Company offers bike tour on East Coast Trail without consent

Josh
Josh Pennell
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A company offering mountain bike tours along the East Coast Trail (ECT) without the association’s consent says it wants to sit down and speak to members about the future of such tours in this province.

Hikers on the East Coast Trail. — File photo by Josh Pennell/The Telegram

A message on the East Coast Trail Association’s (ECTA) website during the weekend advised that mountain bikers will be on the trail July 11, 12, and 13.

“Sacred Rides Mountain Bike Adventures, a mountain biking tour company has, without the approval of the East Coast Trail Association, scheduled a mountain bike tour on several ECT paths,” the message reads.

It went on to say the bikes would be around Flatrock to Torbay Friday afternoon; on or near the Sugar Loaf Path in the vicinity of the White Hills Saturday morning; and between Cape Spear and Maddox Cove Sunday.

Ken Sooley owns the local company Cape Race Cultural Adventures Inc. His company is the local operator managing the Sacred Ride tours along the ECT. Sooley says a conversation between his group and the ECTA would benefit both sides and alleviate a lot of misunderstandings about mountain bikers and the effect they have on trails.

“We have been reaching out to them for about five months in a very professional, conciliatory way to talk about this,” he said.

Sooley added the ECTA doesn’t seem to understand a lot of the trends which have already found their way into the eco-tourism of other parts of the world. Today’s mountain biker is an older, financially stable, and ecologically responsible individual, he said.

Sooley said the popularity of mountain biking throughout the world makes it extremely profitable, while having a cheap ecological price tag. His group is willing to offer financial assistance with trail upkeep, Sooley said.

“All we really want is to make them aware of the things that have been going on around the world that have been beneficial,” he said.

However, there is still the issue of the group riding on the trail without the association’s consent. The ECT is now more than 250 kilometres of scenic coastal trail maintained by an extremely dedicated group of individuals.

“We are not planning to ride on any trail that we do not have the permission to ride on,” Sooley said.

But they have already done so. Sooley said he met with the ECTA once about six months ago to talk about the possibility of mountain bike tours on the trail when he was considering the Sacred Rides franchise.

“The answer was a flat no,” he admits.

While the ECTA did post the note about the bikers on its website last week, it is saying now that it is aware of the issue of the bike tours and is dealing with it.

Sooley said ECTA contacted his group last week with an offer to meet and talk. Additional tours through Sacred Rides are already scheduled for August 15-17 and September 12 -14 with a similar itinerary.

 

 

Organizations: East Coast Trail Association, Cape Race Cultural Adventures Inc. His

Geographic location: Flatrock, Torbay, Sugar Loaf Path White Hills

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Recent comments

  • Jody O'Brien
    July 18, 2014 - 06:40

    I suggest that all hikers do what I plan to do. When a bike is trying to pass me on the trail I will not move aside. They will have to dismount and carry it through the bushes or they can stay behind me. Some jerkoff company in Ont shouldn't be making $ on a trail they've done nothing to create or maintain. They're going to tear it up.

  • TypicalNL
    July 16, 2014 - 09:46

    Very typical responses from the people who are against it. "They will be doing more walking with their bikes in hand then actual biking." or " I can not see how anyone can bike along the sections of the trail I was on" or"If I am hiking on this trail on foot why should I have to move over to the side to let you whiz by on your bike". There is this kind of mentality we have in this province where we love to shoot down completely sensible ideas because we love to complain. I'm sure there are so many things that could be done to re-mediate 99% of all the concerns but that's just too reasonable. This is an active, normal activity and whether you agree with it or not people are going to do it on this trail. It would make more sense to try to incorporate and accommodate this into the trail rather than fight it. But unfortunately in this world we are forced to take heed from less than smart people that believe the word "no" is a viable reason and explanation.

  • Mr. Murphy is grossly misinformed
    July 15, 2014 - 08:43

    It would appear that Mr. Murphy is having trouble understanding the situation. He has wrongly accused mountain bikers of abusing a trail network that he claims was "created" by the ECTA. The fact of the matter is that Mr. Murphy is the only one acting inappropriately. The license granted to the ECTA clearly states that they have no right to refuse access, yet that is exactly what he is trying to do. This is a fact that Mr. Murphy had to be reminded of by the provincial government. Furthermore, the ECTA did not "create" the trail network. They have done some fantastic work, but many of the paths were in use long before the ECTA existed. Input from Mr. Murphy was not required to move ahead with the development of a local business opportunity. Despite this fact, attempts were made to include him in the process and he choose to exclude himself from the discussion. I applaud the mountain bike community for coming forward to support this new endeavor. There is great potential here to showcase the natural beauty of our province and contribute to the local economy. It seems as though Mr. Murphy needs to be reminded again that the ECT network does not belong to him.

  • MK
    July 15, 2014 - 08:14

    My big concern is safety. Several times while I was out hiking I have almost been hit by a bicycle coming "full speed ahead" along the trail, never encountered that issue with a hiker or trail runner.

  • Ken Sooley
    July 15, 2014 - 06:00

    I was misquoted in the story. In a meeting with Randy Murphy last winter, he explained that the business rationalization for the public funding (approx 80% of ECT funding is public) for the ECT comes from the creation of "A substantial piece of tourism infrastructure". Tourism and recreational activities are changing. Trail tourism is the largest growing segment of the tourism market and many tourists are seeking access to trails for a number of activities in addition to hiking. It is important to note that the trails we ride on are either mixed-use, built by mountain bikers, trails that mountain bikers have been using long before the ECTA converted them to single use, or public access Crown Land. We are not riding on nature reserves, private property, or other ecologically sensitive areas as the ECT has been indicating. Climate change and other factors are driving North American trail maintenance costs to the point that government funding agencies and the taxpayer are losing their appetite to support legacy recreational trail design and development. High costs and under-utilized trails are two reasons Parks Canada and many other North American & European park and trail authorities are investing in new trail designs and the expansion their trail systems to include mixed use. These new design techniques not only reduce the long term cost of trail maintenance but also allow trails to easily accommodate trail cycling. This has proven to be a significant economic benefit to places such as Scotland who currently enjoying a competitive advantage over other coastal tourist destinations in the outdoor activity market. The Forestry Commission of Scotland advises and implements forestry policy to protect and expand Scotland's forests and to increase their value to society and the environment. They have embraced the mixed trail concept and widely promote trail cycling throughout their national forests and coastlines. (http://scotland.forestry.gov.uk/activities/mountain-biking). Modern trail design has been widely recognized and accepted as the key factor to be considered when addressing economic and environmental sustainability of recreational trails. Examples of this type of migration are widespread. Parks Canada has had great success with the conversion and development of mixed-use trails. There are now 200km of mixed-use trails in Jaspar National Park and the Province of British Columbia’s Department of Tourism are investing significantly in trail cycling product development. It is important to note that many of the global efforts to migrate trail usage from pedestrian to mixed-use was initiated in 2005 as authorities realized the financial challenges of legacy trail sustainability. This, combined with the positive economic and social impact on communities has been the driver behind this escalating global trend. Here in Newfoundland and Labrador authorities are in a good position to evaluate the migration opportunity as many organizations have capitalized on it over the last decade and credible, freely available data exists detailing what the effort entails and how the challenges were easily overcome. We are reaching out to all stakeholders and potential partners of which the East Coast Trail Association was identified as key. While we are only seeking use of Crown Land for about 60km of trail, we believe that a partnership with the East Coast Trail Association would be mutually beneficial and could present a strong business case for public funding for co-development of new and existing trail systems, possibly within the undeveloped 250km of the East Coast Trail.

