To The Editor: Who is blocking desert trails?

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Here’s an email from a mountain biker.

“For the last few winters I’ve been biking on the trails around the Mineral Mine Road — just past where Shea Road turns into the Bill Williams Highway. This is a popular area with ATVs and motorcycles, although it is not part of the main off-road area. It is all a long way outside the Gibraltar Mountain Wilderness.

Recently, someone has been trying to block off many of the trails. They have been breaking up the trail and rolling rocks into the path. This creates a very serious hazard for mountain bikers — crashing into an unexpected rock could cause a major crash, leading to serious injury, or worse! Such actions are illegal; I have checked with the BLM offices in Lake Havasu City and Needles and they are not approving or supporting any trail closures in this area. This makes the trail destruction plain vandalism and perhaps reckless endangerment.

These trails are all on old, established routes: either horse trails or bighorn sheep tracks — much of the riding is on bare rock or stony ground. This area has been heavily trailed in the past and is not a pristine natural area like the distant Gibraltar mountain.

If this trail destruction is a sincere effort to improve the natural environment, we should get in contact and work together so that everyone is going in the same direction. Please contact me through this website.

Thank you.”

Rusty

Federal public lands here in Arizona and California are largely managed by the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which – as the reader Rusty says – is in support of the use of these lands for recreation, including the kinds of recreation that involve vehicles of various kinds (motorized and non-motorized).

Mountain biking, jeeps and trucks, dirt bikes and quads, ATVs and UTVs, hiking and horse riding are some of the ways people enjoy the desert, and we’re pretty fierce around here about defending them. After all, outdoor recreation – in the river and in the desert – is one central reason many of us are here!

There are special areas set aside as wilderness areas, as refuges and preserves, and we all need to take protection of the ecosystem seriously in general (even outside of these areas). But if Rusty is right, and some established trails in open desert areas are being blocked, then Parker Live agrees with him – that’s just vandalism. Even if motives and intentions are righteous, these actions are not and could cause accident or injury.

We’re open to hear from anybody who knows anything about trails being blocked – even anonymously. If we’ve missed something about why it’s being done (maybe there’s some really good reason?) please let me know and I’ll publish your response here. Just use the contact page by clicking HERE to get in touch.

And by the way, kudos to Rusty and the other mountain bikers; on- and off-road cycling has been on the rise in the Parker area in recent years and it’s a great activity.

JW

3 comments

  1. I would not be surprised if it was BLM. I wouldn’t take their word for it. They are known to lie. Just ask any miners in the area. They are know to burn down cabins on patented claims and when rebuilt, burn them again. And don’t forget they have an aggressive plan to cut the amount of trails.

    I could be wrong of course. Someone set up some trail cams and prove this idea wrong. Don’t expect the government to do the right thing or to tell you the truth, ever!

  2. Jeffrey Jones

    As a mountain biker this BS is everywhere

  3. From my experience the weather has had a great impact on all our OHV trails in western Arizona. Most trails have many more rocks exposed than ever before. This occurs naturally and just requires more skill in navigating the eroded trails.

    BLM does not have the manpower to obstruct the trails. They are required by law to develop Travel Management Plans (TMP) to protect our desert and keep open the trails that we actually ride. BLM is dependent upon public input to know which trails we ride in order to include them in their TMP for signage and maps. Trails we ride will be kept open unless there is a major resource endangered by riding the trail.

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