2.6.16: Hundreds of mountain bikers packed a meeting at a local church in El Cajon to discuss the popular bike trails that were closed down on Miramar base.
The Marine Corps sent representatives to address the public at the standing-room-only meeting. The military representatives stated that they’d been issuing tickets to bikers, cyclists and hikers since 2012.
The base commander stepped up enforcement due to mountain bikers traversing a ridge above the Miramar firing range last year. The Marines were forced to shut down training until the civilians could be cleared from the area. After trespassers stopped training several times in the last few months, costing taxpayers about $10,000 each time, the Marines stepped up the enforcement.
San Diego Mountain Biking Association informed the crowd of their efforts to work with county officials and private landowners to create a legal trail, but the process is time-consuming.
Meanwhile, the bikers must show up in federal court to get their mountain bikes back; most of the bikers still have not received their court dates.
1.19.16: Bicycle enthusiasts to ride near Santee Lakes got a surprise this weekend when armed Marines stopped them from riding on the base.
Many cyclists have said they didn’t realize it was federal property. “You look at this and it’s really cool to be out here,” said cyclist Mark Moore as reported by 10 News San Diego.
Moore acknowledged that he knew some of the land was private, but added, “This area, if you were to ask 100 mountain bikers, I don’t think one would say, ‘oh yeah, you can’t ride there,'” he said.
Saturday, Moore and seven others he was riding with were stopped by the MP’s. Some GoPro video captured the interaction. One of the cyclists sad, “There is not one stinkin’ sign even remotely close. That’s why we ride it.”
Everyone in the party received tickets except for two 14-year-old riders. Their bikes were taken by the MPs.
Moore reveled, “It says basically we were trespassing and this is the evidence property custody receipt” in the newscast. Wishing that the military police had given his group a warning instead, Moore noted, “For us, it seemed absurd with all the problems in the world — they are coming after mountain bikers,” he said.
The Marine Corps released this statement:
The commanding officer of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar and the military police take great interest and caution in the issue of hikers and mountain bikers coming onto East Miramar in unauthorized areas. We have weapons training ranges located on East Miramar, which are the site of training more than 9,000 Marines on annual rifle and pistol qualification. There is a very real safety hazard for anyone that may come onto the federal property and the trails in question place those who trespass onto the base in potentially life-threatening danger.
MCAS Miramar has diligently worked in alerting the community of off-limits areas and have posted signs and warnings across the government property to further increase awareness. Similarly, Military Police Officers patrol the area regularly. Anyone who comes onto East Miramar, knowingly or not, may be federally cited, face possible fines and have their bikes impounded until the citations are adjudicated.
Over the past weekend, our military police officers had an increased presence in the area and cited approximately 50 individuals and impounded more than 45 bicycles and 3 motorcycles. The impounded vehicles will be returned to the owners once the citations have been adjudicated.
It is imperative that anyone who bikes on the eastern border of the base understand that this is part of an active military training area. We have and will continue to work with community organizations, such as the San Diego Mountain Biking Association, to help educate and deter people from coming onto the base illegally.
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