Friday, October 30, 2009

Stand up for mountain biking in Marin

An action alert comes from Heidi, a HillJilly in Marin:


Marin County Open Space Board of Directors--Trail Workshop
Tuesday, Nov 3, 1:30pm, Manzanita Room, Showcase Theater Exhibit Hall, Avenue of the Flags (off Civic Center Drive), San Rafael.

The theme of the workshop will be addressing trail conflict. The agenda will consist of a review of Open Space Districts trail system, trail policies, 2009-10 trail-related work plan, and current trail issues.

It is extremely important that mountain bikers have good representation at this meeting. It will be important to be positive, well-spoken and present some new ideas to address the lack of trail opportunities for the mountain bikers on trails in County Open Space.

It is essential that we have voices from every group of mountain biker, from the high school kids, team coaches, parents, young downhillers, stunt riders to older seasoned cross-country riders and more.

The timing of the meeting is difficult. If you know anyone who has the flexibility to take off a few hours in the middle of the day, forward them this information. It is imperative that we have good representation here. The Supervisors hear repeatedly from our opponents, (they attend all of the meeting and write lots of letter) and our group is relatively quiet. This is our chance to be heard.

For more information, contact: or 415-419-6693/415-686-1526.
Agenda/supporting materials are available on the County Website.

Directions to the Civic Center (note the Showcase Theater is behind where the Farmer's Market takes place, across the street from the Civic Center).


Read below for insight into the opposition's view, and the type of anti-mountain biking rhetoric that will be voiced at the meeting. The fact that the mountain biker constituency is being described as "powerful, special interests" is a clear indication of fear. Let's not back down now.

It's also ironic that folks who are hell-bent on keeping trails for themselves describe those of us trying to gain access as "selfish."

Here's what we're up against:


From Larry Minikes, President, Tamalpais Conservation Club

A recent New York Times article entitled "Growth in Mountain Biking May Put Western Trails Off Limits" (October 10), reports that the National Forest Service is working on a major policy revision that shall place thousands of miles of narrow trails off limits to mountain biking. The Forest Service is now finally echoing exactly what the environmental and conservation community in Marin has been saying for over two decades; mountain biking does have a detrimental effect on the environment, far greater than that caused by hiking and equestrian activities.

Let's clear up some ongoing misinformation. Contrary to what the IMBA-led mountain biking lobby has been claiming, there are no valid scientific studies concerning the impact of mountain biking on trails and specifically, none showing the impact on Marin's fragile ecosystem. They quote poor-quality, biased studies that are neither peer reviewed nor published.

From a land management perspective, they are no more than junk science. Nor is the issue about sharing as has been claimed. Conservation, protection and safety is our ongoing focus. Now their house of cards is collapsing as evidence mounts that mountain biking on most narrow trails negatively impacts ecosystems.

On November 3, at 1:30 p.m. the Board of Supervisors is sponsoring a trails "workshop." Don't be fooled by the name. This is yet another attempt by Supervisors McGlashan and Kinsey to give away our lands to their favorite lobby. This runs contrary to the wishes of the vast majority of the citizens who have overwhelmingly said in every poll that they want our lands protected and current trails designations to be maintained.

As an avid mountain biker, I know there is an abundance of biking opportunities in this wonderful county. It is sad, in a county of such great beauty and resources that it feels like the 1800's where we are at the mercy of the selfish, short-sided interests of a few who lack long-term vision.

The recent Ken Burns series on PBS on creating our National Parks shows the vital importance great leaders played in protecting our lands. Thank God for people like John Muir, Teddy Roosevelt and other great environmentalists who stood up to the powerful special interests of the day. Imagine where we would be without them.

The battleground shifts but the fight remains the same. Now our generation must continue to defend the giveaway of our public lands by politicians. The battle to protect Marin from the damage mountain biking causes continues growing in seriousness due to the cumulative effects of the sport. Please attend this critical meeting at the Marin Center, Manzanita Room, Avenue of the Flags, rear parking lot and make your voice be heard.


Tuesday, Nov 3rd, 1:30pm. Go and be heard.

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