The inevitable bike legalization of the JMT
Nov 10, 2014 at 11:04 am #2148098
If it happens, then time for the Monkey Wrench Gang to sow tacks and string wire.
BillyNov 10, 2014 at 11:31 am #2148106
"If it happens, then time for the Monkey Wrench Gang to sow tacks and string wire."
You can count me in.Nov 10, 2014 at 11:51 am #2148109Roger CaffinBPL Member
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
> and once the mud clears up in late June or July would make for some great cycling.
And that is the problem.
There will always be young idiots who want to ride in the mud, when it suits them, smashing and destroying the trails in the process. We have had it here in Oz as well, with both bikes and horses, and the only practical and enforcable solution which avoids total destruction is a 100% ban. With cameras.
There is too much selfishness and sense of entitlement by the horseys and bikies: it's all about 'me' rather than showing any care for the environment and what we leave for our grandchildren.
CheersNov 10, 2014 at 12:05 pm #2148113Peter BoysenBPL Member
I don't totally agree with this, because there are a lot of bad hikers too, (amateur lumberjacks might be a better description in some cases). But banning all hikers doesn't necessarily mean those issues will be stopped, since there'll be that many fewer people appreciating the wilderness, and thus fewer people advocating for it. Not so many years ago smoking was normal, but now it's treated as an affront to all that is good and decent in the world. We just need that same cultural shift to happen in regards to preserving wild places, which is only going to come with time, effort, education, and by allowing people to learn to appreciate it on its own terms. A blanket ban won't make people like nature more; it'll just mean there are less people finding out they like it in the first place. (Camera's might be a good idea though, since it'll make pointing out rule-breakers that much easier).Nov 10, 2014 at 12:19 pm #2148117
A good case study would be to look at the Colorado Trail. Outside of the Wilderness areas, bikes are permitted on the trail.
This is a small example but here's my personal encounter. This past summer I spent 4 days hiking 116 miles of the trail. Outside of the Wilderness areas, I encountered a staggering amount of bikers. Dozens upon dozens zoomed by each day. Now, I have no problem with mountain biking in general. In fact, I had pleasant interactions with most and a few good conversations. But did it take away from the experience? Most definitely. It is one of the few reasons I ended the trip earlier than planned. Constantly looking over my shoulder or jumping out of the way does not positively add to the outdoor experience.
Anyways, I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the effect on wildlife.Nov 10, 2014 at 12:41 pm #2148124James CouchSpectator
@jbcLocale: Cascade Mountains
>If it happens, then time for the Monkey Wrench Gang to sow tacks and string wire.
Yeah let's go out and maim people we disagree with.
Pathetic.Nov 10, 2014 at 12:53 pm #2148126James CouchSpectator
@jbcLocale: Cascade MountainsNov 10, 2014 at 1:48 pm #2148136Peter JSpectator
@northoaklandLocale: Temescal Creek
There are not a lot of studies that have looked at hikers versus bicyclists on trails and their respective impact on wildlife.
You can make some educated guesses as to the impact, such as it is easier to avoid stepping on a red legged frog than it is to avoid running one over. But, I have never seen a comprehensive study that really addressed how impacts from bicyclists are different than hikers.
-PeterNov 10, 2014 at 1:49 pm #2148137
One shouldn't take everything literally on the internet.Nov 10, 2014 at 2:38 pm #2148149David ChenaultBPL Member
@davecLocale: Queen City, MT
Andrew, my point was purely to illustrate the inherent arbitrary distinctions made when parsing what counts as mechanized. To use another example, the ban on hang and paragliders has little to do with impact, of any kind.
The point which always delegitimizes a lot of the impact-based criticism of mountain bikes is that one to one, bikes don't erode trails more than hikers. The issue is that often opening a trail to bikes, or simply discovering it as a riding destination, often increases the traffic exponentially. And then you have a trail whose poor design could withstand 200 hikers a year getting gullied out after being ridden 1500 times in the three months of summer. An unfortunate occurence, but hardly a cut and dry argument for anything.
You CO and CA folks have it roughest simply due to population, but to play devil's advocate, quit hiking on dirt sidewalks! The views may be great, but by every other standard trails like the TRT and Monarch Crest are boring in the extreme to hike. Find something rough enough and you won't be seeing 100 bikes a day.Nov 10, 2014 at 2:50 pm #2148154Dave TMember
"The views may be great, but by every other standard trails like the TRT and Monarch Crest are boring in the extreme to hike. Find something rough enough and you won't be seeing 100 bikes a day."
