The Tourne Gets Sanitized

ytc100

New Member
Came across two nice gentleman dismantling anything remotely stunt-like in the park. All of the ridable logs, log rollers, and any logs/rocks placed in areas which would help you get over or down a rock roller have been removed.

Not sure I'm so interested in helping with any trail work at a park where a pile of logs is considered illegal. What a crock.

I think I'll go to the next Allmuchy TM instead.
 

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bonefishjake

Strong like bull, smart like tractor
Team MTBNJ Halter's
ok, where are the tourne TM folks on this??? someone needs to chime in on what's going on b/c this is a full-on power play by the county and a unilateral decision.

mergs? ryan? bobw? do you have any idea what this is all about? who can we contact at the parks commission for answers??

are they also going to remove all the horse poo? i occasionally have to jump that stuff which would fall under their definitions.

edit: tourne TM guys, i'm not saying that you should have the answers, but being that you've been working there it seems you may have heard something.

i'm going to cross post this on mtbr.
 
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bruce.b

Dickwad
I don't expect this to be popular, but I mostly agree with this. I really hate it when people build "stuff" in the woods, even if it's with rocks and logs. Look at the areas around the ridable logs in the Tourne. It looks like crap and mountain bikers should be ashamed of themselves for this. The whole area is denuded of vegetation and is all dirt. What happened to the ethic of leaving no trace in the woods? Yeah, the Tourne is anything but pristine, but all these manmade stunts are by far the biggest eyesores on the trails. Did you people who built them get permission? I bet not.
It's exactly like climbers who alter features and hammer in pitons and leave them.
I know the woods in NJ are already intensely altered, but why add to it?
I dislike it too when trails are sanitised by removing rocks and don't have a problem with putting a few logs against a treefall to get over it. It's anything that widens the trail even an inch that pisses me off, and these manmade stunts all do that.
bruce boysen
 

Norm

Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Intersting perspective and not without merit, IMO, Bruce. But you're right, it's not going to be popular. I guess the first thing I would say is that "leave no trace" is obviously BS. A trail is a trace. The remaining argument is about what level of trace you leave.

If there's a stunt which most people can't do, and it creates a new trail around it, I see your perspective. Having said that I personally don't have a problem with it. And I think saying people should be ashamed of it is a bit overboard.
 

clutch

New Member
This probably stems from the guys who were making a freeride trail coming down from the top of the tourne. They had a couple of Prefab bridges and a some small stunts.

Part of what I like about the tourne is it's a great beginners park, but it has some little features to keep more advanced riders interested.

I just hope they don't kill my favorite feature. There are two logs at an angle to each other with some rocks taking up the area in between. Unfortunately sometime this year some one built a log ramp before and after the first log so it's easier to get up on and you no longer have to make the turn. I just hope the additions don't end up killing the entire feature.
 
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bonefishjake

Strong like bull, smart like tractor
Team MTBNJ Halter's
ok, i over reacted a bit...but aren't a number of folks in there doing TM for the county? how about instead of just pulling these things out w/o warning they work with the folks already there improving the trail system of the park and evaluate the stunts? then if it's deemed necessary, take them out. i'm sure some people would still have a problem with it, but at least the effort would have been made.

IMHO, it is more the way that the county handles these issues than anything else. one day it's fine, the next day it's completely forbidden. so please, bruce, don't misunderstand my point in this b/c i 100% agree with most of what you said. but, they want us to take a vested interest in making things better for all the folks that use the parks, but when push comes to shove they cut our community out of the decision making process.
 

ytc100

New Member
I don't expect this to be popular, but I mostly agree with this. I really hate it when people build "stuff" in the woods, even if it's with rocks and logs. Look at the areas around the ridable logs in the Tourne. It looks like crap and mountain bikers should be ashamed of themselves for this. The whole area is denuded of vegetation and is all dirt. What happened to the ethic of leaving no trace in the woods? Yeah, the Tourne is anything but pristine, but all these manmade stunts are by far the biggest eyesores on the trails. Did you people who built them get permission? I bet not.
It's exactly like climbers who alter features and hammer in pitons and leave them.
I know the woods in NJ are already intensely altered, but why add to it?
I dislike it too when trails are sanitised by removing rocks and don't have a problem with putting a few logs against a treefall to get over it. It's anything that widens the trail even an inch that pisses me off, and these manmade stunts all do that.
bruce boysen

I can always count on your opposing view. :argue:

