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Old 01-03-2015, 10:22 PM   #21
TCD
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That's certainly a consideration. But the current arrangment is sort of mindless. I think it arose less out of wilderness access considerations, and more out of lack of resources to adequately categorize trails. But I agree that "wilderness feel" should be considered.
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Old 01-04-2015, 08:18 PM   #22
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The thing is that there is more than just impact considerations at hand in any discussion of the ethics of mountain bikes in Wilderness.

At present, many locations in Wilderness Areas are reachable only via a full days worth of hiking at minimum. West Lake in the West Canada Lakes, much of the Five Ponds Wilderness (including Five Ponds, High Falls, Cowhorn Lake, etc.), Duck Hole and Shattuck Clearing in the Western High Peaks... would all of those places have the same feeling of remoteness if one could just hop on a bike and reach them in a few hours? Would they continue to feel as "wild?"
There are also places labeled 'wilderness' where you can drive a car or truck into a parking lot that has multiple (dozens?) of trailheads for trails threading and branching all over the terrain. Those places aren't really as 'wild' as they could be. I've seem more people in certain 'wilderness' areas than I've seen in other places.

If done well, it wouldn't be 'just a few hours' ride. I've seen a doubling of the mileage that one can cover when navigating typical VT back country trails (read - not manicured and buffed out singletrack). So a full days hike turns into a half a day or more bike.

We don't put the same limits on watercraft. Imagine if we had a rule that in order to navigate 'wilderness' waters you had to swim. That would cut down on the riff raff for sure. And would keep some really great places even more 'wild' feeling.
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Old 01-04-2015, 09:01 PM   #23
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I have a few dumb questions: When two mountain bicyclists meet on a singletrack(if that is the right way to put it) who yields? Or are the tracks one way travel? What if you have people traveling at drastically different speeds, is there a way to pass? I have not had a mountain bike in about 10 years and have stayed on pavement or dirt roads with my road bike so I have no idea how this is all supposed to work.
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Old 01-04-2015, 09:02 PM   #24
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We don't put the same limits on watercraft. Imagine if we had a rule that in order to navigate 'wilderness' waters you had to swim. That would cut down on the riff raff for sure.
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Old 01-04-2015, 09:15 PM   #25
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I have a few dumb questions: When two mountain bicyclists meet on a singletrack(if that is the right way to put it) who yields? Or are the tracks one way travel? What if you have people traveling at drastically different speeds, is there a way to pass? I have not had a mountain bike in about 10 years and have stayed on pavement or dirt roads with my road bike so I have no idea how this is all supposed to work.
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First, one needs to ride in control of their bike, and speed is relative to terrain, visibility, etc.

Courtesy is that the person going uphill has the right of way.

Trails at 'trail' centers often have 1 way loops or sections. Typically technical or fast downhill sections.
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Old 01-04-2015, 09:28 PM   #26
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Primitive Bike Corridors

A couple links in support of primitive corridors. Connecting other trail systems has worked in the Catskills, I think it would work well in the Adirondacks.

http://nybc.net/nybc-seeks-better-mo...irondack-park/

http://www.adirondackdailyenterprise....html?nav=5041
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Old 01-05-2015, 06:52 PM   #27
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There are also places labeled 'wilderness' where you can drive a car or truck into a parking lot that has multiple (dozens?) of trailheads for trails threading and branching all over the terrain. Those places aren't really as 'wild' as they could be. I've seem more people in certain 'wilderness' areas than I've seen in other places.
I personally think that the same argument could be made in favor of decreasing hiking accessibility in some areas of the Adirondacks. I often think that I like to see fewer (or no) signs and trail markers, as well as fewer (or no) bridges in areas designated as Wilderness in the Adirondacks, forcing a much greater responsibility for self-reliance by visitors. From a management perspective, however, some sort of development is always going to be necessary to offset impacts upon the resources that recreational use inevitably incurs. Finding ways to strike the balance between maintaining wildness and minimizing impacts in what is essentially one of the most popular backcountry areas in the world isn't easy to do.

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If done well, it wouldn't be 'just a few hours' ride. I've seen a doubling of the mileage that one can cover when navigating typical VT back country trails (read - not manicured and buffed out singletrack). So a full days hike turns into a half a day or more bike.
Can you provide any specific examples where remote locations have been made accessible by mountain bikes only through circuitous routes that maintain a sense of remoteness and solitude?

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We don't put the same limits on watercraft. Imagine if we had a rule that in order to navigate 'wilderness' waters you had to swim. That would cut down on the riff raff for sure. And would keep some really great places even more 'wild' feeling.
Motorized watercraft are prohibited from water bodies that are classified as part of wilderness areas. It can and does make a difference in the level of use and impact.

