Complete Cycling Access to Monterey County Public Lands

Complete Cycling Access to Monterey County Public Lands

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Nate B. started this petition to Monterey Peninsula Regional Parks District and

Petition for complete bike access to Monterey county public lands

(This issue mainly concerns off road cyclists because road cyclists generally do not ride on trails)

The purpose of this petition is to advocate for complete access to Monterey County parks for mountain bikers. For decades mountain bikers have been threatened with two-hundred dollar fines and citations for riding their bikes on our local public lands, and in some areas it is a federal crime to ride a bicycle. It is time for cyclists to have equal access to trails as do hikers, and equestrians, and it is time for the deeply rooted anti-mountain biker bias to dissolve. The reasoning follows:

1. Mountain Bikers, and cyclists as a whole pay taxes to maintain our Monterey public lands like any other user, but are prohibited from recreating in these spaces.

 

2. Multi-use trails function well throughout the world, and many areas accept mountain bikers and e-bike users with open arms as a source of tourism revenue. Even our neighboring counties have greater access for cyclists. There’s no reason we can’t welcome mountain bikers to our trails. 

 

3. Mountain bikers do not endanger other users as most people believe. Although there may be a few careless cyclists, there are also inconsiderate people in every user group. People are not inconsiderate because they are on bikes, they are just inconsiderate people, and we all have to work together to coexist on the lands we all share. No need to worry, the majority of mountain bikers are respectful, kind, and careful. 

 

4. Opening our parks to mountain bikers in Monterey County would draw people from surrounding areas and give tourists yet another way to enjoy our area and generate more revenue in our local economy. And with the rising popularity of E-bikes, cycling is more accessible than ever.

 

5. Mountain bikers are a passionate user group that works hard to keep trails running and open, and the trail work they volunteer benefits all users. There are countless examples of great mountain bike associations that use their platform to build trails and maintain them with their members. Groups like MBOSC (Santa Cruz), TAMBA (Tahoe), and Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship are responsible for bringing millions of dollars into their local economies by way of building and maintaining miles of trails that draw people from all over the world. Currently SBTS is working on a project called Connected Communities [https://sierratrails.org/sierra-buttes-trail-stewardship-launches-connected-communities/ which will connect towns with hundreds of miles of single track and make it a lucrative bike-packing destination as well as adding to its already vast array of trails. Monterey County has not taken advantage of the lucrative bike tourism industry like other areas in California and as a result is missing out on the potential to grow our local economy. 

 

6. In the midst of a pandemic, opening parks to bikes allows for more people to get outside and stay active. And bikes are selling out in bike shops everywhere so there are even larger numbers of people riding. 

 

7. In the case of Palo Corona Regional Park, bike access would allow for cyclists to travel from Quail Lodge via South Bank Trail to Highway One/The Crossroads without having to ride on a dangerous section of Carmel Valley Road. 

 

8. In the past, officials have cited cattle as a reason for not permitting bicycles in Palo Corona. However, one of the most popular mountain biking parks in our county, Toro Park has cattle and there are few if any issues.

 

9. Bikes allow people to travel farther in a day than hiking or horseback riding. In Palo Corona in particular, most foot traffic never goes farther than Inspiration Point, but there are hundreds of acres of backcountry for cyclists to explore. And in this instance there would be very little conflict, if any, between user groups because cyclists would only be in high traffic areas for a short amount of time, and once past these high use areas would be largely alone. And Garland Ranch Regional Park is a very similar situation. Most traffic is concentrated on river-goers right by the parking lot, and people simply exploring the Lupine Loop, but beyond that the number of users goes down exponentially. In this case, if cyclists were provided one designated “up” and “down” trail through the high use areas, there would be almost no conflict between users. 

 

10. In addition to all of this, other solutions could be considered to allow for all user groups to enjoy the parks. For example, on the Tahoe Rim Trail, they instituted an odd-even day rule to control usage. Cyclists can only use the trail on even numbered days, and are not allowed on odds. Even a solution like this would be desirable! That way, hikers know when there may be bikes out, and when there won’t. Other possibilities could be a bell mandate requiring all cyclists to use bells,  increased signage notifying users who has the right of way on multi-use trails, or having a directional, bike only downhill trail. 

I believe this is a fairly complete set of reasons for why mountain bikers and all cyclists should be permitted to enjoy our public lands without penalty. But if any concerns do arise we’d be happy to address those as they come up. We are happy to talk to all land managers involved and work together with them to find a solution we can all be happy about. For too long, mountain bikers have been denied access to our beautiful public lands, and it’s not only unfair to mountain bikers to prohibit them based on what could be a belief of “what they are like” or a stereotype, but it’s also unfair to the city because it is a source of tourism income that we are not taking advantage of. 

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