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Old 12-10-2014, 03:41 PM   #1
ADK123
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DEC led Mtn. Bike Trail System

DEC is seeking comments to amend the Moose River Plains Wild Forest plan to to improve existing trails and to create new ones. Goal is to "...provide high quality trail experiences to mountain bikers." (quote taken from proposed plan)

Article here:http://www.adirondackalmanack.com/20...er-plains.html

International Mountain Bicycling Association hired by DEC to create concept plan. Plan here: http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/lands_for.../mrpwfbike.pdf

Part of the plan includes a proposed 100 miles of singletrack.

Public meeting to be held in the gym of Raquette Lake Union Free School on Thursday, December 18th at 7pm.

Comments may also be provided by January 30, 2015 in writing to McCrea Burnham, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY, 12233-4254 or e-mailed to Adirondackpark@dec.ny.gov.
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Old 12-10-2014, 04:40 PM   #2
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Generally, I think it is a good proposal. I am glad to see that they've included discussion about impacts and proper trail maintenance, and have given a thought about terrain suitable to withstanding mountain bike impacts in selecting routes. They've even countered one of the original DEC mountain bike trail proposals on the basis that the proposed route is unsuitable for withstanding impacts.

I also like that the majority of the proposed trails are concentrated close to Route 28, with fewer trails proposed for more remote sections in the plains (and most of those proposals involve already existing trails that are open to mountain bike use currently).

I have a couple of minor concerns- first, I don't see any discussion for the potential of having so many trails located so close together to result in significant wildlife disturbance. I'm not suggesting that this would be a definite result, but I do feel that the possibility needs to be considered in greater detail.

Also, I'm not sure about the Seventh Lake beginner loop, which is described as "hugging" the shoreline of the lake. I know it follows an already existing trail, but shoreline trails tend to be high impact, as they distribute impacts all along the shore. It is generally better to construct a trail with some minimum setback to the lake, and then provide access to the lake itself only at a few carefully chosen spots, as this localizes impacts to those spots and protects the rest of the shoreline.
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Old 12-10-2014, 06:26 PM   #3
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Also, I'm not sure about the Seventh Lake beginner loop, which is described as "hugging" the shoreline of the lake. I know it follows an already existing trail, but shoreline trails tend to be high impact, as they distribute impacts all along the shore. It is generally better to construct a trail with some minimum setback to the lake, and then provide access to the lake itself only at a few carefully chosen spots, as this localizes impacts to those spots and protects the rest of the shoreline.
Yep. Good point to bring up. I hope you'll share your thoughts either at, or prior to, the meeting.

I'm sure there will be much debate and discussion around such a comprehensive plan. I hope I'm not too old to ride by the time Phase V is complete.

I haven't read through the entire report yet. I keep getting stuck at "...new natural surface singletrack trails..." and "...the proposed singletrack trail system would be approximately 100 miles in length."
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Old 12-26-2014, 07:14 PM   #4
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I think any plan to improve more remote trails within the Plains would be a great concept. I am only speaking about the cyclist point of view and not the environmental impact it will bring to the landscape if any. But like anything some will object for many reasons.

I dream of multiple day trips that allow us to travel from town to town through the woods and some highway which would bring the more adventurist types to the sport. This sport is just starting to scratch the surface now. Keep the politicians out and we will be okay.

I hope it goes through and all goes well and for the record any age (we) should still be biking
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Old 12-27-2014, 09:39 AM   #5
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Here is a little something our neighbors are doing.

http://www.pinkbike.com/news/colorad...o_Trail_BSC&&&
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Old 12-27-2014, 07:31 PM   #6
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All politics are local

First off, I live and Pennsylvania and occasionally visit the Adirondacks to mountain bike. Not just to day ride, but to do multi day rides riding trails, snowmobile trails, roads, etc. I've probably posted these links before, but here are a couple of trip reports that give my impressions of the Adirondacks from a bike saddle:


http://www.bikepacking.net/triprepor...ondacks-again/


http://www.bikepacking.net/triprepor...ny-adirondaks/

I've also traveled about and ridden a couple IMBA built 'stacked loop' systems.

