Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

Why do riding areas get closed?

Recommended Posts

I’m curious as to what actually causes us to lose riding areas. I enjoy riding and I plan do keep doing it for a long time so I want to know what the threats are. There seems to be a widespread belief that there are all these greenies out there that have enormous political power but the accusations are always vague so I want to know if there are bigger problems. Also some people seem to lump anyone who opposes motorcycles as greenies so it would be helpful if you state what the issues were. If for example, a track is in a residential neighborhood and people get tired of listening to 100+db bikes all day this is probably a over development/noise/lack of management type thing and not a result of the radical enviro-whacko conspirators. I’m not interested if some wingnut group tried to shut something down, sued for something to be closed, threatened, etc. Just areas that have actually been shut down in YOUR area.

I’ll start. I live in Oregon, rode as a kid in the late seventies and just got back into it. A big draw for me was the abundance of excellent legal public riding areas. I was previously doing a lot of downhill mountain biking and it’s almost all in illegal areas. Dirt bike access seems great here.

Closures I am aware of (I’ve been out of the sport for a long time so I hope this is somewhat right). By far, most of it involves private timber land that once belonged to companies that liked motorcycles being sold to companies that don’t like them. Strange nobody ever complains about this. From an environmental point of view I find this to be a shame. These areas are basically tree farms, they are in no way natural, and they will just be tore up when logged every few decades. This is a great place for a high-impact sport. I’d be interested in what can be done politically to open these areas.

Some land was closed near my parents house due to erosion. During the 80’s when every redneck had a huge mudder truck the hillside above the cities watershed got really tore up. I doubt that motorcycles alone would have ever caused the problems. Lots of other land around there has unfortunately been closed but it’s all private timber land so I would guess it has to do with vandalism and fire danger.

I know the sand dunes have been restricted over the years. This is mainly due to people who buy houses cheap next to the riding area then complain about the noise. The restrictions on night riding and other things here all seem due to noise. I wouldn’t be surprised if environmental problems were used in an attempt to shut things down but if the bikes were quiet nobody would be complaining. The tree islands have been closed which I don’t have a problem with, I miss being able to ride there at night though.

I think the public trail networks have been greatly developed over the last decade but I could be wrong.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The only trail/land closure near me was a 5-6 mile stretch of powerline hills and surrounding timber.

I have ridden there ( Trucks, ATV's, and Bikes ) for 15 years. I showed up one Sunday evening and unloaded waiting on my friend. There was already 20-30 other trucks scattered around with people riding to and from the trails. My friend pulled up and I rode over to him. About 2 minutes after I rode to him, three deputy sherrif's rode up on ATV's. They had a trail of people following them and they stopped at every person and told them to follow them over to a open spot. Then we were instructed to get into line while they proceeded to write everyone a trespass ticket. There where so many of us that they used up two books of tickets and sent another sherriff back to get a few more books.

The reason that all of this happened was because some moron's had been cutting through a church parking lot during sunday morning service and raising cain. Even though the trail did not go there they had to take a shortcut. The pastor even came out to ask them to quit and they proceeded to leave and throw gravel onto thier vehicles.

Well we all showed up in court and the DA said if we plead guilty then we would just get court costs and a prayer for judgment. We all went up one at a time in front of the judge and all but three of us plead guilty. Those three was instructed to sit back down and wait until later. At the end of everyone that had plead quilty they called those three back up and the party that was pressing the trespass charges. GUESS WHAT there was nobody there to press the charges and those three was DISMISSED!! 😢

In my case 3-4 dumb@#$ lost a great riding area for us all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1) Lawsuits

2) Noise pollution

3) Lawsuits

4) Urban sprawl

5) Lawsuits

6) Stupidity

7) Lawsuits

I think you get the idea.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Garbage left behind for someone else to P.U.,...That ain't a good thing!!!!!!!!

I see to much crap left at places...

