1 year after confiscating 45 mountain bikes, Marines to reopen disputed trail

A little more than one year after U.S. Marines confiscated 45 mountain bikes from bikers on trails that were passing through Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, KPBS reports that Marines and local mountain bikers have worked out a resolution to allow riders back onto trails that pass through the base:

According to KPBS, the Marines and the San Diego Mountain Biking Association worked with each other over the past year and will soon reopen the historic 3.4-mile Stowe Trail on the eastern boundary of the base which connects the towns of Poway and Santee.

RELATED: U.S. Marines crack down on trespassers, confiscate 45 mountain bikes

Per the San Diego Reader, the trail is set to open in mid-April. As part of the re-opening of the Stowe Trail, mountain bikers will have to apply for a permit to ride on the air station’s property. The application will be found on the base’s website in the coming weeks.

“[The Marines are] actually allowing us access to their base, where there is no entry and exit with a posted sentry,” Kevin Loomis, president of the San Diego Mountain Biking Association, told KPBS about the development. “So with that in mind there has to be a permit system that has to be used by every single person going on the base, even for existing Marines.”

Stowe trail mountain biking trail miramar mountain biking trail

A mountain biker enjoys a ride on the Stowe Trail. Photo: Courtesy of Jose Galaz

The issue of access came to a head in 2015 when there were 10 incidents of mountain bikers riding inside an active firing range where Marines were training. Due to the fact that the Marines will continue to train in the areas near the trail, Marine Col. Jason Woodworth told the San Diego Reader there will still be times when the trail is closed to the public.

“We may have to close the trail at times for operations and if the rain washes it away,” Woodworth said.

Still despite that caveat, local mountain bikers are ecstatic to gain access to the trails.

“It’s like Disneyland,” Loomis told KPBS. “This is the gateway ride right here.”