South Mountain Reservation in Dirt Rag #117

Jason

JORBA Board Member/Chapter Leader
JORBA.ORG
Ten Years Gone
The Essex County Mountain Bike Ban
By Stuart Schrader

Pgs. 50,52,54-56

Anyone else read this?
 
B

bdpeter

Guest
I used to love riding SM. It was close by, offered some decent XC technical stuff and some fair acerage. It's a shame it went away :(

I didn't see the article, can you give some more details?
 

Jason

JORBA Board Member/Chapter Leader
JORBA.ORG
bdpeter said:
I used to love riding SM. It was close by, offered some decent XC technical stuff and some fair acerage. It's a shame it went away :(

I didn't see the article, can you give some more details?

When the update their site, the article should be here:

http://www.dirtragmag.com/print/issue.php?thumb_issue_number=117&iss=current

I would scan it in but I don't have 64-bit drivers for my scanner. :(

The article talked about the ban, how and why it happened and who's responsible.
 

Jason

JORBA Board Member/Chapter Leader
JORBA.ORG
Some excerpts

I saw the best riders of my generation destroyed by madness: college, jobs and tail closures. At its peak, my riding community was hundreds strong, men and women from the suburbs of northern New Jersey who knew no finer pleasure than threading a line down a craggy singletrack. My home turf was South Mountain Reservation, in Essex County, and I knew it more intimately than I yet knew anyone of the opposite sex. I rode in groups and alone. I rode in every kind of weather, if only for the defamiliarization that comes with ice and snow. If there were just one new gouge in a favorite fallen log from someone else’s chainring, I’d notice. The way the weeds, ruts and rocks defined the trail just so, it was my self-appointed task to explore and memorize. I noted the seasonal and even diurnal changes in the woods. And I came to love the trail names, which were handed down to me from elder riders, along with the apocryphal tales of previous generations of daredevils who had mastered the trails. And in my memories, the gilding on those teenage years turns red at the point when the county declared mountain biking illegal in South Mountain.

In the spring of 1995, a vituperative hiker reminded officials in Essex County, New Jersey of a nearly forgotten ordinance forbidding cyclists from venturing off paved paths in county parks. The ordinance predated the explosion of mountain biking. Hikers’ opinions of mountain bikers ran the gamut from approval to outright hatred; those of the latter persuasion were most vocal.

The original plan for solving the impasse between bikers and hikers, floated by two Freeholders, was to allow hiking seven days a week, but allow biking only Thursday through Sunday. Before this plan even went into effect, it was overturned in a Freeholder meeting mobbed by over 300 angry citizens, more than had ever attended such a meeting. The hiker responsible for the rediscovery of the ban even went so far as to attempt to get a Superior Court injunction against this plan.

At the same time Essex County’s ban took effect, a similar one was adopted in neighboring Union County, home to the area’s other top mountain biking destination, Watchung Reservation. Essex’s neighbor to the west, Morris County, also flirted with a bike ban, especially after one NORBA race in Tourne Park, which sent about a dozen bikers to the emergency room. But through determined activism, largely centered around Marty Epstein, owner of two bike shops in Morris County, Morris officials were convinced to continue to allow bikes in the county parks.
 

Shaggz

A strong 7
Jay -

Didn't John, from Cycle Works, say something about liability issues when one particular group is banned from or only allowed to use public land? I don't remeber if it affected state or county lands..
 
B

bdpeter

Guest
thanks Jason. It certainly is a shame that it's gone. Every now and then I hear rumors that it will 'officially' open back up again. Sadly, I don't believe they're true. Occassionaly I'll see a rogue cyclist in the reservation, so perhaps it's slightly more tolerated than it was before :?:

Someday, hopefully, all outdoor enthusiasts will learn to live in harmony with each other. Until then I'll keep trekking up to Ringwood.
 

Shaggz

A strong 7
where abouts are you? Hook up with us for rides at the mooch, mahlon dickerson, tourne, etc... there are a lot of great places in morris and sussex. still waiting on that review of the prophet - :lol:

see you on the trails!
 
B

bdpeter

Guest
oh yeah, the prophet review , ehhh, errr, my dog ate it? :oops:

I'm in Caldwell and typically ride Ringwood, Cannonball or LM.

Would like to hook up w/you guys for a ride, but my next 3 weekends are rideless due to family obligations and a Pine Barrens motorcycle trip :D

Perhaps early November? I'll keep checking the site and see what gets posted.

ride safe.
 

mergs

Spokompton's Finest
JORBA.ORG
bdpeter said:
thanks Jason. It certainly is a shame that it's gone. Every now and then I hear rumors that it will 'officially' open back up again. Sadly, I don't believe they're true. Occassionaly I'll see a rogue cyclist in the reservation, so perhaps it's slightly more tolerated than it was before :?:

Someday, hopefully, all outdoor enthusiasts will learn to live in harmony with each other. Until then I'll keep trekking up to Ringwood.

hey gang... similar post popped up elsewhere so I thouught I'd let you guys know that there is an ongoing effort to lift the ban by reapiring the relationship between the biking/hiking community at SMR. more here:

http://www.jorba.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=47

If you are interested in helping, please contact Don Schatz (details can be found in the article above).

Wouldn't it be cool to get bikes back into SMR (and Watchung for that matter!)

mergs
 

Jason

JORBA Board Member/Chapter Leader
JORBA.ORG
mergs said:
bdpeter said:
thanks Jason. It certainly is a shame that it's gone. Every now and then I hear rumors that it will 'officially' open back up again. Sadly, I don't believe they're true. Occassionaly I'll see a rogue cyclist in the reservation, so perhaps it's slightly more tolerated than it was before :?:

Someday, hopefully, all outdoor enthusiasts will learn to live in harmony with each other. Until then I'll keep trekking up to Ringwood.

hey gang... similar post popped up elsewhere so I thouught I'd let you guys know that there is an ongoing effort to lift the ban by reapiring the relationship between the biking/hiking community at SMR. more here:

http://www.jorba.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=47

If you are interested in helping, please contact Don Schatz (details can be found in the article above).

Wouldn't it be cool to get bikes back into SMR (and Watchung for that matter!)

mergs

Thanks for the info. I actually just emailed Greg for Don's email to get in touch with him for an update. Mills Reservation is another spot I'd love to ride again. :(
 

Jason

JORBA Board Member/Chapter Leader
JORBA.ORG
Here are some crappy scans. Remember to go buy the magazine from your LBS!
 
C

chainring

Guest
I currently live about 1/4 mile away from SMR and would love to see it back open. It's going to be a tough sell to the locals though. There's a lot of money in the area and people are vocal. I was riding my hybrid to the end of the road in the SMR where it overlooks Millburn. I could see my neighborhood below. Instead of riding all around the reservation (back the way I came) I walked my bike down the trail to the road just below. The first group of hikers I met along the way told me bikes weren't allowed, "didn't you see the signs?". I told them I was aware of the rules and I'm walking my bike but that wasn't allowed either according to them.

I grew up just on the other side of 78 by the Watchung reservation. I used to take my 3-speed with banana seat, sissy bar and monkey bar handlebars on the trails there. I really miss riding there. Since Watchung has horses and wealthy horse owners, I don't think bikes will ever be allowed there again. I remember rumors of fishing wire being strung across the trails.
 

mergs

Spokompton's Finest
JORBA.ORG
chainring said:
I currently live about 1/4 mile away from SMR and would love to see it back open. It's going to be a tough sell to the locals though. There's a lot of money in the area and people are vocal. I was riding my hybrid to the end of the road in the SMR where it overlooks Millburn. I could see my neighborhood below. Instead of riding all around the reservation (back the way I came) I walked my bike down the trail to the road just below. The first group of hikers I met along the way told me bikes weren't allowed, "didn't you see the signs?". I told them I was aware of the rules and I'm walking my bike but that wasn't allowed either according to them.

I grew up just on the other side of 78 by the Watchung reservation. I used to take my 3-speed with banana seat, sissy bar and monkey bar handlebars on the trails there. I really miss riding there. Since Watchung has horses and wealthy horse owners, I don't think bikes will ever be allowed there again. I remember rumors of fishing wire being strung across the trails.

this is frustrating. i am gritting my teeth at your story, literally. i hate this attitiude and behavior on their part. but you did the right thing by just being polite and moving on. confrontations only form bigger wedges between the two parties. that does not help our cause. kudos to you.

i think we have a chance to change things. it will take time and patience but once the hikers bigotry of bikers if cured by persistent hard work, attitudes can change. contact don at the link above if anyone can assist him. i know he needs all the help he can get.
 
E

Evil

Guest
We could always write a letter to our newbie Bush informing him that the hikers are stashing wmd's.
 

mergs

Spokompton's Finest
JORBA.ORG
Evil said:
We could always write a letter to our newbie Bush informing him that the hikers are stashing wmd's.

usually your wit is much more clever... work on it, evil. ;)
 
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