Watchung Reservation

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FallGirl1430

Guest
Hi MTBers,
I have heard that at one time mountain bikes were allowed in the Watchung reservation. How was the riding there and more importantly will bikes be allowed back one day?
Thanks,
Fallgirl ... :)
 

tonyride

Don't piss off the red guy
Hi MTBers,
I have heard that at one time mountain bikes were allowed in the Watchung reservation. How was the riding there and more importantly will bikes be allowed back one day?
Thanks,
Fallgirl ... :)
Yes, they did allow mountain biking there at one time. I rode there when I had my Cannondale Delta-V back in the mid '90s. If I remember correctly it is not that technical. Mostly trail riding with some roots and rocks. It's been well over 10 years so my memory of that place might not be that accurate but I don't remember having any difficulty riding there. But the point is moot because they still don't allow riding in there as far as I know.
 

dirty bert

Banned
Everybody Watchung Tonight

Hi MTBers,
I have heard that at one time mountain bikes were allowed in the Watchung reservation. How was the riding there and more importantly will bikes be allowed back one day?
Thanks,
Fallgirl ... :)

Watchung was fun back in the day. I remember some climbing, the chutes that were knee to chest deep, the most stickiest mud and the pines. i most remember there was this one trail, that you climbed, what seemed like forever to only be rewarded with a fast, steep downhill but little did you know, it lead you right onto the shoulder on Rt 22.

Personally South Mtn was the BOMB back in the day! I can't wait till that re-opens!!!
 

ChrisG

Unapologetic Lifer for Rock and Roll
Personally South Mtn was the BOMB back in the day! I can't wait till that re-opens!!!
Yes! I rode there pretty much every weekend in the summer of 1993. We used to park at the hockey rink and ride in from there. I have really great memories of riding there and hope to see it open again one of these days. I know there has been some work done lately toward establishing good will for multiple users in this place.
 

Chris(NJ)

Well-Known Member
I'm bumping this to see if anyone knows any new information. Any chance of getting this opened up to us again? I've been doing trail running there the past few weeks and look at all the really fun possible lines this place has to offer.
 

Bleeder

JORBA:President
I'm bumping this to see if anyone knows any new information. Any chance of getting this opened up to us again? I've been doing trail running there the past few weeks and look at all the really fun possible lines this place has to offer.

It sounds like the park needs a champion to argue the case with the managers in charge. A daunting task no doubt. If someone is interested in taking the lead in getting the ball rolling I'm sure there's resources JORBA could help with.
 

gtluke

The Moped
Most of the trails in Watchung are laid out so bad that they are seirously 3ft channels. You "walk" in 3 foot deep channels that they call trails. It's pretty awful.
 

Bike N Gear

Shop: Bike N Gear
Shop Keep
Anyone know why this was closed to mtn bikers?

I used to ride South Mountain and Watchung several days a week. SoMo was more heavily ridden by people from everywhere.

When SoMo closed I knew Watchungs's days were numbered. On a typical weekend before SoMo closed you would see riders here and there throughout Watchung on a typical ride. After SoMo closed I would pass multiple trains of 10-20 people on any given ride.

At that time the Trailside Nature Center had some trails that were mulched and used for "hiking only." There was probably less the a mile of these trails and the 'No biking" signs were only at one location near the Nature Center parking. However you could enter those trails from other trails without any knowledge that they were hiker only.

There was a womand who ran the center (Mary, I think) that really didn't want the mountain bikers there at all, but especially on her "nature trails." From what I was told, the straw that broke the camels back, was when a couple of mountain bikers while passing her and a group of kids on the hiking only trails, told her to F off. It was closed shortly after.

The funny thing is whe I spoke to her about the closure (they had posted "no mtb'g" signs EVERYWHERE). I told her if they posted that many signs about not riding on her Nature Trails, most people would have followed the rules, but few knew the rules exixted.

People argued about MTB trail damage vs the damages caused by horses there. It was really a non-issue. It was very obvious the damage caused by horses were worse. But, the Stables are part of the County owned Reservation. They were never going to restrict the horses from the Reservation.

I really miss riding at both places, though I still have friends riding there.
 

loggerhead

Member
There was a womand who ran the center (Mary, I think) that really didn't want the mountain bikers there at all, but especially on her "nature trails." From what I was told, the straw that broke the camels back, was when a couple of mountain bikers while passing her and a group of kids on the hiking only trails, told her to F off. It was closed shortly after.

That's all it takes is someone with bad trail etiquette.:(
 

jdog

Shop: Halter's Cycles
Shop Keep
Challenge???

Very true, but ever heard of them banning Hikers or Equestrians because of bad trail etiquette?

Nope. and you won't.


The history here as I have heard it 2nd hand is that the Horse folks got together and made the mtb closure happen.

No one stood up to take exception at the time and the idea was made law. (maybe someone did, but no one listened)


Clearly it is way easier to make mtbing illegal than it is to create a new spot.

This is exactly why the good work that JORBA is doing is so important.

(ARE YOU A MEMBER??)

It is also very important that we as a group show respect and treat our trail riding as an absolute privilege. (this is in part why I have become a helmet Nazi)


There are indeed other unused parcels of public land in NJ that could be used for trail building.

What we have done in 6mr can indeed be done elsewhere. You just need to love it and live it.

Who is next??

This is an open challenge:

Find some public space, ask the right people and follow through.

This will be the hardest/most rewarding project you will ever take on.
 

Kev

Member
I have been looking at this guys blog and he claims the signs warning mountain bikers about the ban have been taken down. It is not specific about who took them down, and I have yet to go to Watchung and see for myself.
 

jimvreeland

Endurance Guy: Tolerates most of us.
The signs have been removed but there's been no official word on the park being open to bikers.
 

KenS

JORBA: Director
JORBA.ORG
There is a master trail plan being developed, and MTBrs are a stakeholder in the process. The county is bike friendly, but thus far we have no word on an official lift on the ban or any new trail initiatives. I have been to several meetings with the county over the last year, but have nothing solid to report atm other than I have been very happy with the county officials. The local bike community, generally speaking, has a fairly good relationship with the other trail users. If you are one of the folks who regularly finds yourself in the res, please keep relations in mind. I will look into the sign thing.
 
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