mocosocoBirds is presenting the following letter as a public notice to make people aware of a proposal to open the Griggstown Native Grassland Preserve in Franklin Township for mountain bikers. Mark Grieco wrote the following note and sent it to Chris Duffek who passed it on to mocosocoBirds. Here is the contents of the message:
From Mark Grieco:
“On July 10, the Franklin Township Trails Advisory Committee voted to open the orange, yellow, purple, and brown trails to mountain bicyclists. The issue will now go to the Open Space Advisory Committee. I’m totally opposed to the bikers for several reasons:
- The preserve is a wildlife sanctuary. My experience at Six Mile Run is that bikers frighten wildlife. I can only imagine what this will do to birding at the site.
- The bikes will destroy the trails, by rutting, as they did at Six Mile Run.
- While the Trails Committee recommended prohibiting bikes on the red and blue trails for environmental reasons, the fact is from the preserve parking lot you can only get to the upper four trails by going through the red and blue trails. This is a de facto opening up of the entire trails system, including those parts deemed sensitive, to the bikes. Both wildlife and the quality of the trail surfaces will suffer.
- The township has no policing of its open space. It is irresponsible to invite more people to an area – a Geo Caching system was recently opened up at the preserve – that can not be policed. That only increases the likelihood of vandalism and conflicts between various users of the preserve.
- The trail etiquette of many bikers is questionable. Again, based on my years of experience, bicyclists travel at a high rate of speed on trails and rarely yield to hikers, as trail policy states at most sites. Frankly, I find their approach to the natural environment, one that seems to value conquering nature as opposed to observing and learning from it as birders and hikers do, as incompatible to a wildlife sanctuary.
Simply put, bicycles are an incongruity, and at times a destructive force, in the natural environment and their presence should be greatly limited. There are plenty of riding trails just down Canal Road at Six Mile Run; the bicyclists should use that site.
I’m hoping you can spread the word about this unfortunate recommendation by the Franklin Township Trails Advisory Committee to the birding community and they can make their concerns known to the township. As I indicated above, the issue will now go to the Open Space Committee. The Franklin Township Council liaison to the Open Space Committee is Councilman Theodore Chase. His email is Councilman.Chase@twp.franklin.nj.us. Thanks for your time and concern. See you on the trails.”
Note from the editor: Any intelligently written opinions regarding this issue are welcome and will be added to this post as comments.