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GARIVALTIS, HARTIGAN GO TO BAT TO STOP ‘MOUNTAIN BIKE MAFIA’ AT SPRINGSIDE PARK

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BY DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI NEWS AND COMMENTARY

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY MAY 19, 2021) — Biking must be the new pickle ball. How else to explain the peddlers who want to pedal where they want, when they want, and how they want, the public be damned?

Maybe you’ve seen them. There are the ones who think they’re in the Tour de France.They have the $5,000 wheels and the spandex outfit. Then there are the  millennials who want to be hog the road and, most of all, be seen doing it. They’re the ones who turned downtown North Street into a jigsaw puzzle. Finally, there are the mountain bikers. Their goal is to destroy as much of the first primeval as possible. In kindness, THE PLANET will leave out the tricksters who are in their 20s, don’t know they’re out of high school, and can be seen bouncing their bikes asphalt and ramps.

The first group annoys the heck out of highway drivers. They’re the ones who have the “Question Authority” bumper sticker on their cars. They never question authority. The second group has destroyed Downtown Pittsfield. They are coscom costumers into fantasy and mazes. Fortunately, they don’t know the difference between a maze and a labyrinth, otherwise there would be no downtown left. The third group, today’s subject on THE PLANET, wants to upgrade their destruction of Springside Park.

Fortunately, Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski have Charles Garvaltis, our local hero who has spent his life playing on park fields, setting records that stand today in the AABA tournament and later protecting them as a city councilor, parks commissioner, and best friend to a another local guy made good, Larry Bossidy. Charlie and Royal Hartigan are leading the efforts to save Springside Park from further destruction.

While citizens were asleep or otherwise unawares when the mountain biking zombies were hypnotizing the Pittsfield Parks Commission, Garivaltis and Hartigan have been thoroughly researching the issue and have effectively returned serve to the preposterous claims the bikers have for their pillage.

THE PLANET urges you to make your voice heard on this quality-of-life issue. Not only can you help the further destruction of a city treasure. At the same time, you can send a loud message to the Biking Mafia that their tiny minority has no moral right to dictate terms to the rest of Pittsfield. Bikes should not be political instruments.

Here in full is the presentation of our dear friend Charlie Garivaltis and Royal Hartigan:

———- ooo ———-

17 May 2021 

Dear officials, environmentalists, and the public,

We would like to offer our response to the comments, talking points, and mantra made by mountain biking (MTB) advocates and officials in recent discussions, including the Pittsfield Parks Commission meetings of November, December, January, February, March, and April.

There are a number of positions expressed about mountain biking in Springside Park (SP), all flawed, and we are presenting a rebuttal to them. 

1) Proponents of the trails and Pump Track state they will maintain the park and not disturb its terrain, animal, bird, and plant life.

  • The present reality of mountain biking in SP: in addition to the numerous MTB trails that have been inserted into the park without full public knowledge and vetted approval since 2013, there are presently two large areas where mountain bikers have in effect, illegal and disruptive/destructive pump tracks already. The large mounds near Garland Avenue and the area next to the Doyle softball fields. The Garland area mounds are used by MTBers, dirt bikers, and ATVs, all for ‘adventure’ at the expense of the park’s landscape. 

Looking at the proposed MTBPT site, a beautiful meadow at the center of the park and visible from Reid Middle School, do we want yet another devastating cancer on the park’s character? Do we as a city want Springside Park to be  a natural undisturbed place for quiet enjoyment and nature appreciation or a rutted, hole-filled, life-devastating racing complex that destroys the beauty of the entire park? Please see photos taken by Elizabeth Kulas on 15 May 2021.  

2) Online ‘surveys’ and emails sent to the Parks Commission:

  • Do surveys’ and emails orchestrated by advocates for MTB, in and out of city government, constitute any real input? No.

3) Environmental Impact analysis:

  • Do environmental impact statements accomplished at the behest of advocates and city officials show any relevance to the damage MTB already have done and will do in the future? No.

4) MTBPT Design Plans:

  • Is a MTBPT design for a public space such as Springside Park, proposed to the Parks Commission by biking advocates and Mill Town Capital, Inc., a private company, either ethical, in the public interest, or fair to the people of Pittsfield? This, despite documented national and local avoidance of potential transparency issues, Massachusetts designer bidding laws, and public scrutiny? No.

5) The proposed mountain bike pump track (MTBPT) is upland (above) wetlands and not within 100 feet of water or natural floral or fauna species’ habitat.

  • Placing a track anywhere in the park is disruptive of the animal, plant, bird communities that live throughout the park and use it as migration stopping points. This is also true of wetlands effects, and especially true given the likelihood that bikers will not confine themselves simply to the proposed track. It is likely they will use the entire park, and already have, witnessed, and as some have openly stated to us, to make the whole parkland as a United States center for mountain biking, as expressed on the NEMBA website. 

6) There are already a number of sports constructs in the park, so that presence a) shows that the park’s nature as an undisturbed natural space is not accurate; b) is therefore in keeping with the Miller family’s donations intent in 1909 and 1939; and c) is a precedent for added sports in the park.

  • All three are misinformed: 
  1. the only reason there are sports in the park are due to past insertions against the will or knowledge of the people of Pittsfield. The Doyle softball complex was put in the park without proper vetting, public knowledge, or transparency. To this day it is named ‘Doyle park’ as if is it not in Springside Park. Despite repeated instruction by parks commission members and chairs such as Gene Nadeau in the past to change signage to reflect the reality, this has never been carried out.
  1. The Miller family has always been opposed to these type invasions, and they are on record many times, for example, in 1973, when they vociferously opposed putting another school within the parkland, stating that if people are allowed to ‘nibble away at New York’s central Park or the Boston Common,’ there would be nothing left, and the same is true of Springside. The size of a city or park is irrelevant to the fact of the destruction from MTB, the principle is the same, large or small, that there is documented damage, where only the quantity of the damage is different, not the fact of its inevitability.
  1. Saying that the unknown and unvetted insertion of sports into SP created a precedent is like saying that successfully robbing one bank is a good precedent for robbing them all, or robbing a small bank is different than robbing a large one; such views are irrelevant to the true nature of SP as intended and historically entrusted to the people of Pittsfield. 

7) Arguments documenting the damage and destruction of MTB are character assassination and ad hominem attacks on all bikers.

  • Arguments about the damage of mountain biking with articles, research analysis, and other testimonials from people on this point do not attack bikers personally, but only show the damage done by their actions. In this case, intent is irrelevant to consequences, so biking being ‘destructive to the environment’ is asserted and meaningful to opponents of biking in natural areas because it is true.

