• 11-11-2012
    Axe
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SS Hack View Post
    Maybe if mountain bikers as a group acted more like backpackers with bikes and no backpacks it would work - the problem is too often they act like motocrossers without engines. This is utterly incompatible with the idea of wilderness.

    Lie. Simple as that.

    What is your "idea of wilderness"? Stepping over horse feces on a trail? Pitching a bright colored tent in a middle of a meadow instead of just rolling by it and going back to your home?

    Here is the problem - one group of users of public lands tries to dictate what the "idea" is. But they are wrong. There is NOTHING wrong or incompatible with cycling. Nothing. The is no erosion, noise, pollution or any philosophical differences.
  • 11-11-2012
    CHUM
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SS Hack View Post
    ...This is utterly incompatible with the idea of wilderness.

    I believe the original intent of 'wilderness' was to be open to the public for recreation/enjoyment where industrialization would not exist....

    Bikes have proven to be more than manageable over the years, and the impact of riding is equal to that of hiking (according to recent reports).

    Conservation/environmentalism has taken an ugly turn into a nasty exclusionary practice where a minority of fundamentalist 'hikers' believe experiencing nature should be their way, or through a coffee table book if you disagree...

    The PCT currently is in need of trail work (40-50%)...and has been declining in popularity over the past decade....Disregarding what MTB'rs can do to be positive stewards will ultimately hurt the PCT...

    But, this initiative is only for regaining access outside of designated wilderness...;)
  • 11-11-2012
    SS Hack
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Axe View Post
    Lie. Simple as that.

    What is your "idea of wilderness"? Stepping over horse feces on a trail? Pitching a bright colored tent in a middle of a meadow instead of just rolling by it and going back to your home?

    Here is the problem - one group of users of public lands tries to dictate what the "idea" is. But they are wrong. There is NOTHING wrong or incompatible with cycling. Nothing. The is no erosion, noise, pollution or any philosophical differences.

    Only idiots camp in meadows. Maybe horses should wear diapers.

    Maybe you've never seen an idiot riding around with a boom box tied on his handlebars blasting music. I'm not saying it can't be done, just that there would need to be a more sensitive approach then what often occurs. Maybe we should allow bikes in high use wilderness that already are wrecked, like Tahoe or Yosemite valley - these places are already filled "once a year" stupid backpackers with chairs strapped to their backs anyway.
  • 11-11-2012
    imtnbke
    Hi, SS Hack — I think a small percentage of mountain bikers can act in a rudely gonzo way in smaller parks close to cities or destination resorts. I've never found any of those people in anything resembling a Wilderness, though. I mean areas that, like Wilderness, have trail systems that go for tens of miles into remote country. It's just cross-country enthusiasts out there, and they seem to be polite and physically fit outdoor enthusiasts who are just as engaged in their surroundings as Ansel Adams and John Muir must have been.

    On your larger point, Wilderness is an odd construct, unique to the United States in its current form. On the one hand, it's one of the greatest conservation achievements ever: the idea of keeping places roadless and free of infrastructure. It's worked well in that regard. But on the other hand, it ran into a problem in the 1970s and 1980s, when the Forest Service started reversing its 1966 regulation that allowed human-powered mechanical devices, instead adopting an interpretation of the 1964 Wilderness Act that was so severe that key conservation lawmakers like Sen. Frank Church and Rep. Morris K. Udall warned the agency, in 1975 and 1977, that they were going way overboard.

    Church and Udall saw nothing wrong with keeping primitive cabins and similar things in Wilderness, but the Forest Service started taking on a Taliban-like approach, banning everything from footbridges to hitching posts and even much signage, letting trails fall into abandonment, and, incidentally, reinterpreting the Wilderness Act to forbid anything with a wheel—even wheelbarrows for maintenance, bicycles, and baby strollers.

    There is a theory that although this severe interpretation of the Wilderness Act got started under President Carter, it was the Reagan Administration that really liked it, because it had the potential of alienating so many people from Wilderness that little more of it would be created. It's also believed that that's the same reason conservationists like Church and Udall were alarmed. They saw a future of little or no more Wilderness, and regarded that as a threat.

    If that was the plan, it has succeeded brilliantly, and it duped the Sierra Club, Wilderness Society, etc., with a deftness worthy of James Bond. When you write that bicycling "is utterly incompatible with the idea of wilderness," please realize that in 1966 the Forest Service said human-powered mechanical transport was fine. It was only starting in 1977 that the agency started announcing what you're saying. (Even then it dithered, going back and forth on bicycles in Wilderness until 1984, when it finally said no. As a result, people were mountain biking in Wilderness legally in 1983.) Why it decided to do this remains a mystery, because it seemed to have acted on only one or two requests from members of the public. A mystery, that is, unless the conspiracy theory is correct.

    The outcome, whether intended or not, has been disastrous for Wilderness conservation. The conservation movement relies on an ever dwindling cohort of white people in their 60s, 70s, and 80s, many of them reactionary HOHAs, for its Wilderness stance, and that's a sure loser over time for the same demographic reason that the Republican Party can't elect a president. Meanwhile, extractive industries have been happy to watch the Wilderness backers shrink into their reactionary corner, saying no to bicycles, no to snow kites, no, no, no, like George Wallace standing at the schoolhouse door. It's been exceedingly difficult to create new Wilderness areas for many years now, although Obama did get one bill through early in his term.
  • 11-11-2012
    Axe
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SS Hack View Post
    Only idiots camp in meadows. Maybe horses should wear diapers.

    Well, I see plenty of those "idiots". Certainly way more of them then those phantom "motocrosser" bicyclists you alluded - anywhere where you have to pedal a little to get to.

    In short, your argument does not hold water. There is nothing more unnatural to a bicycle then to any of the hiking and horse packing equipment, there is less impact - as bicycle, unlike hikers, always stick to established trails, and they do not wear trails any more than hikers.

