WAFTA in the news again

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  • 11-07-2008
    drboudreaux
    WAFTA in the news again
    http://www.sltrib.com/ci_10916764?IA...www.sltrib.com

    Downhill only trail in works
    Freeride trails group volunteers to help carve route; Draper agrees to dedicate it to bikers
    By Heidi Atkin
    Close-Up Correspondent
    Article Last Updated: 11/06/2008 01:24:40 PM MST


    For the past seven months volunteer trail builders from Wasatch Area Freeride Trails Association (WAFTA) have worked on a trail in Draper's Mill Hollow area.
    Using only hand tools, the group has hacked what used to be natural mountainside, including trees and boulders, down to a single-track bike trail.
    "It's just a lot of labor. They're very proactive," said Brad Jensen, project manager for park and trail projects for Draper City.
    The new trail is the brainchild of members of WAFTA who saw opportunity in Draper's need for volunteer trail builders.
    Draper City officials readily accepted the help of WAFTA, hoping its handiwork on the new trail will lighten the load borne by trails in popular Corner Canyon.
    WAFTA's offer to help build a new trail was not altruistic.
    In return for free labor by trained trail builders, Draper agreed to dedicate the trail to downhill mountain bikers only; no other trail users are allowed on the trail.
    "I'm a hiker as well, if I want to hike there are hundreds of trails within in an hour. Draper City is the first one that is recognizing a downhill only mountain biking trail. That's the first example of bike only, downhill only trail," Hall said.
    For freeriders a dedicated trail offers the freedom to enjoy their sport, which requires unfettered speed and complicated natural and manmade stunts.
    Downhill mountain bikers are expected to pull off the trail for nearly every other trail user, said Hall, and while most mountain bikers express a willingness to do so, stopping and pulling off a trail degenerates the quality of the bikers ride.
    That's why when WAFTA initiated work on the Draper trail they were met by droves of mountain bikers willing to volunteer days to creating a trail that only they could ride.
    "Everyone needs a place to recreate because people enjoy different things," Hall said.
    The trail is two-thirds complete. The city anticipates remaining work will be completed in the spring. Until then, the trail is technically off-limits to riders.
    "There is a bike trail that they are working on and it's not completed. They don't want people using it until it's done," said Maridene Hancock, spokeswoman for Draper City.
    WAFTA hopes this trail is the first of many dedicated downhill mountain biking trails.
    Ryan Miller, the Utah representative for the International Mountain Biking Association, with which WAFTA is affiliated, hopes the U.S. Forest Service will consider building a freeride park.
    WAFTA also has approached USFS for more land dedicated to downhill trails.
    "One challenge is that we aren't able to designate a trail specifically for one user group," said Steve Scheid, Recreation Program Manager for Trails and Wilderness for the United States Forest Service.
    In addition government agencies, WAFTA looks to small cities interested in building communities, hoping they'll see the need for dedicated trails for a popular sport such as mountain biking.
    Eagle Mountain and Snyderville, according to Hall, have been very friendly to the biking community.
    "Mountain bikers have shown they are a valuable user group," Miller said.
    For more information visit: www.waftautah.com or www.draper.ut.us.

    Sweet!
  • 11-07-2008
    catch22
    That's a nice article, all parties came off looking more cooperative and in-sync compared to the other one. Love Ryan's suggestion of a freeride park on FS land too, that would be pretty amazing. I can't really see why the FS issue of not being able to specify land for a certain user group is an issue though. Seems like it's done all the time with regard to trail access rights and even if it is open use, are hikers or equstrians really going to be playing around on stunts in a freeride park very often?
  • 11-07-2008
    drboudreaux
    ...
    We are meeting on Monday with the Forest Service to discuss a number of things. Depending on how the conversation goes, this will come up, or we may bring it up later once we establish a good working relationship with them.

    I'll post up how the meeting goes.

    We also have an appointment with Huntsman's office this week.

    This winter, I am going to try to get out and meet with a number of people often (Matheson again, other federal and state legislators, etc.)

    The ball is beginning to roll faster...