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Building alone in the woods - how do I appear less sketchy?

SlapheadMofo

Monkey
Jul 29, 2003
416
0
Westminster MA
Wow, some of you guys are pretty generous to yourselves when it comes to using other people's property any way you please. I don't think any of you would look at it the same way if someone you don't know decided to just go ahead and do what they wanted with something of yours without asking.
:disgust1:
 

chuffer

Monkey
Sep 2, 2004
770
142
McMinnville, OR
And it would be a real class act to expose them to that, now wouldn't it?


You guys that are all for illegal building think it's okay to shoplift too?
Wanna explain the difference to me?
While I don't agree with a lot of what you are saying you bring up some good points.

1. With regard to being pretty liberal about what we are doing with other's property you are right. That said I really don't loose too much sleep about it. It is not as though I am building on my neighbors front lawn. Most of the private properties on which we build are either huge undeveloped lots or undevelopable industrial buffer zones. Most owners are not so much worried about value loss as they are liability. Which brings us to your next point.

2. Exposing the land owner to law suits is pretty unlikely unless the trails were built with his approval. Otherwise it is akin to a burglar suing when he injures himself doing a B&E.

Consider points one and two together for a moment. Asking and receiving permission probably exposes the land owner to more risk than just building without asking. However, I don't really view that argument as a legitimate justification for my actions.

3. State, county, or federal land that is undeveloped and doesn't have some type of protected designation is free game as far as I am concerned. (EDIT: removed "property" and replaced with "undeveloped land")

4. Same as shoplifting? No, there is probably a much bigger penalty for digging on private or public lands.

In the end, you are right. It is selfish of us. Unfortunately, legal avenues have turned out to be dead ends for most of us. The only way left for many of us to pursue our hobby is stealing.
 

SlapheadMofo

Monkey
Jul 29, 2003
416
0
Westminster MA
While I don't agree with a lot of what you are saying ...
I'm having trouble finding the 'lot' of stuff you don't agree with...sounds like you pretty much agree with everything, except somehow you reach a conclusion that your hobby takes precedence over the rights of others to decide what goes on on their own property. The shoplifting analogy fits the thought process if not the penalties - I can't afford but I want, so I take.

As for the examples you bring up, there are definitely spots that you know no one is going to care. Scratching some trail around a gravel pit or an industrial zone that's gonna get turned into an industrial park down the road anyway...meh, who really cares. State parks, private 'residential' land, town open space, places like that, different story IMO. Specially in an area where maybe other local riders have spent years laying the groundwork to get legit trails built (as in our case), some jamoke going out and slapping a bunch of rickety stunts wherever he wants can set things back big time. We've run into this quite a few times up here. Also, almost invariably, the stuff is neglected and turns into nothing but an eyesore and a liablilty in pretty short order. Whatever tho, long as you guys are far away from here, like you said, I ain't losing any sleep over it.
 

Del

Monkey
Feb 20, 2004
366
0
Alexandria, VA
If it was his own property, why would he worry about how he looks?
The property does not belong to me and is on the fringes of a neighborhood park. There's a paved fitness path and if you follow it all the way to the end of the park a little trail goes into the woods.

That trail heads up a hill and eventually diminishes into a thicket of bramble and trees and is situated next to an interstate. The area that interests me is beyond the end of the trail, in an out of the way spot next to a stretch of a 30 foot tall highway retaining wall.

It's not much of an area, but it's out of the way and should provide a convenient place near my house to have some fun on my bike.
 

chuffer

Monkey
Sep 2, 2004
770
142
McMinnville, OR
I'm having trouble finding the 'lot' of stuff you don't agree with...sounds like you pretty much agree with everything, except somehow you reach a conclusion that your hobby takes precedence over the rights of others to decide what goes on on their own property. The shoplifting analogy fits the thought process if not the penalties - I can't afford but I want, so I take.

As for the examples you bring up, there are definitely spots that you know no one is going to care. Scratching some trail around a gravel pit or an industrial zone that's gonna get turned into an industrial park down the road anyway...meh, who really cares. State parks, private 'residential' land, town open space, places like that, different story IMO. Specially in an area where maybe other local riders have spent years laying the groundwork to get legit trails built (as in our case), some jamoke going out and slapping a bunch of rickety stunts wherever he wants can set things back big time. We've run into this quite a few times up here. Also, almost invariably, the stuff is neglected and turns into nothing but an eyesore and a liablilty in pretty short order. Whatever tho, long as you guys are far away from here, like you said, I ain't losing any sleep over it.
You started out making no distinction between types of property. Your point seemed to be that digging and building on property that I do not own is disrespectful, damaging and illegal. However, in the above post you imply that it is okay to build on land that no one really cares about. More importantly you state that it is not okay to build somewhere that might affect your personal interests. Am I understanding you correctly?

Agree: shabbily built, unmaintained, poorly situated junk is a nuisance and a liability to all.

Disagree: all building without explicit permission is wrong, NIMBY stance.
 

SlapheadMofo

Monkey
Jul 29, 2003
416
0
Westminster MA
You started out making no distinction between types of property. Your point seemed to be that digging and building on property that I do not own is disrespectful, damaging and illegal. However, in the above post you imply that it is okay to build on land that no one really cares about. More importantly you state that it is not okay to build somewhere that might affect your personal interests. Am I understanding you correctly?

Agree: shabbily built, unmaintained, poorly situated junk is a nuisance and a liability to all.

Disagree: all building without explicit permission is wrong, NIMBY stance.
Well, on property you don't own and where no permission has been given, definitely illegal, which would pretty much make it disrespectful by definition. To what degree depends on the landowner's plans for/concern about their land and what level you've taken it upon yourself to disrupt those. May or may not be 'damaging', either physcially or otherwise, but determining that is really up to the landowner/manager. Overall, definitely some shade of 'wrong'; specifics of the situation determine whether it's a 'everybody agrees to look the other way' wrong or a 'holy **** what did you idiots do here' wrong. Personally, the first type doesn't bother me. Biggest problem is, in most cases, it can be very difficult to determine which kind of situation you have up front. I'm willing to build with just implicit permission (for example, the local town officials telling us offline 'don't worry about it, nobody's gonna bother you over there'), but in most cases, if I can't get at least something along those lines, it's a no go in my book.


Far as NIMBY, well, there’s only so much I can care about people doing things that don’t affect me in places I will never go. If you're telling me that you’re equally as concerned with what happens on every inch of the planet as you are about the plot that abuts your yard or where you do most of your riding, I don’t buy it. :biggrin:
 

ATOMICFIREBALL

DISARMED IN A BATTLE OF WITS
May 26, 2004
1,354
0
Tennessee
This weekend I found a little section of woods perfect for putting together a little session spot. Due to it being close to my house I'll probably be out there by myself for most of the building and digging.

Now, I might be neurotic, but I would imagine a walker stumbling upon a grown man in the woods by himself with a shovel or ax might look kind of suspicious.

:twitch:

For the solo builders out there - are you concerned with how you might appear to someone stumbling upon you at work?

Avoid key words:
MOB
VINNIE
PINCHED
GODFATHER
HURRY UP
BODYBAG
BLOOD
BODY
STIFF
WACKED
WITNESSES
COPS
 

freeridefool

Monkey
Jun 17, 2006
647
0
medford, or
Most forest land around here is blm, state land or national forest. All of which are public land. I pay my share of taxed so I feel I dont need permission. Then again I own my own property to build on.
 

SlapheadMofo

Monkey
Jul 29, 2003
416
0
Westminster MA
Most forest land around here is blm, state land or national forest. All of which are public land. I pay my share of taxed so I feel I dont need permission.
So as long as they pay taxes, anyone should be able to do anything they want on public land without restriction? Great idea. :crazy:

Or is it just YOU who should be able to do whatever YOU want there?
 
Slapheadmofo - serious question I want your opinion on:

You have seen my other post about the stunts, slalom course and dirt jumps I've built in the woods behind my house. When I initially wanted to start building back there I asked our builder who I thought owned the land. He said no problem, we eventually will get back there in a couple years to build more houses for this neighborhood but it will likely be 2 years or more.

So I started building jumps, then freeride stunts and then a slalom course. Then I find out that the developer actually still owns that land as the builder has not purchased it yet, but he will eventually. Now when i asked for permission i explained that the things I would be building would be jumps framed in by wood, but filled with dirt.

I now feel obligated to at least tear down the freeride stuff as it was not part of my deal with the person who will eventually own the land. In addition I would like to keep the jumps until they get back there to build houses, and if this stuff is found by the actual owner i feel he would not care to much about the jumps, but would crap his pants on the stunts and lock it down.

Most of the jumps are small - i.e. nothing over stomach high from the ground and no more then 2 bike lengths of a gap with the exception of one or two of them. I don't feel bad about the dirt jumps as I think the liability and impact is minimal, especially considering the insurance these guys have to carry as they move dirt around and dig trenches and holes while they develop land. I do however feel guilty about putting the stunts up. Even though they are built well, someone could potentially climb on them and fall and get hurt. Also it was not part of what i said I'd do back there and without the stunts i think the place would stay untouched or cared much about until they were ready to build in 2-3 years.

What are your thoughts? Sorry for the post hi-jack Del.
 

SlapheadMofo

Monkey
Jul 29, 2003
416
0
Westminster MA
I think your last paragraph sums it all up pretty well. Like you say, the bigger stunts are a risk/liability, not just that someone might get hurt, but also they're more likely to give a negative impression to people that othewise might just ignore the jumps and DS stuff, and they also place the landowner at more risk legally I'd imagine.

Dunno enough specifics to even venture a guess whether what you've got going on could affect the efforts of any of the "legit" groups down there; that would be something maybe you could find out locally. Also, dunno about what sort of legal liability you're taking on yourself or transferring to the landowner if someone got hurt. We've got a very similar set-up in our neighborhood, and personally, I'm not comfortable with having anything big sitting out there. Occassionally though, we'll build up a temporary larger stunt or two for the an occasion, the bust it down and maybe stow it for future use. With a little creativity, maybe you can make something reasonably movable and configurable that you can throw up when you want to use it, but doesn't sit and attract the wrong kind of attention when you're not .