Anyone care to estimate how long these stunts have been around? I've been riding there for 7 years and remember many of them from when I first started riding. A couple developed because large trees that fell across the trails WERE NEVER REMOVED - where were these maintenance guys then? It's true I've seen some recent small stunts appear and I'm not sure who's building them but what's the big deal? Really, I mean what is the deal? The guys I spoke to were very nice and said something about "if someone gets hurt on a man made obstacle, blah blah blah, they could sue, blah blah blah". Umm, aren't the trails man made? What if I get hurt on a trail? Can I sue Morris County then? Why are log rolls and rock bridges allowed at the Mooch and Deer Park? What exactly does Morris County have against a log roll!?!?!?!?! They hardly exist anywhere in any morris county parks any more. The only serious injury I've ever heard of at the Tourne was the poor woman who had a tree limb fall and kill her while walking with her family. Maybe they should just cut all the trees down. And kill all the bears too. And remove all the rocks. And make me register my bike with the county with the provision that I sign a waver releasing the entire stupid state of New Jersey from any responsibility should I get injured.

I must be missing something here with the "looking like crap" observation. Looks like some logs and dirt on the side of a trail. I kind of think the stunts look cool and I loved coming across that trials guy doing his thing in the woods. Sorry trials guy, Morris County is afraid you might get a boo boo and sue them for I don't know what.
 

bruce.b

Dickwad
Norm, leaving no trace is the ideal. The point where I feel it's wrong is if what you're doing widens the trail at all, yes, even an inch. The area around some of these stunts in the Tourne is what, twenty feet? More for at least two areas. That's just perfect ammo to get mountain bikes kicked out of the parks. Yes, if your activity widens the trail you should be ashamed as you've just degraded the trail for all who follow. That's selfish. In many parts of the country, such as Fruita, what I'm saying is taken for granted as the only proper course of action. It's a standard rule not to go off trail (which all of these stunts are) and if you get caught doing any action by the locals that widens the trail expect to hear about it in a way that will make it clear you're not welcome back.
If you want to build ramps, and stunts do it on private property. Small log ramps over treefalls (and the like) that help keep people on the trail are good since they help maintain trail width. That's all.
bruce boysen
 

bonefishjake

Strong like bull, smart like tractor
Team MTBNJ Halter's
scott, you're right and i meant to put that in my post. i've been riding in the tourne for quite awhile as well...and while i'm not sure of exactly how many years, i know i've been riding a bike for 20 so...

anyway, you're dead on. example one: the first tree on the red trail. example two: the second tree on the red trail. if those trees were cut when they fell there would neither be a "stunt" or a go around for said stunt on fallen tree.
 

KenS

JORBA: Director
JORBA.ORG
It sounds like they found the man made stuff (pre-fab bridges, etc) and are now sending employees in with a vengeance. This is just my observation based on the posts thus far, but it happens a lot and bums me out.

We avoided a similar incident in Allaire last year. Thanks to a certain swarthy, beer brewing individual the feature in question was removed (by the freeriding community mind you) and the park staff was impressed with the self policing actions of the riders. Access was saved.

This is a golden example of why we have to support advocacy groups. The actions of a few illegal builders can erase all of the hours put into a park by legit maintenance crews and in some cases close access completely. I hope this isnt the case at the tourne.

Encourage your friends to look into JORBA, the unified voice we so desparately need in the "land of no" we all call home.
 

Bob W

JORBA: Allamuchy
JORBA.ORG
What to do...

As with most things thater are good points in most all the above posts.

Why can there be rock bridges and log rolls in Allamuchy? Well one diff is that we are talking about County vs State. One answer is Morris County likly has a low risk tollarance. Where the NJDEP being part of a much larger org, has a diff view.

Regarding the building of ladders and such, this is likly not a good idea. We have all seen poorly built ladders before. The reality is that most folks are not going to spend the time and money to build it right. What happens it requires more upkeep...not what anyone wants, not to mention someone may get injured on somehting like this and it is constructed poorly of manmade materials...opening for legal action.

If you are concerned about this and think the County is taking things a bit too far, then get involved dont just complain in a small community of like minded people - like an iternet bike site. Get involved with TM, go to County meetings, join and become active in JORBA. This all goes a long way to making change.

One thing everyone should not do is look to those who are currently joing TM at th Tourne and ask why they are not doing something about this. Everyone should be asking how you can help do something about this. It is hard enough for a few people to try and solicite help for TM, run TM projects and then try and do the other leg work involved with interfacing with County staff.

I feel it bears repeating, make your voice heard, get involved!

