9.10.09

A Ban of Bikers

In the month of September the LaSalle Town Council voted to ban cycling in the trail systems of Brunet Park.

Since that time many individuals and groups have stepped up to address the concerns of council and have the ban lifted. Local groups like the Rockets have worked over the years with council and its members to develop a mandate to ensure sustainable recreation, despite the gradual closure of other trails in the park.

In response to the ban the LaSalle Bicycle Association was created to promote advocacy in the community, similar to that of the Windosr Bicycle Committee. Additionally, email groups and a facebook page have been assembled to keep riders informed and the issue at the forefront.

An excerpt from the facebook page:

"On September 22, 2009 the Town Council of LaSalle voted to ban cycling in Brunet Park. For over two decades mountain bikers have been riding and taking care of the trails in the woodlot of Brunet Park. We believe that this decision was made without taking into consideration what the public really wants, and also with out any proof. As urban areas grow there is less and less woodlot area for the public to use - instead of helping manage user groups in the park the Town is simply excluding a large portion. With proper management all user groups can share the park, and the environment would not be significantly impacted.

To the Town this may just strictly be a business decision - however, to all the users of the park this is personal, it is an attack on something we love. With the closing of the trails a small piece of the local cycling culture dies. A piece of LaSalle`s community history dies. Children will no longer be able to grow up riding the trails through the woodlot as the generations have in the past have. Over time, with out the care of the local cycling groups the trails will simply become over grown to the point where they will not be usable by anyone in the community"


On a Monday evening 40 citizens gathered to support cycling in Brunet.















The big concern is the precedent an imposed ban like this creates among other municipalities. But, the upside is the opportunity to develop a plan that incorporates some best-practice management techniques. Proper trail-building, environmental assessments, and meeting the needs of all user groups are the hallmarks of great recreational areas and there are plenty of other parks that are able to achieve this.

8 comments:

  1. I really don't think that this would be setting a precedent. While this type of thing may be new to the area, it isn't new in general.

    I think better is to contact people from areas such as Bruce County, who have managed to not only allow Mountain Biking, but to form Moutain Bike parks.

    Rather than outlawing mountain biking, we should embrace it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Agreed. In fact the last 5 years have shown a trend of OPENING dedicated trails in state/provincial parks rather than ignorantly creating bans. LaSalle should stop being tardis' and come out of the 1980's.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think my concern of precedent would be any other local user group [hikers, walkers, naturalists, etc.] at any other local park [banwell, little river, malden, etc.] beginning to cite mountain biking as having any number of perceived negative impacts to that area, and therefore using Brunet as a platform to do it.

    In the example of Brunet it is clear that councillors were uninformed of all the information pertaining to the issue and as a result a proposed agenda easily passed. ie., "mountain biking = destructive environmental impact". An uninformed response to that would be "we'll that has to stop".

    It just seems that once established, other parks in the area could face similar scrutiny [hence the need for a comprehensive plan]. Park design and philosophies, I would think, differ locally when compared to other counties given their size and topography. I would also think that views of outdoor recreation locally, vary greatly to areas in Bruce, Muskoka, and Haliburton County, posing some greater challenges to creating all encompassing management plans. Though some great case studies exist both in Ontario in Michigan, the trick would be to identify/adopt relevant strategies for a more 'local' framework.

    As it stands now, the issue of cycling in Brunet is considered 'dead'. Really only a councillor who voted in favour of the ban can have a change of mind and ask for the issue to be revisited. So it is important to keep the issue current and staying in contact with those councillors - something the newly created LaSalle Bicycling Association will be good at.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ban ignorance, not bikes...

    http://got.net/~landauer/mtb/Guelph_MTB_study.pdf

    http://www.mountainbike.co.nz/politics/doc/conflict/

    The Kepner-Trego Analysis (U.S. Forest Service Santa Barbara, 1987, updated 1989): "During the past 2-3 years of bicycle use, trails have not shown an increase in the erosion rate."

    The Seney Study ( Joe Seney, Montana State University, Dept of Earth Science, Bozeman) (Presented at Assn. of American Geographers, 1990 Toronto, Canada): "Results did not show trail damage by bikes to be significant"

    The Use of Mountain Bikes in the Wilderness Areas of the Point Reyes National Seashore (National Park Service, 1984):"A few people assert that bicyclists are very disturbing to the wildlife and will trample endangered plant species. EXISTING EVIDENCE INDICATES THAT BICYCLES ARE FAR MORE TRAIL ORIENTED THAN THE OTHER USER GROUPS AND LESS LIKELY TO TAKE OFF CROSS COUNTRY."

    http://www.imba.com/resources/science/goeft_alder.html

    http://www.americantrails.org/resources/ManageMaintain/WKeenImpacts.html

    http://www.westvancouver.ca/uploadedFiles/Parks_and_Environment/Major_Projects/OLD_GROWTH_STRATEGY_FOR_PROTECTION_MAY_25_2006.pdf

    summary of some off-line research... http://www.wildlandscpr.org/ecological-impacts-mountain-biking-critical-literature-review

    ReplyDelete
  5. What no new post yet, come on where is it

    ReplyDelete
  6. Adam, i didn't write the above post. some douche bag is using my name.

    man

    ReplyDelete
  7. agent orange10/16/09, 4:51 PM

    The whole issue os setting a precident kinda comes from what happened 3 yrs ago - this is when the issue at Brunet was first brought up and they tried to kick us out and failed. That same time we were temorarily banned from Morton (yes, the cops showed up and stopped a large group ride from going in there) - We are certain that both of these issues were initiated by one person. This person may see this ruling on Brunet as the momentum they need to go ahead and persue getting us kicked out of other parks.

    ReplyDelete