Hikers and bikes bad fit on Palm Bay trail

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PALM BAY, Fla. - A feud between the Melbourne-Tillman Water District and a group of bicycle riders is leading to the destruction of a popular hiking trail.

The riders have been building jumps along the path near Malabar Road and Interstate 95, but every time they do officials from the water district flatten them out.

Tyler Milam and his fellow bike riders have been riding Palm Bay's Grapefruit Trail for years and building jumps to make the ride more exciting. 

"For me it's getting to be a part of nature and everything," said Milam.

But officials at the water district said the makeshift biking course is dangerous, and ruins the trail for hikers.

"What do you say to the hikers when they say you are blocking the paths with these jumps?" WFTV reporter Tim Barber asked Milam.

"I don't see that as a problem ... every jump has a walkway," said Milam.

Water district officials have been plowing the jumps and even cutting down trees to block the path. Officials told WFTV that the trees have already been destroyed by the riders digging around them to build the dirt mounds.

The biker riders deny any of the dirt comes from the base of any of the 10 trees that have been cut down.

Water district officials said they would rather not block the trail by putting trees in the way, but it's necessary to prevent lawsuits and to keep the riders from hurting themselves.

Milam said it's his own fault if he gets hurt.

"I think it's ridiculous. I think there is a better way than to just knock the trees down," said Milam.

Palm Bay Police could charge the bikers with vandalism or criminal mischief, but water district officials said that they are not interested in pressing charges.