Here is my take on the proposal.

First and foremost who are the target users for these trails? Are they locals? second home owners? tourists? or hardcore mountain bikers?. If they are not locals, from how far do we think the riders the travel and how frequently will they visit the region to ride? From what radius will cyclist travel to ride these trails?

I don't have any data, but my gut tells me that a 30 mile stacked loop system built by IMBA is probably a weekend trip for a typical mountain biker who is beyond the beginner phase and is somewhat serious about the sport. In PA we have a stacked loop system http://www.allegrippistrails.com/. I would say it is a successful trail project. It leveraged an existing campground and public lands and happens to be located centrally to within a 3 hour drive of many major population areas.

In the ADK proposal, it appears that IMBA is throwing everything against the wall and hoping something will stick.... XC trails, a pump track, downhill like trails, a kiddie park... who is the target? For one thing, wouldn't a pump track be better located where it is accessible to local kids who can't drive out to 8th lake?

Here is what I would propose:

'Adventure cycling' is probably one of the growth areas of cycling, these riders would be the primary target demographic. The secondary target will be weekend trippers from NY and neighboring states for a intermediate/expert stacked loop system.

The trails have to leverage what the ADKs have that nobody else really has...what is that? From my perspective it is the mix... from Wild Forest to quaint small town and back again, from northern upland forest to swampy beaver ponds, from river lowlands to modest peaks over and over in a decent percentage of the area inside the Blue Line.

Ok, build a 30-40 mile stacked loop, because you have to... but then put the emphasis on a backcountry extended length loop system... say loops of 60, 90, 120 miles or so. The model would be like hut to hut touring that is available out west, but in the ADKs the riders can have options... options to stay in town, or stay in a lean to or to primitive camp. Options for SAG support from local outfitters, options for full support like the touring companies provide.

A multi-day system of mountain bike routes would be unique to the ADKs on the east coast and attract riders nationally as a destination adventure trip.

My guess is that stacked loops are for weekends, destination trips are for at least a week. These destination bikers then become an economic driving force.

The ADKs bike trails need to attract enough visiting riders to generate the economic activity to keep the trails self sustaining...I just don't think there are the local resources and they are probably taxed with other things... XC ski trails, snowmobile trails, hiking trails, etc.

Finally, most of the above is just one guy's opinion, please take as such. But at least before IMBA creates another cookie cutter trail system, make them adhere the classic DEC signpost design, colors and fonts.

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Old 12-27-2014, 07:58 PM   #7
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jhl99

Thank you for the photos.

Looks like we have some things in common. I agree with your views and ideas.
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Old 12-28-2014, 07:47 AM   #8
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Nice write ups jhl99! I recognize some of those spots. I completely agree with your view of the burgeoning bike packing mode. The adirondacks are unique in that they are protected from development by the state constitution. State land in the adirondacks is classified as recreational (pretty much anything goes), to wild forest (for the sake of our discussion MTBs are allowed) to wilderness (no MTBs.). Connecting communities and supporting green tourism is good, but their are groups that view any change to adirondack wilderness, such as a bypass corridor, as a slippery slope.
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Old 12-28-2014, 09:38 AM   #9
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On a personal level I would love to see something like this as a way to exercise, explore and enjoy the area in which I have always lived. Too many areas that I used to be able to hike, ride bikes, etc,.. are now privately owned and posted.

Several years ago I took a trip with a few friends to southern West Virginia. They have a trail system called Hatfield-McCoy, it offers over 500 miles of legal trail riding. Literally, we rented a modular home for three days, rode from the home through town to the trail head and over the ranges to the next town (this was on dirt bikes and atv's).
Basic traffic laws were in force, the locals embraced the idea because it boosted the economy( several people supplemented their living quite well). While the area and situation is very different, it remains as one of the best/coolest memories I have had with good friends.

Granted the Adirondacks are not filled with poor coal mining towns as WV is, but throughout the Adirondacks we already have a pretty well laid out snowmobile trail system. As a snowmobiler I enjoy the ability to travel through the woods from town to town in a similar style as we did in WV. Being able to do something similar in the warm months on MTB's would be a great deal of fun.
I understand the concept of breaking new trails through areas that previously had none will ruffle feathers, and raises some issues for some. Its not, however, anything like the over harvesting that was done so many years ago with logging, etc,. that changed the face of the landscape for decades.

