From: Carlo

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?

Hopefully, none.