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  1. #1
    Go hard or go home
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    Caution;  Merge;  Workers Ahead! Forest Service Threat to Colorado Trail

    Sorry if I get blasted for posting this here - its applicable to the entire state, though, with Kenosha Pass to Georgia Pass under threat as well as Crested Butte (where the following email comes from)...

    IMBA is all over this as well - please participate and defend our ability to ride these great trails...


    ---------------------------------------
    We face a serious problem. The travel management plan currently proposed for the the Gunnison National Forest and nearby BLM lands presents a dire threat to mountain biking.

    The plan would close to bicycling a large number of trails, including popular trails near Crested Butte and lightly used trails in remote areas of the forest. Worse, it lumps bicycles with motorized recreation and would impose the same 'closed-unless-designated-open' rule to cycling that the agencies apply to motors.

    Please write a letter to the Forest Service no later than August 31. The message: Keep the trails open to mountain bikes and don't treat us like motorized.

    The address:
    Gunnison Travel
    GMUG National Forest
    2250 Hwy 50
    Delta, CO 81416

    or Email to:
    r2_gmug_gunnison_travel@fs.fed.us?

    The trail closures proposed are somewhat amazing. The map indicates they will close Farris Creek to all users! Trail 402 will be closed to all users. Green Lake trail would be closed to bikes. The western section of Waterfall Creek will be closed to all users. The northern half of the Lowline Trail will be closed to all users. The Matchless descent to Taylor Reservoir will be closed to all users. The Gandy Gulch loop off of Doctors Park will be closed to al users. The plan will also close the Carbon Creek trail between Carbon Peak and Axtell Mountain, a close-to-town link that cyclists have ridden since the beginning of mountain biking. Every trail that approaches Wilderness would be closed. Then there are the areas that the now-discredited Draft Forest Plan would have recommended for Wilderness. Every trail in those places is proposed for closure to bikes, even though the Draft Plan was rescinded.

    We are even more alarmed at the radical shift that the agency is making with its proposal to impose a rule that would make the local National Forest and BLM closed to bicycling except on roads and trails are designated open. From the beginning of mountain biking, these two agencies have allowed bikes on all trails except routes designated closed, such as trails in Wilderness. Essentially, the agencies properly treated bicycling as like hiking and horseback travel: non-motorized, muscle-powered, silent, non-polluting forms of recreation. Now, they talk about "mechanized" travel, separating us from hiking, and they routinely lump us in their sentences: "motorized and mechanized vehicles." This is an improper characterization of bicycling and cyclists. It presents a fundamental, long-term threat to the viability of mountain biking.

    This is not just a problem of attitude. On the ground, it means that every undesignated, informal trail would be closed to bicycling. If your family is at a campground and your children ride a short, user-created path on its outskirts, they would be breaking the law. If you explore a seldom-used cow or wildlife trail down in the remote Cochetopa country or way over on Black Mesa, you would be breaking the law.

    The Forest Service says they have exhaustively studied and incorporated the trails of our landscape, but it's just not possible to get them all when you are talking about a million+ acres. And given the attitude spoken by the large number of proposed trail closures, one must wonder about their interest in assuring the access of cyclists.

    It would be different if the Forest Service and BLM imposed the designated-trails-only rule on everyone, including hiking and equestrians. That's a proper rule in some places, such as trails that cross very sensitive lands. But the plan addresses hiking and horseback riding in only one place, with a proposed spring-time closure of Doctor Park Trail to everyone. CBMBA supports that proposal, meant to protect bighorn sheep at a critical time of year. But why does the plan propose to close Deer Creek in the spring to biking, but not hiking? Whether you're on foot or on bike, you're going to be a problem for the calving elk. Science says the impacts of hiking are not significantly different than the impacts of biking, so the agencies should treat us equally? Is the elk population threatened?

    Why is this happening? We don't really know, and that does not matter. We must take action.

    Please send your letter, and get your friends to send a letter. Even if your letter is very brief, it counts and we need it. The deadline is August 31.

    Thank you for helping to protect and enhance mountain biking.

    The Crested Butte Mountain Bike Assocation

  2. #2
    e-misanthrope
    Reputation: lagarto grande's Avatar
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    I'm starting to think, in the face of all of these proposed closures (not just those mentioned in this thread) - that things would be a whole lot easier if they'd just close everything to us cyclists.

