Thursday, June 11, 2009

Save Bill's Trail





Bill’s Trail, in a steep, remote section of Samuel Taylor State Park is under assault by IMBA, the International Mountain Bike Association, and other local mountain bike proponents. This well funded and determined lobby has managed to convince State Park staff, that opening the fragile, narrow, fern lined trail to aggressive downhill mountain biking is within the definitions of state park shared use trails. IMBA maps of the trail depict only a few hairpin turns when in fact there are up to 40 such switchbacks. The trail is accessible by an arduous climb to about the 850’ elevation of Barnaby Mountain and would provide a mostly moderately steep downhill ride (7-8% grade) for bike users.

Mountain bikers have proved on numerous occasions to be poor stewards of the trail systems in Marin and Sonoma counties. Bikers in Marin, have been arrested for building illegal trails in sensitive wildlife habitats on numerous occasions, threatened local residents who report or encounter them on illegal trails, destroy private property, cut down redwood and other trees and continue to build downhill ramps and jump courses in off limits county open spaces. Their tire tracks leave deep erosive ruts in healthy trails especially during the rain season. Recently, an injured mountain biker had to be air lifted out of nearby Annadel State Park. The remoteness of Bill’s Trail poses significant problems for state park resources in both maintenance and monitoring in an economic climate that is in serious decline. Endangered Coho salmon spawn in a creek at the base of the trail. The impacts of substantial bike traffic near this creek have not been studied. When over a hundred miles of legal trails remain open to them in Sonoma and Marin, one wonders what the feverish urgency is in opening up more trails. The answer is that the mountain bike industry is a billion dollar commercial enterprise that must sell products. IMBA takes its marching orders from corporate giants. This is not care for the wilderness but yet another exploitative grab of traditional wilderness and open space for basic thrill seeking.

Voice your opposition to the plan by June 26, 2009. Demand a full CEQA review from state authorities. Call or email staff head, Roy McNamee rmcna@parks.ca.gov
707- 769-5665 ex 226