Date: Tue, 29 Aug 2000

From: Frank Lurz <>

Subject: Letter to MROSD

August 29, 2000

Board of Directors

Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District

330 Distel Circle

Los Altos, CA 94022-1404


Dear Members of the Board,

Although I live in Marin County I have been following MROSD's activities regarding the banning of

mountain bikes from a small percent of its trails with great interest. As a hiker for more than 36

years, and a Sierra Club hiking leader for a good many of those, I feel wounded to the heart that

land managers for the Marin County Open Space District, Mt. Tamalpais State Park, Marin Municipal

Water District, and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area have been so steadfast in their support

for the sport of mountain biking. For years cyclists here have stridently demanded access to every

area, fire road and footpath, aggressively campaigned to build new trails on unmarred land,

illegally constructed trails for their own use, repeatedly trespassed on private property,

threatened property owners and other trail users, vandalized park and private property, and ridden

their bicycles off trail until some areas are now crisscrossed with numerous stretches of crushed

vegetation and tire tracks. When confronted with objections from other trail users cyclists

response has been the same; their demands must be acceded to because of their need for a "quality

experience." When confronted with the question of other park users' need for a quality experience,

cyclists invariably demonstrate a complete lack of interest or concern.

Like me, many others have found this state of affairs so deeply saddening that they visit the parks

and open spaces much less often. Some areas, like China Camp, have been so thoroughly overrun by

speeding bicycle traffic that they have been deserted by those who formerly enjoyed them on foot or

horseback. To address hikers' and equestrians' need for a quality experience, and to protect the

land from the damage caused by bicycles, land managers here have instituted regulations, posted

signs restricting bicycle traffic, and authorized their personnel to cite violators. The signs have

been repeatedly vandalized, the regulations routinely ignored, and law enforcement has been proven

woefully inadequate.

As boastful cyclists on the internet brazenly advocate law-breaking, mountain bike magazines openly

encourage cyclists to engage in activities officially prohibited in our parks and open spaces;

speeding, stunt riding, aerobatics, racing, and cross-country travel - activities otherwise known as

"shredding" trails. Only last week, on the Cascade Fire Road outside the town of Fairfax, a

speeding cyclist who chose to indulge herself in such a manner lost control and crashed, sustaining

injuries that required her evacuation to hospital by helicopter. Yet, in the face of this mounting

evidence federal, state, and county land managers in Marin County have done nothing to effectively

remedy the situation; the land remains unprotected and those who come to enjoy nature for it's own

sake increasingly disappear. Our parks and open spaces are rapidly becoming dedicated to the

exclusive use of those aggressively determined to develop them into velodromes.

It is with no small sense of gratitude that I wish to extend to the members of the Board of

Directors of MROSD my heartfelt thanks for the courageous stand you have taken to reserve some few

small places free of off-road vehicular traffic for those of us who seek a modicum of uninterrupted

quiet, an opportunity for spiritual refreshment, and a place for an intimate communion with nature.

Your actions bespeak an enlightened understanding of your responsibilities as stewards of the land

and your bold determination to live up to them. It is my sincere hope that others similarly

entrusted to protect our natural treasures will one day value what you have done, appreciate your

wisdom, and find the courage to follow your leadership.

Most sincerely,

Frank Lurz