January 31, 2012
Not long ago we reported that the Forestry Commission Wales were conducting an investigation into a Youtube video that purported to show a forestry worker assaulting a mountain biker on the 4th January this year.
The pair had got into a heated discussion over felling work in Wentwood Forest, South Wales, with the cyclist being vocally unhappy with the damage caused to trails during the felling – and the worker becoming unhappy with him going on about it in their working area.
As part of their investigation, FCW interviewed both the mountainbiker and the worker. Both parties admitted an ‘element of fault’ in their behaviour, ‘regretted’ the matter and neither wished to pursue any further action, which is where the FCW are happy to leave it.
Here’s what they had to say: “We believe that we have responded appropriately and do not consider it necessary to take any further action in relation to this incident.
“In managing the public forests of Wales, Forestry Commission Wales must constantly balance the interests of visitors with those for whom the forest is a place of work. Our prime consideration has to be safety and to this end we would ask cyclists and walkers to comply with safety signs and closure notices.
“We are looking to reduce the inconvenience caused to our visitors when trails are closed by scheduling and organising essential operations in ways that minimise the need for trail closures in future. ”
“We will also aim to make more use of social networks to let visitors know about any closures of our trail facilities, so that people can plan accordingly. As this incident demonstrates, word gets round quite pretty quickly in the mountain bike community!”
The whole incident comes round to a fairly simple point we keep seeing – having good communications between landowners and trail users is essential to conflict-free use for everyone, keeping the natural landscape free from people being all shouty or pushing each other over.
If you live in the Wentwood area then there’s already an organisation for mountain bikers called the Wentwood Cycling Association which works with the Forestry Commission and Woodland Trust to create, manage and maintain trails there, so get involved.