The Sierra wilderness is all federal anyway.
Originally Posted by 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.
Is this where they have the bristlecones (sp?)?
Originally Posted by SS Hack
Faster is not always better, but it's always more fun
Those are in the White Mountains on the east side of 395, they'd be bike legal too.
Originally Posted by zorg
This dude (from another thread - 3'30" in)
Originally Posted by erisch
SEA OF ROCK from infinite trails on Vimeo.
High Sierra would have some awesome trails for biking.
Last edited by Axe; 11-20-2012 at 10:55 PM.
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.
Originally Posted by bpressnall
Impressive, but have you been on the Mountaineer's Route?
Originally Posted by Axe
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.
Originally Posted by SS Hack
It's like saying, we need a law which regulates skydiving from altitudes of over 20miles.
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.
Originally Posted by erisch
fresh fish in stock......
NEW POSSIBILITIES FOR THE PACIFIC CREST TRAIL
From an IMBA blog
Click on the above link for more info.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. . . .
/s/ [employee] (for)
Faster is not always better, but it's always more fun
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.
Originally Posted by zorg
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 firstname.lastname@example.org).
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 email@example.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.
[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.
Last edited by Empty_Beer; 02-07-2013 at 10:59 PM.
I will take the time to write my congressman tonight. This is well worth my time.
fresh fish in stock......
fer sure - this is only a few people making these far reaching blanket decisions...
Originally Posted by sivilized
Lazy bastids - Make them do their jobs....
I still cannot believe they are ignoring their own freaking policies....RIDICULOUS...
Originally Posted by CHUM
Faster is not always better, but it's always more fun
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.
Thanks for the information.
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....
Filled out the survey. Thanks for posting this.
It's probably a long shot, but the the Perfect Cycling Trail is a nice dream!
Because we like the taste of freedom; because we like the smell of danger. ~ E. Abbey
fresh fish in stock......
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....