Please see this video – do we want to see this destruction in Springside Park?

The video and photos, alone, should wake people up to the destruction mountain bikers wreak where ever they choose to go… mostly illegal or, “oops, we didn’t understand the rules”

https://www.pinkbike.com/news/video-building-illegal-mtb-trails-in-scotland-with-ben-cathro.html

The motto of MTB in parts of the Berkshires as well – Build first, ask permission later… or never!

8) Citing examples from 1990 studies about MTB destruction are irrelevant to today’s issues.

  • The article cited demonstrated that a history of MTB causes damage and upsets the rights of citizens to safely use and enjoy natural spaces, in this case in Montreal, Canada. The point is that MTB has a long and settled history of disruption, damage, and danger, pointed out in the bikers own words. It would be impossible to document a history of an activity without showing its actual history, here for 30 years:

https://www.cbc.ca/archives/why-montreal-didn-t-want-mountain-bikes-on-mount-royal-anymore-1.5631802

Why Montreal didn’t want mountain bikes on Mount Royal anymore.

By the mid-1990s, city wanted to discourage cyclists from tearing up trails going down the mountain.

9) Citing examples from international locations are irrelevant to Pittsfield and Springside park, especially for cities with huge populations as opposed to Pittsfield’s.

  • The point made with these articles from Barcelona, Spain (population 1.62 million), Gosford, Australia (3,499), and its Central Coast region, north of Sydney (333,627), Brisbane, Australia (2,406,000), is that MTB negatively affects all natural spaces it is allowed in, whether large or small, in the U.S. or international, or whether in a large or small community, city, or county. Pittsfield’s 42,766 and Berkshire County (124,944) are no exception, and one of many a local examples is Ipswich, Massachusetts (13,176) with nearby Lynn (93,743). Its recent history of MTB destruction includes death and serious injury to cyclists in February and April this year.

https://www.salemnews.com/news/mountain-biker-fatally-injured-in-willowdale-state-forest/article_b19350ec-79f8-11eb-a017-77f033c094c8.html

Mountain biker fatally injured in Willowdale State Forest

http://thelocalne.ws/2021/05/01/cyclist-taken-from-forest/

Cyclist taken from forest

Another example of damage in nearby and similar-sized community is Wallingford, Connecticut (population 45,135):

https://www.myrecordjournal.com/News/Wallingford/Wallingford-News/Unapproved-trails-at-Tyler-Mill-again-rouse-Wallingford-conservation-board.html

Unapproved trails at Tyler Mill again rouse Wallingford conservation board

Erin Tiernan’s article on disruption at Boston’s Franklin Park with dirt bikes, ATV’s, and other intrusions in the May 2, 2021 Boston Herald show the relationship of MTB, and their access expanding to include dirt bikes, E-bikes, and ATVs, since they use a similar technology, common form of riding, and goal of speed and excitement that is inconsistent with a natural park: 

‘Out of control’ dirt bikes, ATVs and loud parties taking over at Franklin Park, neighbors say’

Tuesday meeting to take up ‘quality of life’ issues

10) Countering the statement that only 8 of the city’s 29 parks are without sports construction, it was noted that Springside Park does have sports within its area. 

  • The original point was that because there are only 8 parks without formal sports activities, the city does not have much of its parkland assigned as natural spaces, and since Springside has most of its 237 acres still open as undisturbed natural open space, it is all the more reason to maintain it that way. The majority of the park, and in fact most of its interior, remain relatively undisturbed, in keeping with the situation outlined by Vincent Hebert in the 1960s-1989 that recreation could occur at the outer margins of the park (softball, basketball) but its interior was to remain natural and undisturbed. The fact that cross-country races are held at the park is not germane since unlike MTB, it is not a disruptive activity by its only occasional use.  

11) The MTB people have in fact closed down some trails and the total number of trails has decreased.

  • From 2013 onward the MTB group has established new trails with little if any full public input, only the approval of a few officials without public knowledge or discussion. Their own promotion documents these new and potentially illegal trails. To say some trails have been closed requires evidence: how many were built, how many have been ‘closed’ and how were they closed? Were any walking trails closed or affected, denying the public access to the park’s beauties? Who has the right to alter the natural landscape? Certainly not a single-interest restricted group, including MTB people, unless the city intends to transfer the parkland deed to NEMBA.

12) A 2020 California Hiking and Wildlife Journal study states that all forms of human interactions with natural spaces – horseback riding, walking, MTB among others – has impact on the environment, so to be consistent all walking should also not be allowed in Springside Park. 

  • This is a misreading of the analysis, in which author Elizabeth Lucas in her study titled A review of trail-related fragmentation, unauthorized trails, and other aspects of recreation ecology in protected areas, states that human intervention, including hiking, does cause impact, but that the severity of impact is highest from MTB, and constitutes a threat to wildlife especially via the illegal construction of new unauthorized trails. Noteworthy is that across the Berkshires MTB replicate this illegal activity blazing new unauthorized trails constituting illegal trespass, as pointed out our Berkshire conservationists, The Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT) News, among others.

Notable are the findings in Lucas’ article, outlined between pages 99-102, including unauthorized trails (99, paragraph 2), examples of disruption (100, paragraph 2), and managing unauthorized trail creation and use (101-02, paragraph 3).

Pg. 99 –

Though other recreationists venture off of designated trails, mountain bikers increasingly create unauthorized trails as they seek more challenging, wider-ranging, or free-riding opportunities (Havlick et al. 2016), or want a shortcut to reach specific destinations or to connect existing trails (Davies and Newsome 2009). If a trail is not sited in a place where bikers want to go, the off-trailing that results eventually forms trails (Davies and Newsome 2009). 

Unauthorized trails expand the negative effects of human recreation on the flora and fauna of any protected area (Dertien et al. 2018). Similar to the above-discussed problems associated with internal fragmentation, unauthorized trails and recreational activities can negate the ecological benefits of both well-planned designated trails/trail networks and of prohibitions on access and activity (e.g., avoidance of breeding areas and seasonal access restrictions).

Pg. 100 –

Managing unauthorized trail creation and use –

Managing the rapid proliferation of unauthorized mountain biking trails and TTFs and their use is challenging. Even if only a small proportion of bikers is involved, the resulting vandalism can have serious ecological consequences is well reflected in the statement, ‘[g]generally when you ask people to stay out of the area no matter what the reason is, 80-90% obey you, [b]ut if you get 10% who don’t obey you, you haven’t done any good” (Bill Andree, retired district wildlife manager of Colorado Parks and Wildlife; Peterson 2019).

