The other day I was fortunate enough to embark on our first family trail maintenance day. I figure 3 months old is a perfect age to learn how to rake burms and build bridges. So with family and implements of destruction we entered the woods to do some much needed good. Ordinarily in situations like this it's not un-common to come upon riders in the woods. My usual response as they pass is to hold up a tool and yell out, "twenty minutes or twenty bucks!" This leads to laughs and has actually lead to money, time for the trails and SORCA memberships.
On this day however, it was a motor bike that approached. Well I know enough dirt bikers to know they're good, fine people, with enough common sense to play nicely. Hence I was taken aback, when I assumed the position and was shot the most evil looking stare I've ever received (that's saying something). As he left us with a chill in the air I got to thinking, what's the official deal with dirt bikers? Now I must point out that this is not referring to the "trials bikes" that are designed to climb vertical granite walls. It's the dirt bikes designed to rip it up that are the topic of discussion today.
As we walked the trail we noticed him politely going slow downhill as not to erode the trail. However, you can't fight the law of physics, and a 300 pound machine going uphill on a wet trail has no option but to give 'er a little gas, spin the tire, and in a matter of seconds, destroy a trail created by literally thousands of volunteer man hours.
This can and will not continue. The easiest solution is to do what every other community has done, and simply enact a municipal ban with the forestry ban inevitably following.
That plan sucks. Dirt biking is incredibly enjoyable and there are hundreds in our community who are quite passionate about it. However, lacking an official voice, the dirt biking community is leaving it up to the ignorant bad apples to do the talking and they're not saying anything good. They're actually yelling it's cool to tear up and down the dikes, when they're not destroying mountain bike trails. That is not the reputation one wants when trying to stake a claim in a recognized outdoor recreation community. The fact is, the way things are going now dirt bikers are simply being pushed out of their traditional play areas (ie.Cat Lake) leaving few options but to play in the grey areas.
The situation is only getting worse, as now even the cops are involved; every motorized vehicle operating on roads (including backcountry) needs liability insurance. Not to mention the safety issue. The only way there can be a workable future for dirt bikes in our community is if they get organized and do it NOW! Find a place where you can play, because if you just keep on letting the bad apple idiots talk for you, no-one wins.