing it.

    Hacksaw: keeps doing it. And brags about it online.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HacksawReynolds View Post
    Also rogue trail builders will always keep building because some, like myself, find "established" sanctioned networks to be so unsightly due to all of the signage, 4 ways junctions and intersections, crowded trails, one way trails, busy trail heads.

    I occasionally ride areas like that but my daily riding takes me where I much prefer which is no signs, no other riders, no marketing, no hype, just me and the trail.

    I don't want what many of you want when it comes to a woods riding experience.
    That’s about as selfish as it gets. And on other people’s property.

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    Quote Originally Posted by evasive View Post
    That’s about as selfish as it gets. And on other people’s property.
    Exactly.

    It depends on the area, but in my area we had an old, classic trail closed because a new illegal one was built nearby. Not necessarily justified in my opinion, but it didn't matter... The land manager thought it was so case (and trail) closed.

    I'm the one that has to answer a million emails trying to remind the land manager that 99% of mtbers are good stewards of the land and they shouldn't make brash decisions based on the actions of a select few. The people who build don't care about that though and frankly they don't even care about people having trails to ride, they just enjoy building (so do I) and will do it regardless of who or how it affects.

    Hacksaw - I'm giving you the benefit of doubt and assuming that your area isn't so contentious, but it's disconcerting that you so broadly advocate rogue building when you know not all areas are that way.

    It's like riding after rain... If you know your area and know you can ride without damage then that's fine, but don't tell others they can ride their area when it's wet because of it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HacksawReynolds View Post
    And another thing. You so often here, "rogue trail builders/building gives us and our sport a bad name". Haha that's YOUR trip, not mine.
    When it comes to land managers, it's a fact.

    So what exactly is your point other than you don't give a rat's ass how your actions affect others?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ray.vermette View Post
    MTB Advocacy Groups to Landowners: give mtbrs a place to ride and build, and they will stop rogue building.

    Anti-Mtb Groups to Landowners: if you give mtbrs land, you are rewarding bad behaviour, and they'll keep doing it.

    Hacksaw: keeps doing it. And brags about it online.
    Not only that, he has the gall to tell others they are horrible people for modifying an existing trail in anyway. The guy has ZERO ground to stand on and make comments about how others modify trails if he is building illegal trails...... sheesh.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HacksawReynolds View Post
    Also rogue trail builders will always keep building because some, like myself, find "established" sanctioned networks to be so unsightly due to all of the signage, 4 ways junctions and intersections, crowded trails, one way trails, busy trail heads.

    I occasionally ride areas like that but my daily riding takes me where I much prefer which is no signs, no other riders, no marketing, no hype, just me and the trail.

    I don't want what many of you want when it comes to a woods riding experience.
    I think hacksaw is way up in the boonies of New England, not that I support rogue trail work though. So out in the woods, not even in a town, unincorporated townships. Mostly on private land he said. Lumber and paper woods? No rules, no regs. No one would even notice I'm guessing. Very few have those kinds of areas to ride in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skelldify View Post
    People will keep building rogue trails until there are sanctioned trails built that are challenging. For now, building rogue seems to be the only way to make it happen.
    Agree. Building rogue trails is a by product of our gov’t agencies closing trails and reducing access etc.

    Here in so cal, if it wasn’t for the rogue trail builder and dirt bike riders from the 60’s and 70’s we wouldn’t have anywhere to ride.

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    Here in so cal, if it wasn’t for the rogue trail builder and dirt bike riders from the 60’s and 70’s we wouldn’t have anywhere to ride.
    Bingo!

    That goes for lots of different areas of our country.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Klurejr View Post
    Not only that, he has the gall to tell others they are horrible people for modifying an existing trail in anyway. The guy has ZERO ground to stand on and make comments about how others modify trails if he is building illegal trails...... sheesh.
    Do you ride unsanctioned trails?

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    Quote Originally Posted by evasive View Post
    That’s about as selfish as it gets. And on other people’s property.
    Yes and yes. But as far as selfishness goes, no ones mellow has been harshed by my building over the years. And cycling isn't a team sport as far as I'm concerned.

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    Hacksaw - I'm giving you the benefit of doubt and assuming that your area isn't so contentious, but it's disconcerting that you so broadly advocate rogue building when you know not all areas are that way.

    It's like riding after rain... If you know your area and know you can ride without damage then that's fine, but don't tell others they can ride their area when it's wet because of it.
    We are all adults here, we can make decisions for ourselves. I do what I do and am just sharing how the other half live as this thread is related to rogue trail building.

    Fortunately riding here during and after monsoon rains is totally fine for the trails. We drain well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HacksawReynolds View Post
    Do you ride unsanctioned trails?
    This thread is about building illegal trails, you have admitted to building illegal trails and then in other threads complain about other users who modify trails, legally or illegally, to suit their own needs. How you can think there is a difference is amazing.

    You are a pot calling the kettle black. You have zero credibility now when it comes to any discussion of trail building, modification or maintenance.

    I suggest you stop pretending you are some sort of authority on trail building just because you make some rake n rides on privately owned land where you have no business being there.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Klurejr View Post
    This thread is about building illegal trails, you have admitted to building illegal trails and then in other threads complain about other users who modify trails, legally or illegally, to suit their own needs. How you can think there is a difference is amazing.

    You are a pot calling the kettle black. You have zero credibility now when it comes to any discussion of trail building, modification or maintenance.

    I suggest you stop pretending you are some sort of authority on trail building just because you make some rake n rides on privately owned land where you have no business being there.
    1st of all you didn't answer my question.

    2nd, I do have a problem with anyone who alters a trail that they didn't build to suit their needs or skillset.

    3rd, I never claimed to be an "authority" on trail building.

    So are you going to answer my question?

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    Quote Originally Posted by HacksawReynolds View Post
    1st of all you didn't answer my question.

    2nd, I do have a problem with anyone who alters a trail that they didn't build to suit their needs or skillset.

    3rd, I never claimed to be an "authority" on trail building.

    So are you going to answer my question?
    Your question has nothing to do with the discussion in this thread. This thread is about the consequences of illegal trail building, not for riding a trail that might be unsanctioned. Plenty of people knowingly and unknowingly ride unmarked or unsanctioned trails, should they be held to the fire in the same way as someone who knowingly built that illegal trail in the first place. Absolutely not. There is no point to be made there.

    You have zero right to be upset with anyone who alters a trail if you cannot follow the basic rules of not building illegal trails to begin with. If someone was to alter one of the trails you hand built illegally, what sort of authoritative grounds would you stand behind if you caught them? "You are not allowed to alter this illegal trail built on private land because I built it"? That would be a pretty weak argument to make since neither of you are land owners and neither of you have any right to modify the dirt in any way.

    You are claiming to be some sort of authority be decrying anyone who wants to build a trail with an alternate line.

    I am not the only one on this site to call you out on this bad behavior.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Klurejr View Post
    Your question has nothing to do with the discussion in this thread.
    Neither does my opinion on people altering sanctioned and unsanctioned trail. Try practicing what you preach, guy.

    This thread is about the consequences of illegal trail building, not for riding a trail that might be unsanctioned. Plenty of people knowingly and unknowingly ride unmarked or unsanctioned trails, should they be held to the fire in the same way as someone who knowingly built that illegal trail in the first place. Absolutely not. There is no point to be made there.
    Trespassing is trespassing, doesn't really matter if it's the builder or the rider.

    You have zero right to be upset with anyone who alters a trail if you cannot follow the basic rules of not building illegal trails to begin with. If someone was to alter one of the trails you hand built illegally, what sort of authoritative grounds would you stand behind if you caught them? "You are not allowed to alter this illegal trail built on private land because I built it"? That would be a pretty weak argument to make since neither of you are land owners and neither of you have any right to modify the dirt in any way.
    I have no right blah blah blah lol, listen to you.😂

    It's just poor form to alter another mans work. Got it? Pretty simple. Plenty of other here feel the same way.

    You are claiming to be some sort of authority be decrying anyone who wants to build a trail with an alternate line.

    I am not the only one on this site to call you out on this bad behavior.
    Bad behavior lol. What for not liking trail braids and spaghetti spiderweb trail networks? Oh pardon me for liking what I like and not liking things where I've seen issues arise in the form of B-lines, corner cuts, cheater lines ect ect on sanctioned and unsanctioned trails and letting it be known on a MTB forum.

    So?

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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    I see where your coming from Boris but it's a hornet's nest when taking the USFS to task for not doing their job. Other groups also feel the USFS is doing the bare minimum. For example, here's an excerpt from a letter written by a Sierra Club member obtained via FOIA.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Sierra Club complaint.jpg 
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    The FS is still leery of being accused of being in collusion with the mtn bike community. It still hampers advocacy efforts today including trying to establish a mobile trail crew where we can do basic maintenance on system trails that the FS cannot afford to do.
    As years have past, the FS in Flagstaff has gotten the message and seems to be responding in a positive way, mostly because of people like you and Raising Arizona patiently working with them even after they have let you down several times.

    It's all a chess game, knowing when to sacrifice and lose ground in order to eventually win the game. This does not seem a good time to discuss or do rogue trail work. It is a time to let the FS show the riding community it is responding to it's needs. It seems important to trust people like you, who are close to the action, and know what the best course of action is to take for the future of mountain biking in Flagstaff.

  126. #126
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    Quote Originally Posted by HacksawReynolds View Post
    It's just poor form to alter another mans property . Got it? Pretty simple.
    FIFY. Catching on yet?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    🐏🐏🐏🐏🐏🐏
    .........

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smithhammer View Post
    I think that's true for a lot of us. But, there is no escaping that fact that if you're building unsanctioned trails on public land, you are doing so illegally, period. And doing so undermines the hard work (both advocacy and physical trail building) of others who are trying to obey the law, and not piss off land managers who may be tempted to clamp down on us as user group entirely.

    I live in an area that used to see a lot of illegal trail building, and no doubt there were two sides to that argument. It was hard to get anywhere with local land managers at the time, and people got frustrated and took things into their own hands (which still doesn't make it right). And then, the FS ended up adopting a lot of those unsanctioned trails, which unfortunately sent an unintentional message that this was an ok thing to keep doing, and it will eventually get adopted - this was leading to a situation that wasn't sustainable, and could have ended badly for the future of mtn biking in our area. Luckily, with the advent of more organized trail advocacy/trail building groups, this illegal building was brought under control with the recognition that both sides were willing to come to the table and work together more through sanctioned partnerships. Very little of illegal building happens these days, and it's frowned upon by a lot of us, because we know it's endangering our continued, legal access.

    We are now being seen as a responsible user group by the local FS - a reasonable voice, willing to work with other interests, and a group that is willing to put the sweat equity into building and maintaining these trails (which the FS loves, since they don't have the resources). This is a vastly better approach than continued antagonism between the FS and 'rogue' trail builders.

    We also need to recognize that while the approval process with land managers can be frustratingly slow and bureaucratic, some of this is due to bigger-picture management concerns that we may not even be aware of, or at least concerned about, given our own myopia. If we want our sport to be sustainable, we need to acknowledge that we aren't the only important user out there, and be willing to be patient, compromise, etc. Easier said than done, I know - but it serves us well in the end.
    Good synopsis. It was heady times, for sure.
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    Quote Originally Posted by evasive View Post
    The USFS updated their planning process earlier this decade, and now operates under the 2012 planning rule. There is a process and a hierarchy of decisions. All travel planning, recreation planning, etc. has to be consistent with the goals laid out in the forest plan, which is revised on a ~30 year timeframe. Forests are going through plan revisions in the wake of the rule, which is why we’ve been seeing a lot of advocacy alerts in recent years. The forest plan identifies geographic units that might have unique management goals, and the desired conditions for wildlife, recreation, etc is laid out. More detailed planning, such as travel plans, are required to be consistent with the goals of the forest plan.

    The degree of latitude that a local official has depends a lot on what decisions have already been made in the broader plans, and what travel, environmental, or recreation planning may have already been done.
    You just made the perfect case for rogue trail building. I can picture a mountain biking group setting up a meeting with local FS officials back in 2009, to discuss new trail networks that the FS had promised to build back in 2005. The mountain bikers ask why the FS didn't keep their word. The FS replies and says it's complicated. How so, asks the mountain bikers. Well, first of all our grant writer retired and we haven't trained anyone else how to do it, so we are not actively looking for trail funding. Then the person who ran our trail crew decided to take a job promotion elsewhere and his replacement is still learning our system. Also, it was a busy fire season the last few years and most of our trail crews are also red-card certified and request going out on fires to earn extra cash. That leaves us without any trail crew during peak building season. Plus, we have been hearing about a new planning process coming out of Washington, that might get done in the next few years, so we figure why not just sit on our big fat asses and wait for the new planning process, so we don't get started on a trail project and then waste time and have to start all over in 2012. The mountain bikers then leave and head straight to Home Depot to buy trail building tools.

    Fast forward to 2018. A new group of mountain bikers meets with the Forest Service officials and asks why there has been no new trail work since 2002, even though the new planning rules have been in place since 2012. The FS officials repeat the same excuses as before and start off saying it is complicated, they have had many staff leave and new ones are still getting to know their jobs, and fire season disrupts trail work, and funding is tricky, and they haven't finished NEPA studies because they haven't started NEPA studies, because the wildlife biologist has determined two owl nests could be within a half mile of several existing trails and wants them moved or covered up, and the new Chief Ranger is an old equestrian and wants to place priority on improving horse trails out in the sticks, far from mountain bike trails, and also, if we build new trails for mountain bikers, we will have to maintain those trails and we don't feel we have the manpower to do that. You know, it's complicated.

    Then in walks the first group of mountain bikers, who interrupt the FS officials and tell them to just keep doing nothing and blaming forest fires and new planning rules and owl nests and bosses who prefer horse trails. Just leave all the new trails that have been built the last 9 years alone, because we will maintain them. The FS officials ask what new trails? The mountain bikers look at them and say; You just proved why you are failing us. You aren't even aware of the trails we build that are hugely popular. You spend all of your time looking for reasons not to do your job and we spend all of our time, like marines, looking for ways to improvise and overcome. The mountain bikers have passion for what they do and you FS guys are just working for a paycheck, at about 10% effort.

    The more excuses you make for the FS, the less excuses they have to invent. They thank you for giving them even more reasons not to do their jobs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boris Badenov View Post
    You just made the perfect case for rogue trail building. I can picture a mountain biking group setting up a meeting with local FS officials back in 2009, to discuss new trail networks that the FS had promised to build back in 2005. The mountain bikers ask why the FS didn't keep their word. The FS replies and says it's complicated. How so, asks the mountain bikers. Well, first of all our grant writer retired and we haven't trained anyone else how to do it, so we are not actively looking for trail funding. Then the person who ran our trail crew decided to take a job promotion elsewhere and his replacement is still learning our system. Also, it was a busy fire season the last few years and most of our trail crews are also red-card certified and request going out on fires to earn extra cash. That leaves us without any trail crew during peak building season. Plus, we have been hearing about a new planning process coming out of Washington, that might get done in the next few years, so we figure why not just sit on our big fat asses and wait for the new planning process, so we don't get started on a trail project and then waste time and have to start all over in 2012. The mountain bikers then leave and head straight to Home Depot to buy trail building tools.

    Fast forward to 2018. A new group of mountain bikers meets with the Forest Service officials and asks why there has been no new trail work since 2002, even though the new planning rules have been in place since 2012. The FS officials repeat the same excuses as before and start off saying it is complicated, they have had many staff leave and new ones are still getting to know their jobs, and fire season disrupts trail work, and funding is tricky, and they haven't finished NEPA studies because they haven't started NEPA studies, because the wildlife biologist has determined two owl nests could be within a half mile of several existing trails and wants them moved or covered up, and the new Chief Ranger is an old equestrian and wants to place priority on improving horse trails out in the sticks, far from mountain bike trails, and also, if we build new trails for mountain bikers, we will have to maintain those trails and we don't feel we have the manpower to do that. You know, it's complicated.

    Then in walks the first group of mountain bikers, who interrupt the FS officials and tell them to just keep doing nothing and blaming forest fires and new planning rules and owl nests and bosses who prefer horse trails. Just leave all the new trails that have been built the last 9 years alone, because we will maintain them. The FS officials ask what new trails? The mountain bikers look at them and say; You just proved why you are failing us. You aren't even aware of the trails we build that are hugely popular. You spend all of your time looking for reasons not to do your job and we spend all of our time, like marines, looking for ways to improvise and overcome. The mountain bikers have passion for what they do and you FS guys are just working for a paycheck, at about 10% effort.

    The more excuses you make for the FS, the less excuses they have to invent. They thank you for giving them even more reasons not to do their jobs.
    Your word salad completely misses the point of the post you quoted. It also shows that you don't understand the process. My post was about the big-picture planning process and the fact that broader decisions like forest plans are used to guide more detailed and limited ones, like travel plans. I didn't write anything about ground-level trailwork decisions. Like most of your posts in the climate change thread, you can't see the forest because you're arguing about patterns in the bark 2 inches in front of your nose.

    I guess I'm lucky to live near a forest with competent and dedicated staff. I don't agree with all their decisions, but I understand the framework that guides them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Switchblade2 View Post
    Smithhammer can you do us a favor and list all the trails you say were adopted by the USFS prior to the change where you guys are now getting new trails built that are USFS approved. Please provide a list of the new USFS aproved trails since the change. Will I be able to access online videos of the new USFS trails that were built after the adoption process ended?

    I have no clue which USFS District this change has taken place can you provide that information? Are all the trails posted on Trailforks or MTBProject? If not what is a good online database to view the trails you list?
    If you were genuinely interested in the answer, it's not hard to learn. Smithhammer's posts aren't coy about where he lives and rides. I can corroborate everything he wrote, and there are plenty of videos of famous trails in a formerly contentious area.

