The following email was sent out by an equestrian local to Nockamixon State Park. Please read the email and our following response.
If you enjoy your horse trails be aware the the Lehigh Valley Mountain Bike Association is taking over the trails. Initially members indicate that they will share the trails with equestrians but after they mark the trails they remove the surface material making them no longer usable to riders. Watch for the pink flags that indicate they are going to take over an area. This organization is all over PA, and NJ.
You can go to their website and see all the trails that they presently have. They are well organized and extremely unfriendly.(Just read what they have written about horses and riders in general). You can read the forums and get an idea what they do in the park. They somehow have gotten into Nockamixon State park and have plans for many more trails. Although their "RULES OF THE ROAD" indicate that they will slow for equestrians that has not always been my experience. We figure they are hitting 40 miles per hour on the access road.
Their blog also indicates they have plans for the Bucks County Horse park. Also here in Nockamixon they plan to go around Lake Nockamixon and under 563 bridge along the creek.
Please spread the word. Pass this e-Mail around.
I have been in contact with the PA Equine Council, The PA Game Commission, Fish and Wildlife, The park manager here at Nockamixon (Obie Derr), Nockamixon Township supervisors, the Bucks County Horse park, Bucks County Park and Rec (Bill Mitchell and Michelle Smyser) and State Rep. Margarette Quinn.
Remember, in PA the biggest business is farming and in farming horses are the number 2 source of income in the state. Don't let anyone tell you you are in the minority as far as rights to state, federal and county land.
Sallie Jo Reid
VMB has a response to every disparaging claim made by Sallie Jo Reid in that email:
Sallie: “If you enjoy your horse trails be aware the Lehigh Valley Mountain Bike Association is taking over the trails.”
Response: This is a completely false claim. The existing approved horseback riding trails are not affected by the new trail system in any way. The area we are constructing new trails was not previously approved for trail use of any kind – this is reflected on the official park map, and confirmed by Nockamixon State Park Management.
Sallie: “Initially members indicate that they will share the trails with equestrians...”
Response: False claim. From day one, VMB and park management officials have worked with the clear understanding the new trails are to be constructed for mounting biking and hiking only. IF the indication alluded to was made, it was not made by a VMB member involved in the Nockamixon project.
Sallie: “… but after they mark the trails they remove the surface material making them no longer usable to riders.”
Response: The new trails are only approved for mountain biking and hiking. Removing the top layer of organic matter creates a sustainable trail for its approved uses, and is a universally recognized and necessary step in proper trail construction.
Sallie: “Watch for the pink flags that indicate they are going to take over an area.”
Response: Every trail construction project completed by Valley Mountain Bikers has been done under full approval and authority from the necessary land management and government officials. In every case, approval has been granted based on providing outdoor recreation opportunities for all trail users deemed acceptable by the appropriate authority.
Sallie: “They are … extremely unfriendly.(Just read what they have written about horses and riders in general).”
Response: Our website is an open forum for anyone that creates a login (member, or non-member) to make comments. Just as any open forum, comments made are not always appropriate and do not always reflect the club’s opinion as a whole.
Sallie: “You can read the forums and get an idea what they do in the park”
Response: Agreed, and you will see that we spend many hours volunteering our time designing, building, maintaining trail systems for all approved users – not just mountain bikers. We also remove trash from the parks, and organize events to encourage young people outdoors and to become more active.
Sallie: “They somehow have gotten into Nockamixon State park and have plans for many more trails.”
Response: We spent nearly two years working with Park Management and DCNR officials developing an approved plan for new trails in Nockamixon State Park. Every foot of new trail undergoes a formal approval process before it gets built.
Sallie: “Although their "RULES OF THE ROAD" indicate that they will slow for equestrians that has not always been my experience.”
Response: We actively promote and encourage proper trail usage, which includes proper procedure for interacting with equestrians and other trails users. We cannot police every member, and non-member, to follow these rules at all times.
Sallie: “We figure they are hitting 40 miles per hour on the access road.”
Response: Gross exaggeration. The access road is flat. 40 miles per hour on an unpaved surface can only be obtained descending a very steep slope, and even then is unlikely. However, that does not excuse a rider exceeding responsible speeds. Again, we actively promote proper trail usage, but cannot police every person that rides a bike in the park.
Sallie: “Their blog also indicates they have plans for the Bucks County Horse park.”
Response: This is a completely false claim. Any new VMB project proposals must first be reviewed and approved by club officers and members. No legitimate requests or proposals have been presented by a VMB member to do anything at Bucks County Horse Park, nor has this park been raised in any formal club discussion. Again, we have an online forum open to members and non-members to make whatever comments they want, appropriate or not.
Sallie: “Don't let anyone tell you you are in the minority as far as rights to state, federal and county land.”
Response: VMB has never made any statement of that sort. Additionally, as shown by the red and yellow areas on the Project Update map, approved horseback riding trails in Nockamixon State Park use a majority of the park. VMB supports the distribution of trails as approved by the Park Management.
The false claims made by Sallie, and the subsequent forwarding of these claims, threatens to damage VMB’s tremendous reputation that so many volunteers have worked very hard to build. Valley Mountain Bikers has invested an amazing amount of volunteer efforts at Nockamixon State Park, all under the full authority and approval from park management. We are not pleased about responding to these false claims, but felt it was necessary to set the record straight.