The Orange Conservation Commission (OCC) is receiving an increasing number of complaints from citizens using the beautiful trails of Racebrook Tract that wandering dogs and illegal mountain bike usage are degrading the quality of this valuable Open Space.
The OCC has found numerous cases where mountain bike riders have veered off of the designated trails to create new trails. These new “trails” are damaging the plant growth and scaring animals from their habitats. In addition, “new’ trails cause erosion to the soil that cannot be easily repaired. These illegal trails pose a safety hazard to the public and to the riders themselves in that emergency response to an accident is significantly impaired as 1st responders do not have access to these illegal trails. The OCC reminds the Public that the Racebrook Tract is the only Orange Open Space where mountain biking is permitted and that use is restricted to Town-designated trails.
One OCC member recently approached a man at Racebrook Tract who had just let his dog out of his vehicle to run free and informed him that this was in violation of Town Ordinances requiring dogs to be leashed (numerous signs are posted). The man ignored the OCC member and said “who needs these rules”. This incident was reported to the Orange Police. There are more and more incidents like this happening where dogs are allowed to run free and bother people hiking through the area. In addition, these dog owners are not picking up their dog’s waste leaving it instead on the trails for hikers to avoid.
What has been highlighted above is an example where a small number of people engaged in illegal activity at Racebrook Tract have the degraded the quality of this valuable piece of Town Open Space for the many law-abiding citizens who like to use these trails. The OCC asks the public to speak up if they observe any of this abusive activity. Grab a picture and post it to the Orange Conservation Commission Facebook page or to the OCC website (http://www.orangectconservationcommission.com/).