Mountain Bike Access Issues Flaring Up in San Diego County

Apr 18, 2019
by Richard Cunningham  
Trouble in Paradise

The San Diego Union Tribune posted a story about the State Fish and Wildlife's escalated efforts to keep mountain bike riders out of an ecological reserve in the city of Carlsbad in North San Diego County. Mountain bikers frequented the property, along with hikers and equestrians long before the site was passed into government jurisdiction as a negotiated land swap in exchange for permission to build a large development nearby.

At some point, however, Fish and Wildlife authorities posted signs banning bikes and horses - warnings which were largely ignored after park users realized that, for years, the agency rarely bothered to visit the 473 acre site in the coastal hills. There's a new sheriff in town, apparently, and now the agency is making a show of force with brand new trucks and officers who are issuing both warnings and tickets to mountain bikers who cross the line.
Carlsbad Highlands Ecological Reserve
Areas in yellow mark parkland and reserves controlled by California Fish and Wildlife.

LiteVille
Ted's, a popular gravity zone in North San Diego County, has been halved by two separate conflicts

Land swaps such as the one that became the Carlsbad Ecological Reserve, have created most of the open space and wildland parks in Southern California. The puzzle-piece acquisitions have created problems, though, especially in San Diego County, where adjoining public lands are policed by a number of different state, federal, city, county, and private non-profit management authorities who are often at odds with each other. Trail access decisions, area closures, and environmental restrictions are subject to the whims of whichever land managers are flexing their muscles that month, which often negates lengthily negotiations between stakeholders. Fish and Wildlife's decision to target mountain bikers exclusively is one reason why mountain bike groups like the San Diego Mountain Biking Association have contested the posted rules. There is little scientific ground to support banning cyclists in the name of habitat and wildlife preservation from trails open to other public user groups.

Not an Isolated Incident

A number of similar conflicts have gone poorly for mountain bike riders here. Anderson trails in East County were slashed from one of the area's best technical riding zones to a single loop, Tunnel trails near the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve were restricted to a single mountain bike route after a lengthily battle, and a few miles away, the popular Ted Williams gravity zone was recently halved by California Fish and Wildlife, one of three authorities who manage the land there. Those losses have been offset somewhat by the construction of new trails nearby, some of which are gravity trails currently under construction.

The mountain bike community has not been entirely helpful. A longer rainy season has softened the hard clay soil and unauthorized building has escalated to a new level. Unlike heavily forested areas which mask the visual impact of most trails, diggers and subsequent trail erosion typically leave permanent visible scars on Southern California's low scrub and rocky landscape.

It is doubtful that bird watchers appreciate the subtle contours of a pro-sized jump line, or that land managers look fondly on a new trail that meanders down a hillside only ten meters to the left of the one that popped up last year. Close proximity of large suburban developments to parklands is the ultimate digger bait, and so far efforts by both land managers and mountain bike stakeholder groups to control the quality and number of trails popping up have not been very fruitful.
Shoot for the Cannondale Jekyll review
Most open space parks in the county have found a way to integrate some quality mountain bike trails into their overarching purpose, which is to conserve habitat and to protect native species.

The Domino Effect

Why should anyone else worry about Southern California's mountain bike woes? It should be no secret that mountain bike compatibility and unauthorized trail building issues are contentious in many parts of the United States and elsewhere. Government and social agencies, however, are reluctant to act alone, especially when faced with a polarized constituency. When an agency finally musters the seeds to take action, like closing down a popular gravity zone, all eyes will be quietly watching to see how it goes down.

Whyte T-130C Works
Tunnel Trails are a network of foothpaths, hidden from view in a deep oak thicket - remnants of a tent city immigrant workers built during San Diego's construction boom.

If California Fish and Wildlife prevails and the mountain bike community quietly accepts their fate at the Carlsbad Ecological Reserve, agencies who are facing similar conflicts will most likely cite the success and follow suit. Conspicuous conflict resolutions thus create a domino effect. Sometimes the ramifications are positive, but in this case, a decisive loss would most likely empower further closures across California and beyond.







314 Comments

  • + 154
 Man, California loves to tout its open spaces and outdoor recreation, but behind the scenes loves taking it away. Where i live in cali all the mountain side areas are being sold to development of houses and we are constantly losing long standing trail systems due to over-development.
  • + 170
 california sucks
  • + 51
 California isn't the only state with this issue. I used to live in Washington and rode Beacon Hill all the time and now it's in the midst of being purchased and developed for housing...it really is all about the money and it sucks.
  • + 44
 I live in CA where a timber company granted mountain bikers access to a chunk of hill where we can race and build anything we want as long as we stay out of the creek buffers. 5000 feet of descending and still building. CA isn't all bad
  • + 21
 In SO CA, 'open space' should be called 'closed space'. Closed to development which is nice but also closed to user access. It will all be built on or closed eventually.
  • + 15
 @Jimmy0: Does this timber company have any desire to purchase land in San Diego?
  • + 31
 @gmcgurk: idk y'all got trees?
  • + 6
 @gmcgurk: no trees in SD, man..
  • + 47
 Whats funny is compared to Europe, California literally has shit tons upon shit tons of open space and nothingness yet we have more trails and more access.
  • + 7
 I feel some irony in there somewhere lol... plant and animal communities become fragmented / destroyed due to MTB trail construction....MTB trails become fragmented / destroyed due to city's expanding development... Cities become fragmented / destroyed due to MTBers leaving SoCal for a greener a brighter MTBLife in the Pacific Northwest... lol
  • + 55
 As a native and current San Diego resident I believe a good F*#$ YOU San Diego is appropriate. The initial issue was/is people were building on private land someone gets hurt land owners say bye bye MTB trails. Same thing with building on preserves. There was a place called Sidewinder/Steel Bridge you could shuttle that was built after the last major wildfire. It was illegal but at some point the builders were getting crazy with offshoot trails and lines. Now that place is closed. There was also a really neat little freeride area near Balboa Park (D1,D2) that actually benefited having the trails there because it kept a lot of the transients from camping around/littering. About 4 years ago they bulldozed it and now it's covered in trash, empty bottles and human waste. It BLOWS MY FREAKIN MIND that we live in one of the most beautiful full time riding spots in the country and our 'trail network' are some shitty fire roads (talking about you Mission Trails).
  • + 7
 @fpsberg: Beacon Hill in Spokane will be no more?
  • + 9
 They'd rather we just huff paint all day in Barrio Logan. Chinga la chota.
  • + 6
 @coyotecycleworks: Totally right about D1/D2 in Balboa... place was so much more clean and safe with active riders back in there...homeless were back a few days after the dozers came through. So sad. ...annnd +1 for Mission Trails sucking ballz... place is terrible.
  • + 3
 @fpsberg no way, didn’t expect to see this on here. But yeah, I live in Spokane and have gone to a few of the meetings about this, and it’s sad stuff.
  • + 3
 @michaelasnider: not entirely, but quite a bit of the trails. I’ll pm you info on it, or maybe post it on here.
  • + 4
 @michaelasnider: this post shows a little bit of information, but I’ll try to find some more. www.instagram.com/p/BwBZd22lBe2/?utm_source=ig_share_sheet&igshid=1wo4w8az76ojs
  • + 5
 @fpsberg: Beacon Hill Frown noooooooo!
  • - 1
 @shrockie: or anywhere in southern california basically. riding in summer is the worst.
  • + 1
 oops double post
  • + 6
 @Jimmy0: Tell them to grow weed.

This is why I left Marin. The place that was grown and filled with free-loving hippies turned out to be one of the harshest critics of anything related to bikes being ridden in the hills.
  • + 2
 Exactly. Overpopulation, isn't going to stop until all the good stuff is gone.
  • + 16
 San Diego resident. Across the board, we're swimming upstream against cities who give in to development pressure. Some formerly "protected" land, off-limits to riding, has even been developed into neighborhoods "from the low $900k's!" as though the local plant and wildlife never mattered.

Trail access varies widely across SD county. Some areas such as Black Mountain are able to execute on awesome trailbuilding plans while others are left behind. It takes effort from the whole community and local leadership support to actually get anything done, and progress is often frustratingly slow. But areas like La Costa, Black Mountain, and Rancho Penasquitos have improved a lot recently. Proposals for new trails are being made, and some have been accepted. We need to put in time, money, and effort consistently or we'll see our access erode over the coming years.
  • + 2
 @endlessblockades: if it's followed by a trip to Salud!, I'm in!
  • + 31
 "Land of the free..."
Man the US seems to be anything but free
  • + 8
 And people always ask me why I would leave living on the beach in SD for the PNW... this right here is one of the MANY reasons! We dealt with this same shit my whole childhood with our dirt jump spots. Now I live in a town where the city sanctions them! Big Grin
  • + 10
 @fpsberg: We are in the process of trying to get funding to #makebeaconpublic

www.facebook.com/beaconhilltrails
  • + 20
 Moved to Seattle area from San Diego a couple years ago. All I can say is thank you to the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance. You don't fully appreciate how great is this organization until you've seen the other side.
  • + 10
 It's the worse. For a state that is so progressive, their outdoor policy is trash. Mountain biking here is treated as a crime.
  • + 8
 I'm in Orange County and this is happening here too. We as mountain bikers lose out twice. As an example near my community, first we lost a bunch of trails that were there for years for the actual development but then second, in order to grant the developer the right to proceed then they had to designate land as "wilderness" that bikes aren't allowed on.

