A Colorado Hunting Non-Profit is Offering a Reward for Turning In Unsanctioned Trailbuilders

Oct 6, 2022 at 10:22
by Outside Online  
Photo Conor Barry Outside Online
Photo: Conor Barry, Outside Online

Words: Tracy Ross
This article was originally published on Outside Online.






In April, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, a hunting education and advocacy organization, circulated a press release offering a $500 reward “for reports or information leading to a conviction of those responsible for illegal trail construction on public lands.” In other words, the national non-profit placed what amounted to a bounty on mountain bikers building illegal trails.

The Colorado chapter of BHA sent the press release directly to two publications: Boulder’s Daily Camera newspaper and the Mountain Ear, which services Nederland, a town 18 miles up Boulder Canyon. The bounty technically applies to the entire state of Colorado, but the memo indicated that it was targeted at trailbuilders in the national forests around Boulder and Nederland.
Both towns are hubs for outdoor recreation. The Roosevelt and Arapaho national forests, which comprise 160,000 acres of public land, offer ample hiking, skiing, hunting, and fishing. They are the country’s third-most visited forests, with an estimated 7.5 million annual users. Nederland in particular is popular with mountain bikers: the parking lot for the West Magnolia trail system, a prominent network of singletrack, overflows with cars every weekend from late spring to mid-fall, and the nearby Front Range trails see ample bike traffic as well.

But in the vicinity, like just about anywhere with a mountain bike scene, locals have built secret, illegal trails. These see far less traffic than the sanctioned trails. I spoke to a local resident who builds illegal trails, who wished to remain anonymous for this story. He told me he enjoys the creativity, solo time in nature, and challenge that comes from cutting the clandestine paths.

There’s a long history of social trail-building in the Nederland area, says Josh Harrod, president of the all-volunteer mountain-bike-focused Nederland Area Trails Organization (NATO). “I would say 90 percent-plus of the trails we use up here started as social trails—the elk and deer ran through, then hikers followed, then bikers followed suit,” he says. “Social trail construction is kind of the fabric of the local trail community. NATO doesn’t sanction it, but I don’t think it’s ever going to stop.”

It was these trails that interested BHA. The press release read, “For years we’ve been hearing from public lands agency staff and our members that illegal trail building is rampant in many areas of the state and proliferating. Elk herds and other wildlife are suffering as a result. [The $500 reward for turning illegal trailbuilders in] is one small step we can take to try and help moderate and hopefully deter additional illegal trail construction activity.”

Local mountain bikers were angry. “Those guys are out there walking around with guns. When they put a bounty out, it’s a bad look,” says the trail-builder I spoke with.

Bikers felt the reaction was overblown. The trail-builder I spoke with describes his renegade trails as harmless labors of love that only he and a few friends know about—could they really be getting in the way of wildlife? And why was one backcountry user group launching what felt like an offensive towards another?

The trails in the Nederland area are, like most trails across the mountain West, more crowded than ever. You could argue thatIn their press release, BHA cited a quote from Gary Moore, executive director of the Colorado Mountain Bike Association, saying that bikers’ options are limited in the state. And popular renegade trails do occasionally get retroactively sanctioned by the Forest Service, according to multiple mountain bike groups.

Sanctioning new trail construction is a complicated process that can take decades, says Meara McQuain, executive director of the Headwaters Trails Alliance in Grand County, Colorado. If the HTA wants to build a new trail on federal land, it takes its idea to the relevant governing land agency. If the agency is interested, they’ll do a public survey to determine engagement. Then, the trail goes through a process mandated by the National Environmental Policies Act to evaluate its potential impact, with scientists and researchers—including archaeologists, hydrologists, botanists, and wildlife biologists—weighing in. The study findings are released for public comment, and if anyone protests, the project goes into a public objection period. The federal agency makes modifications, if necessary, and the leadership of the land management agency makes the final decision. All of this can take anywhere from three to 15 years, says McQuain. (The process looks different for state and private land.)

Research shows that trails can impact wildlife in dramatic ways. In the 1980s, a Colorado State University biologist named Bill Alldredge started studying elk near Vail, as ski resorts and trail systems started expanding. He and his team radio-collared female elk with new calves and then had humans hike through their preferred grounds until the cows showed signs of disturbance like standing up or walking away. Of the elk he studied, about 30 percent of their calves died when their mothers were disturbed by humans—and when the disturbances stopped, the population recovered.

A 2016 review of wildlife studies spanning four decades found that human traffic on trails forces animals to flee, limiting their feeding time and forcing them to expend valuable energy. And a study out of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, from earlier this year found that mountain biking ranked second only to ATV use in disturbing elk populations in a 120,000-acre parcel of land east of town.

Whether all illegally built trails negatively impact wildlife, we don’t know. But Kriss Hess, the BHA member who sent the press release to Boulder and Nederland papers, argues that while many of these trails might only see a little traffic in their early years, it’s not uncommon for them to eventually wind up on mapping apps and grow in popularity, impacting wildlife years down the line.

“We’re not trying to be aggressive with this, but we are extremely concerned about the population declines we’re seeing across the state in elk and mule deer and other populations,” says Brien Webster, BHA’s program manager and Colorado and Wyoming coordinator. “Our wildlife and land management agencies are maxed when it comes to capacity, so it’s extremely difficult for them to post up and stop riders from accessing an illegal trail,” says Webster. They’re hoping the bounty might help the agencies manage the issue.

BHA also hopes to create and distribute maps and other educational materials that might help different user groups better understand how elk see and use a landscape. In August, they released a 15-page “Illegal Trails Memo” with maps showing critical wildlife habitat and national conservation areas with social trails built through them. BHA is also considering placing educational signage at existing trailheads in areas with high rider concentration where illegal trailbuilding has occurred.

But the Boulder Ranger District has no formal or informal agreement with BHA, and it would be illegal for BHA to do any kind of trail maintenance, add signage, or install cameras, according to Reid Armstrong, public affairs specialist for the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests. Armstrong also pointed out that several recent bills have increased the Boulder Ranger District’s funding and that they are focusing their efforts where they feel they are most urgently needed, specifically on infrastructure projects and wildfire recovery and mitigation.

And Wendy Sweet, executive director of the Boulder Mountain Bike Alliance, said that publishing maps of illegal trails may have the opposite of the desired effect. “If the mountain bike community sees this memo, the first thing they will do is want to check [those trails] out,” she says. Sweet had multiple meetings with BHA members prior to the publishing of this memo to talk about how all of the various stakeholders in Boulder County could work together to create trails safe for wildlife, and felt the release was in bad faith. Plenty of other factors place strain on wildlife, like development in the wilderness-urban interface, increasing backcountry use across all user groups, wildfire, and a changing climate.

Since releasing the bounty, Webster says, nobody has been turned in. Instead, “BHA has had some really good conversations with folks within the mountain bike community who are trying to address this in a meaningful way,” he says. “It has helped us think about our objective, and to focus more on education than the bounty aspect.”

Aaron Kindle, director of sporting advocacy at the National Wildlife Federation, thinks BHA isn’t being heavy-handed enough. “What happens when someone says, ‘My actions don’t count in that spot; I’ll do what I want.’ What if other folks started seeing those guys never getting punished?” he says. “The beauty of having public lands is that we’re all responsible for taking care of these landscapes.”


314 Comments

  • 292 4
 Here in Northeast Tennessee we get a 10,000 dollar reward for turning in people hunting illegally on our illegal trails.....
  • 21 54
flag foggnm (Oct 6, 2022 at 12:00) (Below Threshold)
 Thank you for making fun of this unimportant news story. Made my day.
  • 7 0
 That's same price for a new Mt.Bike, without pedals!!
  • 333 52
 Protect Wildlife from Illegal Trails... sO i cAn sHo0t tHeM DEAD!!!! ... ok loonies.
  • 37 8
 Exactly my thoughts!!
  • 266 110
 as a mountain bike rider and hunter, I can confidently say hunters are far more aware of conservation and protecting land and wildlife than mountain bike riders. Not to mention the amount of funding that comes directly from hunting to help protect land use.
  • 52 81
flag ybsurf (Oct 6, 2022 at 11:31) (Below Threshold)
 @tomgibson: lol
  • 136 25
 @tomgibson: awareness is not stewardship
  • 53 26
 @pb-kg: 100% agree. If you took the time to talk with hunters you'd quickly understand how much they provide to conservation efforts across north america
  • 40 8
 @ybsurf: Lookup the Pitman-Robertson Act in the United States. How much of every bicycle related sale goes towards wildlife conservation?
  • 73 41
 @tomgibson: I don't mean to imply that mtbers are any better in that regard, but we're not out there actively "practicing population control" or whatever you want to call killing animals for sport.
  • 91 29
 @pb-kg: whats killing animals for sport? I take animals to provide healthy food for my family, thats it. What I do for conservation is a whole other part of my life.
  • 76 18
 @tomgibson: Everything you said is true, but most of the narrow-minded commenters here will never see it.
  • 41 27
 You very obviously know NOTHING about hunting and the conservation efforts that are in place for protecting these animals and how the vast vast majority of money for protecting these species and places comes in from hunters. You are the loonie one here bud
  • 46 8
 @pb-kg: You do know that people hunt for...wait for it...food right? Growing up we never had to buy meat from the grocery store because we always had elk or deer in the freezer. Those who can't acknowledge both sides of the argument have either never done the other, or just plain don't care. The majority of hunters aren't just going out and shooting animals through the windows of their lifted suburban for shits and grins. That's illegal.

Builders go out and build trails in good terrain. Hunters go out and hunt in good terrain. Now there is a clash and we will see how it shakes out.
  • 24 8
 @pb-kg: hunting groups rank at the top of preservation and conservation organizations in America. Land and population management policy reflects public interest lobbying that wouldn’t have happened with such a wholistic approach if it wasn’t for these stewards
  • 79 3
 @tomgibson: I totally agree. It's unfortunate most mountain bikers don't acknowledge the impact that recreation can have on wildlife. I love mountain biking, but I can also be cognizant of unintended effects of recreating in backcountry areas, especially areas that are really important for calving young animals.

