The following is a letter to the editor submitted by Margaret Fusari to MBOSC

Dear MBOSC,

Why are there signs that say “No Bikes on the UCSC Campus Natural Reserve (CNR)?

UC faculty member Ken Norris once realized that if intact natural systems were to be available for teaching and research, they would have to be protected from the impacts of human growth and development. He and his colleagues founded the UC-wide Natural Reserve System and he and a group of UCSC students planned the 400-acre CNR. Adopted by the UC Regents in the 1988 Long Range Development Plan, its mission is to provide research, teaching and public service by providing as diverse and intact a set of natural communities as is possible on this ever-growing campus.

Our best reserves are remote, protected and buffered from the impacts of human development (Big Creek). Our vulnerable reserves are pieces of special habitat, saved from development but surrounded by it (Fort Ord) or reasonably intact pieces of natural communities, close enough so that students and faculty can make daily use of them to study the natural world. This last category fits our CNR, a laboratory-library of nature, close enough for easy study. Close enough for misuse and misunderstanding too.

Everyone is welcome but not every use is welcome. We welcome uses that support the mission and discourage uses that simply impose impacts. The ideal for the CNR is that all the people who enter it will stay on the trails, move quietly and slowly, damage nothing and be there to accomplish some goal of nature study whether casual or formal (class assignment, research project, etc.). The reality is that some people abuse the trails by using them in harsher ways. That applies just as much to hikers kicking around or runners dashing through as it does to bicycles. With a growing campus population we cannot afford uses not related to the mission. As UCSC grows this will become ever more important and ever more challenging.

I am sorry that bicyclists feel targeted. It is legally defensible to cite a person with a bike (illegal) but not a person on foot (depends). Our best solution is to provide better communication, better signs, a web site, a poster and more information about why we ask that the CNR be respected and used only for what it is.

I supported the opening of the UCON trail. I would like to provide bike racks on the upper campus so that you can safely park your bike and come walk in our reserve. I will support your needs for recreation where recreation can be supported. I ask your support for the CNR.

Administrative Director: ghdayton@ucsc.edu

Copyright: UCSC Natural Reserves

Designed by Allison Duffy

Enhanced by Anna Moreland & Dawit Alemayehu

Last Updated September 20, 2002