There is even a 1/2 percent sales tax that goes to the OCTA that works the same way. In order to get approval to build new roads, they have to designate land as wilderness so they are using public money from the tax to buy up plots of land to develop as wilderness. Then, because their is such an anti-bike slant among the powers-that-be in these parts, the lands get opened up occasionally for docent-led hikes and horseback rides but no biking.

I've only lived down here 5 years from coastal BC but it's been an amazing contrast in terms of trail access and attitudes towards mountain biking.
  • - 15
flag thrice (Apr 18, 2019 at 14:56) (Below Threshold)
 @coyotecycleworks: Hey man, I have to disagree haha. I'm new to San Diego and I have been riding North Fortuna Summit 2 or 3 times a week. Love it, why the hate? haha. Other than that I've done the long loop in Noble Canyon and Big Bear since I've been here. Mission Trails are helping me stay sane as I adjust to the new corporate finance job I landed.
  • + 5
 @Boardlife69: why do you think that is true? Its not. We have highly developed coastal areas, deserts mainly unsuited to riding, forests regulated by both Federal and State authority, and tons of land set aside to assuage guilt as a result of over development for housing. There is riding, but its not plentiful near major metropolitan areas and some of the best trails are illegal.

Best thing we can do in San Diego is join SDMBA. When law enforcement authorities have to justify their actions to elected officials who oversee them, there will be compromise. SDMBA does very well representing our interests as mountain bikers. It can help protect us from the whims of law enforcement.
  • + 1
 @IllestT: I think it roughly translates to “you’re on your own”.
  • + 2
 @michaelasnider: There are sections that are on privately owned land. Racing out there last month there were tons of signs saying "Make Beacon public again". I know the system is still expanding but there are areas that are under development which will encroach on the trails.
  • + 6
 @thrice: Mission Trails is the saddest excuse for MTB trails that I have ever had the dis-pleasure to experience.
  • + 2
 @downhillnews: leaving Marin was the best thing I’ve ever done to make me a better rider
  • + 6
 In other California news, drug attics get free needles. Some hobbies get support, others not so much.
  • + 3
 @mark4444: that's irrelevant and out of context
  • + 2
 @thrice: as someone who rides mission trails almost everyday given I live less than a mile away, I am the first to admit the trails are terrible and not that fun. All of the fun stuff got shut down above the 52. We have one fun trail in e-ticket but that is it. Climbing up the saddle and going kamikaze down the other side really isn’t that fun.
  • + 2
 @IllestT: Certainly doesn’t feel as free as it used to.
  • + 2
 @fpsberg: What? Really? Camp Sekani sold? Post some news. That's so horrible I don't believe it..
  • + 1
 @coyotecycleworks @Slo5280 : I remember seeing the Balboa Park one on the news where the rangers said that they like the trails there because the bikers cleaned the area up & kept riff raff out but whoever is in charge of the land shut it down.

It does suck though. I live in north county & pushed very very very hard against the local diggers who wanted to build "alternates" all over the trails, citing the Calaveras area as a bowl of spaghetti example which environmentalists, locals & hikers hate / don't understand.
  • + 7
 @laxguy: California is one of the most beautiful States I've ever lived in with the most miserable b******* rules citations and violations out of anywhere in the United States of America. They also post signs to tell you that there is a sign coming up to tell you what the next sign is about.
  • + 6
 @downhillnews: Ha. Peace love and understanding as long as you share their point of view.
  • + 2
 @Seawild66: Here's an article about it from June www.spokesman.com/stories/2018/jun/24/tight-housing-market-robust-economy-could-mean-dev

Basically, a large percentage of Beacon/Camp Sekani is on private lands that are currently part of a potential housing development. Evergreen East has more info up on their FB page.
  • + 1
 Sad.
  • + 2
 Maybe we all could send an email to these idiotic agencies to attemot to bring them back to reality.
  • + 2
 I don’t know where you live in California, but for most of the state, developments like you described would never happen. There’s so many environmental laws that a project on a hillside would never get approved.
  • + 1
 @Levelheadsteve: there are rules, and there was a lot of prep work, but it's still a dream come true. Club members and affiliates only. No riding down the road, don't bother owls, don't go in the creeks etc. I wonder if there are any large private landowners in socal?
  • + 1
 @laxguy: yep. This state can't fall into the ocean soon enough
  • - 2
 So if the "Land of the free" bit isn't true, does that mean that the US isn't the "home of the brave" either?
  • + 2
 @IllestT: the rest if the USA is not California lucky for that....
  • + 1
 @Jimmy0: Big, bad corporate America doing good! We've got the same arrangement in my backyard. It's awesome, because none of the type of agencies that RC speaks of have ANY authority in the area.
  • + 3
 @IllestT: Still have plenty of brave folks here.
  • + 1
 @Jimmy0: thats a timber company, not "California"
  • + 1
 @splsce: yes. My point was that all of California isn't limited by it's agencies.
  • + 1
 @Jimmy0: rad! where is this?
  • + 1
 @downhillnews: Grew up in Marin- now live in SD- Apparently its my curse following me.
  • + 2
 @rpet: Humboldt. Come on up
  • + 2
 @IllestT: I suppose you missed the bit in history about the Revolutionary War in 1775 mate?
  • + 2
 @Jimmy0: It's on the list! Smile
  • + 4
 @fpmd: Don't lose sight of the role that a progressive WA state approach (DNR) has played in Evergreen's success. Without Sam Jarrett of the Department of Natural Resources, Tiger, Raging, Ollalie, and Darrington would not have happened and the future phases currently in planning and funding would just be something we talked about.
  • + 1
 @Jimmy0: not bad for you all thats for sure!
  • + 1
 @michaeldorian: Its more like because the state is so progressive their outdoor policy is trash.
  • + 1
 @laxguy: come to California on vacation and try to ride a mountain bike. You are now on felony probation.
  • + 1
 @oldtech: double secret probation and they might write a letter to your mum.
  • + 1
 @Boardlife69: we're still just a bunch of westerners looking for gold out here. Can't seem to work together for a common good.
Although, I feel like if the trails preexisted our modern civilization, like much of the ones in the EU, there wouldn't be an issue.
  • + 1
 @Slo5280: let's go dig in TJ
  • + 1
 @Austink: ah, makes sense now. I don't like E-Ticket that much and was somewhat disappointing when I first rode it. I prefer long raw sustained descents which I guess is unlike most people here. I'm also happy I got somewhere I can ride to from home. I'll soon be checking the other stuff for sure though!
  • + 77
 This is the very reason many people in Colorado disapprove of e-bikes. Access here in Colorado is a very touchy subject especially with equestrians and hikers. They look for any and every excuse to take mountain bikers off the trail. Do ebikes cause any more damage than regular mountain bikes? Probably not. However, as more and more "motors" appear on mountain bikes, and that is exactly what they are, the greater risk of getting MTB's banned. Equestrian riders specifically are very suspicious of any and all bikes. ebikes only raise that threat even higher in their eyes
  • + 98
 ...and yet it's the equestrians that leave giant piles of shit behind on the trails for everyone else to deal with. In the Denver area we need more trails to disperse the crowds from the population explosion over the past few years, would be great for more bike only and unidirectional trails too.
  • + 53
 @chacou: not to mention the damage the horse hooves do to the trail.

My local lakes have mtb and equestrian trails all you have to do is go down a horse trail and you will see the damage they do.
  • + 34
 @reverend27: I've seen local equestrians here in socal go straight up the mountain side skipping across the trail everyone else uses to get up to the peak, damaging the vegetation in the process yet 'us mtbers' who ride AND dig are the ones responsible for habitat destruction lol -_-
  • + 25
 Horse shit
  • + 27
 @Boardlife69: totally agree. California is a beautiful state. However, it's ran by idiots and bureaucratic charlatans in most locales
  • + 24
 This.

For sure, f*ck horse people, but that user group isn't viewed by stakeholders as the problem... mountain bikers are, and ebikes are an extremely easy target to shut down access. Get ready to see it happening.

Good thing ebikers and ebike manufacturers are out there forming their own advocacy groups to educate land owners/managers on what an ebike is and why they should be allowed... oh wait... crickets, just riding coat tails of mountain bikers.
  • + 15
 @gramboh: for all the backward armpit of a state Oklahoma is I don't have these problems if horse riders are seen on my trail I take a picture and have them fined.
We have separate trails for horse and mtb. The mtb-hiking-running trails are well maintained by the people who use them.
The horse trails are muddy ruts with biting flies and shit.

Trail runners and mtb and emtb coexist and are polite to each other.

