cramer wrote:Based on what I've read in the past, it's the mountain bikers pushing for trail separation, not the horse people as much. The quotes that I saw from those representing the horse groups said they preferred to share the trails vs. separation and losing some access. .
Of course the (few) horse riders want to share- and why not? They get 20+ miles of trail to ride, they don't work on it to repair the damage. Damage they do to the bike trail has to be repaired by the bike group in order to maintain a rideable trail but if not repaired it doesn't impact the horse riders one bit.
The arguments for separation are based on rational concepts
The Red and Green loops were built by cyclists for bikes (works well for hikers) but not constructed to withstand the weight and use by horses and their riding on these loops mostly only in the last five years has created the conflict.
From what I remember I don't recall horses on these two loops back in 1999 to 2003 or 2004. Their presence on- and growing use of- the Red and Green loops is very recent- as Scotty mentioned- they basically poached trails NOT constructed with their user group in mind
I think the proposal by the Chapter to the DNR makes great sense-
a) clear geographic separation
b) offer to help expand their section to increase their mileage
From the tidbits of converstation at the meeting tonight, the horse riders representative proposals still encompassed them riding significant areas of the terrain where the Red and Green are located but we got no specific details
Mike (SW Chapter) cautioned the DNR that the small group represented by the Ft Custer horse riders should not be taken as speaking for ALL equestrians.
The Fort Custer Cyclery owner made the solid business point that destination trails at Custer bring money not only to the park but numerous businesses in Augusta- bikes can be seen at the taqueria, the pubs, the gas station and the ice cream shop all summer- you rarely see a horse trailer pulled up at any of these businesses.
It makes me wonder whether the same results could be had for cyclists (getting half of a trail system designed for other users) simply by poaching it and demanding the trail for ourselves.
The same thought came to my mind at the meeting.... hmmm
a) Begin riding a trail you're not supposed to be on "officially"
b) conflict ensues with original trail group
c) go to mediation and get half of a trail one wasn't supposed to be on in the first place
Others can chime in from the meeting but there was about 40 mountainbikers there. The SW chapter (Gordie and Mike primarily) led the comments with their proposal.
The DNR will be looking at the two competing proposals as well as take in other user group input (dog mushers, etc) to try to make a decision in the spring
Good Luck SWMMBA