    Thanks for the info.
    Don't waive your rights with your flags.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by lagarto grande
    I'm starting to think, .....
    ...and I'm starting to think that they make these grand, unilateral pronouncements for the express purpose of creating a dust-up in order to justify their existence and create publicity about what power they have.

    Ridiculous. It'll soon be time for a wilderness version of Critical Mass.

    ** edit ** By the way here is a well written analysis by Joe Lindsey, of the CDT issue that is also brewing; Great Divide?.

    Thanks for the heads up.

    Ed
    Last edited by edemtbs; 08-08-2007 at 09:38 AM.

  4. #4
    e-misanthrope
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    Quote Originally Posted by edemtbs
    Ridiculous. It'll soon be time for a wilderness version of Critical Mass.


    Ed
    Exactly.

    I shot them a letter giving them my .02 on their proposal.
    Last edited by lagarto grande; 08-08-2007 at 09:46 AM.
    Don't waive your rights with your flags.

  5. #5
    Your bike is incorrigible
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    [QUOTE=edemtbs
    Ridiculous. It'll soon be time for a wilderness version of Critical Mass.

    Ed[/QUOTE]

    I'm thinking that, even though you intended to be flippant, this is not such a bad idea. Would it be possible to coordinate a critical mass ride with hiking and equestrian groups? I'm sure that everyone involved would be on their best behavior knowing what was at stake. What sort of message would that send? A stronger one than what is expressed through dialogue at some city council meeting.

  6. #6
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    New question here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sinjin4131
    Why is this happening? We don't really know, and that does not matter.
    But it does matter. If we better understood the rationale behind these decisions it would be easier for us to discredit that rationale and persuade them to think different. Does anybody know what is causing this shift in attitude?

  7. #7
    enlightened.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinjin4131
    Sorry if I get blasted for posting this here
    Why do you think you would get blasted for sharing this on the forum? This is the very grassroots activism that allows cyclists to rally to protect our access. While I can’t speak for every one who posts, lurks, or trolls these threads I am very appreciative when these proposals are brought to the attention of the user group they may affect.

    We dealt with this on a smaller scale when I lived in Florida. Certain members of our county commission were using a local favorite trail area to levy the cost of a building purchase downtown while benefiting a south Florida real estate developer (I could go on about the banana republic that is Florida but that’s a conversation best for F-88). The decision to place this item on the meeting agenda was made the day of the meeting allowing little chance for public input. To the dismay of certain commissioners, the information was disseminated amongst the cycling community. Emails were sent to respective commissioners and some went to the meeting to show lack of support to sell off the land at those meetings. The trail is still there today based on efforts of those willing to speak its behalf.

    Sorry about the tangent. I’m sure it isn’t necessary to outline how important being a part of the decision making process is to everyone. I just wanted to illustrate that writing letters, emails and going to meetings isn’t an exercise in futility.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by BonkedAgain
    But it does matter. If we better understood the rationale behind these decisions it would be easier for us to discredit that rationale and persuade them to think different.
    agreed.

    the more info we have, the more proactive we can be-- instead of waiting until it's time to be reactive (like now for example).
    -
    .And following our will and wind . . .
    . . .We'll ride the spiral to the end
    and may just go where no one's been.

  9. #9
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    I sent out a letter as well. I'm frustrated by this crap. Besides being involved, I think we need to make our usergroup more visible at a State Representative level or something. Maybe that will give us more cred as a group. We need a lobbyist and we probably want to not nominate consumerbydesign

  10. #10
    how heavy are you ??
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    Word!

    Quote Originally Posted by edemtbs
    ...and I'm starting to think that they make these grand, unilateral pronouncements for the express purpose of creating a dust-up in order to justify their existence and create publicity about what power they have.

    Ridiculous. It'll soon be time for a wilderness version of Critical Mass.

    ** edit ** By the way here is a well written analysis by Joe Lindsey, of the CDT issue that is also brewing; Great Divide?.

    Thanks for the heads up.

    Ed
    i am getting the fu**ing vibe as of late that mountain bikes are fricking being outlawed.. why i cannot figure out ... i am a law abiding citizen however i am thinking this means poaching for the most part ... and i am not going to say that they're not any sh!tty MTBERS as far as massive speed demons that freak other trail users but we cannot not be that much of a problem i am sure of it!

