Thursday, December 18, 2003

Motorcycles on Stevens Trail

Mike Powell sent this about motorcycles on the Stevens Trail:

Hi Russell,

Please pass this on to the keepers of the Stevens Trail as you see

Last Saturday I decided to solo hike for a few hours mid afternoon on
the Stevens trail. (Note the parking lot had two cars parked when I
arrived. The weather was a bit rainy.)

As I approached the section of the trail which connects to the multiple
use roads, I encounter two guys riding their dirt bikes up the
non-motorized section of the trail toward the trail head.

I stood in the middle of the trail and motioned them to stop which they
did. I proceeded politely explain that they were on a posted
non-motorized historic trail and provide additional detail about the
section of trail which crosses BLM multiple use area. I also told them
the trail section which leaves the road and drops down to the river is
non-motorized as well. They were polite as well and claimed to have
missed the trail signs which clearly state the trail is designated for
non-motorized use. They turned around and took off and I assumed they

As I left the road section and started down the train toward the river,
I noticed that someone has removed the signage which depicts the trail
for non-motorized use and I also noticed two sets of fresh motorcycle
tracks heading down the I approached the fork in the trail
which splits to an upper and lower trail across the creek, I noticed the
tracks led down the trail recommended for bicycles and then back out
where the motorcyclist then took the upper trail. I decided to walk the
upper trail in hopes of having another discussion about their use of
motorcycles on a trail which is clearly marked at the fork. Already
small dirt sections of the trail were being chewed up by spinning

As I was not carrying my pistol this trip and before the second
confrontation, I took out my cell phone turned it on and checked and
verified cell coverage incase a call to 911 was needed. I also took out
my collapsible hike poles and extended both poles to full length...

Before long I heard the distinct sounds of 2cycle engines revving and
getting closer. The dirt bikers had reached the steep section of steps
on the upper trail and had turned back.

Again I stood my ground in the middle of the trail and decided my verbal
and physical demeanor would be that of crazed and red-faced bulging-eyed
Maori drill sergeant. The exchanges started to get a little heated but
at some point they must have figured that not only was I right but I was
really crazy so they piped down said they were sorry...I stepped aside
and let them pass and continued with my walk...

Since I used to ride a dirt bike years ago I can fully understand how
you can miss a trail sign when you are going 20-40 MPM in an area where
you are not familiar or have taken the time to know where OHV uses is
permitted or not. I believe the Stevens trail signs with the
non-motorized indicators are at best minimal and could be improved. I am
a welder and will be happy volunteer material and time to create some
heavy-duty steel and destruction-resistant signs that could be used to
clearly designate the trail as non-motorized.


Mike Powell

Well, this list includes the BLM people at Folsom. Better signage sounds like a good thing. And more Maori drill sergeants.

Thanks Mike!

No comments: