Submitted by Norm Roulet on Tue, 10/21/2008 - 23:08.
Cleveland Area Mountain Bike Association founder Mike Farley inserted some productive thoughts about mountain biking and bikers into a REALNEO posting called "Peace In Our Parks", by MetroparksMuse, which began "The Plain Dealer today has a story on the local mountain bikers' belligerent battle with Cleveland Metroparks. The
mountain bike crowd believes that parks exist for recreation - with
their emphasis being on speed and obstacles - while actually MetroParks
founding legislation was for protection of natural areas." Farley offered his perspectives, which offered value, but the discussion quickly became kind of negative and unproductive, which seems out of character with what CAMBA presents on their website. Although it is clear CAMBA members are fed-up with the establishment here, and are trying "other tactics", when you look through their history, progress and vision they are certainly an asset to the community deserving support. They are not a problem, but rather a soluton. And all real solution providers need to work together.
CAMBA has a comprehensive website and forums with 10,000s of postings offering great insight and content. Of particular interest for outsiders trying to understand CAMBA history and progress, read Cleveland Metroparks & CAMBA: The Epic Struggle to Ride a Bicycle in the Woods. The conclusion is:
As demonstrated in this article, we have spent a tremendous amount
of effort trying to convince Cleveland Metroparks to accept an activity
that is legal and successful in other cities and contributes to
community health and recreation. Mountain biking clearly falls within
the scope of the Cleveland Metroparks' mission which includes
recreation. And it is no more destructive to the resource than
hiking. To shut out mountain biking, Cleveland Metroparks
representatives claim they "already have too many trails". In what
would be a creative solution, the park could allow CAMBA to adopt and
improve some of those trails at no cost. But rather they choose to
bemoan the problem and treat mountain bikers as criminals. How will we
ever make our city truly attractive to the those active professionals
we so badly need with this inertia and lack of imagination?
have tried many different tactics starting from simply meeting one on
one, to writing letters and enlisting the support of area politicians,
to educating park professionals about the sport and trail building
techniques. During this time we have tried to be as positive,
professional, and constructive as possible, but as a group of
volunteers, the amount of time we can dedicate is limited. Clearly, it
is again time for another tactic. After seven years and thousands of
hours of volunteer time, we have a trail that is less than two miles
long in a park system consisting of over 20,000 acres. From Cleveland,
we are forced to drive at least 35 minutes to find a legal trail to
ride with significant distance. At the same time, hikers and
equestrians enjoy hundreds of miles of trails right here in Cuyahoga
It is our opinion that tax-paying members of the
public have a right to choose what activities are allowed in their
parks. We believe that distressed cities such as Cleveland need to use
every opportunity and public asset to attract and retain talent and
reinvigorate themselves. Park systems must acknowledge they play a role
in the community and that the social and economic role they play is an
important obligation owed to the taxpayers. The traditional model of
operating the park like it has been since the 1950's with an emphasis
on golf courses and large visitor/nature centers needs to be
reconsidered. We believe that the parks have a responsibility to listen
to the public and respond with something more than negativity and token
To see the CAMBA vision, read here... conclusion:
Our region is in a unique position to develop a world-class trail
system of 100 miles or more that is easily accessible to millions of
area residents. This world-class trail network will help retain
existing residents, attract new residents, draw visitors, and benefit
our regional economy. The cost is minimal and the land and supporting
facilities already exist. With a coordinated effort by our area park
systems, a world-class trail network can be built in a short period of
time with an immediate benefit to our area economy. Compared with
other efforts in the region, this project represents a “quick-hit”.
While this trail is not a panacea for all the issues our region faces,
it does represent a quality of life improvement that we urgently need
and that is well within our reach.
Now, what do you think of that?
I like their vision, but it is too limited to distant trails in public parks far from me... and doesn't envision building recreational and sport MTB into rebuilding our urban core, nor seem to offer value in my part of town. The Metroparks are not significant in my life. CAMBA should expand their focus... read more and interact at CAMBA and here.