August 10, 2016
The trails here are well made and the Cambr organization commits many hours to building and maintaining them. Cambr's promotional efforts, word of mouth and social media over the past 5-10 years have resulted in a significant surge in mountain bikers as well as other trails users, i.e. hikers, runners, and equestrians. New facilities constructed there such as the new camp grounds and Boat House Rentals at Bull Frog and Maple Lakes have also generated significant interest in the area. As a result the trails can be conjested. Trails are non-directional which makes for some precarious encounters between users. Be alert and prepared to stop at a moments notice. Accept the fact that you will have to scrub speed by as much as 80% when hitting blind corners. Also be aware of uneducated riders who have not yet learned, or refuse to employ proper trail etiquette, and do not know how to share non-directional trails. Riding during the week will result in the best riding experience. Weekends have far too many Mtbrs and other trail users which can make for a frustrating, unsafe ride. Also note, that signage is poor and non-bike users do not always realize these trails are frequented by Mountain Bikers. Riders are encouraged to make their presence known so as to not startle other users. As a side note, the Cambr organization is aware of the dangers arising from over crowded trails and suggests that congested trails pose a solid argument to add more singletrack and improve upon the ratio of rider / trail dispersion. Unfortunately the buzz created by new singletrack in the densely populated Chicagoland area defeats this argument as new trail construction increases rider turnout, and not just a little. The downside to Palos is that it does not boast large continuous loops that allow for greater trail user dispersion like other prominent trail systems. And the fact is the Palos Triangle is already too interwoven for a non-directional trail system and additional trails will only bring about more congestion and escalate trail user conflict. Of course on the positive side, new trail construction does boost Cambr membership and does ramp up workday attendance, but the end result is more trail users and disappointing rides. One could conclude that adding new trails at Palos is the equivalent of adding a new "attraction" at Great America. Unfortunately, to sustain the growing number of riders, eliminate user conflict, and reduce the County's exposure to liability, the trails would almost certainly have to be changed to "one-way"...something Cambr and the County would deem a daunting (if not impossible) task. So in the alternative, the easiest, least costly decision for the county to make is to close the trails to the Mountain Bikers altogether. The likelyhood of increased accidents among trail users is inevidible and Cambr should not take this matter lightly. The promotion of Cambr / Palos should be tapered significantly and trail work should be limited to routine trail maintenance alone. It's just common sense. If the Palos riding community doesn't put a stop to this irresponsible "Marketing" of it's trails, the situation at Palos will continue to deteriorate to the point of no return and we will lose this valuable mountain biking resource.
Saweekee, Ft. Custer, Kickapoo, Kettle Moraine