Red Rock hit again by trail scofflaws

       Friends of Red Rock Canyon, Medicine Wheel and Citizens Addicted to Trail-building (CATS) will join forces Saturday, Jan. 19 to restore a roughly 200-foot strip of hillside in Red Rock Canyon Open Space.

Seen looking down, this is the bicycle run that was illegally dug in last weekend at Red Rock Canyon Open Space.
Courtesy of Dave Dombach

       The three volunteer trail groups, with support from City Parks, planned the special workday after a hiker reported seeing “a group of young men” illegally digging an extreme-style downhill bicycle run last weekend between the upper and lower loops of Red Rock's off-leash dog area.
       Additional volunteers will not be needed, according to Dave Dombach of CATS. “The biggest thing I want to see is a lot of publicity so the public is aware of what some are doing to destroy our open spaces and parks,” he said. “Red Rock Canyon is not the only place this is happening.”
       At Red Rock last summer, an unauthorized, extreme-style bike trail came down a hill to the main parking lot (off Highway 24 at Ridge Road/High Street) before volunteers closed it, according to Scott Abbott, the city's supervisor for Regional Parks, Trails and Open Space (TOPS).
       Overall, since the 790-acre Red Rock Canyon property opened in 2004, City Parks officials have reported a variety of unauthorized trails - some radically unsafe - and even cases where abusers overwrote park signs with indelible pens to show their locations.
       “The city and public go through a very lengthy master-plan process to identify places appropriate for certain uses,” Abbott said. “When the general public decides they want to develop trails based on their interests, that can cause conflicts and dangerous situations, not to mention damaging resources and hampering our ability to protect those resources for the future.”
       The Red Rock master plan includes a Free Ride bike park, located near the parking lot. Built by cycling advocates, it offers a trick/stunt area and a downhill run with jumps.
       In the situation this week, the hiker, who was walking her dog, reported that the unauthorized downhill-run creators ignored her requests that they stop. Later that day, Dombach did some preliminary restoration work, only to come back a short time later to find his efforts had been undone.
       For the Jan. 19 workday, Abbott said that the city will provide supplies, including native seed, educational signs and possibly sections of fence
       Medicine Wheel is a group of area cyclists that formed about 20 years ago to help take care of trails in the region. While emphasizing that the unauthorized cycle-course creators were wrong in what they were doing, Harry Hamill of Medicine Wheel would like people seeking new bike-riding challenges to know that they are not being shut out.
       “This trail couldn't happen in Red Rock Canyon, but there are other opportunities elsewhere in the region to build trails that would appeal to these sort of riders,” Hamill said. “The goal is to let them know that there are options to legally create something they and other people would like to ride, run and hike and in a sustainable manner. These particular guys are clueless and can't see past their own interests, but the more people we can educate to change that mindset, the less damage we'll all have to repair in the future.”
       For more information on Medicine Wheel, the website is

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