2009 GROC on Shared-Use Trails in Monroe County Parks


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GROC on the facts and benefits on shared-use trials in the Ellison parks master plan. 2009 Parks master plan the first chance to get legal mountain biking in Monroe County Parks

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2009 GROC on Shared-Use Trails in Monroe County Parks

  1. 1. Sustainable Off-Road Cycling and the Benefits for Monroe County Off-Road Cycling: The Facts Ellison Area Parks Master Plan
  3. 3. Off-Road Cycling: The Facts • The Economics and Benefits of MTB 2008: – 39 years old – average income is $81,000 – average price spent on a bike is over $1,600 • Off-road cyclists and hikers near Ellison Area Parks – 50 million Americans 16+ years old went off-road cycling in 2006 • Around The 5 Park Area Population of Mountain Bikers – Within ½ mile • 9,000 residents • 2,000 off-road cyclists • 3,000 hikers – Within 2 miles • 64,000 residents • 14,000 off-road cyclists • 22,000 hikers – These cyclists can ride to the parks and do not require additional parking lotsCompiled from Outdoor Industry Association Participation Study and Irondequoit Creek Corridor Study
  4. 4. User Group Comparison In MonroeCounty Parks 90 25 User Group Size (Mil) Parks Accessible to User Group 80 76.7 21 21 21 21 20 70 Parks Accessible to User GroupUser Group Size (Millions) 60 50 15 50 40.4 40 10 8 30 20 5 15.6 10 10 1 1 0 0 Hiking Nordic Skiing Bird Watching Horseback Riding Trail Running Off-Road Cycling User Groups
  5. 5. Nationally These OrganizationsSupport Off-Road Cycling• ADK : – Regionally ADK does support off-road cycling, but the local ADK organization has traditionally been against multi-use. – ADK Vision Statement: • To develop, maintain, and complete a sustainable, first-class trail system in concert with public and private entities that includes not only hiking trails, but also alpine areas, canoe carries, mountain bike trails, ski trails, lean-tos, campsites and trailheads throughout New York State’s Forest Preserve, parks, and other wild lands and waterways.• Sierra Club – The Sierra Club recognizes that bicyclists can be legitimate users of many non-Wilderness backcountry trails and supports responsible off-road bicycling. In an effort to find common ground and work for positive and shared environmental and recreational goals, the Sierra Club and International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) agreed to a set of principles (Park City Agreement, Appendix A). The Sierra Club affirms its commitment to those principles.• The Facts: – We have shown that proper trail management practices can sustain all human powered user groups – GROC as a group has worked successfully with local parks and recreation departments to build and maintain multi-use trails systems – Stewardship of our parks and trail system is the only way these trails will be managed and maintained.
  6. 6. Trail Management andSustainability• Common Misconception: "Bikes Cause Trial Damage"• Fact: Bikes do not cause any more damage on trail systems than hiking – Over 5 scientific studies have been done by many groups including IMBA – Scientific FACT: Studies from reliable sources such as the National Parks Service, and various universities have all concluded that off road cycling and hiking cause equivalent trail wear. Get rid of sub headings.“No scientific studies indicate that bicycling causes more degradation of plants than hiking.“• "ADK and the Sierra Club both support off road cycling.“ – 1. ADK acknowledges and promotes off road cycling as a legitimate form of trail use in their mission statement and vision statement. – 2. The Sierra Club and IMBA Park City Agreement: "Mountain biking is a legitimate from of recreation and transportation on trails (INCLUDING SINGLETRACK) when and where it is practiced in an environmentally sound and socially responsible manner."• NPS and universities – “A body of empirical, scientific evidence now indicates that mountain biking is no more damaging than other forms of recreation, including hiking. Thus, managers who prohibit bicycle use (while allowing hiking or equestrian use) based on impacts to trails, soils, wildlife, or vegetation are acting without sound, scientific backing. “ – “Hiking and bicycling trample vegetation at equal rates” -Thurston and Reader