Pgs. 100-101 – 

In the aforementioned Carlsbad Highlands Ecological Reserve, enforcement and education are necessary to substantially reduce the illegal riding, but the bikers monitor enforcement activity and recommence riding in the ecological reserve when enforcement officers leave (E. Pert, CDFW, personal communication, 2019).

The full analysis is here:

https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/track?uri=urn:aaid:scds:US:2a2b911e-b200-4c22-9be6-d096cf38da85

13) Opponents to MTB in Springside are an older generation trying to prevent a newer young generation from using the Park. Without the younger generation the park will go into disrepair and will not survive. The new generation needs to have ‘ownership’ of the park for it to survive, and MTB people have respected the park. We can’t keep the park as a museum piece, or else it will go into disrepair, and once we are gone, it will need to be taken over by a new generation.

  • This view created a false and misleading dichotomy between generations, the reality of nature appreciation and use, as well as MTB use. Nature, Springside park, and recreation have no generation, as people of all ages use MTB, enjoy Springside, and nature for its own sake. Apart from being an ageist statement, this perspective ignores the fact that youth already do use and appreciate SP and other natural areas for their uniqueness, and the idea that they can only do that while riding on an MTB (especially priced at hundreds of dollars is absurd.

The ‘ownership’ referred to for youth is equally off-point, since all the people of Pittsfield already do own the park and engage in it actively as a public trust, and have since 1911 as Springside Park and for centuries before that as a purely natural area. As a restricted single-use activity, MTB would eliminate the public’s trust and ‘ownership’ and confine that ‘ownership’ to a small minority of self-interested people. 

Contrary to the New England Mountain Biking Association (NEMBA) website statements about Springside Park, it is not ‘underused’ and in ‘disrepair’, it is a thriving natural open space used by many people every day of the year, and its state as a natural environment can only be viewed in that light, as opposed to an agenda for ‘development’ with invasions of concrete, asphalt, parking lots, new road access, lights, noise, water lines, and disruption, the opposite of what Springside has always meant to our area and what parks like Springside give us.

14) The Covid -19 Pandemic has created obstacles for us all, but we must move forward with the proposal process for the MTB pump track since our virtual format allows sufficient input from the public. To delay is inappropriate, and the final decision is far off.

  • While it is true that the day-to-day business of city organizations can be conducted virtually during the current pandemic, important issues such as the MTBPT at Springside are impossible to complete without a number of activities, none of which have yet taken place. 

Virtual ‘meetings’ are not appropriate or sufficient, since the format does not allow interactions among participants. The only interactions – back and forth discussions and questioning with follow ups – have been among the commission members, related officials, and presentations by advocates for the pump track. Opponents to the track have never been allowed to engage with commissioners in discussions. This demonstrates the inappropriateness of virtual ‘meetings’ for such an important issue.

The current proposal for a mountain bike pump track at Springside Park needs to be tabled until live meetings and interactions with the people of Pittsfield can take place in an open manner. It is clear that the process has not been advanced in a way that is equitable, transparent, and democratic. The Parks Commission, City Council, Mayor, other city/county/state officials, and the city’s people have not been given a full view of the nature, intent, and destruction of mountain biking, and options for its location in Pittsfield. 

Any fair process will include a full public understanding of what is being proposed, meaningful input by the public, a series of announced and widely-known meetings in real time and space,  comprehensive discussion, and full vetting by all parties concerned, including the public, of the nature, actual proposed details as opposed to vague estimates, and consequences of allowing mountain biking to be inserted in natural areas, especially one like Springside that is meant to be an undisturbed natural open space since its donation to the city in 1910 and 1939.

Despite the pronounced advocacy by proponents, including some in city government, of public engagement and vetting, there in fact has to date been none, except those created and sponsored by the bike community and their industry and association underwriters.

Examples of this one-sided advocacy are visible in the NEMBA website where the January 1, 2021 PR promotion for the Springside pump track is characterized by falsehoods, misinformation and distortions, all giving the impression that the track proposal is a benign, completed proposal with the implication that the entire park will be eventually used. Calling Springside ‘underused’ and ‘in disrepair’ are simply not true, as people of all ages, income levels, and backgrounds consistently use the park. Statements that there is a ‘history of negative activity/crime’ are totally false, as Springside has no more abhorrent activity than any other similar park. People from all over the city and from all life circumstances already use the park with direct and easy access, and have a healthy, safe experience of nature, its highest value for our citizens. 

https://www.nemba.org/berkshirebikepark#.YHjXy6C5K6Y.gmail

The Public, Parks Commission, City Council, and Mayor will be able to meaningfully discuss, give input, and vet this proposal, including alternate sites for its placement, once full information has been manifested. These city offices and groups need to have full disclosure and with new information not yet considered, will be able to better understand and decide on this proposal. This will result in a transparent, democratic process that will allow the best decision to be made for the welfare of the city, its people, natural spaces, and Springside Park.

The rush to judgement without full vetting results in an undemocratic, non-transparent process that is discriminatory to those stakeholders who have and continue to use the park as a precious natural resource.

15) The process is early, and no decisions have been made, and there is no plan yet considered. There will be time for full vetting of the proposal. For this reason it is not appropriate to stop the process.

  • This is not true. The process is not at an early stage, since the MTB proponents have been making official proposals to the city and commission since at least November 2020, some 6 months ago and counting. All of this without much, if any, public knowledge and input. Unofficial promotion and proposals may and likely have been far earlier, as an outgrowth of the MTB trails that have been imposed in the park since 2013, also without full public knowledge and input. 

A simple reading of the NEMBA website cited above under the heading Berkshires reveals this timeline, published on January 1, 2021, with city Parks Commission approvals already in hand, and a spring/summer 2021 construction plan for the track at Springside. The PR promotion shows a definite plan, with funding from NEMBA and others, the funded completion of the track design by the Mill Town Company. The plan from MTB advocates was presented, discussed interactively, and approved at Parks Commission meetings in January, February and March 2021. None of this had interactive opposition allowed, only token 3-minute limited statements by the few opponents who knew about the meeting agenda. This constitutes discrimination against those who have a right to know and give meaningful input in the process, and is a possible violation of the Massachusetts open meeting laws. The NEMBA group and its website imply and actually state that the MTB pump track at Springside Park is a completed and approved deal, and is near realization this summer. This is not consistent with what our city officials have told the public.

