December 16, 2004
Dear Sir or Madam;
I am the Deputy National Trail Coordinator of Equestrian Trails Inc., and Vice President of E.T.I's Corral 38. Our organization's concerns are trail preservation, trail access and public safety for the trail users. We have worked closely for many years with various environmental groups with similar concerns to preserve trails for hiking and equestrian use.
I have been serving in this capacity for over 15 years. I served on the Mountain Bike Task Force for L.A. Rec. and Parks for several years. We all came to the conclusion that legs and wheels don't mix. Mountain bikers, by the very nature of this extreme sport, present both a physical hazard to the peaceful use of trails, and an environmental hazard as well. The trails become the exclusive use of the mountain biker as both hikers and equestrians abandon the trails due to fears for their safety and the disruption of the tranquil use of the land. The myth of "multi-use" trail quickly reveals itself to be a single use trail for an aggressive and vocal group. As another hiker has mentioned, it is not a family activity. Look at a mountain biking magazine to see who falls into the real demographic. It's real appeal is speed and the adrenaline rush.
Furthermore, another aspect must be looked at. Once a wheeled vehicle is allowed on a trail, it opens the door to other versions of recreational wheeled transportation...the mountain board, the trail inline skates, and most recently the "diggler", a motor powered combination of a skateboard and a scooter. All these vehicles are designed to traverse rocks, tree roots, dirt, and the usual obstacles of a trail causing considerable damage as they travel.
The mountain bikers need their own area, classified as an ORV, as it is incompatible with and dangerous to other trail users.