Thursday, July 2, 2009

Mountain Bikers vs. Equestrians

horseback riders on fall trail
(photo by Hamilton Conservation Authority
based on a news article in the Detroit Examiner, "Trail conflicts between mountain bikers and equestrians," by Diane Ursu, July 1, 2009

Conflicts between trail users have always existed, but recently the mountain bikers and horseback riders have been facing off in the Fort Custer Recreation Area near Battle Creek, Michigan.

User groups with different levels of technology generally prefer their own trails. With diminishing resources, management authorities have sought to combine user groups on multi-use trails.

Recently, equestrians in the Lower Peninsula have proposed legislation to allow riding access on all public trails that have any history of equestrian use. If this bill passes, it would override any recommendations by the DNR concerning environmental impact.

At Fort Custer, the land manager has allowed horseback riders access to all of the mountain biking trails. Serious erosion problems have arisen from the added impact of the horses hooves. The Michigan Mountain Biking Association asserts that the trails were built by bikers, for biking. They point to the fact that many public lands have specific "friends" groups who maintain and fund facilities for certain activities. These groups feel betrayed and frustrated when other users impose their recreational desires on these facilities.

It is interesting to note that hikers feel many of these same frustrations when trails historically used for hiking are opened to bicyclists.

Read the full story at the Detroit Examiner
See Sharing Our Trails- A Guide to Trail Etiquette
These links are checked on the date of the article. As the article ages, some links may become invalid

Go To for all the news
See Get Off The Couch

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