Wildlife get pushed out of areas with heavy recreational use or get they get heavily stressed, in most cases. This is a great study on it, which is cited nearly 500 times:

esajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1890/1051-0761%282003%2913%5B951%3AWRTRAA%5D2.0.CO%3B2

Hunters use designated hunting areas within designated hunting seasons. These seasons do not correspond with when calving seasons are (calving happens in the spring and summer, hunting generally happens in the fall). Other recreation forms are not legally constrained by season. Mortality of wildlife is highest in their first year of life. If recreational activities can increase the chance that young animals won't get enough food, then the mortality will be higher as a direct result of recreational activity proximity. This is why hunters are concerned that recreational impacts are being overlooked in important calving areas.

It's important to look at both sides here. I ride loamers here on the shore. It's awesome. If these loamers happened to go through critical fawning habitat for local blacktail deer, then maybe we shouldn't ride those trails! What's wrong with that? Gut reactions here are the wrong reactions.
  • 11 3
 @pb-kg: No, but hunting tags bring in the vast majority of funds used to conserve wildlife
  • 11 14
 Time to implement annual licensing for mountain biking use on public lands!
  • 21 1
 @melikebikealot14: Yup, which is why the BLM and forest service performs studies on the impact of trails on wildlife. There are a few trails near me that are closed in the spring so they don't disturb wildlife, but then open for the summer and fall. That's fine with me.
  • 7 4
 @TerrapinBen: Almost every other user group has to pay for a license. Hikers and backcountry skiers are the only exceptions I can think of.
  • 28 5
 @tomgibson: I know multiple wonderful conversationist hunters.

They constantly complain about crazy trophy hunter red mist maga ammosexuals ruining their hobby and having zero respect for conservation.

SO...not really all or even most hunters have any clue about conservation.

...to be fair, that sound kinda like me complaining about the shuttle enduro bros yelling in the woods while blasting their bluetooth, so I guess they're f*ckin everywhere. EW.
  • 3 8
flag jrocksdh (Oct 6, 2022 at 12:18) (Below Threshold)
 Well theres also that little thing about liability right. So now you have bikers/hikers all over hunting lands so who's at fault if they take a bullet?
  • 12 4
 @Mntneer: Yes, hunters created the North American framework for wildlife conservation and are the reason big game populations have returned in masse.

It is easy to conceptually care about wildlife habitat and protection, but most people in cities really don't care to the extent they will lobby and advocate for their protection, much less give money to do so.

I buy a hunting/fishing license every year even if I don't end up using it... that money is basically a wildlife tax.
  • 9 6
 @tomgibson: I agree with you. But taking this whole thing into their own hands by offering a reward is a little extreme. I think a meeting between trail builders, land managers, and hunters would likely be more productive.
  • 22 1
 @mmarkey21: dude, illegal trail builders are not going to come to a roundtable.
  • 19 6
 @dontcoast: totally agree with you, there are bad examples in every group. In my experience I’ve met a lot more mountain bikers that have a total disrespect for the land they’re on and the other animals they share it with than hunters, but that’s just what I’ve experienced. I would trust hunters with land conservation a lot more than mountain bikers.
  • 13 1
 @Acourtney: campers don't and they probably trash the lands more than any other group, just had a spot we used for 20 years get shutdown for being "loved to death." Bottom line is if people can't police themselves the govt will come in and regulate it
  • 5 10
flag chukarproofsuit (Oct 6, 2022 at 12:49) (Below Threshold)
 @dontcoast: Ammosexuals are contributing to conservation with every purchase they make. No awareness required.
  • 8 1
 @jrocksdh: Whoever sends the bullet. There's a rule of firearms about knowing your target AND what's behind it. That said, if your on the other end, why take the risk?
  • 3 0
 @mtnsnap: You're right. But generally people camping are also participating in some other form of recreation. But the worst of them are just sitting around trashing the place.
  • 52 24
 The ideal that hunting is for food these days is a bit absurd. I hear that a lot and see hunters spend ridiculous amounts of money for gas, ammo, gear, and etc for “food for their families”. You’d be much better off to get your food at the grocery store. How much does a box of ammo cost these days. I also see hunters totally change the hydrology of bottom lands in order to suit their needs and cause tons of damage to natural places. Hunters are always out on there ATVs on and off of trails, dirt roads, and etc. Hunters always fall back on the “I’m just trying to feed my family and be connected with nature” line. I grew up hunting and still do hunt occasionally. I’d rather be out riding my bike or climbing, though. I don’t like the we are holier than everyone else and our form of recreation is more important than everyone else’s attitude I see more and more of from the hunting community these days.
  • 6 7
 @tomgibson:

Thank you for your call to reason and facts
  • 16 8
 @breakerb: ah yes, instead of free roaming animals I should go buy some factory farmed meat.

At least in Idaho, you can’t just drive and ATV all over the mountains and straying off fire roads on an ATV would be a pretty bad idea for your own safety. You have to hike to get to the good hunting areas. That’s not to say people don’t try and road hunt, but those people aren’t usually successful.
  • 18 4
 @HB208 You could always make the choice to purchase meat from smaller farming operations. We do. Like I said, I occasionally hunt. Im not opposed to hunting. I’ve hunted Idaho, Colorado, Montana, etc. I’m aware of the differences in hunting in different areas.

I’ll also point out that a lot of the research that suggests that hunting is beneficial to wildlife populations is classic bad science. I could go on and on about that, but I’ll spare everyone.
  • 10 2
 @tomgibson: probably heavily depends on local culture, even throughout north america... that being said, (here, and from what ive seen) the average mountainbiker has gone from "aventure in the woods" being primary (and conservation being considered) to the more common thing being "look at my big truck and enduro sled to ride the blue trail" ... disappointing.
  • 8 1
 @breakerb: links to some good research debunking bad science would actually be pretty interesting Smile
  • 2 2
 @breakerb: I literally bought a quarter cow from a local farmer this year. So I am on that already. ]
  • 4 5
 @breakerb: Its not bad science if there is no predators. This is a whole wormhole because of wolves killing livestock when they are reintroduced.
  • 14 6
 @tomgibson: 100%. People have no idea what hunters and fishers do for the budgets of our public lands. Meanwhile we can't get mountain bikers to joining IMBA or their local. The sense of entitlement is mind boggling.
  • 14 3
 @breakerb: Better off buying at the grocery store? You realize the animals that big grocery chains buy are basically factory animals. Chickens that never see daylight and are over fed and bred to get to weight quickly, cows that are raised in feedlots and are fed a corn based diet which is not natural. No thanks.
  • 6 2
 @tomgibson: I agree, if we MTB'ers don't stop creating illegal just for our"creativity, solo time in nature, and challenge that comes from cutting the clandestine paths" then we might start getting banned from public land use.
  • 6 4
 @d-man See my follow up post.

@dontcoast Just do some digging around Google Scholar on the subject. Think about it this way. Most of the folks doing wildlife research are wildlife biologists. Wildlife biologists typically get in to that field because they love to hunt. If I was asked to do research regarding whether or not sex was good for you, the answer would definitely be “yes it is… it very much is”.
  • 1 0
 @HB208: If they were caught in the act I would think they’d be more than willing.
  • 11 0
 @pb-kg: I have never hunted a day in my life and the thought of shooting a deer has no draw to me. With that said if you purchase leather products or eat meat I think it is hypocritical to look down on responsible hunting. Organizations like Ducks unlimited have saved SOOO much wetlands and wild lands with hunter generated money. Is it a little foreign to me to kill and eat something you love? Sure, but responsible hunting, while it doesn’t align directly with my values, has definitely been a force for good in maintaining and protecting wild places and the animals (as a group) that live there.

I personally am not against some illegal trail building, but I think if we socially sanction illegal trails in areas reserved for wildlife we start having the same effect on wild populations that irresponsible/illegal hunters do.
  • 4 4
 @NERyder: Exactly. These dudes could care less about the fact that trails exist or they are illegal. All they care about is wildlife disruption. They really aren't trying to be d**ks. If people want to build illegal trails that don't bug wildlife populations the hunters aren't going to give anyone any flack. Its a fair point for mtb's to consider in this instance.
  • 10 1
 Mountain biking is, without question, my favorite thing to do with my time. I can tell you though, that the most ignorant people that spend time in public lands are mountain bikers.
  • 2 0
 @tomgibson: The land in question is already protected. It’s USFS land.
  • 4 1
 @cougar797: dude, how does a random trail builder know if they are cutting across an area that is used in migration patterns? You can’t just assume it won’t have an impact because you don’t see a deer or elk when you’re out there
  • 4 0
 @HB208: You wouldn't, I think that's the whole point. Wildlife areas are supposed to be untouched wildlife preserves. Just like I wouldn't expect someone to be out hunting the hillside at a bike park. Having areas reserved for things isn't always a bad thing after all.
  • 2 1
 Don't ride during hunting season! Remember what happened in Europe!
  • 1 0
 I whole heartedly agree with you, since I'd rather have them shoot wildlife than Mt.Bikers!!
  • 3 0
 @melikebikealot14: we have some stuff here that is in closed area for wildlife. Maybe, like hunting, a seasonal closure would be better respected than a blanket closure?
Especially when a whole heap of trails got taken away by a golf course development that went bust, but thats a while other story.
  • 1 1
 @cougar797: are you f*cking kidding. Shoot without knowing? That is some serious garbage.No single user is at the top of the food chain. If you carry a gun you carry the burden!!!!
  • 1 3
 Idiot@tomgibson:
  • 1 0
 @pwenger: You might read my response again.
  • 4 3
 @cougar797: The best way to preserve land for wildlife and also have plenty of trails is to have all the trails in close density instead of spread out all over the mountain. Downhill trails close to each other with more turns instead of traverses.

