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  1. #1
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    Backpacker Mag poll re: MTBs in Nat'l Parks

    http://www.backpacker.com/

    Do you think certain trails in national parks should be open to mountain bikers?
    Yes
    No

    The results are about 50/50 right now. ...But that could change.

  2. #2
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    Weird poll. Three boxes for "yes" and two for "no".

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by @dam
    Weird poll. Three boxes for "yes" and two for "no".
    and what's the deal with the one "yes" that says "Yes (allow bikes) these valuable wilderness area need protection"?

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    Quote Originally Posted by dir-T
    and what's the deal with the one "yes" that says "Yes (allow bikes) these valuable wilderness area need protection"?
    I'm afraid that's political double-speak, as in "Yes, these valuable wilderness areas need protection" FROM MONSTROSITIES LIKE MOUNTAIN BIKES.

    Just vote for the 'yes' that says what you're sure you mean.

  5. #5
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    Case by case . . .

    The answer is clearly that some National Park trails should allow MTBs, but not necessarily all. Since no such option exists, voting an unambiguous yes is the correct response so long as MTBs are excluded from any trails where their use would be appropriate. Quite frankly, I'm supprised a "Backpacker" poll is running 50-50. However, we must understand that the highly suspect results of a very unscientific poll are likely to yield no actual results in the real world.

    As for the legitimacy of MTB access to trails inside national parks, here's a few points to ponder . . . .

    1. Consider Rocky Mountain National Park. Many of the trails are snowbound 8 months out of a year. When they are open, they receive so much foot traffic, you couldn't get a decent ride in, even if it was a good idea, which it isn't. Here's an example of a National Park that one could reasonable argue should remain MTB-free on the trails. Much the same could be said of Glacier in Montana. I've had the pleasure of putting on quite a few miles on foot there, and I can honestly say there's no better place (at least in the lower 48) to achieve total peace and solitude in an absolutely stunning setting. Bringing in bikes here would be a very tough sell.

    2. Consider Yellowstone. Don't they let snowmobiles in there by the thousands in the winter? Where's the logic in letting in loud, pollution generating machines but not MTBs?

    3. What about Saguaro? I thought I read a few years ago that they had opened some trails to MTBs. This was supposed to be a win-win as MTBers got new access and the park service got another group to help with trail maintenance. Wasn't this supposed to be a model for potential future good news stories? Maybe someone from Az can confirm or deny?

    4. Here's my favorite example of a National Park that really needs to open up at least one trail to MTBs and there is no legitimate reason not to. Consider Teddy Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. There are two units (North and South). The Maah Daah Hey trail, 100 miles of prime singletrack runs through both units, and the vast majority of it lies in between the two units. The trail passes through the heart of the south unit, including a designated wilderness area (and we all know what that means-right or wrong) but the Buffalo Trail provides a viable alternative to go around the park yet remain on prime singletrack in rugged terrain, so there is no need to press the issue here. However, the North Unit is an entirely different story. Rather than running through the heart of the park, the Maah Daah Hey trail barely clips the southeast corner of the park. Mileage inside the fence (a really big fence to keep the really big bison from migrating) is a mere 2 miles. Furthermore, there is no viable alternative to go around the park here as this corner of the park is adjacent to private property. Finally, there is no way to reach this portion of the Maah Daah Hey trail by entering the park and using any other trails--this is a part of the continuous Maah Daah Hey trail only and completely inaccessable to any other trail in the park. As such, any arguments about having a negative impact on hikers or equestrians is fallacious as the only way they can reach this trail is to hike a minimum of the 12 miles of the trail that is open to MTBs. It just makes no sense. Oh yeah, there's really noone out there anyway. When my MTB had the misfortune of being stationed in ND (about 3 hours from th trail) I spent most weekends riding the two stretches on each side of the park. Hardly ever saw another soul on foot, horse, or bike, even on holiday weekends with good weather. This is North Dakota we're talking about here--not much opportunity for user conflicts since there are so few people here, and even fewer come visit. The north unit is 80 miles from the nearest interstate and I-94 ain't exactly I-10 or I-70. If we could get access to this little two mile stretch blocking what would otherwise be 100+ miles of continuous singletrack, can you imagine the possibilities? For one, this would make a killer endurance race!

    I'm sure there are many other fine examples on both sides of the issue. Again, in the final analysis, MTB access in National Parks should be looked at on a case by case basis as there are plenty of cases where it would be a good thing.

    FISCHMAN
    All other things are rarely equal . . .

  6. #6
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    Good post...

