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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
B. Coordinator compiles the agenda, in consultation with PNF, from
representative requests and circulates it in advance of the meeting.
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.
1. Consensus decisions are desirable and constitute a more
compelling advisory to PNF.
2. Voting is not necessary because the group is only advisory.
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
e) Maintenance issues.
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
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
(2) whether the safety and enjoyment of all users can
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
(6) Significant displacement or annoyance of other
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
(4) pass safely.