GOLDEN, Colorado (September 28, 2009) - After meeting with Jefferson County Open Space leaders and other stakeholders, the Colorado Mountain Bike Association board of directors has decided to oppose the county's current proposed plan for managing Apex Park.
COMBA is asking concerned trail users to meet at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 1, at the lower Apex Park parking lot to demonstrate their opposition to the plan. Bikers will then ride over to the Jefferson County Open Space Administrative Office, 700 Jefferson County Parkway, Suite 100, Golden, Colo., where the county's Open Space Advisory Committee is scheduled to consider the Apex Park management plan at 7 p.m.
"We are encouraging folks to bring their bikes and ride to the OSAC meeting in solidarity to ask the members of OSAC to reject the current proposal," COMBA President Terry Breheny said. "Although this plan is touted a 'compromise' position for Jefferson County and is less restrictive than the county's initial proposal, it remains inherently biased against a single user group, in this case mountain bikers.
"In addition to setting dangerous precedent for bike-exclusionary policy, this plan does not address the real issue - the need within JCOS for trails designed and managed for mountain bikers, which would, in fact, also help mitigate the 'speed differential' at crowded multi-use parks. COMBA believes the revised Apex management plan, in its current state, is akin to prescribing aspirin for someone with a broken leg."
The proposed plan limits the direction of travel for mountain bikers on popular trails within Apex Park-where cyclists comprise the majority usage-on an alternating-day schedule. The plan places no travel restrictions on other user groups.
"We are asking the mountain bike community to voice their dissent as soon as possible," Breheny said. "It's crucial that OSAC members have a clear understanding of this plan and the broad opposition to it before making a decision. Again, this plan, which unfairly discriminates against the cycling community, will not solve the underlying problem."
COMBA came to this position following a meeting on Friday, Sept. 25, 2009, between members of the COMBA board of directors, biker representatives from the Trails Use Task Force and Ralph Schell, director of Jefferson County Open Space. The purpose of the meeting, which also included other JCOS managers, was to discuss the county's management proposal for Apex Park ("Revised - Compromised Actions - 9/21/09").
The 90-minute discussion was informative and included prepared comments from JCOS regarding Open Space values and perspectives. Dialogue covered the immediate matter of Apex and also included broader aspects of shared-use policy, user-group needs and other long-term issues. In addition, COMBA presented a counter proposal to Jefferson County that promoted targeted education and outreach - the most requested management tactic during the June public comment period.
"We are disappointed that our counter-proposal for Apex was rejected," COMBA Vice President Jason Bertolacci said. "The COMBA proposal was based on management strategies which have proven successful in parks across the country. The current proposed policy should not be evaluated as just 'lines on a map' by folks who may have never recreated at Apex Park. They need to understand the real world consequences and ramifications for cyclists should this plan get approved."
Breheny concluded, "Regardless of the outcome for Apex, we will move forward with proposals for bike-specific trails or parks with hopes of demonstrating to county officials the value this approach provides to the user-experience of all park users."