View Full Version : 'Off-Road Rage' Climbs as Trails Get More Crowded

Shark Bait
08-12-2008, 01:03 AM
Greg Mumm is quoted in this (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/11/AR2008081102040.html) Washington Post article.

08-12-2008, 02:09 AM
Wow. It's getting ugly out there.

08-12-2008, 09:01 AM
If this is representative of their research,
Even when there's no hint of violence, the conflict isn't pretty. The granola-crunchy county government in Boulder County, Colo., this year enforced a ban on ATVs, shuttering Jeff and Vicki Mead's off-road rental business. In revenge, they plan to reopen it as a pornography retailer.
"Clearly we're the subject of abuse in this county," Jeff Mead said.

they have the credibility of a three dollar bill. The issue was NOTHING of the kind. They massaged it (wow, did I understate or what?) to underscore their story. On the East Coast. :rant:

User conflict is a key strategy by the ultragreens to promote bans on OHVs. Look for more stories focusing on this. They want segregated recreation with OHVs getting the ugliest, smallest portion. This story and others like it bolster their position.

And you can recognize them by their use of 'ORV' instead of OHV. Every time.

08-12-2008, 09:48 AM
Those ATV guys up in Allenspark are idiots. IMO, they deserved to get shut down. I'm glad they did.

I also agree with Bills assessment of the story.

08-12-2008, 11:02 AM
while bill's assesment of the story has foundation, I must say that I have NEVER had a positive engagement, no matter how submissive I or my passengers have been when trying to shed light on trail management issues on the trail with a quad/ohv. Never. I also know that several of you all are in the same boat.

We may not like the way the story read, but the truth is, we have all been in the situation with the "crazy ohv" person, both motorcycle and quad.

It's horrible to say, but you can usually spot the crazy 4wd person very easy by their vehicle condition/level of equipment. Predjudicial, yes. Usually accurate? unfortunately, yes. I can also say that in the last ten years, I have noticed a substantial change in the 4wd contingent, for the better, in regards to ettiquette and trail responsibility. It makes me proud that I am one itty bitty cog in that wheel, and that I have tought my son responsible practices.

We were behind the never summer range this weekend on North Supply Creek and Kawaneechee (sp) Road. Probably over 50 different quads were spotted over a 36hr period, and maybe 2 were wearing protective gear. Several did have helmets, but most were bouncing on their heads like bobblehead dolls. Almost all were exceeding safe operating speeds for the conditions, (fog,rain,slime). By contrast, EVERY motorcyclist we saw was geared up, and paused to waive or go slow by us out of courtesy. I didn't dare address any of the quads, as my goal was to de-stress this weekend, and I didn't need the confrontation.

On the way down, we saw quad tracks on every spur/private drive we spotted. Reminded me of what a dog would do, investigate every track.

I would love to support the quad community again, as I did 12-15 years ago, but until I see some real change in the culture, I can't lend my efforts to them at all. Bad for the overall health of the off road situation? Maybe. However, trees seem to grow best with pruning and space.

08-12-2008, 12:42 PM
I have had numerous successful interactions with ATV riders and motorcycle riders, including one that started out as a downright confrontation (I can't abide wheelies across tundra. Won't tolerate it...). Some were pleasant from the start, some took persistence, respect, and political maneuvering, but they ended well and with rider education that stuck.

As a motorcyclist, hunter, and 4x4er, I am NOT fond of the average ATVer. The behavior of the few does more for the AANs than a Washington lobbyist. HOWEVER...

Every instance, and I do mean EVERY instance, of a decision that tends to divide the OHV community also throws fuel on the anti access fire. We can NOT afford division among different user groups. We share, and benefit from, motorized access to public lands, and to allow anything to divide us is to participate in the AAN strategy.

I can't abide that. Won't tolerate it. :D (gosh I sound tough... :lmao: )

08-14-2008, 07:57 AM
Thought you might like this letter sent to the reporter, from a member of the NCTR (Northern Colorado Trail Riders). The NCTR is extremely active in trail advocacy & maintenance, and has a very good working relationship with the USFS. I especially like the fact that the letter author is 64 and still rides dirt bikes aggressively.:thumb:

This article really ticked me off so this is what I sent to Mr. Vick via E-Mail

I am 64 years old and have been riding off road vehicles for about 40 years from the east coast to Utah. I have heard of confrontations with other users but have only witnessed a couple of them myself. The 2 I have witnessed were from non motorized users trying to provoke a confrontation ( unsuccessfully I might add ). All other encounters have been of a cordial and helpful nature. Most of the time it the motorized users providing assistance to the non motorized users.

What truly disturbs me is your attempt to present the information in a biased manner.

Your story about the bicyclist who was injured by the ATV user is classic. Here you have a bicyclist, assuming that the bicyclist was correct in identifying area as a non motorized area ( I have seen them move signs and arbitrarily designate a trail as closed ) putting his bicycle in the path of an ATV. Now what are the options here ?

