I think in the 1990s, 117% of all bikes sold in the US were mountain bikes. Everybody was mountain biking and therefore not everyone mountain biking was great at it. Being not great at mountain seem to make you much harder on trails. Trails got beat up and then got closed. Then mountain biking got less popular and trails started to heal. However, the Salem-theory of full suspension is that the learning curve for mountain biking is now much shorter. With the ubiquity now of those kind of bikes, people can ride on trails much more easily that before. So, I guess popularity is increased. To that end, the trails at the West Hartford reservoir are beat to hell this year, but I hadn't noticed because I haven't been riding much there. I did yesterday: The braiding is worse than I've ever seen it, like it's so bad that it's tough to tell what the original trail is, so braids get worn deeper. The cheater lines have cheater lines. The trails that have steep ascents don't even seem to be ridden anymore because they're too hard to get up. Puddled areas are so wide, they've become quintuple track.
I'm not trying to be holier than thou. I'm happy that popularity is increasing in the sport, but the poor and worn down reservoir probably can't sustain this. I know there have always been complaints about lack of NEMBA presence in West Hartford, but there desperately needs to be some trail maintenance. I don't know anything about trail building, but I'd be willing to learn. Either that, or I could just stop riding there. Maybe Salem's got something in his revulsion of the place.