A rerouting of CDT in southern Colorado could ban bikes

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A rerouting of CDT in southern Colorado could ban bikes

Postby Greg Heil » Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:12 am

Opposition is mounting to a proposed plan to ban bikes from a new rerouting of the Colorado Trail and the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail — or the CDNST — in southern Colorado's Cochetopa Hills area of the Rio Grande National Forest.

For the last two years, the Forest Service has studied the development of a new, 31.2-mile trail in the area to pull CDNST hikers off a hard-to-navigate maze of gravel roads used by cars, motorcycles, horseback riders, hikers and cyclists.

After studying four alternatives in an environmental assessment, the Forest Service has identified a proposed action that would keep bikes off the new trail from Lujan Pass to the La Garita Wilderness. The agency cited trail erosion by bikes as well as the "social effects" of mountain bike use when it suggested its preferred alternative.

"A biker coming around a corner at high speed can come upon a hiker before either party is aware of the other," reads the Forest Service's review of each alternative. "In general terms, bicycle use on the CDNST is not consistent with the overall objectives" of the trail.

Technically, that is correct, if not outdated. When the 3,100-mile trail's mission was outlined in the late 1960s, it was designed to provide "scenic, primitive hiking and horseback riding opportunities" along the Rocky Mountain corridor from Canada to New Mexico. There weren't many mountain bikes around back then.

But mountain bikers are abundant today. The environmental assessment cites a daily hiker's month-long tally of 236 hikers and 77 mountain bikers on this stretch of the CDNST this summer. Jason Bertolacci, president of the Colorado Mountain Association, said the reroute could becomes one of Colorado's "great destination rides," like Kenosha Pass.


Read more here: http://www.canoncitydailyrecord.com/ci_ ... -could-ban
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Re: A rerouting of CDT in southern Colorado could ban bikes

Postby John Fisch » Wed Nov 28, 2012 11:34 am

"A biker coming around a corner at high speed can come upon a hiker before either party is aware of the other," reads the Forest Service's review of each alternative. "

If that's your criteria, the USFS may as well just go ahead and ban bikes from all the trails in our National Forests.

48-92% of roadless areas in the Rocky Mountain states are already locked up in designated Wilderness areas. There are plenty of opportunites, including long stretches along the CDT and CT for hikers/backpackers to enjoy their most beloved bike-free experience.

I applaud the effort to reroute this section of the trail as the current setup is not conducive to a CDT experience, but there's no legitimate reason MTBs should not be allowed to share that experience.
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Re: A rerouting of CDT in southern Colorado could ban bikes

Postby jeff » Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:41 pm

skibum wrote:"A biker coming around a corner at high speed can come upon a hiker before either party is aware of the other," reads the Forest Service's review of each alternative. "

If that's your criteria, the USFS may as well just go ahead and ban bikes from all the trails in our National Forests.


Whoa, let's not give anyone any ideas here. :)

There are plenty of other things that can "come upon a hiker before (the hiker) is aware." Like a trail runner. Or a mountain lion. Or a stealthy hunter. Maybe hikers just need to be more aware period.

Or maybe the solution is to just eliminate corners from all the trails--that way everyone can see each other coming.

[hopefully my sarcasm is coming through here]

See, banning mountain bikes isn't the only solution. :)
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Re: A rerouting of CDT in southern Colorado could ban bikes

Postby Greg Heil » Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:06 am

There are plenty of other things that can "come upon a hiker before (the hiker) is aware." Like a trail runner. Or a mountain lion. Or a stealthy hunter. Maybe hikers just need to be more aware period.


THIS. So many hikers think they are all alone frolicking in the woods when they're NOT. There are other people and creatures using the forest too.
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Re: A rerouting of CDT in southern Colorado could ban bikes

Postby maddslacker » Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:20 am

mtbgreg1 wrote:frolicking in the woods

:lol:
Come chat about mountain bikes in real time!
http://gotslack.freeshell.org/mtb

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Re: A rerouting of CDT in southern Colorado could ban bikes

Postby John Fisch » Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:27 am

Text of my comments to the USFS:

I applaud efforts to reroute part of the CDT to provide for a better user experience, However, I'm severely concerned by any effort to prohibit mountain bikes from using the route. Biking is an active, healthy, low-impact way to enjoy our wild places and the CDT is a wonderful venue for such pleasure.

I was an avid backcountry hiker for over two decades before purchasing my first bike in 2001. In all that time, my backcountry experience was never degraded in any way by cyclists. Since adding cycling to my outdoor resume, I have spent many hours of my free time in trail design, building and maintenance; something I never did as a hiker.

Mountain biking is an inherently roadless activity and the vast majority of roadless areas in the states through which the CDT runs are already off limits to cyclists as a result of Wilderness designation. These restrictions are even more severe when you consider many ideal routes lie mostly outside a wilderness area but have a small portion which passes through a corner of a wilderness area, further reducing or completely eliminating that trail as a viable route for cyclists.

Given that cycling has been determined to be equal to hiking and far less than horseback riding in terms of impact, that cyclists bring many positives to the equation, and that cyclists are already prohibited from much of our public lands, it follows that prohibiting them from sharing this portion of the CDT is inherently unfair and serves an unnecessarily narrow constituency.
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Re: A rerouting of CDT in southern Colorado could ban bikes

Postby Greg Heil » Thu Nov 29, 2012 11:38 am

skibum wrote:Text of my comments to the USFS:

I applaud efforts to reroute part of the CDT to provide for a better user experience, However, I'm severely concerned by any effort to prohibit mountain bikes from using the route. Biking is an active, healthy, low-impact way to enjoy our wild places and the CDT is a wonderful venue for such pleasure.

I was an avid backcountry hiker for over two decades before purchasing my first bike in 2001. In all that time, my backcountry experience was never degraded in any way by cyclists. Since adding cycling to my outdoor resume, I have spent many hours of my free time in trail design, building and maintenance; something I never did as a hiker.

Mountain biking is an inherently roadless activity and the vast majority of roadless areas in the states through which the CDT runs are already off limits to cyclists as a result of Wilderness designation. These restrictions are even more severe when you consider many ideal routes lie mostly outside a wilderness area but have a small portion which passes through a corner of a wilderness area, further reducing or completely eliminating that trail as a viable route for cyclists.

Given that cycling has been determined to be equal to hiking and far less than horseback riding in terms of impact, that cyclists bring many positives to the equation, and that cyclists are already prohibited from much of our public lands, it follows that prohibiting them from sharing this portion of the CDT is inherently unfair and serves an unnecessarily narrow constituency.


Very well put!
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