The following is a true story, only the names have been changed to protect the guilty.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Let's Fight

Right now the Minnesota DNR has put out a weak plan for riding fat-bikes on state land. I would guess they have no concern or even knowledge of our desire to ride trials like the Arrowhead in the far north and Minnesota Valley Trail in the south metro. I know a lot of people from this state and around the world know about the Arrowhead 135, what will become of it if we don't speak up. Countless winter cyclist flock to the Minnesota Valley Trail from all over the Twin Cities metro....would you like this to go away?  Have you ever thought about a long trek up the Taconite trail to Ely, or hopping on the North Shore Trail for a Lake Superior sized adventure? ...that could be but an unfulfilled dream as well.   The Grant in Aid trails are officially off limits now, but that makes sense since the snowmobilers fought and paid for those. The many state trails on the other hand are paid for by you and me in the form of taxes. Every single one of them is open to bicycles and is clearly stated in the DNR's  A-Z trails list with a bicycle icon. Don't let them back pedal and remove us from these trails that are already open and belong to all of us tax payers.  Instead, send them an E-mail and let them know we want the trails open,  just as stated within their own website. The time to fight is NOW!!!!  
      Send your vision here ->  fatbikefeedback.dnr@state.mn.us 

This is what I sent ....it's a little choppy but I was pissed when I wrote it

Hello, I'm a concerned Fat Bike rider, I'm a Minnesota resident of 40 years and a fat biker of 10 years. I would like to suggest you review your stance on the state trails...it appears that there is a grey area in whether or not they are open to riding , and as far as I'm concerned if I see a bike symbol at the trail head or on the website, I'm riding it. It is apparent that the Grant In Aid trails are off limits but the state trails listed on your DNR state trails list has a bike symbol for every last one of them, allowing bicycles on those trails. Here is a paragraph of uses on STATE trails from the DNR website   Most state trails are open to several non-motorized uses by people of all abilities: walking, biking, inline skating, horseback riding, cross-country skiing. Some trails are also open to snowmobiling. Electric wheelchairs are permitted on all state trails. I understand that snowmobilers have worked hard to establish the GIA trails so I have no issue about staying clear of them. I am particularly concerned about not being able to ride state trails,that I fund as a taxpayer, specifically the Arrowhead, Taconite, Minnesota Valley, and the North Shore trails. I have spent countless hours riding these trails with no issues concerning safety or a conflict with other users. If they are truly off limits to all but snowmobiles and skiers then why is it they are used by hikers, snow shoers, and dog sleds in the winter...are you going to kick them out too? You talk about safety....isn't a walker or someone on snowshoes in danger on theses trails....oh please protect them by eliminating their access and save them from themselves. It would be a very underhanded act to all of the sudden close the state trails to fat-bikes that are already designated as multi-use, (including bicycles),just because you have no idea how to handle an expanding user group. If all you're after is to get your money grubbing government mitts on some more cash, then charge for a winter trail pass. I believe no rider, including myself, would mind chipping in for groomed trail access. Furthermore the list of trails approved  for riding is pretty weak, clearly, like many government agencies, you are out of touch with what people actually want. Does the Luce Line or Gateway ever really close? This leads people to believe your doing something when your not,accept maybe using them as a way to boost the perceived mileage.  Was it illegal to ride these well known bike paths before you made it OK?     In closing...... The snowmobile riders can keep their GIA trails that they fought for,  leave the state trails alone by keeping them open as multi-use, which everyone pays for with taxes, and if you feel so inclined to further raid the wallets of the people that pay your wages and have them buy a winter bicycle trail pass...go for it. 

My 2 cents      Thanks......D Rider      

6 comments:

  1. A+ Sir D!!!!
    I'll get my own out also!!
    Peace

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  2. That deal the DNR sent out was a bunch of BS. 70 mile of trail divided up into 5 mile sections. Big wup. Maybe for a rec ride sipping a latte.
    It is fooling the masses and noobs though.
    Good call DR.

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  3. We currently have a blanket bicycle closure on ski and snowmobile routes in our local National Forest that occurred in early 2013 (unbeknownst to most fatbikers until last winter) that we have been working through closely and diplomatically with the USFS. We have discussed this closely with the local snowmobile grooming clubs as well as the federal officials - having the grooming clubs on your side and understanding their issues has been a huge asset to us. We are hopeful and expecting the FS to rescind the blanket closure in early 2015 now that they are better armed with an understanding of this growing and increasingly popular sector of users.

    I for one wouldn't give up the Grant in Aid trails as a matter of course. Perhaps it's a fight for the future but don't assume you can't ride those trails someday or that they are reserved for sleds only. Join the sled club, pay some dues for grooming, get on their good side, educate them on how you can easily share the trails with them (such as on the Arrowhead) and maybe someday down the road you'll get to ride GIA trails too.

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  4. It's a lot of BS indeed. I'm not big on riding snomo trails, but with the Taconite Trail just north of my hometown, I find myself riding sections of it from time to time during the winter. This I can say..."I've received nothing but good tidings from the snowmobile riders I've encountered. Only once did I have an issue and that was minor. After stopping to chat everything was cool and we were on our way. What scares me are folks boozin' it up on their poker runs :) The way I look at it now is that it's a start, and hopefully they will expand riding in the future. Hell, I'll even be happy to pay a fee like the snowmobilers do.

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  5. It still looks like the state trails are open, i have seen nothing about specific trail closures. It looks like more of a recommendation....i think they are throwing us bone to lead us away from what is really at stake

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  6. unasked for: (esp. as I'm in Cali) I support trail use for fat bikes. However and what if the trails are designated xc ski, though, those folks pay to HAVE IT GROOMED, and ruining the corduroy is wick wick wack. Snowmobiles can suck it. We don't ruin their ruts.

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