    Yes, horses should wear diapers. Once they do, maybe we can revisit the argument about bicycle "impact".
  • 11-11-2012
    Axe
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by imtnbke View Post
    like George Wallace standing at the schoolhouse door.

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by George Wallace
    I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.

    Apt comparison.
  • 11-11-2012
    zorg
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SS Hack View Post
    Only idiots camp in meadows. Maybe horses should wear diapers.

    Maybe you've never seen an idiot riding around with a boom box tied on his handlebars blasting music. I'm not saying it can't be done, just that there would need to be a more sensitive approach then what often occurs. Maybe we should allow bikes in high use wilderness that already are wrecked, like Tahoe or Yosemite valley - these places are already filled "once a year" stupid backpackers with chairs strapped to their backs anyway.

    I'm not following your reasoning.
  • 11-11-2012
    Empty_Beer
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Axe View Post
    Bollocks. I assume you hike naked on the trail? Do you take your gas stove with you? Backpack? GPS? Tent?

    Ban on bike travel in Wilderness is utterly idiotic. There is NO justification, but the exclusionary ideas of misguided people like you.

    Axe- if you are following the heated debate on Facebook, you'll see that Jfloren is absolutely "for" mtb access on the non-wilderness portions of the PCT (1,600 miles). While I agree with your sentiments about access to the Wilderness, that is unfortunately a completely different battle and not the focus of the PCT initiative.

    www.facebook.com/SharingThePct ... Oct. 28th under "Recent posts by others..."
  • 11-12-2012
    J-Flo
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Axe View Post
    Bollocks. I assume you hike naked on the trail? Do you take your gas stove with you? Backpack? GPS? Tent?

    Ban on bike travel in Wilderness is utterly idiotic. There is NO justification, but the exclusionary ideas of misguided people like you.

    Whoa there, buddy. Your attack is misdirected, so I won't take it personally. I am strongly in favor of mountain bike access to the PCT, in areas outside Wilderness.

    Bike access to the Wilderness is a completely separate issue, and we need to address the issues one at a time. This discussion is about the PCT. A large number of the people who want to keep bikes off the PCT are focused on the Wilderness areas, and it is perfectly appropriate to point out to them that we aren't talking here about opening bike access to those portions of the PCT.

    Contrary to your mistaken assumption, I also oppose an outright ban on bikes in Wilderness, but that is not relevant to this discussion. Trying to modify/allow exceptions to the federal ban on mountain bikes in Wilderness is a much larger issue that will involve a much larger group of interested people and will obviously take years of effort. I believe it will happen within the next 4-10 years though.

    I also think there are many Wilderness areas, including certain high Sierra stretches of the PCT, that are so obviously pristine and fragile, and with such sketchy or nonexistent trails that allowing cyclists would be a bad idea. I have indeed taken my tent and backback and trekking poles to such places. I'm pretty sure I left no trace. My favorite Wilderness spots are not on the PCT, but are accessible only via cross-country trekking with no trails at all. I've been to wonderful places in the Wilderness that were extremely difficult to reach on foot, I'm darn sure that no horse could get there, and feel it wouldn't be right to see day-trippers on their bikes there if they were crazy enough to try it. That's my opinion, and I am entitled to it.

    And no, I've never hiked naked on the PCT (it would probably be too chilly). There's nothing like a swim in a high Sierra lake after a long hike (or bike ride) though. Cheers.
  • 11-12-2012
    SS Hack
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Axe View Post
    Well, I see plenty of those "idiots". Certainly way more of them then those phantom "motocrosser" bicyclists you alluded - anywhere where you have to pedal a little to get to.

    In short, your argument does not hold water. There is nothing more unnatural to a bicycle then to any of the hiking and horse packing equipment, there is less impact - as bicycle, unlike hikers, always stick to established trails, and they do not wear trails any more than hikers.

    Yes, horses should wear diapers. Once they do, maybe we can revisit the argument about bicycle "impact".

    Many of my favorite Sierra trails involve so much elevation gain (5,000 feet over 5-6 miles) that it weeds out "meadow campers" and other idiots and maybe it would weed out their biking counterparts. I would hate to be struggling up one of these climbs with a pack and have hoards of biking coming down the switch backs at high rates of speed. Now, if they acted like me and slowed down for safety and a little conversion ...
  • 11-12-2012
    SS Hack
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Jfloren View Post
    Whoa there, buddy. Your attack is misdirected, so I won't take it personally. I am strongly in favor of mountain bike access to the PCT, in areas outside Wilderness.

    Bike access to the Wilderness is a completely separate issue, and we need to address the issues one at a time. This discussion is about the PCT. A large number of the people who want to keep bikes off the PCT are focused on the Wilderness areas, and it is perfectly appropriate to point out to them that we aren't talking here about opening bike access to those portions of the PCT.

    Contrary to your mistaken assumption, I also oppose an outright ban on bikes in Wilderness, but that is not relevant to this discussion. Trying to modify/allow exceptions to the federal ban on mountain bikes in Wilderness is a much larger issue that will involve a much larger group of interested people and will obviously take years of effort. I believe it will happen within the next 4-10 years though.

    I also think there are many Wilderness areas, including certain high Sierra stretches of the PCT, that are so obviously pristine and fragile, and with such sketchy or nonexistent trails that allowing cyclists would be a bad idea. I have indeed taken my tent and backback and trekking poles to such places. I'm pretty sure I left no trace. My favorite Wilderness spots are not on the PCT, but are accessible only via cross-country trekking with no trails at all. I've been to wonderful places in the Wilderness that were extremely difficult to reach on foot, I'm darn sure that no horse could get there, and feel it wouldn't be right to see day-trippers on their bikes there if they were crazy enough to try it. That's my opinion, and I am entitled to it.

    And no, I've never hiked naked on the PCT (it would probably be too chilly). There's nothing like a swim in a high Sierra lake after a long hike (or bike ride) though. Cheers.

    Most of my favorite spots are also off trail or reached via old brutal "routes" with lot of scrambling. I never see horses or even other hikers. I only wear trail runners and carry minimal gear to minimize impact. Bikes would be a bad idea in these areas; but frankly, not many bikers could ride this stuff anyway. I also know one trail up a 14er not in wilderness that we could ride right now ... of course it would be the most vicious ride of your life. It's up an old mining "road" and would offer a 6k decent with zero hikers - I know lots of places like this, all bike legal in the eastern Sierra.

    I read somewhere that fat bikes have way less impact than regular bikes; if true, this could offer a case for increased access.
  • 11-12-2012
    zorg
    You sound like an elitist. I'm not sure I would want to stop and chat with you.
  • 11-12-2012
    SS Hack
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by zorg View Post
    You sound like an elitist. I'm not sure I would want to stop and chat with you.

    Why because I think some places aren't well suited to bikes?

    If you're having trouble convincing mountain bikers on a mountain bike site that mountain bikes should be allowed in wilderness, you might want to fine tune your arguments before going to the Forest Service and other non mountain bikers.
  • 11-12-2012
    zorg
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SS Hack View Post
    Why because I think some places aren't well suited to bikes?

    If you're having trouble convincing mountain bikers on a mountain bike site that mountain bikes should be allowed in wilderness, you might want to fine tune your arguments before going to the Forest Service and other non mountain bikers.

    Clearly, you've made your mind up and I'm not here to convince you of anything. If I read your argument properly, you like wilderness that's so hard that only a few can use it, and you would be bummed to meet cyclists on the trail.

    Frankly, when it comes to wilderness, I don't think that cyclists are interested in long hike a bike anyway.
  • 11-12-2012
    SS Hack
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by zorg View Post
    Clearly, you've made your mind up and I'm not here to convince you of anything. If I read your argument properly, you like wilderness that's so hard that only a few can use it, and you would be bummed to meet cyclists on the trail.

    Frankly, when it comes to wilderness, I don't think that cyclists are interested in long hike a bike anyway.

    I'm concerned with safety issues on tight dangerous trails to be honest. I don't want to fall 1,000 feet after a low-skill biker hits me.

    Sounds like this is all a mute point anyway as most aren't up to the physical challenge as you point out. Meanwhile that bike legal 14er is waiting for you right now.
  • 11-12-2012
    imtnbke
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SS Hack View Post
    I also know one trail up a 14er not in wilderness that we could ride right now ... of course it would be the most vicious ride of your life. It's up an old mining "road" and would offer a 6k decent with zero hikers - I know lots of places like this, all bike legal in the eastern Sierra.

    I assume you're referring to the ride up Black Canyon or Silver Canyon or some similar name (I can't remember it) that gets you on the jeep road to Barcroft Observatory and White Mountain Peak (14,246' elev.). Is that right?

    I've ridden to the top of White Mountain Peak. It was an incredible ride, difficult because of the rough surface in the final two miles and the lack of oxygen. But I did it from the locked gate at the ~11,000-foot level and not from all the way down near the hamlet of Laws.

    If it isn't White Mountain Peak, what route are you mentioning? I'd like to try it.
  • 11-12-2012
    erisch
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SS Hack View Post
    I'm concerned with safety issues on tight dangerous trails to be honest. I don't want to fall 1,000 feet after a low-skill biker hits me.

    I'm kinda on your side when it comes to having bikers whizzing by you when you're climbing up some steep remote trail. But when you think about it, how likely is that chance?

    If it would be legal, how many people would come down the Mountaineer's route on Whitney on their bike? And do we need a law to prevent the one guy a year, who is crazy and skilled enough to do it, from attempting it?

    The back-country makes its own laws wrt "allowing" people on bikes. Some places are just not suitable for riding and so bikers won't go there no matter what. And as I pointed out above, for the few that will try anyway you don't need a law.

    The problem is most likely on the parts of the trail system which is close to "civilization" because this is where most people will go for hiking and biking. And while it might be an inconvenience for hikers having to share the trail with bikes 5 miles from the parking lot it's gonna be complete non-issue 50 miles from the trail head. Not only will you weed out 99% of the yahoos so far out, people who ride there also know that they are far away from help and will ride accordingly.
  • 11-12-2012
    SS Hack
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by imtnbke View Post
    I assume you're referring to the ride up Black Canyon or Silver Canyon or some similar name (I can't remember it) that gets you on the jeep road to Barcroft Observatory and White Mountain Peak (14,246' elev.). Is that right?

    I've ridden to the top of White Mountain Peak. It was an incredible ride, difficult because of the rough surface in the final two miles and the lack of oxygen. But I did it from the locked gate at the ~11,000-foot level and not from all the way down near the hamlet of Laws.

    If it isn't White Mountain Peak, what route are you mentioning? I'd like to try it.

    No the one I'm thinking of is in the high Sierra across 395. I'll look up the name when I find my climbing guidebook. Lots of legal stuff right now in the Whites as you mention.
  • 11-12-2012
    imtnbke
    Thanks!
  • 11-12-2012
    SS Hack
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by erisch View Post
    I'm kinda on your side when it comes to having bikers whizzing by you when you're climbing up some steep remote trail. But when you think about it, how likely is that chance?

    If it would be legal, how many people would come down the Mountaineer's route on Whitney on their bike? And do we need a law to prevent the one guy a year, who is crazy and skilled enough to do it, from attempting it?

    The back-country makes its own laws wrt "allowing" people on bikes. Some places are just not suitable for riding and so bikers won't go there no matter what. And as I pointed out above, for the few that will try anyway you don't need a law.

    The problem is most likely on the parts of the trail system which is close to "civilization" because this is where most people will go for hiking and biking. And while it might be an inconvenience for hikers having to share the trail with bikes 5 miles from the parking lot it's gonna be complete non-issue 50 miles from the trail head. Not only will you weed out 99% of the yahoos so far out, people who ride there also know that they are far away from help and will ride accordingly.

    You make a good point. The real problem is usage. I know many places I can drive to and collect endless firewood and/or giant chucks of obsidian and never harm the environment because nobody goes there.
  • 11-12-2012
    Axe
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by erisch View Post
    If it would be legal, how many people would come down the Mountaineer's route on Whitney on their bike?

    I will certainly try biking across Sierra in a few places. I doubt I will meet many people, hikers included.

    Heck, I often ride in a local open space, twenty minutes from a major urban area, and do not see people for hours.

    Perceived possibility of "trail conflicts" is way, way, way over blown. It does not really happen, especially with hikers (since they are usually well trained, and do not get spooked). The only conflict is in some militant anti-human eco-terrorists minds.

    And certainly, there are trails not suitable to bikes. So nobody will ride them. Plenty of legal trails nobody rides. People are generally not idiots. No need for an overbearing bureaucracy to review every little trail. Simplest rule is that if a trail is suitable to horses, it is certainly more then suitable for cycling.
  • 11-12-2012
    zorg
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Axe View Post
    I will certainly try biking across Sierra in a few places. I doubt I will meet many people, hikers included.

    Heck, I often ride in a local open space, twenty minutes from a major urban area, and do not see people for hours.

    Perceived possibility of "trail conflicts" is way, way, way over blown. It does not really happen, especially with hikers (since they are usually well trained, and do not get spooked). The only conflict is in some militant anti-human eco-terrorists minds.

    And certainly, there are trails not suitable to bikes. So nobody will ride them. Plenty of legal trails nobody rides. People are generally not idiots. No need for an overbearing bureaucracy to review every little trail. Simplest rule is that if a trail is suitable to horses, it is certainly more then suitable for cycling.

    2 miles seems to be the cut off. Most of the backcountry is empty and has plenty of space for everybody.
  • 11-12-2012
    SS Hack
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by zorg View Post
    2 miles seems to be the cut off. Most of the backcountry is empty and has plenty of space for everybody.

    People are very lazy.
  • 11-12-2012
    CHUM
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SS Hack View Post
    People are very lazy.


    :lol:

    when you're right you're right :thumbsup:
  • 11-12-2012
    Berkeley Mike
    "Conflict" is, rather, a device utilized to exclude us. "Environmental impact" is utilized as a device as well. The idea of conflict and threat resonate with a remarkable number of people regardless of the facts.

    In working with the State and IMBA the idea of real threat and perceived thread is clearly delineated in discussions which detoxifies things quite a bit. Further, efforts by EBRPD and the State to change current tactical impact of EIRs and the consideration of impact in a different fashion is key for opening up our access. The hikers and equestrians are not happy about these efforts as they make it "too easy" for mtb to get access.
  • 11-12-2012
    SS Hack
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Berkeley Mike View Post
    "Conflict" is, rather, a device utilized to exclude us. "Environmental impact" is utilized as a device as well. The idea of conflict and threat resonate with a remarkable number of people regardless of he facts.

    In working with the State and IMBA the idea of real threat and perceived thread is clearly delineated in discussions which detoxifies things quite a bit. Further, efforts by EBRPD and the State to change current tactical impact of EIRs and the consideration of impact in a different fashion is key for opening up our access. The hikers and equestrians are not happy about these efforts as they make it "too easy" for mtb to get access.

    The Sierra wilderness is all federal anyway.
  • 11-12-2012
    Berkeley Mike
    Let me rework this a bit:

    Recently in a National Election a group of people with a desperate hold on "traditional values" had their contrived belief system smacked between the eyes.

    Currently a couple of respected land managers have seen the light and worked with consideration to eliminate processes contrived to simply get in the way. I think it shows a trend.
  • 11-12-2012
    zorg
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SS Hack View Post
    No the one I'm thinking of is in the high Sierra across 395. I'll look up the name when I find my climbing guidebook. Lots of legal stuff right now in the Whites as you mention.

    Is this where they have the bristlecones (sp?)?
  • 11-12-2012
    SS Hack
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by zorg View Post
    Is this where they have the bristlecones (sp?)?

    Those are in the White Mountains on the east side of 395, they'd be bike legal too.
  • 11-20-2012
    Axe
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by erisch View Post
    If it would be legal, how many people would come down the Mountaineer's route on Whitney on their bike? And do we need a law to prevent the one guy a year, who is crazy and skilled enough to do it, from attempting it?

    This dude (from another thread - 3'30" in)

    <iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/52834929?badge=0" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe> <p><a href="http://vimeo.com/52834929">SEA OF ROCK</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/infinite">infinite trails</a> on <a href="http://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>

    High Sierra would have some awesome trails for biking.
  • 11-21-2012
    bpressnall
    Looking at the posts, it seems some folks are a bit confused about this issue of opening the PCT to bikes. If it happens at all, it will be in the NON-Wilderness sections, in Nor Cal that's mostly areas north of Lake Tahoe. Mt. Whitney, for instance, is well within Wilderness, and actually several miles from the PCT. The PCT is within Wilderness from well south of Whitney all the way to Carson Pass with just a few small exceptions. Carson Pass to Echo Summit is non-Wilderness, then it goes back in just to the north. North of Squaw Valley the PCT stays out of Wilderness, with one exception, all the way to Lassen National Park. The sections north of hwy 80 get much less use than the more southerly sections, making them, in my opinion, good candidates for bike use.
  • 11-22-2012
    SS Hack
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by bpressnall View Post
    Looking at the posts, it seems some folks are a bit confused about this issue of opening the PCT to bikes. If it happens at all, it will be in the NON-Wilderness sections, in Nor Cal that's mostly areas north of Lake Tahoe. Mt. Whitney, for instance, is well within Wilderness, and actually several miles from the PCT. The PCT is within Wilderness from well south of Whitney all the way to Carson Pass with just a few small exceptions. Carson Pass to Echo Summit is non-Wilderness, then it goes back in just to the north. North of Squaw Valley the PCT stays out of Wilderness, with one exception, all the way to Lassen National Park. The sections north of hwy 80 get much less use than the more southerly sections, making them, in my opinion, good candidates for bike use.