Most of the hunters I see aren't hunting for food and don't care about conservation. MAGA has ruined hunting because now most of the camo crowd hates environmentalists and anything perceived to be "green". This stupidity creates a natural hatred towards cyclists from hunters, and alot of this is just hunters blaming trail builders for the devastating effects of global warming on wildlife. Because the Fox News watching hunters don't believe the science.
  • 3 0
 @DoubleCrownAddict: f*ck you're an idiot
  • 1 4
 @kyleluvsdh: I both diagnosed and solved the problem here, you the rare Canadian MAGA dupe eh? Which facts do you disagree with?
  • 3 0
 @DoubleCrownAddict: Ultra Mega MAGA
  • 100 0
 If you want a trail in Colorado with a mandatory gap or a drop greater than 4 feet you have to build it yourself.
  • 1 0
 Also truth.
  • 1 0
 So true
  • 15 0
 COMBA just built a legit double diamond at Maryland Mountain that has a drop bigger than 4' and plenty of spicey steep features. The Sluice has a drop bigger than that too, we also manged to build steep downs and doubles on Hard Money (not big I know but appropriate to the trail).
As somebody that puts a lot of time into building harder trails and features on public land I get your point all too well but it's getting better.
  • 2 0
 @catweasel: yeah and it takes years to happen, you might be seeing it now but its years in the making to get those trails allowed.
  • 3 0
 @Domainfire: Believe me I know. Spent 2 years working hard at Black Hawk to the city that we are a committed, competent and trustworthy partner in order to get the new double diamond (Ore Chute) built. Many others did the same.
Likelihood is we will get a black with double diamond options at Idaho Springs next year.
  • 53 0
 Snitches get stitches
  • 33 0
 also, $500
  • 1 0
 @MegaStoke: Stitches might cost more than $500
  • 76 30
 “Illegal trail building is rampant in many areas of the state and proliferating. Elk herds and other wildlife are suffering as a result.”

The cognitive dissonance is absolutely deafening. You’re concerned that trail building is causing the elk to suffer? And what is it exactly that your sport does to the elk?
  • 57 16
 They are protecting the elk by killing them duh! Everything I love I make sure to destroy...
  • 41 8
 "Suffering" to this particular crowd really just means "making them harder to hunt".
  • 44 3
 In case you actually want to understand the impact of hunters on the reemergence of elk:

www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/the-return-of-the-elk-59755105

You need a large population of elk to sustain hunting. Hunters want to hunt, so you need to have numbers that support that (meaning conservation).
  • 7 12
flag njcbps (Oct 6, 2022 at 12:12) (Below Threshold)
 It's a BS reason - and the irony is severe considering they're hunters.

EDIT: I may have spoke too soon. This seems legit but would have more weight if issued by Conservation groups instead of hunters.

"Of the elk he studied, about 30 percent of their calves died when their mothers were disturbed by humans—and when the disturbances stopped, the population recovered."
  • 25 4
 @njcbps: Backcountry Anglers and Hunters is a conservation group

I am both a mountain bikers and hunter/fly fisher. I am trying to see this from both sides. As a MTBer, I want more trail access, but what I don't want is random people building trails in the forest in elk/deer calving habitat.

www.backcountryhunters.org
  • 25 8
 I live in a neighborhood in the foothills a little south of Boulder. It's a textbook Wildland/Urban Interface area - mixed conifer forest, steep slopes, studded with houses on plots of around an acre, criss-crossed by roads. I'm less than a mile in a straight line from the interstate. There are elk everywhere. They wander through fences, eat flowers and vegetables from peoples gardens, I even caught a big bull whacking our bird feeder with his snout so he could shake the seed out of it. Herds of elk wander across highway 6 in the winter, into the suburbs of Golden. They're so common that residents barely comment on them.

I spend long days hiking around reclaimed mine disturbances in National Forest land on the western slope for work, all year round. The areas I go to are wilderness-adjacent; far fewer roads, trails and people in general. People from all over the country spend a lot of money to come and hunt there, and from Labor Day through the autumn most of the people you see are wearing camo and orange. Clearly there are elk there, but I rarely see any. My anecdotal experience is that the population density of elk is far less compared to the front range.

My conjecture is that the major selection pressure on elk is hunters - they appear to give zero f*cks about anything else.
  • 4 2
 @nattysupper: Well, duh, elk will obviously go to where easily accessible food is located and then move when there is pressure from predators.
  • 15 1
 @HB208: the way to solve this is simple — get ahead of illegal trails with sanctioned ones. Where there is a vacuum, expect it to be filled with whatever is most accessible. In the numerous conversations I’ve had with Forest Service in our area, they will often sanction illegal trails as an effort to prevent the proliferation of additional illegal building.
  • 33 1
 Where's the studies on the effects of roads, ski resorts and multi-million dollar slope side mansions? In the grand scheme of things, a little used trail through the woods has to be the least of the problems for wildlife.
Also, hunters have to be 1 - 2 miles away from roads, are they bushwhacking that far or finding a trail? What about the hunters that use ATVs or ebikes to get further off the road?
Sounds like someone built a trail near some hunters honey pot and they're mad about it.
  • 3 1
 @Hayek: My point is that's not actually simple. The trail approval process is a PITA. Congress needs lobbied to make the process simpler.
  • 24 1
 @HB208: That's rude, and it seems like you're missing my point. I'm suggesting that elk are moving from a peaceful, more natural habitat to a crowded, noisy semi-urban habitat where they are frequently disturbed by people (including people riding bikes on trails) BECAUSE THERE ARE NO HUNTERS THERE.

All sorts of people choose to hunt for all sorts of reasons, and I'm sure that some hunters are also interested in conservation, but the notion that a hunting advocacy group (like Backcountry Anglers and Hunters) is primarily concerned with "conservation" is hard to swallow - they're concerned with conserving herds of animals they like to hunt, so they can hunt them.
  • 2 4
 @nattysupper: There are no predators in general. What you are saying is an issue, but people flip out when wolves, cougars, or bears are walking through neighborhoods.
  • 2 7
flag TerrapinBen (Oct 6, 2022 at 13:54) (Below Threshold)
 @nattysupper: BHA's membership trends young, is politically diverse, and is motivated by a set of core values: conservation ethics, tradition and health.

Learn more at www.backcountryhunters.org/mission_and_values
  • 2 0
 @HB208: I fully agree with you. My point is that government tends to fail when it comes to identifying behavioral solutions to issues like this one. The solutions are actually quite simple, getting them done should theoretically be simple, but as a behavioral scientist who from time to time has worked on these land usage issues (looking at you, SLC gondola) it is disappointing how loathe they are to adopt this kind of thinking.
  • 5 1
 The gondola. Let's spend $500 million of tax payer money to build an eyesore that will only be in demand 10 days a year when it dumps and traffic is really bad.
Salt Lake ski traffic has been building for years, but hit the logarithmic part of the curve 5 years ago. The resorts just aren't worth the fight anymore.
  • 10 0
 They just need to implement a shoot and release policy for elk.
  • 5 5
 "The cognitive dissonance is absolutely deafening. You’re concerned that trail building is causing the elk to suffer? And what is it exactly that your sport does to the elk?"

Your ignorance is shocking. Do some research, then do some more. Hunting, killing, and population control is the major donor and protector of wildlife in North America.
  • 5 2
 @ultimatist: your poor command of language is what’s shocking here. The operative word is “suffering”. Are you prepared to tell me that you do not find the use of that word highly ironic in this context? Everyone is aware that population control, wildlife monitoring, agency payroll, etc. is a result of revenues generated through hunting (as a tangent, looking that up on the internet is not research). Those things are arguably necessary — not many would disagree. But what you’re arguing here is that because culling wildlife controls the population and pays agency salaries and all the rest, that it does not cause suffering? That argument doesn’t hold water. Go ahead and open up Machiavelli for me and tell me that the ends justify the means — I’m happy to agree again. But you are going to have to work harder to convince me that in spite of that, hunting does not cause “elk herds and other wildlife to suffer” and a handful of rogue trail builders disturbing the habitat does. I maintain that the use of that word is highly ironic and amusing. I spent a decade having every word of my writing and research critiqued in the peer review process. Ambiguous language has no place in technical writing or in a well-constructed argument. Your use of the word “protector” is also ironic. “Population maintenance?” Sure. “Protector?” Try again.
  • 3 1
 @Hayek: "But what you’re arguing here is that because culling wildlife controls the population and pays agency salaries and all the rest, that it does not cause suffering?"

Bud, there's no way around suffering and eventual death for all living beings. I'm talking about the ambient stress of strange people on machines whizzing by daily in protected reserves. Even if you're as thoughtful on your MTB as possible, there are places you shouldn't ride.

BTW, if I were an elk and I wanted to minimize suffering, I'd happily be taken out by a long gun over the other options.
  • 2 2
 @ultimatist: you need a moderator to keep you on track. So you’re doubling down on trail building and the "ambient stress of strange people on machines" causes more suffering than being killed with a long range rifle? And you're defending it on the basis of personal preference from the hypothetical perspective of an anthropomorphized elk? And now you’ve qualified it even further with the addition of protected reserves? Bud, in my area, there are hunting seasons — not hunting preserves. We're talking about frontcountry here, not preserves, not wilderness area. And we lose access to multi-use trails for some of the best riding of the year so hunters don’t accidentally kill us with long range rifles. And talking about personal preference, yeah I’d prefer trail building and "ambient stress" over being killed with a rifle. But I’ll send people your way next conversation I have on controlling global population growth — you've got some neat perspective.
  • 4 1
 @Hayek: "And talking about personal preference, yeah I’d prefer trail building and "ambient stress" over being killed with a rifle."

Would you support a tax on all sales of bikes or bike accessories that funds wildlife conservation? And an annual pass to ride on trails. Because currently, that is what funds the State Fish and Game departments all over the United States.