Most of the state forested lands that I hike and bushwack on already have 'jeep trails' that could likely be cleaned up a bit and repurposed. In WV as well as NY( for snowmobiles) you pay a registration fee, or buy a trail pass that helps fund the maintenance of the trail system. I would have no problem contributing financially to something similar with a guaranteed trail system to ride. I am gearing up to go MTB riding in the spring, trying to find some friends to get into the sport with me and the one thing I'm short on right now is the knowledge of where we could ride without trespassing, etc,.
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Old 12-28-2014, 10:37 AM   #10
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http://saratogamtb.org/
http://trails.mtbr.com/cat/united-st...4_4566crx.aspx
https://www.change.org/p/the-honorab...ate-custom_msg
All in the Saratoga area and there is more...
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Old 12-28-2014, 12:22 PM   #11
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I'm aware of the Saratoga trails as I live about 1/2 mile from Skidmore college. The Moreau trails I have heard about as well. Interesting information on the Mt McGregor property, I have wanted to at least hike that for years as I grew up only 1/2 mile from that property also. There are a few other areas that I can think of to ride as well. The more I get into the sport, the more the spots will pop up as well I'm sure.
Thanks for the links.
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Old 12-28-2014, 02:03 PM   #12
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Snowmobile trails are good for MTB exsploring in the summer here too.

I used to live in Warren County - lots of snowmobile trails there, and the wild forest is criss crossed with ol roads. Tons of wild forest state land where bikes are allowed.
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Old 12-28-2014, 03:55 PM   #13
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Awesome photos, jhl99. I've ridden in a few of those areas as well.

Great points and ones I hope you will share with the powers-to-be.

Stacked trails. I understand the concept but am not familiar with them. Why do you say they are "probably a weekend trip for a typical mountain biker who is beyond the beginner phase and is somewhat serious about the sport." To me that would more likely define the backcountry extended loop system you mentioned?
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Old 12-28-2014, 08:22 PM   #14
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Rambling reply

Here is clarification to my statement: "I don't have any data, but my gut tells me that a 30 mile stacked loop system built by IMBA is probably a weekend trip for a typical mountain biker who is beyond the beginner phase and is somewhat serious about the sport.”

My opinion is that true beginners will not devote a weekend trip to go ride single track trails. Maybe they will invest the travel time to ride a rail trail, but single track, I doubt it. If you accept this hypothesis, and you want to draw riders from a regional and national level, your trails better cater to the intermediate and advanced riders.

The IMBA ‘stacked loops’ that I’ve ridden do a good job of compressing a range of trail difficulties into a small space, generally with a couple of parking areas from which the trails emanate. A nearby campground is highly desirable. The design is suited for rides that are probably typical of the average mountain biker… I would guess 4 hours in duration or less. I don’t have much data, but it seems that the trail systems are ‘self contained’ and don’t connect to long distance trails. (I think, by design, the trail designers want to prevent riders from getting lost).

This is my a stereotypical scenario for a non local group going to a IMBA style stacked loop system:

The group decides to do a weekend trip, they leave work Friday afternoon drive 2-3 hours to the campground that is adjacent the stacked loop. Saturday, they have a leisurely breakfast, start riding by mid morning….ride for a couple of hours, back to camp for lunch, the hardcore go out riding some more, while others lounge around camp, they have cookout for dinner, drink beer around campfire. (Alternatively, they make go out the town and track down the local brew pub). Sunday AM, get up have breakfast, go for 2-3 hour ride, clean up, break camp and drive home.

For all their apparent advantages, I’m not a fan of the IMBA built trail systems. Right, wrong or indifferent, I think mountain bike trails should be narrow and minimize disruptions the natural surroundings. The IMBA trails I have seen don’t always follows these tenants. (I know, there are reasons for what they do, but I'm old school)

To get back on track… there are many of these typical day use ‘stacked loops’ throughout the country. Another stacked typical stacked loop will not do much to put the ADKs on the biker’s radar. Recall, my premise is that the ADKs needs to become a ‘bucket list’ place to ride for adventure bikers and provide a reason for regional intermediates and experts to ride the trails.