Documents show that plans for the funding the design of the track have been discussed since at least December 2020, with concerns about the fairness of bidding and use of private agents in the process for public lands. Design plans are on the May 18 Parks commission agenda.

So the repeated approvals by the Parks Commission and other officials early in 2021 reveal a continuous advancement of the plan, and its acceptance by the Commission. To say otherwise does not reflect the facts.

16) A pump track will allow people to learn skills of biking and interact with nature.

  • A pump track has no legitimate purpose. It teaches ‘skills’ (speeding, skidding, jumping, etc.) that are not appropriate anywhere. Speeding through natural spaces gives no appreciation of the environment, only the immediate roots and path the bikers have to focus on to avoid crashes and injury. If the MTB community is serious about interacting with nature, they can, as everyone else, walk through Springside’s majesty.

17) E-bikes make it easier for more people to enjoy the thrill of MTB.

  • E-bikes greatly increase the human footprint, because they allow one to go much faster and farther than on a regular mountain bike. As usual, the industry, associations, and mountain bikers will say that e-bikes are to help people who cannot mountain bike on their own, but the recent history of MTB that includes e-biking shows that once e-bikes are options, all mountain bikers will be doing it – they often say that mountain biking is to help people who can’t walk – this is nonsense, because if you cannot walk, a simple flat tire would strand you in the wilderness.

What e-bikes do in reality is to expand the market for industry/association profit under the guise of ‘helping’ people with disabilities or restrictions. When such marketing schemes are joined with the pretense of allowing local officials to avoid their responsibility for park maintenance, the agenda becomes attractive given limited city budgets.

There is a documented pattern of use that is inappropriate for any natural area, especially such a unique one as Springside Park. MTBs lead to dirt bikes, and these in turn to ATVs and in some cases even motorcycles. Despite what biking proponents say, that is the blueprint for biking users and for the destruction of natural spaces like Springside. This is already documented in Springside.

The Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) has joined lawsuits preventing the use of e-bikes nationally and regionally:

PEER opposition to MTB and e-bikes – 

https://www.peer.org/suit-to-bar-e-bikes-from-park-trails-gets-greenlight/

No one seems to understand why it is so hard to stop illegal trail-building. One theory is that mountain bikers travel so fast that they see almost none of what they are passing (while believing that they are seeing a lot, because they travel so far); they quickly get bored with any given trail, and want more and more trails to titillate their fancy. This attitude is inherently insatiable, and is pitched to officials as ‘trail maintenance.’ We and many others on the other hand, walked the same or similar trails every week for 36 years and never got bored, because nature is inherently varied and interesting. 

Dr. Royal hartigan

Mr. Charles Garivaltis, former Parks Commission member and City Councilor

———- ooo ———-

THE PLANET thanks the two gentlemen for sharing this information, which we are glad to share.

Once again, Charlie Garivaltis goes to bat for the city he loves.

——————————————————————————————-

“Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy”Albert Einstein.

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

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Jonathan Melle
Jonathan Melle
30 days ago

I admire the legacy of Chuck Garivaltis in sports and the Pittsfield community. I agree with blogger Dan Valenti that Chuck Garivaltis loves Pittsfield and has contributed greatly to the community over the decades. The thing I like most about Chuck Garivaltis is that he cares about people and his heart is always in the right place. I feel badly that Chuck Garivaltis has witnessed Pittsfield’s decades-long downward spiral with no bottom in sight. My brother and I have been told over the years/decades countless times that Pittsfield was once a nice community generations ago, and that the youth of the 1950s through 1960s used be excited to walk around “upstreet”. Now dangerous downtown Pittsfield is sarcastically called “Social Services Alley”, and people call the area in inner city Pittsfield “the ring of poverty”. GE left Pittsfield over 3 decades ago, and Pittsfield politics has done nothing of value or positive outcomes to bring back living wage jobs to the area for the average working class family. Pittsfield has lost thousands of its young adults over the decades because there is nothing there for them other than social services and low to moderate income jobs that will get you nowhere fast. I believe that Pittsfield politics uses “Perverse Incentives” to take in as much social services and public education dollars as possible instead of investing in the working class with living wage jobs. I was told by many people that there are many other economically unequal communities like Pittsfield that intentionally want poverty, welfare caseloads, social service agencies and not-for-profit agencies, and overpriced and underperforming public schools because that (public dollars) is the heart of their respective local economy. It is not the American way where every child in the U.S.A. should have the equal opportunity to climb the proverbial latter of social mobility. Lastly, I agree with Chuck Garivaltis that Springside Park and other natural spaces in Pittsfield should be conserved as originally intended. Why not let Mill Town Capital and the other bikers buy plots on PEDA’s vacant lots instead of destroying Pittsfield’s nature parks?

Jonathan Melle
Jonathan Melle
Reply to  danvalenti
30 days ago

The proverbial figureheads of Pittsfield politics’ little guys named Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski mean well, too, just like Chuck Garivaltis. The Kapanskis dutifully pay their municipal taxes and fees, work hard for their living, and obey or comply with the law. The Lovely Linda will receive around $41 million in Biden Buck$ over the next 2 fiscal years. I asked my dad, Bob, if state, county, local and public school district taxes and fees will be reduced around the country with all of the billions of dollars in stimulus funds over the next 2 years. My dad responded to me that taxes always go up no matter what. I believe it is a slap in the face of the proverbial Kapanski family that they sacrifice so much of their financial security for corrupt politicians to piss it away to keep themselves in political office for life. When the proverbial Kapanski family writes to their career politicians about their working class financial struggles, the phone doesn’t ring in the Kapanski household. I still wonder why Kufflinks (Matt Kerwood) is sitting on between $10 to $15 million in Kapanski Ka$h during the ongoing working class recession. Put it all together, and the Lovely Linda will have over $50 million in Kapanski Ka$h over the next 2 years, while the Kapanski family will pay City Hall more and more of their hard earned money.

OhMyGod
OhMyGod
30 days ago

It is insane what the main focuses are in Pittsfield. The most glaring problem, staring everyone in the face every day, every hour, is the deplorable condition of the roads. It strikes me as very suspicious that ungodly amounts of money seem to be available to venues like these bikey things and the parks and that they are much more imporant to the city leaders than basic infrastruture.
A forensic audit, which I hope Pete Marchetti is in the process of starting as we speak, could track how much money is being spent on such things, who are the recipients of this funding, and who dreamed up the projects in the first place and why. I would love for the taxpayers of Pittsfield to be abe to see the picture this audit might paint.