Bob W
 

Glancing Aft

Active Member
This is extremely disappointing to hear, the Tourne is one of the only places that I can actually handle the "freeride" features.
As soon as my bike's back up and running I'll have to go inspect the damage they've done. I'm glad I read this post too, otherwise I might have dropped off the "leap of faith" rock only to find out there are no longer any log rollers at the landing. I would not have been happy with that!
Stuff like this makes me miss living up in Passaic County, I will never really understand the logic of the Morris County Park Commission. After all they are the ones who consider climbing chalk to be environmental/aesthetic problem, meanwhile horses can shit all over the place.
 

ytc100

New Member
Bob - thanks for the input.

I'm not talking bout man-made stuff like ladders, although a couple of those do exist at the Tourne (they were actually well built, very ridable and a lot of fun - I don't know their status as I have not been on that trail in a while).
I'm talking about your standard "get me over that log" kind of stuff: Rocks and smaller logs in a pile in front and/or behind large fallen trees or at the bottom of a large rock roller to ease the transition to dirt.

About getting involved I have wanted to help at the Tourne and I believe I have been obvious about that fact in the past. The last two TM's were on days that I just wasn't free. Not sure how joining a TM is going to change the county's feelings towards a pile of logs though. My aim was to help maintain the trails at the park, I didn't think I'd have to defend my apparently very flimsy right to ride there. The politics involved just boggle my mind and I'm obviously way under-informed in this arena.
 

Bob W

JORBA: Allamuchy
JORBA.ORG
I hear ya...

Bob - thanks for the input.

I'm not talking bout man-made stuff like ladders, although a couple of those do exist at the Tourne (they were actually well built, very ridable and a lot of fun - I don't know their status as I have not been on that trail in a while).
I'm talking about your standard "get me over that log" kind of stuff: Rocks and smaller logs in a pile in front and/or behind large fallen trees or at the bottom of a large rock roller to ease the transition to dirt.

About getting involved I have wanted to help at the Tourne and I believe I have been obvious about that fact in the past. The last two TM's were on days that I just wasn't free. Not sure how joining a TM is going to change the county's feelings towards a pile of logs though. My aim was to help maintain the trails at the park, I didn't think I'd have to defend my apparently very flimsy right to ride there. The politics involved just boggle my mind and I'm obviously way under-informed in this arena.

I totaly understand the log issue, look at LewMo - hardly a log inthe place. This is just how the County has decided to handle this situation. It appears that they do not want logs, period. And this is their choice, if they feel they have to defend themself from potential legal action.

I was not casting stones at people who have expressed intest in TM, the point I was trying to make is that this is the first step. Followed by attending meetings making calls. If you vol for TM and then follow up with your concenerns, it carries more weight. There may be a chance that you are taken more seriously. It follows the old addage...come bearing gifts...

A fine example of this is the recent IMBA TCC visit to SOMO. We still cant ride there but our presence was noticed and the amount of sound work was noted. We will have to stay tuned to see if the outcome is waht we all hope for.

It can be a slow process, but what is better, giving up and riding someplace else or making your case and potentially ridning what you like where you like?

Hopefully Greg M will pop in and share his thoughts on this, he is the one who know best how Morris County views and haldles these situations.

Bob W.
 

ytc100

New Member
I'd like to think that I could make a difference but in reality I know I can't. I'm not diplomatic enough, I have an extremely low tolerance for B.S., and I don't know how to keep my mouth shut. Not the best combination for convincing the people in charge to change their minds about this kind of stuff I think.
I appreciate the dialog though, thanks.

I think I'll stick to my plan of moving closer to the Mooch.
 

mergs

Spokompton's Finest
JORBA.ORG
Being privy to both sides of the situation, I may be able to shed some light.

Regarding the loss of some features within the park: I do understand the desire of wanting technical challenges. My home parks are Ringwood, Ramapo and parks where a rock garden and a good climb are par. My idea of a darn good day out is Bob dragging me up and down the mooch. This is my realm and I do love a challenge (which Bob is so good at providing). So, I am by no means happy to see general cleansing of logs, etc.. that said, they fell victim to a lack of distinction between a log ramped up and log built up to ride lengthwise. These guys do not know the difference... both look out of place to a non-rider... so although I am disappointed, I am not at all surprised. That said, trees fall, there will be more to jump over the future. I promise.

Moving on to a broader yet related topic... this state is hobbled by the mere *threat* of lawsuits, and all parks have legitimate liability concerns due to this. As Bob alluded to, some parks simply have a different comfort level with exposure to liability; some feel more secure, while some do not. Even if an injury case never makes it to trial (whether its an endo on a natural log or tombstone, or a fall from an unsanctioned skinny), it *still* requires time and money just to organize, mount the defense, and depending upon a perception of negligence (such as would be the case if the park allowed rampant stunt building to continue), it could force a settlement or go to trial, and lose.

