I got an e-mail from J.Y. this afternoon regarding the stoppage of trail work in the Geo. Wyth State Park. Apparently, local and long time cycling honch, John Adamson; himself a member of the trail building crew, was stopped by a female park official and questioned regarding the "new" trails being put in at Geo. Wyth. She was described as being "excited" about the goings on,( not in a good way, either!) and was giving John a lecture on trail erosion, impact, and permission to build trails that was not "given" to us. Well, here at Guitar Ted Productions, we are never at a loss for words, so here goes. (Possible rant mode: BEWARE!)
Okay, given what I know, which by far is not the whole story, I'm sure, I'll grant the "Lady Official" one point. Permission to make new trail may not have been given. I do not know if J.Y. got an okay to build new trail, or just to clean up old trail. A huge distinction, I know. After all, it is a State Park, and there are regulations, rules, and on and on and on.............Ah! Yes! Okay, the matter at hand..........Anywho!
I will say this, we have some mighty fine history to stand on here. If precedent means anything at all to the "Lady Official", or anyone else in charge, then they should check this out! First of all, over 75% of trail inside of Geo. Wyth was developed by mountain bikers! That's right folks! Much of what is hiked, biked, and run on inside Park boundaries was not there previous to 1994. The Park has been enhanced greatly by these trails! Many of the most popular routes through the woods in Geo. Wyth would not exist, had not a few visionary trail builders gone in and done their deeds in secret. In 1996, the Park Ranger, Gary Duesenberry was invited by the mountainbiking community to go for a ride on the single tracks of Geo. Wyth. He had no idea that all the trails even existed! He was very impressed and excited about what had been done. (excited in a good way!)
Secondly, the trails would not stay open if it were not for the maintenance of mountain bikers! For years now, mountain bikers have taken it upon themselves to maintain, and clear trail of debris, and weeds without pay, or recognition of any kind. Ranger Duesenberry stated at one time to me that there was no way the State could do what we did due to considerable red tape and lack of funds. A great example is the lack of maintenance by mountain bikers over the past couple of years that all but closed down the Alice Wyth Lake trail, and several others inside the park. The State has shown absolutely no effort to take over the maintenance of these trails. Even the ones that were originally part of the hiking trail system are in need of repair. I mean, how long has "Glass Hill" been there? (A small rise in one of the hiking trails notable for the copious amonts of broken glass embedded all across the trail there)
Finally, this talk of erosion has got to be a joke, right? Geo. Wyth is in a flood plain last time I checked. Any given year about 25-40% of the trail system is under the swift current of the Cedar River. What is more powerfull- a flowing river, out of it's banks, or a handfull of mountain bikers? Do we need to discuss this? Is this even a question?
In conclusion, the final authority on the recent trail developement lies in the hands of people like the "Lady Official", but please! Try to make sense! Perhaps the individuals in question need some edumacation. Oh.......wait! They've probably got college degrees in biology, outdoor recreation, and business management. What do I know? Right..............fahgeddabowdit!