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Mountain Bike Trails
Mountain Bikers Rally Against California Trail Closures
Local riders rally when state budget cuts threaten popular singletrack.
ByIan Dille
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By all accounts, California’s China Camp State Park is a great place for beginners to grasp the basics of mountain biking, without sacrificing any of the experience. The Shoreline Trail’s wide, smooth singletrack gently rises into the famed Marin hills, and provides sweeping views of the San Pablo Bay below.


The trail is one of the few legal stretches of singletrack in Northern California’s Marin County and its historic setting and stunning scenery earned it recognition as one of the best places for beginners to try out the sport in the June 2012 issue of Bicycling Magazine. That story, which I wrote, came with a disclaimer: Due to state budget cuts China Camp is scheduled to close in July.


Parks Under the Ax


Last summer, the California State Park department declared a plan to shutter 70 of its 279 parks. The department, facing a $33 million budget gap over the next two years, deemed the park closures an unfortunate consequence of a state economy in crisis.


In Marin County, four of six parks were slated to close, and in the adjacent Diablo Vista park district, nine of 12 parks were put on notice. Perhaps most troubling to mountain bikers, the Diablo Vista district’s 5,000-acre Annadel State Park and its 45 miles of cherished singletrack also appeared on the state’s closure list.


“The last year has been a bit of an adventure,” says Danita Rodriguez, who oversees both the Marin and Diablo Vista park districts. “We’re trained and experienced at managing open parks, not closing them.”


Fire danger and illegal activities in the closed parks are obvious potential issues. “At first, the State told us they would save enough money closing the parks to pay people to patrol them,” says Greg Fisher, the editor of regional cycling publication Bike Monkey, who is leading the two-wheeled charge to keep Annadel open. “Then, they considered allowing people to use the park’s trails, without continuing to manage them.”


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Keir Weimer believes some of the best mountain biking trails are located in California, for all levels of rider, from neophyte all the way up to trail ninja. Keir Weimer just got back into the wonderful sport of mountain biking with his purchase yesterday of a Trek Mamba hardtail 29er with a beefy Rock Shox fork. Super excited to get on the trails in the Adirondack Park of New York State this summer, and maybe California in the not-too-distant future! -Keir Weimer