Get Involved With San Miguel Bike Alliance
by Adam Black, president of San Miguel Bicycle Alliance
Sep 22, 2008 | 767 views | 1 1 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
As an avid mountain biker myself I would like nothing more than to build a bridge on the Mill Creek Trail, stop trails from being closed to mountain bikers and construct new trails in the region. With that said, these things will take time. The San Miguel Bicycle Alliance is a newly formed group of cyclist from around the Telluride region, with the common goal of improving our trail systems. We now have our nonprofit status, a website ( HYPERLINK "http://www.TellurideSMBA.org" www.TellurideSMBA.org), our membership base is growing and funding is starting to come in. This season is mostly an organizational effort, which is necessary before we can undertake any serious projects.

The Forrest Service has taken a lot of heat recently for the downhill trails being closed, the Telluride Trail being TEMPORARILY closed and the newly constructed Mill Creek Bridge being removed. These are all liability issues where the Forest Service cannot just look the other way. I would like to get everyone on the same page regarding a few items. The Uncompahgre National Forest has only three rangers to serve our area and maintain our trail network. Obviously this is not enough manpower to get things done very quickly. They do a great job of clearing the trails of downed trees and posting new signage. SMBA is excited to get involved and help the forest service with labor, funding and educating trail users. We need to exercise patience right now instead of taking matters into our own hands, which will hurt our efforts in the future. The Forest Service does not want to be the bad guy, but has obligations as a federally funded organization that they must abide by. We must work closely with the Forest Service to accomplish anything, so this year we need to have a little patience and look forward to hitting the ground running next spring.

SMBA does not support pay-per-use on the existing trails on the ski area, but would be for it if there were more and better trails available including down hill specific trails. Telluride is already an expensive place to visit, we don't agree with putting more barriers in place for visitors and locals alike to access our public lands and trails that were built with federal money.

In order for the pay-per-use plan to work, we need to have one of the entities mainly Telski or TMVOA take responsibility for the trail networks. Please step up to the plate Telski. If we had a real mountain bike park with downhill trails and additional cross-country trails we would attract people from Moab, Grand Junction, Durango, Fruita (effectively the entire western slope and more) if we did it. Otherwise we can be re-active and someone else will beat us to the punch and garner the large market share that is sitting out there for the taking. Don't forget that people who visit in the summer and enjoy it will most likely come back in the winter, which will help the local economy and Telski's bottom line.

The top priorities of SMBA are to work on improving our current trails, get a bridge built on the Mill Creek Trail next spring that is up to the specifications of the Forest Service, construct a new trail network on the valley floor after the environmental assessment shows us where they could be done and EDUCATE TRAIL USERS. Another top initiative is to have trail building clinics with both the forest service and the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) so we can learn how to build sustainable trails that do not harm the surrounding environment. We need everyone’s help with this. If you use trails, whether biking or hiking, you can help make a difference. Please join us, get involved and help us improve our access to the surrounding National Forest, BLM & Public Lands. For more information visit HYPERLINK "http://www.TellurideSMBA.org" www.TellurideSMBA.org or email: HYPERLINK "mailto:Adam@TellurideSMBA.org" Adam@TellurideSMBA.org.
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Dave Riley
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September 22, 2008
Adam,

Thank you for a very thoughtful and well composed piece - very impressive.

The solution will likely be based on a combined effort by the various stakeholders including your group. Telski, TMVOA, USFS, the Town of Mtn. Village, San Miguel County, the Town of Telluride, and MTI all have a significant role/stake in this. This is a classic community-wide issue that we should be able to resolve in a responsible manner that gives respect to the long-term view.

Please contact me at the office to discuss further.

Thank you.