California State Parks is proposing new language for its Public Resources Code that will negatively impact trail access for mountain bikers. The proposed code change reads: "Unless designated by the Department, all trails are open to pedestrians and closed to all other uses."
TAKE ACTION! A public comment period to address this is open until April 4, 2014. Please send an email to those listed below by April 4, 5:00 p.m. PST. Implore them to deny this proposed rule change and provide singletrack trail opportunities for mountain bikers. Read on for additional information, suggested talking points and relevant contact information.
Since 1988, Calif. State Parks has operated under a similar policy stating that trails are closed to bikes unless "specifically opened." Local state park units have generally failed to "specifically open" trails, and IMBA does not believe this situation will improve.
IMBA will be proposing alternative wording for the Public Resources Code that would open state park trails to non-motorized users unless specified (see below). Please join us in letting park officials know that effectively restricting trail access without review is unnecessary and unwarranted.
Here are talking points you might include in your message:
This change sends an unwelcoming message to the public who want access to their state parks, which is contrary and inconsistent with other stated policies that stress a welcome greeting.
It does not match with State Parks’ mission, which is, in part, to create “opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation.”
It will limit future opportunities for thousands of mountain bikers because superintendents will not be required or compelled to open trails to bikes. Historically, superintendents have been reluctant to open trails to bikes under the existing policy.
It will decrease outdoor opportunities for the public just at a time when exercise is encouraged as a way to deal with the epidemic of obesity.
It will negatively impact the thousands of youths in the state who participate in school mountain bike leagues.
It will alienate state park supporters and an entire generation of young people that want and need to access the outdoors.
It directly contradicts efforts of the Parks Forward Committee that is studying ways to make state parks more responsive to the needs of communities.
It ignores real-world success stories in Calif. that demonstrate how shared trails enhance quality of life for thousands of state residents.
Comments can be directed to these officials:
Alexandra Stehl, Statewide Trails Program Manager, California Department of Parks and Recreation
Major General Anthony L. Jackson, USMC (Ret), Director California State Parks
John Laird, Secretary Natural Resources Agency
California State Assembly member and contact list
California State Park process—PDF
IMBA's August 7, 2013 letter to CA State Parks—PDF (for additional, historical details)
IMBA’s proposed language for the Public Resources Code:
§4360 - Trail Use
State park trails are open to non-motorized users including hikers, bicyclists, and equestrians unless otherwise designated. Trail use designations are established based upon user needs, visitor safety and environmental sustainability. This includes access to trails in Reserves and Preserves, as defined in PRC Sections 5019.65, 5019.71 and 5019.74, where particular emphasis will be placed upon importance of public access to the area, or desirability of providing important connections to other trails, provided impacts to special resources for which the area was established will be less than significant.
For more information see: