Some people just need an ass kickin'.
The story's been all over the Web for the past few days about the three Californians who poached the Grand Canyon on their mountain bikes. Of course, it's all over the Web because those dumbasses wrote about it online. (If criminals ever start growing brains, police work is going to get a lot harder.)
The three riders are pedaling from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego to promote environmentalism so, naturally, they thought it would be a good idea to illegally ride through the off-limits area of one of the most popular national parks in the United States. They got stuck with two days in jail, $500 fines and 5 years of probation, during which they have to stay out of all U.S. national parks.
They're lucky they didn't have their bikes confiscated like "The Sedona 5" did after they rode the canyon during a government shutdown back in the mid-1990s. (Note to anyone with a similar idea: Armed park rangers are considered "essential" federal employees, and they keep working when other people are sent home during federal budget crises.)
Hey, I understand the desire. I'd like to ride the Grand Canyon myself. And I'm pretty damned sure I could do it with a lot less trail damage than that caused by all the horses and pack mules that trudge up and down those steep canyon walls every day. I've hiked in the canyon and had to navigate through muddy switchbacks full of deep hoof prints holding pools of mule piss. You can't tell me that's better than the slight imprint of a knobby tire.
But the bottom line is that bikes are banned from the canyon's trails. Anybody who wants to get that rule changed should go to the National Park Service and make a case for it. Anyone who ignores the rules, however, only hurts the rest of us.
You know what all those Sierra Club card-carrying, bike-hating hikers see when they read such stories in the newspaper? Their beady little eyes see that MOUNTAIN BIKERS poached the canyon! Then they use that against us in every policy debate for the next 20 years.
I'm really glad three Californians want to pedal across the Americas to raise environmental awareness. I just think these three stooges might be better suited for selling used cars. Next time we hear about them, I hope it's not because they've been caught with the carcass of a spotted owl hanging from a stick over their campfire.