By Rod Kramer – As trails become more heavily used by pedestrians, cyclists and horseback riders, it’s inevitable that occasional conflicts will arise. Weber County is experiencing significant growth in the use of the existing trail system. Weber Pathways fielded an increasing number of complaints and concerns regarding these situations during the 2012 summer season. Complaints to land managers and property owners often result in new rules being put into place. Fines and enforcement of regulations are often an unfortunate part of expanding trail use. Some cities with heavily utilized trail systems, such as Boulder, Colorado, have reached a point of conflict where certain user groups have been effectively banned from nearly all singletrack trail in their heavily used foothills area.
Ogden has a fantastic resource in its high quality and easily accessible trail system which is generally open to most user groups. That resource is worth protecting! Each of our trail user communities needs to understand the situation and work to ensure harmony among all user groups. Effective education is probably the best solution.
With this in mind Weber Pathways has partnered with the Ogden Trails Network, the Ogden Cycling Education Foundation and the International Mountain Bicycling Association in a project to help educate trail users about proper trail etiquette. As many know, bikers are the group which yields to all others so they are the first group we are involving to maintain harmony. In order to reach as many cyclists with this message as possible a hangtag was created that explains the “Rules of the Trails” and shows an illustration of the internationally accepted trail yield sign. Six thousand (6,000) of these tags were printed, and with the support of most of the area bike shops, were hung on every bike sold rented or serviced during the 2013 season. Skyline Cycles, Bingham’s (Ogden and Sunset), The Bike Shoppe and Bikers Edge participated in this effort. The Ogden Cycling Education Foundation funded this project.
Weber Pathways strives to provide a positive experience to all of our trail users and feel that through education and communication the users of our trails will better understand one another. In the future they will offer a best practices guide for human powered trail users to safely encounter equestrians and considerations for human powered trail users with earbuds.