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    Quote Originally Posted by evasive View Post
    Your word salad completely misses the point of the post you quoted. It also shows that you don't understand the process. My post was about the big-picture planning process and the fact that broader decisions like forest plans are used to guide more detailed and limited ones, like travel plans. I didn't write anything about ground-level trailwork decisions.

    I guess I'm lucky to live near a forest with competent and dedicated staff. I don't agree with all their decisions, but I understand the framework that guides them.
    I completely understand the process. I worked for the Forest Service. You seem easy to please and appease. All someone has to do to excuse their inability to accomplish something is start telling you about a government process, then your eyes glaze over in awe.

    If our government shut down, and the department of interior employees put on furlough, nobody would notice. In fact, most FS districts would improve. Passionate trail users would clean up trash, do maintenance, and design and build much needed connector trails.

    There are very few examples of the government doing something better and more efficiently than civilians. Are you also a big fan of the U.S. Post Office, the IRS, EPA, Department of Energy, Department of Education, Homeland Security, FBI, and the Department of Redundancy Department (made that one up). There is a reason our governments Congress has an approval rating under 10%. That is the degree of effort they put into doing their jobs. I expect more, so should you.

  133. #133
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boris Badenov View Post
    There are very few examples of the government doing something better and more efficiently than civilians.

    Maybe so but without government we would all be poaching trails or paying private landowners to ride them. Providing access to public lands is one of the few decent things our government does IMO so if they don't manage it perfectly I forgive them.
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  134. #134
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    Yeah, federal agencies aren't needed, none of them work. Who needs the FDA, USDA, DOD, DOJ, DOT, The Treasury Department, DOVA, DOS, or the Executive Office of the President, all useless lets get rid of them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    Maybe so but without government we would all be poaching trails or paying private landowners to ride them. Providing access to public lands is one of the few decent things our government does IMO so if they don't manage it perfectly I forgive them.
    Fair point. I've advocated adopt-a-trail programs in the past. I sat down with the FS and suggested there is a progression they should go through to maintain the existing trail system, and it should start with people who use and love those trails. The local volunteer coordinator at the FS told me if they did start using volunteers more, they would be responsible for them and have to train them. They said no thanks. Instead, they embraced something that is typical of government agencies, the Fee Demo program. They tried it out in Sedona at first. They said it was a well thought out program that would raise money to pay government workers to build and maintain trails. I think they wanted $6 to use the trails. They also claimed they were going to improve parking areas with the fees. They did. They installed $75,000 auto-pay kiosks. Then they began using the fees to hire law enforcement guys to make sure people were paying to use the trails. Then they had to use the money to buy the law enforcement guys new law enforcement trucks. Plus benefits for them like health care, sick time, vacation time, work comp claims when they twist their ankles, etc.

    Then the FS needed to go visit shops in Sedona and ask them if they would be willing to put a sign in the window saying you can purchase a Red Rocks Pass at that location. Guess what almost all of the merchants said to them? Maybe we can place those Red Rock Passes right next to our newest bumper stickers that read; Can't See The Forest Thru the Fees. In other words, the FS couldn't find too many local merchants that supported the fee program.

    A year or so into the government fee program revealed that people were not paying to use the trails as the FS expected. So they handed out tickets to people in the parking lots or trail heads. Then people went to court and asked the Forest Service LEO's if they actually saw them using the trail, or if they just saw them in the parking lot. The judges dismissed the cases. Then the FS purchased new signs saying the fees were for parking in the lots, not for using the trails. That way they could write tickets to people who parked without buying a pass. Then the FS had to pay for newly paved parking lots and auto-pay kiosks and the additional law enforcement and their benefits. Guess how much was left over to do trail work? I have no idea. I'd have to file a FOIA request. It would not shock me to hear they lose money by charging fees to ride on public lands. That is how inefficient the government is.

    And all those years there were volunteers right in front of them who were willing to build and maintain local trails for free. There has to be a limit on how much you are willing to forgive them for. I find that the less you know about how they operate, the more understanding you will be. Unfortunately, I worked for them and know far too much about how little they do to continue forgiving them. If they went away, the public lands would still be public lands. I'm sure we could come up with ways to manage it's use. If congress was shut down for the next couple years, do you really think the world would come to an end?

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    That was a great post Boris. Not saying I agree with all of your perspective, but I believe you accurately hit the nail on the head with how some agencies do get out of control.

    The key to me is not to demonize this missteps the agencies make, but be cognizant of those and find a way to bring them into the conversation constructively. IMO, which is mostly rock climbing advocacy with State/Federal Land Managers, it is often one misguided person, usually sitting in the seat with the actual power, that causes these types of scenarios.

    Locally, we had a rock climbing destination removed from access about 15 years ago. I worked personally and with a national advocacy group with the State park unit managing the area for years with zero progress. The head of the unit moved onto to another unit, and within 6 months, his replacement was working with us to re-open the access with very logical steps and checks. Flash forward to now, it is one of the, if not the, most popular local area in a good 100 mile radius.

    It's really hard when the head of the agency is ass-backwards and I am not sure what the solution is when "that" is the problem. However, it is a good reminder to think about most people in the land managing unit are probably in support of local efforts and just trying to do their job to the best of their abilities.

    This has been a great thread so far. Though it has had some twists into ad hominem and off topic, overall, I look forward to reading new posts on this thread more so than any other on MTBR right now. For that, thanks

  137. #137
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    FIFY. Catching on yet?

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  138. #138
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    Quote Originally Posted by roughster View Post
    That was a great post Boris. Not saying I agree with all of your perspective, but I believe you accurately hit the nail on the head with how some agencies do get out of control.

    The key to me is not to demonize this missteps the agencies make, but be cognizant of those and find a way to bring them into the conversation constructively. IMO, which is mostly rock climbing advocacy with State/Federal Land Managers, it is often one misguided person, usually sitting in the seat with the actual power, that causes these types of scenarios.

    Locally, we had a rock climbing destination removed from access about 15 years ago. I worked personally and with a national advocacy group with the State park unit managing the area for years with zero progress. The head of the unit moved onto to another unit, and within 6 months, his replacement was working with us to re-open the access with very logical steps and checks. Flash forward to now, it is one of the, if not the, most popular local area in a good 100 mile radius.

    It's really hard when the head of the agency is ass-backwards and I am not sure what the solution is when "that" is the problem. However, it is a good reminder to think about most people in the land managing unit are probably in support of local efforts and just trying to do their job to the best of their abilities.

    This has been a great thread so far. Though it has had some twists into ad hominem and off topic, overall, I look forward to reading new posts on this thread more so than any other on MTBR right now. For that, thanks
    There was an underfunded and underused state park here. The local trailbuilders lobbied to construct bike trails there for years to no avail. Then the district mangager moved on and his replacement approved the trails right away. The builders went to work and now it's an amazing place to ride and is well-used.
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  139. #139
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    A few thoughts from Oregon in the mid-Willamette Valley. If you don't want to read all of them, my takeaway is that things are getting better with mountain bikers and trails and access around here and it would only be hurt by more unauthorized building.

    I've been riding in the area for about 6 years and building trails for 4. All of my trail building has been on authorized trails, either new-school flow trails on BLM-managed land or sustainable bench-cut XC-oriented trails on OSU research forests. It's all been as a part of working with Team Dirt, a local IMBA chapter.

    There's a big legacy of unauthorized trails around here going back about 30 years. The oldest ones are old-school fall line. A lot of the trails are simply ridden-in through the duff, not even rake-and-ride. Some of the more recent ones are built with technical ride features, berms, etc. In the past four years we've started to see a shift in landowner attitude towards these trails, where they are being adopted and brought in-line with standards, typically guided by a GQTE-type document. We have also had opportunities on local (OSU-managed) properties to build new sustainable bench-cut trails to replace those lost in harvest areas, and been able to expand on those opportunities onto private lands as owners see what we're able to accomplish.

    There's an even longer legacy of old trails that dates back to the early 20th century (or even older), largely in Forest Service-managed lands. As logging in Oregon has faded, many of those trails have fallen into misuse or decay, and it's been mountain bikers that have kept them alive, brought them back, and brought in tourists to ride them. The canonical example would be Oakridge, which is smack dab in the Middle Fork District of the Willamette National Forest. All of the work has been authorized, with participation from USFS managers, many of whom ride.

    And it keeps getting better. Trail groups have built up enough trust with land managers to get NEW trail segments approved (Lawler extension, Cloverpatch-Alpine Tie, Dead Mountain) and more and more old trails resurrected (O'Leary (which was revived by MTBR forum posters), Bunchgrass, Grasshopper).