Pack it in,pack it out

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Butt heads riding across country where there are no roads or trails !! 😢 :cry: 😢 :cry: 😢

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All it takes is one redneck traiiler trash to ruin everything.

I once saw this one guy changed his motorcycle oil onto the ground at a riding area (texas).

The only trail/land closure near me was a 5-6 mile stretch of powerline hills and surrounding timber.

I have ridden there ( Trucks, ATV's, and Bikes ) for 15 years. I showed up one Sunday evening and unloaded waiting on my friend. There was already 20-30 other trucks scattered around with people riding to and from the trails. My friend pulled up and I rode over to him. About 2 minutes after I rode to him, three deputy sherrif's rode up on ATV's. They had a trail of people following them and they stopped at every person and told them to follow them over to a open spot. Then we were instructed to get into line while they proceeded to write everyone a trespass ticket. There where so many of us that they used up two books of tickets and sent another sherriff back to get a few more books.

The reason that all of this happened was because some moron's had been cutting through a church parking lot during sunday morning service and raising cain. Even though the trail did not go there they had to take a shortcut. The pastor even came out to ask them to quit and they proceeded to leave and throw gravel onto thier vehicles.

Well we all showed up in court and the DA said if we plead guilty then we would just get court costs and a prayer for judgment. We all went up one at a time in front of the judge and all but three of us plead guilty. Those three was instructed to sit back down and wait until later. At the end of everyone that had plead quilty they called those three back up and the party that was pressing the trespass charges. GUESS WHAT there was nobody there to press the charges and those three was DISMISSED!! 😢

In my case 3-4 dumb@#$ lost a great riding area for us all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Years ago when I was a kid riding with my folks in an area we knew as Holiday Valley, West of Roseamond CA, we came back to camp to find the Sheriff waiting for us. This area had everything, flat lands, hills, trails, mountians, sand dunes, and even some farm land where they grew onions and raised sheep.

It seems that some kids decided to cut down the fence around this guys sheep ranch and chase the sheep around on their bikes until almost a dozen dropped dead. 😢 Complete dumba$$es!

Well the rancher complained and the sheriff started handing out tickets and told us to leave and those who did not leave came back to a completely empty camp, they towed everything away! 😢 Man that must have cost them.

We were never able to ride there again and I know someone who tried recently and he was ticketed as well. It really sucks when peoples stupidity causes something like this because we can never recover from it, the bad memories don't go away.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The motorsports community is often it's own worst enemy.

The extreme radical enviros, who are basically anti- capitalism, are very active politically, and they just plain work harder for their goals than we do. We assume areas will always be open, because they always have been, and we generally aren't as fanatical as they are.

But, many times the black eye we get is given to us by ourselves. It just takes one TV shot of garbage left at a campsite, even by a non-motorized camper, or muddy ruts in an otherwise pristine area to convince many people that no ruts are better than some ruts, and that motorized use is unnecessary.

We kill our cause with noise. Anyone who rides on public land without the quietest exhaust available is quickly killing all of us. Strangle those knucklehads!

Also, and some of you may disagree, noise in general doesn't help us, even at a closed course motocross or off-road event. When people start to equate bikes with noise, they quickly forget or dismiss the possibility that we quiet bikes down for public land. They think, in this order:

bikes are loud

loud is annoying, therefore

bikes are annoying

less access for bikes is less annoying

The knuckleheads who go off marked trails and visibly damage riding areas are sealing our fate, too.

