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Originally Posted by Roberta565
You should check it out!
Alcohol may lead nowhere, but it sure is the scenic route!
As an ex-federally employed trail maintenance worker in Big Bend National Park I agree that horses do more damage on a per instance basis, BUT there are considerably more bikes than horses these days...considerably more. If every cyclist had skills and no one rode up on the sides of turns you would be right about hikers equaling mountain bikes...but that will never, ever happen.
Originally Posted by abegold
I thru hiked the PCT in 2000 (AT 1999 & 2002). I stood aside as a Big Bear local poached some trail with a couple lycra clad tourists. All the turns were slashed in that area.
I haven't decided on this issue because I keep asking myself, "Is nothing sacred?"
I think everyone on this thread has a noble image of a bearded man bike-packing this trail. Reality is the Big Bear local.
Do no go on believing you are are the only ex-fed that has ever done trail work posting on this forum.
Originally Posted by SomethingRelatedToBiking
Have you ever seen a pile of human feces left in the middle of a trail? I doubt it was left by a mtn biker, it was a hiker. How about the amount of trash left by a hiker versus a mtn biker? I guarantee hikers leave more. How many abandoned campfires left burning by mtn bikers compared to hikers? The worst campsite I ever saw (fire left burning, trash and human feces everywhere) was left by a sierra club sponsored group. Most mountain bikepackers pride themselves on their LNT skills, far more so than hikers.
There a few bad apple in every group, yes. Everyone here concedes that. I contend there are more bad apples amongst the hikers than the mtn bikers. My 32+ plus years in the Forest Service gives me plenty of anecdotal evidence bikes on trails is not a significant problem.
To further support your comments, Dave, I point out, again, that bicyclists, among the "3" user groups, are far less likely to actually leave the trail track or surface itself than hikers and horses. I guess it's a matter of perspective, the fellow above equates far more import to a bit of berming on a trail turn, terming it "slashing" (very destructive imagery there) to the post-holing caused frequently by horses as their owners /riders urge them to leave the trail and/or ride them on a trail surface before it has sufficiently dried after a rain to support their steel-shod 1000 lb. + weight .
Originally Posted by dave54
It's just not acceptable to me, to let people, former fed employees/servants or not, get away with this kind of duplicity, without at least calling them on it. I prefer to do so face to face, but I'll do it here, online, too, if I have to, and this one really calls for it.
Shame on you, "Something Related to Biking". And yes, something here is "sacred". It's called the Truth. Let the ideology "go"....
"Is nothing sacred?"
- To who? One person's ideal of non-motorized recreation, or the other person's? (Hint: premier trail in premier places is sacred to all.)
Remember, the people that carved the trail into the Earth caused the most damage... everything after that, whether it be from boot, hoove, knobby tire, or rain is negligible.
I've never heard of a day mountain biker causing a forest fire. A hiker caused forest fire trumps any evidence of bikes on dirt trails, ever.
True. Three miles of trail built to standard specs is a one acre cleacut.
Originally Posted by Empty_Beer
How many hikers have I seen smoking while hiking? I could not count. I have never seen a mountain biker smoke while riding.
I also cannot recall a single forest fire started by a biker. There may be one, somewhere, sometime... I do not know of it.
One other reason to allow Bikes, It allows persons with disabilities to ride some of the trail.
I am one of those. I am 40% disabled from my 20 years in the Navy. My knees are shot. I can't Hike but I can ride a bike.
ADA where are you,
Last edited by tommignon; 03-06-2013 at 10:32 AM.
This is a very valid point. I also have many disabilities and retained hardware that makes it difficult to hike for any length of time, but I can ride my well-adjusted bike for 20 miles or further with no pain penalty.
Originally Posted by tommignon
I'll bet there are more than a few trail users out there in the same boat.
fresh fish in stock......
from the Sharing the PCT Facebook page.
Last Thursday, PCTRI sent a letter to the Forest Service's regional forester in charge of the PCT, replying to the agency's initial rejection of our request to cancel or reconsider the no-bikes policy. The reply is long and has a lot of legal stuff in it, but perhaps a few people will be interested to read it. Those who are may want to copy it into a Word or pdf document; it'll be easier to read.
Here's the text:
We received your letter of February 6, 2013, declining to rescind or reconsider the 1988 order closing bicycle access to the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT).
We hereby request that you reconsider the decision. In addition, we would like to meet with you and your staff to discuss this controversy.
We offer the following reasons for our request, which are in
answer to items communicated in the letter.
I. Federal statutes and regulations
The letter notes the existence of 36 C.F.R. § 212.21, in which the Forest Service declared that the PCT is “primarily a footpath and horseback riding trail.” The regulation was, however, promulgated in 1978, when the only alternative to foot and horse travel was by motorcycle or other motor vehicle. In the context of its time, it is essentially a declaration that the PCT is off-limits to motorized travel.