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A couple links in support of primitive corridors. Connecting other trail systems has worked in the Catskills, I think it would work well in the Adirondacks.

http://nybc.net/nybc-seeks-better-mo...irondack-park/

http://www.adirondackdailyenterprise....html?nav=5041
Does anyone actually use the corridors in the Catskills? I was somewhat in favor of them on the grounds that they would provide community connector routes via old roads suitable to mountain bike use that did not traverse any particularly remote locations. But the few times I've hiked them since the designation, I've not seen any evidence that they were being used by bicyclists.

I think it's also worth mentioning that the prohibition against bicycles within wilderness really didn't arise from a lack of any better method for managing bicycle use, nor is it without precedent. The federal wilderness system, against which the NYS wilderness system is modeled, also prohibits bicycles from federally-managed wilderness areas. In fact, the bicycle corridors in the Catskills are the only example that I am aware of in the US where bicycles are permitted within a wilderness area.
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Old 01-05-2015, 07:59 PM   #28
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I personally think that the same argument could be made in favor of decreasing hiking accessibility in some areas of the Adirondacks. I often think that I like to see fewer (or no) signs and trail markers, as well as fewer (or no) bridges in areas designated as Wilderness in the Adirondacks, forcing a much greater responsibility for self-reliance by visitors. From a management perspective, however, some sort of development is always going to be necessary to offset impacts upon the resources that recreational use inevitably incurs. Finding ways to strike the balance between maintaining wildness and minimizing impacts in what is essentially one of the most popular backcountry areas in the world isn't easy to do.



Can you provide any specific examples where remote locations have been made accessible by mountain bikes only through circuitous routes that maintain a sense of remoteness and solitude?



Motorized watercraft are prohibited from water bodies that are classified as part of wilderness areas. It can and does make a difference in the level of use and impact.



Does anyone actually use the corridors in the Catskills? I was somewhat in favor of them on the grounds that they would provide community connector routes via old roads suitable to mountain bike use that did not traverse any particularly remote locations. But the few times I've hiked them since the designation, I've not seen any evidence that they were being used by bicyclists.

I think it's also worth mentioning that the prohibition against bicycles within wilderness really didn't arise from a lack of any better method for managing bicycle use, nor is it without precedent. The federal wilderness system, against which the NYS wilderness system is modeled, also prohibits bicycles from federally-managed wilderness areas. In fact, the bicycle corridors in the Catskills are the only example that I am aware of in the US where bicycles are permitted within a wilderness area.
I agree with you on limiting access, or at least making it less developed, less easy.



Bikes aren't motorized. We should ban any watercraft. It's a mechanize way of traveling. Walk or swim to enjoy wilderness.

I am not a fan of loop upon loop of trails, although that's what you get in some cases with hiking trails. I'd love to see some strategic connectors that are bike legal thru wilderness.

I have to think about your question some before I can answer with an example.
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Old 01-05-2015, 08:22 PM   #29
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I agree with you on limiting access, or at least making it less developed, less easy.



Bikes aren't motorized. We should ban any watercraft. It's a mechanize way of traveling. Walk or swim to enjoy wilderness.

I have to think about your question some before I can answer with an example.
I generally just lurk but I'm curious on this one, are you serious with your stance on banning watercraft, or just using this as an example of perceived inequity?

Would you agree that non-motorized watercraft are a part of Adirondack history? And that bikes aren't? (As far as I know). I think that's the key difference here.

I would use bike trails though.
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Old 01-05-2015, 08:33 PM   #30
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I'm pretty sure he is making a point that a paddle or oar is a mechanized form of travel.

And clear cutting has been part of Adirondack history but do we want that to continue? There are many poor arguments for banning bicycles, history is just another one to add to the pile.

And to say that because the US Federal wilderness designations are a correct blanket rule system for all is a pretty poor way of managing lands. All lands are not the same, therefore they should be managed accordingly.

Shutting bikes out has just historically been a hypocritical rule to human powered recreation in wilderness areas. And FWIW I've never seen a 'human powered' horse.

Bikes belong, whether you like it or not.
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Old 01-05-2015, 08:33 PM   #31
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The cordial discussion about 'wilderness' and mountain biking is somewhat off topic, recall the topic of this thread is to comment on IMBA's trail design proposal.

One of my points by posting the photos was to gauge the reaction to the earth moving that IMBA built trails can entail. I'm a mountain biker/dirt road tourist and to me it is excessive and creates too much disruption to the natural landscape. Another thing I'd like to point out is that trails built explicitly for mountain biking are not necessarily interesting for hikers to use (do hikers need banked turns and jumps?) , while many trails that where built for hiking are perfectly suited for mountain biking. (Witness the photos above from the North Country Trail).

