Opinion: Regarding “Orange County Panel Hears Gripes on Mountain Biking Mishaps”

By Brian Colclough

Thisit’s sad that hikers and cyclists feel like they’re pitted against each other and that a certain level of execution ”is considered the logical answer. Yes, we need more rangers and we need more good stewards in the hiking and biking community, but any dream that the app will solve the real problem is just a “dream”.

Please read in the the voice of the movie trailer “itIt’s better this way: what if I told you that there are places where hikers and cyclists can live together in peace and harmony. What if I told you that we are places with safe, well-maintained hiking and biking trails. Would you believe me if I told you it was right in our backyard in Orange County?

For those of us who love the outdoors and hike and bike, we know the truth. The truth is that despite our beautiful surroundings and the ability to go out roughly 365 days a year, Orange County lags far behind other communities when it comes to having a vision and a strategy to enjoy the fuel. air and build and maintain specially designed trails. Specially developed trails and more of them will lead to a better and safer experience for all hikers and cyclists.

I’m sure someone reading this and maybe even someone from OC Parks or the OC government is saying well, wait a minute …. Our # 1 priority is ecological preservation and # 2 recreation. Ito state that this is an easy and practical excuse to explain why we do nott have a more robust and appropriate trail system that meets the needs of the community. The reality is that hes about preservation “until a builder comes up with a sufficiently large check, then preservation is thrown out the window with the the frog preservation signs – you know you’ve seen them – and the bulldozers are escorted like celebrities down the red carpet.

Id encourage leaders to put their personal opinions aside and ask themselves how and why other communities eclipse Orange County when it comes to boasting about the best hiking and biking trail systems? Orange County isn’t even close. Bonita, California, Boulder, Colorado, Bentonville, Ark., And King County, Washington, are just a few examples of how communities across the country are taking action and their communities thriving on it.

Hikers and cyclists using the trails are not the problem. And although yes, there are bikers who voluntarily post the rules and do notDon’t be careful, there are also reckless hikers, who wear full helmets, walk on the wrong side of a trail, and walk three or four people the full width of the trail creating potentially problematic situations. Rather than point fingers and blame each other, the right thing to do is expand to meet demand. Just as we are widening highways, local streets, and even adding larger bike lanes, the common sense approach is to expand.

Until Orange County and the surrounding communities are willing to have more purpose built trails, hikers and cyclists will be forced to use the same trails. Thiss separation that will make the trails more enjoyable and safer for everyone.

If you want to see what safe, well-maintained trails look like and see communities taking action, please follow the links below:

Bonita CA Sweetwater Bike Park: https://www.sdparks.org/content/sdparks/en/park-pages/SweetwaterBikePark.html

Boulder CO: https://bouldercolorado.gov/parks-rec/valmont-bike-park

Bentonville AR: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yO17nzId6xI&feature=emb_logo

King County WA: https://www.kingcounty.gov/services/parks-recreation/parks/trails/backcountry-trails/duthie-hill.aspx

Boone NC: https://www.exploreboone.com/things-to-do/attractions/rocky-knob-park/

Saint-Louis MO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpdXJBI-96w

Brian is a resident of Rancho Santa Margarita.

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