Cyclists fighting to keep trails open after closures due to environmental concerns

200 cyclists participate in protest rally Saturday

SAN DIEGO - More than 200 cyclists took to the trails Saturday to protect the very resource they say is being taken from them.

Cyclist Dustin Sharp, who helped organize a rally on Saturday, told 10News, "If we don't want to keep getting our butts handed to us with trail closure after trail closure, we need to get organized."

In August, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife sent a letter to the city, citing environmental concerns and urging leaders to close several trails from Cowles Mountain to the West Sycamore area and those at Mission Trails Regional Park.

They say the traffic on the trails has destroyed endangered specifies and precious habitat.

Mountain biker John Fernandez told 10News, "How can 4 inches of dirt for 10,000 be that much of a damage to our environment?"

Soon after, park rangers started giving verbal warnings about staying away and mountain bikers began seeing closure signs pop up on their bike trail.

But some bikers like Emily Marr say they have not gotten much of an explanation.

"I don't really understand why they're being closed," she said. "I read the letter. I'd like more communication about the true reasons behind it. I'm not convinced that it's simply for the protection of the species."

Now, they are hoping by gathering people together and spreading the word about the effort to keep those trails open, city leaders will listen and have a conversation with them before more trails are forced to close.

A big part of Saturday's rally is to inform the public on how they can take action on this issue, which is why they are encouraging people to show up at the Mission Trails Regional Park Welcome Center on Wednesday at 7 p.m. for their next meeting.

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