What I propose is to create a ‘super’ stacked loops that require multiple days to navigate, loops that let the ride choose different options. Essentially, a big spider webs of possible routes around the ADKs utilizing any type of legal trail or road. Maybe have a couple of predefined routes with cue sheets and maps for different styles of riding (single track/backcountry emphasis, dirt road emphasis, B&B tours, etc.)

Use trail development to add connectors where it make sense to improve the trail network.

Skillzman1 illustrates what I think is so attractive about bike touring (or bike packing) in the ADKs when he mentions the ‘town to town’ aspect of snowmobiling. That is what the ADKs have that is so unique… the towns, Old Forge, Inlet, Tupper, Saranac Lake, Lake Placid are all neat places to stop over or just ride through in connecting the sections of forest. For the adventure rider, the are places to get food, eat at a restaurant, touch base or get spare parts. Couple the towns with the shear beauty of the ADKs and the concept will sell itself (at least it will be easy to make compelling brochures and print ads!)

For what its worth, Western NC (Brevard, Dupont SF, Pisgah NF) might be the template for a region that has capitalized on mountain bike tourism and maybe would be a template for the ADKs.
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Old 12-29-2014, 08:57 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by jhl99 View Post
Here is clarification to my statement: "I don't have any data, but my gut tells me that a 30 mile stacked loop system built by IMBA is probably a weekend trip for a typical mountain biker who is beyond the beginner phase and is somewhat serious about the sport.”

My opinion is that true beginners will not devote a weekend trip to go ride single track trails. Maybe they will invest the travel time to ride a rail trail, but single track, I doubt it. If you accept this hypothesis, and you want to draw riders from a regional and national level, your trails better cater to the intermediate and advanced riders.

The IMBA ‘stacked loops’ that I’ve ridden do a good job of compressing a range of trail difficulties into a small space, generally with a couple of parking areas from which the trails emanate. A nearby campground is highly desirable. The design is suited for rides that are probably typical of the average mountain biker… I would guess 4 hours in duration or less. I don’t have much data, but it seems that the trail systems are ‘self contained’ and don’t connect to long distance trails. (I think, by design, the trail designers want to prevent riders from getting lost).

This is my a stereotypical scenario for a non local group going to a IMBA style stacked loop system:

The group decides to do a weekend trip, they leave work Friday afternoon drive 2-3 hours to the campground that is adjacent the stacked loop. Saturday, they have a leisurely breakfast, start riding by mid morning….ride for a couple of hours, back to camp for lunch, the hardcore go out riding some more, while others lounge around camp, they have cookout for dinner, drink beer around campfire. (Alternatively, they make go out the town and track down the local brew pub). Sunday AM, get up have breakfast, go for 2-3 hour ride, clean up, break camp and drive home.

For all their apparent advantages, I’m not a fan of the IMBA built trail systems. Right, wrong or indifferent, I think mountain bike trails should be narrow and minimize disruptions the natural surroundings. The IMBA trails I have seen don’t always follows these tenants. (I know, there are reasons for what they do, but I'm old school)

To get back on track… there are many of these typical day use ‘stacked loops’ throughout the country. Another stacked typical stacked loop will not do much to put the ADKs on the biker’s radar. Recall, my premise is that the ADKs needs to become a ‘bucket list’ place to ride for adventure bikers and provide a reason for regional intermediates and experts to ride the trails.

What I propose is to create a ‘super’ stacked loops that require multiple days to navigate, loops that let the ride choose different options. Essentially, a big spider webs of possible routes around the ADKs utilizing any type of legal trail or road. Maybe have a couple of predefined routes with cue sheets and maps for different styles of riding (single track/backcountry emphasis, dirt road emphasis, B&B tours, etc.)

Use trail development to add connectors where it make sense to improve the trail network.