The ATV rider can sit on the trail and wait and hope the bicyclist moves the bicycle. Who knows how long that would have taken. If the standoff had lasted longer than a day I am sure that rescuers would have been dispatched to find the lost ATVers and Bicyclists, at significant cost and impact to the trails and environment. That would not be my choice.
The ATV rider could run over the bicycle. That would not have been my choice but at the same time I was not there and did not hear the words that were spoken up to that point.

Another choice would have been to ride around the bicycle, assuming that there was enough room to accomplish that but then the ATV rider would have been accused of riding off trail and destroying the environment.
Given the situation the ATV rider was put into you could say that he took the most environmental option.

The bicyclists physically assaulted the ATV rider and you expect me to feel sorry that they came out the worst in the confrontation. Sir you need to watch a few John Wayne movies.

The thing that is always lost in all the conversation about trail use is how the trails were created in the first place. Almost all the trails I have ridden have been developed by motorized users in legal ways. Non motorized users ( non paying users ) then lay claim to the trials as they are the only ones who will not harm them.

I presume an unbiased reporter would have looked into both sides of these stories but as usual only one side was presented with no attempt to find the truth. It is not surprising to me that the printed news media is in a free fall of readership. This is one more indication of why this is happening

Just for the record, there is no love lost between off-highway motorcyclists and ATV riders. ATV users regularly invade singletrack motorcycle trails, turning them into two-track, regardless of signage, and degrading the recreational experience significantly. This has REALLY affected the areas where the NCTR does most of its work.

Nevertheless, when it comes to an assault against the image of OHVs, notice that solidarity is displayed. Good example to follow.

08-14-2008, 08:55 AM
The article is obviously biased, so it's can't be taken all that seriously. But I think it's important to note that the primary complaint to the Jeffco Open Space is from hikers about bikes. So while my knee jerk reaction to take the cyclist's side in principle from that slanted article, I also have no false pretenses that far too many cyclists are simply assholes. But Jeffco (and I suspect most enforcement sides of public land managers) know that a majority of the complaints are from activists and people who go out looking to be offended, so they do weigh the complaint against reason and reality.

We try and change that every time we ride someplace by getting people to slow down and stop for hikers (hiker ALWAYS gets the trail and either they pass you or yield the trail to you, otherwise the bike must wait for the hiker to pass), stop skidding, talk and exchange pleasantries with other users, etc. I think there are plenty of mellow cyclists who are generally good users, just that taken from our perspective, we might crank out a 30 mile ride and have the solitude interrupted by a motorized knucklehead who is discourteous. Often it's not that an OHV is there, but that they (we) have no regard for the fact that we are bigger, noisier and stink (I hesitate to say smell worse than a mountain biker). I encourage people when the subject comes up that the truck or motorcycle stop and turn off their engine while the bike (or horse or hiker for that matter) passes. The level of stress goes WAY down when you make a gesture like that, plus it's A LOT easier to hold a conversation if no one has to yell over a loud muffler or a radio.

I'm not in good faith able to make a blanket conclusion about motorized conflict, but I've often enough been on the bicycle side of this equation and sometimes despite the fact that the roads are usually cut by miners and Jeeps or singletracks were cut by motos, there is something of a chip on every backcountry cyclist's shoulder when they put in the miles for themselves and honestly I feel that way, too. But in general the only stereotyping I can make is unfortunately usually the ATV users who is doing the brain dead thing. By and large most 4WD vehicle owners are understanding in that they just stop and let you pass, which is fine, if just a missed opportunity to build good will. The bulk of dirt bike owners are truly understanding and I don't think that's a coincidence. It takes skill and effort to handle a dirt bike and only thing I can say that in some places the rutting gets bad (like up on the CT near Monarch Crest, there are badly torn up singletrack trails). Plus often enough out in Moab a super friendly OHV user has refilled my Camelbak or given me a Coke, which I also try and do whenever I see a bike out there. Giving someone a cold pop or a handful of M&Ms are such fantastic ways to build good will, it truly is.

I should add that I think the bikes are in a funny spot. We can't side too closely with the OHV groups, I do think there is a fair distinction that should be draw. There are places where a bike does less impact than a car and should be allowed where a vehicle isn't (i.e. wilderness or the like). But I also think bikes need to keep the OHV groups engaged because we are in this together. Same with horses, a horse does as much or more damage to the trail as a bike and so regulating bike like horses is I think a perfectly fair possibility. But we are unique in that we are mechanical, but still not motorized. So where we fall is sort of unclear in the grand scheme.

08-14-2008, 10:23 AM
I think Dave has hit on a key point. It takes skill and effort to handle a dirt bike. Accessing the back country in that way took a commitment from the rider, and the time it took to build that skill also gave that person time to achieve a certain level of respect for the environment and other people you find there.

You see the same thing with the advent of snowboards and shape skis. 20-30 years ago it took years of commitment to get yourself onto a "black diamond" ski run, and during that time you learned some of the etiquette of the mountain, how to treat other people, how to ALTERNATE, etc... Now that everything is so easy people get to the good stuff much too quickly, with no understanding of their place in the greater system.

