getting official access to ride snowmobile trails


December 09, 2013, 02:59 PM

OK, I've got a long-winded proposal I am developing. I'm wondering what people's thoughts are and if CORP is willing to back me up on this:

Introduction:
Rules and Regulations for Bicycle Access to the Snowmobile Trail Network

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Gary S
Board Member, co-Trail Steward Blue Mound SP
Administrator

December 09, 2013, 04:01 PM

Best of luck with this proposal. As someone who doesn't own or operate a fat bike or a snowmobile, this sounds somewhat reasonable. However, the snowmobilers have significant resources (read: money), certainly much more than off-road cyclists, and significantly more than those who would utilize the snowmobile trails.  Some users would probably be OK sharing the trails, but I doubt the lobbyists would. I could be wrong on this. I do know that they are constantly looking to add more trails.

I think the main issue is safety, though.  I'm sure this will be an issue going forward.

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singletrackminx
Guest

December 09, 2013, 04:21 PM

Clearly you are passionate about this idea and have put some time into it. Personally, I would never support this proposal. The inherent dangers of putting a bicycle in the path of people going 60+ mph (and often drunk) make it a prohibitive pursuit. Can't imagine any snowmobile club, parks department or DNR would want to engage in such a dangerous idea as they haven't allowed activities such as XC skiing to co-exist on these trails for decades. I think it would only be a matter of time before someone gets hit...then what happens?

Anyway good luck going forward!

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imwjl
Pleasant View Trail Steward

December 09, 2013, 09:26 PM

Sure, but only when the signs on the snowmobile trail rest rooms look like this:



On a more serious note, there has been cooperation with snowmobile groups where their leadership recently came to support our interests in the PV Ridge neighborhood. They were at the hearings with us when CamRock expansion was approved some years ago (bridges across the creek). With mutual support for facilities ideal for our respective sports, I think this flies in the face and begs for trouble.

It's also kind of crazy when one of our land managers offered a new fat bike property or territory and and no one stepped up. You wouldn't have to worry about getting nailed by a machine with that and have beer served when done.

My suggestion is finish opportunities and projects in our lap first.

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« Last Edit: December 09, 2013, 09:40 PM by imwjl »

XXX

December 09, 2013, 09:33 PM

The inherent dangers of putting a bicycle in the path of people going 60+ mph (and often drunk) make it a prohibitive pursuit.

The same could be said for road riding. Except that 10X as many cars pass you in an hour on the road as snowmobiles do in an hour on the trail, but probably about the same number of drunks. Its certainly no more dangerous than sharing trails with ATV's, and that happens on public land all over the nation.

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farmguy
Trail Steward - The Farm

December 09, 2013, 11:10 PM

I have also gone out on the snowmobile trails occasionally. I do agree with Frank that it is a great way to get out and explore some new territory. So far I have usually gone out when the trails have been closed because of lack of snow for snowmobiles. I have yet to encounter a snowmobile.

Your ideas are going to be a hard sell. A few of the guys I work with are snowmobilers and I know they have no love for bicyclists. Also, a couple years ago when I was building my fatbike, I spoke with a guy that was pretty involved on the state snowmobile council. He told me that the agreements that they have with private landowners was for snowmobiles only and if I rode the trails I would be tresspassing.

On the other hand (if you go to Fatty Platty this weekend you may be able to find out more) I heard in Platteville a bunch of fatbikers joined the snowmobile club. The club welcomed them because (if I got this right) the money the club receives from the state thru snowmobile registrations is based on membership.

I'm not sure how you would go about getting snowmobilers to accept us. What do we have to offer that they would want? I know the snowmobile club down in Brooklyn just bought a tractor (4WD-125HP) not sure what they are going to use it for but obviously they have a lot more money than CORP. Why would they want a bunch of bicyclist on there trails that they will have to slow down for?


