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What's in a name?

The following is a satirical account of politics in the back country.

The following is a satirical account of politics in the back country.

The controversy has been raging through the mountain bike community: What's to be done about the reckless naming of trails by guerilla trail builders? How can the community possibly continue with inappropriate trail names snaking through our landscape?

The troubles began with "Angry Midget," a new effort near the Garibaldi Park Road. After outrage expressed by at least a couple of people, the name has been more appropriately re-christened "Angry Little Person" or some such thing.

But let's be frank, that's only the beginning. What about "Hoods in the Woods"? What kind of weighty burden will those who have struggled with lawlessness have to shoulder with such a disparaging name?

Clearly, the Trail Re-identification Committee will have to look at that one. Why not something like "Young Offenders Doing Community Service"? It flows, kind of.

"Spencer's Gay Ride" is easy - "Spencer's Alternative Lifestyle Ride"- but others are more difficult. Perhaps "ReCycle" should become "Reduce" given that that is the first of the three Rs before "reuse" and "recycle."

And difficult questions need to be asked. Should we have "Credit Line" in these financial times? And what is "Value Added" implying about our forestry industry? Can a mountain bike trail make a political statement?

It certainly can make a personal one like when the same builder of these two trails built "Mid-life Crisis." It was cheaper than a red sports car and a young blonde, I guess.

There's another whole category that just seem negative. "Meet Yer Maker" and "the S&M connector" suggest pain. Do we really want to encourage this kind of thing? What long-term impact do we have on the self esteem of riders entering "The Icy Hole of Death"? We have options, let's use them. Let's just be sure we don't offend or frighten.

The naming of trails is an interesting thing, and convention dictates that the primary trail builder has the right to name the trail. For many builders, this is an important part of the whole process and some spend hours reflecting on what they're going to name their trail.

After all, what else is there to think about on the long hike to your trail or during the countless hours of effort needed to scrape a rideable line through the B.C. forest floor?

Sometimes, the names are obvious; "Rob's Corners," "Cliff's Corners," and "Ray's Cafe" all seem so natural. Sometimes they're perfect, like "Mountain of Phlegm," a killer of a climb to the Mountain FM transmitter that will leave you hacking-up a lung.

Sometimes irreverent, like the "The Father, Son & Holy Cow" trail behind the Catholic church, and sometimes only explainable by the builder -what the heck is "Slurm"?

But the builder has to have the prerogative to name his or her trail. Mostly they're done in fun, and if we've become so politically correct that we're worrying about what mountain bike trails are named, then the end truly is nigh.

Just remember the motto of the Trail Re-Identification Committee: "All trail names are equal, but some are more equal than others."

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