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BEST FRIENDS OF SPRINGSIDE PARK LAY IT STRAIGHT: ‘INVASIVE’ BIKE PROJECT DESERVES A FAIR HEARING, NOT A ‘DONE DEAL’

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BY DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI NEWS AND COMMENTARY

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MONDAY AUG. 23, 2021) — Once in a while the management at the Berkshire Eagle “gets it.” For example, their recent article actually questioning the organizational chaos in downtown Pittsfield, where insane traffic patterns have put small businesses out of business, driven respectable people away, and welcomed the “armies of the road.” Of course, it came only after THE PLANET had hammered at this a few weeks prior.

At other times, the newspaper gets it wrong straddling the fence. In the new hole, this can get by. In the editorial space, however, such waffling comes off  limp and listless.

Take the paper’s editorial on the proposed pump track at Springside Park.

Please.

In today’s column THE PLANET presents the Eagle editorial annotated with a response by Royal Hartigan of the Best Friends of Springside Park, the group that’s fighting this large, expensive development that threatens to tear out the heart of what remains of this woodland refuge.

Hartigan’s responses, in italics, address the Eagle‘s editorial point by point.

———- ooo———-

EAGLE HEADLINE: OUR OPINION: Compromise needed at Springside Park

HARTIGAN, FOR BEST FRIENDS: In response to the Eagle editorial of July 22, 2021, there is no compromise when one group obtains what it wants and opponents – in actuality the park – get nothing. The only real compromise that would satisfy each side is to have the full mountain bike complex in Pittsfield at another location and maintain Springside as it is intended.

At 237 acres, Springside Park is by far the largest of Pittsfield’s 33 parks, playgrounds and conservation areas. It has an interesting backstory, one that has a connection to the Miller family, and by extension, The Berkshire Eagle. which the Miller family owned for many years.

EAGLE: In 1910, former Pittsfield Mayor Kelton Miller, who served as the editor
of The Berkshire Evening Eagle, and his wife, Eva, donated the original
10 acre tract that became Springside Park to the city of Pittsfield. In
1939, the Millers’ sons, Donald and Lawrence, donated an additional 74
acres that included the what is now known as Springside House, the
rambling estate that Abraham Burbank originally built as a private
residence in the mid-19th century. The rest of the park was cobbled
together from additional tracts of land donated to the city by prominent
city individuals and organizations all the way up through the 1970s.
Springside Park contains gardens, an arboretum, athletic fields,
playgrounds, even a pond located within the park’s borders. There have
been two zoos. The entire area was listed on the National Register of
Historic Places in 2008. The park means a lot to a number of people. Its
adherents love the area deeply.

HARTIGAN: The ‘historic and continuing love’ stated in the editorial is precisely for its mostly undisturbed natural open space, exactly what would be lost with the addition of an intrusive recreational facility in the middle of the park. The runoffs and numerous other effects of asphalt and other constructions will affect the nearby wetlands and extend to other areas of the park as well.

EAGLE: Now a group of mountain biking enthusiasts wants to establish a mountain
biking skills course and pump track in the park on a 2.3 acre tract
located near the softball and Little League field behind Reid Middle
School. The Park Commission has given the proposal provisional approval.
Formal approval won’t be considered until the Conservation Commission
conducts a site review of the area because it is located near a buffer
zone that surrounds a wetland.

The Epic Scram Eagle AXS mountain bike, cost $8,838.99. The bike advocates claim their project is for underprivleged kids. Yes, kids who can afford almost 9 Gs. Cost of helmet and gear excluded.

Given all of its attractions, and the love so many feel for the area, we agree that Springside Park may not be the best place in the city for a mountain bike course. But we also believe that given the park’s overall size, placing a mountain bike skills course and pump track in a small area that is already located near athletic fields, and is behind a school, if it is set up correctly, won’t damage the aura that has made
Springside Park so special to so many.

HARTIGAN: Springside is not the best place for a complex, in fact it is not appropriate at all. The park’s size will not be able to survive such an invasion with toilets, 10-20 foot high metal fences, potential concessions and lighting, paved access roads and expanded parking areas with hundreds of parked cars overflowing into natural areas, documented at the current bike races this summer. The area proposed is not small, and the mountain bikers are already causing damage throughout the park on the trails they have constructed since 2013. The true intent of the proposal reveals its goal as the entire park, since no industry or group would fund a 2-3 acre complex for a half-million dollars.

It’s easy to see why the opponents are against the idea. On paper, the proposal appears immense. According to the plans presented to the Park Commission earlier this week, the course includes five separatesections, the pump track, a skills training zone, a “flow zone” jump area, a dual slalom course, and rest and access areas. The pump track include 9,172 square feet of asphalt coverage. The rest and access areas include a 4,000 square foot crushed stone pathway. Five wooden construction features, two ladder drops, one wooden berm and two wooden “take-offs” would be built in the flow zone jump area. It sounds more like an amusement park than a mountain bike course.

The proposal is immense, and will be used as an amusement park for the sole use of mountain biking, not for the general public, itself a violation of the intent and trust of the people of Pittsfield. And it is not just 5 sections, it is actually at least 8-10 or more, including the access roads, parking, metal barricades surrounding the complex, and ‘hard infrastructure’ like toilets, and possible concessions and lighting mentioned above. Its designer-stated but vague gradual expansion over time gives future political cover and will allow for unlimited encroachment in the park engulfing the whole park landscape, since it will be impossible to stop bikers from using their newfound ‘skills’ across the full area of Springside.

EAGLE: Yes, a mountain bike course would definitely change that area of the
park, but it’s a small section that’s already being used for athletic
activities. Placing the park in that area won’t rob the rest of
Springside Park of the natural beauty that means so much to so many. And
that natural beauty should be protected at all costs. We recommend
restrictions on the park’s hours, and a moratorium on further
development within Springside’s boundaries. When it comes to
development, a mountain bike course should not become the “tip of the
iceberg” when it comes to development, as one letter writer recently
stated.

HARTIGAN: The addition of a centrally-located bike complex will rob the park of its beauty, since the proposed site is not small. Most of the proposed section is not already ‘used for athletic activities,’ as the Eagle claims, it is pristine woodlands and meadows. Restricting park hours and access for a tiny minority of bikers is an abuse of its public nature. Stating a ‘moratorium on future ‘development’ has been used for proposed invasions of the park by single-interest groups, including the 1980 tennis courts, the 1990 golf course, the 2003 soccer fields, the 2004 and 2007 dog runs, and the 2019 pickleball courts. Each one had no effect on the actual projects, most defeated via public knowledge and input, sadly missing in the current proposal’s process put before an unelected city body not answerable to the public.

To any objective observer of the proposal and process so far, as well as national documented national research on mountain biking, such proposals are in fact the ‘tip of the iceberg’, since the essence of mountain biking is to continually seek new trails – legal or illegal, the latter prevalent throughout the Berkshires at October Mountain and Pittsfield State Forests, Greylock and other venues – for the thrills of a new, unknown obstacle course. This has already happened at Springside with illegal minds near the Doyle complex and Garland avenue, both used by mountain bikers. There are at least 9 major venues in the Berkshires with over 30,000 acres and 400 miles of mountain bike trails. So why Springside, except for a large and undisclosed national center?

If you want to blow 10 grand on a mountain bike, why not the Santa Cruz Blur, going for $10,500. It’s “for The Children.”

EAGLE: The designers who presented their proposal before the Park Commission
(the project has yet to be put out to bid) appear to at least understand
what makes Springside so special. In their proposal, they state the park
is designed to “minimize impact on the natural environment” and the
photos they provided with their presentation bear that out. The facility
will also be funded, designed and maintained by the nonprofit New
England Mountain Bike Association, which will not have exclusive rights
to the property in any “way shape or form,” according to Pittsfield’s
Open Space and Natural Resource Program Manager Jim McGrath.

It will be
a public facility in a public park available for use by the general
public. The Miller Family’s original intention was to have Springside be
a public, free, open space for all. This facility will fit into that
definition. The rest of Springside Park needs to stay that way, too.

HARTIGAN: The presenters’ own design from 18 May admits and documents the loss of Springside’s naturalness, with clear-cutting of trees and bulldozing of its landscape, destroying the eco-system and causing habitat fragmentation. Their photos – not of Springside but from a designer’s graph – only propose an abstract design without the reality of its actual effects. To simulate a sensitivity to an environment does not equate to an intended or realized outcome.

On the contrary, the New England Mountain Bike Association (NEMBA) will control and have exclusive rights to the area and eventually all of Springside as a ‘mountain bike central’ for the region and the U.S., as revealed at its website in a 1 January 2021 posting. The entire complex will be surrounded by a high metal fence with steel gates, preventing any other park visitors from using the area. This will turn it into a restricted, single-use facility, betraying the intent, meaning, and trust for Springside, in the editorial’s own words, as a ‘public, free, open space for all,’ and not the few who seek adventure at the expense of the vast majority of the park’s visitors. To state otherwise as the Eagle does, is to defy reality.

It is not a ‘public facility’ if the vast majority of people – picknickers, bird watchers, nature lovers, walkers, among many others, are denied access to that area because they don’t have ultra expensive mountain bikes and gear bought from the mountain bike industry that supports this intrusion.

Mr. McGrath, NEMBA, and the designers were quoted or referenced at length in the Eagle editorial. Is there a reason its editorial board did not seek out those who advocate for maintaining Springside as a natural resource for the city? A fair investigation and discussion would require this engagement prior to deciding on a point of view. This has not happened, yet is a responsibility of a free press to determine the views of all concerned.

Again, we ask why?

———- ooo ———-

Dr. Mike Vandeman is one of the world’s leading authorities on the impact of mountain biking of local ecologies and biodiversity. Here is his three-point reply to the Eagle editorial:

1. The author doesn’t understand that the impact of the bike park will be orders of magnitude greater than anything that already exists in the park. Mountain bikes are machines, and machines multiply one’s impacts. In fact, that is the purpose of a machine. Living things are delicate. Machines have no business being on any unpaved trail.

2. They also don’t understand that the impacts won’t be restricted to the bike park. No one uses a bike park with the intention of restricting that kind of behaviour to the bike park. They will continue the same destructive behaviour in the rest of the park and in other parks. In fact, they already are. That’s what the mountain bike races are about.

3. All mountain bikers are capable of walking, and therefore already have the same access to the park that everyone else has. That is sufficient. Bicycles are machines, and have no rights.

———- ooo ———-

Backers tried to sneak this plan through beginning last year, not counting on any meaningful resistance. As time has gone by, one can understand the urgency they feel in having this business conducted behind closed doors, or does Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski have no problem with one of their greatest public resources destroyed by public officials on behalf of a for-profit private developer?

As the public slowly becomes educated on this issue, look for the advocated to become more shrill and desperate. They fear they are walking into a benevolent time bomb set by We The People.

THE PLANET has a feeling that’s exactly what will happen.

Maybe as soon as this week.

—————————————————————————

“Don’t you long for a time when a bicycle wasn’t a vehicle for corrupt politics?” — Sir Donald Turpentine, Knight of the Bath.

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

(c) 2021 By PLANET VALENTI & EUROPOLIS MANAGEMENT. The views and opinions expressed in the comment section or in the text other than those of PLANET VALENTI are not necessarily endorsed by the operators of this website. PLANET VALENTI assumes no responsibility for such views and opinions, and it reserves the right to remove or edit any comment, including but not limited to those that violate the website’s Rules of Conduct and its editorial policies. PLANET VALENTI shall not be held responsible for the consequences that may result from any posted comment or outside opinion or commentary as provided in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and this website’s terms of service. All users of this website — including readers, commentators, contributors, or anyone else making use of its information — hereby agree to these conditions by virtue of this notice. When PLANET VALENTI ends with the words “The Usual Disclaimer,” that phrase shall be understood to refer to the full text of this disclaimer.

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Jonathan A. Melle
Jonathan A. Melle
27 days ago

My proposal for Pittsfield’s projects is to put them all in Linda and Barry’s millionaires-only gated community neighborhood of elitist snobs in west Pittsfield near the Hancock border. Put the mountain bike project, the homeless who poop on North Street, downtown’s Social Services Alley and all of the economically disadvantaged residents of Pittsfield, the Juvenile Courthouse and the teens who vandalize storefronts, the drug dealers, druggies and gangbangers, the drunks and the lowlifes, the prostitutes and the Johns, the Lottery retailers, the cigarette sellers, the booze outlets, the skunk-like marijuana odors, and all of the other socioeconomic problems in Pittsfield in the exclusive neighborhood where the sitting Mayor of Pittsfield – the Lovely Linda – lives with her multimillionaire Accountant husband Barry Clairmont. Lastly, while we are at it, relocate Pittsfield’s two toxic waste leaky landfills that abut Allendale Elementary School – no thanks to GE – in Linda and Barry’s backyard. What do you say to that? Turn the tables on the ruling elites, especially the out-of-touch Mayor Linda Tyer!!!!

Yukalmoney
Yukalmoney
Reply to  Jonathan A. Melle
26 days ago

Maybe next time you visit she can show you the non blighted, low crime,vibrant and dynamic business district in her Lexus.

Be The Change
Be The Change
Reply to  Jonathan A. Melle
26 days ago

The local housing committee placed new low-cost housing next to the transfer statIon. That says it all. Seriously though- it’s a kick in the balls.

Last edited 26 days ago by Be The Change
acheshirecat
acheshirecat
Reply to  Jonathan A. Melle
26 days ago

Why not put it on outer West St. where the old gun range is on West Mountain? Looks like it would be a good fit from this photo from Google maps. Google Maps

Mr. Fritz
Mr. Fritz
Reply to  Jonathan A. Melle
26 days ago

Wow, what a flip-flopper! Are you in training to become a politician?
For six years you’ve been proclaiming your love of SJW Linda Tyer.
You picked two losers in a row, Tyer & Biden.
Next thing I know, you’ll be proclaiming your allegiance to Trump!
Do I value your opinions on anything? Not!

JoeKapanski
JoeKapanski
Reply to  Jonathan A. Melle
25 days ago

Mr. Melle, what happened to Lovely Linda and all the gobbledygook you were spewing? I guess the pumpkins’ lost its shine. Glad you finally see the light, unfortunately for Pittsfield, it ain’t the light at the end of the tunnel but the light of the ofcoming train.

Ron Kitterman
Ron Kitterman
26 days ago

Pittsfield doesn’t have a very good record of stewardship with the land and buildings that were donated. The museum, the library, Balance Rock, Springside House. But you’ve got to hand it to the groups that come up with the ideas. Skateboard park, the zoo at Springside park back in the day. Why not just make bike jumps on North Street, that would be the highest and best use of that public land. We’ve seen this movie before and know how it ends. 

Hydroxychloroquine
Hydroxychloroquine
Reply to  Ron Kitterman
26 days ago

Balance Rock is a STATE park in Lanesborough.

Ron Kitterman
Ron Kitterman
Reply to  Hydroxychloroquine
26 days ago

Correct it is state owned. From The History of Pittsfield Edward Bolton
The Balance Rock trust, organized by Kelton B. Miller in
1910, had for its object “to preserve Balance Rock and the land
in connection therewith as a public park, as a place for the study
of and experiments in forestry, and as a resort for sightseers and
students of nature, and for other public purposes.” Twenty-six
public-spirited citizens of Pittsfield contributed to the trust
fund, whereby was purchased the picturesque, wooded tract of
land in Lanesborough, upon which the curious bowlder, known
of old as “Rolling Rock,” is to be seen. The trustees, by unani-
mous consent of the contributors, were directed in 1916 to convey
the property to the city, and it thus became a part of the city’s
park system.

Be The Change
Be The Change
26 days ago
Last edited 26 days ago by Be The Change
North Street Junkie
North Street Junkie
26 days ago

Where’s the Berkshire Eagle’s commitment to public safety now? Didn’t they say they’d keep showing local Covid info for free?

Fizzlehead
Fizzlehead
Reply to  North Street Junkie
26 days ago

Yah, especially if they received Covid monies. They did get at least one big check by their own admission. Getting any information on who got what money in Pittsfield can be a real rubkics cube though. Kerwood don’t know nuttin and he is well paid not to know nuttin.

Shirleyknuts
Shirleyknuts
26 days ago

As I read this version of Planet Valenti it strikes me as to why not move the proposal to the Softball Complex? At on time a bike path through the electrical lines between East and Williams was proposed to connect to the rail trail so if you could connect this project with that it would be a win/win. The bike park would fix a blighted area which is ideal for their project and the bikers would have easy access! Seeing how the land is already in decay you would be improving instead of destroying! This proposal would also tie in nicely with Milltown as it would be close enough to Tyler St for the bike crowd! What do you think city leaders? If there are any!!!

Fizzlehead
Fizzlehead
Reply to  Shirleyknuts
26 days ago

You might be able to take your questions directly to Milltown. The mayor probably checks with them before she does anything anyway.