Skillzman1 illustrates what I think is so attractive about bike touring (or bike packing) in the ADKs when he mentions the ‘town to town’ aspect of snowmobiling. That is what the ADKs have that is so unique… the towns, Old Forge, Inlet, Tupper, Saranac Lake, Lake Placid are all neat places to stop over or just ride through in connecting the sections of forest. For the adventure rider, the are places to get food, eat at a restaurant, touch base or get spare parts. Couple the towns with the shear beauty of the ADKs and the concept will sell itself (at least it will be easy to make compelling brochures and print ads!)

For what its worth, Western NC (Brevard, Dupont SF, Pisgah NF) might be the template for a region that has capitalized on mountain bike tourism and maybe would be a template for the ADKs.
Maybe ferry over to Lake Champlain into Vermont? All acceptable, but for the rails to trails I am not a fan. (Just a lot of work riding down a straight corridor) How boring
Throw in some forest trails a few lean-to's and some local pubs that serve pint drafts and we have a ride. Don't forget about Cranberry Lake and towns like Lowville and Boonville. I have ridden from Lowville number 4 rd. into Big Moose to Moss lake camp ground stayed the night and went to Old forge into Boonville, which is already part of the Adventure Cycle Moose River trail. 100 mile plus rides are possible already we just have to open the woods.

Maybe your right about beginners not subject to single track trails but I think with the help of the seasoned riders they will pick up on some of the opportunities available like any sport ("give them time")
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Old 12-30-2014, 11:54 AM   #16
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I'd love to see some strategic long trail development. There is already so much to work with - having some connectors and unwinding some of the stacked loops to be longer, and connect disparate or distant trail systems would be great.

I'm not a fan of riding in circles all day... (although I do it on occasion).
Theres some effort happening in VT to create the XVT from CA to MA, dirt road, single track, snowmobile trail, etc. Would love to see something like that in the ADKs.

And, it will no doubt rub against the 'wilderness' issue.
I get it, some people think bikes do not belong... but I don't think herd paths and parking lots belong either. And I'm not interested in riding my bike to the top of Marcy... but skirting through the valleys or nearby ridges on specific, developed trails to connect interesting towns and places would be fantastic.
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Old 12-30-2014, 02:26 PM   #17
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To get back on track… there are many of these typical day use ‘stacked loops’ throughout the country. Another stacked typical stacked loop will not do much to put the ADKs on the biker’s radar. Recall, my premise is that the ADKs needs to become a ‘bucket list’ place to ride for adventure bikers and provide a reason for regional intermediates and experts to ride the trails.

What I propose is to create a ‘super’ stacked loops that require multiple days to navigate, loops that let the ride choose different options. Essentially, a big spider webs of possible routes around the ADKs utilizing any type of legal trail or road. Maybe have a couple of predefined routes with cue sheets and maps for different styles of riding (single track/backcountry emphasis, dirt road emphasis, B&B tours, etc.)
I agree. But wouldn't we also need that "typical stacked loop" to bring in those weekenders? To come to the campgrounds? To eat at the local establishments? There are those that don't feel comfortable riding multiple days - single track or otherwise. Just as in hiking, you have your multi-day, deep into the woods, type folks and you have your day trippers. Latter outweighs the former.

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I dream of multiple day trips that allow us to travel from town to town through the woods and some highway which would bring the more adventurist types to the sport.
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I'd love to see some strategic long trail development. There is already so much to work with - having some connectors and unwinding some of the stacked loops to be longer, and connect disparate or distant trail systems would be great.
Yep.

Everyone has good thoughts. Here is the follow-up to the meeting in Raquette Lake from Adirondack Express:
http://www.adirondackexpress.com/New...14_mtnbikenews

As mentioned before, any thoughts/ideas/concerns can be sent by January 30, 2015 via email to adirondackpark@dec.ny.gov or by snail mail to McCrea Burnham, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4254.

The whole kit and kaboodle - and by that I mean the whole Moose River Plains Wild Forest Unit Management Plan broken down by section along with the possible amendment plan. Complete with history, maps and other tidbits of info. For those that like to immerse themselves in the details: http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/22571.html
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Old 01-02-2015, 07:35 PM   #18
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But wouldn't we also need that "typical stacked loop" to bring in those weekenders?
Probably needed, it was grudgingly included in post #6

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Ok, build a 30-40 mile stacked loop, because you have to... but then put the emphasis on a backcountry extended length loop system...
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I'm not a fan of riding in circles all day... (although I do it on occasion).
Same here. What I dislike that IMBA built stacked loops that I have ridden, ride the same way. Actually, this is to be expected, they build the trails using the same sets of design rules and they especially ride the same if they are built with machines.



Above, 2 trail systems, 2 different climates and eco systems. With your eyes closed, they ride exactly the same way. Mountain bikers flock to Moab and Fruita because they are different. Nobody wants to travel far and wide for the experience that they can get at home.

Some more shots of IMBA built trails at Allegripis






The DEC is going to need to wrestle with how much earth moving is appropriate and being consistent with ‘Forever Wild’. I would be disappointed if trails with this amount of benching where built in the ADKs on public property. To me, this is too much.

Here is a better looking switchback on the North Country Trail taking in Michigan. This is not an IMBA built trail.

This is what I would like to see in the ADKs (another NCT pic from MI):



(A narrow tread, not excavated with machines, tight, fits with nature better, I know the IMBA people would complain that the trails is worn into a depression and will not drain well, butt this is glaciated, sandy soil, it drains)

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There is some effort happening in VT to create the XVT from CA to MA, dirt road, single track, snowmobile trail, etc. Would love to see something like that in the ADKs.
This is what I’m getting at. The ADKs is the a perfect place for this type of activity. Water is readily available, the towns are there, there are lean tos already built. Some existing trails (hiking and snowmobile trails) can be leveraged, while others wouldn’t be attractive to mountain bikers. Couple those trails with existing roads and build some more single track connecters here and there and build the big loops!

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And, it will no doubt rub against the 'wilderness' issue.
It shouldn’t. This is a screen shot of my ‘master map’ from which I plan and track my routes in the ADKs (The base data is from the CD ROM that the DEC made available years ago).



Green is Wild Forest=mountain biking OK, Red=Wilderness, no bikes. White is private land. The grid is 10 mile blocks…the blue line area is roughly 100s mile E/W and 120 miles N/S. There is a lot of green to work with.

Some selected history that I am aware of:
1. Mountain biking took off on the 1990s
2. At least (2) books have been written about mountain biking in the ADKs
3. It appears there have been sporadic efforts to promote mountain biking the ADKs
4. The ADKs were the cover story in Bike (a national mountain biking magazine) in 2003
And yet, the ADKs seems like they are a decade behind were other regions are regarding trails and mountain biking. To me, this makes the ADKs that much more attractive to riding, but it is really indicative that there just aren’t the local riders and clubs pushing for more trails. I think this is going to be a problem unless the ADKs can really draw riders from across the nation.

In 2010, the Allegrippis trails where fairly new and Dirt Rag (a mountain bike magazine based in Pittsburgh, PA) organized a mountain bike festival at the trails (which has since become and annual event). The article states that “more than 1,000 riders from 24 of the 50 states attended.”

Build it right, make it unique and they will come!


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Old 01-03-2015, 12:27 PM   #19
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Maybe there will finally be an opportunity to revisit the "Wild Forest, bikes OK; Wilderness, bikes not OK" arrangement. There are miles of trails in Wilderness that are well suited to bikes, and miles of trails in Wild Forest where bikes are not appropriate. Seems kind of dumb. But it did save the effort of having to actually figure out where bikes fit and where they don't. Maybe we can finally start figuring that out...

Last edited by TCD; 01-03-2015 at 10:19 PM.. Reason: (typos)
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Old 01-03-2015, 09:23 PM   #20
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Maybe there will finally be an opportunity to revisit the "Wild Forest, bikes OK; Wilderness, bikes not OK" arrangement. There are miles o trails in Wildernes that are well suited to bikes, and miles of trails in Wild Forest where bikes are no appropriate. Seems kind of dumb. But it did save the effort of having to actually figure out where bikes fit and where they don't. Maybe we can fainlly start figuring that out...
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?"
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