Subject: trail damage
Recently, Marin Municipal Water District trail workers repaired a
troublesome, eroded section of the Bon Tempe Shadyside Trail. The erosion
was so bad that a second, badly eroded, bypass also had to be dealt with.
Due to the steep terrain and the wet soil, stairs were the only practical
solution (Good work, MMWD staff!). The bypass trail was blocked off with
large branches, and would soon recover.
This morning(December 2nd), I discovered on my run that the branches on the
bypass trail had been thrown down the hill and there were fresh bike tire
tracks. I replaced the branches, some of them were 6" in diameter and quite
heavy, and wondered what manner of jerk would vandalize an erosion control
measure!? Several hundred yards up the trail, I encountered the same scene:
mountain bikers had bypassed an erosion control water channel by tossing
barrier branches down the hill, leaving tracks and skid marks off the trail.
There were, of course, skid marks all along the trail, removing the various
leaves that normally, beautifully cover the trail. Since this is a common
occurrence on this trail, I contacted the MMWD ranger in charge of trail
work and he said "Thanks, I guess we'll have to put something more permanent
Great. Now MMWD dollars (Your dollars and my dollars) have to be spent to
build a barricade to an obviously eroded spot. Normal humans would see
branches covering an eroded area and thank whoever did it for caring about
their environment. But not mountain bikers- they are the only user group
which routinely vandalizes signs, removes signs, violates any and all rules
which apply to them, and even destroys attempts to reduce our negative
impact on our surroundings. They build miles of illegal trails, which are
used in extreme conditions and are environmental disasters in less than a
year and yet they arrogantly claim they are environmentalists!
I know, someone will say that you can't blame all mountain bikers for the
action of a few, but why not? A year ago, at the fire road at Deer Park
School, bikers tore out vegetation to bypass the gate. Did the "responsible"
majority of mountain bikers inform the authorities, finger the guilty
vandals, or offer to repair the damage? Of course not! They rode their bikes
on the soft creek bank also and gouged out a major rut in less than a month.
The MMWD had to build another barricade at our expense, and fill in the rut.
Do bike leaders ever call for tighter enforcement of speed limits or illegal
trail riding? Ha! Could miles of illegal trails be hacked out without the
approval of all the bikers who know about them? These trails aren't built in
a vacuum, after all.
How much more of this behavior do we have to put up with before we properly
put mountain bikes in with other off-road vehicles and restrict their
activity to reduce their constant negative impact on other backcountry users
and the environment?