2017-12-07 / Letters

No need for more big trails in national park

To the editor:

I am calling the National Lakeshore “Sleeping Bear National Bike Park” because there are over 26 miles of bike trails to the exclusion of other trail users. Equestrians have eight miles. The Michigan Mountain Bike Association is working to put in an exclusive mountain bike park in the Echo Valley area just south of Glen Lake. This is narrowing the user group and is flat out wrong.

The park leadership is caving in to any group as long as they have their own funding but that is a mistake. Any group that has the money has the park blessing apparently. Is not the best use of a trail to benefit a wide range of visitors?

Most all states have multi-use trail systems for hikers, bikers and equestrians. The park is allowing one group to have whatever they want as long as they pay for it. Mountain bikers are an exclusive group. However, multi-use trails are inclusive because many users will have access.

This lakeshore is small compared to other parks. There is not the space to allow specific users to have their own trails. Echo Valley is a beautiful area that mountain bikers want for themselves. Other users also want to enjoy the Echo Valley area such as hikers and equestrians.

It would be logical to have a multi-use trail system and designate specific days of the week to allow each user group to enjoy the trail. For example, bikes could use the trail on Saturday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Equestrians could use it on Sunday, Tuesday and Friday. Hikers could use it anytime.

Park leaders be leaders and do not cave in to money. Multi-use trails are the right choice for Echo Valley.

Nancy M. Mueller
P.O. Box 93
Glen Arbor

Editor’s note: We contacted Lakeshore deputy superintendent Tom Ulrich, who said that the concept of a mountain bike trail was introduced as a possibility in the park’s 2003 master plan. Such a trail has not been designed or approved by the park.

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I agree. Any new trail

I agree. Any new trail system in the Echo Valley area should be true multi-use-- hikers, equestrians, bicyclists. The Lakeshore seems to build whatever new infrastructure an outside group is able to pay for. This is Pay to Play at its worst, in a national park that should be for all, not just those groups that pay to have their particular pet project. Follow the money! Let's see who pays for the Environmental Assessment for the "mountain bike" trail system in Echo Valley. Leelanau Enterprise reporters, keep an eye on this please! Marilyn Miller, Sleeping Bear Naturally