All you are doing is shitting on emtbrs like the hikers and equestrian have done to you. Grats.
  • + 20
 @ssip: Where I come from, equestrians have big money and political connections. That's the difference here.
  • + 27
 @gramboh: 100% f*ck horse people. I'll walk my bike and be as courteous as possible, but clean up your shit. I don't care if it is the cleanest poo in the animal kingdom.
  • + 33
 @usedbikestuff: totally agree. I’ve heard horse people say that horse poo is “just grass”. To which I replied “it WAS grass until it got chewed up, digested, and shat out of a horses ass. Now it’s feces.”
My crap this morning was “just last nights stir-fry”. That doesn’t mean I’m going to leave it in the middle of a trail for others to ride/step in.
  • + 4
 @bman33: the folks elect most of the "idiots". Even a non idiot would have an impossible time governing CA I would think. Too many people concentrated in limited spaces. Like one of the European posters said, ironic that US/CA has a sh@t ton of space and yet has all this friction.
  • + 3
 @coachvernon: Agree with you. Sad thing is, most who run for office, idiot or not, are there just for the power and not much else. They go where the money or re-election is.
  • + 17
 @mikeyrides: Never understood why it's universally accepted as a d***head move to let your dog crap on the ground and not pick it up, but it's completely OK for horses to leave these massive piles right in the middle of the trails.
  • + 7
 @johnbalz: I've long dreamed of writing "clean up your shit" on that billboard of a horse trailer. There are plenty of piles and plenty of trailers, and they're all guilty of it so i figure just do it to everyone. They'll get the message. Maybe jam some on the tires and in the tailpipes. Same as getting it stuck on my tires and bike right?

Just would have to pick it up and there in lies the problem.
  • + 5
 In regards to the Colorado front range trails, ultimately we need more "legal" trails to be built to disperse the crowds and reduce conflict between user groups. Since there's already a plethora of hiker/equestrian only trails, including all wilderness areas, we need to organize better (COMBA) to work with the land managers (JCOS, DPR, NFS) and get some more bicycle only trails built. I've given money to COMBA and attended Jefferson County Open Space meetings, but things seem to move way too slowly, like 5-10 year schedules. We, the people I ride with, have also discussed it as a good opportunity to address fire mitigation in overgrown forest on our vast public lands. In my naivete, all the land managers need to do is say "yes, go" and rounding up volunteers and experienced trail bosses doesn't seem too difficult
  • + 5
 @johnbalz: the dog logs on the trails I frequent get left in the plastic bag tha's supposed to be disposed of. at least the horse doo doo will decompose at some point
  • + 5
 @bikemaster50: it's futile, but equestrians should at least be required to carry a shovel, think collapsible avalanche rescue shovel, to clear the feces from the trail. Toss it to the side of the trail, but instead they just leave massive piles in the middle for bikes, hikers, and runners to dodge.
  • + 5
 @gramboh: I recently dropped in on a jump line called the Whoop De Doos and a train of 15 electric one wheel riders were riding up the jump line. All motor vehicles are prohibited from this area. (I let them know it wasn't cool to ride up a jump line, bike or not)
My point is, it doesn't stop with ebikes. Yeah, they are the new kids on the block and many of them need educating but, as more electric motor devices come onto the market, the more devices are on the trails. Where do land managers draw the line if ebikes are allowed? The line has been drawn at human powered vehicles but that's not good enough.
  • + 4
 @thrasher2: I hear you. My hometown... 1300 acre park in the middle of nowhere, some trails, meh... Evergreen MBA... we take care of the trails... lets build a small skill area and some more features along the bike trails. Gov official: Cool. Lets work this out. Rich equestrians/hikers: WAAAAHH! Take shovels and axes and destroy trails in protest, slander and attack said gov official in local paper, hold protests at meetings, etc. Gov official: Never mind, Evergreen. Not happening. Facepalm
  • + 1
 @chacou: and 12" deep / 14" wide ruts
  • + 4
 I would add that the differences in the margin of speed between hikers, equestrians and mountain bikers will increase with ebikes coming on the scene. Bike haters will lump ebikes and mountainbikes together. Will park rangers counter faster ebikers with speed limit signs for everyone? Can you imagine a 12-15mph speed limit on your favorite flow trail?
  • - 2
 Anyone have one example of ebikes threatening MTB access or better yet an actual closure? Enough with the fear mongering.
  • + 8
 @slayerdegnar: it's a topic on pretty much every land manager meeting in Colorado. ..
  • + 2
 Right there with you man. Why even think of messing with a good thing?....
  • + 2
 @gramboh: kill them with fire
  • + 1
 @reverend27: Bicycle riders do not leave stinky crap on the trail every 10 feet. So gross to walk through.
  • + 1
 wasn't sure where to post this, but this seems like the proper thread: Maryland yesterday passed a law that defines e-bikes as bicycles and confers all the benefits/limitations of such; granting them access to all bike lanes, paths, and trails. It remains to be seen whether this will result in backlash closings-we shall see.
  • + 1
 @mx360guy: Ever had bad ceviche? Every 10ft is a distance record. Every 5ft is average. That was a rough ride.
  • + 1
 @camm67: I can imagine ignoring it the same way I ignore speed limits on the road...
  • + 1
 @nvranka: Oh I hear you on this one. But like the speed limits on the road, authorities will have a legal baseline to work with to ticket you...if they want. And the tickets won't be cheap.
  • + 73
 The best trails in California are all called "Trail Closed".
  • + 9
 I wish I could give this 100 upvotes. I have been riding MTBs since the early 90's and have seen way too many of my favorite trails closed.
  • + 2
 I have plenty of pictures to prove it!
  • + 56
 You yanks need the Scottish system; the right to roam.

You can go anywhere on foot, by bike or on horseback as long as you leave no trace and damage nothing.
  • + 18
 That sounds awesome, wish we had that free and open system. The whole problem is every one has a different interpretation of what the word “damage” actually means and translates to.
  • + 1
 I completely agree. We were able to ride our tandem across pastures and down trails in the Outer Hebrides because it is assumed that you know enough to close the expletive> gate!!! Unfortunately, in the US one person forgets to close the gate, and it is the least well connected group that gets the blame.

But our land use laws and rules are based in English common law, which is very different from Scottish, which is more like Norway. Lucky you. The problem with the Scottish system is when people start walking up to my house and being a pain. Or leaving gates open and my sheep run away. Or camp in my driveway. Or...
  • + 4
 I do follow that system, fences and signs be damned. It's the american way.
  • + 1
 Ravenous American capitalism will not allow. We're all about "rights" here.
  • + 2
 Too many people here in the US for that too work unfortunately. That would just encourage mindless 'exploration' by city people who don't understand leave-no-trace as I've witnessed going to our National Parks. With that said I do envy the openness of Scotland and I'm look forward to mtbing coast to coast across the country some day!
  • + 41
 Land of the free!
  • + 2
 Oookay Canada! "Feelings"..be nice to your brother or you can go to room
  • + 5
 "God keep our land, glorious and free!" F'n right buddy
  • + 23
 @scary1: Canadian expresses opinion on freedom and is immediately threatened by American.
  • + 7
 @paulwatt: you feel threatened by possibly the nicest joking around I've ever published?
You realize how hard that was to do?!
To your point, I had to take into consideration the tenderness of aaa-ll Canadians and it was still....too...much..hurt. (sniff)
  • + 1
 @paulwatt: Really good point there...we should remember to stand on guard Wink
  • + 5
 @paulwatt: Canada-US history in one sentence.
  • + 7
 Whoever told you that is your enemy!!!
  • + 0
 Punish the riders who break their back staying out of trouble while zillions of criminals do actual crimes. This is our reality in NY but never expected such ignorance in SOCAL.
  • + 0
 @dobermon: You're a little off topic on this comment thread...
  • + 1
 Welcome to the last 25 years of MTB trail building.
  • + 26
 Having lived in San Diego my whole life, I can personally attest to the constant issues between authorities and mountain bikers and the increasing tension over the past decade. The rangers have no problem spending all their time handing out tickets and issuing warnings but put in little to no effort to maintain the existing trail systems (some of which have massive ruts and holes). In addition, Tunnels is a great trail with low impact on the surrounding area and yet they recently put up five new fences blocking off all entrances. Almost all of the good trails in San Diego are unsanctioned and that needs to change!
  • + 1
 same here, lived in san diego all my life and i can confirm that just about every single good trail in the county (Besides black mountain and mt laguna) is either unsanctioned or recently made “off limits”: teds, mel brooks, balboa, calaveras, sidewinder, the list goes on sadly. can’t wait to head to bellingham for college next year and have some real trails in my backyard
  • + 1
 @Jacknoble: I was told by the Black Mountain trail managers that the reason for their success in trailbuilding is their approach: they submit a 1-year plan with short-term goals to build out a new trail or section each year on the property they already have access to. It almost always gets approved. Other locales are less successful in submitting multi-year plans, where required land, soil, etc studies are required. All counties/orgs need to adopt the short-term proposal strategy even if it's part of a longer-term plan.
  • + 25
 typed 2-3 sentences trying to think on how i should respond.... still not sure.. but when in doubt rant!. Here goes! I personally physically built Specific features pictured and inferred about in this article. Nearly 2 decades ago.. after work at the Local Bike Shop.. i went out late at night with a headlamp and shovel and repetitively stacked rocks and dirt so that I & "some" of SD had something semi-impressive, kinda flowy & at the least fun to ride. Hodges, or the other 1980's trails were NOT cutting it. I personally picked & built toward features/ trail sections that were robust/ natural/ & unable to be destroyed easily. They were not necessarily easy for intermediates to tackle.... but something to built up to .. and most importantly something that would weather the abuse that was coming from all the hungry riders & a southland full of cyclists that was - really - to be honest.... completely devoid (by design) of fun contemporary flow minded challenging Mountain Bike Trails.