HDCH.Nov 10, 2014 at 2:59 pm #2148156
"bikes don't erode trails more than hikers"
That's hard to believe after seeing all the skid marks on bike trails.
Also bikes leave gouge marks on rocks from peddles and chain rings.
Also bikes leave rubber in the dirt and rubber marks on rocks.
But what bothers me the most is the disruption of a hiker's peace and quiet.
BillyNov 10, 2014 at 3:12 pm #2148159David UreMember
I'm with Billy. Lower elevation trails in Jasper and Banff are a mess because of mountain bikers. Ironically, we seem to have more bear encounters with bikers than hikers so apparently the wildlife aren't impressed either.Nov 10, 2014 at 3:18 pm #2148161IanBPL Member
"Yeah let's go out and maim people we disagree with.
+1Nov 10, 2014 at 3:33 pm #2148166AnonymousInactive
"I think it's pretty non-controversial to admit that the difference between bikes and skis (allowed in Wilderness) is one of degree rather than type."
Maybe in winter if you are riding one of those balloon tire bikes, but folks don't ski when the ground is bare. Bikers do ride when the ground is bare. Different kettle of fish.
"I'd be ok with allowing bikes in many parts of the Sierras"
Would you be willing to specify which parts of the Sierra? If you go where I think you are going to go, it will be controversial; but since the conversation has already started, and not been moved to CHAFF, why not bring it into the discussion?
"but only if the Whitney Portal road, Trails End road, North and South Lakes road, and highway 120 are permanently closed to cars. Nick is right in that a lot of the land worth "saving" in the lower 48 is locked up. Time to start pushing back, shutting down roads, and letting them rot."
+1 or 2 or whatever number is currently being called. ;0)Nov 10, 2014 at 3:49 pm #2148170AnonymousInactive
"The point which always delegitimizes a lot of the impact-based criticism of mountain bikes is that one to one, bikes don't erode trails more than hikers."
Can you support this statement with peer reviewed studies? The last time this came up in a thread a year or two ago, you provided one study(from an ag school in MT, IIRC) that was decidedly ambivalent at best. I, for one, would read any such references you provide very carefully, but in the end would have to weigh it against the evidence provided by my own two eyes and similar evidence provided by any number of very experienced backpackers on this site. In any case, the critical issue, IMO, is the difference in speed between hikers and bikers. Nobody wants to have to be dodging or looking over their shoulders on a backpacking trip, or just having to be in a constant state of heightened alertness for such situations. The negative reactions will be inevitable and increasingly unpleasant over time, something nobody wants, I am sure, but inevitable nonetheless. My question to you is: Why do you, a quintessential lover of wild places, advocate introducing mechanical means of transportation into areas where the creators of our wilderness preserves, most especially our national parks, never intended them to be? It just doesn't compute, Dave, from what I have learned about you here on BPL.Nov 10, 2014 at 4:30 pm #2148174Andrew FMember
@andrew-fLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
Those long, cold Montana winters do strange things to a man, Tom. Next thing you know Dave will be advocating to make it legal to ride his grizzly bear in the HOV lane.Nov 10, 2014 at 4:36 pm #2148175
Yeah let's go out and maim people we disagree with. Pathetic."
is that +1 for the maiming or the 'pathetic' response ??? :)
Just want to know if you are a maimer or a pathetic responder….
BillyNov 10, 2014 at 4:47 pm #2148178AnonymousInactive
"The land belongs to all Americans, not just curmudgeons."
Yes, but that doesn't mean they get to trash it with their mechanized means of transportation. They have the same responsibility as curmudgeons to leave it as they found it, which has not been true in all too many cases, IME. And apparently Nick's, Andrew's, and others from the posts here.Nov 10, 2014 at 5:48 pm #2148189
"The land belongs to all Americans, not just curmudgeons."
Well…the original user of the word curmudgeons in this post seems to be stretching the definition to be something like, 'anyone that doesn't want to allow him to do what he wants in the wilderness'… a bit of a departure from the traditional definition as a crusty old ill-tempered person.
billyNov 10, 2014 at 5:58 pm #2148194Greg MihalikBPL Member
"The views may be great, but by every other standard trails like the TRT and Monarch Crest are boring in the extreme to hike."
So, since you think they are boring let's abandon them to mountain bikers?
Brilliant Dave! Let's extend that logic and see where it leads …
I'm sure someone with a GoPro on the helmet is just itching to run "The Jug".