So, garbage, noise, actual environmental damage, and then introduce the stereotypical image that bike riders are young, noisy, pierced, tatooed, undesirable trouble makers who no one wants around, and we have a perception problem. I suppose we have to all look at ourselves in the mirror and see if we are part of the problem , or part of the solution, as the old overworked cliche goes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cabin%20Before.gif Before and After

Cabin%20Done.gif

Junk left in the woods. Common party spots. This cabin had caught the attention of the property owners and it came to my attention that they were very unhappy about it. I spoke with some riding friends and we offered to tear it down and remove the garbage. The property owner was very happy about it and we turned a sore spot with the owner into a positive experience for our motorcycle group. The problem was not caused by us but due to a little effort, the property owner is now much less likely to shut down his land.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There was an area nearby that we rode on for about 10 years without any problems.Then there was A sudden increase in the number of people showing up to ride.I guess the word got out to too many people.Some kid was jumping A large hill on A quad and hit A tree and flipped in the air and the quad came down on top of him and killed him.His family sued the property owner and that was the end of that.I know every time I ride I risk injury or death.If this happens it's nobody's fault.just A consequence of having A passion for motorcycles.It wasn't the property owners fault the kid got killed.The property owner told some of us that he didn't care if we rode on the property as long as we kept it clean.We rode day or night with no problems and the greed of A family whose kid was doing something he injoyed which unfortunately cost him his life cost us all A place to ride.I bet Garrett's dad didn't sue. 😢

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My long gone home track Maplehurst, Illinois was basically sued out racing. Some a$$wipe is at the bar gettin drunk while he leaves two young kids unsupervised with a mini bike. The kids ended up going the wrong way on the pro track with no gear while open practice was on. A very unfortunate indivdual landed right on them off the biggest jump on the track. A 5th gear wide open jump blind to a little mini bike, much less anything else. Both were killed.

The owner actually beat the lawsuit, but it was still the demise of the track.

Surprisingly my next closest track, Byron, was also sued and they also beat it. They used to have really deep sawdust whoops and a kid crashed in practice and got paralyzed. Spooked me big time as me him and another rider were in a points battle at another track at the time. It happened just ahead of me, I was the first one to find him.

It took many years and I believe the owner of the track actually took off for europe and basically gave the track to his son to avoid loosing it. (If someone else know's the real facts by all means correct me.)

Lawsuits suck, but I've even heard of cases where the person didn't want to sue, yet the insurance company & lawyers forced the issue regardlesss. 😢

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I have heard rumors that Moiser Valley ( my local texas track) is shutting down because of dust. Some idiot decided to build a bunch of mobile homes next to the track. The track has a contract that they can't be shut down for 100 years but the tickets they recieve from the city is costing them too much so they have to close. I'm riding as much as I can there be4 they close.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my area, trails that I have been riding since the early 80's on my Honda Trail 50 are now shut down.

With the increase of the popularity of quads, came increased use of these trails. The greenies had a field day with the trail erosion that the quads were causing. The city stepped in and has blocked off portions of the trail and stepped up enforcement.

These are snowmobile trails that are technicaly off limits to all motorized vehicles except snowmobiles. However, this was never enforced until recently.

Won't be taking any more of these pictures (notice the snowmobile sinage)

xr%20big%20oak.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In SoCal, you used to be able to ride anywhere you wanted. It was paradise. Then three things happened-

1. Lawsuits...Fences started springing up everywhere.

2. Urban Sprawl.

3. The number of people riding off-road went off the charts.

I also truly believe that the popularity of "Freestyle"

riding is the single worst thing to ever happen to the sport of motorcycling. It spurred zillions of people to buy dirt-bikes that wouldn't have dreamed of doing so before. I like watching it on T.V. as much as anyone, but think maybe it has brought a bad element ("troublemakers")to our sport. 😢

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The reason places get closed is FAR simpler than what has been listed so far (although those are all contributing factors).

The REAL reason: THE SILENT MAJORITY OF OFF ROAD ENTHUSIASTS WILL NOT BE PROACTIVE OR VOCAL ABOUT PROTECTING WHAT THEY HAVE.

You absolutely MUST get involved and be heard.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1) Lawsuits

2) Noise pollution

3) Lawsuits

4) Urban sprawl

5) Lawsuits

6) Stupidity

7) Lawsuits

I think you get the idea.