Shirleyknuts
Shirleyknuts
Reply to  OhMyGod
30 days ago

The clowncil is doing a wonderful job auditing the budget during these hearings, ha,ha,ha I am laughing because it hurts to cry about something you know you have no control over…just bend over mr and mrs Kapanski and all the he,she,they,it…

thebikeman
thebikeman
30 days ago

Dan, can you show me on the doll where the bad bike man touched you?

Acute Angina
Acute Angina
Reply to  danvalenti
28 days ago

TSC was touched by someone on their menstrual cycle.

Shirleyknuts
Shirleyknuts
30 days ago

Very nice analysis and report on this topic that is hiding in the shadows. I wish our city councilors could analyze and report on the city budget to the taxpayers before rubber stamping whatever is put in front of their eyes. JM might be on to something with the PEDA site, it would actually be closer to the Mill Town development if the bike park was put on the vacant polluted land in the center of the city.

TellitLikeitIs
TellitLikeitIs
30 days ago

How about we leave Springside for the wildlife and turn the PEDA debacle into an outdoor sports place, for mountain biking, and what not. In fact let’s give it to Mill Town Capital get it back on tax rolls.

Markus Aureluis
Markus Aureluis
Reply to  TellitLikeitIs
30 days ago

With all the PCB’s underground, the city could save on not having to install lighting for night games at a sports complex. All the participants will glow in the dark. Maybe they could install misters for the summer months, being fed by the fresh water of Silver Lake.

If these mountain bikers really want to be adventurous and daring, just have them start their bike ride in Morningside and cruise through the west side. Want more daring, bike at night.

It’s safe, Flogging Mol…..I mean Barry said so.

OhMyGod
OhMyGod
Reply to  TellitLikeitIs
30 days ago

When is Milltown going to start paying taxes?

juicylucy
juicylucy
Reply to  OhMyGod
30 days ago

Can you say Ponzi scheme?

Hendrix
Hendrix
30 days ago

https://www.iberkshires.com/story/64946/Pittsfield-Making-North-Street-Fixes-With-2nd-Safe-Streets-Grant.html

I never realized this was actually referred to as a “Safe Streets Grant.” I actually almost spit my coffee out this morning when I saw that headline.

“The grant program provides grants as small as $5,000 and as large as $300,000 for cities and towns to quickly implement or expand improvements to sidewalks, curbs, streets, on-street parking spaces, and off-street parking lots in support of public health, safe mobility, and renewed commerce in their communities.”

Have any of these idiots driven down North St at all this year? Whatever form of mobility you are using whether a car, bike, bus, or a scooter (The most common form of transportation found on North St) we can all agree that it has made North St incredibly unsafe and confusing.

When I walk down I certainly don’t find any renewed commerce. Unless drug trafficking and social service agencies count as renewed commerce.

I would be in favor of my tax dollars removing that absolute mess of traffic planning.

J2S
J2S
Reply to  Hendrix
30 days ago

I did spit my morning drink out after reading this part. Why do they consider grant money, not taxpayers money? Where in the world do they think this money comes from?

Ricardo Morales said,
It was great that we were able to get grant money again and not spending city, taxpayer money to make those changes to address the concerns that we saw and to expand it,” he said. “Without this grant, we probably would have just corrected, somehow, what we had
installed, and that’s it.”

OhMyGod
OhMyGod
Reply to  J2S
30 days ago

Now all they have to do is decide which special interest buddy will get that money for whatever nonsense they might do. Maybe tie sparkly balloons to the parklets?

Johnny99
Johnny99
Reply to  Hendrix
29 days ago

And let’s not forget the gunshots.

Annulgas
Annulgas
30 days ago

In the interest of making North street safer I suggest the mayor install large mirrors every 100 feet in the main travel lane. Or how about a 50 foot high steel ball pendulum that swings back and forth across North street just above the roadway every thirty seconds? Perhaps she could get a Tibetan sheppard to walk his flock of LLamas up and down North street on the hour every hour. Cultural Pittsfield at it assinine best.

The school committee
The school committee
30 days ago

The Pittsfield that everyone loves to site as the perfect city was a dirty poison polluted corporate city of cancer causing chemicals and pcbs.Pittsfield suffered as it was starting to show the signs of a failed leadership in the Jack Welch.Jack Welch’s GE signed a contract to clean up his irresponsible dumping of poison for profit. 25years later GE has gone 1 mile to Fred Garner park on their way to lol Long Island sound.It is a joke.They have no plan to clean anything…..Todays Pittsfield is in pretty good shape as it a far more attractive city than most cities.We are blessed with a wealth of parks and a State Forrest and 2 lakes and a wealth of beautiful neighborhoods.Stockbridge has the Red Lion thanks to the Fitzpatrick family saving a failed eyesore.It was blessed by resident artist Norman Rockwell working his art in town.These closed communities do nothing for their kids.Pittsfield still has a hopeful future ahead and is always wondering what can we offer.The future is so different that past generations as they want recreation for all not just baseball basketball soccer. Trailbiking is very popular sport as Pittsfields economy is headed in the direction of recreation…..I do understand our generation may not see what is found to be fun by our youth.Our tourist on the otherhand are attracred to many opportunities to enjoy exercise in nature.

Jonathan Melle
Jonathan Melle
Reply to  The school committee
30 days ago

Congressman Silvio Conte passed away on February 8, 1991, and with his memory ended the pork barrel dollars he lavished on GE in Pittsfield for decades. Jack Welch built GE into a financial powerhouse. Jack Welch retired prior to the 2002 economic recession, which at the time was the worst economic recession since the Great Depression in the 1930s, which was when Jack Welch was born in Eastern Massachusetts in Peabody. GE’s financial unit lost a lot of money in the 2000s after Jack Welch retired as CEO of GE, and then came the 2008 financial system collapse caused by Wall Street investment banks and insurance companies. The 2008 recession became and still is the worst recession since the Great Depression in the 1930s. GE almost went bankrupt, and they (GE) were investigated and fined by the SEC for cooking their books with creative accounting fraud. In 2021, GE has over $50 billion in corporate debts, and has dealt with recent years of negative cash flow in the billions of dollars. GE’s net market capitalization is currently around $4 billion, which is still a lot of money for GE’s current CEO Larry Culp to use to rebuild the troubled and heavily indebted company that is now headquartered in Boston.
In Berkshire County, the corrupt EPA and GE reached a settlement under Trump’s pro-big business EPA to supposedly cleanup the polluted Housatonic River with NO financial commitment from GE for a probable $1 billion project that will last 15 years. Given GE’s troubled history of corporate financial management and huge debt load with its current $4 billion market capitalization, I find it highly questionable that GE will be able to pay $1 billion over the next 15 years to supposedly cleanup the polluted Housatonic River.
The first thing any public or business administrator does is look at the financial statements of operations, debts, and capital projects. There is NO financial statement from GE because GE has NOT committed any money whatsoever to their pending supposed cleanup of the polluted Housatonic River. It amazes me that Lenox State Representative Smitty Pignatelli has a college business degree in finance and he once worked at Lee Bank, but he wrote op-eds supporting GE’s plan without asking to see GE’s financial statement(s).
For over the past 2 decades, GE spent over $500 million cleanup part of Pittsfield’s toxic waste sites, and the residents of Lee and Lenoxdale do NOT want to have capped toxic waste dumps like they do in Pittsfield. The capped toxic waste sites do not last forever, and leaky landfills eventually re-pollute the environment. In closing, the ruling and corporate elites have all sold out the people who live in the beautiful Berkshires!

