Is this really a way to protect trails or a way to generate income for Jefferson county? Seems like a very large fine. Are hikers and equestrians also getting ticketed for using these same trails when they are muddy? Are they discriminating against cyclist? When is a trail considered dry? When it is 50% dry? 90% dry? Just arbitrarily decided by the ranger? Seems like a slippery slope! (HA, HA!) Why not just close trails to all when they are muddy? If the trails are barricaded and posted then reasonable fines for poachers seems appropriate.
I read the article and have no issue with the tickets being issued… and they are applying it to all trail users not just MTB’ers. To me it’s pretty cut and dry (so to speak):
Signs are posted that clearly indicate the trail is closed. Some people obviously disregard the signs. (The one pic even shows the gate to the trail closed with the sign posted on it so the person(s) had to climb over it). They got ticketed for “knowingly” violating the trail rules. So they’re angry because they got caught or they didn’t know they could get fined??? I totally get the frustration of not being able to ride or driving to a trail only to find the trail is closed or that conditions are too poor for riding. It sux! What I don’t get is why people don’t believe they should be accountable for their actions.
I know a couple of my local trails very well (not JeffCo). For many years, I could check the condition of the dirt in my backyard, and predict the trail conditions. Then, local rangers started closing the trails because they were “wet”. Unfortunately, it was not unusual to find the trails closed 3-4 days after they were dry. The gates were not at the trail head, but almost a mile into the ride. It was very frustrating to know that the trails were dry, but closed when I got to a gate. I quit riding those trails, and I have less enthusiasm for paying taxes to support the org that controls the gates. Now, I only ride these trails about once a year. Fortunately, I have other options.
I won’t justify the note in the article, but I think it is possible for the organization controlling the gates to do a poor job, frustrating it’s most supportive user community and best source of funding.
BTW, JeffCo trails rock! I’ll have to be more alert to the weather before driving there. 🙂
I think I like the idea of ticketing like this. Needs to be fair.. obvious signage, applied to all trail users, etc. In our area, we’ve had a LOT of rain since last July. Most trails have been closed since July last year. For the most part, closures have been adhered to. But not 100%. In fact, my home trail had significant damage, mainly due to hiking actually. I saw one report that indicated 10 miles of trail (out of 12+) required significant repair. That sucks. Especially since it’s volunteer work using donations and personally provided funds for whatever is needed. I know the risk of a fine isn’t going to stop everyone. After all, the risk of the death penalty doesn’t prevent murder. But maybe it would have limited the damage.