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Re: [AT-L] mountain biking & the trails

Poohbear -
There are trails that can handle mountain bikes (and in some
cases even horses) - and there are trails that can't.   Hard packed
trail and old roads can take a lot of abuse.  The problem is that
too many mountain bikers - and horsemen - think that ANY trail
is fair game.  They use the words "equal access" without regard
to the fact that they can destroy in minutes what it took
someone else hours or even days to build.   There are two points
to be made here - one is that while this isn't universal and the
mountain bikers are starting to get involved in trail maintenance,
generally it's the hikers who build and maintain the trails.  What
gives the mountain bikers (or horsemen) the right to destroy what
others have built?

Which brings up the second point - there are those who argue that
horses/mountain bikes don't destroy trail.  Anyone who believes
that needs to hike with me for a few weekends.  I watched a group
of horses kick waterbars out in the Smokies in 92.  Anyone who's
hiked the Smokies has seen the damage that horses have done
there.  I've followed horses and mountain bikes on the Donut Hole
and Susquehannock and Black Forest Trails - among others - and
seen the damage that they've done to both old trail and to brand
new sidehill work.  And good sidehill work is hard, dirty and time
consuming.   Right now we're section hiking the Horseshoe
Trail in PA and I took some pictures of the erosion damage due to
the horses and mountain bikes - and that's a horse/hiking/biking
multi-use trail, built and maintained by horsemen.

Do hikers damage the trail?  Yeah - go look at the AT and then
compare it to the PA trails that Ginny & I like to hike and you'll
see how much damage hikers can do, too.   But it takes a LOT of
hikers to do the kind of damage that a half dozen horses or
mountain bikes can perpetrate on a soft trail - especially
after a long soaking rain.

As you can see - I've got more than one hot button.

Walk softly

>It was written:
>>Myself, I don't notice polehole damage in most places, but what I do
>>notice are the marks and presence of what I consider to be the far
>>greater threats to hiking enjoyment, horses and mountain bikes
>>(human-powered). Those are the REAL problems.
>Before I get flamed, let me just say I agree 100% -- it pains me to see a
>trail torn up by a mountain biker.  However, having recently purchased a
>mountain bike I have become fairly addicted to trail riding.
>Where is the common ground?  Can the trails be shared by both bikers &
>hikers (or horses for that matter)?  Who says hikers  have exclusive rights
>to the trails?  I just don't know how I feel about this, because I am truly
>on both sides of this issue.
>Just looking to stir up some controversy (as usual) about something other
>than electronics on the trail...<g>
>Poohbear :)
>Jennifer Delia Sawyer           |       "Be the best you can be
>Hall Director                   |       in the place that you are;
>Department of Residential Life  |       and be kind.
>University of New Hampshire     |       Kind to yourself,
>Durham, NH  03824               |       Kind to others and
>(603) 862-3812                  |       Kind to the land."
>jdsawyer@hopper.unh.edu         |               -- Helen Neering