I love mountain biking, but I don't feel like the community in general cares about natural resources beyond the trail systems. I would say the same thing for most outdoor users though.
  • 1 0
 @Hayek: Not hunting, but yesterday I was hiking a popular trail with my dogs. I was on the mesa, but was looking at the trails below. Anyways, this biker decided it was a good idea to blast down a trail with probably 30 people hiking and hit drops next to toddlers. Its this type of shit that makes people not want MTBs on trails.
  • 3 1
 @HB208: I think you and I have agreed on most things here, but you know that no where have I advocated for MTBers acting like asses on the trail. We’ve lost access where I am to user disputes, so I am very sensitive to that issue. You saw my original comment. I don’t have an issue with hunters. I merely think the language they chose to use in this was both ambiguous and ironic. But I would say that as a community, MTB is far more engaged with and cognizant of land issues. I’ve never heard mention of dig days or flagging work from anyone I hike or run with, but in MTB that’s a common topic of discussion. And I would happily pay an additional tax on bike sales that went to funding land management and infrastructure. The trails and land management near me are largely funded by an additional restaurant tax and an additional tax on property sales. I would even pay a use fee to pedal in dedicated bike areas if that were an option for paying to construct purpose-built trails.
  • 3 2
 @Hayek: "But I would say that as a community, MTB is far more engaged with and cognizant of land issues."

I am going to agree to disagree here. Realistically the MTB community seems to only care about land issues tat impact trails. As a whole, fishers/hunters seem to care about the ecosystem as a whole, at least the conservation groups.
  • 5 1
 @Hayek: You don't hear about dig days from hikers and trail runners, because they aren't fighting access issues in the same way MTBers are. IMO MTBers only do dig days for two reasons: 1) gain good standing from other user groups and 2Smile because existing trails do not meet the standards that MTBers want, most recently flow and features. Dig days are ultimately self serving and not really about conservation whatsoever. And there's nothing wrong with that! But to characterize the motive for dig days to be conservation oriented is dishonest...
  • 3 2
 @TerrapinBen @HB208 : dishonest? Are you intentionally misconstruing? I never said or even implied conservation. I said MTB “is more engaged with and more cognizant of land use issues.” Which I maintain is wholly accurate, and entirely self-serving as it should be. I am skeptical of any group claiming altruism as their primary motive. You think BHA’s (or any of the many other orgs) conservation work is motivated by altruism? Not a chance. They know this is the price they pay to play. They need healthy populations of wildlife and areas closed to other users so they can do their sport.
  • 2 1
 @Hayek: Its not accurate, the amount of hunting and fishing organizations dedicated to land use issues is mind boggling. There is essentially an organization for each species and usually an organization for each major piece of land or river system. MTB groups pale is comparison to hunter and fishing groups, nonetheless general conservation groups.

I love mountain biking but most MTBers I know care little for access or conservation beyond the activity. Most don't even care to follow trail etiquette.
  • 3 2
 @HB208: you’re going to need to dig deep into behavioral science literature if you’re going to stand here and continue to argue that hunt/fish advocacy groups (or fill in the blank with any activity) engage in conservation (or whatever it may be) out of altruism. Almost all human activity is motivated by self-interest. And stop trying to misconstrue everything. No one here is saying hunt/fish groups don’t engage in land use efforts. What I’m saying is take all outdoor groups — hike, snowshoe, nordic, “trail walk”, MTB, ATV/OHV, camp, climb, backpack, backcountry ski, inbounds ski, snowmobile, hunt, fish, trail run, paddle, dirt bike, equestrian, etc. — and weight them by their respective populations. MTB is going to rank near the top of that list, not the bottom, in terms of engagement on land issues. I belong to multiple of the communities I mentioned above. We engage to a fanatical degree compared to the broad community of outdoor users. The fact that there is an article here that people are discussing regarding the topic makes this point self-evident. Does hunt/fish engage the most? Probably. But that doesn’t mean MTB does not. No way. Wherever you have fanatical participation, you’ll get people advocating for interests related to that activity.
  • 2 1
 @Hayek: I never said it was out of altruism. What I said is that hunting and fishing conservation groups are significantly more involved in preserving ecosystems than MTB groups
  • 40 0
 This is just sad for all parties involved. It’s depressing that we’ve come to this
  • 33 0
 We as mountain bikers are at a tough place with Federal Lands in Colorado. At least near me, 60% of the land is owned by the Forest Service, and where the best possible terrain exists. Another 20% is BLM and the rest is private, generally municipality owned. It seems that any federal (BLM or FS) new trail that comes in must be 10% grade or less, meaning its a blue or a green. I can't think of a new trail legally introduced on Federal Land that has been black or double black in the last 10 years around outside of a bike park. Please correct me if I am wrong (and what advocacy group approved it so I can see how they did it). BLM is a bit easier to work with, but FS is horrible.

We've had a proposal for a DH specific area that was presented to the FS 10 years ago. Just this year they released "scoping doc" to evaluate it. But this literally just approves an illegal trail 1mi and no new trails to be added. Theres at least 1 additional trail already there that they likely will just want to remove. Not to mention this land has been extensively logged the last couple years. Why can't we have more trails? 10 years for that!? Patience is running out.

I for one want more difficult trails, especially to match the capabilities of our bikes. All of our trails are old game, horse, foot or motorcycle trails put in 30+ years ago, generally illegally. They are fun, but certainly could be better for mountain bikes. Even with a lot of maintenance (which I do a lot of) they have poor alignment for drainage and almost no mountain bike features. And they are continually trashed by free range cows.

So how are we as mountain bikers in Colorado supposed to have anything progressive or new legally? I don't see a way. By the time my proposal (created 5 years ago) gets a go ahead it'll take 20 years and I'll be 50. It'll take a couple years to build and I will likely barely be able to ride it after. Or I can build it now and ride it for the next 10 years before it gets shut down.

I understand there needs to be a process. Wildlife do need habitat too and I respect that. But there needs to be a balance.
  • 16 2
 What it comes down to, is our land managers have failed to do their jobs and this is the result. Dozens of cars lining Left Hand Canyon to rd ride "illegal" trails and the proliferation of social trail all over the region. This fact can be proven by the existence of more advanced mt bike trails in dozens of other places in the US and around the world. IMO, BMA and COMBA are also to blame for pandering to land managers and not establishing themselves as their customers. Instead they acquiesced to their narrow-minded visions of everything being a low-speed beginner and multi-use trail for so long that nothing else got done. Now, we're a couple decades behind other regions with functional advocacy groups and more reasonable land managers. Personally, I tried for many years to get BMA to shift their vision and reframe their relationships with the USFS and other agencies to no avail.
  • 3 13
flag bee33 (Oct 6, 2022 at 16:37) (Below Threshold)
 I have one solution for you: get a bike with less travel

Agree about the rest
  • 5 0
 Its especially difficult when every mtb specific group that tries to start gets shut down by the dominant trail group in the area. Almost like you have to take trail building and maintenance into your own hands Wink cut out the middle and top man!
  • 4 0
 @Bree33: I have a hardtail as a second bike. I still want gnarlier trails.
  • 1 7
flag AidenMillsgF9 (Oct 6, 2022 at 18:59) (Below Threshold)
 Have you ridden any front range trails? Apex, White Ranch, Dakota Ridge, Floyd, Maryland are all insanely gnarly trails. I mean, have you seen Ore Chute/Powder Keg?
  • 1 0
 @AidenMillsgF9: who’s the land owner? I’d guess it isn’t the forest service.
  • 4 2
 @AidenMillsgF9: Ore Chute does look gnarly, I haven't rode it yet, but all the others listed are not gnarly imo, I'd happily ride them on my xc bike. Not saying I'd prefer the xc bike though. Dakota is janky. Blackjack is the only other legal trail in the area that could be considered gnarly. My $.02 gnarly cents anyways...
  • 1 3
 @jasbushey: Jeffco, Clear Creek, and City of Blackhawk. If you want a difficult trail on FS land then there's the palisade plunge by grand junction. Also aren't the lunch loops in fruita BLM land? The feds definitely aren't as open to mountain bikers as local governments but their out there.
  • 2 1
 @davec113: Have you ridden any COMBA trails?
  • 4 0
 @AidenMillsgF9: The further you go outside the Boulder/Jeffco area the more you make the point that difficult trails don't exist in this area and that is why there are so many social trails. I don't blame mt bikers as it's our land to recreate on and we've been left out. I blame the failure and incompetence of local land managers followed by the failure and incompetence of advocacy groups to accomplish much in terms of building more difficult trail, directional trail and mtb only trail. Recent years have been better but there's been decades of nothing before that.
  • 1 1
 @AidenMillsgF9: I've been mt biking for nearly 20 years, I've rode everything except Ore Chute.
  • 2 0
 @davec113: Sorry, I didn't see your response until after I had replied, so i apologize if i came off as rude. I can see your point but I also think that we have to start on the front range and work our way out. I'd love to see more trails like sluice and hard money but COMBA only has so many resources and can only work on so many projects. Another thing that worries me is the growing divide between mountain bikers and other trail users, I mean this article makes it pretty obvious that it's there. Not to mention infighting within the community(i mean just look at this comment section). Mountain biking seems like it's still very much in its adolescent stage in Colorado.
  • 3 2
 @davec113: land managers can’t adapt to the fact bikes have become significantly more capable in the last five to ten years immediately. These things take time. The approval process for a new trail can be 3+ years
  • 4 1
 @AidenMillsgF9: none of those trails are "insanely gnarly" (haven't ridden Powder Keg yet, so can't comment there)... they're rocky. But they're not steep, and they're not particularly difficult either. Sure they're fun, but for advanced/expert riders, the options are extremely limited unless you count the illegal trails. Our local bike advocacy groups continue to cater to the beginner rider with a large majority of the new trails they're proposing, and the local government agencies continue to make the existing trails easier (I'm looking at you, JeffCo and BoCo). And that's why there's a proliferation of illegally built trails over the last ~5 years.
  • 4 12
flag LeDuke (Oct 7, 2022 at 6:43) (Below Threshold)
 @stevemokan: or they could step off their 160-180mm bike and ride a shorter travel bike. I’m amazed at the number of people who can’t read terrain or pick a line in rough terrain; the only way the can get down the mountain is with massive amounts of travel doing the work for them.
  • 11 1
 @davec113: Personally you've done what with who??? Do I know you?
I'm happy to meet and talk to you about BMA and the Boulder Ranger District. The problem has nothing to do the type of trail systems and everything to do with the U.S. Forest Service's lack of capacity to move forward with anything. In 2013 BMA got a grant to fund a trail planning in West Mag. This plan included a downhill trail off of Tennessee Mountain. The West Magnolia Trail plan has been stalled for 5 years because CPW has a concern about an elk migration corridor - one that includes Rock & Roots and Schoolbus so those trail remain non-system, let alone any new building above Hobbit.
BMA has been prepared to advocate for all the trails at LHOHV this year, but despite another planning grant secured by COHVCO the USFS was unable to participate in that planning process and it hasn't even started. They have asked for an extension to that grant.
With the pressure from this memo on illegal trails near Pinewood, CPW pressured BMA to apply for a planning grant for Johnny Park. The new Boulder Ranger District head ranger told me that even if there was a grant, they don't have the capacity to anything in this area and would not sign a letter of support.
It's not that the process create trail systems takes to long in Boulder County, or that we are "asking for the wrong kinds of trails." The process is broken and then groups like BHA say that any trail that's not system shouldn't be there, even though most of the areas have not had a NEPA process in at least 20 years.
As for the rest of the land mangers in Boulder and BMA's efforts, I'll just leave this here: www.bouldermountainbike.org/bikeban
  • 3 0
 @LeDuke: you're missing the point. The point is having a variety of trails, and that the federal government is failing to approve in time trails in the black and double black category. Those trails can be built sustainably. And have a different variety than the numerous 10% grade flow trails that have been put in.