The school committee
The school committee
Reply to  Shirleyknuts
25 days ago

Great idea.

royal hartigan
royal hartigan
26 days ago

thanks, dan, we are working to maintain and enhance springside park as it is meant to be – a free, open, undisturbed, natural environment for all people, not just the ‘selected’ few.

Joshua
Joshua
Reply to  royal hartigan
26 days ago

“…there is no compromise when one group obtains what it wants and opponents – in actuality the park – get nothing. The only real compromise that would satisfy each side is to have the full mountain bike complex in Pittsfield at another location and maintain Springside as it is intended.” Uh that isn’t a compromise. That is just another version of one group getting everything they want.

You were offered a chance to have input on an independent plan to compromise. You refused that. A plan, mind you, that would have used best practices to increase the wildness of Springside, reduce fragmentation and introduce real trail and wild area controls. If you want to pursue that compromise, please let me know.

Last edited 26 days ago by Joshua
Shirleyknuts
Shirleyknuts
Reply to  Joshua
26 days ago

Joshua you still haven’t explained why Springside Park was the chosen area and why your organization won’t budge. If it needs to be at Springside I would suggest right in back of Reid. Take over the baseball field behind the nursing home and run it parallel to the school. I still feel the old softball complex is the best choice followed by hill 37

Joshua
Joshua
Reply to  Shirleyknuts
26 days ago

Not my organization. Also, the reason Springside was chosen was described previously. https://www.iberkshires.com/story/63625/Parks-Commission-Approves-Concept-for-Bike-Skills-Park.html

Also, you realize the proposed location is behind Reid, just on the SW vs. NW corner in an old baseball field, right?

Shirleyknuts
Shirleyknuts
Reply to  Joshua
26 days ago

Read the article about neighborhood and low income people but as Dan has shown it’s more about the high end user. The other 2 places I previously mentioned would be closer to the bike park at PHS and safer once East St is related. Again the article mentioned connectivity but it should also focus on safety. Also I was unaware of any open meeting last summer to discuss ideas with the tax paying citizens of Pittsfield. If on Springside I still feel the location I suggest would be best. Also how big is it, In the article you sent it says 1 acre,
Mcgrath said 2.3 and now I have heard over 3 acres. This proposal seems like it is not a finished proposal. I would tell the group to have a concrete proposal that people all see the same thing

Joshua
Joshua
Reply to  Shirleyknuts
26 days ago

Well, Mr. Valenti picked out the most expensive of the bikes (on purpose) to try and make the argument about an “elite” or “exclusive” sport. Its like suggesting because Ferraris exist, there shouldn’t be roads. There are hundreds of these skills areas across the USA and we know who uses them. Its not some dentist on a $10,000 bike. Its kids on whatever bike they have, often Walmart or hand-me-down bikes.

The safety of these types of uses are well known. They tend to have injury rates lower than already allowed uses, like football, soccer or hockey. There are plenty of peer reviewed studies about injury rates of various sports.

This proposal (for a skills park) was brought to the City by the proponents via the standard parks process. Just as other uses (like baseball diamonds, etc.) are brought to cities. Every city has some process for citizens to propose uses or new infrastructure on/in public lands.

It seems like early misunderstandings of what part was what size is where the conspiracy theory of unfinished proposal was born. If you go back to the beginning, there was some confusion about the parts of the proposal by some parks commissioners and definitely by the press. The pump track is about 1 acres (its paved and definitely active use) and the skills areas outside of that under 2 acres in size (some parts of active use, some are passive use). It now fitting inside a previously used ballfield. (Which tend to about 3 acres in size.) Without getting long on this, there is finite size to all the parts of this skills area. You can only make them so big. So claims of 10 acre skills area, concessions, etc. are as real as claims bigfoot lives at Springside. Again, there are hundreds of these things across the USA. Its easy to compare statements and see who is being factual about what this proposal is and its impacts.

Paul
Paul
Reply to  Joshua
25 days ago

Joshua, I wonder if it was a baseball or softball proposed if it would face the same objections. BMX and Mountain biking are Olympic sports. When you look as this last Olympics the medal winners didn’t come from. A background of wealth so I doubt they started off with $1000 bikes. Not every kid cares about baseball, basketball.

Mike Vandeman
Mike Vandeman
Reply to  Paul
21 days ago

I asked a bike dealer how much a mountain bike costs. He said anything under $600 is unsafe. Mountain bikers are only USING kids to make people think mountain biking will benefit the community. I learned how to ride a bike by my dad pushing me down the street holding on to my rear fender. So can anyone else. There is no need for any “Bike Park”. The only purpose of a bike park is to promote mountain biking, since there is no good reason for any land manager to permit it. Many old people are suckers for cute kids asking for something stupid.

Mike Vandeman
Mike Vandeman
Reply to  Joshua
21 days ago

If anyone believes what you (or any other mountain biker) say, I have a bridge I’d like to sell them. Is the creation of a bike park worth even ONE serious injury, such as a paralysis or death (both of which are common among mountain bikers)? Nope!

Manamud Alee
Manamud Alee
Reply to  Joshua
26 days ago

Totally and fundamentally out of sorts Josh?

Mad Trapper
Mad Trapper
Reply to  danvalenti
26 days ago

Hill 78 and/or the rest of former GE wasteland.

Maybe the bikers can get some PEEEEDA money.

