el'Naturel or Manufactured fun?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    Killer of Chains
    Join Date
    Feb 2004

    el'Naturel or Manufactured fun?

    While building some stunts at the local trail area over the weekend, I came to a debate with my friends who were helping me build.

    We had three issues:

    1) How much cutting of "nice looking" fallen timber did we want to do.
    2) How "obvious" did we want to make our stunts.
    3) How could we control usage of the trail.

    1) Most of the area where we (mostly I) ride is a no-motoized vehicals area. Mostly single track, and mostly used by people walking dogs or kids riding bikes. Occassionaly I will see a cyclocross rider or a guy on a mountainbike, but most of the time, I'm riding down there by myself or with friends.
    Like mentioned in previous posts, the trail is not maintained by the local goverment, although I'm not even sure its theirs to maintain, as the nearbye railroad might own the area and neglect maintaining it (except for adding metal posts to restict access to ATV's and Jeeps.)
    Its a relatively nice looking trail, snaking through 3 mile strip along the river. Lots of fallen trees sometimes cross or fall beside the trail. They make it look pretty.
    My friends and I took some of these trees and made them into log-rides. With small wooden ramps to get up on one end. We flattened the top (which I didn't think we needed to), but made them fun things to hit.
    I feel sort of bad cutting up "pretty" stuff like this, but considering the low use of the trail, I didn't think making such small modifications would really tick people off.
    2) We tried to keep these small ramps and log rides concealed, using other logs, or split logs as ramps to higher rides, and not making clearcut paths to them, but you can still see that obviously someone has taken a chainsaw to lower or flatten certain logs.
    3) While doing our work we encountered some guys on 4wheelers who had slipped by the metal poles (pretty easy to get around) and were riding on the trail. They would get held up by fallen trees that we let in place, but only just go around them. I told them we did not cut the fallen trees for their easy access, nor for dirt bikes. They replied "ya, we wanted just a little bit more space between some of your cuts back the trail", to which I said "well next time we'll make them just a little more narrow." They were nice guys (I ride ATV at my buddies place), but this section of trail isn't really good for them to be riding on; as like I said earlier, there are kids and dogs on the relatively tight singletrack. Lots of blind corners as well. Up river, in the area before "our" section,there is an area that has been pretty much destroyed by motorized vehicles. I'll admit, i've Jeeped down there before, but the only reason its gotten bad is because no-one enforces or manages the area, so the dikheds that don't care just tear it up, and the people who do respect the land (like myself I like to think) get in trouble.
    My main worry is that someone will think that we're making stunts for dirt bikes or atv's, and then we'll get in trouble with whoever owns the land for making small bicycle only stunts. Your thoughts?

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Find out who the land manager is, be prepared to ask the right questions, and give the right answers and see if you can make it legit.

    And i don't care, i'm really not a trail snob for any other user. But ATV's suck and should be banned from singletrack period. Hell there is a dirtbike area local, all build and sustained, by motoheads and some of the trails they've specifically signed no 4 wheel use. i think old roads should be converted for ATV, but nothing that starts skinny should ever get fat for 4 wheels....

  3. #3
    zrm is offline
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    First of all you need to know who owns the land and how they feel about you building stunts, even low key easy ones on their land. They may be willing to work with you they may not, it sounds like people use the land already, but most land owners or managers if it's publicly owned consider building structures to be a lot different than hiking or riding trails. You'd probably want someone to ask you if it was OK to build structures on your property
    Once you're talked to them you can discuss the whole motorized issue and see what their feelings are. It might seem like a big can of worms and a hassle, but working with land owners and managers will result in more and better long lasting places to ride.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Sorry my friend but it looks like it's time for some tough love.

    What were you thinking?
    #1. In the owner/land managers eyes,YOU represent ALL mountain bikers.
    "you'll never have a chance to make another FIRST impression."
    #2. If anyone hurts themself on those stunts, the owner/manager is liable.
    (a.) If they have a good lawyer you could be saddled with this liability.
    #3. Mountain bikers as a group are First judged by our attitude (word or deed)
    and SECOND by the damage we cause.(trail & area habitat)
    To me it's a simple decision. disassemble (save for use later) the stunt, ask for permission, and go from there. (always remember #1.)
    Good Luck! Hope you get your building permit.

    P.S. I'm not a big fan of riding my bike with or on the same trails as the moto/atv people either, but here in the west it's issues like this that have owners, managers and government agencies putting us mtbr's in that same catagory. (read WILDERNESS AREAS)

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