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Cooperation on the trail


Mules and donkeys for trails

The Rocky Mountain Long Ears Association is an organization of people who use the network of trails throughout the Rocky Mountains of Colorado to ride or pack their mules and donkeys for recreation.

As the trail user population increases within our state, our organization is concerned about preserving the privilege of trail use. Our areas of concern are focused on

Limited trailhead parking for horse trailers can put hikers and bikers in potentially dangerous proximity to animals being prepared to ride. Trailheads designed for overnight equine use would also benefit from divided campsites so trail users not familiar with the sights, sounds, and smells of the equine trail users would be more comfortable in a separate area. We don't want to be alienated from other trail users, we just need more room because of the size of our equipment.

A second concern is having enough trails for our use. With the sudden influx of hiking, biking, and motorized vehicles on the trails. We need either more trails to accommodate these multiple uses or a scheduled usage of the trails that exist. We also applaud the development of the "Right of Way Program" with different trail users yielding to each other.

Let's work together to develop and manage trails for all users now-not after the trails have been over-used and abused, and we spend all the allocations on repair and law enforcement to maintain our trail system as it exists today.

For more information: Rocky Mountain Long Ears Association, P. O. Box 191, Eastlake CO 80614.

Snowmobilers and Bicyclists Join Forces in Quebec

A new collaboration bodes well for the future of trails in Quebec, and serves as an inspiration for trail advocates everywhere. The Federation des Clubs de Motoneigistes du Quebec (FCMQ) and the Association Cycliste Drummondville Foster have joined forces to establish a 62-kilometer trail along an abandoned railway linking the towns of Wickham and Foster. Crucial support for the project was furnished by the Ski-Doo Division of Bombardier Inc. which provided an interest-free, six-year loan for $150,000, enabling it to buy the rail corridor from Canadian Pacific Railways.

The trail, which varies in width from 12 to 20 feet, will be open to FCMQ members and bicyclists and will join other snowmobile and bicycle trails. Plans are already being drawn up for its extension on both ends, perhaps reaching as far as the Vermont border, 30 kilometers from Foster.

Quebec snowmobilers and other supporters of the sport have long been concerned about the fragile nature of a trail system dependent on the continued good will of thousands of private landowners whose individual decisions can wreck havoc with a trail's continuity. As Benoit Lafortune of Ski-Doo' noted,

"This financial contribution must be seen as encouraging the launch of a permanent infrastructure program and as support for a new approach to the development of recreation and tourism. This project is for everyone and for every season.
It takes a team approach to convert former railbeds into recreational trail systems. These efforts will succeed only if everyone is willing to contribute and respect the interests of all parties."

Favoring "shared" over "multiple" use

The following dialog took place this summer on the International Mountain Bicycling Association's electronic mailing list,, and was printed in the IMBA Trail News:

We talk about "multiple use" of trails but I think we should consider using the term "shared use" instead. Multiple use can allow for segregated or separate use, and that's not what we're after. We want trails that are shared, wherever possible. Sharing has a positive feel to it, as it is something we've all been encouraged to do since we first learned to socialize. Remember being told that we really shouldn't bash the kid next to us so we can grab his toy while he runs off screaming, in search of his mother? Even if we never really got the message, we knew that sharing was a major feel-good, something we were supposed to do.

-- Mark Flint , Portland United Mountain Pedalers, Portland, Oregon

I like that term. It has a "softer" feel to it. In some respects "multiple use" can connote a mental image of many people on a trail at one time, in other words, crowded. "Multi user" can also connote in some people's minds the image of lots of substance abusers (I have had people say this to me when I use this term about my trail club). "Shared use" on the other hand, is more clear and concise, with positive mental images. We definitely need to promote the concept of shared use/share the trail. This term certainly, in my humble opinion, does that.

-- Tom Horsch, President , Virginia Creeper Trail & Club, a "Shared Use Trail"

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