    With organizations like Trans-Cascadia and the Oregon Timber Trail Alliance coming into the mix, last year there was a single weekend work party that restored an entire network of trails in the Detroit Ranger District with volunteers from all over Oregon. That last one was interesting because the Detroit district management doesn't have the riders like the Middle Fork does, so it really was a case of the volunteers approaching the USFS and getting approval to keep it open in the long term. It's culmination of over a decade of building trust and volunteers partnering with USFS managers.

    It's not great everywhere. The Santiam National Forest doesn't really have many mountain biking opportunities, and there's this one guy doing unauthorized builds on Marys Peak for a few years now to try and slow down mountain bikers. He does it by smoothing the tread and taking out technical features, which only serves to hinder his goals. He's also a terrible trail builder in general (lots of cupping in the tread and poorly-anchored wood work just for starters).

    Even with that aside, it could be better. We don't have challenging natural (technical) trails, really. Nothing like what Washington has at Tiger Mountain for example. I'm amazed by the support that Evergreen gets from the state DNR. And don't even get me started about Duthie Hill, which is a King County Park, holy shit it's amazing.

    So, yeah, work with your land managers, educate them, build trust, show up to volunteer!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Klurejr View Post
    He is clueless and entitled.
    Now that's not very nice. Not practicing what YOU preach and still won't answer my question.

  141. #141
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    Quote Originally Posted by Switchblade2 View Post
    ....Without smith giving a list it’s just isn’t believeable yet what has been accomplished in his area.
    I have no need to pander to your BS. As evasive said, I have mentioned plenty where I live and ride, and quite a few of those trails were built illegally but have since been adopted. More excellent trails continue to be built now, in partnership with LMAs. Others on here have confirmed this. Try doing your own homework before leaping to self-serving conclusions and casting doubts on others just because it doesn't happen to jive with your own experience.. Oh wait - that's just what continually do, isn't it?

    Regardless, I'm done responding to your crap. You're on the 'ignore list.'
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  142. #142
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    Quote Originally Posted by HacksawReynolds View Post
    Now that's not very nice. Not practicing what YOU preach and still won't answer my question.
    The question was riding on unsanctioned trails? We all do it. USFS and BLM policy is illegal only if posted closed. Otherwise, it's a non-issue. Again, your question has nothing to do with the discussion in this thread. It's not even remotely similar to building unsanctioned trail on public or private land without the land manager or owner's permission. Not sure why that's so difficult to understand.

  143. #143
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    Quote Originally Posted by armii View Post
    Yeah, federal agencies aren't needed, none of them work. Who needs the FDA, USDA, DOD, DOJ, DOT, The Treasury Department, DOVA, DOS, or the Executive Office of the President, all useless lets get rid of them.
    I guess I'm OK with that just as long as we can keep the Department of Redundancy Department. And of course the Natural Guard. And as long as we can count on it that those damn truss-pressers will be persecuted. If so I'm all in.

  144. #144
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boris Badenov View Post
    Fair point. I've advocated adopt-a-trail programs in the past. I sat down with the FS and suggested there is a progression they should go through to maintain the existing trail system, and it should start with people who use and love those trails. The local volunteer coordinator at the FS told me if they did start using volunteers more, they would be responsible for them and have to train them. They said no thanks. Instead, they embraced something that is typical of government agencies, the Fee Demo program. They tried it out in Sedona at first. They said it was a well thought out program that would raise money to pay government workers to build and maintain trails. I think they wanted $6 to use the trails. They also claimed they were going to improve parking areas with the fees. They did. They installed $75,000 auto-pay kiosks. Then they began using the fees to hire law enforcement guys to make sure people were paying to use the trails. Then they had to use the money to buy the law enforcement guys new law enforcement trucks. Plus benefits for them like health care, sick time, vacation time, work comp claims when they twist their ankles, etc.

    Then the FS needed to go visit shops in Sedona and ask them if they would be willing to put a sign in the window saying you can purchase a Red Rocks Pass at that location. Guess what almost all of the merchants said to them? Maybe we can place those Red Rock Passes right next to our newest bumper stickers that read; Can't See The Forest Thru the Fees. In other words, the FS couldn't find too many local merchants that supported the fee program.

    A year or so into the government fee program revealed that people were not paying to use the trails as the FS expected. So they handed out tickets to people in the parking lots or trail heads. Then people went to court and asked the Forest Service LEO's if they actually saw them using the trail, or if they just saw them in the parking lot. The judges dismissed the cases. Then the FS purchased new signs saying the fees were for parking in the lots, not for using the trails. That way they could write tickets to people who parked without buying a pass. Then the FS had to pay for newly paved parking lots and auto-pay kiosks and the additional law enforcement and their benefits. Guess how much was left over to do trail work? I have no idea. I'd have to file a FOIA request. It would not shock me to hear they lose money by charging fees to ride on public lands. That is how inefficient the government is.

    And all those years there were volunteers right in front of them who were willing to build and maintain local trails for free. There has to be a limit on how much you are willing to forgive them for. I find that the less you know about how they operate, the more understanding you will be. Unfortunately, I worked for them and know far too much about how little they do to continue forgiving them. If they went away, the public lands would still be public lands. I'm sure we could come up with ways to manage it's use. If congress was shut down for the next couple years, do you really think the world would come to an end?
    Holy smokes 😳. Reading some of these posts makes me appreciate living east of the big river more and more. It really is much more like the real "Wild West" in many areas out here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    The question was riding on unsanctioned trails? We all do it. USFS and BLM policy is illegal only if posted closed. Otherwise, it's a non-issue. Again, your question has nothing to do with the discussion in this thread. It's not even remotely similar to building unsanctioned trail on public or private land without the land manager or owner's permission. Not sure why that's so difficult to understand.
    Well in the state where I live it is LEGAL to access and recreate on private land unless it's posted with no trespassing or no hunting signs. And even if it is posted, or not, and a trespasser gets injured while recreating on the private land, the land owner isn't held liable.

    It's just kinda queer that some people poo poo rogue trail building yet they ride rogue trail.

    Seems like there's a tendency for MTB advocacy groups to make a bigger attention drawing deal about rogue trail building when "dealing" with land managers/owners than need be. Like it gives them something to puff their chests out about as part of their big sell to get trail building permission. Such a business.

  146. #146
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    Quote Originally Posted by HacksawReynolds View Post
    Holy smokes 😳. Reading some of these posts makes me appreciate living east of the big river more and more. It really is much more like the real "Wild West" in many areas out here.
    There are real differences between USFS regions. The Southwestern Region is a shit show in some respects. Here in the Northern Region our local forest staff are trying to engage all the volunteer organizations they can, and they advocate for grant funding for those groups in RTP and RAC cycles. Intermountain Region seems pretty good too, from my limited interactions with them.

  147. #147
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    Quote Originally Posted by HacksawReynolds View Post
    Holy smokes 😳. Reading some of these posts makes me appreciate living east of the big river more and more. It really is much more like the real "Wild West" in many areas out here.



    That's cool that we're both where we want to be, it sounds totally nuts back east to me. Crowded as fork! I got 3 million acres in my back yard that I'm free to get lost in and there's plenty of trails so I don't need to bother making my own.
    I brake for stinkbugs

  148. #148
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    Quote Originally Posted by evasive View Post
    There are real differences between USFS regions. The Southwestern Region is a shit show in some respects.

    SW is the best don't listen to boris!
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  149. #149
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    SW is the best don't listen to boris!
    A former Regional Forester is a family friend. I've heard some of his perspective, and read a lot of articles here and there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by evasive View Post
    There are real differences between USFS regions. The Southwestern Region is a shit show in some respects. Here in the Northern Region our local forest staff are trying to engage all the volunteer organizations they can, and they advocate for grant funding for those groups in RTP and RAC cycles. Intermountain Region seems pretty good too, from my limited interactions with them.
    Interesting. Thank you for sharing that.

  151. #151
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    Quote Originally Posted by evasive View Post
    A former Regional Forester is a family friend. I've heard some of his perspective, and read a lot of articles here and there.

    As far as bureaucracy goes you may be right but when I'm in the backcountry that's all meaningless to me
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  152. #152
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    That's cool that we're both where we want to be, it sounds totally nuts back east to me. Crowded as fork! I got 3 million acres in my back yard that I'm free to get lost in and there's plenty of trails so I don't need to bother making my own.
    Crowded in many areas yes, but in many other areas you'll never see another rider out in the wilds on the trails. Many areas around me are like that. I don't need to bother making my own either, but I enjoy the craft so it's an ongoing project for decades now. And no ones been butt hurt in the PROCESS. Except for on MTBR 😂

  153. #153
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    Quote Originally Posted by HacksawReynolds View Post
    Crowded in many areas yes, but in many other areas you'll never see another rider out in the wilds on the trails. Many areas around me are like that. I don't need to bother making my own either, but I enjoy the craft so it's an ongoing project for decades now. And no ones been butt hurt in the process.👍 Except for on MTBR 😂
    You forgot to capitalize PROCESS!


    and no one actually gets bh around here either except for in the interwebz.
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  154. #154
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    As far as bureaucracy goes you may be right but when I'm in the backcountry that's all meaningless to me
    🙂👍👍
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  155. #155
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    You forgot to capitalize PROCESS!
    .
    Fixed it thanx!!!