    People were also debating if bikes should be allowed in wilderness as an aside.
  • 11-26-2012
    erisch
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Axe View Post
    This dude (from another thread - 3'30" in)

    Impressive, but have you been on the Mountaineer's Route?

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SS Hack View Post
    People were also debating if bikes should be allowed in wilderness as an aside.

    For me it was more like general reasoning about rules governing activities only a small fraction of people who venture out to these places (which in itself are only a small fraction of the population in the first place) would attempt.
    It's like saying, we need a law which regulates skydiving from altitudes of over 20miles.
  • 11-26-2012
    Axe
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by erisch View Post
    Impressive, but have you been on the Mountaineer's Route?

    Yes, descended it after climbing the East face. No, I would not bike it. But I would love to bikepack a whole lot of the trails in the high country. There is no reason for the prohibition to exist, none.
  • 12-19-2012
    CHUM
    quick update:

    NEW POSSIBILITIES FOR THE PACIFIC CREST TRAIL

    From an IMBA blog

    Quote:

    If you live in the Pacific Northwest and love mountain biking, you have probably thought about how great it would be to ride your bike on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), which runs from California to British Columbia and is currently closed to bikes. Each time I hike a portion of the 2,600-mile National Scenic Trail, I find myself wishing that I could also access the stunning scenery, backcountry setting and phenomenal singetrack on my mountain bike. I also think about what a great resource mountain bikers could be in the efforts to maintain the PCT and other long-distance, remote trails.

    The U.S. Forest Service recently indicated that it might consider a process to review the current ban on bicycle access to the PCT. Some bicycle advocates have actively challenged the legal basis for the current bike ban, but IMBA has not joined these efforts. We are instead focusing on communicating with both the Forest Service and other key stakeholders in the recreation community to assess current trail-use issues and identify potential opportunities.

    IMBA believes that mountain bike access to long-distance backcountry trails is extremely valuable, though that does not necessitate opening the entire PCT to bikes (we will not pursue bike access in designated Wilderness areas, and some sections might not be conducive to riding). As the discussions evolve, IMBA will provide updates about which trail segments of the PCT are best-suited for bicycle access, and we will advocate for access to those sections.
    Click on the above link for more info.
  • 12-19-2012
    Schril
    I am for it, at least it would get mtb people out to maintain the open, neglected sections of trail. The trail would be in the best condition since it's inception.
  • 12-21-2012
    Keepiru
    Greetings from germany!
    We have the same kind of wars here. They tryed to ban mountinbikes in my home-mountains on all tracks wich cant be driven on with a non-offroad car. A hudge wave of actions by the local mountainbike-community (massive effort) stopped the process and avoided any more laws on that so far.
    At the end: Its allways worth the effort. The community is really big these days and can make a lot of things possible. Evryone can do small things:
    Slow down and greet friendly if passing other people, don't ride off-track..... common sense style of things. It will take a lot of time to get rid of the rowdy-image the whole sport still keeps somehow. But i think we are on the right way. At least the most of us. :)
  • 12-21-2012
    imtnbke
    Thanks for telling us about the situation in Germany, Keepiru. You're right: we have to both behave and persist, and if we do both, we'll win eventually. Thanks for the encouragement.
  • 02-07-2013
    zorg
    Well, the USFS got scared and declined to take up the issue, probably faced by a deluge of comments from the HOHAs. Here is the answer:

    This letter is in response to your October 22, 2012, email. I appreciate your interest in finding solutions that minimize conflict and the offer to work collaboratively on resolving and improving trail stewardship. My staff and I have a keen interest in improving mountain bicycle recreation experiences and increasing opportunities in appropriate places where shared use with bicycles already exists or is not prohibited. Both here and nationally, the Forest Service has partnered through a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) and other organizations to collaborate on the development and maintenance of shared use trails that meet agency goals for resource protection while providing and improving high quality mountain biking experiences.

    Nation-wide the Forest Service provides the largest trail system in the nation with over 157,000 miles within the system. Outside of designated wilderness there are 125,962 miles of trail, of which 123,739 miles are open to mountain bicycling (98%) and 12,389 miles of trail managed specifically for mountain bicycling. We agree that there is much to be gained by selecting focal areas to work with communities and non-profits to improve mountain bicycling opportunities.

    National Scenic and Historic Trails are to be managed for the activities and uses for which they were established by Congress as set forth by law. The primary uses for the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) were determined by the Comprehensive Management Plan and are also found in 36 C.F.R. § 212.21 as “primarily a footpath and horseback riding trail.” The Comprehensive Plan is explicit in its “Criteria for Location, Design, Signing and User Facilities” that the trail should “provide opportunities for hikers, horseman, and other non-mechanized travelers.” The bicycle closure for the PCT (1988) was developed with the unanimous support of the PCT Advisory Council after the Comprehensive Management Planning effort was completed. As you are likely aware, the Advisory Council, required by the National Trails System Act (NTSA) (Sec.5(d)), contained members from each state at the recommendation of the Governors, representatives from each federal or independent agency that the trail passes through, and members appointed to represent private organizations, including corporate and individual landowners and land users.

    Legislative direction for considering additional uses beyond the primary uses of foot and horse travel is found in NTSA Sec. 7(c): “Other uses along the trail, which will not substantially interfere with the nature and purposes of the trail, may be permitted by the Secretary charged with the administration of the trails.” The requirement to determine an identified carrying capacity of the trail and a plan for its implementation (Section 5(e)) would also need to be met. At this time, the Forest Service will not be pursuing a Comprehensive Management Plan Amendment and the rulemaking that would be required solely to consider adding “other uses” to the PCT. We will not be pursing “termination” of the bicycle closure order either for similar concerns. Our focus for management of the PCT continues to be ecological restoration and the backlog of maintenance resulting from wildfires, the Sierra Wind Event of 2011, and the flood events of 2006 and 2009 in Washington State.