  • Julie Halliday
    July 14, 2014 - 22:19

    A scientific field study carried out by Wilson and Seney, 1994 looked at the erosional impact of hikers, horses, motorcycles, and off-road bicycles on trails. The results of their study "showed that horses and hikers (hooves and feet) made more sediment available than wheels (motorcycles and off-road bicycles) and that this effect was most pronounced on prewetted trails". Let's take a step back and consider what actually happens when bikes and hikers are on trails: Bikes: Rubber tires of widths generally between 2.0-2.5 inches are in contact with the trail as the driver pedals the bike. Hikers: Rubber shoe soles, of varying widths (generally all greater than 2.-2.35 inches) are in contact with the trail as the hiker navigates the path. So both hikers and mountain bikers are using rubber soles to get from point A to B. The main difference between the hikers and bikers navigating the trail system is the speed at which they do it. And herein lies the 'problem'. Even though both bikes and hiking shoes navigate the same trails with a similar substance in contact with the trail, bikes for some reason are perceived as more impactful to the trail system. Perhaps you can factor the weight of the bike into the equation. My bike weights roughly 30lbs. I weigh 130lbs. Myself and my bike have a combined weight of 160lbs. Add 10lbs for clothes and water, I am now up to 170lbs. This is lighter than the average male over 5'8". So who does more damage to the trail: me and my bike at 170lbs or 170lb hiker, both with the rubber side down? I think the real problem isn't the potential environmental impact that bikes may have on a trail; the real problem and obstacle to having shared use trails is fear of the unknown. One more question to those hikers who are against sharing the trails with other non-motorized users: would you insist that a person with a special wheelchair designed for use on trails stay off the East Coast Trail?

    • T Bodwin
      July 16, 2014 - 07:45

      Check out this link. There are issues with the science in this report. http://mjvande.nfshost.com/white.htm I am in favor of sharing the trail with mountain bikers btw.

  • Avalon Prosperity
    July 14, 2014 - 22:01

    I would suggest that all the free-lovin’ hippies who ride peddle bikes and stuff move off the Avalon if they want to waste time in dangerous unregulated nature. We are rich with oil and don't need these minority bohemian misfits in our way of prosperity. We need rules and legislation on everything to keep the population in check. There is no benefit to the community from all this speciality tourism stuff - zip lines and bouncy castles paid for with ACOA money – could be money given to hunting guides which is out of sight out of mind and controlled and caters to elite earners that bring money into our economy. Keep nature pristine for us, the highest earners at home, just in case we may want to go look at it without being bothered by people with no initiative on rusty old peddle bikes are not the image we want to portray to the world as an oil superpower and progressive candidate for increased urban growth and prosperity and sustainability. Mtn bikes and walkers are not professional and not sustainable together. It is a safety issue. Our mining, oil and construction industries have priority #1 as SAFETY and our leisure activities should reflect this commitment. In fact, no one has any business on these trails because we cannot ensure and 100% guarantee that something bad won't ever happen. It is better that we leave this area to wildlife and this debate proves it. People are too cranky to share so shut it all down I say and none of our taxes will have to pay for rescuing hippies who should be home wrapped in cotton balls waiting for their gov. check and not our hurting themselves outdoors, probably on illicit drugs putting EMT and SAR at risk. Meditating to avoid work and all this new age bunk - we even got Deepak Chopra coming here now....what have we become? How many of these free-spirited walkers and extreme mtn dew bikers are on rec. drugs!!! Scary.

    • a bike riding hippy
      July 16, 2014 - 08:27

      go back to alberta

    • Martin
      July 16, 2014 - 08:48

      Are you insane?what rock are you living under?clearly you've never seen these trails,and have absolutely no idea on what's being discussed here. When you speak of "Us free lovin hippies" on our "rusted peddle bikes",do you mean all us adults who make 6 figure salaries,run construction companies,local business',and even in my case are part of the oil and gas industry? Really you need to be more informed before you make yourself look any worse.

    • Mike
      July 16, 2014 - 09:13

      You're an idiot.

    • Jody O'Brien
      July 18, 2014 - 07:12

      How can you people not get sarcasm?

  • JMAP
    July 14, 2014 - 21:46

    The ECTA is becoming a little dictatorial....during the Tely Hike they didn't want hikers with their dogs on leashes on the trails. However people went ahead and took their dogs....I'm not so sure they'll support the Tely Hike next year. These trails are for everyone to use. Because volunteers "choose" to spend time working on the trails, does not give them exclusive rights. You'd be surprised how easily these bikers can manoeuvre in tight or narrow spaces. Local bikers spend a fair amount of time developing, cutting and building trails in the White Hills, which are often damaged by people with no respect for anything....so they are well aware of preventing damage to any part of the trail system. Why can't everyone work together and share the trail....it belongs to E V E R Y O N E.

  • Krista
    July 14, 2014 - 16:43

    I helped build the trail and hike on it regularly, It is not safe or responsible for mountain bikes to be on the trail with hikers! it is fine to say if the bikers stay off the trail in wet weather they will not damage it but for example let's say a 3 day tour of the trail on day 2 it starts raining are the bikers going to carry their bikes out, or will they stay in camp for week while the trail bed drys? I have 2 small children who I hike the trail with, I do not want to fear for their safety, looking around every turn for bikes is not a relaxing hike. The trail was built as a hiking trail and maintained by volunteers, without the ECTA it would not exist as it does today! this group is showing disrespect for all the hard work that has been done by ECTA!!

  • Treed Murray
    July 14, 2014 - 16:15

    "Sacred Rides" tours without permission? It sounds more like a sacrilege to me, what mountain bikes do to the hiking trails on their "pedal-powered" dirt bikes. What else can we expect from a renegade sport culture that scoffs at common civility?

  • Just me
    July 14, 2014 - 15:27

    If I worked hours and hours and hours, for FREE, and somebody wants to use my FREE work to make money, I doubt if I would work FREE again. If the bikers go on the trail, I wonder how many volunteer members would quit.

  • Chris
    July 14, 2014 - 15:00

    Its already been established that mountain biking does no more damage than walking. Water is the enemy of trails in the this province, look at the washed out and poorly maintained sections of the trail. If bikers want to use a small part of the trail, let them. Its their coast line too, who are the ECTA to deny access to a legitimate user?

  • Bob Gendron
    July 14, 2014 - 14:16

    Some commenters here seem to imply that since the ECTA came in and built trials, they should have sole access. I'm a trail runner and mountain biker, among other things. I was running and riding the trails of what is now called "ECT" over a decade ago with local mountain biking clubs here. We always tried to be responsible: Courtesy to hikers and walkers and not riding the trail during the wet seasons to prevent trail damage. I have not changed my ways and I doubt my old pals have either. I'd invite some of you out there who think the ECT should be hiker only to go and read Dave MacDonalds book Avalon Mountain Bike Trail Guide. There is no reason the ECT cannot be multi-use for non-motorized forms of human propulsion. Share the trail! Bob Gendron

  • Robin Whitaker
    July 14, 2014 - 13:34

    I have great respect and appreciation for the work done by the ECTA. I am an ECTA member, and I hike the ECT. I am also a mountainbiker with a strong belief in the benefits of shared use trails. Contrary to popular mythology, mountainbikers are not environmental and social menaces. I have never heard of a single accident here between a cyclist and a hiker. Everyone I bike with is courteous, always gives way to pedestrians and takes care not to frighten dogs or wildlife. The International Mountain Bike Association is at the forefront of ecologically-sound and sustainable trail design, with guidelines for minimizing erosion and user conflict (http://www.imbacanada.com/resources/trail-building). As Mark says, many parts of the ECT would benefit from the application of these principles. Likewise, IMBA's "rules of the trail" provide the protocols for sharing trails with diverse non-motorized users (http://www.imbacanada.com/rules-trail). Finally, shared trails reduce maintenance costs and ecological damage by limiting the number of trails across wilderness areas. They help build a strong community and offer strength in numbers in the face of threats from developers. Non-motorized trail users are enough of a voice in the wilderness here. It's time we started working together.