    I fear that allowing mtb's in certain NP's may lead to more animosity towards mtb'ers, and more trail access problems locally.
    Support mtb'ing in the Portland area, join NWTA with your dollars, hands, and/or voice. nw-trail.org

  7. #7
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    *bump*

    everyone go vote!
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fischman

    1. Consider Rocky Mountain National Park. Many of the trails are snowbound 8 months out of a year. When they are open, they receive so much foot traffic, you couldn't get a decent ride in, even if it was a good idea, which it isn't. Here's an example of a National Park that one could reasonable argue should remain MTB-free on the trails. Much the same could be said of Glacier in Montana. I've had the pleasure of putting on quite a few miles on foot there, and I can honestly say there's no better place (at least in the lower 48) to achieve total peace and solitude in an absolutely stunning setting. Bringing in bikes here would be a very tough sell.

    FISCHMAN
    I wouldn't mind if they only opened up trails to MTBers at RMNP during the snowbound months of the year. Riding there in the winter woulld be pretty good.

    I do agree that they can't open all the trails to MTBers in RMNP, it would cause problems, especially on the trail to the top of Longs Peak ...
    Ride On!

  9. #9
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    Horse Damage Not Bike Damage

    I am an avid backpacker and mountain bike, and I've been backpacking far longer than I've been mountain biking. I'm also a big environmentalist, not necessarily the Sierra Club. I've spent pleanty of time in our National Parks where bikes are not allowed. I also have spent plenty of time in recent years riding on trails that are open to hikes, horses, and bikes. I have to say that trails like the John Muir Trail from Yosemite to Mt. Whitney, Bright Angel Trail in the Crand Canyon, and many other trails in National Parks are FAR more damaged by horses that my local trails by bikes. Granted hikes tend to do the least amount of damage, except in campsites. But horses are big animals that create deep gouges in the trail, plus they sh!t all over the place. That is bunk. If there wasn't a deep history of horses in this country there would be no way horses would be allowed in National Parks.

  10. #10
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    I agree about the horse and pack animal thing. Someone here has an avatar of a trail sign that says human power only or something. That's great. Back to the horses. I was riding in Cockaponsette State Forest, here in CT, and I was amazed at what a single track from a horse can do to a trail. They must have been there after the last rain because the holes were anywhere from 1 inch to 5 inches deep and had hardened over. This was a wonderful section of single track with some rocks and logs, but it didn't have any holes before. Some of the holes were left on off camber sections and you can see where the soil has given away around the lower side of the holes. I don't think it was a lot of horses, but I think that sections of this once healthy trail are going to need some help in the near future. And who do you think is going to show up to do the work. Certainly not the horse people. Mountain bikers will do it of course.
    Back to the thread. Access by MTB's should be considered case by case, but more access is needed.
    I like to ride bikes.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fischman
    The answer is clearly that some National Park trails should allow MTBs, but not necessarily all. Since no such option exists, voting an unambiguous yes is the correct response so long as MTBs are excluded from any trails where their use would be appropriate. Quite frankly, I'm supprised a "Backpacker" poll is running 50-50. However, we must understand that the highly suspect results of a very unscientific poll are likely to yield no actual results in the real world.

    As for the legitimacy of MTB access to trails inside national parks, here's a few points to ponder . . . .

    1. Consider Rocky Mountain National Park. Many of the trails are snowbound 8 months out of a year. When they are open, they receive so much foot traffic, you couldn't get a decent ride in, even if it was a good idea, which it isn't. Here's an example of a National Park that one could reasonable argue should remain MTB-free on the trails. Much the same could be said of Glacier in Montana. I've had the pleasure of putting on quite a few miles on foot there, and I can honestly say there's no better place (at least in the lower 48) to achieve total peace and solitude in an absolutely stunning setting. Bringing in bikes here would be a very tough sell.

    2. Consider Yellowstone. Don't they let snowmobiles in there by the thousands in the winter? Where's the logic in letting in loud, pollution generating machines but not MTBs?

    3. What about Saguaro? I thought I read a few years ago that they had opened some trails to MTBs. This was supposed to be a win-win as MTBers got new access and the park service got another group to help with trail maintenance. Wasn't this supposed to be a model for potential future good news stories? Maybe someone from Az can confirm or deny?