The primitive corridor initiative would be nice option to have, should the ADK mountain bike trails system be centered around multi-day routes, but I can imagine the howls of protest from other outdoor user groups. Wilderness areas and selected bike prohibited trails are things I can live with, assuming there alternatives and bicyclists aren't squeezed out completely.

Last edited by jhl99; 01-05-2015 at 08:45 PM.. Reason: 4th last word "aren't" was "are"
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Old 01-05-2015, 09:54 PM   #32
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I'd love to see some strategic connectors that are bike legal thru wilderness.
If alternatives could be developed that allow for routes that circumnavigate wilderness but still provide for community connectors, would that be acceptable?

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And clear cutting has been part of Adirondack history but do we want that to continue? There are many poor arguments for banning bicycles, history is just another one to add to the pile.
This is a topic for a different thread and a different debate, but suffice it to say: Clearcutting is a method of forest regeneration. It has certainly been used to disastrous effect when used in instances where it was not justifiable or it was poorly implemented, but so too have many other methods of regeneration. Clearcutting does have appropriate uses in forestry.

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Shutting bikes out has just historically been a hypocritical rule to human powered recreation in wilderness areas. And FWIW I've never seen a 'human powered' horse.
I don't think you can equate bicycles with canoes, though, without making some fairly substantial generalizations. How does the impact of a bicycle compare with a canoe? How does the impact of a bicycle compare with a hiker? With a horse? Remember, were not talking about just physical impacts, but social impacts as well. When you really examine each type of use, there are a lot of differences.

To quote Hammitt and Cole in Wildland Recreation: Ecology and Management:

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Both the nature and severity of impacts vary with type of recreational activity. ... Each [activity] is unique in the impacts that result, their spatial distribution, and how they change over time. For example, water pollution is most serious with boating, whereas erosion is most serious on trails and vegetation damage is most serious with camping and picnicking.
No two modes of recreation are going to be equal in terms of the impact that they inevitably produce. It therefore stands to reason that the lines that get drawn between areas considered appropriate and inappropriate are going to be different for each type of use.

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Bikes belong, whether you like it or not.
This is a pretty subjective comment. I think that the arguments against bicycle use in wilderness are valid and are at least worthy of consideration. To be successful, any effort to influence a change in the policy against bicycle use within wilderness areas needs to address these concerns.

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One of my points by posting the photos was to gauge the reaction to the earth moving that IMBA built trails can entail. I'm a mountain biker/dirt road tourist and to me it is excessive and creates too much disruption to the natural landscape. Another thing I'd like to point out is that trails built explicitly for mountain biking are not necessarily interesting for hikers to use (do hikers need banked turns and jumps?) , while many trails that where built for hiking are perfectly suited for mountain biking. (Witness the photos above from the North Country Trail).
I looked through the photos, and honestly, they look like typical examples of sidehilling. Whenever a trail traverses across a slope, some extent of sidehilling is necessary to minimize impacts. Sidehilling is the process of cutting a bench into the slope that provides a stable, flat surface (with a slight outward slope to facilitate drainage) across which to hike/ride/etc. Without sidehilling, inevitably what happens is that erosion causes the trail to slowly work its way downhill, eventually resulting in a much wider impacted area than just the surface of the trail itself.

It certainly can involve moving a lot of earth around in the construction of the trail, but the idea is that by creating that stable surface, a lot less earth is going to move around later on due to use and impact.
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Old 01-06-2015, 08:46 AM   #33
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Bikes belong, whether you like it or not.
I think the attempt to create a new mountain bike trail system in the Moose River Plains Wild Forest is an excellent idea. I enjoy mountain biking, as well as many other forms of outdoor recreation. I ride a lot throughout most of the year, but I am of the opinion that bikes do not belong in areas designated as "Wilderness" within the Adirondack State Park. Everything has its place, and some things just don't mix well for some folks.
I for one think that I'd be taken aback if I happened to be hiking along a Wilderness trail several miles from the trailhead, and all of a sudden a group of mountain bikers came flying by.
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Old 01-06-2015, 09:10 AM   #34
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The debate has never really been about impact when it comes to bikes. Despite all the brainwashing from the other side of the debate it's always been about comparing hikers (or horses) to bikes. They all cause impact. Campers cause impact. I also don't suggest mixing hiking trails with bike trails. The simple fact is that bikes are a form of non-motorized recreation and are no less a machine than is a ski binding or paddle. Grouping them with motorized recreation is simply wrong. It's some construct that the other side has made based on some anti-bike propaganda started when these wilderness designations came about.

