The STC Mountain Bike Survey
Last year the Shawnee Trail Conservancy (a non-profit trail advocacy group headquartered in southern Illinois) conducted a survey of the equestrian community concerning the use of mountain bikes in the Shawnee National Forest (SNF). The survey results have been tabulated and turned over to the US Forest Service to be reviewed and considered when they develop the next forest plant for the SNF. The purpose of this article is to summarize the survey results for the general public.
This issue came to our attention after an unfortunate encounter between mountain bikers and equestrians that resulted in injuries to the equestrians. At about the same time mountain bike groups began petitioning the FS to make all trails in the SNF open for mountain biking. Based on information from other parts of the country it became apparent there are inherent dangers on trails shared by bikers and equestrians. At this point the directors of the STC decided it would be beneficial to poll equestrian users as to their encounters with mountain bikes and their opinions on the use of mountain bikes in the SNF. This article is a summary of the full report which can be accessed at http://shawneetrailconservancy.com/Mtn%20Bike%20Survey%20Results.html
|Horsemen vs. The Elements
Rock River Trail & Horseman Association held their regular scheduled work day at Franklin Creek State Park on April 30, 2016. Despite the drizzle and cold, the dedicated volunteers were able to accomplish trimming trails and removing trail impediments. Unfortunately within a couple weeks of the original work day, a 3 inch rainfall (in less than an hour) caused such extensive damage to the trails that the ranger to close the park. Without sufficient labor force to do repairs, Elmer Stoffer (Site Superintendent) asked RRTHA for assistance.
On June 21, a second rain of mass proportions came once again! RRTHA members came out to repair yet another trail and remove downed trees. Elmer Stoffer commented that without Rock River member’s assistance, we would not have been able to open these trails.
RRTHA has been blessed for over 30 years with the opportunity to work with a site supervisor who appreciates the trail maintenance and help from horsemen. So on 5/27-5/28, a team of volunteers were able to replace water bars and lime rock to bring the primary trails back to a safe, stable condition. This effort made it possible to open Franklin Creek for Memorial Day. Thank you to all working on our “Hot Shot Crew”!