First of all I should state I am a person who mountain bikes and also hikes in Kal Park. Second of all, if I thought it was only a small percentage of bike riders that were a problem I would not even take the time to write this letter. And third of all, I do recognize there are people who show respect to the park and others, no matter how they choose to travel in the park.
That being said, I would like to comment on the lack of respect many mountain bikers seem to show towards Kal Park and the other people who utilize the trail system, mainly people who hike and ride horses. I have had the gift of being able to use the trail system in the park for many years now and have seen a change in the behaviour of the people who bike. Many, and I mean many, will not slow down or give much clearance to other trail users on flat trails or downhill grades.
It seems that they feel they are entitled to the entire trail and to come within inches of others at high speeds just because they choose to be on a bike. They also seem to feel it is okay to widen existing trails, from single track to car width size trails, because they do not feel they should ride in the eroded gouges they have created.
So they just move over a few feet and create another gouge and when that is eroded too deep they just move over again and again. This has left a lot of the park looking more like a 4 x 4 driving trail than a part of nature. The worst instances I have personally witnessed, too many times to count, is the decision by the bike riders, and I must admit, some hikers, to decide they would like to create their own special new path to suit their own needs.
This is the worst show of disrespect anyone could create in the park. I am sure these people do not understand, should every person, who bikes, horseback rides and/or hikes decide to create a new path just to accommodate them, there will soon be no park, just a thousand trails with no animals or vegetation left.
Go take a look at the front side of Knox mountain in Kelowna and you may see the future of Kal park. Every 20 feet there is another trail crossing the one you are on. They are just trying to salvage it now and hopefully it is not too late.
It may be also just a matter of time before someone is seriously injured, by those who feel they own the trails because they are travelling at the highest speeds, and need to show no respect to other persons who utilize the trail system.
Most of the people I talk to, who are hiking and horseback riding, do not have much liking for the bike riders, who could care less about the long-term vitality of the park, as long as they get to do what they want at the expense and safety of all others, including the long-term health of the park itself.
Bike riders beware. I am sure someday, someone will do a study on the damage we choose to cause, and our days of having the privilege to ride in the park may be numbered for all of us who like to pedal.
Or if people start getting injured, I am sure, should they choose to sue both the rider and the provincial government, that the days of riding in the park will be numbered. And remember, it is not a right, it is a privilege that has been granted to us.
M. Sandberg, Vernon