Joshua
Joshua
Reply to  danvalenti
26 days ago

You would have to take that up with them for specifics. Per the records I’ve seen, the reasons for its current location in Springside and its location within Springside (on the south edge of the active use area, now changed to the ballfield south of that active use area) were about a) the existing use of the trails within Springside for bicycle access, including existing training/skills clinics (Little Bellas, etc.) and b) the feeling that have a “detached”, for lack of better word, skills area would be under used. The proponents did suggest they wanted to seamlessly go from a skills area onto trails and it appears many of the “alternate” sites would not allow that. As far as I can see the trails at Springside are the only one allowing mountain biking currently. I will say beyond those statements, its murky in the official record, though there might have staff comments that may have swayed it one way or another. Don’t think this is a conspiracy, its likely just one of those things that are temporal in nature. To know all the reasons, you would have to go back to that moment.

Again, if we take a 10,000ft view here, when you look nationally or regionally, the location, etc. of the proposed skills area is inline with how other skills areas are located/built. That is, in a mixed use (active/passive use) park or property with good access by the surrounding community and adjacent trails that allow mountain biking access. Typically (though not always) these skills parks are placed where previous things happened: logging, removal of some structures, old parking areas, etc. This is often why the site of skills area can look “nuked”, because there was step previous to the skills park that isn’t directly connected to it. There are places like Gnomewood, of course, but those are exceptions, not the rule. Taking that view, this proposal isn’t out of line with the norm. Its in a mixed use use park, with good access by the surrounding community, and with adjacent trails that currently allow mountain biking access. The actual site (both the former and the current) had had some previous use which altered the landscape (including barrow storage by the city).

Its been one of the issues with the discussion at Springside: not understanding what a thing is, then making assumptions about a thing, then never seeing if those assumptions are backed up by what already exists. Not checking those assumptions is how beliefs like 20′ high fencing, concession stands, etc. keep being brought up when even a cursory glance at similar projects in similar towns shows none of those features.

Markus Aurelius
Markus Aurelius
Reply to  Joshua
25 days ago

Will you guys use some of the passed out (heroin/liquor) “houseless” people as jumps or ramps? It’ll give everybody a little excitement.

The Pittsfield City Council VP Sweet Pete White promised tax payers he’d have a solution to the homeless problem. Pete was so invested in this solution, that he even renamed them “houseless.”

Unfortunately, like every other project in Pittsfield, this too fell through. Its over a year later and Springside Park is home to many of the “houseless” and Sweet Pete White has the same delivery rate to the “houseless” problem as the tooth fairy.

Last edited 25 days ago by Markus Aurelius
Shirleyknuts
Shirleyknuts
Reply to  Markus Aurelius
25 days ago

Did they move into Reid for Henri? Seems funny the city called everyone about that but not about these meetings they keep having that I find out about months later

Mike Vandeman
Mike Vandeman
Reply to  Joshua
21 days ago

Yadayada. The most important question has never been answered: What is a good reason to allow bikes on unpaved trails? (Hint: There aren’t any. And there are NUMEROUS reasons not to allow them.)

What were you thinking??? Mountain biking and trail-building destroy wildlife habitat! Mountain biking is environmentally, socially, and medically destructive! There is no good reason to allow bicycles on any unpaved trail!

Bicycles should not be allowed in any natural area. They are inanimate objects and have no rights. There is also no right to mountain bike. That was settled in federal court in 1996: https://mjvande.info/mtb10.htm . It’s dishonest of mountain bikers to say that they don’t have access to trails closed to bikes. They have EXACTLY the same access as everyone else — ON FOOT! Why isn’t that good enough for mountain bikers? They are all capable of walking….

A favorite myth of mountain bikers is that mountain biking is no more harmful to wildlife, people, and the environment than hiking, and that science supports that view. Of course, it’s not true. To settle the matter once and for all, I read all of the research they cited, and wrote a review of the research on mountain biking impacts (see https://mjvande.info/scb7.htm ). I found that of the seven studies they cited, (1) all were written by mountain bikers, and (2) in every case, the authors misinterpreted their own data, in order to come to the conclusion that they favored. They also studiously avoided mentioning another scientific study (Wisdom et al) which did not favor mountain biking, and came to the opposite conclusions.

Mountain bikers also love to build new trails – legally or illegally. Of course, trail-building destroys wildlife habitat – not just in the trail bed, but in a wide swath to both sides of the trail! E.g. grizzlies can hear a human from one mile away, and smell us from 5 miles away. Thus, a 10-mile trail represents 100 square miles of destroyed or degraded habitat, that animals are inhibited from using. Mountain biking, trail building, and trail maintenance all increase the number of people in the park, thereby preventing the animals’ full use of their habitat. See https://mjvande.info/scb9.htm for details.

Mountain biking accelerates erosion, creates V-shaped ruts, kills small animals and plants on and next to the trail, drives wildlife and other trail users out of the area, and, worst of all, teaches kids that the rough treatment of nature is okay (it’s NOT!). What’s good about THAT?

To see exactly what harm mountain biking does to the land, watch this 5-minute video: http://vimeo.com/48784297.

In addition to all of this, it is extremely dangerous: https://mjvande.info/mtb_dangerous.htm .

The latest craze among mountain bikers is the creation of “pump tracks” (bike parks). They are alleged to teach bicycling skills, but what they actually teach are “skills” (skidding, jumping (“getting air”), racing, etc.) that are appropriate nowhere! If you believe that these “skills” won’t be practiced throughout the rest of the park and in all other parks, I have a bridge I’d like to sell you! …

For more information: https://mjvande.info/mtbfaq.htm .

The common thread among those who want more recreation in our parks is total ignorance about and disinterest in the wildlife whose homes these parks are. Yes, if humans are the only beings that matter, it is simply a conflict among humans (but even then, allowing bikes on trails harms the MAJORITY of park users — hikers and equestrians — who can no longer safely and peacefully enjoy their parks).

The parks aren’t gymnasiums or racetracks or even human playgrounds. They are WILDLIFE HABITAT, which is precisely why they are attractive to humans. Activities such as mountain biking, that destroy habitat, violate the charter of the parks.