  156. #156
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    Quote Originally Posted by HacksawReynolds View Post
    Fixed it thanx!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by evasive View Post
    There are real differences between USFS regions.
    This seems to be true. I am amazed at how well the FS and local groups like COTA work together in Oregon. My riding friends in Bend tell me about proposals made during the winter that get started as soon as the snow melts. They look back and see that NEPA was done years ago on several areas, and tell the public that it doesn't need further NEPA work to delay new trail construction within that area. Volunteer groups are allowed to build very challenging trails that have never been approved (yet) in Flagstaff. They do have to avoid some trails for seasonal concerns of wildlife, as I recall, but they have opened more new trails in a couple years than we have in over ten years.

    The unsanctioned trails in the southwest, particularly in Sedona, have drawn riders from all around the world. You can make a case for Sedona being the sports Mecca, like Moab was in the early days. The trails they fly in to ride are trails designed and built by people like Switchblade, or by Switchblade. The consequences are that it made Sedona the center of the mountain biking world.

    While one group of riders used MTBR to declare those unsanctioned trails would ruin future access to trails for all of us, those of us who spent our time actually riding those trails in Sedona, saw the FS gradually adopt them into their system of trails. From unsanctioned to legal and maintained by the FS, time and time again. None of the naysayers ever posted and said they were wrong. They continue to make the same claims. Some have even stated they have never been to Sedona to ride any trails.

    I have my differences with some of the local land managers in Arizona, but I wouldn't live anywhere else. How many miles have most of you been able to ride the past couple months? We are expecting our first 80 degree day of this year on Monday. Today I met several riders from Ontario, Canada. This is our high season.

  158. #158
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    Not gonna lie, 80 degrees sounds lovely right now. That's 70 degrees warmer than at my house right now. Goodnight friends and friends. 😇

  159. #159
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    Guys, the rog will never be tamed or swayed!

    I use to see eye to eye with him, I am a New Englander after all. However traveling the country and studying how other folks do it I wish we had a different culture.

    The NEMBA boys will argue otherwise (group mentality). But rogue building is more of a norm here than anywhere else I’ve been or read about.

    Largely that’s because of the culture. LMs don’t want “extra work” and riders “don’t want to share”. New Englanders are stubborn and secretive. And hold fast to old ways.

    It’s a shame, these are after all public lands (where they aren’t my opinions differ). But the lack of management and antiquated ideas about management are sad to me.

    However to answer the original idea of the post, no unsanctioned (or poorly sanctioned) building doesn’t negatively affect riders in New England much. It’s what the LMs and riders want. “Hush hush” handshake agreements because it’s small town politics etc.

  160. #160
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceboxsteve View Post
    . It’s what the LMs and riders want. “Hush hush” handshake agreements because it’s small town politics etc.
    It's perfect IMO.
    Get shit done with a minimum of bureaucracy and BS. Sign me up!
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  161. #161
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    It's perfect IMO.
    Get shit done with a minimum of bureaucracy and BS. Sign me up!
    Exhibit A of the “New England mentality” I mentioned.

    I tend to believe public land management and policy should be a bit more professional, open to the public, and inclusive.

    Anyway, this isn’t the thread for that discussion. Point is unsanctioned (or poorly sanctioned) trail building does not have consequences in the northeast.
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  162. #162
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boris Badenov View Post
    This seems to be true. I am amazed at how well the FS and local groups like COTA work together in Oregon. My riding friends in Bend tell me about proposals made during the winter that get started as soon as the snow melts. They look back and see that NEPA was done years ago on several areas, and tell the public that it doesn't need further NEPA work to delay new trail construction within that area. Volunteer groups are allowed to build very challenging trails that have never been approved (yet) in Flagstaff. They do have to avoid some trails for seasonal concerns of wildlife, as I recall, but they have opened more new trails in a couple years than we have in over ten years.

    The unsanctioned trails in the southwest, particularly in Sedona, have drawn riders from all around the world. You can make a case for Sedona being the sports Mecca, like Moab was in the early days. The trails they fly in to ride are trails designed and built by people like Switchblade, or by Switchblade. The consequences are that it made Sedona the center of the mountain biking world.

    While one group of riders used MTBR to declare those unsanctioned trails would ruin future access to trails for all of us, those of us who spent our time actually riding those trails in Sedona, saw the FS gradually adopt them into their system of trails. From unsanctioned to legal and maintained by the FS, time and time again. None of the naysayers ever posted and said they were wrong. They continue to make the same claims. Some have even stated they have never been to Sedona to ride any trails.

    I have my differences with some of the local land managers in Arizona, but I wouldn't live anywhere else. How many miles have most of you been able to ride the past couple months? We are expecting our first 80 degree day of this year on Monday. Today I met several riders from Ontario, Canada. This is our high season.
    Here in MA we pedal year round. I " try" to embrace the 4 seasons. I like to think about no bugs or poison ivy when it's say 20 F or so. I tend to overheat, so I'd much rather it be 55 than 80F. Dry and desert? Just not for me. Forest for shade cover, lakes to swim in post ride, some loam and pine needles on the trails? Sign me up. Cheers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iceboxsteve View Post
    Anyway, this isn’t the thread for that discussion.
    So after YOU brought it up and had your say on the matter, NOW it's not the right thread?

    Speaking of BS...

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  164. #164
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    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    Dry and desert? Just not for me. Forest for shade cover, lakes to swim in post ride, some loam and pine needles on the trails? Sign me up. Cheers.
    Clearly you haven't been to Arizona as we have all of that. I spend most of my time in the mountains at 7000ft+ which is only 1hr20m from my door step and I live in the heart of the desert. I love I can ride year round and in more varied terrain than any other state I have had the chance to ride in or drive through besides Utah.
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    Maybe it doesn't apply in the northeast but the consequences of unsanctioned building sure as hell does in the west on public land. Ask Switchblade if the price he paid to leave his legacy was worth it. My guess is he'd say yes but banned from not one but three national forests (Coconino, Kaibab, and Tonto) as well as being fined is a stiff penalty to pay. On the other hand, I doubt the land manager would have had the balls to build some of the iconic trails in Sedona. But at least in the southwest, that horse has left the barn. The era of illegal trail building is largely over.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    So after YOU brought it up and had your say on the matter, NOW it's not the right thread?

    Speaking of BS...

    Um no? I was posting my opinion about unsanctioned building in the NE and the consequences associated. In regards to the OP.

    My line about “not the right thread” was that discussing our opinions on why and how the northeast is behind the times as far as public land management goes and how it’s a bummer is not appropriate here. We were getting off track.

    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    Maybe it doesn't apply in the northeast but the consequences of unsanctioned building sure as hell does in the west on public land.
    I don’t agree with the unsanctioned and poorly sandctioned building done in the northeast. I would love to see more competent and engaged LMs who seek more mature and public ways of managing their lands. But that’s our culture.
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    It's perfect IMO.
    Get shit done with a minimum of bureaucracy and BS. Sign me up!
    Right?!👍

    I remember when I was the lead organizer for the original Cape Cod NEMBAfest weekend in 1999. We needed some additional Hero sections and also a route for the expert loop to connect to TOT without having to ride the road from the venue and back. Well I'd built a ton of unsanctioned trails with a coupla moto guys who would help "burn" them in. They are VERY steep demanding trails and would be perfect. Well in order to arrow a loop I had to get in touch with the head of conservation for that zone. When I met with him he agreed to let me arrow it but the last thing he said was, "boy you sure have spent a lot of time out in these woods now haven't ya?" I looked at him and said, "yup, nice woods they are." He just looked at me and said, "we'll have at it, but I don't want to hear anything about it" with a slightly half smile crooked grin lol I swear to god it was classic. Goin on 20 years ago now.😂

    Ya we got it pretty dAmn good out here. "Birdwatching" FTW.

  168. #168
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceboxsteve View Post
    Um no? I was posting my opinion about unsanctioned building in the NE and the consequences associated. In regards to the OP.

    My line about “not the right thread” was that discussing our opinions on why and how the northeast is behind the times as far as public land management goes and how it’s a bummer is not appropriate here. We were getting off track.



    I don’t agree with the unsanctioned and poorly sandctioned building done in the northeast. I would love to see more competent and engaged LMs who seek more mature and public ways of managing their lands. But that’s our culture.
    Agree to disagree. Steve, where you living now? Outside of NE?

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    Quote Originally Posted by clockwork View Post
    Clearly you haven't been to Arizona as we have all of that. I spend most of my time in the mountains at 7000ft+ which is only 1hr20m from my door step and I live in the heart of the desert. I love I can ride year round and in more varied terrain than any other state I have had the chance to ride in or drive through besides Utah.
    Nope, never visited. I get the variety, cool. You live in the desert, just not my cup of tea. 1 hr, 20 minutes? Trails are 200 yds from my driveway.

