This came up on the ROMP list from Ted Stroll. This is an excellent time to take some easy action to write a letter to your congresscritters and the President.
[SIZE=3]The March 2010 issue of Outside magazine contains a strong and emphatic endorsement of ending the no-bikes-in-Wilderness rules, which were mysteriously put into effect by the Forest Service around 1982, perhaps because the Wilderness Society or Sierra Club complained to someone in the government bureaucracy. Before then, trail cyclists rode in Wilderness without any documented problem. See http://www.
A few excerpts from this fine editorial . . . .
It starts out, "The government's ban on bicycles in wilderness areas is dead wrong." A great opening!
"At some point," it continues, "nearly every new mountain biker makes the same sad discovery: Bicycles are banned from . . . Wilderness. . . . And with every new Wilderness designation, someone else's favorite trail gets closed to bikes forever."
"[T]he authors of the Wilderness Act never meant to ban" trail bicycling.
Now, "Forest Service proposals in Montana could ban bikes from any areas that might theoretically be designated as Wilderness. Cyclists in that state might soon lose portions of four national forests based on some bureaucrat thinking those areas should one day become Wilderness."
Buy the March issue of Outside and read the whole thing!
If you feel like it, write a letter to the editor supporting the pro-bicycle editorial.
Then, photocopy the article and send copies of it, with a cover note, to:
1. Your U.S. senators and your representative (congressperson);
2. Michelle Obama. She just began a drive to reduce obesity in young people. You could point out that the federal government is an impediment to kid-friendly means of attaining physical fitness because of its Wilderness bicycle ban.
We don't have Debrett's Correct Form in this country (as far as I know) but I found a website that supplies an apparently correct form of envelope address and salutation for the First Lady:
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mrs. Obama:"
Best investment of $1.76 (44¢ x 4 letters) ever![/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]And . . . .[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]The no-bicycles-in-Wilderness dam is starting to show some cracks beyond the Outside editorial. A February 12, 2010, IMBA press release on so-called "Recommended Wilderness" quotes Congressman Peter DeFazio (D.-Ore.) as saying:[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]"Bicycling, along with other non-motorized uses, has a de minimis impact on Wilderness values. . . . The Forest Service should be prohibiting detrimental activities that have a significant and permanent impact on the Wilderness qualities of areas they recommended for Wilderness. I hope the Forest Service adopts this view and manages non-motorized uses like bicycling accordingly."[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]One caveat: the IMBA press release makes clear that DeFazio is talking only about so-called "Recommended Wilderness," not congressionally established Wilderness areas. DeFazio's statement doesn't necessarily mean he supports lifting the no-bikes ban in current Wilderness. Nevertheless, his statement that trail bicycling "has a de minimis impact on Wilderness values" logically applies to existing and proposed Wilderness. And he's right, of course.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=3]Coming from DeFazio, a liberal Democratic Congressman with a 100% approval rating from the League of Conservation Voters for the most recent session of Congress, it's a significant statement.[/SIZE]
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