County Considering Allowing Fat Bikes on Portions of Sprague XC Trail

fat tireWNYMBA met with Erie County last week to discuss Fat Biking in Erie County Parks.  As most of you are aware, anywhere we can bike in the summer time we can bike in the winter with fat bikes, with the one local exception being we were told last year that we were to stay off the XC ski loop at Sprague (also, down in Allegany, the XC trails there are groomed for classic technique skiing and open only to skiers).  We met to present the research on the effects of fat bikes (3.7" minimum tire size, 10 psi maximum pressure) on groomed trails - in other words that there is no impact.  Unlike regular mountain bikes, fat bikes do not sink into packed trails.  Of course, fat bikes (like hiking or showshoeing) can destroy set tracks (i.e. the two parallel grooves) and need to stay off of them.

The county was amenable to our suggestion.  Because the XC trails at Sprague can get extremely crowded when there is snow (which seems to be a rare occurence again this year), we discussed setting a trial period of opening the section from the end of Bridges Trail to the kiosk.  This would allow fat bikes to access the single track.

100% approval is not granted yet, but we expect to hear from them soon.  Remember, just as bikes yield to hikers, they would yield to skiers as well.  Remember that some skiers struggle to stay upright, so this is very important!  If this trial is granted, WNYMBA would put up signage directing bikes to the bridges trail and to the singletrack.  Keep those fingers crossed.

During the meeting, we pointed out that "fat bikes" as we were discussing are *not* the same as the vehicles used by the local outfit buffalofatbikes.com (which are bikes with an electric motor on the front wheel), just to make sure there was no confusion.  The parks people understood the distinction and said that motorized bikes are not allowed on county trails.

We got some snow this weekend, so hopefully, we will get this permission officially sometime this week.

(edit:  I added in a note about Allegany.  The XC trails there are groomed only for diagonal (classic) technique.  There is no skating track.  So those trails will remain skiing only. Note, hikers and showshoers are also prohibited from those groomed trails).

January 2017 Meeting On **THURSDAY** January 19

vote

The First Meeting of 2017!

 Yes, we usually meet on a Wednesday, but this time it's a Thursday.  Same as a Wednesday, but a day later.

This is the traditional "elect your board members and officers" meeting, plus the chance to set the agenda for whole 2017 season.  We really would like you to make it and make your voice heard.

It will be at our usual winter time meeting place at Santora's Pizza on Millersport near UB.  More details over at the Meetup.

Remember to send in your Comments to Allegheny National Forest **This Month**

action alertReminder: You all NEED to write to the Allegheny National Forest **THIS MONTH** (before Jan 26) to let them you know you support their Environmental Assessment supporting opening 12.5 miles of singletrack in the Allegheny National Forest. These trails are in between Allegany State Park in NY and the New Jakes Rocks trails in PA.
All the info you need to know is in the IMBA Action Alert which is here: https://www.imba.com/alert/potential-new-trail-access-allegheny-national-forest-needs-your-action

Forest Service Environmental Assessment on Proposed Opening 12.5 Miles of Trails at Tracy Ridge find No Significant Impact! Letters of Support Needed.

tracy ridge mapAs some of you may have read, there is good things going on on either side of the 42nd parallel, otherwise known as the state line.  While WNYMBA continues to work on new trails in Allegany State Park, Jakes Rocks just opened up down near Warren.  A bunch of WNYMBites ven road this past August from Ellicottville to Jakes Rocks over three days and got written up in the latest Dirt Rag.  One area along the way that we couldn't ride, even though we were camping right on the trails that second night (along with the bears) was Tracy Ridge.

Great news!  The Forest Service has completed their environmental assessment and it supports opening 12.5 miles of these trails to bikes, as it found that the proposed action will not have a significant effect on the quality of the human environment.  Read the details at this link.  The final decision would not be issued until March or April.

The forest service needs to hear from you in support of this action.  The comment period doesn't start until after Christmas (early comments may be discarded) and goes for 30 days (exact days aren't set yet).  Best to send in your comments first week of January.  We'll remind everyone with a facebook post.

You may have commented before, but that was just the scoping phase.  This is the result of the environmental assessment, and the forest service needs to hear you support their conclusions.  Your comments should address what the EA actually says, and why you support these findings.  This is a formal process, so you have to make sure you provide your name and mailing address clearly provided or else it won't count.

You can be sure the Wilderness folks will be pushing back hard on this recommendation so it is very important you let the forest service know you support this.

Please send in your letters of support of this proposed trail opening.  You can do this either by e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. making sure you put "Tracy Ridge Project" in the subjection line.

or by mail to 

"Tracy Ridge Project"
USDA Forest Service
Allegheny National Forest
Bradford Ranger District
Attention: Rich Hatfield
29 Forest Service Drive
Bradford, PA 16701

What a great Christmas present!

County Parks Master Plan starts - WNYMBA is on the job!

eriesealImagine just a 2 mile XC ski loop at Sprague Brook and a couple of wet snowmobile trails; that’s it. Imagine sheriff deputies ticketing your car at Hunters Creek because it was closed. Imagine having just about no place to ride in Erie County. Imagine not being allowed to help build or maintain trails anywhere in the county.

For many of us, we don’t have to imagine. That was the situation in Erie County in 2001. WNYMBA had been around for 9 years, but had met only a stone wall talking with the county. It all changed when the county started their master planning process that year. WNYMBA kicked it into high gear and got involved in every way possible.

Today look at what we have got: Hunters Creek is now open for bicycles! The adopted master plan incorporated WNYMBA’s suggestion of developing a new singletrack trail system at Sprague Brook, which WNYMBA started work on in 2004 and has been a success beyond everyone’s wildest dreams. Volunteers are now allowed in the parks, and the county recognizes WNYMBA as one of their best, if not the best volunteer organization they have.

Well it’s that time again.

Erie County kicked of their latest master planning initiative – the first since that plan 15 years ago. And once again, WNYMBA is on the case. We attended three of the focus group kick off meetings held last week and will work throughout the process to maintain the access we have and to develop new places to ride. The planning process will take most of 2017 and much will be in small meetings, but there will definitely be lots more opportunity for public input, and we will need all WNYMBites to turn out in force for these events. Keep your eyes peeled on this space (and on facebook and meetup) for more details. If you want more low down on the process and what WNYMBA is doing, please attend our meetings for all the details.

A lot of what we do at WNYMBA is about fun – group rides, campouts, etc. But just as important is the advocacy. Take nothing for granted. This is crunch time for access to trails, and WNYMBA needs your support.

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Our insurance company has "strongly suggested" that we tell you that Mountain Biking can be dangerous. If you're visiting this site it's very likely that you're already aware that if you insist on having a good time by riding your mountain bike, eventually you will almost certainly fall down and collect any number of boo-boos, dings and injuries, serious or otherwise, but we have to tell you anyway.

Mountain Biking is a potentially hazardous activity carrying a significant risk of bodily injury and even death. Mountain biking should only be undertaken if you have a complete awareness of these risks. You can reduce the level of risk by wearing a helmet and by riding within your own skill level.