I had help & by no means did it all alone.. but we had some tight crews and we made it into something fun. People flocked. People got in over there heads.. People got hooked and people got hurt but people got better.. and most of all they had fun. The one thing that never got better was the Access. No new trails were granted...no one EVER built anything sanctioned that was worth while.. they actually consistently did the opposite. The enforced their rules.. they forced cyclists out.. they limited access (PQ - Tunnels).. and they never.. ever.. gave back to the local cycling community. California .... SPECIFICALLY Southern California... is literally one of the WORST placed to try be a mountain biker. The state has more resources.. more revenue ...and more riders (spending top dollar to buy bikes and support cycling ) then most of the rest of the US combined. Yet our CA "legal".. purpose built.. funded trails are such a pipe dream that it is almost hard to comprehend. From the content of this article.. and from local friends... its become abundantly clear that its gotten worst. rather then better. LA OC SD has MILLIONS of cyclists yet the trails and for that matter the green spaces.. are drying up
I can tell you from experience that California specifically SO CAL is 100% wrong on this.

I feel like i can type for ever on this.. and am kinda just so frustrated that i will just sum it up a bit. 3 years ago i had to move to Seattle for work. I was SHOCKED to find out how many amazing sanctioned... Evergreen built.. locally supported.. machine dug features and generally...SUPER RAD trail systems there were to enjoy. They're the model nearly every state should look to follow in the foot steps of. If you love riding a bike and can Hack the rain... go and don't look back. I don't like the rain much... and i honestly wish i could have hacked it.... because i didn't have to go out late at night and make fun things to ride in the dark under my own toil after work.... because Washington State cared about cyclists... trails.. and supporting the community that cycling creates.....rather then filling its pockets with money for pot holes (they never fix) or a new lane on the 405 (which never works). Im currently back in Cali..& am sad to find that the trail situation is worse. Im going to put the shovel in the ground once again.. just got to find a quiet place to do it.. and keep an eye out for the land cops and the trail police and the Equestrian clowns ( something that shits on the trail..seriously) and the myriad of haters and instagramers, and spot claimers/youtube blower uppers and assorted California bullshit that stands in my way. The silliest thing about it all is that the bikes they are stifling are sooooo expensive to buy.. and the riders are spend sooooo much money... on gear.. and food and lodging.......yet the State of CA which is SOOOOOO money conscious and greedy is literally forcing its best clientele (the outdoorsman with $$$$) to look elsewhere to set up camp.. and spend the MAXIMUM amount of money building homes, businesses, and communities that embrace Cycling. SD wake up... bikes are the answer.. communities need cycling and GOOD quality trail systems. Stop paying Clown Cops to take bikes away from people and start creating jobs and crews and sanctioned areas for cycling to flourish. Of course these clown cops with their new trucks are cracking down and limiting access... they are just greedy selfish chumps that want to have a nice new truck and a steady job doing whatever it takes to keep a gov paycheck coming in.. even if its crushing peoples hopes and ruining communities that pay their salary. WORD!
  • + 4
 Thanks for the Sweat and Blood ......
  • + 3
 (slow clap..) Word.
  • + 2
 There are a few model cities like Seattle, Sedona, Portland, Duluth, Bentonville, Vancouver, etc...that have realized that if at a high level, there is government support for mountain biking, sanctioned kick ass trails are possible which translates very directly to added revenues. It also encourages bike friendly cities and reduces pollution, congestion, and basically makes people healthier, happier, and in general outdoor cycling can help communities thrive. SoCal also has many local residents who mountain bike not only on local neighborhood trails but travel to other parts of the region to sample trails. This generates income for local communities. As you said, riders are spend soooooo much money....on gear...and food and lodging.... but they also make decisions on where to ride. I live in L.A. and I know SD doesn't have all that many options so I don't really bother with driving all the way down there to ride. BUT- if I knew there were purpose built world class trail networks in the area, I would have to come down and ride them, spend the afternoon after my ride drinking a beer at a brewery, maybe even staying the weekend to surf...
  • + 1
 @timo29er: must be Portland, Maine because the city of Portland Oregon could not be much more unfriendly to mountain bikers...
  • + 1
 @therev34: Yeah, not MTB specifically, but as far as being a bike friendly urban area, Portland seems to have made positive inroads.
  • + 18
 Someone mentioned to me that the Department of Fish and Game and other authorities have hired a PR Agency to help escalate bad press against mountain bikers in the Carlsbad area. Not a good way to resolve the issue imo #feedthefire
  • + 14
 Scary times for the mountain bike community in San Diego. Nothing against SDMBA, but I haven't caught wind of any truly unified group that represents the riding community for all of these semi-legal riding spots. There have been small groups of riders talking to CFW to understand what's going on with our local spots, but it sounds like it's time for San Diego riders to come together on a larger scale.

I'd also really like CFW to do their own study or hire a consulting firm to do an impact analysis for some of these "illegal" trails that quantifies the amount of impact caused by different trail user groups. I get that the "rundundant" trails as they call them likely have a significant impact on the land, but most mountain bike trails around here probably don't have as large of an impact as some of the 10-foot wide hiking trails with gullies running down them.
  • + 10
 I completely agree. Take Los Penasquitos for instance. All of the major trails are essentially utility roads that have substantial impact on the surroundings, yet the few single track trails that are most enjoyable are either not maintained or "illegal".
  • + 1
 MTB advocacy seems to be more successful when groups can form and rally around an individual trail area, rather than a generic county-wide org.
  • + 1
 What should have happened was SDMBA should have sought out approval for bike trail only trail networks. Because of all the illegal building they're left picking up the pieces of the scraps the county is giving them. I hate to say it but the builders ruined it just as much if not more than the county. Should have sought approval before getting stuff closed down for building illegal trails. All the good spots were built on private or preserve land.
  • + 0
 The problem lies in who is responsible for paying for said investigations and research. What you are talking about can be tens of thousands of dollars and years of research. Many times the government agencies have such a limited budget that doing such things are very cost prohibitive. So then does the community pay for such a impact analysis? I am sure someone will say, What about grants? Well, if you have any experience with writing and submitting grants, they aren't free money, can be very restrictive in what they "apply to" and so forth. Finding the right grant is the first problem, getting approved is the next and then they can escalate from there.
So then we are back to, well who pays for it. And that becomes a cyclical argument that many that have worked in government aren't really willing to go through. The quick and easy answer (not necessarily the RIGHT one) is to close the trails until someone bitches enough to get them opened. Or in this case, offload the issue to someone else (e.g. sell to another group, do a land transfer, etc.) and let them deal with it.

First step is working with the local agencies that own the property and land and then move from there to get them DESIGNATED as trails. This will HELP is slowing the process of these land acquisition trades and what not. Not a perfect answer but it helps.
  • + 14
 I lived in San Diego for close to 10 years. I didn't used to go mountain biking then. I was in to spearfishing. Fish and Game shrunk the legal fishing areas so badly that beach access to the now legal areas is a shadow of a shadow of what it was before. Non-MTBers assume that San Diego has great MTB trails and often ask me if I ever intend to move back. I tell them no because of shit like this. Sorry San Diegans, love the city and locale, but it's one of the worst MTB destinations, that random people who don't ride, assume to be great.
  • + 2
 Yep. I'm a native and it's only gotten worse, it's a product of overpopulation and not seeking approval before building. Developing MTB trails in San Diego will always be an uphill battle because of all the illegal trails.
  • + 6
 I disagree with the core argument in this comment. San Diego is a great place to ride mountain bikes; you just have to get used to riding illegal trails.
  • + 4
 ???????????????? @PullMyBrakeLever:
  • + 6
 I agree with coyote. I've lived in SD County 33 years after growing up in OC. However, I've been lucky enough to be able to ride all over the Western US and BC. There's never been any true progression of the trails here is SD. It's always, take, take, take, close, close, close. What do they really expect people/riders to do? You squeeze more and more people into an area and give them smaller and smaller sized places to actually recreate and something has to give. That's what has been occurring in SD and especially Calavera.
  • + 1
 @PullMyBrakeLever: Right. Because nothing says great riding like trespassing in to state or privately owned land. Let me just set thousands of dollars aside in the event I get fined or arrested. I'm not against bandit trails. I like the odd bandit trail here and there. But when law enforcement is ACTIVELY hunting you down to write you a ticket for trespassing or whatever the hell they want to pin down on you, I'll pass. When the local government and Fish and Wildlife is doing everything in their power to literally prevent mountain bikers from riding what little trails there are, there's a problem. But yea, you just have to get used to being a criminal and riding becomes great!
  • + 2
 @Almazing: Regarding enforcement and ticketing: this happens every few years at some of our riding spots. Del Mar Mesa, East Elliott, Ted's and Calavera all come to mind. It's always short lived though. Nobody is paying thousands in fines.

