Sharing the Trail
1950s-and equally beloved by mountain bikers since their sport caught fire in the 1980s.
For more than two decades, hikers and bikers have uneasily shared the looped trail. They are supposed to travel in opposite directions, so that people on foot and on bicycles can better see and predict each other's movements. It represents one way that park officials and users have adapted to the realities of multiuse recreational resources.
But sharing the popular trail hasn't become any easier. Despite increasing efforts at cooperation, resentments still fester.
In a recent column that ran in the local weeklies, land conservation consultant Barry Lonik, an avid hiker, referred in passing to the Poto as having been "eroded by mountain bikes." That short reference fired up bike advocates. In one of many subsequent letters to the editor, Scott Chambers of Grand Rapids accused Lonik of having an "agenda to attack multiuse trails," and called him a "polarizing figure who has expressed his desire to eliminate cyclists' access to public land"-charges that Lonik calls "inaccurate and absurd."