Hey YGR fans, I tried to keep the article about the Way Better Than The Road trail being closed on www.yourgroupride.com pretty unbiased but I wanted to weigh in with my personal opinion as to why that social trail should be reopened.
First off, I fully acknowledge the County was in a tough spot when they started receiving complaints about illegal parking within the subdivision, they had to do something. I just don’t think they did the right something in this case.
I also want to point out that social trails are generally poor form, shouldn’t be ridden, and should be shut down immediately by land managers as they see fit. There is a process for building trails and we should stick to that process.
However, I think the county should make an exception in this case for the following reasons;
The entire trail runs, from start to finish, on public land.
The trail exists completely on an established graded service road. According to aerial images the road has been there since at least 1999.
The trail has been ridden since at least the late summer of 2016 without opposition and probably long before.
It's a safe, fun, and sought-after alternative to riding on CR38E.
Does it set a dangerous precedent with regards to allowing the expansion of social trails? In this case, no. I believe this is different than someone cutting their own downhill trail within an untouched section of HTMP. IE, it was allowed to exist, it serves a specific purpose and it's not doing any additional harm to the environment or the viewshed.
The only legitimate concern I see is illegal parking and that would be easily mitigated with No Parking signs. They have installed dozens of those along the reservoir and Mountain Park entrance already.
As was pointed out yesterday on the YGR Facebook Page, the trail off the South tower to Westridge in HTMP was once a social trail and was adopted into the official trail system. I feel this trail should be given the same treatment.