All I'm saying is the riding here is great. Sure it would be great if the trails were legal, but for now they're not. Lots are though and more are on their way to becoming legal. Look at Black Mountain and Fanita Ranch. Absolutely fantastic trails with advocacy and support on all sides.
  • + 0
 @PullMyBrakeLever: I never said the trails themselves there were terrible. I know certain trails are good, as you said. I'm talking about being a mountain biker in SD in general. The way things are in SD is unsustainable. How much longer until the land owners and local government drops the hammer and takes these permanently to build things on or make it a 'nature preserve'? Ticketing happens in phases, yes. But that's still money I would have to account for. Doesn't mean it's okay. I guess I've become a little jaded living in the South and Midwest for the past 6-7 years. Trespassing(in private property) in those parts potentially means looking in to a barrel of a gun, and the man or woman staring down the sights literally thinks your health, well-being, and life is worth less than their shitty little plot of land. But I digress.

Plus since those are illegal trails, how accessible is it for the budding new mountain biker when these so called 'great trails' are spoken in whispers? "Nah bro, can't let this place get too crowded or the 5-0 will start to notice. If you wanna ride, I gotta be there to show you. Don't tell nobody else though. Gotta keep this place on the low-low." Gatekeeping doesn't help promote mountain biking in a positive light. And therein lies the biggest problem - accessibility. I can go to mostly anywhere, open up Trailforks and MTB Project, pick a trail, and ride. In SD, I have to beg the locals to show me around or I'll be riding fire roads or trails littered with hikers and runners.

The builders have done an amazing job with the bandit(I don't like the word illegal) trails there. And I KNOW a lot of riders there are busting their asses off to get MTB trails built and sanctioned. But a great place for a mountain biker it isn't. Especially if there's the potential of you waking up one morning and your favorite bandit trail has been closed down for good.
  • + 3
 @k2rider1964: Agreed. Having grown up in OC and being a long-time mtber here, seeing all the conflict and quality of trails and then witnessing all the MTB friendly communities and riding areas all through the PNW, UT and AZ, I've packed my bags and am looking for greener pastures. As someone above said, CA is great to visit but not to live especially in metropolitan areas.
  • + 4
 @ssip: I have property in Prescott, AZ and we'll be moving out there in 3 years. They have about 200 miles of singletrack with another 75 approved last year. They definitely could use some gravity related stuff but Sedona is not far away and everything in PHX is accessible via a day trip as well.

@PullMyBrakeLever You need to get out of SD a bit if you think anything at Black Mountain is "fantastic". Go ride Downieville, Oakridge, Whistler or even some stuff at Mt Wilson to find out what "fantastic" really means.

@Almazing Your half right....the trails in SD aren't anything special compared to many other places. Very sad considering the large population, number of riders and amount of backcountry areas we have. However, riding private property doesn't always equate to "illegal" or trespassing. There's a fine line and at least for Calavera, many, many, MANY sides to this story.
  • + 12
 There was recently a very hateful slanderous article on Carlsbad mountain bikers claiming we are destroying wildlife. Says only hikers are allowed even though the trails they are hiking were all made by bikers and before that dirt bikers. The preserve used to be much larger but had lots of homes built around it shrinking its size. They have cops on motos that will ticket people for Mtb. How ironic is that. Stupid.
  • + 12
 The hypocrisy of ranting about the builders is that nearly everyone rides on some builders illegal or semi-legal trail here - including the author of this article. Worse, the builders do their best to maintain the trails and keep the erosion down, meanwhile (as we get squeezed into smaller and smaller areas) non-builders are building b-lines next to the ride-arounds for the b-lines. For all the trash talking on here about illegal builders, most if not all of the people talking don’t support the local trail organization either. Not with money or time.

Not everyone is a bureaucrat, some people just like to get shit done. Why the hate for the people that are supporting your habit and cleaning up your mess, yet no hate for the disorganized “representative organizations” that don’t do anything but concede, and vilify the very small percentage of people who are willing to actually put in a hard days work while everyone else is riding and posting selfies on Instagram?
  • + 3
 Truth for all you soft calloused hands that ride but NEVER EVER DIG OR BUILD, said a rider who does but doesn’t seek the thankyou and is the first to get the F u......

Trolls and betas.
  • + 3
 100%, really sad that mtbers use unsanction trail builders as scapegoats. The truth is that trail building is part of the solution not the problem
  • + 13
 Do local agencies/enforcement really have nothing better to do?
  • + 7
 Correct. If they don't have a problem to solve, they will be out of a job. Hence, they have created a "problem".
  • + 1
 Well, look at it another way - Land Stewards are paid to ... steward the land. This means taking into account all sides of recreational use and natural habitat/ecosystem balance.
  • + 4
 Law enforcement is really big business. If you make more things legal or actually solve some of the underlying issues that contribute to criminality you get rid of the opportunity to throw billions of dollars a year into fighting crime.
  • + 2
 @SpecializedFTW: Shhhhhh!!!! What do you think you're doing? The industrial prison complex and everything tied to it depend on fresh meat being constantly fed into the grinder.
  • + 3
 @matadorCE: They're trying to build a prison...
  • + 3
 @santoman: another prison system
Another prison system
  • + 1
 They execute the policy of the shareholders
  • + 1
 I'm so glad the crime rate is SoCal is so low that the police have time for this... Think of the children
  • + 8
 Recently moved to Alberta... the land of oil and gas.

Alberta’s oil sands have massive swaths denuded boreal forest ... yet if you want to build a few trails / argument existing MTB trails people have a shit fit... police helicopters patrol bike use areas to stop builders fixing / doing improvements.

Truly a crazy world...
  • + 4
 Wow. That is some complete BS right there. How money fuel is burned /wasted by flying helicopters to catch mountain bikes?? WTF? Doesn't that do more environmental harm than an MTB jump? Great example of why I strongly distrust the majority of government and those in power
  • + 3
 @BuddhaDharma idk if you just moved to Calgary, but the $hit show in the Paskapoo slopes beside Winsport is ridiculous. I used to ride from my house, but they decided to block all the access trails off, and build a mall. Ironically enough, a new MEC is moving into the mall.
  • + 1
 @Kern1: So is that whole riding area at Paskapoo slopes done now? I grew up in Calgary and was contemplating a move back and was trying to figure out where in the city you could actually ride before work and that seemed like one of maybe 2 or 3 spots.

As much as we bitch about the SoCal trail access issues, it's one of the few places I'm aware of where you can have a niche-type career in this massive economy down here and still have trails close enough to ride before or after work and even some very technical trails too; of course the good ones are all illegal but until about the last 8 months weren't being enforced too vigorously (Laguna beach area). Once you get used to riding 5-6x/week instead of per month it's really tough to leave, even despite the fact you have to be on-edge because you know you are poaching and could get caught.
  • + 2
 @tsn73: you can still ride, and most of the good trails are still there. However, the construction forces you to climb back up a ways after you descend. once the mall opens you'll be able to park at the bottom again. As of right now if you want to drive, you have to park at the top.

Sucks to hear about SoCal though. At least for now, I haven't heard about anyone handing out tickets here
  • + 9
 Maybe the mountain bike industry needs to go back to the old days and be preaching about good biker citizenship. Stay on the trail, don't skid, be polite. All the old school stuff that nobody seems to bother with anymore.
  • + 2
 I don't think that will help with this particular trail closure but it's good policy by default to not be a jerk. Except skids, skids are cool.
  • + 9
 Why did you write an article about illegal trails in the SD area, and post their names? This article could have been written without naming the damn trails. "let's draw attention to the ones they haven't fully destroyed yet"
  • + 7
 Oh yeah, and + 1 on the piles of horse and dog shit .. my favorite is the dog owners who pickup the poop but leave the excrement in bags in the trees! No! Putting your dogshit bag in a conifer does not make it looks like a Christmas tree!!!! I wouldn’t want that decoration in my house?

Or, When running over offending poop pile getting sprayed in the face by horse and dog shit or a mixture ... Ya, no health and safety risk on that one ????

Why pickup the poop only to place it in a tree? That isn’t cute Frown I see shitbag tree decorating having a worse environmental impact than a bike...

Not to mention, the plastic that gets left behind or washes into the river... hurting wildlife..

Might as well not pickup the poo at all?


Similarly, in BC piles of horse and dog shit are ok.. but removing fallen trees post- windstorm on Multi use trails is a mortal sin.

