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  1. #1
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    Any Butte, Beaverhead-Deerlodge riders?

    It seems like most of the Montana folks have been off skiing because I haven't seen any posts from them. But if you are around please check out Greg's thread requesting info on trail use etc in the Beaverhead Deerlodge NF...

    Need info in Montana

    The USFS is considering adding a ton of wilderness areas which would lock-out bike riders but maybe their minds could be changed if they realized that enough people are riding out there.

  2. #2
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    I haven't been riding this winter (or much this past year), but I did notice Greg's post. I'm definitely curious to see what areas they've proposed for wilderness designation. A link would be great for my lazy ass, but otherwise I'll try to get a copy of the CD. Also, I'm wondering who the other 8,994 letters were from. Wilderness advocates? ATV riders?

    If Greg checks out this post, could you describe the areas you've visited? I'm definitely interested in this topic, but I'd also like to know more about the locations they're proposing.

  3. #3
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    Looks like there are documents available online, but I requested a paper copy as well. Says they are still recieving comments.

    http://www.fs.fed.us/r1/b-d/forest-plan/

    http://www.fs.fed.us/r1/b-d/forest-p...iew-status.htm

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    Two of the spots I've heard about are the Italian Peaks at the southern end of the state and trail 315 (I think) east of Ennis Lake.

    Apparently the Italian Peaks have sweeeeet trails that are hardly used by anyone except a few motorized folks etc (shoot, I'd never even heard of the area before). The USFS is thinking that they can easily make it a wilderness area because of the "lack" of use. There are reports of a handful of bikers using the area for something like 15 years though. I know Greg's opinion is that once it's made a wilderness it will be "on the map" and will see an increase of users - but no longer will allow bikes.

    Trail 315 connects the Gallatin and Madison Valleys (the only trail to do so), just north of the Spanish Peaks, by hooking up to another trail or two administered by Gallatin NF. The GNF travel plan specifically leaves their segments of trail open to bikes but if Beaverhead closes 315 it won't matter. The thing about this is that it shows a lack of coordination between the two FS offices. And the 315 trail is apparently in need of lots of maintanence because of horse use etc. My guess is that Gallatin Ridge Riders club would jump at the chance to volunteer to fix this section if it meant we could keep it open.

  5. #5
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    Thanks dir-T

    Hey, thanks for waking someone up, dir-T. Jeebs, where you at? That's a fine request, I'll try to type in the locations bit by bit over the next few days as I get time. I'll do it in the request for info thread.

    The Italian Peak area is non-motorized, has been for about 15+ years. Most of these areas are already non-motorized, they don't need to be saved from anything else except us bikers.

    The 401 to 315 trail corridor is changing to the 401-368 trail corridor. I found out that the Windy Water ranch in Ennis uses the 315 as a stock driveway twice a year. That's why the 315 is trashed. I wouldn't lift a finger to improve it. The 368 is just to the north and I have been told it's in much better shape. It's a slightly less direct route but that would make the ride a bit longer. It might be more scenic too because it's a ridgeline route.

  6. #6
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    Thanks guys! Greg, I live in Butte, work in Helena, grew up in Whitehall, educated in Bozeman, lived in Missoula. The Italian Peaks have always sparked my curiosity. I imagine that area sees very little use. Is the 315 trail the one that starts at the head of Beartrap Canyon? I'm going to look over the map they have posted online. It's a huge file and I didn't have the patience for it to open yesterday.

    I'm sure some of the Highlands Cycling Club folks would be interested in this topic. There's a good contingent of bikers in Butte, but with so many trails nearby they rarely stray too far. A few letters could never hurt.

  7. #7
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    I see by yer outfit that yer from around here

    Good to meet you Jeebs. Yeah, the jpg file size is horrendous, that's why I recommend using their CD. The trail dumps out at Ennis Lake in the narrow part near the dam. A couple months ago I contacted the Highland bike club for info and got only 1 reply. They were concerned about the electric peak area NW of Butte, and also the trail from Brownes Lake over to Mono Creek campground in the East Pioneers. I sure would like to get more particulars on that stuff.