I've spent a good amount of time riding in BC (on a trail bike). Their technical trails in general are more engaging to me. Steeper rock features and drops where you have to control your brake control and body position are what gets me excited to ride.

The bike you choose to ride it on is yours. I ride a 140 trail bike at the bike park, it doesn't matter the trail. But I could be more creative on a 180mm bike. The point is to have choices and the ability to express yourself on a variety of trails from XC to freeride. The XC side has been well represented in Colorado.
  • 2 0
 We have the same problem in NC, a lot of our legacy trails (including one of the most iconic trails here) are being re-routed and/or smoothed over in favor of groomed trails with rock armoring. The trailbuilders are doing good work, but the land managers and our local advocacy group don't seem to understand why people are annoyed about the way things are progressing. Any time you express an opposing opinion, it feels like you get shut down and marginalized by our advocacy group (the USFS rangers have been great every time I talked to them and they are always willing to listen and explain why things are the way they are, but seem set in their trajectory). You either have to love what is happening or you are a "hater" or whatever term you want to use.

Most new trails being built are beginner friendly, which I don't necessarily see much of an issue with in isolation, but considering we have another forest with 100s of miles of flow trail within a 15min drive, is kindof annoying. The USFS rangers seem frustrated and conclude that mountain bikers coming here just want to ride what they consider unsustainable trails, but the only trails that are being built right now are flowier trails with an emphasis on speed and jumps. The natural, eroded, rooty trails the area is known for are being phased out, the character of the forest is being lost. It's also making mountain bikers look bad, because hikers are complaining about the way things are as well and blaming us, like we're the ones making the decisions (we're not) and the changes represent all mountain bikers (they don't). Unlike districts further north, we can't build anything steep either, legally anyway and a lot of the rogue trailbuilding is steeper and more natural.

OTOH, though, I don't know what choice we have. A lot of the work is being done to protect the river, which feeds a local watershed and has sensitive habitats. I regret that has to be fixed sometimes, but it does, however it feels like some of the character can be kept without losing the whole thing and the ones that are being nuked for "sustainability" instead of environmental impact, like Black Mountain, could be kept closer to their original form.

This all leads to rogue trailbuilding and poaching. I don't think either is the right approach, but I understand why people do it, it feels like it's becoming one of the only ways to experience riding here the way it was years ago.
  • 4 5
 @WendyBMA: You don't know me most likely. It's been many years and I stopped working with BMA after the Sugar Mag incident and NATO was formed. I gave up. IMO, it's long past time we had legal representation. The refusal of land managers to allow us to use our own resources and recreate on our own land is absolutely intolerable and unacceptable. f*ck their excuses and pardon me, but f*ck yours too. It's long past time, like 10 years past time, to stop being nice and trying to work with people that can't be worked with. It's time to demand results, it's time to demand our rights. There's no good excuse for our current situation, there's so many examples of other parts of the country that allow advanced mtb only trails. What you've been doing isn't working and hasn't ever since I started mtbing 20 years ago. Time to rethink your strategy imo.
  • 5 3
 @davec113: alrighty then.
  • 4 4
 @WendyBMA: And that reply is why so, so, many of us feel this way about mtb in the Boulder area and about BMA. It's sad.
  • 3 1
 For the peanut gallery, the "Sugar Mag" incident was the USFS systemizing a social trail that also needed to be moved off of private property. It was a 10' wide fall line trail and a bi-directional connector to the high school and the USFS dictated that it also be rock armored end rerouted. www.bouldermountainbike.org/magnolia
  • 1 0
 @davec113: which reply? Where you said f*ck our too? and I said alrighty then? Or when I explained what happened on Sugar Mag?
  • 3 3
 @WendyBMA: It's just being dismissive with an "alrighty then". That's been the attitude towards anyone who doesn't toe the line. Sugar mag was more an issue with not getting any local involvement, I mean NATO (Nederland Area Trail Organization) was formed as a direct response to this project. Then USFS hosted a couple of meetings that were open to the public as a result too. But whatever. BMA has been mostly ineffective for decades in terms of getting 1. more advanced and 2. mtb only, and 3. directional trails for mtb'ers in Boulder. In fact, the failure has been a result of dysfunctional policies wrt support for the idea all trails should be multi-use trails, pandering to land managers and volunteering for whatever they like and accepting their narrow-minded vision of mtb in Boulder.
  • 4 1
 @davec113: "alright then" was a response to: You said, "Personally, I tried for many years to get BMA to shift their vision and reframe their relationships with the USFS and other agencies to no avail." like you've talked to anyone about this in 10 years. I've only been in my role for 3. And my offer to meet with you and discuss the current situation and you saying, "absolutely intolerable and unacceptable. f*ck their excuses and pardon me, but f*ck yours too."
BMA knows that the needs of the community are not being met in Boulder County and we have been saying this for years, and we said it to BHA and CPW about this latest memo. If you have ideas on how to get the Boulder Ranger District to move forward with anything when it's missing half it's staff position, can't hire anyone and doesn't have any capacity beyond literally fighting fires, constructive feedback is always welcome.
  • 2 3
 @WendyBMA: I am suggesting a legal remedy. Maybe a court order for USFS to actually do their job would help, IDK? I would hope they understand that the issues they see in LHC and well, everywhere, are a result of their own failures. My comments have to do with what's happened over the last 20 years and aren't directed at anyone in particular. I do appreciate your efforts, but have little hope that things will change, the dysfunction has been imbedded in culture and it's obviously going to take something significant in order to change it. So yes, after 20 years of fail, it's time to do something different, and "f*ck your excuses" at this point is the only reasonable reaction to the Boulder area's mtb policies at all levels. All I've seen are 20 years of excuses for us not being allowed on our own land.
  • 1 0
 @davec113: courts aren’t going to side with mountain bikers man.
  • 27 1
 Everyone's a rat now.
  • 25 2
 This is a much better title than Outside's clickbaiting "Why Did a Hunting Non-Profit Put a Bounty on Mountain Bikers? "
  • 19 0
 Good Lord that is embarrassing
  • 1 0
 They don't call them Conservatives for nothin!
  • 19 1
 I love that in that memo cited in the article there is actually a map of the illegal trails! So anyone that didn't know about them, now has a free map of the trails thanks to the group that doesn't want the trails. I love a good unintended consequence.
  • 5 0
 As quoted in the article, I agree. Those trails are not on Trailforks.
  • 2 0
 thanks for the beta!!
  • 22 2
 Loamers are so much deadlier than hunting...how else could we protect wildlife!
  • 18 1
 Seems like of the majority of hunters in Colorado are from out of state (Texas, Missouri, Ohio etc...). Maybe illegal trails are cutting into profits of hunting related business?
  • 7 5
 Those same out of state hunters are paying the Colorado Fish and Game $700 for the opportunity to hunt elk.
  • 10 1
 @HB208: Good for them, I'd prefer they stayed home and hunted in their back yard. For reference it's not called "Fish and Game" it's called Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
  • 3 3
 @pivotpoint: I don't live or hunt in Colorado, so I wasn't aware. Out of state hunters drive a ton of wildlife spending though.
  • 19 3
 The best trails in my area are all "pirate" trails. f*ck anyone who tries to shut them down they're not doing any harm to the forest that's been logged like 5 times now. most of them are built way more sustainable than the legal trails.
  • 5 0
 Our illegal trails are built on an old garbage dump and space that is unusable for any purpose. And yeah I'll stop riding mountain bikes to conserve the wildlife when people stop building mega mansions in pristine mountain areas and the steel mill near us stops accidentally releasing massive amounts of extra pollutants.
  • 16 1
 I think there's a real conversation to be had about recreation's impact on wildlife, but this is the wrong way to go about it. I'm always disappointed to see outdoor users being pitted against each other; we should all be on the same team. There are critical times (calving, nesting, etc.) for many species, and BHA should be advocating against ALL recreation in critical habitat during those seasons. They have no right to criticize mountain bikers until they criticize antler shed hunting taking people (who often where camo) directly into game habitat at a vulnerable time. I should add that antler shed hunting is a for-profit industry, which if you know your history is the model that almost drove North American big game to extinction.
  • 5 3
 1800s market hunting almost drove NA big game to extinction, correct. That is why the current conservation regime was put in place and that regime saved wildlife... so hunters were both the issue and the solution.
  • 4 1
 @HB208: correct. I should add that I looked it up and CO already restricts shed hunting west of I-25 until April 30th, which seems adequate. I'm used to WY where it's only restricted west of "the continental divide", which leaves a lot of habitat vulnerable to pressure in the early spring. My point still stands, singling out mountain bikers is not ok. Rogue trail building is an expression of land managers stifling good trail building for a long time in these states.
  • 2 1
 @jwestenhoff: I have spoken to the forest service about new trail building. It is a very administrative process and even favorable land managers can't just flip a switch and get new trails built. Illegal trail building just pisses land managers off and makes it harder to work with them though.
  • 18 0
 We need to protect the elk from having lame IMBA trails!
  • 18 4
 This is 100% a valid debate, and I see the merits of both sides.
However:
www.pinkbike.com/news/mountain-biker-in-spain-shot-after-being-mistaken-for-a-rabbit.html
  • 8 5
 oh come on! So many hunters get shinned by mountain bikers zooming past rendering them incapable of walking! TEACH THE CONTROVERSY!!!!! I also realize this is Poe's Law and I am joking incase anyone thinks I am serious.
  • 2 0
 After this article was published, the Mt.Bike industry was flooded with tactical accessories!
  • 16 4
 We mountain bikers aren't the only ones doing this. Moto and ATV folks are guilty of it too, not to mention those who go off trail on their overlanding expeditions. I can certainly understand how a hunter might be a little ticked if they work hard to establish a good spot with known game traffic and then some some loon on an emtb makes a trail right through the area.
  • 5 7
 Why is a guy on an ebike building trail a loon? How is an ebike rider building illegal trail different from a MTB building an illegal trail?
  • 17 1
 I knew someone would take that personally.

