Friday, November 18, 2011

RIP 12 Gauge

This has been a roller coaster this year. It has been crazy fun but unfortunate at the same time. Yesterday, I got a call from Allen in my computer class. "Dude, the trails are gone!". I seriously didn't know what to think besides the fact that we just got the permission to build on the land. Allen basically just said that they clear-cutted all the trees at 12 gauge. This scenario was in the back of my mind the whole time. When we first found the spot, orange and blue ribbon flagging was everywhere. We figured that is was to protect the existing trees from deforestation; well we were wrong. I knew we were taking a little bit of a gamble but the spot was soo legit, we couldn't give up trying. I went to the trails about two weekends ago before the devastation began and noticed that instead of blue/orange flagging, there was new green and blue ribbons everywhere. This was the point I was starting to get concerned. This was for sure related to the cutting of course. But what really shocked me was the fact that it happened so damn FAST!!

So, decided to get up this at 6am this morning and drive up to 12 gauge (what was left of at least) to get the rest of the digging tools we had. As got closer to the spot, I noticed the road was filled with wood scraps and semi tread. I look to my right, and it looks like a bomb hit the area. The workers cut soo much, that there was no buffer of trees to the road at all. I could see a huge field of lying debris for what seemed like a mile from my car. I parked and walked in with my camera expecting to see the full logistics of everything. It was beyond what I had expected. I felt like I stepped into a different planet or a warzone. There where many semis parked, tractors equipped with tree grabbing hydraulic arms, and few regular trucks. I immediately talked to the people to see if they would let me walk into the cut zone and told them the story about what happened. I was granted permission and told them I just wanted the tools. Walking was literally impossible. And I eventually found the trails. All that was left was the first gap and new second lip crushed by a tree.

 I took a few pictures so I could remember this for the rest of my life. Once I walked back and got to my car, I was confronted by one of the workers. He found the pick axe that we had and recovered the tamper we had as well. I was stoked that he was nice enough to give us back the only thing we really had left. I took the tarp of the first lip as a souvenir.

At the end, I was able to talk to the guy who found our tools and he said that we could possibly still build on their land. He directed that I talk to a head supervisor in Stirling City (about 30 miles away) about the situation that happened. So there is still some hope that we can build in the forest. Hope is not gone though..............

 I have had a backup plan for months now. One of our friends owns 32 acres of land that is ready to be dug upon. It may not be the forest, but it land that we can do whatever we want. And as Mike Saavedra put it, "With trails, you are on borrowed time", and unfortunately for us our time was very short but sweet. 10 months of planning and digging took them; 10hrs to destroy our work, dedication, money that we put into the place. I am truly devastated inside and look back on what motivation we had as riders to do something that no one else wanted to do. We took the first three steps out of the door while others waited for something to happen.  Sure we may have failed at the goal of creating something we dreamed of, but its not truly no over.




  1. So sorry to hear about your place getting's an awful feeling to show up and see all your hard work completely gone.

    For future projects, you should consider approaching the land manager first and determining what your options are for building. If they are open to it, you can negotiate an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the land manager that sets the 'rules of engagement' between the two parties (your bike club and the land mgr).

    You might try partnering with your local mountain bike club, as they most likely have MOUs in place with their land managers, and can possibly help you navigate this type of situation. Most mountain bike clubs are trying to expand the type of riding venues available to their riders, and dirt jump sites are becoming more popular in this crowd.

    You can also check out this web page for sample MOUs:

    Feel free to contact me if you have any questions, and I'll assist however I can. Best of luck!

    Jake Carsten