Trail Wars: Hikers vs. Mountain Bikers

Marin County mountain bikers claim local hikers leave booby traps to keep them off open space trails
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Marin County mountain bikers claim local hikers leave booby traps to keep them off open space trails

Hikers are usually a peaceful bunch—it’s hard to get all saucy when you’re staring at a gorgeous view, and the generally slower pace of movement (compared to most outdoor pursuits) keeps adrenaline levels at a nice, low simmer.

All of which makes this story more surprising: A group of Marin County mountain bikers allege that rival hikers have constructed elaborate booby traps to keep them off of their trails. The devious deterrents include blackberry bushes pulled into the trail at head height, barbed-wire clotheslines, and even sharpened sticks stuck in the dirt and pointed up-trail. Check out the video report from KTVU2:

The hikers featured in the report seem harmless; if those crusty old-timers really made Rambo-style punji stakes to shut down aggro mountain bikers, color me fooled. Still, the fact that anyone would employ violence to protect a trail is indefensible—can’t we all get along, people? BACKPACKER is full of dual-sport mountain bikers and hikers, and we almost never fight each other. Almost.

With the Interior Department considering opening up more trails to mountain bikers, multi-use issues like this aren’t just going to go away. Are you a hassled hiker with a horror story, or a bothered biker tired of dealing with spiky hikers? Better yet, has your community found a way to get along on the trail? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

—Ted Alvarez

Mountain Bikers, Hikers Vie For Space On Marin County Trails (KTVU2)

via Goblog