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03-30-2012, 05:37 PM #26Registered User
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- Jul 2010
People are underestimating the legal position. They assume that because the trails were built without permission from some authority that there is no legal protection for them. That is false. The statute of limitations has long expired; it doesn't really matter how they got there. As long as some business, municipality or entity out there is benefiting economically from their existence, in the present or in the future, they have a civil case against the state, and are entitled to damages, if the trails are removed. All is required is for that entity to file suit.
The sword of litigation cuts both ways, friends.
03-30-2012, 06:03 PM #27Registered User
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- Jul 2010
People have rights. States have no rights, only power. The state has no right to remove those trails. They only have the power to do so unless stopped by another power within the state apparatus, like a judge.
If one motorhead was all it took for them to act on closing those trails, how do you think they will act when confronted by the Whatcom Chamber of Commerce(for example) and a court order from a judge?
03-30-2012, 06:18 PM #28
03-30-2012, 06:23 PM #29
03-30-2012, 06:25 PM #30
Just got an email from Senator Ericksen containing this press release:
PRESS RELEASE: OLYMPIA… Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, today sent a letter to Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark asking him to suspend the Department of Natural Resources’ plan to decommission the mountain-bike trail system on Slide Mountain at the North Fork Nooksack River. The work is set to begin Monday.
The trail system, which is user-built, is not an authorized recreational area and off-road vehicle enthusiasts have insisted that if motorized-vehicle user groups are denied access, all access should be denied.
Ericksen said “I have asked for time to review all documents related to the environmental and management problems perceived by DNR; communications with county officials, mountain-bike organizations, neighbors to the area and other interested parties; and any complaints regarding mountain-bike activities in the area.
“I am very concerned about this proposed closure. I believe strongly that public lands should be as open and available as possible for public recreational activities.
“There are no authorized recreational areas on DNR land in Whatcom County. The user-built mountain-bike trail system is a reflection of the need for such recreational opportunities.”
Please see below the County Council Resolution I and other County
Council members are co-sponsoring in an effort to get the DNR to reverse
its plans to close the Slide Mountain/North Fork Nooksack Trail.
RES. 2012 – MOUNTAIN BIKE
SPONSORED: Crawford, Mann, Kremen
RESOLUTION NO. ________
REQUESTING THE WASHINGTON STATE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES TO WORK
WITH MOUNTAIN BIKE ADVOCATES AND USERS TO DEVELOP AND MAINTAIN CONTINUED
USE OF MOUNTAIN BIKE TRAILS IN THE AREA OF THE NORTH FORK OF THE
WHEREAS, Whatcom County is endowed with an extensive forested
mountainous landscape ideal for the pursuit of mountain biking, hiking,
and other passive recreational activities; and
WHEREAS, the available land that can be utilized for mountain biking is
somewhat limited relative to the forested mountainous areas of the
county because of ownership issues, conflicts with neighboring uses, and
access to trail networks; and
WHEREAS, Whatcom County has become recognized nationally as a mountain
biking ‘mecca’, attracting world-class mountain bikers along with the
associated economic input to our community’s prosperity; and
WHEREAS, the significant local economic infrastructure supporting the
recreation and sport of mountain biking continues to rely on
availability of a variety of locations to engage in mountain bike
WHEREAS, local mountain bike organizations already exist that have
demonstrated the ability to organize and collectively to address trail
construction, maintenance, self-policing and impact mitigation; and
WHEREAS, the area of Whatcom County known as the North Fork of the
Nooksack River has been developed by users over the past 20 years into a
key location (along with Galbraith Mountain and the Chuckanuts) for
mountain bike recreation and sport; and
WHEREAS, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources has
announced the upcoming closure of the North Fork of the Nooksack River
to off-road mountain bike use; and
WHEREAS, the activity of mountain biking as a recreation and a sport can
be coordinated with other forest use priorities such as logging,
hunting, hiking, winter recreation, fishing, fire prevention, and
environmental stewardship to bring about enhancement and protection of
the forest landscape for future generations.
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Whatcom County Council that we
strongly encourage the Washington State Department of Natural Resources
to withdraw its deadline to close the North Fork of the Nooksack River
to off-road mountain bike use, and instead to engage and collaborate
with mountain bike users and advocates in maintaining and continued
development of a network of mountain bike trails in that area in a
manner that is environmentally protective and compatible with other
ADOPTED this day of April, 2012.