The kidd
The kidd
30 days ago

This is the same park that the homeless filled with shit and piss, correct? Seems like mountain biking is the least of their problems. But what do I know maybe I’m not “woke” enough. While on the subject of “wokism” why doesn’t somebody ask DA Harrington why the overdose rate has gone up. Criminal Justice is not rocket science, you take away the demand the supply goes elsewhere. You know the supply brings all sorts of bad things with it right? Gangs, guns, robberies the list goes on. Have a good day everyone!

The school committee
The school committee
Reply to  The kidd
29 days ago

Lets get to the truth of homelessness is because Reagan would not fund mental illness facilities and he put many sick people in the street.Well to do republicans think everyone got the same head start.Greed is a deadly sin.You are addicted to wealth.You must feed it.And contributions to society takes your money away from your addiction.

J2S
J2S
Reply to  The school committee
29 days ago

Actually, many politicians,advocates, Dr.’s, and others involved in the mental health field felt some people would do better in home/ group home type settings and felt some shouldn’t be kept in institutional settings. There has been some pro’s and con’s to the outcome.

Shirleyknuts
Shirleyknuts
Reply to  J2S
29 days ago

This actually happened in the 70’s but what does accuracy has to do with anything TSC states

Pat
Pat
Reply to  The school committee
29 days ago

Too many drugs in this country is the reason for so much homelessness. Biden is allowing even more drugs into the country so the problem will only get worse.

LegalEagle
LegalEagle
Reply to  The kidd
29 days ago

Page one on DA’s explosion of dangerousness hearings. My take: 1. DA dupes public into believing she is meeting another one of her limp campaign promises. 2, DA refuses to speak to the local paper on a subject of major importance.3. The public can’t know how many of the cases where the DA asked for dangerousness were declined, because data not available, blah blah blah. https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/local/amid-explosion-of-dangerousness-hearings-data-elusive-for-effect-on-poor-people-of-color/article_d8e2adce-b8cc-11eb-b892-43043bf076c3.html

Aerin
Aerin
Reply to  LegalEagle
29 days ago

She is a dishonest person. She is willing to lie at every turn to save herself from looking bad. This is just another example among so many written about on this blog. I really hope the voters finally get this one day.

Penny lane
Penny lane
Reply to  Aerin
29 days ago

Sorry but the reform prosecutor is here to stay..i know it hurts you can thank David For it.

James
James
Reply to  Penny lane
29 days ago

Said the head clown of the bozo explosion.

EWendt
EWendt
Reply to  danvalenti
29 days ago

As was said so many times, Harrington doesn’t know what she doesn’t know. In the case of cash bail, she hadn’t thought through the danger to the community but was only parroting progressive DAs when she promised it. At the same time, she made promises to somehow do more about domestic violence than her predecessors. The two aren’t mutually exclusive. They just require someone with an iota of experience who also isn’t a complete ditz.

Ron Kitterman
Ron Kitterman
30 days ago

What would make a great spot is the land in back of Ken’s Bowl or where the Maryjane plant is located. Of course if the idea comes from a so called citizen, so I’m sure it find it way into the shit can for ideas. Thank you Chuck Garivaltis  and the Hartigans for stepping forward to save Springside. My other pet peeve is the so called bike lanes on North St one lane traffic makes as much sense as Dolly Parton wearing a training bra singing Here We Go Again. .

Annulgas
Annulgas
Reply to  Ron Kitterman
29 days ago

The last time she wore a training bra was in kindergarten.

Shirleyknuts
Shirleyknuts
30 days ago

I believe councilors stated they would listen to their constituents when they wrote in to the Planet. Here we are at budget time and not a peep about freezing the tax rate nor lowering it. Instead we have them talking about expanding the size of the school system!! When they bring the CPA up I hope they say let’s get rid of it the taxpayers are being squeezed to much. I have not heard them say anything about the environment at Springside park, but why would we when they allowed the houseless to live there for a year. Seeing how we have to many baseball fields we should let the ones at Springside go wild

Uhndoor Estimator
Uhndoor Estimator
Reply to  danvalenti
30 days ago

They boy want a forensic audit because they don’t put understand finances. It’s a win win for the non doers. White wins also ifvtherecis no wrong doing. But right off the bat that beacon horse manure will prove them both right…..or wrong.

Uhndoor Estimator
Uhndoor Estimator
Reply to  danvalenti
30 days ago

Painful questioning during budget process. Sample? Why is the painters pay so low? Are you serious Dumpster? The senior plumber left so the replacements pay is lower, really? And Lampylousy is clueless.Just rubber stamp the damn budget and vote them all out when you can. Mayor will take a little longer. Unless she gets run over in a bike lane on North st.

Tide Pod
Tide Pod
Reply to  Uhndoor Estimator
29 days ago

Did the Duke of Earl try to increase the budget?

Jonathan Melle
Jonathan Melle
Reply to  danvalenti
30 days ago

The Lovely Linda’s fiscal year 2022 budget proposal that begins on July 1, 2021, will increase municipal spending by 5%. It has been the same predictable annual rate of increase in municipal spending for a very long time now. Pittsfield politics is always totally predictable when it comes to its annual budget. Next up, the Lovely Linda’s fiscal year 2022 capital budget that is always way above $10 million per fiscal year. In closing, the only question I have for Pittsfield politics is WHY do they always soak the proverbial Kapanski family with such high municipal spending and public debts?

