It stared with the typical complaints. Dirt bikes tearing up the dikes, hiking and biking trails. In response, the District revised our motorized by-laws in attempts to control the situation. Knowing that jackasses were creating a bad rap for a legitimate recreational pursuit, the Squamish Dirt Bike Association (SBDA) was formed. That’s great I thought, another group to be at the table protecting our fragile trail system. After all, there is strength in numbers and more than enough room for all of us here in paradise.
Unfortunately, anyone turning to the SBDA website was faced with an uncomfortable message: “Your Rights are under attack!! Cliff Miller and SORCA are trying to ban dirt bikes in Squamish, we are fighting back!!”, “We say mountain bikers are arrogant SOB's who think they own the trails… Not to mention all the junk they leave out on the trail. signs, mattress and candy wrappers.”
What?Who?Hu? This in a nutshell is the dirt bike communities problem. Most of SDBA agrees with the greater community’s insistence of mutual respect. Yet here you have their website fuelling an unnecessary fire. I repeat, there is no war in the woods, there are only very bad apples and a pinch of resentment. Resentment because the Squamish Trails Society and SORCA were invited to the table after 15 years of stewardship, hard work, contribution to the community and active lobbying. SDBA were given a voice immediately, but instead of helping to build a bridge they decide to burn it.
This really blows. The few are making it tough for the majority who are fine people willing to play nice. Right now SBDA and the motor sport shops should be putting all their efforts into one thing and one thing only. Stopping the jackassary. Per pressure and self regulation must be strictly enforced when you know someone is riding the dikes, hiking and biking trails or otherwise misbehaving. The time has come to say that sort of behavior will not be tolerated. The best part, it’s win win. Once dirt bikers can prove they can play nice, they’ll get everything they want. A dirt bike track, designated dirt bike areas, and most importantly, no more dirty looks from everyone you pass.
There is also a large part for the authorities to play. It is illegal to ride a dirt bike (I repeat, NOT TRIALS bikes) in many areas. However, without enforcement that law is a joke. The District and Province must immediately address those from here and the city boasting an “I can ride anywhere” attitude by finally handing out some of those up to $10,000 fines. Throw down a couple tickets and I’m sure we’ll see a marked improvement in behavior. So while we wait for the Province to complete a comprehensive strategy, it’s up to SDBA and the motor sport shops to lead by example, and for the District’s by-laws to be loud, clear, and enforced.
Note: TRIALS bikes are not DIRT bikes