Phoenix, AZ — Mountain bikers and hikers say someone’s putting boulders on a trail to block bikers. But after one of those cyclists said he caught someone in the act, there’s a renewed purpose to warn others.
Andrew James said he saw a man setting booby traps on the trails of the Phoenix Mountain Preserve.
“The first thing I said is, ‘I’m going to take your photo and I’m going to put it up,'” James said he told the man.
The man, James said, was cleverly placing the rocks in blind spots on the trail.
“I watched him do it for about 10, 15 seconds and I just got so angry that I rode down and confronted him about it,” James said.
He said the man claimed to be an authorized park volunteer but the man was shirtless with no identification to back his claim.
“He basically said that the trail he was blocking off was not an approved trail and that people were doing damage by going on it,” James added.
But avid hikers said the boulders place dozens of desert dwellers, including children, in danger.
“You come off the ledge and you can’t see and there’s a pile of rocks there, unnatural like that, it’s going to hurt you,” said Sean Gilbert, another avid mountain biker at the Phoenix Mountain Preserve.
There’s sort of a social contract that exists on those hills, where everyone else has the right of way over bike riders, users said.
“There’s got to be a level of respect there and I think most riders are pretty good for it,” Gilbert said.
What the person in the picture was possibly doing is putting fellow outdoorsmen at risk, James said, which violates that unspoken agreement.
“If he doesn’t like something on the trail, he should report it to a park ranger so they can address it if it needs to be addressed,” James said.
James did have a chance to speak with a park ranger about what he witnessed, indicating park officials are aware someone is possibly putting traps on the trails.