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Peeping panther on the prowl

Peeping panther on the prowl

Village of Oak Creek residents Blaine and Chris Rebillot woke up early Tuesday, June 30, to a mountain lion peering into their bedroom window.The couple lives off Wild Horse Mesa...

The recent revelation the U.S. Forest Service is considering restricting mountain bikes to forest system roads and trails in the Red Rock Ranger District because of unauthorized trail-building has produced many intriguing questions.

A local bike owner said he believes the vast majority of mountain bikers who rent bikes from his shop are not looking to go off-trail, but they sometimes end up veering off on social trails and getting lost.Where are these trails and how do people know about them? Why are mountain bikers being singled out? And, what does this mean for the future of the trail system?

Unauthorized trails are generally found by users in many of the same ways forest system trails are discovered — on the Internet, through word of mouth and simply by users wandering onto them. Several websites, many with the legitimate intention of providing information to outdoor enthusiasts, have posted maps and information for Sedona area trails that are not official forest system trails.

For the full story, see the Friday, Feb. 1, edition of the Sedona Red Rock News.

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  • Arthur Godfrey

    Before the fences were put up at the Bell Rock trailhead - it looked like a BMX track.

  • Jack Doty

    Cry me a river. Why don't you just bulldoze everything and plant a non-native species (that requires watering, in the desert) so you can play a game with little balls. Damage? That's damage.

  • JB

    I agree. Let's keep the trail use limited to hikers and equestrians, and tell all those tourists have traveled from all over the world to ride their bike in one of the greatest trail systems in the world to take their money elsewhere! We don't need them ;-)

  • Adam

    Jason and Hank,<br />I think you need to actually spend time out on the trails before making those kids of judgements. Just because a trail has a bike track doesn't mean that was built by a rider. Trail damage comes from improper trail building technique, not from specific modes of transportation. If a trail is built correctly then a bike will do no more damage than a human foot.

  • La Kelly

    It's worth noting that most of our local mountain bike community is adamantly AGAINST such illegal building. A few bad apples shouldn't reflect the remainder of the cycling community. Our local riders spend many hours working closely with the Forest Service...to ENHANCE current trails, create new SUSTAINABLE trails, as well as take classes and attend public forums in effort to make the trailsystem better, more sustainable, less-crowded (thus newer ones perhaps needed), etc...all for the love of the land & this healthy lifestyle.<br />A better option for the FS would be to "single-out" those illegal trail builders NOT the community as a whole. Hopefully, continued cooperation between the (abiding) cyclists and the land managers will bring a better solution.

  • Ian Wickson

    Everyone please read the comment from "LocalBiker." I think it's important to clarify the meaning of "cross-country travel" as defined by the RRRD. Not only does it mean traveling off-trail, it also refers to traversing any unofficial trail (do you know which ones are official?) currently used by all user groups including pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians. This measure would criminalize a currently legal activity, discriminate against a specific segment of the local trail user community, and serve to alienate a large portion of the cycling community who are involved with trail planning and maintenance. As LocalBiker rightly points out, if this measure were really about resource protection, all user groups would be prohibited from cross-country travel.

  • Curley

    I've hiked, biked, and trail run on most of the trails in Sedona. By far, the most represented user group on our trails are hikers(even on the "unauthorized" trails)! Many, many hikers are not aware that they are hiking on "unauthorized" trails. But, across the board, their comments are positive about these trails. Go figure! So, why are the Forest Service focusing on bikers? The Forest Service knows of hundreds of miles of "secret/illegal" hiking trails that exist in the Wilderness Area. Bikers are not allowed(at all) in the Wilderness.

  • Mary

    I think bikers should stay on existing trails. When I visit Sedona sometimes I hike up to Brins Mesa. Beyond the sign that says "no bikes" I often see bicyclists. Why do they ignore the signs? On the other hand the hikers I've seen stick to the trails.

  • Sheila Haydel

    @Joe---you are flat out LYING, or you just don't have a clue what you are talking about. Horse hooves and human feet do not cause the erosion and deep rutting that mountain bikes fairly QUICKLY cause.

  • Richard

    I love to ride my bike outside of the forest areas. And I will never ride my bike in the forest areas because not only do bikes cause more damage to the trails than hikers, some bikers do not give right away to the hikers. I am surprised that there are not more injuries caused by reckless bike riders.

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