Illegal Trail Fines

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    • #181099

      Even if you admit it or not every serious mountain biker has had the urge to go ride or have ridden a illegal trail designated for hikers or was illegally built. What is the fine for riding a trail that is designated for hiking only?

    • #181103

      It depends on the jurisdiction. For example, in a county park I would imagine warnings are more common than actual fines. But in a National Park, not only could you be fined thousands of dollars like this guy, you could also be arrested like the guys who rode their bikes across the Grand Canyon several years ago.

      And here’s another example of someone being arrested for riding an illegal trail (in this case, one owned by the city of Boulder, I believe):

      Pro Mountain Biker Sentenced to 3 Days in Jail for Riding Illegal Boulder Trail

    • #181109

      Are the fines the same for a national forest and a national park

    • #181110

      According to this, it’s a $50 fine in National Forests:

      See: “Operating a bicycle, motorbike, or motorcycle on a trail unless designated for this use.”

      They have a ton of other fines listed so it’s possible they might pile others on if the offense were particularly egregious. For example, they could claim you damaged/vandalized the trail ($250 fine.) There are also fines for interfering with a forest ranger so be nice if you’re caught. 🙂

      Not sure about National Parks…

    • #181111

      Ok, it looks like the NPS doesn’t have a set schedule of fines but they say this:

      Backpackers and hikers are expected to follow all park regulations. Failure to do so may result in a fine of up to $5,000 per violation and/or 6 months in jail.

    • #181112

      According to this, it’s a $50 fine in National Forests:

      Wow, that’s not bad… I wonder about wilderness areas?

    • #181114

      Well, if it’s a wilderness area managed by the USFS, my guess is $50.

    • #181115

      That may be worth it if it’s a epic ride  in a wilderness area and if you don’t get caught because Rangers are pretty spread out

    • #181117

      It’s worth noting that does not condone or encourage poaching mountain bike trails in Wilderness or on other closed trails.

      That said, I think it’s worth being educated on the topic. I did some searching to see if there’s any precedent for fines and penalties being levied against people, and here’s what I’ve come up with:

      Wilderness Poach, Point Reyes near San Francisco:

      $60 fine

      Biking in wilderness forbidden, even in Marin County

    • #181119

      Like Greg said, not condoning riding illegal trails but the fact of the matter is, the risk of being caught is low. And if you are caught, unless you’re being a complete ass, the fine isn’t going to be bad. Heck, $50 is less than a daily lift ticket at many bikes parks. 🙂

      My only advice to anyone considering poaching a trail is to avoid any sort of social media trail. The folks who have had the book thrown at them are those who publicize their exploits online.

    • #181120

      Ok thanks I was curious about the topic after I read about a guy being arrested and banned in Sedona I have not yet ridden or am going to ride a illegal trail just some of my friends have and was curious. Thanks Greg and Jeff for the help

    • #181121

      No problem man!

      Also, it is worth noting that in the San Francisco incident, the poacher’s bike WAS confiscated, but then later returned to him after the court ruling. I’m not entirely clear on the legality of seizures like that, though… anyone else have more info?

    • #181526

      We have a trail in town that was re-built to accommodate mountain bikes. Then the National Park Service changed their mind and decided that they would not allow bikes. A 6 mile urban loop trail with woop-de-doos and berms is a lot of temptation. As you might expect, it gets poached regularly. Last I heard it was a $75 fine if you get caught. I would guess a second time violation would be a lot higher fine.

    • #181536

      The penalty can be big. I know of someone who cut down 12 trees to make a new, steep ski run. He got 3 years in prison. Coronado National Forest, AZ

    • #181581

      “The penalty can be big. I know of someone who cut down 12 trees to make a new, steep ski run. He got 3 years in prison. Coronado National Forest, AZ”

      This is very different than just riding a trail. This is modifying or removing forest resources without a permit, which is a whole different violation and carries a much stiffer penalty. Just riding an existing trail? Not nearly as bad.

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