  170. #170
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    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    Agree to disagree. Steve, where you living now? Outside of NE?
    I’d rather not fight in this thread too!

    I will say I think VT is vastly different from other NE states. And while my opinions are broad, what I see from a big picture standpoint, I stand by them.

    Also what I talk about is the norm where I know best, CT. The rogue building is intense here with no signs of slowing and no signs of care from LMs. Western Mass from what I have seen is similar, recently it seems DCR stepped in to get things under control.

    I’m still a tax paying resident of CT and extremely unhappy about the way things are going in state.

  171. #171
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceboxsteve View Post
    I don’t agree with the unsanctioned and poorly sandctioned building done in the northeast. I would love to see more competent and engaged LMs who seek more mature and public ways of managing their lands. But that’s our culture.
    You'd rather see everything choked up in bureaucracy?
    Sounds like the people in heavily managed areas have found that they need to do just as much if not more unsanctioned building just to get around all the BS, with the other option being that little would get done, and what did get done would take forever and cost a fortune. I don't see how that's something to wish for.

    Also, as you say yourself, both the LMs and the riders are getting exactly what they want. So if all the stakeholders are happy, what's the problem? Why would you want to change something that's seems to be working fine for everyone involved?
    "If it ain't broke, why 'fix' it?"
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    Quote Originally Posted by HacksawReynolds View Post
    We are all adults here, we can make decisions for ourselves. I do what I do and am just sharing how the other half live as this thread is related to rogue trail building.

    Fortunately riding here during and after monsoon rains is totally fine for the trails. We drain well.
    Both are perfect examples of my point. I don't really care if that's what you do, but you post in very general terms and argue your points as if they are true everywhere. I've already said I can show you a trail we lost due to rogue construction in my network and I could (but won't) show you the two weeks of emails it took to calm the land manager down and get our advocacy efforts back on track.

    All I'm saying is posting as if rogue building is blanket acceptable is reckless. If someone in my area reads your posts and takes it as validation then you've caused me personally, as well as my whole riding community, a big problem.

    Your argument does not hold up, just the same that it wouldn't hold up if you were posting online promoting drug use or any other illegal behavior. I'm not saying the acts are equal, but promoting bad behavior and then saying 'we're all adults' is just not a valid argument.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    Maybe it doesn't apply in the northeast but the consequences of unsanctioned building sure as hell does in the west on public land. Ask Switchblade if the price he paid to leave his legacy was worth it. My guess is he'd say yes but banned from not one but three national forests (Coconino, Kaibab, and Tonto) as well as being fined is a stiff penalty to pay. On the other hand, I doubt the land manager would have had the balls to build some of the iconic trails in Sedona. But at least in the southwest, that horse has left the barn. The era of illegal trail building is largely over.
    So what may I ask was the tipping point?

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    Quote Originally Posted by iceboxsteve View Post
    I’d rather not fight in this thread too!

    I will say I think VT is vastly different from other NE states. And while my opinions are broad, what I see from a big picture standpoint, I stand by them.

    Also what I talk about is the norm where I know best, CT. The rogue building is intense here with no signs of slowing and no signs of care from LMs. Western Mass from what I have seen is similar, recently it seems DCR stepped in to get things under control.

    I’m still a tax paying resident of CT and extremely unhappy about the way things are going in state.
    VMBA is an abomination.

  175. #175
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    Quote Originally Posted by HacksawReynolds View Post
    So what may I ask was the tipping point?
    The land manager woke up for one. There have been at least 4 folks taken to court in Sedona for illegal trail building. The same LEO is now apparently conducting an investigation in our district of the same national forest although it's hard to get confirmation on that. I do know that game cameras have been installed on a couple of trails. There are no secret handshake trails anymore. What was once word of mouth private reserve is now the toast of Strava and social media. Even the owner of mtbr posted in a thread his pics and a video of a secret stealth trail in Sedona called Tomahawk. This trail is now closed and eradicated. At least in my neck of the woods there is no more low-hanging fruit or areas suitable for a personal little rake and ride affair. The terrain is steep and rocky and requires a serious build with tools. It's hard to get away with, especially when the trails are also being patrolled by the Sierra Club.

    It's easy to make the argument than building unauthorized trails on public land is a selfish action. It's also easy to make the argument that a trail itself is damage to the resource. So, my two cents if you've got the balls to do it then it had better well be a damn good work product. Switchblade is an awesome trail builder. Unfortunately he doesn't work well with others and that's party what got him in hot water. Too often, the trails that get burned in around here are fall line and unsustainable. It gives those of us trying to advocate for more and better trails a black eye and only serves to give the environmental groups more ammunition.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    The land manager woke up for one. There have been at least 4 folks taken to court in Sedona for illegal trail building. The same LEO is now apparently conducting an investigation in our district of the same national forest although it's hard to get confirmation on that. I do know that game cameras have been installed on a couple of trails. There are no secret handshake trails anymore. What was once word of mouth private reserve is now the toast of Strava and social media. Even the owner of mtbr posted in a thread his pics and a video of a secret stealth trail in Sedona called Tomahawk. This trail is now closed and eradicated. At least in my neck of the woods there is no more low-hanging fruit or areas suitable for a personal little rake and ride affair. The terrain is steep and rocky and requires a serious build with tools. It's hard to get away with, especially when the trails are also being patrolled by the Sierra Club.

    It's easy to make the argument than building unauthorized trails on public land is a selfish action. It's also easy to make the argument that a trail itself is damage to the resource. So, my two cents if you've got the balls to do it then it had better well be a damn good work product. Switchblade is an awesome trail builder. Unfortunately he doesn't work well with others and that's party what got him in hot water. Too often, the trails that get burned in around here are fall line and unsustainable. It gives those of us trying to advocate for more and better trails a black eye and only serves to give the environmental groups more ammunition.
    Gotcha. Do you think that MTB advocacy in your area has "highlighted" rogue building which may have woken up the right or wrong people?

  177. #177
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    Quote Originally Posted by HacksawReynolds View Post
    Gotcha. Do you think that MTB advocacy in your area has "highlighted" rogue building which may have woken up the right or wrong people?
    That's an interesting premise but I don't think so. We don't promote or market the area's trails as a riding destination or anything like that. We have no position on social trails other than suggesting that they are meeting a need that is otherwise going unmet by the forest service. To their credit, they have not closed many either. However, the very presence of advanced trails on a mountain that many consider very special and an area of sensitive habitat and wildlife species is a target. The FS has been accused of allowing mtn bikers to have undue influence in land management and the Sierra Club has gone so far as to suggest that they are in collusion with and providing special favors in trade for ongoing volunteer trail work. I know that because we have acquired the correspondence through FOIA. So, continued unsanctioned building does not help as we continue to grow partnerships with the land manager as well as the city and county.

    But I see your point. Maybe if there was no mtn bike advocacy group in the area that maybe things could have gone on in perpetuity. But for how long and indeed most of the advanced steep trails are showing the wear and tear. They are fun but not aligned properly and many are ditches with multiple braids. Even so, there are many who think that or are dismayed at any changes to trails. The FS is willing to overlook most transgressions (see Boris's posts) but one thing that really invokes action is the building of stunts. For example, we had a really fun trail called Flying Fish that existed for 20+ years but then some folks started building stunts on it. And the rest is history and the trail now closed.

    Consequences of unsanctioned trail building-flying-fish-debris.jpg

  178. #178
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    Here in Washington we had a massive dam burst. For decades almost no trail building could happen on state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) land. Then the director of the local bike club took a position with DNR in charge of recreation. Since then, there's been an explosion of new trails created by both the club and DNR. Some these new trails are double-black diamond. There's more than enough going on here to keep the most dedicated builders busy for a long time. There's no longer any reason or point to building rogue trails here.
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  179. #179
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    Quote Originally Posted by HacksawReynolds View Post
    Gotcha. Do you think that MTB advocacy in your area has "highlighted" rogue building which may have woken up the right or wrong people?
    Ignoring my last post? I was hoping it'd help you understand my point of view, or at least cue you to help me understand yours.

  180. #180
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    Quote Originally Posted by evasive View Post
    The reason for the travel restriction is the concern that if new trails give mountain bikers access to new landscapes, pirate trails will proliferate.
    Absolutely will occur. Portland's Forest Park is a great example of this. They may be trails the homeless built, but they are used by mt. bikes and joggers that find them.
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  181. #181
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    Quote Originally Posted by HacksawReynolds View Post
    Gotcha. Do you think that MTB advocacy in your area has "highlighted" rogue building which may have woken up the right or wrong people?
    I think we've seen a little of that in my area, but the biggest issues that rogue builders have faced (in terms of their trails getting shut down), is on them, and it's the sanctioned builders are the ones that are doing the damage control with the land managers to get some of those trails improved, sanctioned, and re-opened.