  • Mike Brcic
    July 14, 2014 - 13:20

    Hi all: I am the owner and founder of Sacred Rides, the aforementioned tour company. I want to point out a few things: 1) The ECTA does not have exclusive domain to the trail. From their licence: "The licence does not convey exclusive use of the trail and the licence holder must not restrict or prevent public use of the trail." 2) We were invited to St. John's by Ken Sooley with the full support of the Department of Tourism (they paid for my flight), with the intention of exploring the area as a potential location for mountain bike tourism. 3) There is no support for the argument that mountain bikes impact the trail any more than hikers. There are, in fact, numerous studies (one conducted by the University of Guelph) showing that the impact of mountain bikers is no different than that of hikers. 4) Mountain bike tourism puts LOTS of dollars into local economies. The state of Oregon, for example, did a study recently showing that mountain bike tourism contributes $400 million dollars to the state economy every year. In my opinion, St. John's has everything in place to develop robust mountain bike tourism, and can significantly benefit from it. Our approach is always to maximize local benefit from our tours, by always using local guides and local suppliers and keeping as many dollars as possible in the local community. 5) We will continue to try and engage with all stakeholders to come up with agreements that will see everyone's needs met. We will not simply acquiesce as a result of a few vocal mountain bike opponents, but if the local community and the 'court of public opinion' truly doesn't want us in St. John's, then we will not return and go to another community that does want us there. I dearly hope that doesn't happen because I really really love St. John's.

    • Gerry
      July 14, 2014 - 13:27

      So basically, you're going to work with the ECTA unless they say no, in which case you're going to go ahead and ride the trails anyhow? If mountain bikers in this province have such a strong case for the use of these trails, I'm not sure why they need to do so surreptitiously. If bikers and hikers on the trails together can be done safely, and if bikers do indeed "Leave No Trace," then they should join the ECTA and work from the INSIDE to make the changes to the policy instead of simply VIOLATING policy they don't feel applies to them!

    • Gerry
      July 14, 2014 - 13:38

      St. John's has everything in place to accommodate mountain bike tourism, as you say, because of the work of the volunteers of the ECTA. They are the ones who collected the funds to pay for improvements, and they are the ones who went out there and physically made those improvements. That is why they should be consulted and respected: not because they "own" the trails, but because many sections would be impassable on foot, let alone by bike, without their work! Like I said, if bikers want to ride the trails, then bikers should work WITH the ECTA, should JOIN the ECTA as members, should CONVINCE the ECTA that what they're saying is true and that both safety and the LNT ethos can be maintained, and then change will occur. I will say this: a private company profiteering off the work of a volunteer group and then slapping that group in the face instead of working with them stinks IMHO!

    • They belong to us all equally
      July 14, 2014 - 14:06

      Why would the tour operator need consent from the ECTA? Nice of the tour operator to try and work with them but completely unnecessary. ECTA's 'policy' is not law, they don't own the trails and have no authority over use of crown land - that's the province's jurisdiction and the last time I checked, the province placed no restrictions on pedal bike use.

    • Chris B
      July 14, 2014 - 15:11

      The ECT was built with millions in public money, my taxes and yours. It is not under the control of a small number of people. The volunteers efforts (of which i am one) should be applauded, we have improved upon a fantastic resource, our coastline. We are not the only ones that should have access though, I have hiked all over the world on mixed use trails with great pleasure. Cyclists are not dangerous, they are you and I and just as considerate.

    • Anne
      July 14, 2014 - 20:15

      But Mike, your bike tours are not "public" use of the trail, they are a private commercial use. The East Coast Trail is not a provincial or federal park where government pays the upkeep and they make the rules. I don't think the issue is use by occasional cyclists, but rather commercial use of a resource that the association runs for noncommercial use, which is fundamental to the association's ability to attract volunteers and financial support. If I were you, I'd go talk to the tourism people about trails in provincial parks, where they can give you permits for commercial use.