~ Here uncultivated acres wait prime for adventure....back 40


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December 10, 2013, 09:14 AM


I'm not sure how you would go about getting snowmobilers to accept us. What do we have to offer that they would want? I know the snowmobile club down in Brooklyn just bought a tractor (4WD-125HP) not sure what they are going to use it for but obviously they have a lot more money than CORP. Why would they want a bunch of bicyclist on there trails that they will have to slow down for?

Why do you say the snowmobilers have no love for bicyclists?

Yeah, I agree we don't have much to offer. 20 fatbikers might bring in $700 worth of registration fees, that would be about it. But we also wouldn't take much. Fat bikes have no real impact on the trail, and if cyclist follow the rules I outline they would not impact the snowmobilers either. I also think if cyclist followed the rules I outline that that would eliminate any real safety issue.

So that leaves landowner access. Would they care if a handful of fat bikers rode across their property each winter in addition to the hundreds of snowmobiles?

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imwjl
Pleasant View Trail Steward

December 10, 2013, 09:41 AM

I'll repeat my earlier suggestion to follow up with and finish opportunities already in our lap. That supports the land managers who stick their necks out for us, land managers who who write checks for us, and best fits the IMBA chapter being the stewards for the sport in this area.

Please consider how our area city, county and state land managers have years of experience knowing what works for many different groups. They know the sport is young. They have master plans where long-term solutions can fit in.

Another winter biking opportunity landed in my in box in recent days. Today the land manager was explicit saying it would be nice if the fat bikers would step in an a proactive manner while the sport is young vs repeat history where solutions are harder to create because they end up in a reactionary mode.

Fat bikers can be sure the CORP board will support a fat bike leader or program manager willing to expedite opportunities and work with our land managers.

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TheMayor1
Trail Steward - CamRock
Trail Steward
608-772-7833

December 10, 2013, 10:32 AM

Interesting discussion. Frank is good for that :)

I did not know that it was illegal to ride a bike on the snowmobile trails. I know in other parts of the state that snowmobile trails are used for fatbiking. Even sanctioned races on snowmobile trails. Maybe those are on state-owned trails? I was under the assumption that snow biking was not officially approved around here, but also not specifically disallowed either. I guess I have not read a Dane County landowner agreement. I assume you have and are moreinformed than I. I do know that these agreements are run by Dane County Parks.

I will also agree with William that it seems we have a lot of other issues that are more pressing. It will be a shame if we let existing opportunities for more snow biking trails (read open to all bikes in the snow) pass us by when they are actively seeking us. Even willing to put resources to it. All we need is someone willing to step up and it will happen.


~ Chuck Hutchens


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XXX

December 10, 2013, 11:52 AM

While I definitely feel the need to have more trails to ride locally, I think we are talking about entirely different things here.

Establishing new trails is a lot of work, not just meeting and agreements, but cutting, maintaining and so forth, and all this for a few miles of trails. I'm not saying its not worthwhile, I'm just saying its a bigger project that takes resources.

Even maintaining MTB trails in the winter for fatbike use can be a lot of work as we found out last year.

What I'm talking about here is simply trying to gain access to 274 miles of trails, in Dane Co. alone, that are already in existence and perfectly groomed for fatbike use. I am sure this will take a couple meetings, written proposals and discussions, but relatively not much work for a huge payoff in potential routes to ride.

So when the snow is too deep and wet for fatbikes, why bother grooming the singletrack? Why not just ride on trails that already exist, are fare more numerous and closer to home, and ready to ride after just a few passes by a snowmobile?

If I'm the only one who's into this then I think I'll just buy myself a snowmobile trail pass, so if anyone asks, I can say I'm putting in my share for access to the trails. But if winter riders are interested, I'd like to say that we are representatives of CORP, rather than just a guy or a couple guys with a proposal.

The other trails I'd like to get access to is XC ski skate tracks. Fat bikes have less impact on those than ski's do, so no reason fatbikes shouldn't be allowed. But really, those are small potatos compared to the potential of the snowmobile trail network.