How about a trials course on the Esplanade?
Let's float some bikes in to ride the Thunder River Deer Creek loop. If you've seen one waterfall you've seen them all …. right?
Hey, how about allowing Rokons on all trails during big game season?
We can take this quite a ways if we put our mind to it.Nov 10, 2014 at 6:04 pm #2148197IanBPL Member
You should really consider letting that injury under your nose heal… or whatever the internet equivalent is.
'anyone that doesn't want to allow him to do what he wants in the wilderness'.
Nice try. I don't have the requisite coordination to ride single track. Rails to trails and double track are as extreme as I get. You'll hopefully notice an absence of both in Wilderness areas. So in your face thinking I'm coordinated when I'm not.
I think reasonable accommodations should be made for MTBers on public lands. I think the current policy of prohibiting wheeled transport in Wilderness areas is appropriate. I actually agree 99% with Nick's position.
I just don't agree that they should be precluded from lower case w wilderness areas. There are ways to give them access and mitigate their impact.
I also don't snowboard and think ski resorts like Alta-qaeda shouldn't ban snowboarders when they are on federal land.
I'm crazy and inclusive like that.
Flame on you crazy flamers.Nov 10, 2014 at 6:10 pm #2148199Roger CaffinBPL Member
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Sorry Dave, but …
> The point which always delegitimizes a lot of the impact-based criticism of mountain
> bikes is that one to one, bikes don't erode trails more than hikers.
I am going to call total BS on this claim. When you see bikies coming down a hill towards you, with their back wheel locked up so they are digging a groove in the friable mountain soil, then you can SEE just how much damage each one of them is doing. Not to mention the hazard they were presenting to the walkers, as they really had very little control over their bikes. It cost National Parks a huge amount of money to repair that iconic mountain trail after one or two years worth of bikes being allowed. Yes, they are banned again, and will stayed banned.
> And then you have a trail whose poor design could withstand 200 hikers a year
> getting gullied out after being ridden 1500 times in the three months of summer.
> An unfortunate occurence, but hardly a cut and dry argument for anything.
Actually, I would say 2000 walkers vs 150 bikies.
Very 'unfortunate' indeed, and serious enough that it was accepted by a Gov't authority as a completely 'cut and dry argument' for a total ban – despite the heavy political pressure otherwise.
CheersNov 10, 2014 at 6:35 pm #2148203jscottBPL Member
@bookLocale: Northern California
For sure bikes erode trails far more than hikers. It's obvious if you hike on trails open to bikers. (Of course, the composition of the trail effects the degree of erosion.)
I've often run into bikers on the rim trail around Lake Tahoe. they can pose a hazard to hikers. I can completely understand why they want to ride portions of this trail–it looks like fun, (right up until you break a collarbone.)
That said, there are HUNDREDS of miles of abandoned logging roads that are open to ride through the forests and mountains around Tahoe. It's not like bikers are going begging for off road places to ride. And yet they also want to ride the rim trail. So it's "100% for me, or my rights are being abridged, and nothing for you if you don't like the impact of bikes on wilderness trails."
I can't stand skiing around snowmobiles; it completely ruins the experience for me and is potentially dangerous as well–to the skiers! so I ski on the TRT or other places where snowmobiles are banned. Snowmobilers still have their hundreds of miles of abandoned logging roads to play on, and everybody's happy. Maybe the same thing should be enforced for bikers/hikers.Nov 10, 2014 at 7:12 pm #2148209Nick GatelBPL Member
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
Has anyone ever hiked the badlands in Anza Borrego State Park or other areas in this largest state park in California that are open to ORVs?
I have, before the place became a popular ORV destination. It was a wonderful magical place — but many saw it as wasteland. Probably those who never took the time to walk it. And there are many places like this throughout this country that have been degraded over the past 1/2 century I have visited them.
I am lucky, I got to know many of these places first hand before they were decimated by thrill seekers. Today they are truly waste land. Wasted by people who only care about moments of thrill, without regard to the future.
I am also lucky because I live close to many Wilderness areas that even those in California have never heard of, such as the Sheep Hole Wilderness and Palen-McCoy Wilderness. Many here would say they are not scenic and not worth saving. Go walk them. You will be alone and will learn to love them if you take the time to go.
In my mind Wilderness vs. wilderness is the same. All are worth saving in their "primitive" state if at all possible.
Unfortunately Mags is right — these places will become what the majority wants them to be, even if it is short sighted.
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