    The sanctioned building was getting a lot of good publicity, and I noticed a definite up-tick in very brazen rogue building around that same time. I can't say one is for certain related to the other, but it sure seemed like a bit of "me too" building going on by folks that couldn't distinguish the difference between sanctioned trail building and rogue. So, they put unsanctioned trail in the most in-your-face and sure to be noticed locations.

    So, rogue building went from decades of being mostly low-key work with only sporadic and minimal efforts by the land managers to curb it (mostly removing rickety wooden stunts), to it being a very obvious and high-profile activity that was also made worse because of strava and social media.

    It used to take years for folks to learn where are the unsanctioned trails were, but nowdays, anybody can hop on Strava and find virtually every trail out there.

    So, as in Rockman's case, our local land managers woke up, got LEOs involved, and the blowback from rogue building not only got a bunch of those trails closed, it has also damaged relationships that were bearing fruit for sanctioned builds.
    No dig no whine

  182. #182
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    Quote Originally Posted by pdxmark View Post
    Absolutely will occur. Portland's Forest Park is a great example of this. They may be trails the homeless built, but they are used by mt. bikes and joggers that find them.
    Yes, but the issue I raised was bikers building new trails, not riding trails they happen across.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    That's an interesting premise but I don't think so. We don't promote or market the area's trails as a riding destination or anything like that. We have no position on social trails other than suggesting that they are meeting a need that is otherwise going unmet by the forest service. To their credit, they have not closed many either. However, the very presence of advanced trails on a mountain that many consider very special and an area of sensitive habitat and wildlife species is a target. The FS has been accused of allowing mtn bikers to have undue influence in land management and the Sierra Club has gone so far as to suggest that they are in collusion with and providing special favors in trade for ongoing volunteer trail work. I know that because we have acquired the correspondence through FOIA. So, continued unsanctioned building does not help as we continue to grow partnerships with the land manager as well as the city and county.

    But I see your point. Maybe if there was no mtn bike advocacy group in the area that maybe things could have gone on in perpetuity. But for how long and indeed most of the advanced steep trails are showing the wear and tear. They are fun but not aligned properly and many are ditches with multiple braids. Even so, there are many who think that or are dismayed at any changes to trails. The FS is willing to overlook most transgressions (see Boris's posts) but one thing that really invokes action is the building of stunts. For example, we had a really fun trail called Flying Fish that existed for 20+ years but then some folks started building stunts on it. And the rest is history and the trail now closed.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Flying Fish debris.jpg 
Views:	54 
Size:	110.9 KB 
ID:	1179951
    Ugh that's a bummer. There's an area near where my in laws live where I ride when we visit that has dozens of miles of rogue trails on 10's of thousands of acres of mostly private land that has been used by MTB's and moto's for well over 30 years with no issues. Great mix of riding. One area is seeing some crazy man made stunts being built and trees surrounding the trails are being cut to build the stunts. My fear is that it's just a matter of time.......

    Thank you for your thoughtful response to my question.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheDwayyo View Post
    Ignoring my last post? I was hoping it'd help you understand my point of view, or at least cue you to help me understand yours.
    Easy guy, I worked my @ss off today and just finally gotta chance to sit down and peruse thru here with a hot cup of ginger tea. Facking cold out brrrrrrr!

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    Quote Originally Posted by twd953 View Post
    I think we've seen a little of that in my area, but the biggest issues that rogue builders have faced (in terms of their trails getting shut down), is on them, and it's the sanctioned builders are the ones that are doing the damage control with the land managers to get some of those trails improved, sanctioned, and re-opened.

    The sanctioned building was getting a lot of good publicity, and I noticed a definite up-tick in very brazen rogue building around that same time. I can't say one is for certain related to the other, but it sure seemed like a bit of "me too" building going on by folks that couldn't distinguish the difference between sanctioned trail building and rogue. So, they put unsanctioned trail in the most in-your-face and sure to be noticed locations.

    So, rogue building went from decades of being mostly low-key work with only sporadic and minimal efforts by the land managers to curb it (mostly removing rickety wooden stunts), to it being a very obvious and high-profile activity that was also made worse because of strava and social media.

    It used to take years for folks to learn where are the unsanctioned trails were, but nowdays, anybody can hop on Strava and find virtually every trail out there.

    So, as in Rockman's case, our local land managers woke up, got LEOs involved, and the blowback from rogue building not only got a bunch of those trails closed, it has also damaged relationships that were bearing fruit for sanctioned builds.
    Yup it all makes perfect sense which is why I asked.

    Oh ya and phuck STRAVA.😈

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    Quote Originally Posted by iceboxsteve View Post
    I’d rather not fight in this thread too!

    I will say I think VT is vastly different from other NE states. And while my opinions are broad, what I see from a big picture standpoint, I stand by them.

    Also what I talk about is the norm where I know best, CT. The rogue building is intense here with no signs of slowing and no signs of care from LMs. Western Mass from what I have seen is similar, recently it seems DCR stepped in to get things under control.

    I’m still a tax paying resident of CT and extremely unhappy about the way things are going in state.
    The riding in CT and Western Mass is overall some of the best riding in New England IMO. Both places offer all you need. Tech and elevation (even in CT)

    So do you not ride in CT since you are so unhappy with how things roll there? You probably shouldn't.

    Maybe you should move to VT. I mean it's where many many CT folk transplant themselves.

  187. #187
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    That's an interesting premise but I don't think so. We don't promote or market the area's trails as a riding destination or anything like that. We have no position on social trails other than suggesting that they are meeting a need that is otherwise going unmet by the forest service. To their credit, they have not closed many either. However, the very presence of advanced trails on a mountain that many consider very special and an area of sensitive habitat and wildlife species is a target. The FS has been accused of allowing mtn bikers to have undue influence in land management and the Sierra Club has gone so far as to suggest that they are in collusion with and providing special favors in trade for ongoing volunteer trail work. I know that because we have acquired the correspondence through FOIA. So, continued unsanctioned building does not help as we continue to grow partnerships with the land manager as well as the city and county.

    But I see your point. Maybe if there was no mtn bike advocacy group in the area that maybe things could have gone on in perpetuity. But for how long and indeed most of the advanced steep trails are showing the wear and tear. They are fun but not aligned properly and many are ditches with multiple braids. Even so, there are many who think that or are dismayed at any changes to trails. The FS is willing to overlook most transgressions (see Boris's posts) but one thing that really invokes action is the building of stunts. For example, we had a really fun trail called Flying Fish that existed for 20+ years but then some folks started building stunts on it. And the rest is history and the trail now closed.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Flying Fish debris.jpg 
Views:	54 
Size:	110.9 KB 
ID:	1179951

    Something similar has been happening off and on in my local riding area. The trails have existed for longer than I have been alive (currently 39) in an area that was a mining quarry, then farmland, then 4x4 and moto trails and is now owned by California Fish n Game. Parts of it have been "closed" to all access by Fish n Game. However the enforcement was pretty lax. Anyone who comes to the area to recreate will have a very hard time telling what is official trails and what is not, the areas all blend together and run into privately owned land. I have lived in the area for 10 years and ride out there once a week. About 5-6 years ago some guys/kids? I don't really know who, built a new rogue trail was built with a number of large gap jumps and big berms. Soon after kids were getting air lifted out by emergency services as the jumps were obviously too big of a skill level for some riders. I am pretty sure this brought the trails to the attention of Fish n Game who before this time ignored the trails that had been in existence for decades. They came out and bull-dozed the jump line, but left all the other trails alone.

    Within a few weeks the jumps were back and again hospital trips, helicopters, etc....

    In 2016 a second technical trail that had a bunch of big gap jumps at the start of it was built, so now there were 2 of these trails in close proximity.

    Fast forward to late 2017 and the enforcement came back strong:
    http://forums.mtbr.com/california-so...s-1060133.html

    They bull dozed both the Jump lines in the past few weeks when the sabotage shown above did not work and rocks were just moved.

    Again the old trails with basic berms that have been there since before Fish n Game took over the land have been left alone and are used daily by a huge variety of trail users, Hikers, MTBers, Horseback riders, runners, etc.

    If the rogue trail builders had just left the existing trail system in place I feel that less spotlight would be put on the location and Fish n Game would of continued a policy of Management via ignorance.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheDwayyo View Post
    Ignoring my last post? I was hoping it'd help you understand my point of view, or at least cue you to help me understand yours.
    Ok, I totally understand your point of view and can respect it. I would never want my posts to cause you or anyone issues in your area or theirs.

    Even tho it seems as tho rogue trail was "ok" in many or maybe even most areas outside of New England before IMBA and other advocacy groups became a thing, I see that that has changed, not out here so much, but definitely out there.

    It's unfortunate but not unexpected to hear about an uptick in "in your face" rogue trail building in some areas where advocacy groups have pushed to have legal sanctioned trail building approved which attracts MANY more riders thru marketing, social media, and STRAVA. Areas that were low profile and quiet before are becoming louder and complicated in some cases.