End rant.. I was bored
  • + 4
 if people would use a stick and flick it on the side of the fucking trail that takes 2 seconds and its gone in two weeks versus 2000 years........
  • + 7
 At least their logic is somewhat sound. Banning all trail users, or just cyclists AND equestrians makes sense if you're legitimately trying to prevent trail degradation/ erosion in sensitive areas. Here in NorCal, we have to put up with LEOs allowing access to hikers and equestrians, but discriminating against cyclists on just about everything due to "environmental concerns"-- While they patrol on quad bikes.
  • + 1
 Would discrimination like that stand up in court? We have the same here in the UK in one or two places, but it’s not enforced much.
  • + 1
 @kipvr: No it wouldn't. You've got to be a protected class to have a case under anti-discrimination statutes. There is very clear precedent (Snowboarders vs Alta) for certain user groups to be banned.
  • + 6
 Just this morning I encountered a guy sessioning my local trail in Carlsbad on his e bike. He was wearing a full face helmet, downhill pants and shirt and full pads. Assuming he is taking the kinds of risks that full protective gear enables, there is no way his ride will end without him alienating at least one hiker or cyclist.
  • + 9
 fuck the state. and if you defend them, fuck you too.
  • + 5
 California is full of back stabbing hypocrites. Bikes are good for the economy and it creates many jobs! But liberal ass wipe Betty want's to toot her ass every which way and wreck it for millions of people to enjoy! How I have survived my whole life in California I have no clue. But soon I hope to leave it and never visit it ever again!
  • - 3
 lol shut up you pinecone.
  • - 4
flag Eatsdirt (Apr 18, 2019 at 19:04) (Below Threshold)
 Ya those greedy liberal ass wipes keep developing more land and paving over more open space. Or not. Just sayin.
  • + 1
 Move to northwest arkansas
  • + 7
 People hated Bush, but at least he rode bikes. This new wave of politicians are unaccustomed to exercise and will stop at nothing to knock healthy people down a notch or two.
  • + 6
 Yes! That’s a good way to put it. A fat population is a population subdued and docile
  • + 4
 @ejopdahl: Let them eat cheeseburgers!
  • + 2
 This is an issue with state, county and local authorities. Federal authorities rarely if ever get involved with such a micro-managing issue.
  • + 1
 meanwhile, putin will ride in standing on a horse, shirtless, leap off triple salko, shoot three oxon and then wrestle your ass to the ground.. while singing the russian anthem.
  • + 5
 Come up to San Luis Obispo and ride. No crowds. Very little conflict. Enough trail in the area to ride for an entire week. Oh yeah and a shuttle service for the rowdy stuff. www.facebook.com/BikeChurchShuttles
  • + 4
 The politics there is so f*cked up. There's no accountability. Most cities are broke. They can't keep up with the growth as well as decaying infrastructure... Outdoor recreation is so low on priority list. They'd rather shut things down because 1. it's cheaper. 2. It's less overhead to deal with. 3. Reduces risk and money to rescue someone or having to fight a fire. I'm happy to have landed in the PNW where it seems 100's of miles of trails are created every year through evergreenmtballiance and local governement. Hell, even the privately owned logging lands allow trail building. Knock on wood. It's been good here -- I have learned to love riding wet and muddy. Smile
  • + 1
 Yep, quite true. Around my area, they closed down three reservoirs to boats because it costs money to have employees doing quagga muscle inspections. Yet, at the same time they are banning straws, shampoo bottles, giving out free needles, and trying to give out as much free benefits to people. Seattle has the same politics, however, the PNW has awesome trails and seems like municipalities are more relaxed about mtb-ing than california.
  • + 4
 I ride.....rode...... both Calavera and Ted's, as have many people for many, many years. The government spends all their time closing trails and chasing people out, but offer no other alternatives. In San Diego county, I'm convinced they won't be happy until they have chased out every mountain bike. Orange County has trails, but if there is even the tiniest bit of fun or technicality to the trail, it will be sterilized into a flat trail. If there are any fun trails, such as the ones in Laguna, they issue tickets if they catch you. Orange County isn't necessarily against mountain bikes, they just don't care about them or want anyone to have any fun. It's frustrating.
  • + 4
 "If California Fish and Wildlife prevails and the mountain bike community quietly accepts their fate at the Carlsbad Ecological Reserve, agencies who are facing similar conflicts will most likely cite the success and follow suit."

Having been a 47 year SoCal/San Diego native... the amount of trails that have been paved over and the amount of trails that have been closed is heart breaking.

Advocacy groups are HUGE... do your part to support them.
  • + 3
 I dont know man it seems like a good idea but what have those advocacy groups really done about all those trails that have been paved over and closed? Nada. Going rogue gets it done.
  • + 7
 One day it's a "ecological reserve" and MTBers are environmental vandals, the next day it's an open cut mine....
  • + 4
 Or an oil well, or a super-development, or a mall, or... lol Rolleyes
  • + 4
 It's Cali. Straws gone and next the little shampoo bottles in hotels. Meanwhile China, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand dump more plastic in the ocean than all the other countries combined. They don't want you riding trails here. They want you carbing up on the sofa watching Netflix.
  • + 5
 So because a bunch of other countries dump a bunch of shit into the ocean that means we should too? I'm not sure what straw laws have to do with trail closures.
  • + 9
 Straw man fallacy
  • + 4
 I agree with POZZ. California is backwards. Focusing too much on micro-managing while not addressing big important issues. They want people to be weak, fat, lazy, and watching TV to be robot sheeple. Lol.
  • + 5
 Poor California, they badly need a evergreenmtb.org like WA. No organization across the state, and they can’t rely on IMBA.
  • + 6
 MOUNTAIN BIKING IS NOT A CRIME.

Feels like I've been through this before... skateboarding from 20+ years ago anyone?
  • + 6
 It's mainly another revenue source. California hasn't been the home of the free in a long time.
  • + 3
 America isnt free. Anyone who thinks it is is naive.
  • + 4
 Riders need to advocate for themselves in the public space. There is rarely a need to do it before something is taken away, and that is on us to solve by listening to & working with the local govt & authorities.
  • + 3
 When I lived in SoCal there was an "off limits" trail (with no markers or sign to indicate so) called Schoolyard, pretty close to Telonics in the Laguna area. I remember seeing the park ranger just sit at the bottom of it and pass out tickets to riders coming down. It was so ridiculous
  • + 3
 Was he armed? Was it possible to ignore, flee or subdue him?
  • + 2
 @DavidGuerra: I'm not sure if he had a weapon but yeah I managed to evade him at least once. I mostly just stayed off the trail though cause I didnt want to deal with it. I also heard a story once about two of my coworkers at a local shop riding it. The faster of them got away while the slower one got a ticket. I always found that funny. I guess it was really not intensive to stay off the trail, it was intensive to be faster than the ranger.
  • + 2
 Sounds like the situation in SD is a bit complicated with the number of land management groups, but the best way to improve things is to organize, get involved, and educate. Places where there is an organized user group that works constructively with local land managers have much better trail systems and access. And, educating the riding community around not building illegal trails can help as well -- all it takes is a couple of douches building a rogue trail and everyone loses access. It's certainly not easy and can be a slow process, but there are successes.

Sadly, for SD and other places in CA it may be a lost cause for the time being -- governments are strapped and may see releasing land to developers as a better alternative to raising local taxes to get their budgets balanced. Put that to a vote, and the majority is likely going to prefer giving up the land to paying more in taxes. And unless governments see mountain bike access as something to improve revenue, they are not likely going to be very supportive.

As far as eBikes, that is going to be interesting to watch. I think it's perfectly reasonable for someone with physical limitations (age, injury, etc.) to be allowed to use a motor-assisted bike on trails, but a bunch of hooligans ripping around on eBikes isn't going to do us much good for access. We need to turn the conversation to, "That's neat that due to technological advances, you can get out and enjoy mountain biking." Not, "Why are you riding that motorcycle on the trails?"
  • + 6
 san diego was a great place to grow up, in 70's. glad i left...
  • + 6
 Govern = to control, ment = mind
  • + 30
 Tinfoil = thin flexible aluminum, hat = goes on your head.
  • + 0
 @islandforlife: Never heard of MKultra have you?
  • + 8
 @islandforlife: Should really be built into the helmet. Could really be a feature: New helmet with MIPS and aluminum technology to protect your head from impacts and government spying.
  • + 0
 @islandforlife: Cause the actual etymology of the word government is a big conspiracy "theory".
  • - 2
 @ashlemon: No, but I don't think you're pointing it out just for everyone's knowledge. Or do you just cruise the internet giving random comment sections fun word of the day style etymology lessons?
  • - 2
 @islandforlife: This is an article about government infringing on MTB access - WTF is wrong with you, man? Are you scared? Out to shame all the people who don't think like you do? I bet you cruise forums looking for conspiracy kooks to attack.
  • + 0
 @ashlemon: You got me, terrified! And yes, I spend countless hours combing forums looking for dumbass conspiracy idiots to attack... from Russia, with love.
  • + 2
 "public lands are policed by a number of different state, federal, city, county, and private non-profit management authorities who are often at odds with each other" - Thats the problem, so much freedom you need 6 different kinds of police including private police. "Rent-a-cops, I hate Rent-a-cops"
  • + 2
 I rode trails in SD County from 07-13 and then moved to CO for a year. Then moved back to SD and was blown away by how much had changed in that short time. Namely many of the great trails at Mission Trails were closed. Long story short - SD has awesome riding but you just have to know where to go and unfortunately in many cases it appears development will win out. Also head out East a bit and there is tons of rad riding and far less people.
  • + 2
 Really a bummer SD MTB is in this situation... If only the SD MTB scene could rally and support one another like the skate community there, this would be an entirely different article IMO. The City of SD (and adjacent munis) has been installing great skate parks within their communities for years... and I just noticed a few weeks back the bike community finally got a concrete pumptrack in Pacific Highlands Ranch (north county)...and everyone loves it! It's a small win...but San Diego still has quite a long way to go... best of luck SoCalers!
  • + 5
 The problem is that the open space that is left has been land swapped by developers to be preserves. It all comes down to money and development in the end. Skateparks take very little space compared to a network of MTB trails. That land is far to valuable in San Diego/Orange County/etc to have it used as a recreational area. And once it is swapped to be a preserve, it is tough to get any recreation approved other than hiking, and the developers will keep making the land swaps for as long as they want to build. $$$$$$ is the root of the evil here.
  • + 2
 @Tallboy97: I agree that land is a premium in SoCal (as is with most of CA, minus Salton Sea) and that traditional trails do take up a lot of space, but.....I was thinking of an in between and something Colorado seems to do well. It's the skills park with varying degrees of difficulty and length. Valmont, Ruby Hill, Broomfield Bike Park, Golden Bike Park, and Barnum all come to mind... and all could very easily fit into SDs latest and greatest Linda Vista Skatepark footprint (and cost significantly less me thinks). Larger and longer sanctioned trails in SD would be nice, but a few skills parks sprinkled throughout SD would be a great... and feed the need of mountain bikers to some degree, while discussions for actual trails could take place. Spring Valley started to make something happen similar to what I'm talking about a few years back (the Crows Nest).. but I think that went belly-up... Curious to see what happens out there..
  • + 1
 Not only in the US. We are having this exact problem rising here in Spain.