Thomas More
Thomas More
30 days ago

You’re spot on Chuck (and Royal). The bastards aren’t going to rest until they have that park torn to shreds. It’s sad that Dan can’t support you without making fun of and ridiculing everyone else who enjoys bicycling. The millennials had no more to do with the fiasco on North Street than did the octogenarians.

Thomas More
Thomas More
Reply to  Thomas More
29 days ago

Hey Chuck, you got three thumbs down. Guess the bloggers here want that bike trail.

Thomas More
Thomas More
Reply to  danvalenti
29 days ago

I’m a great fan of satire. Imus was a master using it but it often got him in trouble when he aimed at the wrong groups. As for the bikers and the pickle ballers, they should get nothing. The advocates are not poor. They can pay there own way, build their own trails and courts on their own property, the same as golfers do.

Ham Anex
Ham Anex
Reply to  danvalenti
28 days ago

Satyer?

Annulgas
Annulgas
Reply to  Thomas More
29 days ago

Are they are fixing up the Springside house so the bikers will have a place to chill and poop? Big screen TVs just like at the jail. Heard a vegetarian buffet is in the design phase. One whole wing is destined to become a bicyle repair shop and will be selling those fancy neon hot pants. All proceeds will be going to an unclassified account at city hall. All upkeep bills will be going to the taxpayer suckers.

Annulgas
Annulgas
29 days ago

If teenagers on bikes or skateboards start using the North street bike lanes it will be interesting to see how this whole woke experiment works out. But they can’t ride on the sidewalks anymore because that is where all the merchants put their wares.

Does anyone know the actual figure for muggings on North street so far this year? And where any of the victims on bikes? Were any of the perpetrators on bikes?

Lenny
Lenny
29 days ago

It should be crystal clear to Pittsfield residents that there are only two councilors concerned about the city’s spending habits – Connell & Morandi. They were the only two votes against Tyer’s new city Office of Diversity. The others all voted to fund a half year of these “services” (bogus from where I’m sitting) at the tune of 100 grand. This in addition to a Diversity Office already in place in the PPSD.

Racist, pure & simple.

Pete White needs to be voted out of office ASAP.

The City I Hate
The City I Hate
Reply to  Lenny
28 days ago

More useless SCHITT!

The school committee
The school committee
29 days ago

Trumps attempted and failed overthrow of the democracy of the United States of America is still a treasonist act the needs an investigation.Never forget the Republican party Coup of 1/6/2021 that they support.Trump told McConnell and McCarthy he want that investigation surpressed and destroyed. They both said yes Mr. President

J2S
J2S
Reply to  The school committee
29 days ago

No matter how many investigations there are there will never be enough for some. All to sideline him is all some want.

Hell Toupee
Hell Toupee
Reply to  The school committee
28 days ago

Investigate the murder of Ashli Babbit by a goon from Pelosi’s hit squad.

Jonathan Melle
Jonathan Melle
29 days ago

Re: Berkshire DA Andrea Harrington’s bail & switch on bail & dangerous hearings

NEWS ARTICLE from COMMONWEALTH MAGAZINE daily email:

“Berkshire DA under fire for dangerousness hearings”
By Bruce Mohl – CommonWealth editor – May 20, 2021

Two years ago, shortly after she was elected district attorney in Berkshire County, Andrea Harrington said she was going to sharply curtail the use of cash bail.

“A cash bail system is basically un-American,” she said on WGBY-TV’s Connecting Point. “It’s discriminatory against people who are impoverished. Two people accused of the same crime with the same kind of evidence – if one person can come up with $500 to be released pre-trial and the other person cannot because of their financial circumstances, to me that’s clearly inequitable and it’s not fair and it really doesn’t keep our community safe.”

In that same interview, Harrington also made clear that if her office felt a defendant was a danger to the community or to someone in the community it would present evidence of that danger to a judge and seek to hold the person that way.

“That way we’re able to distinguish between people who should be behind bars because they’re dangerous and people who are innocent until proven guilty,” she said.

Harrington appears to have followed through on her pledge. Defendants today are rarely being held on bail, but now advocates and defense attorneys are accusing her of using dangerousness hearings to lock their clients up prior to a trial. 

In separate reports by New England Public Media and the Berkshire Eagle, the defense attorneys and advocates suggest Harrington has substituted one discriminatory practice for another. While bail hearings are way down, the number of dangerousness hearings has increased dramatically – tripling in District Court and rising fivefold in Superior Court, according to the reports.

“It doesn’t get much more of an infringement on civil liberties,” defense attorney Michael Hinkley told New England Public Media. “That is, people are being held by the government. They haven’t been found guilty, they haven’t been adjudicated guilty and — in some cases — they’ve been held longer than the law allows given the pandemic.”

If a defendant is declared dangerous, he or she can be held for 120 days in District Court cases and 180 days in Superior Court cases – and even longer during COVID.

It’s quite possible that dangerousness hearings went up in Berkshire County when bail hearings went down because prosecutors – and judges – were implementing bail improperly previously. In a 2017 decision on a bail issue, the Supreme Judicial Court was critical of prosecutors for incorporating claims about the defendant’s dangerousness into a request for bail.

“Using unattainable bail to detain a defendant because he is dangerous is improper,” the court held. “If the Commonwealth wishes to have a defendant held pretrial because he poses a danger to another person or the community, it must proceed under the [statute dealing with dangerousness.]”

James
James
Reply to  Jonathan Melle
29 days ago

The jig is up.

RNtoo
RNtoo
Reply to  Jonathan Melle
29 days ago

So where is the transparency the DA promised when she was inspired by the characters on LA law? Did that not apply to data she doesn’t want the public to know?

The City I Hate
The City I Hate
Reply to  Jonathan Melle
28 days ago

And yet the corrupt cops and the crooked da/judges are allowing a knife wielding purse snatching violent sadistic pathological liar malignant narcissist crackwhore/junkie to wreak havoc…………with their demonic blessing.

“Malignant narcissists perceive everything to be about them, they are the center of their universe you are expected to “make” them happy by providing “supply” to their addicted ego. If you don’t, they will retaliate in a manner much greater than your alleged infraction calls for. The only promises they are likely to keep are their threats of retaliation. The other promises are forgotten and they often contradict themselves from one day to the next. They can’t remember which lies they’ve told to whom and they really don’t see much reason to bother, as everyone is expected to believe their every decree regardless of facts or history.” The malignant narcissistic cops/da/judges/crackwhore/junkies, they’re all the same.

