download here - Arizona Sierra Club

download here - Arizona Sierra Club


This proposal is prepared in response to recent conflicts between bikes, hikers,

and equestrians. Thus, this draft addresses non-motorized uses. The question of

whether to include motorized groups in this process needs to be resolved; that

could easily be accomplished within the following framework. There is no

specific intent to exclude motorized users.

For clarity, the proposal includes examples of objectives and criteria for trail

management and trail use etiquette. The examples are based upon Sierra Club

national policy and are clearly labeled. They are included here to serve as

starting points for discussion and to inform everyone of our position on this

contentious issue. In general, the Sierra Club encourages recreational uses of

public lands as long as the resource is protected and not degraded. Resource

protection is the highest priority.

Gary Beverly

DRAFT PROPOSAL: Trail Use and Safety Advisory Committee

In order to provide satisfactory user experiences and safety on trails, PNF

should form a Trail Use and Safety Advisory Committee.

I. Purpose:

A. Periodically review trail user conflicts and recommend designated

trail usage changes and maintenance to PNF.

B. Encourage communication and cooperation between user groups.

II. Base Principles

(based in part on the 1994 Park City Agreement between the IMBA and the

Sierra Club)

A. Participants agree that trail management decisions are the

responsibility of PNF.

B. PNF agrees to appropriately consider the views of the Advisory


C. Participants agree that all trail users should expect a safe and

satisfying trail experience.

D. Participants agree that mountain bicycling is a legitimate form of

recreation and transportation on trails including single track, when

and where it is practiced in an environmentally sound and socially

responsible manner.

E. Participants agree that not all non-­‐Wilderness trails should be

opened to bicycle use.

F. Participants agree to work to create joint projects to educate all

non-­‐motorized trail users.

III. Structure:

A. PNF should sponsor, host, and attend meetings.

B. Inclusive, transparent process.

C. Open to representatives of trail user groups.


D. All stakeholders should be invited to participate.

E. Optimum size: approximately a dozen representatives.


A. PNF should choose a facilitated or moderated structure.

1. If moderated, the group can choose a moderator or use a

rotating moderator.

B. Coordinator compiles the agenda, in consultation with PNF, from

representative requests and circulates it in advance of the meeting.

V. Meetings:

A. No one group controls the meeting frequency or agenda.

B. Representatives and/or PNF can call for meetings and place items

on the agenda.

C. Agenda has a Call to the Public section for time limited public

comment, after which the audience can silently watch their

representatives work together.

D. Decisions:

1. Consensus decisions are desirable and constitute a more

compelling advisory to PNF.

2. Voting is not necessary because the group is only advisory.


Initial Agenda

A. Agree to complete a review of trail use and safety by a specified


B. Establish a functional monitoring and reporting system.

1. Purpose: Establish a record of user experiences that PNF can use

for informed trail management decisions.

a) Positive experiences

b) Wildlife sightings

c) Conflicts

d) Accidents

e) Maintenance issues.

2. Properties:

a) Web based, on independent web site, possibly

Community Forest Trust

(1) Data Collection:

(a) Initally, reports are distributed to all groups

via email – simple, easy, cheap.

(b) If site is successful, reports can be managed

in a database.

(2) Site publicized by groups and PNF.

(3) Site publicized by signs at trailheads.

(4) PNF and user groups link to reporting site.

(5) Includes all area trails, not just PNF trails.

(6) Domain name must be short and easy to

remember. Available possibilities include:




) Paper reports collected at high use trailheads

c) Reports (two forms):

(1) Simple report for positive experiences

(2) Comprehensive report for situations threatening

public safety or causing injury.

(3) Completed reports emailed to PNF and to group.

d) Issues to resolve:

(1) Confidentiality – easy tech solution once PNF

requirements are known.

(2) Funding and development of site.

C. Establish an objective process for evaluating trail use (for

example, Sierra Club positions follow)

1. Trails and areas on public lands should be closed to all vehicles


a) determined to be appropriate for their use through

completion of an analysis, review, and implementation

process, and

b) officially posted with signs as being open.

c) Trails and areas designated for vehicular use must be

monitored periodically to detect environmental damage or

user interference inconsistent with the above criteria. Where

this occurs, the trail or area must be closed to vehicles unless

effective corrective regulations are enforced.

2. The evaluation process must include:

a) application of objective criteria to assess whether or not

(1) environmental quality can be effectively

maintained, and

(2) whether the safety and enjoyment of all users can

be protected;

b) a public review and comment procedure involving all

interested parties; and

c) promulgation of effective implementing regulations

where impacts are sufficiently low that vehicle use is


3. Criteria (for example, Sierra Club positions follow):

a) When a land management agency reviews suitability of a

trail for bicycle use, bicycle use should not be allowed where

it would cause the following measurable effects.

(1) Significant soil erosion or significant damage to

streams or fish habitat.

(2) Rutting, impairment of trail drainage, breakdown

of trail shoulders, and other forms of damage not

correctable using U.S. Forest Service trail maintenance

standards and techniques.

(3) Significant disturbance of plants or animals or their


(4) Damage to archaeological, scientific, historical, or

other significant resources, including rare natural

features of interest for scientific study.

(5) Danger to the safety of bicyclists or other users

because of bicycle speed, steep grades, steep terrain,

sharp curves, slippery or unstable trail surfaces, or

limited visibility.

(6) Significant displacement or annoyance of other

non-­‐motorized users.

D. Establish Trail User Etiquette (for example, Sierra Club positions


1. All users should know and follow applicable laws and


2. Cross-­‐country vehicle travel off trails is not appropriate.

3. In order to minimize conflicts with other trail users, users should

know and use the established Rules of the Trail:

a) Ride on open trails only.

b) Leave no trace.

c) Control your vehicle or horse.

d) Never scare animals.

e) Plan ahead.

4. All users should understand and follow the Yield Rule:

a) Bicyclists yield trail to foot travelers, both animal and


b) Hikers yield trail to equestrians.

c) Yielding trail means:

(1) slow down, be prepared to stop;

(2) establish communication;

(3) dismount or step to the side of the trail when

appropriate; and

(4) pass safely.