<font color="navy">You forgot sheer prejudice -- it leads to a lot of the lawsuits and is often caused by the stupidity aspect. I've seen trails closed down with the excuse that dirbikers were dumping trash along the trails. One of the examples was a refrigerator dumped along the trail at one point. Now, I don't know about you guys, but I don't ride around with a full-sized fridge strapped to the back of my bike just to dump it in the boonies, but that's how the local officials saw it.

Not to bag on quads, but they are a lot of the problem as well. They tend to be just as loud (or louder) as dirt bikes, plus they kick up a lot of dust and contribute more to soil erosion. Several years ago (10+), some of us "activists" were successful in keeping some forest trails open, using the argument that a land impact survey showed more trail erosion caused by humans on foot (cutting switchbacks) and horses (lots of weight on small contact patches = torn up soil). Things were good until the quads started increasing in popularity and became the #1 cause of soil erosion in the area. Trials remained open to horse and humans (who were shown to cause more wear than dirt bikes) but were shut down to all motorsports. 😢

As someone else stated, we are often our own worst enemy. Given the misinformation and prejudice out there against dirt bikes, we don't do nearly enough to dispel the image. Unfortunately, it's real easy to perpetuate the bad boy image but very hard to reverse it. The 2% rule applies directly here. 1 or 2 individuals doing something stupid can ruin the fun for hundreds or thousands who's riding area gets shut down...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The solution to the problem is not simple but starts by everyone on a motorcyle becoming active in their own neighborhood riding areas. Policing, cleaning, and setting good examples. One argument I have used on private land is the access provided by trail clearing in case of fire. What group is more dedicated to clearing easy access trails than trail riders.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Too many people in fewer riding areas. 20 years ago or more there were few riders in more land- both private and public. Urban sprawl reduced some of that land because it is now a watershed. Watersheds for housing consume a lot of sections of forest. The private lumber company sold to a multi-national corporate. They came in with a plan, stop all the damage caused by the public by locking it off as much as possible. We lost a lot more prime trails we used as casual trespassers. Yes, if you don't own it, or it is not publicly recognized as an OHV area, we are trespassing. For years the original timber land owners had no problem with our use of their land, most bikers did not damage their logging equipment, or the watershed nearby facilities. As more four wheel drive vehicles used the areas, the lowlifes now had a means to carry and steal anything of value. The eco-freaks also had the ability to sabotage the private timber contractor's equipment. I know most of us own a four wheel drive and I am not generalizing. It only takes one or two people to ruin it for the rest of us.

The Solution: No bikers- no anyone and stay out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now that you've thrown in your perception of the problem, what is your real solution? It's easy for people to sit back and gripe; a little harder to attempt a fix. You said it only takes 1 or 2 to shut down a riding area. In my experience: it only takes 1 or 2 very active people acting as ramrods to pull together a larger group which in turn can make a difference in keeping a riding area from getting shut down.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No problem, I've had this idea for a while now. It's reletively simple and works off the same principle as all these Freek'n golf course's you see everywhere with the house's packed all around 'em.

A bunch of riders/racers that have experience in the trades or are contractors, pool there house money together. Build your own subdivision on 40 acres. Buy equipment, materials in quantity and build the subdivision so the house's are on the outside ring and the track is on the inside. When the subdivision is done, the equipment is used for track maintenance.

Excavate the track area down slightly (5-10') to buffer some noise and direct it upward away from the houses. Plant big pine trees and use fencing all over to help absorb more noise from the outer ring. Use the spoils from the excavation to build the track complete with clubhouse, lights and watering system. Everyone pays dues and it is run as a club so no one can sue and everyone has equal share.

Rules would have to be reasonable, yet strict at the same time as people live there ya' know.

I know it's a lot of work, but guess what, some day soon that' what it might come down to. But just think how cool it would be when it is done.

Well yeah, I know that kind'a side steps your original question, but I still wanted to get it out there.

Now, if you could just work out the logistics and get started. 😢

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Reply with:

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...