02. November 2016 · Comments Off on Mountain Bikes and the Wilderness · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events

Mountain bikers don’t need to ride in wilderness areas

BY JOHN WHEATON

Like many mountain bikers, I used to share the opinion that bikes should be allowed on any trails on public land, including wilderness areas. Why shouldn’t I be allowed to ride my bike anywhere that I want? I was a Southwest Idaho Mountain Biking Association board member for three years, and ride regularly around the West. My sense of entitlement to public land use came naturally.

However, that sentiment is rooted in an ignorance of why the Wilderness Act was passed, coupled with a lack of knowledge about how much access mountain bikers already have. Legislation sponsored by Utah Sens. Mike Lee and Orrin Hatch (S. 3205) panders to this lack of awareness — and the entitlement that it breeds.

Gutting one of our nation’s bedrock conservation laws, the bill will open designated wilderness areas to mountain biking, a move that should be soundly opposed. Public lands are treasured by everyone, not just mountain bikers, and are designated for many reasons, not just recreation.

Read more here:

Idaho’s new wilderness helps drive mountain bike bill

BY MICHELLE L. PRICE
The Associated Press
AND ROCKY BARKER
rbarker@idahostatesman.com

SALT LAKE CITY
More than 100 million acres of America’s most rugged landscapes designated as wilderness are off-limits to mountain bikers, but two Utah senators have introduced legislation that would allow bikers to join hikers and horseback riders in those scenic, undisturbed areas.

The proposal is controversial within the biking community and opposed by conservationists who say bikes would erode trails and upset the five-decade notion of wilderness as primitive spaces.

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Should America’s wilderness be open to mountain bikes?

BY ROB HOTAKAINEN
rhotakainen@mcclatchydc.com

WASHINGTON
For most environmentalists, nothing is more sacred than America’s wilderness: 109 million acres of land in 44 states protected by Congress and “untrammeled by man,” where only hikers and horseback riders are allowed.

But many of the nation’s mountain bikers want in, too.

“Let’s talk about the science here for a second: A mountain bike tire is essentially as much damage as a bunch of hikers going up a trail with all their hiking poles, and it’s less damage than equestrian use,” said Eric Brown, trail director for the Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition in Bellingham, Wash.

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