It is a sad day for Southwest Colorado because the National Forest Service decided to do the opposite of compromise and destroyed one of the best trails in the area, Long Hollow. Hundreds of locals and a few lucky out-of-town folks had the privilege to ride the primitive trail. The forest service has an archaic principal that, if it wasn't a sanctioned trail, that it must be destroyed. Today the world lost, too, because the powers that be cut down living trees to make a great trail disappear. It is a very old precept that must disappear into the past. The NFS needs to open a dialogue with the local riding population and find a constructive solution for these "illegal" trails in the area. Sure, Long Hollow would need some slight drainage mitigation over the years, but so does every trail built!
All of us need to be honest in that the biggest problem on these trails is the grazing livestock. They spread weeds, walk in a very thin line no matter the conditions, all of which causes amazing destruction of our trails. If you have ever been on Hermosa Trail when the cattle are coming down in the fall or anywhere the grazing livestock have been you know that you may not be able to use your water bottle or camelbak due to the amount of feces on everything. The worst part about any of this trail damage is that ranchers contribute little to none towards trail maintenance, or at least it is not visible to most of us. These realities need to be changed.
The truth of the matter is new trails are popping up weekly and two things need to happen: first, adoption not destruction and second, construction of a directional, more challenging trail network. When the land managers find a new trail they need to study its use first and if they decide that something needs to change, close it temporarily and work out the changes with the users. A very real reality is coming into focus in that, with modern bike design, we all can ride faster while being more comfortable on rougher terrain. The old premise of one trail for all users is becoming dangerous for everyone. We NEED to move forward with the rest of the major trail centers in the world and have a directional, more challenging trail system that will engage more users from around the world.
Four Corners Freeride Coalition is going to reach out to the NFS and see if we can come to a functional compromise on these subjects. We need your help to make this a reality! We are a huge group of land conservationists that are willing to volunteer and work so that we get the trails that we enjoy. Lets expand our trail network so we all have more trails to share!