Answer: all of them are loons, but I like picking on eMTB guys, especially in absence of roadies and/or e-roadies.
  • 4 1
 Not that I think illegal trial building through prestine forests is right but the hunters don't get to claim spots in the woods.
  • 3 2
 @Bree33: but illegal trail builders do?
  • 11 0
 I support hunters, fishers, hikers, bikers, equestrian… users on public land. The bounty seems the wrong way to go about it resolving potential issues. Hopefully cooler heads prevail and no one loses access to the outdoors.
  • 11 0
 I hunt and ride in the same area. MacKenzie basin in pemby. I've walked out of the woods in full camo, rifle on back and ran into my buddies and had a good old chat. The outdoors is for all of us. We all just have to get along.
  • 4 0
 I wish more people would get this. It seems these days everyone is out to get each other. We all love the outdoors and being in the mountains. There are so many hobbies outside. We should be stoked on the groups that love to enjoy them no matter what. Glad I was raised the way I did. Honestly, the people in these communities really shaped who I am as a person as I grew up. I feel lucky.
  • 39 29
 So a group made up entirely of people that like to shoot animals for sport are going to criticize cyclists as being bad for animal populations?
It's aggressive rhetoric like this from groups that think they are the only ones with a right to the forest, that encourages their more extreme and aggressive members to put nails all over trails, or install clotheslines between trees.
  • 19 12
 Hunting is not and has been proven numerous times, not to be bad for animal populations. Poaching is bad and this group of people are acting just as bad. pretty disgusting act by these so called hunters.
  • 12 5
 Its not all about the sport for many, it is about a full freezer of deliciousness.
  • 18 5
 @powderhoundbrr: "How can you shoot animals then eat them?" say the people munching on some megafarm factory raised beef/poultry/pork.
  • 27 3
 Proud BHA member, avid cyclist, and meat hunter. The knee jerk reaction to equating hunters to Elmer Fudd is akin to your non cyclist friends thinking you dress up like Lance Armstrong on the weekend to disrupt traffic for fun.
  • 3 3
 Kinda ignorant. Hunting(laws) are key to self reliance; maintaining population #s; safety.
  • 3 0
 @jrocksdh: say the humans who want to shoot and kill them. Let's face it, humans are extremely horrible at controlling any animal population, including their own.
  • 1 0
 @stevemokan: it's pretty hard to pull a tag in many places. Talk to a ranger or game warden...maybe you have. I have several in my immediate family so I know how regulated permitting is.
  • 13 0
 I'd pay a guy 500 $ to build unsanctioned trails . But that's in insult they deserve much higher pay .
  • 11 1
 I am a board member of the Sustainable Trails Coalition and tried having a discussion with one of the founders of the BHA. Land Tawney was the guys name IIRC. Anyway, he ranted and raved about how horrible mountain bikes and mountain bikers were the entire time. IMO it’s pretty safe to say they are an extremest group. Pretty awful really.
  • 1 1
 Their release really captures their feelings with “The good old days are gone”. Maybe the BHA will start a “Make hunting great again” campaign?
  • 3 2
 BHA is a bad faith organization. Their agenda is to push everyone else out of hunting areas - full stop. Take their conservation claims with a grain of salt. Their credibility is garbage.
  • 14 5
 “We’re not trying to be aggressive with this, but we are extremely concerned about the population declines we’re seeing across the state in elk and mule deer and other populations,” says Brien Webster, BHA’s program manager

And then we will kill them with guns.
  • 10 0
 Boulder is a shit show run my militant hikers. Open up a few dozen miles (of the hundreds of miles of hiker only trails) to riders if you want to help reduce the over crowding issue.
  • 11 2
 So hunters don't care about roads being built for fancy houses in these zones, utility lines being laid, sewer lines, gas, etc.. All the noise and disturbances created, or the trees getting cut down for logging, or other recreational use, or the fact that human population is expanding into their territory. It's really just mountain bikers trying to have fun by building a trail? That maybe sees a couple dozen of people a season? Got it...way to concentrate on the real root cause...
  • 4 2
 We do. I disagree with BHA on this one but trust me we hate development as much as anyone else. Y'all are too used to the old generation of hunters. Things have changed a lot in the past 2 decades within the hunting community.
  • 11 0
 Fact: these guys closed down more (once legal) motorized singletrack than any other group.
  • 2 4
 Lefthand?
  • 12 1
 Ahh o love the Uk where the only thing we hunt is a celebrity with their pants down…
  • 8 7
 Have to come a long way down the comment section before we get another person who didn’t vote for a Trump lol
  • 4 0
 @tomo12377: there are plenty.
Just don't feel.the need to still be talking about it
  • 4 3
 @tomo12377: Why don't y'all figure out your own country before you start telling us what to do? I mean didn't your entire economy almost collapsed since you elected your new PM? I mean I hate trump as much as anyone else, but don't forget what happened last time you Brits told us what to do.
  • 1 0
 @AidenMillsgF9: Noted Brokeback
  • 9 1
 Lots of emotion here. Lots of opinions; some well reasoned, some less expertly expressed than others.
For a bit of context it is worth considering the Colorado situation in particular. Folks who have lived here for any significant amount of time have had the pleasure of watching a state’s population literally double. It’s an amazing state with vast amounts of public lands and it’s no wonder so many people have chosen to live here, but I can assure you that the amount of legal access to said public lands has increased only marginally while the population has boomed. To make matters worse the pandemic really sent crowds, especially along the front range, into the stratosphere. Trail head parking can be a serious issue, with county governments posting helpful signage suggesting using Uber and Lyft to avoid congestion at popular destinations (Jefferson County has posted the signs at white ranch; it’s not an exaggeration).
With regards to mountain biking specifically, when we do get new trails, with exceptions they have tended to be extremely disappointing; switchbacking back down slopes, smoothed into oblivion, with stupid fake rock gardens built as option lines. Often we get re-routes or re built trails that are built with very low average grades and often described as ‘rides great in either direction’.
With all that said, it is worth noting that we live in an arid region, prone to extreme weather events. The erosion that can happen here has to be seen to be believed. And while it is certainly changing, the traditional mountain bike culture here is not especially gravity based. This isn’t the Pacific Northwest. It definitely isn’t British Columbia.
All of this is to say I think this particular development is especially sensitive to the locals in question. I am 43. I have spent the majority of my life at this point climbing rocks, chasing summits and riding mountain bikes. But in the last 3 weeks I also spent a weekend with a friend tracking moose here in the gore range, and a day on hiking only trails with my wife. As people who ‘need’ public lands to recreate, I have always thought that hikers, backpackers, hunters, fishers, climbers, mountain bikers and atv riders should really be working together instead of in opposition. It’s busy as hell out there, but we are still far from a majority. For example there are 60,000 odd people paying a literal shit ton of money to watch the Broncos play in downtown Denver tonight, with millions more who have planned their entire day around watching the game on TV.
It would be cool if BHA and a legitimately ‘progressive’ local mountain bike organization could work together on balancing the use, development, and conservation of the natural resources we all rely on for having fun when we aren’t working. The off road folks and the birdwatchers should be at the table as well. At this point I don’t have a lot of optimism, but given the world we live in one has to hang on to some hope.

As a side note if any other Coloradans have fantasized about starting a serious mountain bike advocacy organization, I would love to hear that I am not alone.
  • 3 0
 I'm a similar age to you, grew up in the south of England, and have called Colorado home since 2008. The US is a big, complicated place, and also quite extreme. Some aspects of US culture are really difficult for me to live with, but in my opinion the single best thing about being a US citizen (and a citizen of Colorado in particular) is public land. Huuuuge swathes of spectacular land, owned by the public and managed by federal, state and county agencies for the public good. The kids I grew up riding with in Sussex would not comprehend the scale of the natural resources.

On the other hand, the majority of trail users here in CO would find it hard to imagine the fact that back in Sussex almost all the land is in private ownership, but we had an absolute right of access across the fields and through the woods on Public Rights of Way. The resources were tiny in comparison, but were managed in such a way that regular people in a very densely populated place had access to the outdoors (albeit highly regulated access).

I do have optimism about the situation in CO - all levels of government up to and including the state government are aware of the value placed on access to trails by citizens, and of how attractive a trail network is for visitors. Voters in even the most tax-averse districts will sometimes fund land acquisitions (e.g. Jefferson County); new trail networks are being built (e.g. Floyd Hill, Maryland Mountain); existing trail networks are being maintained; busy trail networks are being thoughtfully managed to balance the demands of different user groups (e.g. directional biking only on some trails in Apex on even days).

If you live on the front range and have more time, you can take a trip up to the high country or over to the western slope and ride on any sort of trail you want from high alpine to desert, on USFS or BLM land. You can choose to go to a famous honeypot destination (like the ones I read about in MBUK in muddy Sussex) and share it with others, or you can pick somewhere less obvious and see nobody. You can go to one of the lift accessed bike parks if that's your thing (not mine). If you have the time and inclination you could even find somewhere quiet to build an illegal trail.

