January 26, 2005

 

Mr. Jim Rossi

Outdoors

Los Angeles Times

 

Re: Battle of Wheels

 

Dear Mr. Rossi,

 

My family home in Colorado Springs shared a fence line with a public

wilderness park very similar to Griffith Park in Los Angeles. We lived there for 50

years and I grew up riding horses on the peaceful trails behind my house.Since

the permitting of mountain bikes in that Park the environmental damage has

been huge in a short amount of time. This park is composed of prehistoric

sandstone outcroppings that run as thick as 9,000 feet.In less that five years

time, the bike tires have worn grooves in the sandstone that are irreparable and

permanent.

 

The mountain bikers have cut trails across the meadows and open fields,

causing deep erosion during rains.The erosions become too deep to allow hikers

and equestrians to use these trails, and when bike passage also becomes

impossible, the bikers simply cut another trail alongside the eroded one. The horses

have traveled for more than 50 years on these sandy trails without making

grooves, but the restless bikers, who are quickly bored with riding the same trail,

have cut so many interlocking trails across the face of the bluffs that it

looks like spider webs.

 

The tranquility of the area is gone with the whoops and adrenaline hollers of

the speeding, ratcheting bikes as they carom off cliffs and slide around

blind curves.

 

As for the mountain bikerís complaints that they are excluded, it is only the

bike that it excluded. The biker is perfectly welcome to hike, or ride a

horse with the rest of us. "Multi-use" is a term originating with mountain bikers.

Multi-use quickly becomes the exclusive use of the bikers as other users

abandon the trails due to concerns about personal safety and quality of

life/tranquility issues. We become the excluded.

 

Mountain bikes are wheeled vehicles. Open the trails to those wheels, you

will open the door to mountain boards, motorized inline skates, the "diggler" and

other wheeled toys.

 

Thank you,

 

[a friend]