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horses and bikes

Re horses and mountain bikes

No flames intended, but the subject is
a hot one.  I have seen trails
destroyed by both horses and bikes, and
been upset by them.  I also get upset
at an elitist kind of thinking that
says "Since I can walk 15 miles to get
there, anyone can, and if they can't,
they don't belong there."   There are
places where horses and bikes belong -
there are a lot of jeep roads and back
lanes where they can wander without
doing damage.  The problem comes from
single track "dug" trails- the kind
with lots of side hill work.  They are
very difficult to build and repair, and
very fragile.  There is also the issue
of maintenance - if they are built for
and maintained by hikers, then the
hikers have a right to say who uses the
trails.  We have been hiking on the
Horseshoe Trail in PA lately (135 mile
trail from Valley Forge to the AT near
Duncannon).  The erosion is incredible
- the horses leave deep holes, kick out
water bars, etc.  However, I am not
going to complain because it is a trail
built by and for horses, and maintained
by horse people.  They allow hikers on
THEIR trail, so I'll say thank you and
keep my mouth shut.  When I lived in
San Francisco, the controversy over who
could use the trail on Mt. Tamalpais
was fierce.  Having almost been run
over several times, I learned to avoid
the jeep roads, and to watch out for
unexpected speeders on certain
singletrack trails.  Although the brush
was extremely rough, so there was no
place to jump when you met a bike
coming the other way, only once was the
biker courteous enough to get off his
bike so that I could pass.   

 I recognize that bikes and horses have
a right to be out there, but not
destroying the trails I build. I guess
the answer, in part, is to make sure
that there is enough wild country for
everyone to have a place. 

Ginny "Spirit Walker"