Friday, April 16, 2010

Losing 150 miles of trail

I came across this article on Dirt Rag today, its a little late, but still worth all the effort I will devote to this subject. There is an article from Billings Gazette written about the topic, and unfortunatly it looks like the story got passed over by the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. For those who know me, you know I can complain about anything that pisses me off, and it may be in a long winded and over-blown manner, so with that I have just finished the last of my coffee, collected some thoughts, and will now go off the deep end. I apologize in advance for any language or vitriol I may direct towards certain individuals or groups, but in my opinion they deserve it. It looks like May 1 will be the cut off date for 170 miles worth of God's greatest gift outside of Bozeman. For anyone who attended the Race Across the Sky premiere here in Missoula this past March you have a stake in this because your money went to help to try and stop this.

The future of hundreds of miles worth of singletrack, and its availability to mountain bikers has been debated for years now (or at least since I moved here three years ago) in Montana. Politicians and other Bureaucrats want to designate lands as wilderness so they look environmentally friendly, and yet still want to find away to let the woods get logged. It's that basic please everyone mentality that they all have, and the only end result is that they look like standard political jackoffs who make too much money for the little work that they actually do perform. Organized groups do everything they can short of pulling down Politician X's pants and blowing them in the middle of town square to try to get what they want. The Politicians do whatever they want based on who gives them the most money or the best BJ. This time there is what I will call and innocent bystandard. The mountain bikers, who are shunned by the motorized trail users, because our bikes lack motors, and thought of as outsiders by groups who already have access to wilderness areas (hikers, etc). And now starting on May 1, mountain bikers are getting bent over the corner of a table, and having to take it raw from far too many groups, judges, and politicians.

First and foremost I wish to extend both of my middle fingers to The Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Montana Wilderness Association, and The Wilderness Society. You have fucked over mountain bikers as a whole because you want "solitude" to exist in this area. You can disguise your selfishness all you want by claiming the only thing you care about it preserving the land. That is a crock of shit, you wish to preserve the land for what you want to do. If you really wanted to preserve the land in its natural state it would be completely closed to any human activity. I have half a thought to go to over to these 150 miles worth of trail on May 2, with a string of pack mules, and a bunch of ghetto blasters, and crank up some Slayer. That will let you have your fucking solitude. Guess what people on bikes, motorcycles, or ATVs dont ruin solitude, other people (regardless of their mode of transportation) ruin solitude. Horses that shit all over the fucking trail ruin solitude, a pheasant that jumps out from behind a bush when you walk too close to it can ruin someone's solitude.

It is my opinion that as a whole mountain bikers are always worried about losing access to their sweet sweet singletrack that they will do anything they can to keep it. You want someone to clean up parking areas, tell the MTBers that if they dont do it their access is gone, I promise you that will be the cleanest parking area in the state. Need cheap labor to get some trail work done? Tell the MTBers if they don't do it the trail will get closed, that trail work gets done for nothing. The MTB crowd searches for solitude as well, just like the hikers. Last I checked getting out of the town limits to go ride trails by myself is not something I do to get closer to other people and be distracted by blinking lights and honking horns. Just because you read Into the Wild, and want to get back to the roots of nature, doesnt mean you have the right to fuck others over. If you want solitude buy a rowboat and paddle into the middle of the Pacific Ocean, I promise you that you will be left alone.

Another reason mountain bikers got fucked over in this whole decision is because mountain bikes were not considered when the first wilderness plans were drafted some 30 years ago. Never mind the fact that back in the day a group of soldiers rode bikes off road from Missoula to Yellowstone. Bike have been ridden off road for a long fucking time, before Frank Church was taking all of his 50 mile walks where the groundwork for his future wilderness protection work was laid. I've said it once and I will say it again, the original designation of what activities are allowed in Wilderness Areas needs to be revisited and changed. I promise you that a horse carrying a 200 pound person will do as much damage to a trail as that same 200 pound person riding a 25 pound bike.

Aside from that the mountain bikers (and cyclists in general) really need to come together to stop any more miles of trail being closed down. Write letters and emails to politicians, tells The Wilderness Society to piss off, write letters to newspapers, get mad and let the masses hear your voice, get others who live in other states to try and help the cause. If all that fails practice some good old fashioned civil disobedience. Go ride those 150 miles worth of trails your not supposed to on May 1! With that, I'm done being pissed about this for now, I'm gonna go ride my bike.


  1. May 2nd, the first annual "string of pack mules, and a bunch of ghetto blasters, and crank up some Slayer" tour.

    I AM IN!! Some Pantera too.

    Thanks for sayin what needs to be said!

  2. Nice work, Andrew. I think I know where we can find some Mules... R.