LETTER: An appeal to area dirt bikers from the mountain biking community
To the dirt bikers riding on mountain bike trails:
I am a mountain biker and volunteer trail builder. I also grew up riding dirt bikes and still ride occasionally. Rossland offers endless opportunity for these sports. My experience has been that all bikers have enjoyed peaceful coexistence in the Rossland area. However, there is a noticeable increase in motorbikes on mountain bike trails.
Many trails mountain bikers use were originally dirt bike trails, built by dirt bikers. In some cases both use the same trails without much issue. However, many mountain bike-specific trails cannot be multi-use. Berms are torn up and steeper sections trench, and it ruins the trail for mountain bikes. There’s the issue of safety: a mountain biker can go fast downhill and to encounter a dirt biker going fast up a trail could be tragic. I know; it’s happened to me.
Recently, trails that a handful of volunteers spent years building by hand have seen a marked increase in motorized traffic, as has the popular Seven Summits. It’s disheartening to see something you’ve put blood, sweat and endless hours into torn up with disregard for the people who built it and the countless others who enjoy riding it.
It’s time to have a conversation. Perhaps it’s time dirt bikers organize themselves, form a society and work towards developing legitimate dirt bike trails to limit conflict. The federal government recently announced $10-million in funding for motorized trail development (National Trails Coalition, www.ntc-canada.ca).
Please consider the volunteers that dedicate their time to develop mountain bike trails and those in our community who enjoy them. Dirt bikers can go further, faster and have a vast area to ride in. Imagine the world-class dirt biking opportunities that could be developed in this area with some organization.