Two recent articles in the Issaquah/Sammamish Reporter on mountain bikes, trails and hikers point to what should be obvious to all: the mountains belong to everyone.
In other words, the sniping between hikers and mountain bikers has to end.
The problem is that no one likes to give up what they have had. For hikers, that means access to almost ALL the trails in our surrounding forests. At the same time, it is clear that mountain bikers can’t just peddle their way onto any trail and not expect problems.
The answer, of course, is to share, but by making sure each group has adequate places to enjoy the outdoors.
Mountain biking may be relatively new, but it’s not an activity that going to go away. Far from it. The sport is growing in popularity, beginning with little kids who are flocking to the activity. Some hikers may be aghast, but that’s the new reality – and it must be acknowledged.
In truth, if the forests are claimed by anyone, it certainly isn’t bipeds. The woods belong, as they always have, to bears, deer and other four-legged creatures.
If both sides – particularly hikers – are smart, they will work to develop trains each can enjoy separately. More effort will have to go into building those trails for mountain bikers, but the benefit – both long- and short-term – is that there will be less bumping up to and into each other on the trails they share now.
We are blessed in this area with one of the most wonderful outdoor recreation settings in the country. It’s no surprise that more and more people embracing that experience. Let’s all work now to ensure that we all have adequate access.