  11. #11
    cheeseburger in paradise
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    Update from IMBA...

    Continental Divide Trail Comment Period Extended
    Across America, all eyes on on the US Forest Service's proposed directive to restrict bike access on the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail. The decision could eventually impact bike access on other nationally prominent trails. IMBA has helped send more than 2,000 messages to the Forest Service; the commentary period was recently extended until Oct.12. Your voice is needed to help preserve our access!
    Here's the link to how you can help...
    http://imba.com/news/action_alerts/0...ide_trail.html

    Video! Denver television station CBS4 posted an online video news segment, with nice footage of mountain bikers sharing the Monarch Crest section of the CDT with hikers and equestrians.
    Here's the link for the News story & video about the trail... http://cbs4denver.com/topstories/loc...216065037.html

  12. #12
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    The News 4 article and video are interesting. The bit where a Forest Service employee is speculating that there are fewer equestrians and hikers because of mountain bikers caught my eye. That is an interesting theory -- but is that all it is, just a theory? Could it be that people who used to hike a lot (like me) are now on mountain bikes? Could it be that horses are so bloody expensive and a major hassle to own, or maybe there are simply fewer people interested in trailriding their horses? Or was this just a random comment from the person interviewed for the story?

    Anyway, it sounds like a weak excuse to kick bikers off the trails. I sure would like to understand what is behind this latest effort to exclude bikers from trails. If anybody knows the real reason please speak up.

  13. #13
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    Thanks for the heads up on this. Organization of mountain bikers is essential in Colorado now.
    If mountain bikers do not react they will lose priceless access to wonderful trails.
    I wonder if some of this comes from motocross trails destruction in Crested Butte and the forest service just sees mountain biking as other mechanical riders.
    A functional parallel might be done and that that might be comparing horses and motorcycles.
    Both are pretty much powered vehicles that destroy trails more than bicycles.
    Access to back country trails under ones OWN power in an athletic effort is a beautiful way to see more of nature and the wonders there-in. (As close as we can get to flying under our own power.)
    Unfortunately, fat slobs out number athletes by infinite numbers.
    Part of the problem comes from the very top of forest service managment being shall I put it gently, nope - fat and very non-athletic as well as their myopic view of OUR national forest. The spirit of athletes in harmony with nature is pretty much lost on them.
    Sent my letters
    Last edited by gsierraclub; 08-08-2007 at 05:29 PM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsierraclub

    I wonder if some of this comes from motocross trails destruction in Crested Butte and the forest service just sees mountain biking as other mechanical riders.
    I can't really believe that the FS sees the impacts as similar. We rode the Taylor Park area last weekend and there is no way it would be humanly possible for bikers to destroy the trails like the motos did that we rode. 2 foot deep trenches full of water, whoop-de-do's every 5 feet in places. It was a goddam travesty. If there is a FS employee who honestly believes the impacts are even in the same universe, I'd like to kick him/her in the balls/ovaries.

  15. #15
    Expert Crasher
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    I just sent an email as well.
    Happiness depends more on the inward disposition of mind than on outward circumstances. Benjamin Franklin

  16. #16
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    Here's what you can do to help:

    email your comments to the usfs:
    cdnst@fs.fed.us

    Submit your written comments to the

    U.S. Forest Service
    ATTN: CDNST, P.O. Box 25127,
    Lakewood, CO 80225

    by the deadline Friday, October 12.

    contact the breck town council and express how these trail closures will affect breck as a biking destination.

    websiteadmin@townofbreckenridge.com

    contact Dan Gibbs, colorado state senator(also a mnt biker) with your comments
    repdangibbs@gmail.com

    "The single biggest thing we can do is to get as many mountain bikers to respond to the Forest Service as we can. www.IMBA.com has an alert about this issue. Basically, the USFS is taking comment on a draft rule which will not go to public hearing; that's why our comments are so important. The consideration is to ban bikes from the Continental Divide Trail, which unfortunately shares the Colorado Trail for over 100 miles ......... roughly Summit Co. to Monarch Crest. You can contact the Forest Service at cdnst@fs.fed.us, or write to them at USDA Forest Service, Attn: CDNST, P.O. Box 25127, Lakewood, CO 80225-0127. Definitely look at the IMBA web site for more thorough information and comment ideas. A couple of my thoughts that IMBA did not include is that the Colorado Trail allows mountain bikes, and the CDNST shouldn't be able to "trump" that. Also, it's a public trail on public lands funded in large part by tax payer money, and as a tax payer, you should have the same rights as any other user. Also, we can stress that it is discriminatory to ban bikes while staying open to the equally impacting hikers, and more destructive horses. For more info on bike impacts vs hikers Google impacts of mt bikes to trails, or go to NEMBA.ORG and click on their library. If you're feeling really ambitious, you could contact our state senator, Dan Gibbs, a mountain biker himself, and the Breckenridge Town Council. Explain to them that this proposal could eliminate Summit County as a mountain bike destination, with significant economic consequences. Above all tell anyone and everyone to act and act now."

  17. #17
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    Unbelievable

    "Mountain biking is not a crime" - I guess our sport might become similar to skateboarding. Seriously, this is not good. Please write letters to the forest service.

  18. #18
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    I suspect the mindset behind this comes from precedent set with the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. Both these trails do not allow bikes, and I'm sure the CDT folks view their trail with the same esteem, and as such don't want bikes. Make no mistake about it - some people who work for the CDT likely view bikes as a pariah. They are probably a fairly old school organization with some folks who view mountain bikers as yahoos who don't appreciate nature. That's the crux of it really...hikers (supposedly) workship and absorb nature, while mountain bikers, with our helmets and bright jerseys, are seen more as motos without motors. Their mindset also could be that they simply want to reduce use and give the critters up their more space, but in that case ALL users should be banned.

    This is basically the same reason bikes are banned from National Parks too.

  19. #19
    Go hard or go home
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    Blasting

    [QUOTE=athalliah]Why do you think you would get blasted for sharing this on the forum?

    I thought I might get blasted for posting this in the wrong place...as you can see by my profile that I am not as common a MTBR user as others, and did not want to get harassed for putting my post in the wrong place, thats all.

    Thanks to all of you for your participation...heading back to Crested Butte tomorrow to work on this...

    Sinjin

  20. #20
    dirty trail dog
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinjin4131
    I thought I might get blasted for posting this in the wrong place...as you can see by my profile that I am not as common a MTBR user as others, and did not want to get harassed for putting my post in the wrong place, thats all.

    Thanks to all of you for your participation...heading back to Crested Butte tomorrow to work on this...

    Sinjin
    Good luck. I've asked all my friends here in Ga to send letters also. Even though I don't live there (anymore) I still vacation in Colorado every year and don't want to lose these biking opportunities.
    yep...

  21. #21
    e-misanthrope
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rebus
    I still vacation in Colorado every year and don't want to lose these biking opportunities.
    This raises the question - how are those businesses which would be negatively affected by such a ban approaching the matter?
    Don't waive your rights with your flags.

  22. #22
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    here's some Additional Information john donovan sent over:

    Why is the Forest Service revising its management directive? The CDT is currently managed under guidelines from an outdated 1985 Comprehensive Plan and the agency believes it's time to update that document by clearing up any ambiguity regarding the purpose of the trail and its allowed uses. As part of this effort, the Forest Service is focusing on a hiking and horse-centric vision.

    The CDT is a 3,100-mile shared-use route from Canada to Mexico, traversing some of the most scenic high-elevation terrain in the country. Mountain biking has occurred on some sections for 25 years. According to the Continental Divide Trail Alliance (CDTA), the trail is only 70 percent completed, with many existing miles in desperate need of repair and maintenance. CDTA estimates the cost to complete the CDT at $27 million.

    IMBA believes a shared-use philosophy that includes bicycling is compatible with the intent and purpose of the CDT, and that mountain bikers can help overcome these significant hurdles impeding the trail’s completion With 40 million participants, mountain biking is the second most popular trail activity in the country (Outdoor Industry Foundation, 2007). This large constituency helps lobby for public lands funding and donates nearly one million volunteer hours each year to trail construction and maintenance. Mountain bikers can be valuable partners for the CDT.

