Ball/Perkins park charette
While no official results have been posted on the City’s newly designed Green Grand Rapids website, the unofficial results are pretty clear. Mountain bikers and their supporters showed up en masse to cast their dot votes to have “Multi-use natural surface trails (singletrack suitable for mtn biking, trail running, xc skiing, and hiking)” integrated into the master plan for this park.
This photo taken by Thomas Fish of The Motion Initiative shows that 30 minutes prior to the end of the charette, “Multi-use natural surface trail” had received 107 votes. The next closest categories were “Natural/Preservation Area” and “Walking/Hiking/XC Ski trail” with 58 and 57 votes respectively.
I have heard that some concerns were raised about allowing mountain bikers to use the trails. It seems to me that trail use conflicts between hikers and bikers and fear that mountain bikes will destroy the trails and cause erosion are the two biggest obstacles that we must work to overcome as we try to have facilities built in our public parks. Trail use conflicts can be overcome with proper trail management and education of trail users.
The fallacy of increased environmental impacts has been addressed by the International Mtn Bicycling Association, but many times those unfamiliar with the sport make the wrong assumptions. The IMBA has a website summarizing the scientific studies that have been done comparing the relative impacts of different kinds of trail use on erosion, vegetation, and wildlife that can be found here. Although more research should be conducted under different kinds of conditions, the studies that have been done indicate there is no increased impact of bicycling over hiking.
Additionally, the new Green Grand Rapids logo indicates support of off-road bicycling. The new main graphic on the Green Grand Rapids website clearly shows a bicyclist riding on a hillside surrounded by trees. While I’m pretty sure it was not intentional, I can only hope this is a good omen for the future of mountain bicycling in our great city! 🙂
GR Bicycle Film Festival in the GR Press
Just a reminder, the Grand Rapids Bicycle Film Festival is coming up this Saturday, February 7th, 7:30pm at the Wealthy Theater. It’s going to be awesome!
Howard Meyerson, the Outdoor Editor for the Grand Rapids Press wrote a great article on the festival in this Saturday’s paper. Meyerson has been very supportive of bicycling (along with most other outdoor activities…it IS his job) in Grand Rapids, so be sure to check out his article here: