A drizzling zamboni-like rain fell yesterday, polishing Munson Hills into perfectly sticky race track conditions. After 2 weeks of travel, I was finally home. Finally suiting up for a run at the Grand Old Lady of local trails.

I was a little disappointed to see that in my absence she was roughed up, knocked around, out-right abused. The place is trashed. 400 square miles of National forest containing exactly (1) 7.5 mile mountain bike trail and the Forest Service sold off the anemic, measly timber from that sector, or quadrant, or whatever language is used to signal the arrival of progress.

Call me a conspiracy-theory whacko, but the Forest Service efforts to see the local community develop a mountain bike advocacy group coinciding with the destruction of a Tallahassee landmark trail seems highly suspect. The Forest Service had some bad medicine to deliver and they needed some noses to pinch and some throats to rub.

So, I will put on my investigative vest with the many pockets and seek clues.

Was the cut announced in the papers, and if so, when?

Did my local bicycle advocacy group understand fully the level of decimation (to reduce by 10’s) the Forest Service had in store for the area?

Since they cut in new Forest roads doesn’t that imply that they have moved in permanently like our troops in Baghdad?

How did the discussion go from “miles of new forest trails” to “preserving what is left of our one actual trail?”

For all of you living beyond the borders of Leon county I apologize, but I hope this is a cautionary trail. The thing you think will never happen is probably lying on someone’s desk awaiting approval right this moment.

I saw one of our local fast-boys, Mr. Slayer, out there and he was lost and disoriented like a seagull covered in an oil slick. I washed him off and sent him flapping away.


7 Responses to Progress

  1. I’m not going for the conspiracy theory on this one. It seems more likely that the Forestry Service’s interest in connecting with local riders was motivated by the stepped-up Forestry Service management that was coming anyway, and I don’t think J.S. was running interference for the logging boys. I don’t think J.S. has a whole lot to do with the logging boys. I think J.S. is genuinely interested in more and better mountain biking trails for everyone, including himself.

    However, the decision to just run rough-shod over Munson with axe and machine is a Lorax issue. The story goes that there was plenty of warning and even requests for citizen input years before this thing happened, when it first went on the books, and nobody protested except for the Audubon Society, and they calmed down when they heard the cut would be good for the woodpeckers.

    I wish we had gotten a bigger Heads-Up on this one, like someone had said, “Hey, do you realize the Forestry Service is going to FUCK MUNSON UP, for real and for sure, in two months!” I never heard this, in spite of spotty attendance at our meetings with lots of bike folks and a representative of the forest service. I don’t think anyone at the meetings really realized how bad it would be. I hope they didn’t, anyway, because that would have been more important to me than ANYTHING else on the agenda, including getting new trails.

    Anyway, it’s done now, so I’m hoping we can move on with adding the two new trails, getting a new parking lot, and doing whatever we can to fix Munson Blue trail, which is a local landmark and should NEVER have been trashed in the first place.

  2. This came in from a concerned friend…

    It ain’t personal! The only conspiracy is one to restore the long-leaf
    habitat and remove the non-native pulp wood trees. To take backthe space for
    normal wildlife populations. Don’t be distracted by the awful messyness of
    forestry and the length of time it takes to grow a tree. Instead remember
    that change happens whether we want it or not, and sometimes it’s good.
    See ya out there someday when my knee ever stops hurting.

  3. ‘Least those are long-leafs going in there, and not wal-marts.

    If you’d come to the FOTL meetings, at least you’d know where those wal-marts WILL be going in.

    Just wait til the St.Marks trail head
    is in the middle of an endless parking lot. Its coming. Maybe you should try to get involved sometime.

  4. That was a bit snarky, let me reframe- I am rarely in town for a meeting, I paid my dues, and I have a right to my dissatisfaction with a dysfunctional process.

    We can always take it to the PL!