    There are many places where shared use with bicycles already exists or is not prohibited, and we support working together to improve mountain bicycle access and opportunities to connect local communities to National Forest System lands. Our region is currently working with the IMBA to identify where these opportunities exist and we welcome your assistance to identify sites and work to leverage resources for planning and implementation. . . .

    Sincerely,

    /s/ [employee] (for)
    RANDY MOORE
    Regional Forester
  • 02-07-2013
    Axe
    Mother f..s
  • 02-07-2013
    Empty_Beer
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by zorg View Post
    Well, the USFS got scared and declined to take up the issue, probably faced by a deluge of comments from the HOHAs.

    Yeah... I'll bet that since this thing launched, both the PCTAssociation and the PCT Manager for the USFS were bombarded by calls and emails from the HOHA's, and didn't hear a peep from the mt. biking community (which is fine, since we were awaiting a response). So the USFS's decision is skewed towards the status quo. Now it's our time to act... but we'll go above the PCTA and the regional USFS people.

    As it says on the "Sharing the PCT" Facebook page, please write the head honcho of the USFS, as well as your local congressman/woman. Info is below:

    "Dear PCT Enthusiast:

    The Forest Service has rejected our request to rescind or reconsider the Pacific Crest Trail bicycle ban. Its letter to us, which we received two days ago, i.e., on Feb. 5, 2013, is posted below in the comments section.

    It is time for you to take action and here are instructions for exactly how to do it.

    We believe the Forest Service's decision is shortsighted, biased, and legally questionable. We are not going to stand by while the Forest Service ignores its own rules. The 1988 bicycle ban emerged from behind closed doors. Decisions made in 2013 cannot be made in similar secrecy.

    The Forest Service's decision is bad policy—bad for cyclists, bad for the trails community, and bad for the long-term preservation and success of a trail that needs all the public support it can get.

    While we work on the legalities, we ask you immediately to insist that the 1988 bicycle ban be rescinded. Here's how to do it in two simple steps:

    1) Contact your member of Congress. Tell them who you are and what you want. Make it reflect your personal views. A sample letter is shown below. Your member of Congress is HERE: Find Your Representative.

    2) Contact Tom Tidwell, the Chief of the Forest Service, in Washington, D.C. Tell him who you are and what you want. Make it also reflect your personal views. His contact info is here: USDA Forest Service (direct e-mail address ttidwell@fs.fed.us).

    Beyond e-mailing your member of Congress and Mr. Tidwell, please spread the word among your friends and fellow trail users. Sign up on our contact list at Sharing the Pacific Crest Trail. And please let us know what you hear back from your elected officials and anyone else. Our e-mail address is pct.initiative@gmail.com.

    Your voice is important and will be heard by those you write to. Each one of you who writes directly impacts the small group of people charged with making broad, far-reaching decisions about how the PCT can be used. Ask for a direct response to your inquiry and don't hesitate to follow up until you get one.

    Re your letter to your Congressmember, here's a SAMPLE.

    (Since your member of Congress likely won’t know much about the PCT, it’s probably best to start your request with an introductory paragraph along these lines:)

    « Dear [name of Congressmember]:

    I am a cyclist who would like to bicycle at least some part of the Pacific Crest Trail, which runs for 2,663 miles from Canada to Mexico along the Cascades and the Sierra Nevada. In 1988 the Forest Service closed the PCT to bicycles with no public input. The closure order was simply typed on a piece of paper and signed by three Forest Service employees. I would like that closure order to be rescinded.

    Today, the closure procedure is widely understood to be defective because the original decision was made behind closed doors. Also, the closure order is of a type that’s supposed to be temporary, as in the case of a safety problem with a campsite or a dock that needs repair. Such orders are not designed to put in place an enormously consequential blanket policy and keep it in place for a quarter of a century.

    Mountain bikers did not have a voice in this matter back in 1988, but we are keenly aware of it today. Since 2010, a citizens' group called the Pacific Crest Trail Reassessment Initiative (PCTRI) has been working on getting the closure rescinded or at least reassessed so that responsible cyclists like me can enjoy at least some portions of the PCT by bicycle.

    But on February 5, 2013, the Forest Service announced that the behind-closed-doors approach remains in effect. It is refusing to hear from the public and plans to keep the entire trail closed to bicycles. I believe the rule to be capricious and baseless.

    I am writing to ask you to ask the Forest Service to rescind the 1988 order. It was summarily imposed, so it can and should be summarily canceled. Unlike in 1988, the Forest Service knows very well how to manage shared-use trails, and the PCT should be no exception. The PCT belongs to all of us and I want my voice to be heard.

    Sincerely,
    [Your name] »

    In addition to the foregoing and any points you think of yourself, you could mention these items to your member of Congress, the Chief of the Forest Service, and the PCTA (but keep it short!):

    1. According to the Pacific Crest Trail Reassessment Initiative, most of the PCT is lightly used most of the year and parts of it grow over from lack of use by anyone.

    2. The Pacific Crest Trail Association admits that it cannot keep up with maintaining the entire trail. It is always seeking federal funding to do the work. Mountain bikers could quickly become an invaluable volunteer resource for maintaining the trail.

    3. The PCT runs through counties that are struggling economically. The few hikers and horseback riders who use the trail don't seem to be putting much of a dent in those economic problems. Mountain bikers would bring in new revenue to the thousands of local businesses, motels and restaurants along the trail's route.

    4. Mountain biking is quiet, environmentally friendly, and healthy. If everyone in the country who could ride a bike would do so, we’d have a much lower national health bill.

    5. This isn't about allowing motor vehicles on the PCT. Bicycling is human-powered, just like walking, jogging, and skiing.

    6. Please check out the Pacific Crest Trail Reassessment Initiative's website for more information: Sharing the Pacific Crest Trail.

    Thank you for your support! The campaign is far from over. We remain optimistic for long-term success."