    Italian Peak is a conundrum. How do you drum up support for a place that no one realizes is there without calling undo attention to it. It works so well as it is, I hate to mess with the equalibrium. But it does need more support. It's really cool.

    We are frustrated with the practice of creating de-facto wilderness. Also they didn't consider mtn. biking in their plan at all. We are being locked out because of our own ignorance.

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    Heads up Jeebs. Be sure to let those managers over in Dillon how cool it will be around Butte when the tram gets built. They could guide the trail system development off the ridge. It would be a great tradition to ride the tram, ride all day to Pipestone, Basin, or Boulder, then loop back around to pick up your car and fill up on Nancy's pasties and beer. This mountain bike action would be a tangible boost to the Butte economy and culture. It might also take some of the biking impact away from other parts of the B-D N.F. (such as it is) Maybe some of the motorheads would start riding bikes.

    Have you done the Curly Lake ride then gone north over the mountain to Rock creek? It's such an awsome loop!

  9. #9
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    Will these guys listen to Missoula Riders?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by intheways
    Will these guys listen to Missoula Riders?
    I bet they would. Especially if you say something along the lines of "I enjoy coming to the Butte area and spending loads of money on food, lodging, and miscelaneous expenses while on mountain biking trips...".

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by intheways
    Will these guys listen to Missoula Riders?
    Yeah, I think they are bound by their jobs to listen to all of us. They listen to environmentalists all the time. They listened to the 9,000 comments they got the first time. Probably 90% of which were from out-of-state armchair environmentalists. It's about time a Missoula rider got his word to them. Please, don't hesitate, go for it!

  12. #12
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    I got my CD in the mail the other day, but haven't had much of a chance to look at it. It appears the Italian Peaks area is considered for wilderness designation in all alternatives except one (the no action alternative), so it may be a hard sell. It is quite the conundrum. Either way, I'll probably pen them a letter and let them know my thoughts, and I've spoke to a couple other Butte area folks who would do the same.

    Many of the locations they're proposing are legitimate spots for wilderness, but others seem to be a stretch. I haven't spent much time in the East Pioneers, but I imagine there's some great biking potential there. Wasn't that area pretty heavily mined back in the day? Electric peak already sees quite a bit of bikes, and is pretty well isolated from anything remotely resembling wilderness.

    This is an issue that reaches well beyond the Butte area, so if you're concerned, definitely get involved. In fact, this topic is probably more applicable to the Bozeman and Missoula area where there is a greater population of riders. Plus, the Bozeman and Missoula crowd are more likely to travel to these locales. Butte and Helena riders barely have to leave their front door.

    Greg, are you talking about the Curly Lake in the Tobacco Roots. I've done that ride a couple of times, but just an up and back ride. Or is there another Curly Lake I'm not familiar with. Speaking of the Roots, one alternative lists Middle Mountain as a proposed wilderness. I think that's the only spot in the entire range that hasn't been mined.

  13. #13
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    We've got a friend

    A dedicated rider who has a cabin down by Italian Peak has been heavily lobbying the managers for the Italian Peak area. He happens to be a fish biologist for the B-D forest. We just need more folks to do the same. The way I see it, just because an area has wilderness qualities doesnt mean we have to throw a border around it and fence it off from bikers. It is already non-motorized and the trails are growing over, so why try to save it further? The wilderness act is so overused.

    Yeah the East pioneers are heavily mined in a lot of places. But if you or some friends know specifics, please share them.

    Use the alt. 5 maps. That is their preferred alternative. They show Middle Mountain as being dropped from wilderness recommendation.

    The Curly Lake Loop rocks! You have done the first part of it!

    Do you ski Discovery?

  14. #14
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    Hey Greg!

    Perfect timing. I just finished my letter. Which USFS should it go to (Dillon, Wisdom etc)? Should it be addressed to Marty Gardner Re: Travel Plan or something like that?

  15. #15
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    I hear ya. Wilderness designation for an area that is already unused and unknown is absurd. I'll have to try the rest of the Curly Lake loop. Haven't been there in a few years, but always liked that spot.

    I'm at Discovery most weekends. I should be there this Saturday. I'm heading to Maverick on Sunday.

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    Look up Gurdies at Discovery. Patrollers and Lifties on the North side know who he is. He's way into the B-D bike thing.