Even kayaking and rafting, which give humans access to the entirety of a water body, prevent the wildlife that live there from making full use of their habitat, and should not be allowed. Of course those who think that only humans matter won’t understand what I am talking about — an indication of the sad state of our culture and educational system.

Biker Boi
Biker Boi
Reply to  Joshua
26 days ago

Hey fatty, stay in your lane. Go build this garbage in your town

Bleak House
Bleak House
Reply to  Biker Boi
25 days ago

Your name calling is pathetic.

Mike Vandeman
Mike Vandeman
Reply to  Joshua
21 days ago

I asked you a week ago to give me at least ONE good reason to allow bikes on unpaved trails. The silence is deafening! As I said, no one has ever come up with a good idea, because there AREN’T any! And you won’t be able to come up with one, either. Are you eady to admit the truth?

Bleak House
Bleak House
Reply to  royal hartigan
26 days ago

Your concerns smack of alarmism and nimbyism. There is no plan for this Mountain Biking group to somehow commandeer the entire park. This isn’t some sort of Disneyland of mountain bikes.

Shirleyknuts
Shirleyknuts
Reply to  Bleak House
26 days ago

No but they could be like the southeast little league where they have scouts to kick anyone off “their” field if they venture on it to play baseball. I like parks that are open to all. Thanks to Josh for answering some of my questions.

Bleak House
Bleak House
Reply to  Shirleyknuts
25 days ago

How often are you at Springside Park?

Shirleyknuts
Shirleyknuts
Reply to  Bleak House
25 days ago

Since the houseless moved in I have stayed away but for the past twenty years or maybe 40 I was there on a rather consistent basis for many different activities…how about you?

Mike Vandeman
Mike Vandeman
Reply to  Bleak House
21 days ago

Actually, mountain bikers have ALREADY taken over the park. Just look at the bike races. If that isn’t environmental abuse, I don;t know what is.

Chief Hell'n Two Moons
Chief Hell'n Two Moons
26 days ago

I think the best part about the Eagle’s article regarding North Street was the picture of our moron mayor. Smirking with her nose in the air, exactly the kind of demeanor I would expect from someone like her. That aside, she proves how tone deaf she is to the plight of the businesses.

It’s OK thought, she’ll finish out her term, grab her lifetime pension and bennies and move to Colorado.

She’s awful to listen to, awful to look at and should she drown in the housatonic river I doubt anyone but Barry Barry quite contrary would care.

You all voted for this, you got what you deserve

Chief Hell'n Two Moons
Chief Hell'n Two Moons
26 days ago

In the article the mayor admitted there are no beat patrols on North Street and there isn’t a budget for it

Thanks Helen!

Fizzlehead
Fizzlehead
Reply to  Chief Hell'n Two Moons
26 days ago

There is not a budget for it but there is a budget for bike lanes and all the repainting and cones and dildos and designs and city work. One of this mayors biggest failures is her inability to prioritize. But then again she is not working for the people but rather special interests who could care less about the city itself. It is all about dividing up that big pot of money. And she is just a tool being used.

The school committee
The school committee
Reply to  Fizzlehead
25 days ago

Barry is the Mayor,shes has no energy to communicate with Seniors paying taxes.I would like to know how much have we spent subsidizeing Mill Town and is the unused North street bike lane part of Mill Town….Also need a plan to shut down PHS before they want to remodel it for 125 million and that coming soon.

Fizzlehead
Fizzlehead
Reply to  The school committee
25 days ago

I would like to know how many residences there are in the buildings on North street. How many of those upper floors are condos now. Who owns them and are the taxpayers subsidizing the owners taxes? Is the old bowling alley condos now?

Shirleyknuts
Shirleyknuts
Reply to  The school committee
25 days ago

TSC you are onto something. Close some schools and have a forensic audit. Let’s audit the voter rolls while we are at it. You just came up with a great idea make PHS this new mountain bike park, they could use the stairs, get on the roof a ride around and up and over the dome…that would be the most unique mountain bike park in the country…everyone would come and it would be year round!!

The Cumbee Creeper
The Cumbee Creeper
Reply to  Chief Hell'n Two Moons
26 days ago

I need a Lexus

LegalEagle
LegalEagle
Reply to  Chief Hell'n Two Moons
26 days ago

Put the patrols on the west side where they are most needed, not for the feel good PR of No one on North. If you are going to put in an injection site, you will need many of them. Studies have shown people in withdrawal will not travel more than a quarter of a mile to use a site. So where do we put the North Street ones?

Ron Kitterman
Ron Kitterman
Reply to  Chief Hell'n Two Moons
25 days ago

I speak from experience Chief but walking beats on North St seriously ? Couple of decades ago maybe. No stores, no people, no bikes in the bike lanes. That’s like teaching a drowning man how to swim at this point.

Mad Trapper
Mad Trapper
26 days ago

D-ementia Traitor Joe will have us in another war in a week….and he armed the Islamists to the teeth with BILLIONS of abandoned US military equipment.

BREAKING: Taliban Won’t Extend Aug. 31 Deadline for US Withdrawal – Threatens Biden Regime, “Complete the Evacuations by Aug. 31 or Face Consequences”
https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2021/08/breaking-taliban-wont-extend-aug-31-deadline-us-withdrawal-afghanistan/

It’s Worse Than We Thought: Complete List of Armaments US Is Leaving to Taliban and Islamist Groups — Enough to Fortify Them for Years – Secret Warehouse of US Equipment Captured?

https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2021/08/worse-thought-complete-list-armaments-us-leaving-taliban-islamist-groups-enough-fortify-years-secret-warehouse-us-equipment-captured/

Gun Battle Breaks Out in Kabul After Airport Comes Under Sniper Fire — One Afghan Soldier Dead

https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2021/08/gun-battle-breaks-kabul-airport-comes-sniper-fire-one-afghan-soldier-dead/

Last edited 26 days ago by Mad Trapper
The Cumbee Creeper
The Cumbee Creeper
Reply to  Mad Trapper
26 days ago

Cuomo arrividercibyou buffoon

Mr. Fritz
Mr. Fritz
Reply to  Mad Trapper
26 days ago

Just call him Taliban Joe!
What a horrendous situation. A British Col. with years of experience in Afghanistan suggested that Biden should be court-martialed. I agree!