WHATCOM COUNTY COUNCIL
ATTEST: WHATCOM COUNTY, WASHINGTON
Dana Brown-Davis, Clerk of the Council Kathy Kershner, Council Chair
APPROVED AS TO FORM:
Civil Deputy Prosecutor
Thank you for sharing your sentiments regarding this important issue.
03-30-2012, 07:27 PM #31Registered User
- Join Date
- Feb 2005
- North Vancouver/Whistler
but maybe not so good news
March 30, 2012
DNR TO CLOSE ACCESS TO ILLEGAL AND UNAUTHORIZED MOUNTAIN BIKE TRAILS IN NORTHEASTERN WHATCOM COUNTY
Safety, Water Quality, And Protection Of State Trust Lands Key Reasons For Closure
OLYMPIA – On Monday, April 2, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will begin closing access to illegal, unauthorized mountain bike trails and structures in the North Fork Nooksack forest block in northeastern Whatcom County. The trails were built without obtaining permission from DNR or county and state permits.
03-30-2012, 09:03 PM #32Registered User
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- Jul 2010
I don't know why you guys want to be nice to those guys. Total cunts.
03-30-2012, 10:01 PM #33
03-31-2012, 12:57 AM #34Registered User
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- Jul 2010
They don't own the land. They cannot 'own' it; they manage it. A Government can have no property rights, as a government does not and cannot have rights. A government only has authority; the authority to exercise power or control over the land; authority which is given to it by the people.
A government who exercises its power in direct conflict with the will of the people is acting illegally.
It is the people who own the land, not the government. Get it straight.
The DNR cannot just 'do what it wants' in this case in a strictly legal sense. The question is whether someone will have the balls to stand up to them challenge them in court by filing a lawsuit. A decree from a senator or county council has no legal bearing. There has to be a lawsuit.
There is a way out of this, I've shown the way. Someone just has to do it.
Last edited by TheMessenger; 03-31-2012 at 01:14 AM.
03-31-2012, 05:04 AM #35Registered User
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- Mar 2010
Messenger, did you or anyone else file some sort of lawsuit here in Utah when the LCC DH was "shut down" this most recent time?
Was this situation different?
03-31-2012, 11:12 AM #36Registered User
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- Jul 2010
No, but considering what happened, would it have not have possibly led to a better outcome? The suggestion was, in fact, made to pursue legal action based on the RS2477 statute in co-operation with the country, being that the 'trail' was an old mining road that existed before 1907 (maps pulled from the library archive, proved such) and therefore fell in the legal custody of the county and NOT the forest service. All they would have to do is file a RS2477 claim; an effective strategy, in the United States, pursued by OHV advocates (and therefore despised by environmental groups) for years. I regret not making the case more forcefully.
WAFTA pooh poohed the idea, and was, similarly, was more interested in making media interviews and pursuing a diffuse and ineffective letter writing campaign. That they had spent months prior holding hands with Save Our Canyons and singing Kumbaya, did nothing for their credibility, and in this regard, ultimately blew up in their face.
Letter writing campaigns, in themselves, are often ineffective because they rely on the goodwill of your adversary to see things from your point of view. This almost never happens. The folks at a place like the DNR or Forest Service will 'do what they want' until confronted by a court order. That is the language that they speak and if they are un-cooperative, you need one for them to listen to you.
I believe there is a reluctance to pursue a legal strategy for fear that the trail builders will somehow get in trouble, or that the agency will not work with you in the future. This is not the case. As I pointed out before, the statute of limitations is up. It doesn't matter how the trails got there, there is nothing they can do except prohibit further trail-building without a permit. That is the extent of the legality of their action. And, pursuing a legal strategy is much more likely to get them to work with you in the future as they will respect you and recognize that mutual cooperation is the only way to avoid a similar situation in the future. The unfortunate thing is that the leaders of trail organizations and non-profits are often ignorant of the legal tools available to them, and so they go un-used.
The LCC trail and the NF trails are different in that the NF trail network is much more mature (and awesome!) and much closer to being a tourist draw such as Post Canyon or Black Rocks than LCC, as such has a higher economic impact, and therefore the strength in a civil case is that much stronger. Likewise the amount of work that is about to be lost in the NF trails is much more, and therefore the stakes are higher. Luckily, Bellingham has a much smaller population, but a higher percentage(and numbers) of mountain-bikers and therefore has a greater ability to influence the local government than in Salt Lake; but somebody has to act.
I believe a civil case brought by the Whatcomtrails.com and the Chamber of Commerce, (on the behalf of bike shops, restaurants, gas stations etc.) in conjunction with a letter writing campaign would be powerfully effective. Even the threat of a lawsuit may be enough to turn the DNR around. But someone's got to do it. I would do it myself, but I am too far away.