  • Randy Coady
    July 14, 2014 - 12:41

    Typical Nl reaction to something positive, and healthy, and beneficial to all, "NO, because we said so, that's why!!"" Instead of helping promote a healthy endeavor such as this, a bunch of snobs sit around and think they, and only they, have the right to dictate the trails usage.

    • Gerry
      July 14, 2014 - 13:13

      positive, healthy, and beneficial to all... like hiking in safety? :)

    • Gerry
      July 14, 2014 - 13:15

      positive, healthy, and beneficial to all... like hiking in safety? :)

  • Mark Reccord
    July 14, 2014 - 11:03

    Most of the ECT is on crown land and I'd be extremely surprised if ECTA actually has any mandate to dictate who can and cannot use these trails. Like Gerry mentioned earlier people have been using these trails long before ECTA existed. I have personally been riding bicycles on sections of the now ECT since 1991 (before ECTA existed) and so have lots of others. I will freely admit to riding these trails "illegally" but in my years of doing so I have never had a conflict with any other user. In fact, all of my interactions have been friendly whether I am on foot (I hike the ECT too) or on the bike. On most of the sections that MTBers are interested in riding, speeds are low and sight lines are good. Hiker/biker conflicts are a non-issue in my experience. It's not like there's heavy traffic on any of these trails. As for ecological concerns, ECTA probably should not be casting stones given the number of sections they have built in an unsustainable way (i.e. straight up and down fall lines, no benching on side slopes, etc.). These are just invitations to erosion on "fragile coastal terrain" no matter who the users are. In addition, there have been numerous studies indicating that mountain bike traffic is no more harmful to trails than foot traffic is. To be clear, we are talking about bicycles, not motorized vehicles. Even Parks Canada has recently welcomed mountain bikers to many of the trails in the National Parks and non-motorized shared use is the standard for many other trail systems in North America and elsewhere. In fact, many of the local mountain bikers and I bet Sacred Rides and other tour operators as well would be willing to volunteer time and resources to trail maintenance and building on the ECT if ECTA backed off their archaic "hikers only" stance on the trail. Mountain bikers are not the enemy.

  • Mark Reccord
    July 14, 2014 - 10:53

    Most of the ECT is on crown land and I'd be extremely surprised if ECTA actually has any mandate to dictate who can and cannot use these trails. Like Gerry mentioned earlier people have been using these trails long before ECTA existed. I have personally been riding bicycles on sections of the now ECT since 1991 (before ECTA existed) and so have lots of others. I will freely admit to riding these trails "illegally" but in my years of doing so I have never had a conflict with any other user. In fact, all of my interactions have been friendly whether I am on foot (I hike the ECT too) or on the bike. On most of the sections that MTBers are interested in riding, speeds are low and sight lines are good. Hiker/biker conflicts are a non-issue in my experience. It's not like there's heavy traffic on any of these trails. As for ecological concerns, ECTA probably should not be casting stones given the number of sections they have built in an unsustainable way (i.e. straight up and down fall lines, no benching on side slopes, etc.). These are just invitations to erosion on "fragile coastal terrain" no matter who the users are. In addition, there have been numerous studies indicating that mountain bike traffic is no more harmful to trails than foot traffic is. To be clear, we are talking about bicycles, not motorized vehicles. Even Parks Canada has recently welcomed mountain bikers to many of the trails in the National Parks and non-motorized shared use is the standard for many other trail systems in North America and elsewhere. In fact, many of the local mountain bikers and I bet Sacred Rides and other tour operators as well would be willing to volunteer time and resources to trail maintenance and building on the ECT if ECTA backed off their archaic "hikers only" stance on the trail. Mountain bikers are not the enemy.

