Odd/Even day feedback- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Odd/Even day feedback

    I'm working on a trail sharing schedule in Auburn, CA with other trail users. We're doing research on places that utilize some form of odd/even trail days. This link: Mill Creek Canyon - Salt Lake County Parks - Salt Lake County mentions the following:

    Bicycles:
    Even-numbered days -- Are allowed on Big Water, Little Water and Great Western trails.
    Odd-numbered days -- Are not allowed on the upper Mill Creek Big Water, Little Water and Great Western trails.
    Bikes are always allowed on the Pipeline trail (regardless of day.)


    How is this working (or not working)?

    Do mt. bikers generally follow the rules?

    How is "enforcement" handled? Via patrol or just peer pressure?

    I'd appreciate any feedback. Feel free to PM me if you don't want to post your insights publicly.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    So I live in Utah and ride that Canyon occasionally. I'm not a hiker so do I'm biased towards mtn bikers. The odd even could work but I don't like how they do it. They allow hikers any day of the week and only bikers on even days. I think if your going to do it, do it the same for hikers. Only allow them on odd days. So as it sits I don't like that I can only ride on even days. As such I only rude it a few times a year. Im not exactly sure who polices it but I did ride it one on a day I wasn't supposed to and got yelled at alot by the hikers but no one can really do anything to you I don't think. ...? And off topic a little. Hikers with dogs are supposed to have a leash. A lot of them don't and they get mad at bikers for getting close to there dogs.... Go figure? Plus they think it is a hikers trail only and don't like bikes on it even when it is our day...?

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  3. #3
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    A little clarification on the issue:
    Off-leash dogs are allowed on the Upper Mill Creek trails on odd-numbered days. Dogs must be on leash on even numbered days. The even/odd strategy was instituted in about 2001 due to the number of biker/off-leash dog interactions. The tension had been building for a number of years due to user conflict and increased bike traffic.
    Since the even/odd strategy was instituted, I can't say the number of conflicts have decreased, but at least there is a framework for what to expect on those upper trails. For actual numbers, perhaps you can contact the Wasatch-Cache National Forest?

    Despite the rules, there will always be cyclists who don't yield right-of-way or do yield right of way but scare the p!ss out of hikers when they come around a corner unexpectedly. That section of trail is very frequently shuttled, so there's plenty of opportunity for user conflict.

    I *think* that the rule is mostly followed by mtn bikers as there are alternative descent options from the top that don't include the upper Mill Creek drainage. However, I've seen plenty of off-leash dogs while riding there on even-numbered days. It's pretty easy to drop the leash or remove it when you are out of the parking lot.

    Enforcement and penalties? No idea. Again...the USFS might have those numbers for you.

    In general, I think it's the best option that is available. The other option, which is more common, especially in areas where the ratio of hikers/walkers to mtn bikers is more skewed, is to just prohibit bikes completely.

    Personally, I rarely ride upper Mill Creek trails these days as the amount of quality singletrack has increased by probably an order of magnitude since 2000~ish.

  4. #4
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    Thanks, bplaizier. I hear ya! It would be nice if we got our own day, but at this point (in my area), many of us just want some access to trails we can't currently ride legally. The way it might work here is hikers and equestrians that don't like sharing trails with bikes should enjoy a bike-free trail every other day, and those hikers and equestrians that don't mind bikes can enjoy the trail every day. Still means bikers need to ride with courtesy and caution... and at this point, we'd take it!

    If anyone else has personal insight on how the Mills Creek Canyon is working, I'd appreciate hearing it. Thanks!

  5. #5
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    Thanks, charcist. Interesting to learn it's more about dogs and bikes vs. what we face in many places in California (everyone vs. bikes). Since it will take 10-15 years for a new trail to be built in this damn state (from concept to completion), we are trying to work out a system for sharing the current trail network, especially given how many mt. bikers are using trails vs. equestrians (who got us booted long before mtb advocacy existed).

    Happy trails,

    EB

  6. #6
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    IMO the Mill Creek thing works pretty well. That is a *crowded* trail for UT and even if you wanted to ride it on a no-bike day, it would be a disaster - you'd get the stinkeye from about 500 people and spend your whole time stopping and waiting for gaggles of dogs, kids, etc. I hike there (with kid and dog) but only on no-bike days, and I've only ONCE seen mountain bikers (who were walking their bikes and looking miserable).

    AFAIK there is little/no official enforcement, just peer pressure and signage, but it works pretty well. The trail design is pretty awful for shared use with a lot of high speed stuff and blind corners so I avoid that whole area at really crowded times. With a little bit of work to create some chokes and speed checks, plus maybe some directional designations for certain sections, it might be shareable at medium volume but it's just too popular, honestly, so the alternate day thing is good.

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  7. #7
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    It's better than nothing, and that is what we have a whole lot of her in Marin
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt View Post
    IMO the Mill Creek thing works pretty well. That is a *crowded* trail for UT and even if you wanted to ride it on a no-bike day, it would be a disaster - you'd get the stinkeye from about 500 people and spend your whole time stopping and waiting for gaggles of dogs, kids, etc. I hike there (with kid and dog) but only on no-bike days, and I've only ONCE seen mountain bikers (who were walking their bikes and looking miserable).
    -Walt
    Agreed. However, the opposite if often not true. Pretty much all foot traffic w/dogs I've come across on bike days - even very early in the AM doing a pre-work Crest shuttle - have not had their animal(s) leashed. And they usually give us the stink/evil eye, like we're the ones in the wrong.