We still can ride pretty much everywhere despite few "fights" between mtb communities, trail runners, horse riders and (last but not least) hunters.

From like 3 years now the local government from Madrid declared a big mountain area as a protected environmental park as part of the campaign for olimpic games. This ended with mountain biking forbidden from trails narrower than 3 meters (basically fire roads).

Ok, all mountain biking community accepted that with sadness but still have lots of areas to ride. The problem began when hunters lobby (which makes lots of money and count with big names between their members) started to make some pressure on politicians for extending this regulation practically everywhere.

Now we can find traps, signals of "riding bikes forbidden" (even when the law is not approved yet) and forestal cops fining and kicking out mountain bikers. This regulation based on inconsistent environmental reasons is being also applied now in Ibiza, Mallorca and more local governments expressed their desire to "regulate" (here is the same as forbid) the mountain bike riding
  • + 1
 Been riding in carlsbad since i was 14, kept me out of trouble in high school and gave me something to do literally everyday. Carlsbad could draw in so many new faces if they added a sanctioned bike park. So sad to see my favorite spot go.
  • + 1
 Looking at Carlsbad today vs 20 years ago will make anyone puke a bit. You use to be able to ride from San Marcos to the beach all off road.
  • + 1
 I think what would help is in on trails that are shared and considered “multi use” mountain bikers need to stop building in those areas without public approval. I had a place I went almost every day after work that was close to my home in southern Orange County that was slowly transformed from a natural trail system into a berm and jump highway that took away from the challenge of riding it and irritated the hikers and horse folks. This was due to a large influx of people as housing developments moved in nearby. The place went from a nice hidden gem for a quick lap, to a place I would ride through to get to where fewer people went to avoid the crowds.
I get that the governments and stewards of the land are part of the problem, but mountain bikers in general need to be aware that sharing the land means actually being cognizant of our impacts on other people that use these trails. You can’t be building a jump line on a piece of single track that was already space limited. You have people with full face helmets blasting down public trails with no regard for what’s around the next switchback and that just pisses people on the trail off.
I miss being able to ride year round down there, but that’s about it.
  • + 1
 California doesn’t wanna make America great so why should they want to make their trail systems great? Let’s see they found a way to monopolize the water and charge us crazy amounts of money for it, they let people sue the power companies after fires and blame it on the power company so that the power companies have to go under and everyone is forced to go to solar, they put heavy smog restrictions on vehicles which makes it harder for people that are less fortunate with money to maintain their vehicles and be able to drive on the road and Man I’m just starting. Maybe we should get into the states secret paperwork that they file and don’t report to the government so that they can keep people hidden and off the grid so that the federal government does not know about them. I can’t wait to leave the state and maybe I should try out some of those whistle blower laws.
  • + 1
 Have spent some time in Carlsbad area & the problem is that walkers dont like flow trails so as soon as you get trails running sweet someone complains or some idiot tries riding the trails on horses & thinks they have the right to do so even after heavy rain?
  • + 1
 To be fair, it's kind of a weird approach to build an unauthorised trail and then claim horse riders have no right to use it.
  • + 1
 @Denning76: To be fair it would be dangerous for a horse to try and get along a track that I built, but these are some of the problems that are caused by miscommunication of these issues, but they are so many problems that it is some times better to go there no one will find it, then there is no problem
Hope some of these problems can be sorted out, but will take a lot of work, so much for land of the free!
  • + 1
 Hopefully this at least scares off everyone who skids, cuts switchbacks, and flattens everything into a "flow trail" at Calavera. This is not the first time they've started enforcing trail usage and it usually seems to take place after new trails are built and more people start riding there. Not sure if it actually helps, but trails seem to fly under the radar alot better when left natural and narrow. Half the trails that used to be narrow enough to grab your levers at Calavera are now as wide as a lane on the 5.
  • + 1
 The biggest issue in my opinion is the massive amount of unauthorized trail building in these areas. Looking at an aerial map of Carlsbad and Teds, you can see what I mean (especially carlsbad/calavera). As stated in the article, trails are often 10' from each other in these areas. I have often thought that building too many trails and large jumps in these relatively small areas was going to get attention and closure from F&W soon. Often the existing trails (e.g. 4-G's, insanity, trees) have been there 15+ years and are awesome (better), are not too close together, and there is little reason to build so many new ones. We don't need a new trail every few months. Focus on maintenance, not building.
  • + 1
 The thing is always the same,no matter where you are...Very few of this thing are really for the health of the land,most of this things take place for the "health of my pocket". Land is money,I don´t think any land owner would let us ride over his bank account over and over and make jumps to the vault...
  • + 1
 It is sad to hear about this or any loss of access. All mountain bikers that want great places to ride need to understand access should never be thought of as a given. At any point in time the table can turn and a once open and legal access can quickly change to closed and illegal. That is why mountain bikers should always be on their best behavior and have an open mind to land managers and the folks who have experience building, maintaining trails and advocating for access.

As the bikes get more capable and riders get faster mountain bike detractors have more fuel to point to the mountain bikers as the problem. Assuming what is here today will be there tomorrow could be one bad injury lawsuit or one A^^hat rider away from losing access. Rather than fighting the folks that work on access - sit down and understand them and they will do the same because at the core they are just as passionate about mountain bikes as everyone else. Never take any mountain bike trail for granted.
  • + 4
 I just bulk uploaded all my local SD data from Strava to Trailforks...I wonder if they'll be tracking me down. ????
  • + 5
 Yea California. You gorgeous. But only to visit. Thanks.
  • + 1
 Remember: A gov't big enough to give you everything you want is a gov't big enough to take away what you have. Cali is a pretty good case study in this right now, and getting better by the year.

You guys wouldn't believe what a great living I make by helping a couple of good-hearted Cali businesses make sure they comply with the regulations of the FIVE different environmental and zoning agencies that regulate them. It does get tiresome at times, though.
  • + 1
 California has become the land of promise and regret. Promises of additional access are often rewarded with restrictions that exclude bikes and other non-hiking, non-equestrian usage. You sort of get the impression access issues are decided well in advance of any public hearing and the hearing was just to placate requirements for public input.