Mad Trapper
Mad Trapper
26 days ago

FOX Reporter Aishah Hasnie: “The Taliban Now Has US Biometric System Used to Identify Afghans – Know Who Worked with the Government” (VIDEO)
https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2021/08/fox-reporter-aishah-hasnie-taliban-now-us-biometric-system-used-identify-afghans-know-worked-government-video/

U.K. Parliament Holds Joe Biden In Contempt: “Catastrophic, Shameful” – U.S. Media Missed This One
https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2021/08/u-k-parliament-holds-joe-biden-contempt-catastrophic-shameful-u-s-media-missed-one/

In Their Last Meeting Angela Merkel Asks Putin for Help in Getting Her Out of Afghan Mess
https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2021/08/last-meeting-angela-merkel-asks-putin-help-getting-afghan-mess/

Fizzlehead
Fizzlehead
Reply to  Mad Trapper
26 days ago

but will Ashley Babbit be posthumously charged with inciting a riot?

Dementia Joe
Dementia Joe
Reply to  Fizzlehead
26 days ago

You really are a nitwit

Fizzlehead
Fizzlehead
Reply to  Dementia Joe
25 days ago

Anyone participating in an attempt to overthrow the American government should be shot. Had I been there as a police officer and was armed I assure you they would have needed more than one body bag.
You can’t talk about wanting your goddamn freedoms and then attack your own democratic government. In what other country do you think only one insurrectionist would have died? There are consequences when you do something like this. She died for Trump. And they should put that on her headstone.The blood is on HIS hands.

Fizzlehead
Fizzlehead
Reply to  Fizzlehead
25 days ago

Now you have gone and hurt my feelings. Ya big meany!

levitan
levitan
Reply to  Fizzlehead
26 days ago

Not good behavior to disrespect the dead, even the foolish. She was breaking some law, of course, but blood was not on her mind.

The school committee
The school committee
Reply to  levitan
25 days ago

Why was she attacking the Capital police?

Pat
Pat
Reply to  Mad Trapper
26 days ago

Kamala can’t stop giggling and Chucky Schumer was doing some moves on the dance floor this weekend while all of this is going on. Never mind impeachment. A military general said that Joe Biden should be court marshalled for his disastrous pullout from Afghanistan. Nance Pelosi attended a $39,000.00 per plate dinner this weekend and even said Joe did a good job. Such phoniness.

Mr. Fritz
Mr. Fritz
Reply to  Mad Trapper
26 days ago

Even Putin won’t take Afghan refugees!

Pat
Pat
Reply to  Mr. Fritz
26 days ago

Chuck and Nancy and the far left are having working people pay for the people currently not working and who may not work again if Chuck and Nancy have their way, but somebody will have to work to pay for those who are refusing to work, but still getting paid. Some people will work and some will not work according to the far leftists, but as with everything else in their agenda, they remain sneaky about the workers vs. the non-workers. It seems that those who support them and their losing agenda get to not work while anyone who doesn’t support their agenda has to work to pay for the lazy ones.

J2S
J2S
Reply to  Pat
25 days ago

In my opinion, a basic income for certain peoples is what has been tossed around for sometime now and is something that could becoming down the road.Don’t forget this will be on top of any bennies all ready gotten.

Free Bird
Free Bird
26 days ago

Speaking of bikes, I shopped on North St. today for the first time in awhile. The bike lanes with the poles sticking up are ridiculous! Are they trying to keep people away?

Subs Sedide
Subs Sedide
Reply to  Free Bird
26 days ago

I think they’re the unbreslla guys personal racks

Mad Trapper
Mad Trapper
Reply to  Mr. Fritz
26 days ago

Southern borders already been wide open for 8 months now.

Joetaxpayer
Joetaxpayer
26 days ago

I would think Milltown would want the bike park on there 135 acre camp on Richmond Pond. It would tie into there sports theme, with skiing, mt. biking,plus the racket club and of course all the water sports on Richmond pond.

Fizzlehead
Fizzlehead
Reply to  Joetaxpayer
25 days ago

Excellent idea. Then again, we could have two and there would be twice as much taxpayer money to divide up.
Speaking of Milltown. That sewer type work they are doing by Bosquests is disrupting road traffic so they have a couple of people directing traffic. Normally people doing this work are poliice officers but these guys are not. Does Milltown get a pass on paying for high priced police officers and can just use anybody? Just curious how that works.

Joetaxpayer
Joetaxpayer
Reply to  Fizzlehead
25 days ago

The City of Pittsfield is paying for the work. Nice of us. Not sure if police are needed on roads that are not a state highway.

Shirleyknuts
Shirleyknuts
Reply to  Joetaxpayer
25 days ago

That is one of the ridiculous laws in only Massachusetts. Other states use regular flag people on road projects. For some rest he legislators don’t want to get rid of it.

Fizzlehead
Fizzlehead
Reply to  Joetaxpayer
25 days ago

Milltown has found a true friend in this mayor. She seems to like them a lot. Not so much the taxpayers. But maybe it would have been cheaper if the taxpayers just bought Bosquets and ran it themselves since they are so deeply invested?

Manamud Alee
Manamud Alee
Reply to  Joetaxpayer
25 days ago

Stooge is truly Pittsfields Buffoon.

