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Sunday, August 15, 2010

At a Loss for Understanding!

At a loss for understanding!

I am so fortunate to live where on any given day I can hook up with a friend and go for a ride. Not just any ride mind you but a ride that most people would spend a year planning and spend their hard-earned vacation time to do. All this in what I call my ‘back yard!’ Of course it’s a backyard necessitated by my job of testing ATVs and UTVs, and the products that go with them – but that’s another story I guess…

So it was that a good friend, Kenny and I had some time on our hand to explore an area where we had not gone before. That is always an exciting prospect and always an adventure!

The trail we chose did not let us down. It was a seldom-used trail that with only a couple distractions led us on an incredible 2-track journey. A journey that traversed side-hills, climbed some rather good distances through the aspens, dropped steeply into a distant stream and followed it to what was for us, a great lunch stop.

We continued exploring a few of the other side-trails in the area, one traveling tightly up through the dense aspens and pines, past a few mining relics, and along a ridge with those incredible views that bring people to the area. It was one of those trails that because it was ‘seldom used’ was almost completely free from the usual litter of beer cans and water bottles.

We had found a jewel of a trail for sure. It was with great expectations that we followed it onward and upward. What could be any better than this? Here was a 2-track trail with everything we could ask for. It was one of those trails where should we run across some liberal extreme environmentalist shouting how ATVs destroy the wilderness, we could poke them back in the chest, go toe-to-toe, nose-to-nose, and say, “Show me where the damage is? This trail is no different than any riding and hiking trails we’ve been on, and better than most!”

I spent a good many days of my life building hiking trails, including a connecting section of the famous Pacific Crest Trail. Even building a trail for hiker’s and horseback rider’s, the government’s requirements were that you needed to make enough clearance between trees and rocks and switchbacks that a sensible rider on an ATV could ride them without harm. That wasn’t their wording or intent, but my point is how big they required a simple hiking trail to be.

But I digress.
This was a great trail. One of my favorites. It was one of those trails that I feared telling anyone about because since it wasn’t marked a 50” trail I was sure if they knew about it, the ‘Wild Crowd’ would try to ride it in their 60”, long travel, race machines! And then it would be ruined. This great 2-track, scenic trail, free of trash and even tire damage from fast machines would be destroyed. Closed. Forever, thank you very much.

Wait a minute! What’s this? A gate? The trail’s closed from here on to motorized travel? Yikes! Look what they’ve done. Eeww, look what they’ve done! Ohhhh, look what they’ve all done….

It seems we had run upon a gate installed across the trail blocking it to all motorized forms of travel. In their effort to do that, the forest service had not just installed a gate and a sign, but also downed trees in an attempt to cover the trail and to hinder any possible circumnavigation around the gate. It was an ugly attempt to close what had been so far a perfect example of the perfect reason to leave these kinds of trails open for use by ATVs.

But it also seems that we weren’t the first to run across this seemingly newly installed deterrence. Someone else had been there prior and left their distaste for this closure by leaving an even uglier reminder of the type of people that come to ride these trails. The people that seem to either unwittingly or uncaringly help to bring about these trail closures in the first place.

Suddenly Kenny and I were looking at each other and wondering what shocked and irritated us more, the forest service’s closure of this incredible trail for what seemed like no reason, or the distasteful reminder of the people we are classified with as ‘trail riders’ or ‘ATVers!’

It would all make at least some sense if the trail defecators were there first and then the trail was closed. But this was more of a case of ‘we’ll show you why this trail should be closed!’

I just don’t understand – any of it. Add it to the list I guess.


  1. I hear you Doug. You would think these people would understand they are only hurting themselves by acting like idiots. Maybe they will understand when they have no place left to ride.

  2. There are no words that could express my feelings (at least no words that Doug would allow) and anger when I first saw the gate closing a truly spectacular trail and even more disturbing the wistful disrespect from a few inbreeds that get to enjoy the same trails as others who respect and treasure them as much as we do.