  • gb
    July 14, 2014 - 10:17

    I only hiked on small sections of the East Coast trail and I really appreciate the upkeep by the ECTA. I can not see how anyone can bike along the sections of the trail I was on. They will be doing more walking with their bikes in hand then actual biking. Also there are many many dangerous sections of the trail where it will only be safe to be on foot. Just look at the story today about a man falling off a cliff while riding on an ATV. Read it and heed bikers. Many many years ago this trail was used by people on foot, and that was what it was designed for. If I am hiking on this trail on foot why should I have to move over to the side to let you whiz by on your bike and then up ahead while you are trying to climb an embankment with your bike in hand why should I have to wait until you manage that task? Many sections are only wide enough for one person at a time so are you going to follow me on your bike until you can whiz by again? Don't expect anyone to recover your precious bike after they have to airlift you to the hospital due to an accident, which by the way WILL happen to you. Why? Simply because this trail was designed for pedestrian traffic and not for vehicular traffic. Yes it is really that simple.

    • Mark Reccord
      July 14, 2014 - 11:29

      You'd be surprised what a bike can be ridden over. As for right of way, it is clearly established on the multitude of other shared use trails that bikers always yield to hikers and the vast majority of MTBers know and follow this protocol. I have never experienced a conflict in many years of riding bits of the ECT and in fact have never even heard of anyone having one. Hiker/biker conflicts are a non-issue. I've also never heard of any biker needing to be airlifted from anywhere out there.

  • Steve
    July 14, 2014 - 10:00

    So, a for-profit organization gets to make money (extreme profit, in the words or Mr Sooley) off the backs of the East Coast Trail volunteers, who give their time to maintain these trails. This is exploitation and greed, pure and simple.

    • Chris B
      July 14, 2014 - 15:25

      Lots of people run commercial tours on the East Coast Trail - hiking guides, bird watching tours, backpacking tours, iceberg viewing tours etc. This is no different.

  • gerry
    July 14, 2014 - 09:20

    ummmm...who owns the trail? Myself, being from Pouch Cove, I'd be gawd damed if I would get the permission of some relatively 'new' group to ask for permission to use trails for paths that growing up I walked on, played on, hiked, used to get to ponds, etc for almost all of my 50 years. Screw the ECTA....to those whinin' about the trail being for 'hikers' only, I imagine the bikers can be responsible too, just like the hikers - the trails are for EVERYONE; not your personal domain; I imagine a few bikers are arse-holes... just like a few hikers

    • Gerry
      July 14, 2014 - 13:23

      It's not about ownership. It's about safety, it's about maintenance of natural beauty, and it's about profiteering off the work of volunteers. I appreciate that folks have used traditional rights of way for a long time, hence the word traditional, but these trails wouldn't be passable for mountain bike traffic if they hadn't been maintained and improved by the ECTA. They volunteer their time, they collect donations, they run profit free, all they ask is that folks take care of the trails. Part of taking care of the trails is using them in a responsible manner, and there are sections of the trail where bikers meeting hikers, or simply biking at all, cannot meet the definition of responsible behavior.

  • len
    July 14, 2014 - 08:42

    Myself and my family walked to the spout and oher trails along the coast a long time before the ect came along. do we need their permission to walk the trail now? What a farce.

  • Robert
    July 14, 2014 - 08:22

    These trails existed long before the ECTA was around. I ride the Flatrock trail often and rarely see a hiker. If the users are courteous to one another, I don't see a problem. Why can't this be shared?

  • Mark Graesser
    Mark Graesser
    July 14, 2014 - 08:20

    The ECT Assocation has been dealing with the biking issue for ten years or more -- where has Mr. Sooley been? The photo at the top of this story shows the essence of why it is neither safe nor ecologically responsible for bikes to traverse narrow paths used by hikers, on fragile coastal terrain.

  • Carole burden
    July 14, 2014 - 06:50

    ECT. PLEASE PLEASE keep the bikers off the trail. It is a beautiful trail that is enjoyed my many many people, both local, national and international. The scenery and peacefulness of a hike on the ECT is out of this world. All ECT hikers, let's voice our opinion on this subject.

  • J
    July 14, 2014 - 05:49

    Isn't the East Coast Trail public property?