So what if a group of skiers came flying by on your wilderness hike when you were on snowshoes? It's the same thing and they are allowed. It's just a prejudice you have in your mind based on the current set of rules.

Those that oppose this will never be swayed. In fact I believe these type of people even want to keep everyone out of the wilderness except themselves. That's not going to happen. The state of NY can't even close a road leading into a wilderness area.

Bikers have been unfairly treated for some time, and it's about time some change started coming about. Trails and alliances have been cropping up and I believe it's only a matter of time before a trail goes through a wilderness area, be it a 'corridor' or simply a multi-use bike trail.
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Old 01-06-2015, 09:13 AM   #35
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I think the attempt to create a new mountain bike trail system in the Moose River Plains Wild Forest is an excellent idea. I enjoy mountain biking, as well as many other forms of outdoor recreation. I ride a lot throughout most of the year, but I am of the opinion that bikes do not belong in areas designated as "Wilderness" within the Adirondack State Park. Everything has its place, and some things just don't mix well for some folks.
I for one think that I'd be taken aback if I happened to be hiking along a Wilderness trail several miles from the trailhead, and all of a sudden a group of mountain bikers came flying by.
I've had mountain bikers 'fly' by a few times - but that has usually been at trail centers. Most overland / backcountry riding is slower. Although, like anything else, people tend to behave like humans. Even in the wild.

Honestly I'd rather have some MTBs come by that hear a truck or snowmobile or float plane every couple of minutes, hours, etc.

I think the key thing would be to make specific corridors Mtb legal. Not every trail everywhere. It's just not appropriate.


But, I'd trade you banning all personal automobiles from the park if you could ride everywhere. Now that would do more good for wilderness than the handful of MTBs that you might encounter.


I would love to see a connector / corridor from speculator area into MrP. Another out from west end of MrP into woodhull lake area. There are likely more places where long connectors would make sense to connect wild Forest that are landlocked so to speak. I'd trade a couple of those connectors and improving some of the summer snomo trails for all the loops IMbA wants to build.
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Old 01-06-2015, 09:32 AM   #36
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So what if a group of skiers came flying by on your wilderness hike when you were on snowshoes? It's the same thing and they are allowed. It's just a prejudice you have in your mind based on the current set of rules.
That does happen from time to time, and I simply step aside and say hello as they pass. I disagree that skiing and mountain biking are the same thing, and I disagree that biking is the same as paddling. I'm not prejudice against bicycles. As I mentioned, I like to ride too, but I also like the fact that bikes are not allowed in Wilderness areas. If it's ever made legal than so be it, but it won't get my vote. If I want to ride, I'll go where they are allowed. There are plenty of options and I hope that the push for more trails in the Moose River Plains Wild Forest goes through. Just my two cents as someone who enjoys many different types of outdoor recreation.
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Old 01-06-2015, 09:40 AM   #37
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Justin they of course are not the same. And of course we know bikes have more impact than paddling.

You tried to make a point against bikes in that they move fast and are discourteous. Your point is no different than a skier who could do the same thing.

The fact about the paddle is that it is a machine. A bike is a machine. A ski binding is a machine. If you want to strip machines from the wilderness areas then please do as bmike-vt said and swim and hike only.

I actually don't own a mountain bike - but I still believe they have a right to ride and not be grouped with motorized recreation.
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Old 01-06-2015, 09:53 AM   #38
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Montcalm, I refuse to debate back and forth with you.
I never implied that bikers are discourteous, I simply stated that I think that I'd be taken aback, i.e. surprised by something unexpected. Again, if one day it is legal to ride on wilderness trails, then so be it. I will reserve my opinion that they don't belong.
Good day to you Sir.
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Old 01-06-2015, 10:07 AM   #39
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I apologize for reading into your post. I thought of someone running you off the trail as discourteous. We obviously know that not all skiers are that way, and neither are all bikers.
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Old 01-06-2015, 10:22 AM   #40
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The funny thing to me is that bikes had been tossed off to Wild Forests to trails which in many cases were not any better suited to handle them. Impacts, if they were going to rampant, would have been just as bad.

And I think the suggestion that the corridors in the Catskills show little abuse has little to support the argument. The evidence presented was anecdotal with no knowledge of how many bikes actually have used the trails. If anything it supports the counter-argument that a bike trail would not cause mass destruction of the wilderness, be it from little use, or simply low impact riding.

And although this is not the proper way to do it - bikers could be just like those who build illegal structures on the forest preserve and just ride illegally. We all know the DEC does not have the resources to chase down every biker that could potentially break these rules... yet there is very little evidence to suggest that bikers are doing this. In fact they seem to be using the proper channels to try to bring forth a change.
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