“IMBA alert” Southern California Trail Access


Aug 27, 2002
San Diego
This is a last minute alert I received from IMBA

Sorry about the last minute nature of this alert but we've been waiting for details from US Forest Service. Even if you can't make it to Idyllwild TONIGHT, this is critical info. Spread the word.

Dear Southern California Mountain Biker:

As you may know, last month the US Forest Service published the final Forest Management Plans for the four Southern California National Forests (Los Padres, Angeles, San Bernardino and Cleveland). These areas represent some of the best mountain biking opportunities in the area, in the state and in the world.

While IMBA has been supportive of the Forest planning process, and is generally supportive of the final plans, there remain areas of deep concern. Extensive riding opportunities may be lost. We are asking you to get involved. Here’s the background and here’s what you can do about it.

The Forest Management Plans state, in part:

“Motorized and non-motorized vehicle travel is restricted to National Forest System roads and trails…”

While this concept is reasonable, the problem revolves around the definition of “System” roads and trails. While the Forest Management Plans are now final (although still subject to formal appeal through December 20th), the process to identify, inventory, map and analyze “System” trails has barely begun in many areas. That process isn’t scheduled to conclude until September of 2008.

What that all means is that many trails and even roads where we may currently be enjoying access may not be considered as “System” trails and therefore may be closed to bicycle use. And, of course, there is no guarantee that they will be successfully identified as “System” trails or that they ultimately will be designated for shared use. In making those final decisions, USFS must consider a range of legitimate criteria including recreational, environmental and other resource considerations.

Meanwhile, it is IMBA’s position that existing uses should continue until the inventory of trails is complete. Just as is the case for hikers and equestrians, all trails we are currently enjoying should remain open until the inventory, mapping and designation process is complete. And that process must include extensive public involvement and input. We are urging mountain bikers to express their support for that approach and to involve themselves in this important process.

An immediate opportunity to have your voice heard is Nov 9th, 2005 when the San Jacinto Ranger District of the San Bernardino National Forest will be hosting a meeting to discuss these critical issues. The Herkey Creek area is located within this District. The meeting will take place at the Idyllwild Town Hall from 7pm-9pm. The last minute nature of this meeting is regrettable but the District has hurriedly put this schedule together to address the concerns of cyclists and IMBA is encouraging your involvement.

Major Points:

1. Mountain bikes will be allowed on "System” trails only.
2. USFS need to identify non-system trails we ride so that decisions can be made about bringing those trails into the system, rerouting, or closing.
3. No trails should be closed until after the trails inventory and assessment have been completed.
4. Let's help USFS with this process. If we don't, trails will close.

San Jacinto District
November 9, 2005 7-9- p.m.
Idyllwild Town Hall

Welcome: Laurie Rosenthal
Background/Why We’re Here: Fran Colwell
Identify System Trails: Melinda Lyon
Identify Non-system Trails to be evaluated – Group Discussion

Resource surveys/known resource issues
Wildlife: Anne Poopatanapong
Botany : Kate Kramer
Archeology: Daniel McCarthy

Questions: Group

Develop Action Plans: Small Groups (by area)

Report out to large group: Group Spokespersons

Daniel Greenstadt
International Mountain Bicycling Association
California State Representative - Southern Region