|Jumps at the Right Trails on September 15, 2009. They have now been demolished due to safety concerns.
The Right Trails have been demolished. FMS razed them on October 2, leaving ugly blotches of brown mud where handcrafted mounds had once lay. However, from their ruins rises a new beginning. Passionate bikers, boarders and skaters alike are lobbying for a fully functional venue where they can practice.
The Director of Risk Management, Melinda Ward decided, “We were not going to be able to allow the trails to remain in that location due to numerous safety and environmental concerns.” According to bikers, the trails were safe, but administrators had no experience with bike trails. And somewhere in the mess, the hearing to keep the current location of the Right Trails got tossed out before the bikers were given the time to negotiate. However, Ward supports the idea of a new location for the trails that will be better, safer and more professional for bikers and skaters.
On the day that the trails were plowed, the Action Sports Club became officially recognized by Student Government. This club is composed of approximately 125 members who are not only interested in biking, but also skateboarding and rollerblading. This club is pushing for more than just trails for bikers.
Together with the Action Sports Club, Brian Lewis, a leader in the Right Trails battle, has worked on a few proposals for new facilities. Ward, Lewis and Heath Boice-Pardee, associate vice president for Student Affairs, discussed the proposals on October 12.
One option was to construct an outdoor cement skate park near the Red Barn to accommodate skateboards, long boards, snowboards, inline skates, BMX, MTB and scooters. Though the proposal is strongly backed by both Ward and Lewis, it will involve a lot of time, effort and, of course, money. “For the park to be built, several generations of RIT students will have to do some serious fundraising and continue passing the ‘torch’ down to the next generation of freshmen.”
The next proposal shifted to a bicycle park that could be built and managed by students. Ironically, this echoes the effort students already put into the Right Trails. Currently, the group is exploring the possibilities for the new trails. They are working with an RIT architect to designate a possible location in the woods for the bicycle park facility.
The battle will not end until the riders find a place to bike and skate. According to Lewis, “We pay nearly $100,000 in tuition for our stay at RIT. Most students come from cities where a public skate park has been taken for granted for decades. Rochester has next to nothing to offer. The city has no centralized skateparks.” Unfortunately, the effort will take time. Meanwhile, keep your eyes and ears open for the Action Sports Club demo, which will take place sometime during winter quarter in the Gordon Field House. A petition for an on-campus facility will be also distributed.