Photo by Called To Creation
Mountain biking activity at Soquel Demonstration State Forest (SDSF, colloquially known as Demo) is at risk of being restricted or eliminated due to illicit land usage by mountain bikers. California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) SDSF recently contacted local leaders in the mountain biking community to help address this situation.
The main issue at hand is illegal trail building and riding at SDSF and through neighboring private property. Other issues are night riding and unauthorized stunt building.
Complaints from private landowners, internal agency pressure, and concerns for public safety have prompted an emphatic response by CAL FIRE SDSF. These issues are threatening recreational access for mountain bikers. Consequences of not addressing these issues include closing trails, ceasing flow trail work, and denying special use permits (i.e. Santa Cruz Super Enduro).
It’s important to understand that Soquel Demonstration State Forest is not a park; it is a working demonstration forest, with its primary purpose being timber management, watershed and habitat protection, along with forestry education and outdoor recreation. Learn more about SDSF here.
SDSF land managers have gone above and beyond in support of mountain biking. In recent years, they have taken a proactive approach toward the mountain biking community by expanding opportunities which include more trail access and allowing special events. Without their support, we would not have our exceptional existing trail system, we would not be building a four mile flow trail, and we would not have the Santa Cruz Super Enduro.
Also worth noting is that other land managers look to SDSF as a model for developing mountain biking access. We have significant opportunities to expand legitimate mountain bike trails in Santa Cruz County within the next 10 years. Maintaining an excellent relationship with CAL FIRE SDSF demonstrates to other land managers that the mountain biking community is a trusted partner.
How can we—the mountain biking community—help? It’s simple: influence, urge, press, pressure, cattle prod, and downright put the screws to our peers to not jeopardize mountain biking opportunities at SDSF by engaging in these illicit activities.
If you have any questions, contact Drew Perkins, Trails Officer at email@example.com. We appreciate your commitment to our community!
—Board of Directors, Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz (MBoSC) Continue reading