Monday, November 15, 2010

Please poachers!

 As a mountain bike rider and long time Hampton Roads resident, I have an enduring relationship with Seashore State Park.  First, I will never be able to call my old friend and former employer "First Landing Park" as it was renamed in 1997.  I also see the park as an older woman who has not lost beauty or allure over time--the park is well maintained and has the permanent makeup job of protection from developers. Indeed, part of me resents being relegated to only the main double track Cape Henry trail and not being invited onto the singletrack trails that only hikers may enjoy.  So it goes that mountain bikers are banned from the best trail system in South Hampton Roads, prompting JB to dub it "Sea Snore."  So it goes.

YET, I don't have to dig very deep to realize the State
of Virginia long ago made the right decision to keep bikes off the technical trails we so love. The Long Creek trail (pictured above) and Osprey trail (right) would quickly deteriorate with regular riding. If mountain bikers really felt banning bikes were an antiquated and unjust ruling, wouldn't we long ago have sought access from the State?  If the mass of mt bikers rode here, re-routing trails would be needed within a year, and with precious few acres and tons of interior wetlands, we would tear up the place in probably less than a decade.

Therefore, it was quite discouraging to see several fresh tire tracks on these two highly sensitive trails as I walked the 6 mile loop from the 64th street lot. Discouraging because if they are novice riders, they can't read signs, and if they are experienced riders, they appear to have no respect for something larger--the sport's mutual dependence on the environment.

It is against bikevoice's policy to call out squirrels, draft-attackers, poachers, etc., but one such rider who will remain obscured (right) happened upon us on the most endangered part of the Osprey trail.  This section fights erosion and constantly regenerates its trees since nothing tall can even survive along this Broad Creek shoreline.  I said to him, "Hey, bikes are not allowed on this trail."  He said, "Oh really, I didn't know," in the high pitched tone of a lie.  I won't say that mother nature has a way of dealing with poachers (I don't believe in systematic divine intervention and I think that attitude prompts inaction), but I sure hope this post motivates even one person to keep the bike off the singletrack at Seashore.


Kelley Walker said...

i heart you - especially for the part about divine intervention and inaction!

Liz Schleeper said...

Yep, I probably need to apply that thought process to helping with the Bike Norfolk float!