    Why would you take the time to do this? Because if you/we help make a change in policy, you'll be able to legally ride from Donner Summit to Sierra City on a perfect trail. You'll be able to legally ride loops that incorporate parts of the PCT on the west side of Lake Tahoe (Cold Stream Cyn, Tinkers Knob, Granite Chief/Squaw, Alpine, Xmas Valley, TRT, Sayles, etc.)... and much, much more incredible, remote singletrack.

    Please take action.
  • 02-07-2013
    BK-XC
    I will take the time to write my congressman tonight. This is well worth my time.
  • 02-08-2013
    CHUM
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sivilized View Post
    I will take the time to write my congressman tonight. This is well worth my time.

    fer sure - this is only a few people making these far reaching blanket decisions...

    Lazy bastids - Make them do their jobs....


    I still cannot believe they are ignoring their own freaking policies....RIDICULOUS...
  • 02-09-2013
    zorg
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by CHUM View Post
    fer sure - this is only a few people making these far reaching blanket decisions...

    Lazy bastids - Make them do their jobs....


    I still cannot believe they are ignoring their own freaking policies....RIDICULOUS...

    e-mail sent
  • 02-09-2013
    sjhiker
    Email sent....
  • 02-20-2013
    Empty_Beer
    Let the Pacific Crest Trail Association know your thoughts
    Another opportunity to have your voice heard... unlike what went down in 1988:

    The Pacific Crest Trail Association, which serves to "preserve, protect and promote" the PCT, just put out an on-line survey asking folks for input on their 2013 Strategic Plan. This is an excellent opportunity for mountain bikers to voice their opinions about how the MTB community can help the PCTA achieve their goals, which are:

    1) The PCT corridor is permanently protected.
    2) The entire PCT is designed, constructed and maintained through partnerships.
    3) The PCT is well-known nationally and internationally.
    4) The PCT Association has the financial resources needed to accomplish its mission.
    5) The PCT Association has the human resources needed to accomplish its mission.
    6) The PCT Association has the systems and infrastructure needed to accomplish its mission.

    The PCTA is currently opposed to bikes. As you can imagine, the positive effect the MTB community can have on these goals of trail construction & maintenance, funding (via memberships, donations and grants), and global marketing should be hard for them to ignore. Not to mention our ability to get youth involved with the trail, creating life-long stewards of this National treasure.

    Whether you have a personal interest in accessing the PCT, or simply support equal access for mt. bikers on public, tax-payer owned trails, your brief input would be appreciated. There are only 3 questions.

    Survey: PCTA 2013 Strategic Plan Input

    For question #2, if you don't have any insight into a particular section in need, feel free to write: "All non-Wilderness portions should be available to bicycles."

    BTW, when you read "preserve & protect" the PCT, it has very little to do with bicycles (if any) and mostly everything to do with maintaining the trail while fending off development and logging encroachments that affect the character of the trail.

    Thank you for your support.

  • 02-20-2013
    bpressnall
    Thanks for the information.
  • 02-21-2013
    mbmattcor
    Thanks EB, I posted my survey answers to the PCTA.

    I did see this link while on their site.

    Mountain bikes and the PCT | Pacific Crest Trail Association

    I can't see why they wouldn't want us as allies to help keep these areas wild forever.

    Looking forward to cleaning up Grouse with you when the snow melts....
  • 02-22-2013
    dirtvert
    Filled out the survey. Thanks for posting this.

    It's probably a long shot, but the the Perfect Cycling Trail is a nice dream!
  • 03-05-2013
    CHUM
    from the Sharing the PCT Facebook page.
    __________________________________________________ ___________________
    Last Thursday, PCTRI sent a letter to the Forest Service's regional forester in charge of the PCT, replying to the agency's initial rejection of our request to cancel or reconsider the no-bikes policy. The reply is long and has a lot of legal stuff in it, but perhaps a few people will be interested to read it. Those who are may want to copy it into a Word or pdf document; it'll be easier to read.

    Here's the text:

    We received your letter of February 6, 2013, declining to rescind or reconsider the 1988 order closing bicycle access to the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT).

    We hereby request that you reconsider the decision. In addition, we would like to meet with you and your staff to discuss this controversy.

    We offer the following reasons for our request, which are in
    answer to items communicated in the letter.

    I. Federal statutes and regulations

    The letter notes the existence of 36 C.F.R. § 212.21, in which the Forest Service declared that the PCT is “primarily a footpath and horseback riding trail.” The regulation was, however, promulgated in 1978, when the only alternative to foot and horse travel was by motorcycle or other motor vehicle. In the context of its time, it is essentially a declaration that the PCT is off-limits to motorized travel.

    In addition, the regulation arguably was superseded by act of Congress, because in 1983 Congress amended the National Trails System Act, which governs the PCT, to declare that “bicycling,” including specifically “trail biking”—i.e., mountain biking—is a suitable “[p]otential” trail use on national trails. (16 U.S.C. § 1246(j).) In addition, as the letter observes, “[o]ther uses along the trail, which will not substantially interfere with the nature and purposes of the trail, may be permitted . . . .” (16 U.S.C. § 1246(c).) This is what allows bicycle use on the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (CDNST) despite a Forest Service declaration that the CDNST is primarily dedicated to foot and horse travel (see the next paragraph).

    Furthermore, primary (36 C.F.R. § 212.21) does not mean exclusive. The 2009 CDNST Comprehensive Plan declares that “[b]ackpacking, nature walking, day hiking, [and] horseback riding, . . . are compatible with the nature and purposes of the CDNST.” Mountain biking is not mentioned. Yet the same plan also declares that “[b]icycle use may be allowed on the CDNST (16 U.S.C. § 1246(c)) if the use is consistent is consistent with the applicable . . . management plan and will not substantially interfere with the nature and the purposes of the CDNST.” As is well known, lots of mountain biking takes place on the CDNST and there are few if any problems.