Nothing real is perfect, but mountain bikers in CO have it pretty f*cking good.
  • 2 0
 @nattysupper: this is the part that is lost: if you want gnar you can find it, but you might need to drive up to the bike parks. I sort of think it’s unreasonable to expect double black drops and jumps to be built in popular hiking and xc/trail areas. We have an area called eagle bike park in Boise that actually has some of these trails, they are just shortish. But Boulder also has Valmont and that’s similar.
  • 5 1
 COMBA and BMA just spent $95k building Ore Chute, a proline trail that fewer than 10% of mountain bikers will be able to ride.what will your "serious mountain bike advocacy organization" do differently?
  • 11 0
 Come and take them (my trail building tools), I dare you
  • 9 0
 While I have no doubt mtb trail use disturbs wildlife comparing it to a study done on Vail, the 4th largest ski resort in all of North America, seems a bit silly.
  • 6 0
 Why cant we all just get along? I dont ride my trails during hunting season b/c i dont want to get shot, but I do see a lot of boot prints on them when I start building again. Trails provide better access for hunting in many cases
  • 6 0
 If I were to ride the local unsanctioned trails, I guarantee they see about the same amount of traffic as areas that hunters frequent. It seems the problem has nothing to do w/bikers or unsanctioned trails, but humans.
Therefore, we should put a bounty out for any human trespassing in any wooded area....think of the aminals!
  • 15 7
 Not to say that erosion isn't an issue, it is, but scratching my head: evidence of population decline initiated by hunters?
  • 23 14
 Tell me you don’t know anything about hunting without telling me…
  • 14 12
 I know right! The ones killing them worrying about decline in population?? Lol it sure must be mountain biker's fault.
  • 13 2
 @somebody-else: cue the Endangered Species Act. Hunting also disrupts migration and hibernation, and the campfires, recreational vehicles and trash adversely affect both wildlife and the environment. For animals like wolves, who mate for life and have close-knit family units, hunting can destroy entire communities.
  • 14 1
 @somebody-else: "conservation" and "herd management" is a human created concept. Nature exists and survives without human intervention.
  • 11 8
 @ybsurf: it's uneducated comments like this that make conservation harder than it should be. If you think killing a particular amount of animals adds to the decline of a species then you're unaware of how healthy populations live.
  • 8 4
 @nickyp132: maybe 180 years ago, but now herd management through conservation efforts is a necessity to allow species to survive. Unfortunaly we are too far gone.
  • 7 1
 @nickyp132: All concepts are created by people.
  • 10 0
 @somebody-else: exactly to your point. Where I live wild turkeys and white tail deer were “gasp” hunted almost to the point of extinction. We have since pulled our heads out of our asses and reintroduced both and the populations are now out of control due to. . . You guessed it the over hunting of predators in the area. So yes, hunting organizations provide much needed conservation dollars now, but mainly due to poor hunting and conservation by hunting.
  • 1 3
 @sunringlerider: The issue is that predators also means that mountain lions, black bears, etc. will be brushing up in urban-nature interfaces... which I am personally fine with, but people freak out when their cat gets killed by a bear or a mountain lion.
  • 3 3
 @sunringlerider: I live in one of the more liberal parts of the US… where I ride usually (3 different trail systems) have several different hunting seasons. Turkey and white tail deer. We also have year round coyote trapping.

Or look at Baltimore, they have processors (that’s the people that butchers your deer for you and makes your sausage etc if you can’t/don’t) just for dropping off your deer to donate to feed the homeless.

But hey, twist it to your narrative.
  • 1 0
 @somebody-else: ok I guess? I don’t live in a liberal area and we also have food pantry’s that take wild game. I usually take 2 does a year to them. I’m an avid hunter of most local game. The point I’m getting at is most hunters I encounter (only 25+ years hunting so I don’t know much) are trespassing ass hats that would do exactly like this article. But glad to know they have hunting seasons out east too.
  • 6 1
 I find the whole conservation angle from these groups as highly questionable. They are very well funded, pay to fund their research, sit on all the boards and essentially create the narrative that suits their purpose. Killing animals in my opinion should not be viewed as sport but as a means of procuring food. To think mountain bikers are disturbing nature(which of course they are) and they are not is absurd without any basis in fact. At the end of the day, hunting and fishing groups are looking to limit access for other groups for one purpose, more space and opportunities for their members to kill things. Go out, build responsibly and enjoy nature, it belongs to all.
  • 3 5
 BHA's sole mission is conservation oriented and adapts to its members collective desire to impact change through policy. The three main issues BHA give focus to are access to public lands, protecting public lands - including habitat conservation, conserving priority landscapes like the area mention in this article, responsible land management as highlighted in this article - and promoting fair chase and ethical hunting practices. They are a great organization and stewards to public lands. They even have Canadian chapters! Learn more about their mission here: www.backcountryhunters.org/mission_and_values

To question BHAs commitment to conservation is to question the entire North American Model of Wildlife Conservation.

They conduct annual surveys to determine who makes up their membership base and where to focus their efforts: www.backcountryhunters.org/bha_s_member_survey_2022_results

BHA is not looking to limit access to public lands for any other user group, but are only promoting responsible public land use management while addressing the needs of wildlife. In this instance illegal trails compress elk habitat in a an area of special importance. Public lands are for everyone, but it is everyone's responsibility to respect and take care of those lands.

I sympathize for Colorado MTBers complaining that legal trails are too tame and boring, as that is an issue we face in my own community. We have had success locally with our awesome bike advocacy group who has collaborated with local land trusts and conservation groups to build fully featured and fun trails on private lands on lands within conservation easements. The answer to is get involved and focus your efforts locally. Join a group, collaborate with other stakeholders, and be the change you want to see on the trail!
  • 2 1
 @TerrapinBen: "BHA is not looking to limit access to public lands for any other user group, but are only promoting responsible public land use management while addressing the needs of wildlife. In this instance illegal trails compress elk habitat in a an area of special importance. Public lands are for everyone, but it is everyone's responsibility to respect and take care of those lands."

This statement from them suggests that they are not about sharing access to public lands: www.backcountryhunters.org/bha_statement_on_mountain_bikes_in_wilderness
  • 4 1
 @TerrapinBen: I don’t consider killing animals for sport as conservation.
  • 4 1
 @TerrapinBen: Again, BHA operates in bad faith and their (yours?) agenda is to push everyone else out of hunting areas - full stop. Zero credibility.

To anyone: you can research their public statements, their 'talking points' to members on land use/travel management plans and areas where they've been influential in shutting down motorized single track. Let their actions speak for themselves.

Complete garbage.
  • 10 6
 I never would have suspected that I, a vegetarian who wouldn't kill an animal unless I absolutely had to, have way more faith in the good intentions and conservation interests of hunters than the average PB commenter. But based on this comment section it seems like I do...
  • 5 0
 It’s important to note that it is not illegal to ride unsanctioned trails on fs land, it is only illegal to build them. Of course if it crosses private property, then it is illegal to ride without permission too.
  • 1 0
 Trails were user built in an area of northwest Colorado. Upon discovery, the unsanctioned trails became USFS trails in a “special use area”. The regulations now prohibit following any track that is not on their published map. It is a slippery slope that I expect to see increase across national forest and BLM lands.
  • 8 0
 Wait until someone tells them about logging
  • 5 0
 Yep. Mountain bikers get their access targeted because they're easy to push around and control. Our local trails have a watershed group that wants mountain bikers to stop crossing their stream because of the supposed degredation caused by bikes. This urban stream is literally full of sewage and litter and contains runoff from a massive adjacent brownfield. I'm not exaggerating. But they can't do anything about those actual problems so they'll complain about a few bikes crossing the creek during the warm season.
  • 1 0
 @Bree33: Sounds like Pittsburgh, Frick Park?
  • 2 0
 @yoimaninja: ha yep doubt theres anywhere else that fits that description in the US!
  • 8 1
 My friend hit a deer on his ebike
  • 3 5
 Serves him right for riding an emoped
  • 1 0
 Is his e-bike ok?
  • 8 1
 Mildly inconvenienced hunters unite!
  • 5 2
 Thinking access to biking is more important than wildlife conservation can be quite short-sighted. BUT, BMA & Boulder County is not helping the situation by leaving a wake of flat, uninteresting, and oh-so-flowy trails in their gigantic membership supported march through the woods. Basically, the trails we are 'allowed' to ride are akin to requiring hunters only hunt at game farms. Sure you can kill a brainless & house-trained doe, but where's all the fun, adventure, and excitement in that.
  • 6 0
 "f*cking illegal biker trail"
"let's hike it when we go hunting, easier access that way"
  • 3 0
 I'd love to see pinkbike have more coverage of the landscape of trail development and what it looks like in various places across Canada, the U.S. and the world. In New England, the bulk of our trails are built on private land. This comes with plenty of challenges, but at least when you get permission to build, you often don't have the 3-15 year waiting period that comes with state or federal land. I loved the recent podcast with the anonymous rogue trail builder. I would absolutely be fascinated to have another few with a private landowner that hosts trails on their land (I know a few if you want to talk with them) and also a state and fed land manager that manages land with trails (or rogue trails).

Like most places, 95% of our trails were built by volunteers and were never fully legal until legitimized by either the State or the landowner and a trail org working together. Many of our trails are still rogue "don't ask don't tell" style trails.

It seems that unfortunately given the rise in popularity of mountain biking and the proliferation of trails over the years that mountain bikers are in fact starting to create noticeable social and environmental impacts.

In a vacuum, one trail may not seem like it has much impact, but taken all together studies clearly show that recreational trails of any kind do have some sort of impact on wildlife. Clearly these impacts are extremely site specific and there is a balance to be had between recreational needs and environmental needs.

What I see happening in my community (just like what is happening here) is that "conservationists" are pitted against "recreationalists" and the most extreme/loudest voices dominate the conversation.

In reality, the two groups have so much more in common that different and often do work in tandem. Whenever this type of thing comes up, I urge folks to remind everyone that recreation and conservation go hand in hand. The more people who love the woods, the more people who want to save and preserve the woods. We also can't love them to death.