    I'll get over there sometime this winter. We should try to hook up.

  17. #17
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    We all know backside Stevie. He's a complete animal on the bike, not to mention the skis. I hope I can still rip like him at that age. I'll bring this up if I see him tomorrow. Drop me a PM if you're ever heading this way.

  18. #18
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    Hi guys,

    I just dropped in on this thread since I grew up in Missoula, but have lived in Western Oregon for over twenty years now. There is a similar issue going on in an area south of Portland. I am not intimately familiar with that issue as I live in Eugene, and we don't have to go too far to ride some sweet stuff (but it is a 1-1/2 hour drive to snow). The club out of Portland that is tuned in is PUMP, and they might be able to give some help on logistics, could save you some time in the bureaucratic maze. I think that the main contact with the Eugene club (DOD) is a guy named Roger.
    The gist here is that there are some methods available to land managers to get near-wilderness level protection for the land without the official "W" designation. IMBA has substantial info on their site in this regard. I would recommend asking IMBA for an assist on this one. I'd love to come back there someday and ride some of the stuff I used to look up at from my road bike in the early 70's (then look at my 700x25 tires and shake head).
    Best luck on this one and remember, you can attract more flys with sugar than vinegar, but don't put the swatter away.

    Cheers,

    Tim

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by dir-T
    Perfect timing. I just finished my letter. Which USFS should it go to (Dillon, Wisdom etc)? Should it be addressed to Marty Gardner Re: Travel Plan or something like that?
    I sent my last letter to:

    Beaverhead Deerlodge National Forest
    420 Barrett St.
    Dillon, MT. 59725

    Attn: Marty Gardner

    Dir-T, thanks for the effort!

  20. #20
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    Once a Montanan...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mudflaps
    Hi guys,

    I just dropped in on this thread since I grew up in Missoula, but have lived in Western Oregon for over twenty years now. There is a similar issue going on in an area south of Portland. I am not intimately familiar with that issue as I live in Eugene, and we don't have to go too far to ride some sweet stuff (but it is a 1-1/2 hour drive to snow). The club out of Portland that is tuned in is PUMP, and they might be able to give some help on logistics, could save you some time in the bureaucratic maze. I think that the main contact with the Eugene club (DOD) is a guy named Roger.
    The gist here is that there are some methods available to land managers to get near-wilderness level protection for the land without the official "W" designation. IMBA has substantial info on their site in this regard. I would recommend asking IMBA for an assist on this one. I'd love to come back there someday and ride some of the stuff I used to look up at from my road bike in the early 70's (then look at my 700x25 tires and shake head).
    Best luck on this one and remember, you can attract more flys with sugar than vinegar, but don't put the swatter away.

    Cheers,

    Tim
    Thanks Tim,

    I'm not sure if we need help with the bureaucratic maze. The B-D forest is accepting our late comments. What we need to do is to motivate bikers to write, a task that seems futile. Most of the clubs seem to be uninterested in this forest plan, or like our club, is in it's infancy. I can't seem to motivate enough numbers to make a ripple in the B-D managment pond. People seem afraid or unwilling to step forward with an opinion.

    Do you know what the "near wilderness" land managment designation is? I would like to search the IMBA website. IMBA did write a scathing letter to the B-D N.F. back in Sept. The B-D managment was not impressed. I thought the letter was polite but appropriately firm in proportion to the B-D final draft plan. The B-D guys have their ego's somehow wrapped up in this one, and seem unable(unwilling) to grasp the concept of mountain biking as low impact. They want wilderness no matter what. They are right and everyone else is wrong. IMBA has not lifted a finger to address the B-D again. Actually we need people to write to Drew VanKat at IMBA to motivate him(drew@imba.com).

    I wonder why the B-D managers want to increase the land designation protection from "non-motorized" to wilderness?

