Building Unauthorized Trails Jeopardizes Access
BUILDING UNAUTHORIZED TRAILS JEOPARDIZES TRAIL ACCESS FOR MOUNTAIN BIKES
The San Diego Mountain Biking Association would like you to help get the word out that the unauthorized building of trails is not the solution to the many challenges we have with trails in the San Diego area.
Many of our public land agencies have existing trails master plans that consider multiple factors. The construction of unauthorized trails undermines this process—not only because it defies the spirit of cooperation between trail users and trail managers, but also because it poses environmental uncertainties. Many areas in our County have sensitive habitats that include endangered plants and animals. Many unauthorized builders are unaware of the value of these habitats both when they exist on public or private land. When agencies or land owners see unauthorized trails cut through these habitats, which can take decades to heal, it undermines the trust between trail-users and land managers and may force the closure of the trails and increase the strain between the agencies and users.
Current activity specifically pointed out is the continued development of unsanctioned trail in the North County. SDMBA works with groups such as The Escondido Creek Conservancy, the Center for Natural Lands Management, the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve, the Back Country Land Trust, and many others to educate all trail users on responsible stewardship of our open spaces. While many open spaces in San Diego allow recreation, many others are set aside for habitat conservation. We understand that property boundaries are not always clear, but ignorance of ownership does not forgive any unsanctioned trail building activity. These organizations can and will pursue those who vandalize or otherwise misuse our lands to the fullest extent of the law. In all cases, trail building should not occur unless you have written permission from the property owner.
The future of mountain biking will continue to depend on a spirit of trust and cooperation between riders and land managers. To keep those partnerships moving forward, it is essential that unauthorized trail construction be discouraged and that existing unauthorized trails be either closed of incorporated into a larger, managed trail system.
Here are some things the SDMBA is doing to find solutions to our area's riding challenges:
• Building partnerships with land agencies, parks departments and land owners
• Working to provide adequate trail opportunities
• Working to provide diverse trail experiences
• Working to get agencies to set fair and logical mountain biking policies
• Offering authorized trail work sessions for riders to "get dirty"
• Working on getting purpose built mountain bike trails
• Working on projects to allow varied mountain biking experiences around the county with US Forest Service, the City of San Diego, the County of San Diego, and others
• Working to get logical trail connections
SDMBA hopes that by continuing an open, honest discussion with land managers we can improve the quality and quantity of our trails so that unauthorized building becomes an unnecessary thing of the past. We all need to work for more legal trails because these will be forever trails. We thank the volunteers who went out recently with our partners to help with restoration efforts.
For information on trail maintenance and building opportunities, check out SDMBA’s event calendar (including our monthly advocacy meetings) and our Local Stewardship Teams and Liaisons page. Our liaisons are amazing resources and have connections with the land managers that help improve trails opportunities for everyone. Also check the websites of our partners for upcoming educational, trail work, or restoration volunteer opportunities .