//Trail Status mouse over Java // New mtb fee

Author Topic: New mtb fee  (Read 20435 times)

mtbikernate

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Re: New mtb fee
« Reply #60 on: April 03, 2016, 11:10:08 AM »
Im not aware of any threats made in my post. I made a stement.
If they are in a buggetary crisis! Why not be more Fiscaly responsible?  Thats exactly the problem. Government mismanages the money. When they have a buggetary shortfall,  penalize the the masses by increasing fees because of their ineptitude.


Your posts suggest that you really don't understand what's going on with this situation. Which makes sense, since you moved here from a very different state.


You made threats about not purchasing a trails pass. wooo. Did you contact your state representative? The legislature (and governor) have repeatedly over many years passed new budgets that REDUCE the money going to the DNR for them to cover their operating costs. User fees have been part of Indiana state parks since their inception, so they won't ever go away entirely. Recently, due to a lot of stupid stuff, the legislature demanded that the DNR spend a rather large, specific amount of their existing budget on a specific project in a specific park. Which means the DNR could not spend that money where they otherwise would (probably spread out over many parks).


It is not the DNR's fault that the legislature screwed them over. Mountain bikers were NOT singled out for fee increases. LOTS of fees on DNR properties have gone up. Gate fees. Camping fees. The DNR website has a document that provides a pretty nice summary of all the fees that went up.


The current political situation in the state means that this is going to continue to happen until priorities change at the state government level. Those priorities won't change until people who live here contact their representatives about issues they deem important (like this one), and vote for representatives who will represent those issues in the legislature. Want the DNR to receive more funding and reduce user fees? Vote for someone who supports that idea in the next election. Refusing to purchase the trails pass by itself isn't going to change the reason fees went up in the first place, and won't prevent fees from going up again.

firefighter56

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Re: New mtb fee
« Reply #61 on: April 05, 2016, 08:55:32 PM »
Nate, most of what you have said I agree with however I still feel that mountain bikers were singled out in the fees.  The other fee increases were across the board for everyone who visits the park (including mountain bikers), camps at the park or uses the park facilities that the park provides.  Mountain bikers however have been singled out to use the trail system that they created and maintain. 


In essence the DNR has said "Hikers you are welcome to come and hike on the trails for free that the DNR has made and maintains.  Equestrians you are welcome to bring your horses in and ride the trails for free that the DNR built and maintains.  Mountain bikers you are welcome to come into the park, build and maintain new mountain bike trails that are required to be multi use trails but you will be required to pay to ride them while everyone else can use them for free." 


How exactly does that not single out mountain bikers?  Volunteers built and maintain the trails yet still have to pay twice to ride them.  First they have to pay the park entrance fee, second they have to pay the fee to ride the trail.


There are a lot of ways our DNR could cut operating costs to make up for short falls in the budget.  What other state do you go to that has roaming rangers walking around the campground?  What other states have rangers bringing arts and crafts to the campground to do with the kids?  These are cool things that they do but they are also salaries and supplies that could be cut.  I would bet that if they did away with that program in 1 park it would free up more money than what they will make charging mountain bikers to ride.


Other states offer similar activities for the kids but they are at the lodge or nature center where the employees that are there run them.  Other states also require the campground host to clean the restrooms and sell firewood so the DNR isn't burdened with it but not here.  We spend more money on salaries for people to drive around cleaning the restrooms while still letting the campground host stay either for free or at a greatly reduced rate.  Some IN State parks have a camp store that takes care of the firewood but not all.


I do like the state parks and will continue to use them but I won't use them nearly as much as we used to.  We can camp at a private campground with better amenities at the campground and still go to the park to hike the trails all while spending less money.  I can also pull my camper to Ohio and stay in one of their parks for less money than it will cost me to pull it to Brown County to stay.  I feel that by continually raising user fees that our DNR is creating their own downfall.


After all that, I am planning to go to BCSP this weekend to ride and I will spend the $20 for an annual mountain biking pass while I'm there.

mtbikernate

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Re: New mtb fee
« Reply #62 on: April 05, 2016, 11:35:58 PM »
Equestrians ALREADY PAID a trail permit fee. They have for decades. MTB use fees have been brought in line with equestrians.

I do not agree with the implementation of this, but mtb's were not singled out over all users. Yes, mtb's were singled out over hikers and runners, but that treatment is very much like how equestrians are treated.

The question is now what the DNR will do with it. The money goes to the general fund. But at BCSP for example, horses have their own entrance, their own camground, and quite a few of their own facilities. You better believe that if we get charged the same, we will start demanding improved facilities.

Like how about some bike-in backcountry camping at bcsp? Or a mtb-only campground? A restroom/changing area with water and a picnic shelter at the skillet/north trailhead? A couple workstands with public tools like you can find in a few spots in Indy like the bike hub or the monon? A paved path for family riders so they don't have to ride/walk on the park roads?


wabasso

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Re: New mtb fee
« Reply #63 on: April 06, 2016, 08:01:14 AM »

Quote
Equestrians ALREADY PAID a trail permit fee. They have for decades. MTB use fees have been brought in line with equestrians.

I do not agree with the implementation of this, but mtb's were not singled out over all users. Yes, mtb's were singled out over hikers and runners, but that treatment is very much like how equestrians are treated.

BUT, the trails they pay the permit fee for are NOT multi-use trails. Mountain bikers, hikers & runners, are NOT allowed on the trails they pay to ride.  So, mountain bikers are not being treated the same as equestrians. :(

lweilenman

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Re: New mtb fee
« Reply #64 on: April 06, 2016, 11:14:20 AM »
If we are paying the fee, I personally would like to see some bike only trails to start showing up.

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mtbikernate

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Re: New mtb fee
« Reply #65 on: April 06, 2016, 10:52:37 PM »
BUT, the trails they pay the permit fee for are NOT multi-use trails. Mountain bikers, hikers & runners, are NOT allowed on the trails they pay to ride.  So, mountain bikers are not being treated the same as equestrians. :(
We are only just over 3 whole months into it, so it is early to draw those kinds of conclusions. Like I said, the equestrians have had the trail permit for decades.

marthur

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Re: New mtb fee
« Reply #66 on: April 08, 2016, 12:08:53 AM »
Does the HMBA receive grant money from the state for trail building?  Is there any plan to have a portion of the permit money go back to the trails?  I have no problem paying the fee if a portion goes back into the trails.  Just my 2 cents

firefighter56

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Re: New mtb fee
« Reply #67 on: April 08, 2016, 08:20:57 AM »
If we start seeing something for the money we are paying then I'll start supporting the fee but from what we have been told so far it is unlikely that we will see anything.  If it is to cover a budget shortfall then there will not be any money for any new amenities for the mountain bikers, the money will be absorbed into the general fund to cover operating costs. 


Even as much as I am against having to pay to ride in the State Parks I will do it and I also encourage others to pay the fee also.  Maybe some day we will see something from it, even if it is just the park staff maintaining the trails so the volunteers are not overworked for nothing.


It would be awesome to have a campground of our own, even if it is just a primitive area with a shower house to start off with.  I would most likely still use the campground that is currently there but if I were to go down with a group of bikers for the sole purpose of riding all weekend then I'd definitely use a mountain bike primitive campground.


Nate is right, it is very early in paying this fee to know what will come of it but I think we can all be assured that it will never go away.   

Fett

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Re: New mtb fee
« Reply #68 on: April 08, 2016, 09:58:14 AM »
Does the HMBA receive grant money from the state for trail building?  Is there any plan to have a portion of the permit money go back to the trails?  I have no problem paying the fee if a portion goes back into the trails.  Just my 2 cents

We have received over $400,000 in RTP grants which are Federal grants that are administered by the DNR. These allowed us the get the great starts that we had in Brown County, Versailles, O'Bannon and Southwestway.  The permit fees do go into the general fund, but there is value in maintaining a good relationship with DNR as they they do have the power to grant access or take away access to trails for mountain bikers.

I am on the Trail Advisory Board of the DNR, which has representatives from all of the user groups and stakeholders in the parks. I can tell you that most of the other user groups are envious of how much and how quickly we have made progress in getting things done as a relatively recent user group within the DNR landscape. We really are not discriminated against. It is a testament to the quality and organization of our volunteers both on the ground and in the meeting rooms.

That being said, it does not mean that HMBA rolls over and lets something that negatively impacts us go unquestioned. But it also does not mean that we adopt a scorched earth policy with DNR when something does not go our way. If you have not been out to Yellowwood lately either trail building or riding, the trails are fantastic and that access would not have been given without the relationship with DNR.  That relationship is also, hopefully, very shortly giving us the ability to connect BCSP and Yellowwood (which also can be connected to HNF and Nebo) to create a backcountry riding experience like nothing else in the Midwest.

With all the doom and gloom about the fee, I thought it was important to point out that we are getting something for this. It is not just money down the drain.
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Allen Edwards

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Re: New mtb fee
« Reply #69 on: April 08, 2016, 10:58:36 AM »
Well said, Jeff.  Well said.

tony

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Re: New mtb fee
« Reply #70 on: April 08, 2016, 11:17:10 AM »
Didn't Gov. Daniels also kick down $250,000 in state funds for building trails at Versailles, O'Bannon, and Harmonie?

Draggon

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Re: New mtb fee
« Reply #71 on: April 08, 2016, 12:02:45 PM »
Now without sounding "Elitist or Arrogant "Nearly EVERY trail that I have rode in Indiana! I would consider BEGINNER. For perspective, Expert level trail here is Beginner trail out west or even South of the Ohio River.


You should consider a stand-up routine.  That's pretty funny for a variety of reasons.

Paul_Arlinghaus

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Re: New mtb fee
« Reply #72 on: April 08, 2016, 01:42:10 PM »
I would like to provide some back ground and answers some questions raised throughout this thread


Some have questioned the value of HMBA respect to the permit.  Keep in mind that when HMBA formed, State Parks did not allow any mountain biking.  HMBA not only fought for access in State Parks, but then built some of the best trails in the Midwest in our State Park System.  We are on track to reach 100 miles of purpose built mtb trails on State Forest and State Park land this year.  As we build trails, we continue to build better and better trails covering all types and difficulty levels. 


One thing to understand is that there are many people who would have liked to keep mountain bikes out of State Parks.  The revenue generation part of mountain biking played a big role in convincing State Parks to piss off some influential people who opposed mountain biking.  I am very certain that if it was not for pay to play that we would not have access to State Parks today. 


Some questions about State Funding.  For use on State Lands, HMBA had received $250,000 from a State Grant, $300,000 in Federal Grants, and we just got a $50,000 grant from the State (Tourism), for a total of $600,000.  All these funds are administered by the DNR and the DNR played a big role in us getting access to all these grants.  So we have to buy 30,000 permits before we equal the amount of funding we have received from or through the State.


In terms of us getting money back from the permits.  We have seen that the equestrians have benefited from their permit fees.  At the end of the year, we will know how much was raised by permits and that will provide HMBA with leverage.  We may use that leverage for more access or ask for support from Parks for trail specific projects/issues.


It is important to understand that the MTB permit is just a small part of a much bigger issue.  And that issue is political in nature.  As mountain bikers we cover all views on politics.  And politics, especially today is very decisive.  We typically steer clear of political discussions on the HMBA forums as political discussion end up being decisive and cause fracturing of the mtb community.  For this topic we will allow some political discussion, but please tread lightly (any post that is not constructive or brings in other political issues will be removed).


Our current State Leadership is very focused on lowering taxes and making government smaller.  Their view is that if the State pays for State Parks, then that comes from increased taxes.  They would rather those who use the parks to pay for them.  And those who use the parks have more money to pay for parks because their taxes are lower.  State Parks are currently about 70% self funded, and the goal of our legislator is to make them become 100% self funded.  So if any thing the trend will be for more fees.


As I mentioned mountain bikers are a diverse group and some support the State's goal for State Parks, others are strongly opposed, but many probably fall in the middle (support pay to play but are concerned it is going to far).  I can tell you that even within the HMBA board, we have a diverse range of political views.  The important thing to remember is that HMBA is focused on advocating for mountain biking.  It is ok for us to disagree on politics and work together to advance mountain biking.


Ultimately removing the mtb permit is not a battle that can be fought with State Parks or even the DNR. It is an issue for our State Legislator.  If you as a mountain biker would like to see more funding from the State Budget for recreation, please let your elected officials know.  If you would rather have lower taxes and as a result pay for user fees and permits, you can let them know that as well.  It is important to be engaged in the political process, especially as we go into an election.


HMBA does not have the resources to be successful changing our legislator's overall funding strategy in the short term.  HMBA could burn every bridge and spend every dollar fighting the permit and we would not be successful.  HMBA is going to continue to educate our members, elected leaders, and community members about the economic and health benefits trails provides to the citizens of Indiana. We will also continue to build more world class trails in our State Parks and State Forests.  We will add the permit into our advocacy tool box as we work hard increase our access and build more trails.













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lweilenman

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Re: New mtb fee
« Reply #73 on: April 08, 2016, 04:09:26 PM »
thanks Paul I really appreciated reading that.  I think that is the type of information needed to understand the new permit and feel better about paying the fee, rather than being told to pay it and deal with it.

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Paul_Arlinghaus

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Re: New mtb fee
« Reply #74 on: April 08, 2016, 10:25:57 PM »
A reminder that any posts from here on that aren't constrictive will be removed.
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