    Sugar or vinegar, unless people make themselves heard, the vast majority of SW Montana mountain bikers will wake up in about 2 years and realize that they lost about 400 miles of prime riding trails. They'll say, why can't we go over there? It sure looks pretty. Duh.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregB406
    Thanks Tim,

    I'm not sure if we need help with the bureaucratic maze. The B-D forest is accepting our late comments. What we need to do is to motivate bikers to write, a task that seems futile. Most of the clubs seem to be uninterested in this forest plan, or like our club, is in it's infancy. I can't seem to motivate enough numbers to make a ripple in the B-D managment pond. People seem afraid or unwilling to step forward with an opinion.

    Do you know what the "near wilderness" land managment designation is? I would like to search the IMBA website. IMBA did write a scathing letter to the B-D N.F. back in Sept. The B-D managment was not impressed. I thought the letter was polite but appropriately firm in proportion to the B-D final draft plan. The B-D guys have their ego's somehow wrapped up in this one, and seem unable(unwilling) to grasp the concept of mountain biking as low impact. They want wilderness no matter what. They are right and everyone else is wrong. IMBA has not lifted a finger to address the B-D again. Actually we need people to write to Drew VanKat at IMBA to motivate him(drew@imba.com).

    I wonder why the B-D managers want to increase the land designation protection from "non-motorized" to wilderness?

    Sugar or vinegar, unless people make themselves heard, the vast majority of SW Montana mountain bikers will wake up in about 2 years and realize that they lost about 400 miles of prime riding trails. They'll say, why can't we go over there? It sure looks pretty. Duh.
    Hi Greg,

    First I want to thank you for your efforts.

    I don't recall the name of the level of protection for certain, "Roadless Area??" possibly. I wonder if a library search of the 60's to 70's regulations regarding these issues might lead in the right direction. That is the time frame I am recalling the variations of protection from. I was a hiker-backpacker during the 70's is how this related then for me.

    I know it is hard to get MTBers motivated to do something as forward-looking as access protection. I was active here in countless meetings with the BLM for a six year time period on one primary issue, and they were of a cooperative mindset, inviting all the user groups in on the decision making process. There were only one to three of us representing the dozens of MTBers that I know of who used the land base in question at the time.

    I wish I had an answer as to how to motivate people in this regard. The only thing I can recall is the IMBA issue about a year ago where they put out an appeal to have MTBers write their Congresspersons about an issue of the time (it related to the classification of MTBs as off road vehicles, which we opposed as a group). They got tens of thousands of MTBers in a matter of a few days and were able to influence the direction of the regulations. Perhaps we can get IMBA in on a similar scale here? If the preservationist-wilderness advocates can appeal from all over the country, why not apply the same principal here.


    Keep up the good work, Greg. I will drop the guy at IMBA a line and see if I can help light a fire.

    Tim

  22. #22
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    Greg
    I just remembered that there is (was?) a level of protection called Primitive Area that was the level I had in mind.

    Tim

  23. #23
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    I don't know much about the designation, but I believe Humbug Spires is a Primitive Area, administered by the BLM.
    "Back off, man. I'm a scientist." - Dr. Peter Venkman

    Riding in Helena? Everything you need to know, right here.

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    Primitive wilderness study roadless area.

    Quote Originally Posted by evasive
    I don't know much about the designation, but I believe Humbug Spires is a Primitive Area, administered by the BLM.
    It's a wilderness study area. I am not sure if bicycling is allowed in this one, but biking is allowed in most wilderness study areas. I can't find anything on national primitive designations. I don't know if that would allow biking or not.

    The B-D N.F. already has most of these areas managed under non-motorized designation. Why change that? What other designations would work better and why? Does anyone know? Is there any new designations in Congress that might be more appropriate? I want to know how the B-D can justify recommending wilderness (and managing it as such) for all these places without studying how it would impact mountain biking now and in the future. We're talking about a permanant change here and they have mostly ignored us.

    I think mountain biking is the sport or pastime of the future, especially as fuel becomes more precious. They are robbing us of our future. I know it's a harsh way to put it, but dang it all, this is gonna hurt!

  25. #25
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    Quote ( I want to know how the B-D can justify recommending wilderness (and managing it as such) for all these places without studying how it would impact mountain biking now and in the future. )

    There is a National Scenic Trail here in Oregon that the local district attempted to close bicycles out of about ten years ago without following their own rules. A member of the DOD discovered this omission and was able to get the regulatory decision reversed on that basis. Possibility?

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