Ugh... time to send more emails
IMBA is asking all mountain bikers to contact their U.S. Representatives and ask them to reject a request from U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva (Chairman of the Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands) to sign his “Dear Colleague” letter. The letter calls for the Forest Service to manage Recommended Wilderness like Wilderness, including a blanket ban on mountain biking.

While the intention of the Grijalva letter is to halt uses that damage national forests -- such as logging, mining, road building and motorized vehicle traffic -- it needlessly includes mountain biking in an accompanying list of incompatible uses. Forest Service regulations are very clear, existing uses may continue as long as they don’t impair the land for future designation.

Rather than the current language, which was originally suggested by the Wilderness Society, IMBA urges the Chairman to create a new letter that explicitly states:

“Mountain bicycling may continue where currently permitted, pending a Wilderness designation. Such a designation can only be made by the Congress.”

Take Action!

1.Phone Calls Are Best!

Tell your Representative not to sign the letter from U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva in its current form. Ask for the letter to be amended with the following language:
“Mountain bicycling may continue where currently permitted, pending a Wilderness designation. Such a designation can only be made by the Congress.”

2.Send an Email

Use IMBA’s Action Alert to send a fast e-mail to your representative in the House.

3.Stay Informed.

Stay informed about this important issue. Look for news on IMBA’s website, and if you are not already a member please join today!

Contact the House Natural Resource Committee

If you live in a state with a member of the House Natural Resources Committee, your call is even more important. Please take the time to send the email to every mountain biker you know in that member of Congress’ district and ask them to make one short phone call or send an email.

Key states include: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virgin Islands, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.

“This petition would encourage the Forest Service to eliminate mountain biking in millions of acres, whether or not Congress ever decides to make them Wilderness," said IMBA Government Affairs Director Jenn Dice. “That's why IMBA is asking mountain bikers across the country to make sure they call their member of Congress and bring the issue to their attention, so they don’t inadvertently sign something that targets our quiet, low-impact activity."

Dice added, “The Forest Service wants to create future generations of stewards, and make their forests more relevant to today’s youth. Closing these areas to biking will detract from these goals. IMBA agrees that these lands should be protected from mining and extractive uses, but not from bicycles.”

Additional Talking Points to Use In Your Calls and Letters

The most important request to make is that the Grijalva letter be amended to permit mountain biking in Recommended Wilderness. Additional points to make include:

•Bicyclists value these special lands for the same reasons as hikers and equestrians -- the opportunity for a healthy, low-impact recreational experience. We seek the freedom, solitude, clean air, clean water and healthy forests that bring us closer to nature.

•At a time when obesity, especially among youth, is climbing to epidemic levels, it would be good public policy to encourage activities like mountain bicycling on Forest Service lands.

•IMBA supports the permanent protection of natural areas, including (but not limited to) the use of Wilderness designations. Bicycles do not inordinately reduce the possibility of other users having a primitive experience, nor do they alter the land for the next user any more than do hikers.

•Rather than a one-size-fits-all proposal that would eliminate bicycling, IMBA urges public officials to speak out in favor of maintaining the established process for deciding which trails should be left open to bicycling. The Forest Service should not start creating de facto Wilderness.

•Mountain bikers, who number in the millions in the U.S., want to see the land preserved and protected. IMBA's 700 clubs work in partnership with federal, state and local land managers to perform more than one million hours of volunteer service on public lands annually. An ill-considered ban on bicycling would strain the productive relationships our clubs have worked hard to establish with Forest Service staff and other land managers.

•Numerous scientific studies have shown the impacts of bicycles are similar to hiking and far less than horses and off-highway vehicles. The Forest Service has not documented problems with mountain bicycling that would warrant a wide sweeping prohibition.

See the following for more details.

http://www.imba.com/news/news_releas...er_action.html

The short and sweet is: Send letter to Crapo, Minnick, Tester, whoever, so we have options and get to keep those options.