    Finally, we note the letter’s reference to 16 U.S.C. § 1244(e), which provides in relevant part that “within two complete fiscal years of November 10, 1978, for the Pacific Crest and Appalachian Trails, the responsible Secretary shall . . . submit . . . a comprehensive plan for the . . . use of the trail, including but not limited to, the following items: [¶] “(1) specific objectives and practices to be observed in the management of the trail, including . . . an identified carrying capacity of the trail and a plan for its implementation.”

    Since the Forest Service believes the PCT Comprehensive Plan must be revised to allow for bicycle use, then, in fairness, it should also have revised it in 1988, when three employees signed the document closing the PCT to bicycles. We are not aware that any such effort was made, and we observe that the 1988 closure order does not appear in the appendices to the plan. In addition, the statute does not call for a plan revision each time there is a change in trail management practices. Finally, within the PCT Comprehensive Plan, language exists that allows for bicycle use. It is found on page 1 of the original version and consists of President Johnson’s embryonic 1965 statement that led to his signing the National Trails System Act of 1968: “The forgotten outdoorsmen of today are those who like to walk, hike, ride, horseback, or bicycle. For them, we must have trails . . . .”

    In sum, we doubt that the enormous undertaking of a PCT Comprehensive Plan revision is required in order to repeal or reconsider the informally created 1988 PCT bicycle closure.
    Although we have asked for rulemaking in the alternative to rescinding the closure order, we also disagree with the letter’s statement that rulemaking, along with a Comprehensive Plan amendment, is required. No rulemaking accompanied the order and none is required to rescind it. It is simply a typed declaration of what should have been a short-term, temporary policy as the Forest Service worked out mountain biking management on the PCT in 1988, as it has since done successfully on the tens of thousands of miles of other trail to which the letter refers.

    II. Public input following the described PCT Advisory Council decision

    The letter mentions that the closure was unanimously supported by the then-existing PCT Advisory Council. We are not aware that any mountain bikers were on that body. More to the point, we know of no evidence that mountain bikers or the public at large were informed about this drastic change in policy.

    The lack of public notice and of an opportunity for public comment are central to our position that the policy must be reconsidered to comply with the Administrative Procedure Act, as well as 36 C.F.R. § 261.70, the Forest Service regulation that provides:

    "(a) Pursuant to 7 CFR 2.60, the Chief, and each Regional Forester, to whom the Chief has delegated authority, may issue regulations prohibiting acts or omissions within all or any part of the area over which he has jurisdiction, for one or more of the following purposes:
    [¶] . . . [¶]
    (3) Protection of property, roads, or trails.
    [¶] . . . [¶]
    (7) Public safety.
    [¶] . . . [¶]
    (9) Establishing reasonable rules of public conduct.
    [¶] . . . [¶]
    (c) In issuing any regulations under paragraph (a) of this section, the issuing officer shall follow 5 U.S.C. 553.
    (d) In a situation when the issuing officer determines that a notice of proposed rule making and public participation thereon is impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest, he shall issue, with the concurrence of the Chief, an interim regulation containing an expiration date.
    (e) No interim regulation issued under paragraph (d) of this section will be effective for more than 90 days unless readopted as a permanent rule after a notice of proposed rule making under 5 U.S.C. 553 (b) and (c)."

    In other words, the 1988 bicycle closure became invalid 90 days after its promulgation, because there was no rulemaking pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). Its effect may have been revived by the Forest Service’s decision of February 6, 2013. But in our view that decision will become ineffective on May 7, 2013, for want of the followup procedures required by 36 C.F.R. § 261.70. We understand that there may be an APA exception for so-called interpretative rules, but in our view a blanket ban on bicycles on the PCT cannot be merely interpretative given its far-reaching substantive nature and the requirement that the policy be harmonized with 16 U.S.C. § 1246(j)’s allowance for mountain biking.

    III. Questions of fairness and policy considerations

    The letter informs us that there are many miles of national forest trail managed specifically for mountain biking. Overall, however, Forest Service policy toward mountain biking is unfair and unjustifiably exclusionary. In California, Oregon, and Washington, the great majority of the most beautiful and remote Forest Service trails are off-limits to cyclists because they lie in Wilderness areas. The non-Wilderness PCT would be one of the few exceptions were it not for the separate closure order that forbids bicycle use on it too.

    The letter mentions the PCT’s problems with “ecological restoration and the backlog of maintenance.” (P. 2.) The Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) has acknowledged that it cannot sustain the entirety of the trail. Presumably this is a PCTA appeal for yet more taxpayer funding. At the same time, the PCTA wants to preserve the restrictionist status quo. Mountain bikers have an established history of doing restoration and maintenance work on trails. It seems incongruous to us that the PCTA and the Forest Service would look askance at a source of volunteer labor, to be provided by a nonmotorized and environmentally benign user group, only to turn to the federal government for more money to fund the PCT for the relatively few people who currently use it. In this latter regard, our research has disclosed that much of the PCT sits virtually unused year-round except for a few weeks during which a smattering of through-hikers may walk a section.

    One continuing problem with the current policy is the manner in which it divides the trail community. On the Internet, PCT purists have been threatening to assault any mountain bikers they find on the PCT. The threats have been coming from hikers who, thanks to the 1988 closure order, regard the PCT as their taxpayer-funded private preserve and retreat. This is a management problem for the Forest Service that a fair policy will alleviate.

    IV. Unbalanced input from interest groups preceding this decision

    Finally, we wish to observe that after the Forest Service communicated to us that a review of the closure order might occur in March of 2013, we asked our supporters not to bother your staff or the PCTA before any review occurred. The PCT traditionalists were not so considerate, however, and bombarded both your office and the PCTA with hostile, pleading, and frantic e-mails. In addition, despite our request, your office has never been willing to meet with us, at the same time that we have the impression it was consulting with the PCTA regarding our request. This strikes us as unfair. Our offer to meet with you and your staff remains open.

    Again, we ask you to rescind or reconsider the 1988 order.
    __________________________________________________ ___________________

    so awesome...so very, very awesome....