    Look how awful and unsightly that pathetic gate and downed trees look, and for what purpose?? What did they accomplish?? Did they choose this trail because soo few travel it they thought it would go unnoticed and slip through the cracks. Do they get points for closing trails?? What kind of land management is this??

    And what did the POS accomplish by dropping his trousers and excreting his brain onto the trail other than dropping a few pounds of worthless matter??

    Why?? Why do either choose to do what was done here??

    “Maybe they will understand when they have no place left to ride.”
    The problem Anonymous is that we can’t wait that long, we can’t wait until the trails have been closed.

  3. OK call me stumped; I thought part of the registration money that I paid to register my ATV was suppose to maintain trails and create new ones, so this confuses me. This irritates me to no end, why is public land being closed because of a few careless riders, but in this case it seemed to be “because we can” attitude. To close down a trail that is not abused makes no sense to me, why??? Public land means “land for all to use” and we as the public need to recognized that public land has many uses and not just for environmentalists who want to close it down for their own agenda.
    From the pictures it looked to be a great trail, sorry for the loss of the trail.


  4. I don't understand a lot of the trail closures either Jeff especailly trails like that one.
    I would like to say though that we do have a lot of riders who come here to enjoy and respect the trails that we are so fortunate to have in the first place and those folks I'd like to say thank you.
    I take a lot of pictures and do little videos and here's one I did the other day when Doug and I went for a ride to check out a fire here in one of the canyons, you might have to cut and paste it.

  5. First your link was great, yes there will always be trash on the trails from trail riders, some of the trash will be by accident, but most I suspect will be from riders who just don’t care. When I go I always leave the trail a little cleaner, so if everyone would just do that, the trails would look a lot better and the image if ATV riders would change.
    I remember years ago I was backpacking in the mountains just above Tonys Groove, and we backpacked along way when we came to what was a camp; remember I backpacked…Hiked in as there was no other way in and what was at this camp was a 24 pack of beer cans just left there; 24 cans. Someone really wanted to have a cold one which I’m OK with, but really they couldn’t pack out the empty cans they brought in, like it would have had to been a lot lighter. It was obvious these hikers had no respect for the outdoors and because I was with a group of scouts I had to set an example and packed out the beer cans. I would have packed them out anyway regardless my association with the scouts.
    I guess my point is; no matter where you go or what you do, there will always be opportunities to clean up after someone else; just once I would like to catch them trashing the trail as I would make an example out of them, through the media and the courts system.
    Perhaps the embarrassment would be enough to for those types of people to change their ways.


  6. Humiliation perhaps.

    Years (and I mean years) ago we were living in CO and spent a great deal of time searching out old ghost towns in our 4-wd.

    I invited a guy that I worked with to go with us one time and when we were out on the trail he tossed an empty beer can. One of my daughters who was probably 6-7 years old at the time walked up to him and said; "my dad told me it's not nice to litter". His face turned beet red and he walked over and picked up his can and apologized, I guarantee he never tossed another can on any trail.

  7. Well the forest Service took care of that problem, they just burned the forest to the ground, 40k acres so far.

    To know the Forest Service is to hate the forest servie.

  8. To protect and to serve. No wait, that's another government department.

    Is it any wonder we want to take back control of the 'govern'ment?

  9. I'm looking forward to returning to those very trails. I am afraid of seeing what is left after the Forest No-Service decided to allow the Twitchell Canyon Fire burn more than 45,000 acres.

    This was the area where the huge 150 year old white pines covered the mountain sides and a lot of wildlife called home now destroyed by a fire that could have been stopped long before it reached a few thousand acres.

    We should be back up there this coming week; I hope it hasn't all been destroyed.

    My ATV has over 13,000 miles on it and that was one of the most memorable rides that I have been on. I guess I should be thankful that I am fortunate enough to have the memories.