January 26, 2005
Mr. Jim Rossi
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
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
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.