    What I see is bikers generally trying to respect the odd-even restrictions, and hiker/runners/families/etc disregarding it almost universally.

  9. #9
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    I have literally never seen a leashed dog on Shoreline, where, ostensibly, they must be leashed at all times.

    But c'est la vie. I just basically expect kids and dogs to do dumb/unpredictable stuff and get my shred on somewhere else on trails where I know I won't encounter anyone. Mill Creek is not one of those places - I ride very defensively/carefully there no matter what day or time it is unless I have a completely clear line of sight for a very long way.

    -Walt

  10. #10
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    The Even/Odd thing works OK. For the most part bikers follow the rules and about 50% of the people keep their dogs leashed when required. The Forest service does patrol and ticket people breaking the rules but I have never seen them anywhere but the parking lot.

    The rules are completely unnecessary most of the time. The trail is only crowded in the evening, weekends and holidays. I go up there to walk my dog on a non bike Monday at noon and see less then 10 people in 3 hours. That's not enough volume to warrant regulation. However if you go on that same day at 7 pm its a zoo. The rules are needed to reduce volume at peak hours only. It just gets hard to enforce a 4pm curfew on biking.
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  11. #11
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    I have never seen any enforcement of the leash requirements on any trail in Salt Lake County ever. I haven't even heard of anyone getting cited for an off-leash dog anywhere. There seems to be a clear double standard with this Odd/Even policy, and the biking restrictions in general. I wouldn't attempt to ride down Millcreek on an Odd day. I imagine I'd get angry comments and sneers all the way to the bottom. But, I have seen several unleashed dogs on Even days. It's just assumed that everybody must love dogs.

    All that being said, it's better than no access at all. Mountain biking has been going on in Millcreek Canyon for decades now. There is a user base that wouldn't take any trail closures around here without some vocal and active resistance.

    Mostly, I think the odd/even system works generally well around here because there are so many other options in the area. If you want to go hiking on a trail where you can be absolutely assured that you'll not encounter a guy on a bike, you can take your pick of a dozen prime areas. If you want to bike some single track away from the dog-walkers, you can easily find that too. There is something like 400 miles of biking trails in the Park City area, and enough on the Salt Lake County side to keep most people happy.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by authalic View Post
    I have never seen any enforcement of the leash requirements on any trail in Salt Lake County ever. I haven't even heard of anyone getting cited for an off-leash dog anywhere.
    There is some enforcement in Millcreek. I was on a quick pre-work AM Pipeline ride early in the season last year and a UPD officer was writing tickets to a woman who had five dogs off-leash on an even day. If I heard her screaming right, $100 per dog was the going rate.

    I even saw an officer wheezing, teetering, and profusely sweating his way along Pipeline one time. I would have hated to be a scofflaw that day. He looked...pretty unhappy to have pulled that duty.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by authalic View Post
    I have never seen any enforcement of the leash requirements on any trail in Salt Lake County ever. I haven't even heard of anyone getting cited for an off-leash dog anywhere. There seems to be a clear double standard with this Odd/Even policy, and the biking restrictions in general. I wouldn't attempt to ride down Millcreek on an Odd day. I imagine I'd get angry comments and sneers all the way to the bottom. But, I have seen several unleashed dogs on Even days. It's just assumed that everybody must love dogs.
    Yeah, it is more of a dog management thing than a hiker/biker management. My belief is that the mountain bikers respect the rule a lot more than the dog walkers, as I can't remember the last time I saw a biker on a non-biking day up there, but there are off-leash dogs every time I ride on an even day. Of course, we don't hike up there much anymore because the trails smell like dog crap -- due to the fact that most of the other local canyons don't allow dogs at all due to watershed issues, everyone with a dog ends up in Mill Creek. Fortunately, Big and Little Cottonwood don't allow dogs at all, and the hiking is better up there anyway, so that is where I prefer to take my kids hiking.

    In case the OP doesn't know, Mill Creek is kind of the outlet for one of the most popular shuttled trails in the area (the Wasatch Crest); my guess is the majority of mtb traffic is people who are completing the Crest trail. Although Mill Creek was a prime singletrack destination 15 years ago, I don't know many people who go up there just to ride the Mill Creek trails anymore (although I'm sure there are some who do). I would like to see the hikers' access limited somewhat, rather than just trying to deal with the dogs -- that would work a lot better than what we have in Mill Creek right now. For example, I would suggest restricting hikers from a certain trail on even days (there is a most popular route down that isn't even that great for hiking, as it is the steepest and rockiest trail in the system), and funneling the bikes to that trail. That would minimize conflicts and issues far more than what we have going now.

    Personally, I kind of like the directional trail system even more, at least in a mtb-heavy area. We have another trail center (Corner Canyon) that has uphill preferred trails and downhill only (w/ no hikers allowed, I think). Makes it so even if there are 50 cars in the parking area, you don't see many other people, because we're all going the same direction.
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