    4. Here's my favorite example of a National Park that really needs to open up at least one trail to MTBs and there is no legitimate reason not to. Consider Teddy Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. There are two units (North and South). The Maah Daah Hey trail, 100 miles of prime singletrack runs through both units, and the vast majority of it lies in between the two units. The trail passes through the heart of the south unit, including a designated wilderness area (and we all know what that means-right or wrong) but the Buffalo Trail provides a viable alternative to go around the park yet remain on prime singletrack in rugged terrain, so there is no need to press the issue here. However, the North Unit is an entirely different story. Rather than running through the heart of the park, the Maah Daah Hey trail barely clips the southeast corner of the park. Mileage inside the fence (a really big fence to keep the really big bison from migrating) is a mere 2 miles. Furthermore, there is no viable alternative to go around the park here as this corner of the park is adjacent to private property. Finally, there is no way to reach this portion of the Maah Daah Hey trail by entering the park and using any other trails--this is a part of the continuous Maah Daah Hey trail only and completely inaccessable to any other trail in the park. As such, any arguments about having a negative impact on hikers or equestrians is fallacious as the only way they can reach this trail is to hike a minimum of the 12 miles of the trail that is open to MTBs. It just makes no sense. Oh yeah, there's really noone out there anyway. When my MTB had the misfortune of being stationed in ND (about 3 hours from th trail) I spent most weekends riding the two stretches on each side of the park. Hardly ever saw another soul on foot, horse, or bike, even on holiday weekends with good weather. This is North Dakota we're talking about here--not much opportunity for user conflicts since there are so few people here, and even fewer come visit. The north unit is 80 miles from the nearest interstate and I-94 ain't exactly I-10 or I-70. If we could get access to this little two mile stretch blocking what would otherwise be 100+ miles of continuous singletrack, can you imagine the possibilities? For one, this would make a killer endurance race!

    I'm sure there are many other fine examples on both sides of the issue. Again, in the final analysis, MTB access in National Parks should be looked at on a case by case basis as there are plenty of cases where it would be a good thing.

    FISCHMAN
    One clarification re: Yellowstone. I've ridden both snowmobiles and mountain bikes in Yellowstone. Both are allowed, but only on roads. And I've also hiked/backpacked and skied easilly hundreds of miles of trails in Yellowstone. Once you get into the backcountry, it is one of the most pristine and wild places around.

    I agree with the case by case approach however. Grand Teton, for example, has an airport on NPS land.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnfiend
    If there wasn't a deep history of horses in this country there would be no way horses would be allowed in National Parks.
    Spaniards brought the horse over, they are not indiginous. Although with that statement, i'm not going to hop on the anti equestrian bandwagon. But being native i don't really think in terms of American history beginning a mere five hundred years ago like most.

    Some interesting points for sure. Here in Washington State there is some great multi-use trail on federal land, but i also know that for one trail open for bikes there are 50 more open just for hikers. That's just ridiculous. Certainly the case can be made for the spectrum to swing a little to our side for more trail to be opened up for mt. bike use.
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  13. #13
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    What?

    Quote Originally Posted by Skookum
    Spaniards brought the horse over, they are not indiginous. Although with that statement, i'm not going to hop on the anti equestrian bandwagon. But being native i don't really think in terms of American history beginning a mere five hundred years ago like most.
    Okay let me preface this by saying I'm not try to be a d!ck, but what are you talking about? Who cares if the horse is not native to the US or North America? Regardless of that fact the horse has a long history in the US, especially the West. The horse is reveared in American culture. Due to this long histroy it would be VERY difficult to ban horses from National Parks.

    It's like guns in this country. For sporting purposes guns like rifles are fine. Hand guns are great for law inforcement. But why the f' do people need automatic wepons? (Oh that's right because the 2nd Amendment states that we have the "right" to bear arms for the purposes of forming a militia. That's really useful these days isn't it?) The right of owning a gun is so entrenched in this country the though of ever baning them seems obserd to some. While to others it flys in the face of reason.

    Back to the point. They will never ban horses from National Parks be that would be "Unamerican." While if the mountain bike was used to herd bison back in the day we'd be dipping our little toes in the Colorado River after biking down the Bright Angle Trail.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fischman
    1. Consider Rocky Mountain National Park. Many of the trails are snowbound 8 months out of a year. When they are open, they receive so much foot traffic, you couldn't get a decent ride in, even if it was a good idea, which it isn't. Here's an example of a National Park that one could reasonable argue should remain MTB-free on the trails.
    This is a good example where trails within a given park should be evaluated on a case by case basis. Most of the trails in the immediate Estes area are supercrowded, that's a given. Most folks don't, however, get past Rainbow Curve, unless they're in a car. Many of the trails on the other side of the divide and down by Grand Lake don't get anywhere near the use.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnfiend
    Okay let me preface this by saying I'm not try to be a d!ck, but what are you talking about? Who cares if the horse is not native to the US or North America? Regardless of that fact the horse has a long history in the US, especially the West. The horse is reveared in American culture. Due to this long histroy it would be VERY difficult to ban horses from National Parks.
    i'm just reflecting another point of view. And you seem to be reflecting your perception of what you see as revered in so-called American culture.
    History will show the train supplanting the horse, which for a time was revered in American culture, should we build and or rebuild some train tracks thru these parks then?
    But this argument really is pointless since, i never said i wanted to ban horses from National Parks, quite the opposite, i find the popular dislike for horseback riders by mt. bikers to be hypocritical in the respect that we are unfairly scrutinized by hikers in the very same ignorant manner.
    As far as the rest of your rant on guns, you can call your congressman/woman and complain, i really could care less about that mundane subject bantered and dangled about to stimulate the politically numb in a platform the neither side really wants to shift one way or another. Redumbicans and Dumbocrats just love arguing the hot topic, but neither side does much anything long lasting about it, hmm you ever wonder why?

