Suspect in mountain bike trail sabotage arrested

MEDFORD, Ore. (AP) — For months, mountain bikers have been running across and sometimes hitting obstacles on paths on Mount Ashland in Southern Oregon — parachute cords, mountaineering rope and logs.

Now they think they have a suspect in the trail sabotage, described as an older man with a trimmed white beard and accompanied by a small white poodle.

Federal officials say they've arrested a man but have declined to identify him or discuss their investigation, the Medford Mail Tribune reported.

Bill Roussel, who provides shuttle services for bikers, told the paper he came across the man on Sunday, as he had four times previously on the mountain. The man never responded to friendly greetings, Roussel said.

"He just stands there and glares," Roussel said.

Roussel said he rode about a mile down the trail and then hit a piece of dead tree that he believes was dragged into the trail. "I wound up cutting my leg and sprained my wrist," he said.

Within the next 100 yards, Roussel said there were another dozen pieces of trees, and three were longer than 15 feet. He said they were placed in such a way that riders could probably recover from hitting or dodging a log, and then begin to accelerate again before the next obstacle.

No serious injuries have been reported, but Roussel and workers at two Ashland bike shops say riders have reported mountaineering rope tied between saplings to obstruct an expert-level trail and parachute cord across unauthorized trails. One rider reported hitting a log and crashing into a tree.

Roussel said he reported the trail sabotage on Sunday to the U.S. Forest Service.

Paul Galloway, spokesman with the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, said a man was arrested by a Forest Service law enforcement officer in the Ashland watershed Sunday, but he couldn't identify the man. Galloway said the Forest Service didn't want to comment.

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Information from: Mail Tribune, http://www.mailtribune.com/

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press