Trail poaching has been a hot topic in the Anchorage mountain biking community for the past week or so. I had hoped the incidents on Rover’s Run were isolated, but a few nights ago, I got another reminder of how some riders are self-indulgent jackasses.
A couple of friends and I went out to ride one of the new trails being built by Singletrack Advocates. Only one section has been opened for riding, while a couple of nearby sections are still being roughed in. Those trails aren’t ready for riding. Besides still having fragile surfaces, they’re under construction and not yet safe.
Just as we stopped at the top of the open trail, two riders came out of the woods nearby as they finished poaching the new advanced trail. As they ducked under the “trail closed” signs that cover each end of the trail, I tried to be polite as I said hello and told them why it’s important to be patient and stay off the trail until it opens.
They mumbled a couple of things like, “OK,” and “Sorry,” but I could tell they didn’t give a damn what I was saying.
Is it really so hard to be patient for a few more weeks? A tiny handful of their fellow mountain bikers have worked to build everyone the first true mountain bike trails in Anchorage—at great expense—and these guys are willing to risk fucking it up just because they demand instant gratification?
Maybe they’re some of the same people who have already started sneaking in with their own tools to make their own easy modifications of the newly opened section of trail. Dirt ramps are already being built against some of the rocks that were incorporated into the trail design.
It’s easy to risk getting a blister from five minutes with a shovel after others have spent three years building relationships with land managers, wading through the permit and grant processes, and raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to build you new trails. But it sure doesn’t show any gratitude or respect.
I hate it when mountain bikers suck.