Bellingham mags, listen to me, someone get down to the courthouse on monday and FILE AN INJUNCTION, ON MONDAY, so that the action of the DNR will be delayed. This is really important. It would be such a shame to see those trails go. You are running out of time. One day left. Get a lawyer. DO IT. Please!
Last edited by TheMessenger; 03-31-2012 at 11:56 AM.
03-31-2012, 01:19 PM #37
What really bugs me about this is that the 20+ thousand dollars of our (tax) money is being wasted on this when there are so many other better uses for it, such as, cleaning up the illegal garbage dump on the DNR land to the west of the river (and no, I'm not talking about Foothills on the South Fork... that's a whole different story) That dump drains into a creek that drains into the North Fork.
03-31-2012, 01:48 PM #38
03-31-2012, 02:21 PM #39Registered User
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- Jul 2010
Not sure what you mean. NF ain't no air force base, if that is what you are getting at.
The military actually does have the authority and power to control access to an air-force base. Authority granted to it , BY THE PEOPLE, through duly elected representatives. But they don't own it. There is a difference between ownership and authority.The question is whether the DNR actually has the legal authority to carry out their proposed action on monday, especially considering the number of people who will effected by it, negatively, in an economic sense and in other ways. The only way to find out is if someone challenges them. I believe they do not without proper public input.
The very least it will delay the action long enough until some impartial party, a judge, can have a hearing in the matter, and possibly even a more amenable solution can be found that is agreeable to all parties. But once the DNR starts using their chainsaw's on monday, it's over.
I think the major problem we have in the US is that the people who get put in charge of these decisions end up being radical environmentalists, as the field of natural resources tend to attract a lot of environmental science majors out of college and those people definitely tend to have a certain narrow viewpoint regarding these issues.
They end up having pretty ignorant, narrow minded, inflexible bureaucratic mentality who have no idea when they overstep their own legal authority. But they do it anyway because nobody ever stops them. They are entrusted with the responsibility of stewardship of the land, but in effect they set themselves up as de facto rulers, with no accountability, acting as tyrants against the will of the people; the actual owners of the land.
It pretty clear where the will of the people stands on this issue, and that the only people really in favor of the action are the few folks at the DNR. Whether anyone will take the necessary steps to stop them is another matter.
It's painfully obvious that many in the MTB community have not thought very deeply about these matters. The whole strategy of sucking up to the environmentalists and land managers has been a complete failure, in my opinion. How many times has some approved action, mining or logging or whatever, action been stopped, by a lawsuit by an environmentalist group? I don't see why the same strategy shouldn't be used to prevent the decommissioning of an established trail network.
Last edited by TheMessenger; 03-31-2012 at 02:51 PM.
03-31-2012, 02:41 PM #40
Part of being a natural resource management agency means being held to standards regarding the condition of the land. That is why they exist. No it's not an air force base but using a blanket statement that 'public land is for the public, and government land is the people's land' doesn't really apply in such broad terms. You can't just go build a house on FS land, say it's for the public good and expect it to fly. A bicycle trail falls into a lot of the same pitfalls. No permits granted, no assessment of impact-good/bad/publicly beneficial or detrimental etc. That's how backcountry huts get built.....through an approval process. These trails weren't done that way. THAT is why this is happening and THAT is why they're now in danger isn't it? Blaming some faceless environmentalists gone wild in government agencies is kind of a cop out. If it was such an issue, the clear cutting that goes on up there would be in question don't you think?
That said, I've (forever) said that this model of user built infrastructure seeking acceptance after the fact is far far more productive. Post canyon, Bootleg Canyon, the Teton Pass network, Several sections of the Porc rim trail, Galbraith and probably several others I can't remember have all followed that model. As far as I know Blackrock canyon is the only place that is designated a bike recreation area where there were no trails before (I may be wrong). But part of that process is almost always dependent on a group stepping up and taking responsibilty for the trails, agreeing to guidelines etc... We're on the same page in that we've all seen it happen and work to productive ends. But you know the US doesn't have the same view as 'crown land' in canadia. There are things that are very much illegal on the 'public's' land. It's not some nebulous call on the part of a few environmentalists in an agency. These things are law. Now whether or not these laws are constitutional or whatever....sure maybe you're right, but you're going to have to dig pretty deep to approach situations like this in that manner.
Now........what do you know about the WA DNR specifically where this would not also be the case? Is there anything in their charter that says they should have a recreation provision? Or are they more like the USFS in decades past where they've just existed to serve logging?