Then there's the whole issue of these land swaps and how they're managed with years and sometimes decades of "study" before they're opened to the public.
  • + 4
 How does the ticketing work exactly? You guys run number/reg plates on your bikes over there?
  • + 6
 well if you bother to stop and talk to the authority, they'll ask for your ID and issue it using that information. I've only gotten warnings but a buddy of mine received an almost $300 ticket riding "Tunnels" (shown above).
  • + 9
 They usually issue a trespass or illegal use of an off highway vehicle ticket. You are getting the ticket not your bike. If you refuse to identify yourself you probably get arrested.
  • - 1
 @fpsberg: Carry no ID.
  • + 5
 @endlessblockades: Then they will just take your name, birthday, SSN, or whatever else they need to identify you. If you don't give it, you could be arrested.
  • - 2
 @goldencycle: race them then, they wont keepup running after you on a dh trail lol
  • + 3
 Soon enough they will just scan your RFID chip via drones.
  • + 2
 @noahr2011: Lol sounds like a flawless plan. Nothing could go wrong there.
  • + 1
 @Highlander406: Unless you pedal faster.
  • + 1
 ...
  • + 3
 was wondering the same thing, I have been s topped by park rangers for tickets, I just say I never carry my id on me. So i give them a fake name and address and well, there is a ticket i do not pay hahah.
  • + 1
 @goldencycle: True - the man always wins and lying is worse than the crime, usually.
  • + 0
 @endlessblockades: I'd think taking you straight to jail for not identifying yourself would be in order
  • + 2
 @matadorCE:

Police cannot force you to show ID without just cause, so they cannot arrest you for simply refusing to identify yourself. California does not have what is called a “Stop and Identify” or “Papers Please” statute that requires you to produce identification to the police when asked.
  • + 1
 @endlessblockades: they take your bike until you provide ID
  • + 1
 @Boardlife69: which will hopefully save the custom bike builder
  • + 1
 Thanks for putting this up, RC. I've lived in SD county all my life, ( 65 now) and as I've grown up and older I've how big parts that were just open space have been crammed with development.
San Diego is a developer's town. Always has been
  • + 1
 Honestly, the only way to “legally” ride in SoCal is to buy land like Kyle strait and ride it. Otherwise you just have to fork over the money for skypark and snow summit, which I do anyways. It’s kinda sad. If you are a mtber, SoCal is a horrible place to live. Main reason why I want to move from San Diego.
  • + 1
 Actual conversation I've had with F&G at Ted's:
Me: Did you guys see the migrant camp in the bushes over there throwing trash all over the place?
F&G: No, but we tore down those jumps hidden in the trees.

Priorities need to be examined!!
  • + 1
 I'm born raised California, and I live in Marin so I'm pretty familiar with this whole thing. But.................... I think its easy to sensationalize this topic. Here is trailforks statistics for California.

www.trailforks.com/region/california

If its such total shit, why is it ranked #3?

Global Ranking: #3
Trails (view details): 7,352
Total Distance: 10,565 miles
Total Descent: 2,457,044 ft
Total Vertical: 11,831 ft
Highest Trailhead: 11,833 ft
Reports: 17,895
Photos: 23,010
Ridden Counter: 300,925
  • + 1
 Thanks for putting this up, RC. I've lived in SD county all my life, ( 65 now) and as I've grown up and older I've how big parts that were just open space have been crammed with development.
San Diego is a developer's town. Always has been.
  • + 1
 Thanks for putting this up, RC. I've lived in SD county all my life, ( 65 now) and as I've grown up and older I've watched how big parts that were just open space have been crammed with development.
San Diego is a developer's town. Always has been
  • + 0
 All this complaining when there are plenty of legal trail systems around north county. “But I want jumps, and I want features” That’s what summit and skypark are for. Back when I started riding in 2005 neither of those were an option. Don’t forget that Greer ranch is close also. All these middle age bikers sound like 15 year old skaters. “F the police!” Maybe now that calaveras is closed, half of these Jabronees will go away, and get back into stand up paddle boarding
  • + 2
 That fucking sucks, I hate hearing shit getting taken down. That's why I love Utah, go out to the desert and build whatever the fuck you want.
  • + 2
 So, bikes will damage the nature, but they drove truck to catch the bikers? Killing a mosquito with a bomb. I will never understand government boneheads.
  • + 2
 Should’ve seen the damage from the fire and rescue crew that was out there testing after the crazy rains we had. More damage in 1 day than 20 years of mtb’ng. I shit you not
  • + 2
 Those of you that enjoy Calavera should consider completing the form at this link sdmba.com/news_manager.php?page=18108
  • + 1
 You all need to move, face it, it's been a long time coming, too many users on both sides, bikers make more of an impact, so they get pushed out. Go to the land of plenty, BLM.
  • + 1
 Finally, the stars align to take the bike out for the first time in over 6 months...tunes up bike for a weekend ride at Calavera...logs into Pinkbike for some stoke...fuuuuuuuuuuuuugggggg.
  • + 2
 did i miss this but no mention of north mission trails . they didn't bother with tickets , just impounded your bike. i believe it was the mirmar marines.
  • + 2
 Lol. Sad to see. Group up in socal riding tw. Glad I moved to northwest Arkansas where mountain biking is exploding and is appreciated
  • + 1
 California is gorgeous, the people are so relaxed yet the states government is so messed up. Literally the worst state to live in in the US. They love turning normal people into criminals.
  • + 1
 This is a good example of why I wish more pay-to-play areas are created. Less trail traffic, no grey zone laws, and the less responsible of mountain bikers won't bother paying and will go ride somewhere else.
  • + 0
 Yeah Sandiegan here who loves these trails, it a bummer whats going on but I just hope it can be resolved, the tunnel trails I could see go, partly because i'm pretty tall which makes those trails less fun. But I just hope we can keep most other stuff. SDMBA has been working on new trails such as the New Black Widow trail, but they wont be anything like Teds and such. Also another mecca that's being targeted right now is Greer Ranch/215 which are some other trails many people love, so SoCal, I get that these trails may be dangerous, but help us find places where we can keep our trails!
  • + 2
 The lamest part of it is Calavera Lake was Carlsbad Raceway, and riding that area was perfectly fine until the neighborhood complained.
  • + 1
 Yes, I raced there until the very end. That track had been there for years and years, then the new neighborhoods that grew up around there complained. Too bad, I had a super loaded MX friend offer a huge wad for the place, something like $16 million. He just wanted to keep a place to ride. No dice though, the developers matched the money and the city wanted it gone. Had to get rid of the low life redneck dirt bikers. Even though the market research found the average income of the people racing there was like 120k/year.
  • + 1
 @nonk: I was living right next to the lake in 2001( before I moved back to San Luis Obispo). There's no place to ride moro here either, but we have tons of mtb trails. I'd watch the cops try to catch the neighborhood kids on Saturdays.I wish your friend could have gotten it. It would be a different world. My kids live right off Palomar. They wouldn't have to drive 50 miles to ride.
  • + 4
 And E-Bikes, what could go wrong?
  • + 2
 It would have been cool if the story touched on the losses caused by ever expanding Wilderness in California and how this ties into so many problems in the western US.
  • + 4
 California has bigger problems than this
  • + 4
 Fuck Cali.
  • + 3
 forest fires will reopen the trails once the houses turn back to ash
  • + 1
 when I was stationed in Lompoc they closed down an entire area to bikers, runners and dog walking because of some stupid useless "endangered" flower
  • + 2
 Use your lights and poach them trails.
  • + 1
 The only trails California doesn’t wanna shut down are the ones going across the border LOL.
  • + 1
 You can thank all the shoddy builders for this. Oh, and you can thank Strava.
  • + 2
 Thanks for shining some light on this Richard. How can we best help?
  • + 1
 To my fellow riders in the 619 move up to Bellingham like I did. 99% percent of our trails are legal.
  • + 2
 Lets crowed fund a bad-ass layer to fight these assholes!!!!
  • + 2
 Catch me Mr. Police Officer. F*** these chumps!
  • + 2
 Problem is they're not just like jumping out of bushes at the side of the trail... they're waiting at your car for you.
  • + 0
 @islandforlife: Getting the real criminals...
  • + 0
 @islandforlife: guessing you got caught after some loops of Sesame Street? That is scary. Did you try to bride them with donuts ?????
  • + 2
 Thanks @richardcunningham

Well written, thanks for your help here
  • + 1
 Seriously @richardcunningham - I hope I get a chance to buy you a beer someday.
  • + 3
 Fuck the police
  • + 1
 Hahaaa! I agree with that on this subject
  • + 1
 Move to Squamish. (Please don't move to Squamish)
  • + 2
 Everyone already moved to squamish....busy little place not the small logging town of the past
  • + 1
 Nobody goes there anymore - it's too crowded.
  • + 2
 @endlessblockades: I know, I actually saw someone on the same trail as me. Disgusting. Guy probably didn't get the memo.
  • - 3
 Pro's Mechanical Secret tricks:
-Tighten stem bolts bottom to top, ride it.
-Tighten stem bolts top to bottom.
-Also with try it with the handlebars bolts.
You will notice it feels different and also gives you different handling.
The Pros have a specific bolt tightening sequence to make the bike being capable to jump and ride faster.
  • + 0
 Need to make private tracks like moto has had to do. Native American lands and or fee for entry.
  • + 1
 If I had a big chunk of money laying around I'd do just that. Build something like SkyPark.
  • + 1
 Just wait until those pesky roller bladers show up....
  • + 1
 No wonder Utah is getting flooded with Californians...
  • - 3
 Aren’t you a bike shop that needs customers to keep your doors open? One would think you wouldn’t care where your growing customer base is from. Note to never shop your business.
  • + 1
 @COnovicerider: it’s sarcasm bro. You can tell by the “...”
  • + 2
 Cali blows!!
  • + 1
 What about ebikes?
  • + 1
 Only place that is legal for an ebike is skypark and mammoth bike park.
  • + 1
 @Happypanda1337: Actually the City of San Diego has approved class 1 and 2 ebikes on their non-motorized trails. So that means Mission Trails Regional Park, Black Mountain Open Space, Penasquitos Canyon, Tri Canyon Trails as City of San Diego managed spaces are ok for ebikes.
  • - 2
 Merica! YAAWWWWNNNNN
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