Bi-Curious Barry
Bi-Curious Barry
29 days ago

Tyer’s new vibrant and dynamic Pittsfield.
comment image

Pat
Pat
Reply to  Bi-Curious Barry
29 days ago

Great cartoon to describe Pittsfield roads. Any mayoral candidate who promises to fix the roads in this city has my vote. Why aren’t these roads being fixed? I just don’t get it. Do we have to call the Highway Department and report every one of the 1,000 potholes in this city in order to get them fixed?

Shirleyknuts
Shirleyknuts
Reply to  Bi-Curious Barry
29 days ago

I think this couple played through my street

The City I Hate
The City I Hate
Reply to  Bi-Curious Barry
28 days ago

Or as bi-curious scary barry’ scientific study on the safety of Pittsfield’s violent streets has concluded, all holes look the same at 3am.

Mike Vandeman
Mike Vandeman
28 days ago

This is an excellent statement, covering every issue that I can think of. I just have one question for the proponents of mountain biking: Can you give any good reason why bicycles should be allowed on any unpaved trails? I’ve been asking that for about 30 years, and no one has ever come up with an answer (obviously, because there IS no good reason to allow bikes on trails). Of course, all mountain bikers are capable of walking, even if they are too lazy to do it.

Joshua
Joshua
28 days ago

The frustrating part about reading the Charles Garvaltis & Royal Hartigan letter is that if you know anything about environmental impacts, public lands management, trail design or trail construction, it gets so much wrong that it turns into a firehose of falsehoods. Many of the “citations” they mention don’t even back up their supposed premises, if you read the whole thing. The study by Ms. Lucas, for instance, which they quote extensively from, actually recommends working with trail organizations, specifically mountain biking trail organizations, to fix the issues she points out. Nor do they seem to understand that California (where the Ms. Lucas study is from) has refused to adopt the best practices management that solve the issues Ms. Lucas points out. Nor can they explain how other locations, with these types of skills parks and trails open for mountain biking, can manage to do so while maintaining (or in some cases expanding) the wildness of those parks, natural areas, refuges or urban wildernesses.

Basically, it might feel good to read if you have already decided you hate mountain biking, but its a work of fiction.

Joshua
Joshua
Reply to  danvalenti
28 days ago

Its not “the other side”. Its the facts.

Direct quote from the study Charles Garvaltis & Royal Hartigan cite in regards a method to reduce impacts of trail usage, specifically, illegal trail construction (pg 116): “If possible and logistically advantageous, it would be prudent and economically beneficial to collaborate with recreationists to volunteer with the restoration. For example, this would be an opportunity to mobilize well-organized volunteer contingents of the mountain biking community that are dedicated to building trails. In fact, in some areas, the mountain biking community provides well-organized volunteer assistance in the designing, building, and/or maintenance of officially designated trails in and outside of protected areas. Such volunteer dedication to the restoration of unauthorized trails is sorely needed.”

Nearly every supposed example they cite is like this – look into it further and what they say it means isn’t what that citation is actually talking about.

Springside Park has a spiderweb of social (illegal) trails created by all users. There is a methodology, well known in other parts of the country, that reduces fragmentation of the environment by decommissioning high impacting sections of trails and creating new trail layouts planned by biologists and the community. The method, known as CEL, has trail designers, environmental professionals, users & local neighbors working together to determine the best trail layout for a location. But after that is determined, who then makes it happen? Is a 70+ year old drummer going to be out there swinging a McLeod all day? Probably not. But you know who has the desire to do that work? Mountain bike trail organizations. Which is why wise land managers trade higher levels of oversight for trail access. Its how other parts of the country have a) few (if any) illegal trails (from hikers or mountain bikers) while b) placing trails open for mountain bikes in environmentally sensitive areas that then c) allow the land mangers to focus on restoring ecological balance instead of trail work. (The link is to a land manager with lots of trails, many open to mountain bikes, including those in wildlife refuges.)

But Elizabeth Kulas, Charles Garvaltis & Royal Hartigan don’t want to talk about any success stories (or quote the totality of a study) because that undermines the “bikes are the devil” argument. And just cut/pasting these misrepresentations doesn’t lead to any untruth being uncovered. Its just megaphoning untruths over the facts.

Joshua
Joshua
Reply to  danvalenti
26 days ago

I don’t think I’ve ever heard an argument whose gist is “we are too dumb/divided/lazy to do a thing”. If that is the hill you want to die on, by all means…

There are not two sets of facts. Ms. Elizabeth Lucas’ study, “A review of trail-related fragmentation, unauthorized trails, and other aspects of recreation ecology in protected areas” points out issues that were occurring in several California parks and protected areas. (We’ll leave out the fact that California has not adopted best management practices used in other parts of the country for now.) After enumerating those issues, in her conclusions section, she lists possible solutions to the issues she had previously discussed. One of these I quoted from above – that is engaging trail organizations, specifically those for mountain biking, to help correct the problems she listed. I accept 100% of Ms. Lucas’ study, including the need to engage mountain biking organizations to be part of the solution. Would those that pull selected quotes be willing to do the same? Somehow, I bet the answer is no. The next link I pointed to is an organization who is applying the management methods Ms. Lucas’ study suggested and with great results.

Mr, Garivaltis, Mr. Hartigan and Ms. Kulas might be nice people. But if they are selectively quoting studies, dismissing examples counter to their narrative, or misusing data, then we should all take anything they say with a giant grain of salt. These are not, as you called them, rival communities, in some kind of opposite but equal showdown. They do not have rival narratives. What they do have, however, in this case, is a difference in basic knowledge about a thing.

For instance, did or the the writers of this letter know the following:

  • Since 2007 there is only one trail standard nation wide for trail construction, a standard based on previous mountain biking trail standard? In short, there are not “hiking trails” or “mountain biking trails”, just one trail standard for both.
  • That the state of Massachusetts adopted Minnesota’s trail standards and said standard places trails used for hiking, mountain biking or (as recommends) both in a category they call “nature trails”? (Its why I used the 3 Rivers example above.)

If the writers of this letter didn’t know the above two items (and trust me, there are many more), then how could they properly contextualize any information they were finding online to the situation in Massachusetts?

As someone who writes Environmental Assessment documents (EA & EAWs) for human powered access projects, knowing the full context is messy sometimes. It takes a lot of work. But it gives a complete picture to those looking. Just assuming that the people we know or like or are friends with are correct because they found articles or selectively quote a study is not getting the full context. And therefore we don’t get the full picture.