03-31-2012, 04:33 PM #41
03-31-2012, 05:33 PM #42
There's plenty of logging going on in that area it seems to me (given, a non-local). I don't need to name the trails that got wiped out recently.
But that is a good point. My question still stands though as far as what is DNR's role to provide for such opportunities.
To 'our' credit, there is a specific page on their website dedicated to outdoor recreation. Meager but it is there.
03-31-2012, 07:12 PM #43Registered User
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- Jul 2010
But I digress, we are talking about trails that already exist and how to prevent them from being torn down. I've outlined a method how to do that pretty clearly. Everything else we are arguing about is semantics.
Last edited by TheMessenger; 03-31-2012 at 07:31 PM.
03-31-2012, 07:29 PM #44
On the rest of your post: I know...which is why I've always told people to build first, approve later. But fyi, frorider can tell you...... The tahoe basin management unit of the forest service is straight up asking mountain bikers where they want trails now. That was a result of his and some others' hard work over the last few years. It's not so black and white. And working with these agencies from the get go CAN be productive. So there's one case where you're wrong.
But again you're approaching this like it's the WA DNR's job to create some sort of formalized approval process for building bike trails outside of a park setting. I still don't get what grounds you have to claim this outside of some nebulous populist stance that it's 'the people's land'. Get specific. What do you know about the WA DNR's mission statement that says they should even give a shit. In their eyes they have parks already.
03-31-2012, 07:39 PM #45Registered User
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- Jul 2010
Like I said. All of that are semantics. The trails are already there. Businesses have a right to sue the DNR for potential lost revenue, for closing the trails. Even if they don't succeed it will slow the process down and perhaps a better solution will be found.
IT DOESN'T GET ANY CLEARER THAN THAT KIDWOO.
I'm not arguing this bullshit with you anymore.
03-31-2012, 09:49 PM #46
The centerpiece of what whatcom is trying to do relies on the DNR not having a bike/outdoor recreation plan. For a long term solution that seems to be their angle (whether you think that's not the best way or not). I'm just trying to figure out if they have a case. You know everything but you don't seem able to adress that one little detail. How many times have you been involved in this sort of thing? I know lots of folks in B'ham who have a few of these under their belt. In reality I mean.
I only chimed in because your approach that 'public land' is there for the taking is nuts.
I didn't know we were arguing. If you and I were having this conversation over a beer it would be exactly that. Don't get all offended just because not everyone recognizes your brilliance and insight with a few sentences.
Last edited by kidwoo; 03-31-2012 at 10:00 PM.
04-01-2012, 01:09 AM #47Registered User
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- Jul 2010
04-01-2012, 11:52 PM #48
As for if providing recreation areas is part of the WA DNR's mandate, I don't think so. Once they deem that a piece of property is no longer viable for logging, they auction it off, so that shows where their priorities are.
I'm not arguing for the people's claim to the land to do whatever the hell they want though... I'm arguing that the civil service should serve all of the people they were hired to serve within the bounds of good judgement. This particular decision was a knee jerk response to complaints from another (higher impact) user group. And it's a waste of money by a cash-strapped state.
04-02-2012, 10:21 AM #49
The DNR had already threatened to shut the trails down a few years ago. We were allowed to keep riding on the condition that no new trails were built and that all structures were to be removed. Builders decided to organize and keep adding new trails instead, with the hope of gaining legitimacy in the future. This was ok with the DNR at the time as there weren't alot of us out there. Each year the trails have been getting better and better, and unfortunately more popular. While it seems that the trails were considered under the radar, they really weren't (as proven by the number of cars on any nice summer weekend). What seems like a knee jerk reaction from the powers that be is more likely a decision that has been in the making for awhile. Luckily the core group of riders/builders/advocates in Bellingham are a tireless group (try spending anytime with EB on the trails! ) and there will be no end to the fight, even if we never are allowed to access this particular area again. The DNR is a typical bureaucratic government entity, where it can take an eternity for change to happen, but in the long run (think ultra ultra marathon length), as long as the pressure is kept up, we'll have more places to ride. It's just going to take a lot of work and patience, and riding/building in other places....smoke crack and worship satan
04-02-2012, 11:18 AM #50Registered User
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- Jul 2010
Yeah, total Red Herring. Seriously doubt if the said 'dirtbiker' exists, much less a complaint from one. They just aren't like that.
Governments are know to be sociopathic liars.
Likely a move to try to create a political rift between MTB'ers and OHV'ers, two groups who's interests in regards to land access often intersect.