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Re: mountain bikers

In a message dated 12/23/98 9:59:56 AM Pacific Standard Time, writes:

<< Our greatest problem is not with the users themselves but the agency,
 state and federal, who perceive a conflict and do not listen to the entire
 user spectrum. It seems that some of the se persons delight in creating
 conflict so they can limit use of some trails. >>

This has definitely been our experience here in Oregon, too.  The Forest
Service has been bound and determined to stir up controversy between user
groups, and limit trail use based on their inability to referree the disputes
they stir up.  They have been downright angry at us for seeking each other out
and resolving our own problems; have even gone to the extent of withholding
information as to who other permittees are, so that we have had to make the
rounds of the bike shops to find out who hosts events, and they have likewise
had to find contacts in the horse world to find us.  Sad.  

On the other hand, have found that we can work with the mountain bikers fairly
easily with some communication and education.  One tip when coming upon
mountain bikers:  Most of them do not have a clue about horses, and often try
to be polite by pulling off the trail and being silent.  Our horses think they
are boogiemen, but are generally ok if only the bikers will talk.  I have
found it futile to "ask" them to say something--they just clam up, not
understanding why you are asking.  However, if you just strike up a
conversation by asking a question, they will generally respond, which achieves
your goal of wanting them to speak.  ("Hi, nice day, isn't it?")  They also
perceive you as being friendly that way, instead of being demanding, which
helps to further the goal of working together to preserve use of our trails.

Heidi Smith, DVM--Sagehill Arabians (Oregon)

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