Therefore, as a matter of policy, the parks simply cannot allow non-sanctioned stunts and features to be created by trail users. The only way a park can entertain TTFs is when they build them safe and strong, using sound construction practice, in specific locations designated as a skills/challenge areas. In these areas, there is signage designed to indicate that: you've been warned of the risks, that you can be injured, and that you ride at your own risk, etc.. For the random "freeride" or "trials" stunt, there is none of the above, they become much more exposed legally. This is not debateable because its the reality they face. Will anyone die falling off that tree with the challenging left hand turn? Unlikely. Can someone hurt themselves, maybe. Would the park be exposed to lawsuits? Possibly. Would I take that chance? No. (But I would also recruit and embrace the construction of challenge features for riders as noted above, using IMBA guidelines, more on that below).

There is another angle here too: this situation is not an isolated incident, its indicative of larger problem of rogue trails popping up in several parks in Morris County, and the surrounding area. This includes Lewis Morris and Mahlon (but both have stabilized) and now we have the situation at the Tourne which is not new but has only come onto the radar recently. Combine this with the common knowledge that its happening also at DP and KV and we have a legitimate problem. Add all this up, and the management becomes intolerant of the situation, and you get a order to the maintenance staff to "cut out" all features that look "man made". Its a classic backlash, and as much as I'd like to see TTFs our parks, we just can't keep shooting ourselves in the foot because ultimately, we are going to lose here.

Also I have to mention this: when you consider how accommodating and how much progress has been made in Morris County, and how supportive the land manager is of our sport, this is a really embarrassing situation into which we've been placed. Sure, I have my issues with the overuse of gravel, and I like to hop trees too, but we've made progress in MCPS. In addition, you must realize that this activity has burdened a very supportive Land Manager and placed him in an uncomfortable and an untenable situation. He is so supportive he's actually supportive of our cause in an adjacent county where biking is banned. Again, spin it around... you're in charge, you've given a trail user group a lot of freedom in Lewis Morris. You're busy ramping up new crews in Mahlon and the Tourne, things are starting to gel. Good things are on the horizon. But boom, about every 6-9 months, there's another rogue incident. We do great things, but we're not always doing the smart things for the long term.

This activity is just not helpful. We're sacrificing potentially huge long term successes by pursuit of short-lived pleasures. Let's fore go the homemade skinnies, and work towards attaining the trust and respect of land managers so that we can build lots of new trails, and work towards adding challenge features legitimately, and maybe even get a pump track built!

OK, between this rambling and the words of my compadres above, I hope that this sheds some light on the situation. If not, PM me and I'll try and talk to you off line about it. I appreciate everyone's time and civility shown on an issue that represents some level of disappointment for us all.

Cheers,
Jeff

p.s. Great things are being done elsewhere, its not impossible for NJ. Talk to Jamie Bogner of nycMtb, or talk to the guys WMBA... ask them if they built their freeride features behind the back of the land manager. No. You can't achieve the big goals without the park management in your corner and as a trusted partner.
 

ytc100

New Member
I appreciate that you feel that what you're saying is well founded and meaningful. I know that you only have the best interest of mtn. bikers in mind too. But...

I personally don't think much progress has actually been made in Morris County through any official channels. The only progress that has been made has been initiated through the desperate frustration of mtn. bikers building rouge trails that have become accepted as official trails. Yeah Lewis Morris re-routed a few trails but frankly for all the work that goes on there a lot of the park is still 4' wide rubble.

I'd like to see the statistics on the number of law suits filed by mtn. bikers injured at parks. Do any of you know anyone who has ever filed a law suit because they got hurt riding some trail somewhere? I personally feel this is a giant heaping load of poop and not a reality at all. This fear is a tool used to control the use of the parks by the people who don't want to share them with mtn. bikers. If it was a legitimate problem the other parks in the state would not allow any of these obstacles to be built either.

You have to ask yourself why rogue trails are a problem. I think it's because the official channels are slow, frustrating, and unsympathetic. I guess I am just ignorant about the whole process but it seems inefficient and bogged down with unrealistic concerns and favoritism.

I don't know what it took for WMBA to get done what they have done but don't you think that if NYC can do this New Jersey should be able to?
 

SpartaBard

Well-Known Member
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Mergs, thanks for they helpful clarification of this issue in particular and in general. I can vouch for the progress with MCPC in particular and would hate to see any rouge work hinder said progress.

As Mergs has said, the trees will fall across the trail again, all it will take is a couple good thunderstorms. Check out KVSP, there are trees down all over the place due to recent storms.

On a side note, did you say pump track out loud? :D
 
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