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XXX

December 10, 2013, 12:02 PM

As for whether bikes are officially allowed on the trails or not. A few years ago the old map had a line in there about no snowshoing, skiing or bicycling on the snowmobile trails. Now on the 2011 PDF of the snowmobile routes, all I can find is something that says "No two, three or four wheelers permitted on trails." I assume they are talking about motorized wheels, but it could be applied to fat bikes.

That said, I wonder why they dropped the bit about snowshoes, skis and bicycles specifically? Does it go without saying? Did some state or county land access rule force them to remove it? Was there not enough space on the map?

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imwjl
Pleasant View Trail Steward

December 10, 2013, 12:54 PM

Frank, I don't have answers for some things you bring up, and nothing's stopping you from pursuit of a passion. Please, don't misrepresent CORP the IMBA chapter or IMBA if you go at this on your own.

The board will gladly accept proposals brought to our quarterly meetings, or if the membership raises and issue that requires an emergency meeting.

My guess is the whole board and others will agree that we can't drop what's in the queue, we must support the land managers who stick their necks out for us, and be mindful of issues as they pertain to our IMBA chapter status.

I am very much with our land manager who expressed that it would be great for fat bikers to be proactive and organize while the sport is young vs have to get organized in a reactive manner.

Thank you.

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TheMayor1
Trail Steward - CamRock
Trail Steward
608-772-7833

December 10, 2013, 01:26 PM

I am all for you giving it a go as well Frank. If you are passionate about it, then bring it forward. That is how anything gets done. Both passion for the end result, and sticking to it for the long haul. Would I ride the trails? Sure I would some. Though I prefer to be on singletrack it would be a nice option. I have done it some here locally and had no issues. Though like Greg I have mainly been out when others are not.

If bikes are not expressly forbidden, I would think you might have an easier go of it. If they are expressly forbidden, I would think it will take way more time and effort than a couple of meetings. Like lots of meetings, lots of time, research, sticking with it, and potentially years. It took me 7 years to get the Connector trail approved at CamRock and that was with DCP always stating they were in favor of it.

I would say to start would be a call to DCP asking weather or not bikes are forbidden. But honestly I would not assume you would get the correct answer, just the one they want to portray (I am assuming no bikes as this is the easier route for them and they are too overwhelmed to want to take on anything new). I would try to find some official agreement or ordinance that would state the legal standing.


~ Chuck Hutchens


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Bin
aka Ben

December 10, 2013, 01:33 PM

I don't own a fat bike so this wouldn't really impact me directly but I don't see why CORP couldn't get behind this.  As Frank stated, working towards getting permission to use already established trails doesn't really compete for resources like building new trails or maintaining trails does.  At the same time, if he's approaching folks trying to get an agreement in place he might carry a bit more weight if he can represent himself as being there on behalf of our club rather than as one interested guy. 

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TheMayor1
Trail Steward - CamRock
Trail Steward
608-772-7833

December 10, 2013, 03:48 PM

I don't own a fat bike so this wouldn't really impact me directly but I don't see why CORP couldn't get behind this.  As Frank stated, working towards getting permission to use already established trails doesn't really compete for resources like building new trails or maintaining trails does.  At the same time, if he's approaching folks trying to get an agreement in place he might carry a bit more weight if he can represent himself as being there on behalf of our club rather than as one interested guy.
As anything in life, some may be for it, some not.
As to whether the BOD will be behind this means to bring it in front of the BOD for a decision.
I get a lot of personal requests for new ideas, new trails, new trail building techniques, etc from folks. Prolly just 'cuz I have been around a bit at this point. I try very hard to make it clear they are talking to me and my opinions. I am not the BOD.
If the BOD is going to decide on something then it needs to formally be brought up to them. That won;t happen is a weeks time. But as stated a positive decision would result in a lot more weight behind it going forward. Particularly in this case as these trails are monitored by Dane County Parks. Though it is great to get some opinions of folks in general and that is always taken into consideration when the BOD is looking at ideas.


~ Chuck Hutchens


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