    Quote Originally Posted by mtnfiend
    Back to the point. They will never ban horses from National Parks be that would be "Unamerican." While if the mountain bike was used to herd bison back in the day we'd be dipping our little toes in the Colorado River after biking down the Bright Angle Trail.
    Let's go buy some stick horses, tie them onto our frames with the heads coming out front over the front wheel, and turn our bikes into horsebikes. Then we'll be able to ride down the Bright Angle Trail and dip our toes into the Coloraddy River. That's innovation there, innovation is what i percieve to be truly "American".
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  16. #16
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    Good Idea

    Quote Originally Posted by Skookum
    Let's go buy some stick horses, tie them onto our frames with the heads coming out front over the front wheel, and turn our bikes into horsebikes. Then we'll be able to ride down the Bright Angle Trail and dip our toes into the Coloraddy River. That's innovation there, innovation is what i percieve to be truly "American".
    I really like that idea. Maybe we should try that one.

  17. #17
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    Joshua Tree Nat Park...

    has the Thermal Canyon Mountain Bike Route off Pinkham 4WD road near the Cottonwood entrance. There is another unamed trail starting at the North entrance and ending at White Tank campground. Both trails are about 15 miles out and back. I was told about these trails by a park ranger but they are also marked on my Tom Harrison map. There are also hundreds of miles of 4WD trails that are legal and plenty rough. Stay to one side and it's almost like singletrack.

  18. #18
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    I live right outside the Great Smokey Mountain National Park. Over the years I have hikes almost every trail in the park. I canít for the life of me understand why they allow horses on trails and not bikes. Iím not for opening the whole place to bikes at all but the horse trails are like tiny fire roads. I guarantee that if they did open these trails to bikes trail maintenance volunteers would increase 100 times.

  19. #19
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    Let's go WAY back....

    [QUOTE=Skookum]Spaniards brought the horse over, they are not indiginous. Although with that statement, i'm not going to hop on the anti equestrian bandwagon. But being native i don't really think in terms of American history beginning a mere five hundred years ago like most.

    QUOTE]
    500 years is nothing, I agree...but if we are to parse the nuances of time, then it has to be adressed that NO ONE here in the americas is native...everyone came here from either north asia via the bering strait/ Alueitian chain or by totora reed boats via malasia to South America...no offense intended, but no one can truly claim to be 'native'. The term simply does not have any historical (or social) currency when reviewed over the centuries...

  20. #20
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    Have you ridden the trails in Josh? You state they are like singletrack, are they really singletrack or are they 4WD roads? Also isn't most of the terrain their pretty sandy? I've hiked from the Geology loop road to Ryan Camp Ground before, good singletrack, but very sandy. Also if you've ridden the trails in Josh are they technical at all of are they just easy trails in a really cool area?

  21. #21
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    /

    where do we vote on the site?
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  22. #22
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    Yellowstone

    Haven't they now severly limited the number of snowmobiles in there now? I keep hearing it go back and forth......guided tours only now?

  23. #23
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    [QUOTE=rideit]
    Quote Originally Posted by Skookum
    Spaniards brought the horse over, they are not indiginous. Although with that statement, i'm not going to hop on the anti equestrian bandwagon. But being native i don't really think in terms of American history beginning a mere five hundred years ago like most.

