[Cdt-l] Trail impact and multi-use

Travis Naibert tnaibert at gmail.com
Thu Dec 13 18:11:45 CST 2012

After hiking the entire CDT i can say that I had absolutely no
conflicts with mountain bikers on any section. Really the only section
of the whole trail with a lot of bikers is between monarch and
marshall pass, and much of it is above tree line so you can see them
coming. Also, many of them are very pleasant and interested in the
adventure that hikers are having.

I don't want to be belligerent about it, but have you ever stopped to
consider how much trail impact other trail users besides mountain
bikers have on the trails? Horses, for example, in my experience, can
do far far far more damage to trails than mountain bikers. They can
create huge holes when it is wet, they make many trails extremely
dusty, they often widen the trail far more than hikers or bikers, and
they poop everywhere. But of course there are good horseman (and
women) out there who don't let their horses ride off the trail, who
don't ride when the trails are overly muddy, who don't make giant
campsites and let their horses browse the meadows to the ground. It is
exactly the same in the mountain biking community. There are selfish
riders who go out when it is muddy, who take corners too fast even
when the trail is crowded, who skid around every corner. There are
riders who even ride where they aren't supposed to ride and then make
up lame excuses for breaking the rules. But please remember that there
are also lots of mountain bikers who are cognizant of trail etiquette,
who slow down in crowded areas, who avoid muddy trails and who
actually volunteer to do trailwork and stay where they are allowed. I
doubt many users would consider banning horses from the trails that
horses are allowed on, just because some packers aren't perfect
stewards of the land. Likewise you shouldn't be considering banning
mountain bikes from the places that they are allowed just because
there are a few irresponsible bikers out there. It is more important
to embrace each other as fellow nature-lovers, and then try to educate
the bad apples about proper behavior. The best way to change the way
people act is to be respectful and make the rules known, then let the
culture of LNT and trail etiquette to grow organically in the
different user groups.

The nice thing about the western US is there are plenty of wilderness
areas where bikes aren't allowed, so you can easily get away from
bikes on busy weekends or if you are the type or person who is just
fed up with the bad bikers.


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