Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Pissed off but not surprised

Didn't realize it'd been so long since I wrote an update for the blog. Lots of reasons/excuses, primarily centering around work, family and (ugh) road biking. Remind me to never sign up for 1000 miles worth of road bike tour in a summer again.

Now that THAT ordeal is over, I've finally had a chance to spend some quality time in the Rubies. This isn't a bad thing as we are currently in the throes of a SPECTACULAR fall. We'll see if it lasts through the snow forecast for Wednesday... can't we just keep the pretty leaves for a little while longer?


The Great Basin Institute kids have left for the summer, and a horrific mess snakes up the hillside in their wake. Their supervisor should be ashamed of himself for the gross mismanagement that has made a shambles of the Secret-Lamoille Trail Project. There are ten switchbacks on the trail so far, and not a one of them meets the minimum specifications for an equestrian or mountain bike trail. None of them are remotely sustainable and three of them are patently unsafe. The benching is so narrow in some places that the "trail" is literally falling down the mountain, and horses are forced to walk on the trail's critical edge, exacerbating the problem. The three sets of steps that the kids wasted their time constructing are not only needless and unsustainable, but unusable by two of the trail's three target user groups.

Here's the one that really pisses me off, though:

Remember this photo from last winter?

Here's another shot taken from the same spot:

That was one of the prettiest viewpoints on the entire trail.

Here's what the butchers left in their wake:

They killed five trees - completely needlessly, since Greg's original design had the switchback placed well before the trail reached the trees. They ruined the framing for the spectacular view, turned the great shady sitting rock that was right there into the trail base. They just tossed the dead trees off to the side to rot.

Do these people even use trails???? You have to wonder why they're here, unless it's to use power tools that somebody else is paying for.

The people from the state forest service office are finally coming out to have a look at this shambles, and I can only hope that big, big changes are in store. Certainly the very first thing that should happen is that the incompetent hack running the show should be fired and replaced by somebody willing and able to provide direct, continual, on-the-ground supervision to the kids doing the work - somebody who not only knows how to build a sustainable mountain bike trail, but somebody who actually cares about building a good one.


  1. ugh! What the hell? And what the hell can we do?

  2. At this point, "anonymous," I'm hoping that the state office will take this project in hand. And, with the current district ranger's departure, hopefully this project will get better oversight from the local district than it has up to now.

    Unfortunately, though, the money they spent on the Great Basin Institute is down the drain, with this to show for it. I have no idea whether GBI has any responsibility to clean up the mess they made and bring the trail up to what was intended, but I doubt it. The taxpayers are going to be left holding the bag on this, which is directly counter to what was intended by the original proponents of this project.

  3. Thanks Sue - this is your project that has been made a mess of. The best thing that could happed would be that the trail is abandoned and reverts to its natural state. Next time you come up with an idea to uglify the Rubies, have a beer and go to sleep instead. Does this come as a surprise to you? And you want this all the way to Secret Pass? The buck stops with you, and Gar is not gone.

  4. This is outrageous and needs to stop. We have many months before Great Basin solicits its workers fornext year. All I can think of is to go to the FS and ask them to supervise this project more carefully. What do you suggest? How. Much further is Great Basin's work funded? Should we start a petition to engage thew FS more, require a cleanup, take the project away from them? Please detail your ideas and suggestions.

  5. The problem begins and ends with the project's management.

    I'll write a post about it so we can discuss. Thanks for asking.

  6. By the way, "anonymous" of October 14 - if the buck really did stop with me we wouldn't be in this mess. I wish it did, but it doesn't.

    Again, and I repeat: if you don't like the trail then don't use it. Clearly other people are very much enjoying the trail and are looking forward to its completion.

  7. What I do not like is a badly built trail that destroys the natural beauty. YOU would not want an ATV track up there - the reasons that you would not want an ATV track up there and the reasons that you don't like what GBI has done are reasons that I agree with - we are on the same page. The trail will not go to Secret Pass until we are in wheel chairs - there is no funding and not many people would use it.

  8. Find out how much funding is left for the trail, and let's get ahold of it - or if more money is needed, let's prevent GBI from getting it. Can't we find out from the state agency that awarded the grant what the status is - the grant holder has to account to them for the use of the funds and has to detail its project in any new grant application. We should just stop GBI's access to the funds. GBI exists so that the people at GBI can have a public persona as protecting the environment and they can have something to do - they do not understand local needs and values. This trail could/should have been built without cutting down live trees - and it is good neither for horses nor mountainbikers. Step 1: find out the status of the funding and object to further releases of funds to GBI since they are not building the porject that was described in the grant application in a reasonable manner. Step 2: Get community suppor for this - there is a trail ride/walk scheduled for the trail with the Forest Service - as many people as possible should come and vocalize their concerns and objections - let the FS know that the people who will likely use the trail have concerns that need to be addressed.

  9. See, "anonymous" - there are things we can agree on! I'm 100% with you on this. I'm pretty sure that GBI scrounged the money from the Division of State Lands... leftover Q1 money from other projects that didn't need it. We don't want to lose the money, though, we just want to change grantholders. I have no idea how to make something like that happen, but certainly the USFS would have to buy in on it. Don't know if that would happen.

    Again, GBI can be the grantholder as long as they're not managing the project or insisting on providing the labor. They can write checks as well as the next guy. The key is going to be getting this project back in the hands of the community, to ensure that it's managed in a way that makes sense in Elko County.