Like has been said, I have NEVER had a positive encounter with a person on an ATV. I've also had more bad than good encounters with people in 4x4's. That's just how it goes, people, for the most part, suck. That's why I mountain bike, hike, camp, ski and drive my 4x4 in the first place, to get away from them.

Rising Sun is a small community of people who have made that commitment to their passion, and, in my limited experience, always leaves a situation better than when they went in. This club is known nation-wide for that etiquette, and it's something to be very proud of. But Rising Sun is also a very small minority.

So I don't know what the solution is. Like most things, the actual solution to the big problem will be made up of lots of small solutions to small problems, spread out over a long time. That's messy and boring, but its how the world works (IMO). Personally, I'll continue going out of my way to make sure I stay on the trail, I'll continue bringing an extra 35gallon trash bag to use on other's people's trash every time I go out (one day I might not need it :rolleyes: ), I'll continue to support Tread Lightly and IMBA, and I'll continue to avoid confrontation but lead by example. I'm not going to get shot trying to explain to somebody else why what they're doing is wrong.

In the meantime, I'll grudgingly support the "rights" of the ATV'ers, because I agree with Bill - its a slippery slope and once the Sierra Club, the SUWA and whoever else succeed in banning ATV's, Land Cruisers, Mountain Bikes or Vibram soles may be next.


08-14-2008, 12:18 PM
I dont post here much but being a hard core colorado single track rider for many years, I had to comment. It seems a lot of ATV riders dont take the sport near as seriously as the avg. single track dirt bike rider. If you see someone on a quad with a mullet and cut off jean shorts, no protective gear on them or the KIDS on the back, they have no respect for themselves. No respect for themselves means like-wise for the enviorment and other riders, this means trail closures:rant: I am not saying this is the case every time and there is not loser dirt bike riders also but it does seem to follow a trend. I try to pick up extra trash every time I ride and "stay the trail" as much as possible. As far as slowing down for others, getting out of the way, blocking trails etc... has nothing to do if your in a cruiser, on a bike or a quad, its just wheather your an asshole or not. I ride mtn bikes, I have cruisers, and I ride dirbikes offroad a lot, so I am not bias. Bottom line is, keep the trails clean and the tree huggers dont have near as much pull to shut trails.

08-14-2008, 06:56 PM
wrong is wrong. Period.

I will NOT support oil and gas leases for access, even if it gets me access.

I will not support prime examples of darwinism on quads, just to keep my access.

I will not support MTB's that don't know IMBA or other rules, just to keep my access.

wrong is wrong.

oh, and here's an interesting statistic. On the road, squids on sportbikes are often regarded as out of control and dangerous.

Guess what type of motorcycle has the highest death rate, as well as accident rate, both single vehicle and multiple. Cruisers. That's right, the "tame" bikes.... with the "good" reputation, or at least less thought of to crash.

my point? Stereotypes are not always correct views, but I have had many a cruiser rider ride circles around me, yet I haven't seen one stereotypical quad rider ever do right by me.

Uncle Ben
08-14-2008, 07:40 PM
my point? Stereotypes are not always correct views, but I have had many a cruiser rider ride circles around me, yet I haven't seen one stereotypical quad rider ever do right by me.

I seem to remember riding my quad in your presence on the first Jenny Creek work day. I also remember getting a lot of productive work done that day! If you don't want to be stereotyped then don't stereotype!

08-14-2008, 10:30 PM
dude - never seen you on a quad. I wasn't at the first jenny creek day. and you my friend, are ANYTHING but stereotypical...:beer:

Uncle Ben
08-15-2008, 12:50 AM
dude - never seen you on a quad. I wasn't at the first jenny creek day. and you my friend, are ANYTHING but stereotypical...:beer:

;):hill: Somehow, my wires were crossed and I thought you were Billy for some demented moment.......my bad..... :rolleyes: :brick:

08-15-2008, 08:50 AM
wrong is wrong. Period.

Never thought of you as a fundamentalist, John! Well now... :confused: I would have thought of you as recognizing many shades of gray, of the need for cooperative compromise, of sustainability rather than absolutism... I know you see these things most days.

What I am putting the point to is, separating the issues. Supporting ATV access along with all OHVs is one issue. Opposing irresponsible trail usage on the part of ALL OHV users is another issue. Important to keep those straight.

08-15-2008, 09:14 AM
Supporting ATV access along with all OHVs is one issue. Opposing irresponsible trail usage on the part of ALL OHV users is another issue. Important to keep those straight.
I think supporting ATV user groups is fine up to the point that they become an anchor. Is there a point where you have to keep them at arm's length if they are hindering efforts? There are plenty of 4WD and motorcycle bad apples that we don't need to deal with a whole group who I feel don't give a rat's bum about following rules and laws anyway. They have to show the effort, writing letters, volunteering, demonstrating responsibility, whatever. I understand we have to avoid splintering into factions, but do we hold onto them if they take us all down? I dunno, just saying in generalities. In a perfect world people are responsible and enforcement is universal (i.e. street legal and licensed only on designated trails), but the world is not perfect and sometimes the path is not clear.