    Among long-distance trails, the CDT is unique in that has generally allowed mountain biking. Unlike the Pacific Crest Trail or Appalachian Trail, mountain bikes are largely welcome on non-Wilderness sections of the CDT. IMBA isn’t asking for access to all 3,100 miles, but there are many non-Wilderness sections where non-motorized users can get along and mountain biking should continue.

    The Forest Service has said it believes Congress intended the CDT to be for hiking and horse use only. Unfortunately, the agency is basing its proposed directive on a 1976 Study Report—written before modern mountain biking was established--and a similarly out-dated Comprehensive Plan of 1985. Not surprisingly, both documents focus primarily on providing experiences for the “hiker and horseman.” But neither suggests the trail should be limited to these two uses, and in many instances encourages non-motorized activities.

    In fact, the 1976 CDT Study Report states, “The primary purpose of this trail (CDT) is to provide a continuous, appealing trail route, designed for the hiker and horseman, but compatible with other land uses” (italics added).

    In 1983, Congress amended the National Trails Act to clarify potentially acceptable uses on the CDT and other National Scenic Trails. Bicycling is listed alongside various forms of hiking, backpacking and horse use (16 USC 1246(j)).

    This congressional statute is clear and should supercede internal agency documents. IMBA does not believe bicycling should be discouraged or prohibited on the CDT. More than two decades of bicycling on the CDT has shown that this activity does not substantially interfere with the nature and purposes of the trail and that all users can get along.

    Today, the environmental and social science of trail recreation is better developed and many backcountry trails are shared by hikers, equestrians and mountain bikers. A growing scientific consensus has shown that impacts of mountain biking are similar to hiking and less than horse or OHV use (Marion and Wimpey, 2007).

    The IMBA / Forest Service Memorandum of Understanding states mountain bicycling should be managed distinctly from motorized travel. It also says mountain bicycling is appropriate in areas listed as "primitive" on the Recreation Opportunity Spectrum. These areas comprise a significant percentage of the CDNST.

    Proposed Forest Service Directive Language on Mountain Biking

    The proposed directive contains the following sections that discourage our quiet, low-impact, human-powered activity:

    7. Bicycle (mountain bike) use may only be allowed on a trail segment of the CDNST where the following conditions are met (16 U.S.C. 1246(c)):
    a. An affirmative determination has been made that bicycle use would not substantially interfere with the nature and purposes of the CDNST, and
    b. Bicycles must also be allowed by the overall management direction for the land management plan area.

    8. Where bicycle (mountain bike) use is allowed on the CDNST, consider establishing bicycle use prohibitions and restrictions (36 CFR part 261) to mitigate the effects of such use on the nature and purposes of the CDNST. Management practices and actions that would promote or result in increased bicycle use on the CDNST should not occur (72 FR 32276)

    Read the proposed directive in its entirety.

    Visit the Forest Service’s CDT website with additional policy resources.

    If you have any additional questions regarding the directive, please email IMBA's Advocacy Team.

    Mailing Your Comments

    If you would rather write your own letter of support for continued shared-use management on the CDT, please use the following address:

    Greg Warren, CDNST Administrator
    P.O. Box 25127
    Lakewood, CO 80225-0127

    Or via email:

    cdnst@fs.fed.us

    The Importance of Elected Officials

    Every comment counts and the support of town councils, county commissioners, tourism and parks boards and other elected officials is extremely important.

    Please consider asking your representatives, both local and national, to support equal treatment of mountain biking on the CDT.

  23. #23
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    Email sent. I can't believe mountain bikers still have to battle for trail access after all these years. I'd sure hate to see Colorado lose some of it's most beautiful and unique trails simply due to the forest service's lack of understanding of mountain biking.

  24. #24
    dirty trail dog
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    Quote Originally Posted by lagarto grande
    This raises the question - how are those businesses which would be negatively affected by such a ban approaching the matter?
    Exactly! I spend an assload of money out there each year vacationing and know a whole lot of other MTB'ers do as well. Start taking away trails, and people like me are liable to go spend out hard-earned money vacationing elsewhere. That HAS to make an impact on a tourist-based economy like a lot of towns in Colorado thrive on now.
    yep...

  25. #25
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    Someone is paying off Greg Warren with a ton of dough. I'm surprised he's made it so obvious. Bastard.

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