I guess it is boring/unrealistic to ask for nuance and civility in these days, but so it goes.
  • 3 0
 Not sure about the logging practices in the areas they are offering the bounty, but here in the pnw, several months of chainsaws, heavy equipment, large trucks an not to mention the worst part: building the logging roads through the forest in the first place to make that all possible; Surely rogue singletrack is benign in comparison.
  • 4 1
 The ignorance on PinkBike around hunting and how it benefits conservation is shocking. Do some research, then do some more. I don't even hunt, but I get how it works. Hunting, killing, and population control is the major donor and protector of wildlife in North America. In the meantime, free riding around nests, dens, and sensitive ecosystems creates noise, dust, stress, and animal flight. Let's be honest, and leave protected spaces alone.
  • 3 0
 A county in Sweden offered motorcycle enduro race organizers a 6500$ reward for helping with biodiversity. Talk about contrast. Not saying it’s all good here with trail building, but still.
  • 7 1
 Is it still okay to shag a deer? Asking for a friend
  • 3 1
 Quite interesting... especially coming from a group that so actively use motorized transport for their "sport". Also something worth pointing out from this article by Tracy Ross: there should not be development in the "Wilderness Urban Interface" as urban boundaries don't butt up against Wilderness boundaries. Development in the Wildland Urban Interface, yes. Many do not know the difference between a designated Wilderness and public forest lands...
  • 2 0
 "Elk herds and other wildlife are suffering as a result."

This argument is kinda dumb when you compare mountainbiking to anything. It's trails in a forest. Least impact you can have. Ski hills cut massive amound of woods. Golf courses take up massive amounts of space. Cities. Cars. Plastic. Global warming. And you are complaining about trails?
  • 1 0
 It is a legit issue. Due to development elk already have limited range and elk calfs disturbed by trail users have a lower survival rate, which is why it is important to restrict trail access in spring months to areas where elks calve. We’d have fewer issues if bikers were better about adhering to the closures.
  • 6 3
 I'm no elk, but if I was I would think I would prefer to get around via trail than via bushwacking. Although maybe wolves and bears think the same...
  • 2 0
 There are no grey wolves or brown bear in Colorado anymore. Maybe there should be?

Trail building/riding and hunting would both be more “exciting” with them around.
  • 1 0
 @HB208: I stand corrected.
  • 3 0
 @HB208: hasn't happened yet. It was only voted on. Supposedly fall of next year.
  • 1 0
 @Frontrange: it has happened in Yellowstone. Most other populations are returning and flourishing
  • 1 0
 @alis66: There is some evidence to support the sightings of grey wolves in the north west corner of Colorado. Seems that some of the packs have dipped out of Wyoming
  • 4 3
 I think discharging a firearm in the forest would be more disruptive than someone building or riding through the same area. Rather than trying to bust someone for building renegade trail, maybe check the environmental impact first and then look for ways to incorporate these trails to the legal trail system. I have ridden several trails in Durango and Sedona that started this way and were later incorporated. In any group, there are bad apples. I have personally witnessed intoxicated hunters discharging their weapons close to legal trails and trash campsites. It comes down to mutual respect and safe, environmentally sound use of our public lands.
  • 2 1
 I've been in the backcountry on "social" trails many times and along comes some group on a hunt or scouting the area for a future hunt, using the same route to access an area, especially this time of year. I understand the concern, given the population growth of Colorado and the Front Range in particular. However, BHA should probably start within their own community addressing this issue before pointing the finger at other user groups. Many of these routes have been around long before mountain bikes came on the scene and I suspect there's a good bit to this that is BHA being upset that other groups are now using "their routes" and accessing "their zones" as well. Understandable, but I'd hope that the bounty program isn't unjustly targeting "outside" groups from the hunting/fishing communities.
...although I'm fine with this targeting those "hard enduro" moto riders that think a single track or game trail is open season for them to get all Redbull with their GoPro and Husqvarna, or worse, Suron
  • 2 1
 The days of building illegally, asking for forgiveness, then having that illegal trail become sanctioned are quickly coming to an end, and rightfully so. Just because this process has worked in the past doesn't mean it should continue. Rogue building puts legit building in jeopardy and undermines the work done by those that go through the proper channels to get new trails sanctioned. However, you know what they say, snitches get stitches...Smile
  • 5 3
 Must be e-bikes causing the extra numbers and disturbing the elks with all the noise. I think banning e-bikes could be a good compromise. We don't need the lazy e-bikers on the mountain, back to your couch.
  • 2 1
 What a joke. I would argue that the rampant overdevelopment of the CO landscape has way more to do with elk population decreasing than mountainbikers. This hunting group is a just a bunch of d$%^s who don't like mountainbikers and are looking for an excuse to horde public land for their own preferred form of recreation.
  • 1 0
 It is important to remember that it isn't only the people on the trails that affect wildlife, the trail itself changes the hunting speed of predators and can have significant effects on prey populations. The speed of travel for predators (wolves) is 2-3 times faster on trails than in the forest which increases their hunting efficiency.
  • 1 0
 Kris Hess is a habitual user of said "illegal trails" and frequently uses legal trails, West Magnolia, outside of the USFS posted hours.
Also for one to collect the bounty the USFS would have to actually try and convict the person.
  • 1 0
 @Acourtney: & @TerrapinBen: I already pay for my annual recreation passes with, wait for it: DNR, Oregon State Parks AND US Forest Service R6 Rec pass (all of which sum approximately $100 for a year). If there was a plan to consolidate all of those agencies into one annual pass/license, then sure. Otherwise that is a hard NO. I also put in many, many hours of sweat equity. I know not many do that latter unfortunately. In total, I pay for more than my fair share of access.
  • 5 0
 snitches get stitches
  • 2 0
 Snitches get put in ditches and covered up
  • 1 0
 And $500, could use for a new set of tires!
  • 8 5
 If BHA are concerned with declining elk populations maybe they should stop hunting them. Just a thought.
  • 5 1
 this reads like a Babylon Bee article.
  • 2 0
 It's not a custom trail occiffer..I just blow a lot of corners. Also you know they would never be able to prove who built a trail with out a nark....So don't be a nark
  • 4 0
 Research shows that hunting can impact wildlife in dramatic ways.
  • 4 1
 If I take random dumps on illegal trails am I part of the problem, or part of the solution?
  • 2 1
 You're fertilizing
  • 3 0
 @plustiresaintdead: that’s called fresh loam brother
  • 2 0
 it’s not uncommon for them to eventually wind up on mapping apps and grow in popularity, impacting wildlife years down the line. I’m looking at you Strava and Flailforks.
  • 1 0
 Wow the woke fascists are now trying to cancel unsanctioned trail building. Without unsanctioned trails, we wouldn't even have the sport we do today. Everything Woke Goes To Shit.
  • 4 0
 Stop Snitchin'
  • 1 0
 @plustiresaintdead: that’s really the heart of the problem
  • 1 1
 I could use $500 for a set of mt.bike tires!
  • 2 0
 How about a bounty for all the Karens on and off our trails? They gotta go.
  • 2 0
 Do mountain bikers who ride sanctioned trails disturb wildlife LESS than mountain bikers who ride unsanctioned trails?
  • 6 0
 @plustiresaintdead: nope! The problem is when illegal trails pop up where there wasn’t human traffic before. Let me be clear - I build illegal trails. But I build them in places where trails have already existed for a long time (usually decades) and on land that has been used and already disrupted. I love logged land or old mining areas that are now blm or forest service land. Trail building does disrupt nature, and trail builders should be conscious of that. I (and a lot of other unsanctioned trail builders) try to take what we’ve learned from building sanctioned trails, and just make the features bigger and what we actually want to ride. Also f*ck people who turn an area with a couple awesome trails into a spaghetti junction. It’s all about being smart about it
  • 3 0
 @olafthemoose: you forgot to mention, “No Strava!”
  • 2 0
 @chacou: seriously! None of this would be an issue if people could keep it quiet. The problem nowadays is you can’t expect people to do that
  • 2 0
 Did they specifically say mountain biking trails? There are lots of moto and 4wD trails being built too.
  • 2 0
 They call them "Forest Service Roads" wink, wink!
  • 1 0
 ALRIGHT LISTEN UP. Everyone calm down. Your opinions all matter here regarding these Trails !!!













Do I need a second car to shuttle?
  • 1 0
 I know of hunting outfitters that regularly create and maintain illegal trails for their customers to access hunting. Perhaps I should go out for a bounty hunt!
  • 1 0
 If my local trail area had no illegal trails. The trail system simply wouldn’t exist. It’s anonymous trail builders working their ass off that run the MTB world.
  • 2 0
 The NATO is in charge of Mountainbike trails? Didn't knew that...
  • 4 1
 Fuck a snitch
  • 1 0
 They would have more credibility if they use themselves as a reference for several of their top sources
  • 1 0
 "the secret loamers are killing the animals" -Elmer fudd

Now ive heard it all...
  • 2 0
 "Shoot them, Ned! They're coming straight for us!"
  • 2 1
 Fuck these tiny dick hunters and their dominance over helpless critters.... illegal trails are not the problem....
  • 3 1
 f*ck hunters & their illegal hunting
Actually f*ck hunters
  • 1 0
 Backcountry Hunters and Anglers that‘s where the troubles in other countries here in Europe used to start with…
  • 8 9
 They're worried about elk herds and other wildlife suffering so that that can make them REALLY suffer. The stupidity of gun toting fuckheads never ceases to amaze me.
  • 1 1
 Sadly, Mt.Bike manufacturers are aligning with these gun totters with e-bike for hunters, accessories and features!
  • 3 1
 LOL at amurica
  • 1 1
 Who said "Make America Gay Again!"
  • 1 0
 @imtbshifting: You and only you
  • 1 2
 If hunters cared so much about conservation, why not go out and enjoy nature without dealing death?

While we're at it, ban lead shot!
  • 1 0
 What in the Colorado
  • 1 0
 TLDR
  • 2 2
 Backcountry Hunters and Anglers = Fudds
  • 1 0
 NIMBY
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