Jerry Sprunger Cartoon
Freeride mountain biking has become an increasingly popular sport in the Missoula area over the past decade or so. Advancements in suspension technology have allowed for bikes specifically tailored to more “technical” terrain: steep slopes, jumps, rock drops and log ramps. But Missoula’s legal trail system doesn’t have much of that. The void is filled by an outlaw culture of freeriders bent on meeting their own demands, even if it means breaking the law. . .
“Historically, the Forest Service has allowed sort of conventional uses: walking down the trail, taking your horse, driving your ATV on a road,” [Lolo National Forest’s Boyd] Hartwig explains. “The mountain bikers who want a more challenging experience, they’ve taken it to the next step and said, ‘That’s not enough for us. We want to construct things. We want to build jumps and bridges,’ or whatever. That takes us outside the bounds of what we’re allowed to do.”
Logging road landslide into Sullivan Creek bull trout habitat!
Keith Hammer photo.