  7. 7. Trail Management and Sustainability• Trail Damage is most often found when trails are not designed to work with the geologic and environmental conditions – Poorly designed trails will cause erosion, and damage to sounding environments – Proper monitoring and maintenance of trail systems is a key to sustainable trails systems – “The existing body of research does not support the prohibition or restriction of mountain biking from a resource or environmental protection perspective. Existing impacts, which may be in evidence on many trails used by mountain bikers, are likely associated for the most part with poor trail designs or insufficient maintenance.” - Environmental Impacts of Mountain Biking: Science Review and Best Practices By Jeff Marion and Jeremy Wimpey• Multi Use trails can work – There are thousands of trail systems around this country that share use with many users groups – Dryer Road Park is a phenomenally successful example in our area – FLT (Finger Lakes Trails System) over 8 years of coexistence with many trail user groups – 130,000 miles of multi-use national forest trails exist in the US
  8. 8. Off-Road Cycling Safety andLiability• The myths of off-road cycling being a liability: – There are many more injures in soccer, basket ball and other sport programs compared to MTB - Source Victor Parks and Recreation – Proper trail management practices mitigate the risks; unmanaged trails allow for increased risk• To Minimize Liability: – Mark trails clearly according to ODF Sign Design Manual – Build technical trail features to accepted standards. – When constructing or implementing natural or manmade technical obstacles, make sure to offer easier alternate routes that avoid the feature."Historically speaking, our records indicate that in the past four years since we opened Dryer Road Park to mountain biking, there are far more documented accident reports related to youth sports activities than those associated with mountain biking.“"As a parks and recreation professional with over twenty-five years of experience in the field, I can say with confidence that the sport of Off-Road Cycling is a legitimate recreational activity pursued by individuals who are often found to be the best stewards of our public lands.“"Off-Road Cycling has brought not only honor and notoriety to the Town of Victor, but it has also benefitted our local businesses by increasing the amount of tourist traffic to our retail shops, restaurants and hotels.“ Brian C. Emelson, CPRP Director of Parks and Recreation
  9. 9. Social and Health Benefits• Why this is important to Monroe County and to your residents? – Communities that are bicycle-friendly are seen as places with a high quality of life – Monroe County schools (Penfield and Webster) and organizations already have mountain bikes in P.E. programs yet have no place to ride, forcing them to travel to facilities in surrounding counties. – Promote activities that provide health benefits to our residents• Why is it important for communities to strive to be bicycle-friendly? – Citizens in communities across America want to improve their quality of life. They want a less stressful lifestyle, a cleaner environment, affordable transportation and better health for themselves and their children. Bicycling is part of the solution. – Bicycle-friendly towns, like those with good schools and vibrant downtowns, are communities that offer a good quality of life for families, which can lead to higher property values, business growth and increased tourism.• How do residents benefit from living in a bicycle-friendly community? – Our nation as a whole is experiencing alarming rates of obesity due to sedentary living and poor diet, resulting in 300,000 deaths a year from related illnesses, such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Obesity is the second leading cause of death after tobacco use in the country. – Bicycling is one of the best exercises for the cardiovascular system and is very effective at reducing weight and keeping it off. – World Health Organization recommends walking and cycling!
