Letter from Medicine Wheel Trail Advocates to Colorado Springs Mtn Bike Community

The following letter was sent out by Jim Schwerin of Medicine Wheel Trail Advocates, regarding recent actions by irresponsible and downright stupid members of our local mountain bike community who are jeapardizing everyone’s ability to ride on the great trails in and around Colorado Springs. We join Medicine Wheel and all other conscientious mountain bikers in condemning the actions of these unauthorized “trail builders”, encouraging all riders to be courteous to other trail users, and imploring all riders to stick to designated trails. There are groups who have worked and continue to work hard to maintain our current trail system and advocate for the construction of new trails. It is up to us to make sure that the actions of a few don’t undo or negate the great work these groups have done. We have one of the best and most accessible trail systems of any city on the Front Range, and if we want it to stay that way we need to be great stewards of the environment and community we enjoy so much.

Please read Jim Schwerin’s letter below, take it to heart, and help get the word out.

Dear Mountain Biking Community,

Medicine Wheel Trail Advocates is sending you this message with deep concern for the future of mountain biking in Colorado Springs. 

Recently, an off-duty city park ranger was hiking in Garden of the Gods Park in a relatively undeveloped area near Rampart Range Road and came across several individuals hacking away at trying to build a “radical downhill” trail.  You know, the kind you might see at a ski area, with gap jumps, straight down the fall line, big rocks, etc.  These people had no authorization, had chopped down trees, moved boulders, and had generally made a real mess of things.  As most of you know, mountain biking in most of Garden of the Gods is specifically banned, so you probably couldn’t pick a worse place to build a renegade trail. 

To make matters worse, when this ranger  inquired as to what the “trail builders” were doing, they threatened to physically harm her.   So, the police were called, the “trail builders” disappeared, and now the entire mountain biking community is left to clean up the mess.

Medicine Wheel Trail Advocates has worked for almost 20 years to keep the Pikes Peak Region a mountain bike-friendly place.  Lately though, with more people, more riders and  better bikes, there’s been more and more off-trail riding.  You can see especially see this in places like Palmer Park and Ute Valley.  At the same time, the parks department has gotten more calls about “those damned bikers”.  The trend isn’t good.  We sure don’t want to end up like some other cities in Colorado where opening just one trail to bikes has been a long and fruitless quest **cough**cough**boulder**.

So, what can you do to help?

First, we’re going to help the parks department repair the damage that was done to Garden of the Gods.  Medicine Wheel would like to get a large crew of volunteers out to erase the trail that those guys tried to build.  We’ll have an announcement soon about the date.

Second, STAY ON DESIGNATED TRAILS!  Please let all your friends know that riding off trail isn’t “cool”.  If it keeps happening, it’s easy to imagine a future where biking gets banned in Palmer Park, Ute Valley, or a lot of the other riding spots we love so much.

Third, be a good neighbor.  Ride with a bell on your bike.  Try not to startle other trail users.  Smile, have a good time.  Say “Hello”.

Fourth, and this is the toughest, get involved!  MWTA is always looking for motivated people to help with our mission.  If you’d like to serve on the board (on whatever level you like), be a trail builder, develop a downhill park, or whatever other way you might be able to contribute,  then please let one of us know.

Thanks for taking a little time to think about the future and keeping the riding here great.  Now, get back out and ride.

3 Responses to “Letter from Medicine Wheel Trail Advocates to Colorado Springs Mtn Bike Community”

  1. Adam on

    As a former CS native resident and a lifelong mtn biker of all formats: xc, fr, enduro and DH I know the value of well built trails and the challenges in keeping them. That being said I find it very unfortunate that the DH/FR community is not being represented by Medicine wheel and no attempts have been made to design and build the quality DH/fr trails that would be an excellent step to reining in on the bootleg trail building you are experiencing. I strongly suggest you take a page from the Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition (WMBC) and the WHIMPS and see what a real and inclusive mountain bike group can do…They have built one of the best trail systems out there while protecting the ecosystem, adhering to permit requirements, working with land owners and managers and satisfying the need of ALL mtn bikers. I fully understand the issues with un authorized trails but untill you create quality the trails that DHrs desire you are setting yourselves up for more and more bootleg trails.

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