    QUOTE]
    500 years is nothing, I agree...but if we are to parse the nuances of time, then it has to be adressed that NO ONE here in the americas is native...everyone came here from either north asia via the bering strait/ Alueitian chain or by totora reed boats via malasia to South America...no offense intended, but no one can truly claim to be 'native'. The term simply does not have any historical (or social) currency when reviewed over the centuries...
    Why are you trying to tweek on semantics then if you're not trying to give offense. If you're trying to come out looking smart or something well then good for you, thanks for the history lesson, but really more Indians knew about coming from one people, while still most in America are wrestling with the fact that we're closely related to apes.
    i really don't know what the deal is with so many people trying to argue insignifigant nonsense on this board..... i'm tired of typing so much crap to validate my points, i'm just gonna start saying "Yah you got a point" and move on......
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  24. #24
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    Let's go buy some stick horses, tie them onto our frames with the heads coming out front over the front wheel, and turn our bikes into horsebikes. Then we'll be able to ride down the Bright Angle Trail and dip our toes into the Coloraddy River. That's innovation there, innovation is what i percieve to be truly "American".
    It's been done on some cruiser rides here in Boulder. They call it a "horsicle".
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  25. #25
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    Not YELLOWSTONE ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Fischman
    The answer is clearly that some National Park trails should allow MTBs, but not necessarily all. Since no such option exists, voting an unambiguous yes is the correct response so long as MTBs are excluded from any trails where their use would be appropriate. Quite frankly, I'm supprised a "Backpacker" poll is running 50-50. However, we must understand that the highly suspect results of a very unscientific poll are likely to yield no actual results in the real world.

    As for the legitimacy of MTB access to trails inside national parks, here's a few points to ponder . . . .

    1. Consider Rocky Mountain National Park. Many of the trails are snowbound 8 months out of a year. When they are open, they receive so much foot traffic, you couldn't get a decent ride in, even if it was a good idea, which it isn't. Here's an example of a National Park that one could reasonable argue should remain MTB-free on the trails. Much the same could be said of Glacier in Montana. I've had the pleasure of putting on quite a few miles on foot there, and I can honestly say there's no better place (at least in the lower 48) to achieve total peace and solitude in an absolutely stunning setting. Bringing in bikes here would be a very tough sell.

    2. Consider Yellowstone. Don't they let snowmobiles in there by the thousands in the winter? Where's the logic in letting in loud, pollution generating machines but not MTBs?

    3. What about Saguaro? I thought I read a few years ago that they had opened some trails to MTBs. This was supposed to be a win-win as MTBers got new access and the park service got another group to help with trail maintenance. Wasn't this supposed to be a model for potential future good news stories? Maybe someone from Az can confirm or deny?

    4. Here's my favorite example of a National Park that really needs to open up at least one trail to MTBs and there is no legitimate reason not to. Consider Teddy Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. There are two units (North and South). The Maah Daah Hey trail, 100 miles of prime singletrack runs through both units, and the vast majority of it lies in between the two units. The trail passes through the heart of the south unit, including a designated wilderness area (and we all know what that means-right or wrong) but the Buffalo Trail provides a viable alternative to go around the park yet remain on prime singletrack in rugged terrain, so there is no need to press the issue here. However, the North Unit is an entirely different story. Rather than running through the heart of the park, the Maah Daah Hey trail barely clips the southeast corner of the park. Mileage inside the fence (a really big fence to keep the really big bison from migrating) is a mere 2 miles. Furthermore, there is no viable alternative to go around the park here as this corner of the park is adjacent to private property. Finally, there is no way to reach this portion of the Maah Daah Hey trail by entering the park and using any other trails--this is a part of the continuous Maah Daah Hey trail only and completely inaccessable to any other trail in the park. As such, any arguments about having a negative impact on hikers or equestrians is fallacious as the only way they can reach this trail is to hike a minimum of the 12 miles of the trail that is open to MTBs. It just makes no sense. Oh yeah, there's really noone out there anyway. When my MTB had the misfortune of being stationed in ND (about 3 hours from th trail) I spent most weekends riding the two stretches on each side of the park. Hardly ever saw another soul on foot, horse, or bike, even on holiday weekends with good weather. This is North Dakota we're talking about here--not much opportunity for user conflicts since there are so few people here, and even fewer come visit. The north unit is 80 miles from the nearest interstate and I-94 ain't exactly I-10 or I-70. If we could get access to this little two mile stretch blocking what would otherwise be 100+ miles of continuous singletrack, can you imagine the possibilities? For one, this would make a killer endurance race!

    I'm sure there are many other fine examples on both sides of the issue. Again, in the final analysis, MTB access in National Parks should be looked at on a case by case basis as there are plenty of cases where it would be a good thing.

    FISCHMAN
    I'm an MTB advocate. But I don't think we should be in Yellowstone. That area is geologically very fragile. There is also a good chance of getting boiled to death there if you miss a turn.

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