  10. 10. Tangible Economic Benefits• Monroe County has incredible parks that if enabled could attract a new user groups. – People travel all over the country to experience new off-road cycling experiences. Monroe County offers some of the best trail systems – Victor has already seen this on small scale based on the addition of Dryer Road Park. Travel to Victor any weekend and see the cars with bikes parked at local shops, gas stations and restaurants.• Some Economic Facts: – Off-road cycling pumps $26 billion into the American economy in direct expenditures alone In direct expenditures alone benefiting retail sales, services and tourism-related industries locally regionally and nationally – Visits to National Forest Service lands primarily for mountain biking generated $205 million in 2005, 3/4 of that years National Forest Service budget for Forest and Rangeland Research. – Bike trails in the Moab, Utah area produce a consumer surplus value of between $197 and $205 per trip, and the annual value of the trails is between $8.4 and $8.7 million. • The Economics and Benefits of Mountain Biking 2008 by Shimano
  12. 12. Ellison Area Parks• These 5+ trails systems make up some of the best terrain for all user groups – Panorama Plaza to the Dolomite Quarry, Ellison Park, and the Ellison Wetlands, Tryon, East Bay, West Bay. – This area provides a unique variety of trail systems for all levels of off-road cyclist and Hikers – This project provides alternative transportation routes linking several key areas• This project if opened to multi-use will attract trails users and particularly off- road cyclists from all over the country and Canada – Currently the only off-road cycling specific attractions in the area: Finger Lakes Trail, Bristol, OCP, Dryer Road Park and Harriet Hollister – This trail system would be the jewel of the Genesee region for off-road cycling
  13. 13. Project Potential• We want to see an inclusive parks policy that chooses to encourage as many human powered user groups as possible – In order to be create the best experience for all user groups its important to work together • Trails can be shared and designed to accommodate hikers and cyclist • Cooperation amongst the groups will create the best results and increase the number of volunteers – Several Commissioned studies from EDR show how these areas are capable of supporting all users groups. • Irondequoit Creek Valley Multi-Use Trail Feasibility Assessment & Design Recommendations Prepared for Town of Penfield, NY as lead agent and Genesee Transportation Council, Rochester, NY -By EDR Environmental Design and Research Sept 2008 • Town of Penfield Bicycle Facilities Master Plan Penfield, NY -By EDR and SRF Associates - Draft October 2008 – These parks have been used for the last 350 years as flour mills, sewage treatment, quarries, dumps, and land fills an effort by all user groups and Monroe County parks will result in reclaiming these areas and creating something g all residents can be proud of
  14. 14. Include All User Groups• Currently mountain bikers are prohibited from riding most of the existing trail network within the Rochester Metro area, forcing them to drive out of town and out of the county to ride single-track trails.• Safety: Having these trails opened to multiple user groups and properly maintained creates a safer environment – Helps discourage undesired uses like teenage party sites – Creates a safer environment for all users by having more use and stewardship leaving less room for isolated areas for trouble to occur – Discouraging unsanctioned trails building, destruction of property, and building of dangerous elements with the park area. – NMBP would be able to aid, assist, and inform all trail users.
  15. 15. Segregation Is Not The Answer• Integration rather than segregation of trails• Variety and Skill – Off-road cyclist range in skills, age, fitness and require trails that accommodate all levels of riders.• Access to Trails – One of the most important aspects of any trail systems is access from local roads and parking areas to the trails. – Ellison Park is a wonderful access point and is an ideal base. – Bay Trail YMCA is another possible access point – Wetlands parking area on Empire Blvd• Issue with Isolation: – allowing us to be involved would improve safety for less skilled riders. – cuts off these access points and creates additional costs to create safe and proper access to the park(s) – when users accidently or by need to travel from one location to another go onto restricted trails• Your Own studies – Ellison Area Parks Master Plan public input: Off-road cyclists outweighed all other user groups in positive feedback presented by EDR report – 2 EDR reports support multi use including off-road cyclists • Irondequoit Creek Valley Multi-Use Trail Feasibility Assessment & Design Recommendations • Town of Penfield Bicycle Facilities Master Plan Penfield, NY
  16. 16. Resources• Studies: – Environmental Impacts of Mountain Biking: Science Review and Best Practices (or pdf version) -- 2007. By Jeff Marion and Jeremy Wimpey. Originally published in the book Managing Mountain Biking, this article provides an extensive review of scientific studies and best practices. – A Comparative Study of Impacts to Mountain Bike Trails in Five Common Ecological Regions of the Southwestern U.S. (pdf file) -- 2006. D. White et. al., Journal of Park and Recreation Administration (Volume 24, Number 12) Natural – Resource Impacts of Mountain Biking or (pdf version) -- 2004. By Gary Sprung. Originally published in the book Trail Solutions, this article provides a summary of scientific studies that compare mountain biking to other forms of trail travel. – Planning and Managing Environmentally Friendly Mountain Bike Trails (7.5MB pdf file) -- 2006. A 60-page guidebook by Shimano, Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, U.S. Bureau of Land Management. – The Economics and Benefits of Mountain Biking (2 MG PDF) --2008. Commissioned in 2008 by Shimano. A limited number of print copies are available; $1 shipping fee for domestic orders, more for international orders.• National Parks work with IMBA – http://www.dirtragmag.com/print/article.php?ID=1186&category=departments• GROC Resource Links – http://www.victormtbc.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=218&Itemid=182