Reply to Cheeseboro Canyon Responses

Thanks to all of you who posted your comments regarding our recent blog posting about the possibility of mountain bike access being threatened in Cheeseboro Canyon.

Although the “bonus run” damage may not look like much to most users, one of the top mandates of the National Park Service (“agency”)  is resource conservation. Whether you agree or disagree with the agency, if they view it as damage, they are responsible for mitigating that damage. I’m not saying I agree with their assessment, but if that’s their job, we have to respect it. Part of the process is becoming as educated as possible and working with the land managers to the benefit of all concerned, something CORBA has been doing for 24 years.

One responder brought up the question of damage created by horses as they walk on the soft/muddy trails. This is a very good point, one which I brought up with the agency in an email I sent earlier today (see below). I will report back on their response. CORBA representatives also have a meeting with agency representatives in February and we will make sure this topic is revisited.

For those of you who requested examples and locations of the bonus runs, I went there yesterday and took a few photos (see below). It’s not all of the examples, just the more pronounced ones. A couple of the “bonus runs” are actually mud pit bypasses, which hikers seem to be using as well to go around sections where horses have chewed up the trail. Sorry to not have GPS coordinates attached, but if you ride Cheeseboro with any regularity, you’ll know where they are.

As far as the short section of single track that parallels the fireroad that the agency has posted with a sign, I don’t get it either. But again, just because something has been there for a while, it doesn’t mean that the agency doesn’t view it as a problem.

E-MAIL FROM MARK LANGTON  TO NPS REGARDING TRAIL DAMAGE IN CHEESEBORO CANYON:        Several people have contacted CORBA regarding the recent sign posting closed the short singletrack section of trail in Cheeseboro that parallels the fireroad about .2 miles from the parking lot. Also, a ranger recently commented that the “bonus runs” in Cheeseboro are causing the agency to be concerned about future mountain bike access. We have also noticed that several of the bonus runs (some of which are really mud pit bypasses) have had branches put in place at either end.

We certainly want to protect the resources, but the question comes up about horse use in the parks and the damage caused by walking on the soft/muddy ground, which causes as much if not more damage and subsequent maintenance workload than the off-trail routes caused by bicycles. In fact, if you look at a couple of the bypass trails (and I know this from experience as well), they are bypassing the horse hoof holes created by horses walking through the mud, and hikers are creating/using them too. Damage is damage, and if one user group (mountain bikers) is being singled while another is not being held accountable (equestrians), especially when the equestrian group represents a much smaller percentage than the mountain bike group while creating much more damage per user, it seems unfair at the least.  Please advise.

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