Ghost Rider
Ghost Rider
26 days ago

I’m not a military person, however I can foresee things happening at the Kabul airport based upon past history and military tactics of the Taliban.
This is why I fear for the people within the perimeter gates of the Kabul airport!
The last report I read was 5,800+ US on the ground doing humanitarian and administrative efforts.
There are Allies and Afghan Nationals working with the US in the same theatre.
There are transport planes and helicopters within that perimeter.
The jig is up in 7 more days; the 31st of August according to the Taliban. “Consequences will follow” if we (collectively) are not out of Afghanistan by then.
The UK has been able to go house to house and round up their people AND a few Americans and ship them out. Even FOX news was able to get some employees and family out. The 5,800 troops on the ground “ain’t done shit” ‘cept play up to the press with heart wrenching images of children in the arms of American personnel while they do their ministerial red tape paperwork.
The UK said to their armed forces, “get them out first and the gov’t will sort it out later.”
I believe that on the 1st of September there will be a barrage of artillary fire (probably our shells left for them, thanx Joe) second to none ever seen and a massive hand to hand assault on the base personnel. The lucky people will die; some will be tortured and the rest held hostage and mistreated.
………………………..and Biden will be clueless because he trusted them to be “humanitarians” as Harris laughs like a hyena in the background!!!!

Jonathan A. Melle
Jonathan A. Melle
25 days ago

Hello Patrick Fennell,

The U.S. House of Representatives are back in session today (Tuesday, August 24th, 2021) instead of their scheduled return on Monday, September 20th, 2021. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is trying to unite the Democratic Party Members of U.S. Congress to vote for President Joe Biden’s $4.1 trillion social services budget and infrastructure bills by sometime this Fall of 2021. I wonder where Biden and Speaker Pelosi are going to get the $4.1 trillion from? Probably by printing money out of thin air like when Napoleon ran the printing presses in France over two centuries ago. Biden spent a whopping $6 trillion in his first 100 days. Biden and Pelosi now want to spend another $4.1 trillion by sometime this Fall of 2021. That is over $10.1 trillion in addition to all of the other federal government’s trillions in expenditures. What do Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi care? Joe Biden, who is 78 years old, is near 80 years old and Nancy Pelosi is in her 80s, which means when the bill comes due for the American taxpayers, Biden and Pelosi will be in the Afterlife if such a fairy tale really exists.

As for the Berkshire legislative delegation – Chrome Dome Adam Hinds, Trippy Country Buffet, Shitty Pignatelli, Paul Marx, and “the Mayor” John Barrett III – to Beacon Hill, why are they all sitting on over $5 billion is Biden Bucks when people, communities, small businesses, agencies and not-for-profit organizations, and the like need the stimulus funds now? Oh yeah, they are all on their one month August vacation paid for by the taxpayers of Massachusetts. It must be nice to be a do nothing career politician in Boston.

In Truth!

Jonathan A. Melle

Skimming T
Skimming T
Reply to  Jonathan A. Melle
25 days ago

How the hell did yooki and Pauline get hundreds of thousand and Moe beer? Is Pelosi nuts.

Chris Gaines
Chris Gaines
Reply to  danvalenti
25 days ago

low places.

J2S
J2S
Reply to  Skimming T
25 days ago

Some work the system and some work for the system at the same time.

J2S
J2S
Reply to  Skimming T
25 days ago

I would like to see the applications of their request for monies, actually all of the businesses that asked for it.

Mr. Fritz
Mr. Fritz
Reply to  Jonathan A. Melle
25 days ago

Truth, Melle?
You know nothing about the truth!
You voted for Biden who IS spending this country into oblivion, who is a failure in foreign policy, a corrupt career politician who is an Obama puppet, who is over-running our country with illegal aliens and middle eastern refugees – he’s a complete disaster! He’s destroying our country!

There IS an afterlife, and Biden & Pelosi will be in a very warm place, eternally, for their crimes & failure to recognize that God is not mocked!

Jonathan A. Melle
Jonathan A. Melle
Reply to  Mr. Fritz
25 days ago

Mr. Fritz, I understand you choose to hate me. I feel sorry for you. In the spirit of God and Country, I choose love.

Mr. Fritz
Mr. Fritz
Reply to  Jonathan A. Melle
25 days ago

Not hate, but a challenge to your hypocritical posts. I completely disagree with your viewpoints. You post a lot of lies and misinformation.
You choose to deflect from the issues which I am challenging you on.
It’s not “love” to call people Nazis – THAT is hate!
You voted for corrupt Biden yet you continually whine about his actions.
Get involved in your own state’s politics! Do something positive! Get out of Antifa!

Jonathan A. Melle
Jonathan A. Melle
Reply to  Mr. Fritz
25 days ago

I honor Dan Valenti’s request not to post more than one time per day on his awesome blog. I will try to be kind and not call people Nazis anymore, unless it is true.

Pat
Pat
25 days ago

There has been posting on major news outlets today that “The Taliban is setting up their government” What? Who in the media is legitimizing this terrorist group and pretending they are a government? Have the terrorists already taken over some of our major media? Are they using it to spread their propaganda of how nice and kind they are when everyone knows they are just the opposite? Joe Biden is placating these terrorists at every turn and he and many in his State Department need to be removed from office quickly.

CoobLee Con
CoobLee Con
Reply to  Pat
25 days ago

Pat,China is going to be they’re mentor.

Outfox
Outfox
25 days ago

Dan, just came across the end of life/obit piece Jack Harris wrote for himself in the Globe magazine last month. Did you catch it? It’s one hell of a piece of journalism.

Mike Vandeman
Mike Vandeman
22 days ago

How about nowhere? Would nowhere work for you?