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    Wooden stunts in particular, or anything that involves a dig pit, are things that pull a lot of attention. If you're building that sort of stuff 'under the radar', you need to really choose your spot carefully. Definitely not something that you should be doing in or along an established trail system on public land.
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    Agreed^^^^^^^^^

    Which is why I'm such a fan/proponent of very low impact trail creating. No digging, no duff molestation. Non attention grabbing trail. Plenty of natural rock and trannies can be incorporated without the use of a shovel or removing the earths durable water draining duff. A proper rogue trail is one that can vanish after one moderately windy day of autumn leaf fall. If you created it, then you know where it goes. For others, they wouldn't even know that there's a trail there or which way to go in till its leaf packed by tire, but even then......

  191. #191
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    Quote Originally Posted by HacksawReynolds View Post
    Maybe you should move to VT. I mean it's where many many CT folk transplant themselves.
    Naw, thinking southern ME/NH. Gunna come sanitize the stuff you’re doing I think.

  192. #192
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheDwayyo View Post
    Both are perfect examples of my point. I don't really care if that's what you do, but you post in very general terms and argue your points as if they are true everywhere. I've already said I can show you a trail we lost due to rogue construction in my network and I could (but won't) show you the two weeks of emails it took to calm the land manager down and get our advocacy efforts back on track.

    Your problem is your land manager, not rogue trail builders. No competent land manager would blame a dedicated group of mountain bikers for the unauthorized work done by young riders looking to build some unsustainable thrill ride. Give me the name of the trail you lost and the name of the land manager. I want to follow up on your story.

    All I'm saying is posting as if rogue building is blanket acceptable is reckless. If someone in my area reads your posts and takes it as validation then you've caused me personally, as well as my whole riding community, a big problem.

    Is this another one of your perfect examples? It's utter rubbish. If some kid does harm to himself or others based on something he read on social media, he's an idiot and needs to take personal responsibility for being an idiot. If you and your riding community can't handle a rogue trail and know how to work with your land manager to shut it down, you need help. But most of us have been through this many times and can talk you through it. Just try not to be such a drama queen about it. The better analogy would be that rogue trail builders in your area create a dozen new trail routes and connectors. You get angry because you see yourself as the good guy who puts in all those hours attending boring meetings that lead nowhere. But two years later, 10 of those 12 rogue trails get adopted as system trails and you and your riding community get to enjoy them.

    Your argument does not hold up, just the same that it wouldn't hold up if you were posting online promoting drug use or any other illegal behavior. I'm not saying the acts are equal, but promoting bad behavior and then saying 'we're all adults' is just not a valid argument.
    Here is your argument. If I promote drug use on this forum, and you go kill yourself by taking drugs, I'm to blame for you killing yourself. That is your idea of a valid argument? It's nonsense. I've been told by people on these forums to go ride Highline Trail in Sedona. But then I crashed and got hurt, so they must be to blame. Nope, that isn't how it works. If rogue trail building accomplishes it's objective 95% of the time, you seem to believe that those few failures make all rogue building a waste of time and a threat to you personally. If you lost one trail, figure out how to get another better trail. You seem more than willing to throw fellow riders under the bus to get back in favor with your land manager. Figure it out. Your failures are not the fault of rogue trail building.

  193. #193
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    Quote Originally Posted by Switchblade2 View Post
    Hack I once built a trail at the Whistler Bike Park. It took me one day to get permission to build it and about three weeks to build it. It went through a dense new growth forest, so I had to cut out about 100 trees to establish a sustainable line. I was given a chainsaw by the Park trail foreman so it was an easy task to cut the trees.

    The duff was about 4-6” deep and it was like riding on a magic carpet. Some sections of trail were on steep granite faces and one section was down about a fifty foot groove in the cliff face.

    It was kind of like finding the NOTCH on the UPS trail in Moab that tens of thousand ride each year.

    The problem with the Whistler trail was that in one week it became THE WHISTLER TRAIL OF THE WEEK. Everyday hundreds of riders were riding the trail. After about a month the duff was gone, kaput.

    Fortunately the trail was routed in a sustainable manner so MOST of the trail held up to the severe mechanical erosion that every popular trail receives from riders looking for fun challenging trails.

    IMO the key is routing not the build.
    Routing is THE key to be sure. Mmmmm that magic carpet.

  194. #194
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceboxsteve View Post
    Naw, thinking southern ME/NH. Gunna come sanitize the stuff you’re doing I think.
    You'd hate it here. Everything is too shoot from the hip for you. Nothing is organized or PC enough for you. And the riding sux.

  195. #195
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boris Badenov View Post
    Here is your argument. If I promote drug use on this forum, and you go kill yourself by taking drugs, I'm to blame for you killing yourself. That is your idea of a valid argument? It's nonsense. I've been told by people on these forums to go ride Highline Trail in Sedona. But then I crashed and got hurt, so they must be to blame. Nope, that isn't how it works. If rogue trail building accomplishes it's objective 95% of the time, you seem to believe that those few failures make all rogue building a waste of time and a threat to you personally. If you lost one trail, figure out how to get another better trail. You seem more than willing to throw fellow riders under the bus to get back in favor with your land manager. Figure to out. Your failures are not the fault of rogue trail building.
    ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  196. #196
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    Quote Originally Posted by HacksawReynolds View Post
    Agreed^^^^^^^^^

    Which is why I'm such a fan/proponent of very low impact trail creating. No digging, no duff molestation. Non attention grabbing trail. Plenty of natural rock and trannies can be incorporated without the use of a shovel or removing the earths durable water draining duff. A proper rogue trail is one that can vanish after one moderately windy day of autumn leaf fall. If you created it, then you know where it goes. For others, they wouldn't even know that there's a trail there or which way to go in till its leaf packed by tire, but even then......
    Yep.

    We've almost come full circle in this thread.


    There are just some posters who appear to have difficulty grasping there is more than just one effective way to get trails built, and that may be largely dependent on where you live and the local culture.

    Some seem to relish the rules and bureaucracy needed to build trails in their parts. Or, due to their own frustration they lash out at those who've found a way to avoid such obstacles - the low impact builders who follow the "no harm, no foul" mentality. They are deemed trouble makers by radicalizing that approach and painting them the evil, destructive, rogue builders.



    East vs West....

    Are people aware of the underlying mentality of many toward use of land? In the East, our country's cradle of its industrial revolution, the land has been viewed as a resource to be "used" - unfortunately. This is the highly pervasive mentality of those in the coal mining area, and later timber harvesting area, from which I come and have done much of my building. The West appears to hold an attitude of "protection" towards it lands and in keeping them "as is", which I think is good. This is of course all relatively speaking East vs. West - there are clearly exceptions.



    When people see 40 ton coal trucks rolling through the woods everyday they generally don't get excited over a 6" wide trail scratched into the earth with a leaf rake by one guy.

  197. #197
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    Quote Originally Posted by HacksawReynolds View Post
    Agreed^^^^^^^^^

    Which is why I'm such a fan/proponent of very low impact trail creating. No digging, no duff molestation. Non attention grabbing trail. Plenty of natural rock and trannies can be incorporated without the use of a shovel or removing the earths durable water draining duff. A proper rogue trail is one that can vanish after one moderately windy day of autumn leaf fall. If you created it, then you know where it goes. For others, they wouldn't even know that there's a trail there or which way to go in till its leaf packed by tire, but even then......
    We have a bunch of private stash trail at our cabin, don't really want a lot of people riding it, a collection of deer trails, old corridors, some new connectors. Will disappear in a few years if not used, and I like that too. I have built plenty of official trail, but I still enjoy linking cow and game trails, two tracks, logging and rail corridors, maybe a little bushwacking thrown in here and there. To me that is still what mountain biking is about.
    I ride with the best dogs.




  198. #198
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    Quote Originally Posted by bsieb View Post
    We have a bunch of private stash trail at our cabin, don't really want a lot of people riding it, a collection of deer trails, old corridors, some new connectors. Will disappear in a few years if not used, and I like that too. I have built plenty of official trail, but I still enjoy linking cow and game trails, two tracks, logging and rail corridors, maybe a little bushwacking thrown in here and there. To me that is still what mountain biking is about.
    Yup love it. Nothing like having networks to oneself. Keeps you busy riding just to keep them ridden in. Selfish? No it's called self care.

    Just got in from an unreal snow ride on trails that no one else uses. With all of the whacky weather we've had, any other networks that see any traffic are disaster ribbons of glare ice. No thanks. I keep stuff covered until it makes sense to boot pack groom it into tight narrow grippy non studded skinny tire bliss.

    Well worth the work and effort.
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  199. #199
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    I'm not sure how it is in the East but on public land in the West there are two major stumbling blocks. The Endangered Species Act and the Historical Antiquities Act. Whether we like it or not the PROCESS begins there.

  200. #200
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    Mountain bikers are generally a rational bunch...until someone moves a rock on our favorite trail and we lose our minds - LMN

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