In addition, the regulation arguably was superseded by act of Congress, because in 1983 Congress amended the National Trails System Act, which governs the PCT, to declare that “bicycling,” including specifically “trail biking”—i.e., mountain biking—is a suitable “[p]otential” trail use on national trails. (16 U.S.C. § 1246(j).) In addition, as the letter observes, “[o]ther uses along the trail, which will not substantially interfere with the nature and purposes of the trail, may be permitted . . . .” (16 U.S.C. § 1246(c).) This is what allows bicycle use on the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (CDNST) despite a Forest Service declaration that the CDNST is primarily dedicated to foot and horse travel (see the next paragraph).
Furthermore, primary (36 C.F.R. § 212.21) does not mean exclusive. The 2009 CDNST Comprehensive Plan declares that “[b]ackpacking, nature walking, day hiking, [and] horseback riding, . . . are compatible with the nature and purposes of the CDNST.” Mountain biking is not mentioned. Yet the same plan also declares that “[b]icycle use may be allowed on the CDNST (16 U.S.C. § 1246(c)) if the use is consistent is consistent with the applicable . . . management plan and will not substantially interfere with the nature and the purposes of the CDNST.” As is well known, lots of mountain biking takes place on the CDNST and there are few if any problems.
Finally, we note the letter’s reference to 16 U.S.C. § 1244(e), which provides in relevant part that “within two complete fiscal years of November 10, 1978, for the Pacific Crest and Appalachian Trails, the responsible Secretary shall . . . submit . . . a comprehensive plan for the . . . use of the trail, including but not limited to, the following items: [¶] “(1) specific objectives and practices to be observed in the management of the trail, including . . . an identified carrying capacity of the trail and a plan for its implementation.”
Since the Forest Service believes the PCT Comprehensive Plan must be revised to allow for bicycle use, then, in fairness, it should also have revised it in 1988, when three employees signed the document closing the PCT to bicycles. We are not aware that any such effort was made, and we observe that the 1988 closure order does not appear in the appendices to the plan. In addition, the statute does not call for a plan revision each time there is a change in trail management practices. Finally, within the PCT Comprehensive Plan, language exists that allows for bicycle use. It is found on page 1 of the original version and consists of President Johnson’s embryonic 1965 statement that led to his signing the National Trails System Act of 1968: “The forgotten outdoorsmen of today are those who like to walk, hike, ride, horseback, or bicycle. For them, we must have trails . . . .”
In sum, we doubt that the enormous undertaking of a PCT Comprehensive Plan revision is required in order to repeal or reconsider the informally created 1988 PCT bicycle closure.
Although we have asked for rulemaking in the alternative to rescinding the closure order, we also disagree with the letter’s statement that rulemaking, along with a Comprehensive Plan amendment, is required. No rulemaking accompanied the order and none is required to rescind it. It is simply a typed declaration of what should have been a short-term, temporary policy as the Forest Service worked out mountain biking management on the PCT in 1988, as it has since done successfully on the tens of thousands of miles of other trail to which the letter refers.
II. Public input following the described PCT Advisory Council decision
The letter mentions that the closure was unanimously supported by the then-existing PCT Advisory Council. We are not aware that any mountain bikers were on that body. More to the point, we know of no evidence that mountain bikers or the public at large were informed about this drastic change in policy.
The lack of public notice and of an opportunity for public comment are central to our position that the policy must be reconsidered to comply with the Administrative Procedure Act, as well as 36 C.F.R. § 261.70, the Forest Service regulation that provides:
"(a) Pursuant to 7 CFR 2.60, the Chief, and each Regional Forester, to whom the Chief has delegated authority, may issue regulations prohibiting acts or omissions within all or any part of the area over which he has jurisdiction, for one or more of the following purposes:
[¶] . . . [¶]
(3) Protection of property, roads, or trails.
[¶] . . . [¶]
(7) Public safety.
[¶] . . . [¶]
(9) Establishing reasonable rules of public conduct.
[¶] . . . [¶]
(c) In issuing any regulations under paragraph (a) of this section, the issuing officer shall follow 5 U.S.C. 553.
(d) In a situation when the issuing officer determines that a notice of proposed rule making and public participation thereon is impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest, he shall issue, with the concurrence of the Chief, an interim regulation containing an expiration date.
(e) No interim regulation issued under paragraph (d) of this section will be effective for more than 90 days unless readopted as a permanent rule after a notice of proposed rule making under 5 U.S.C. 553 (b) and (c)."
In other words, the 1988 bicycle closure became invalid 90 days after its promulgation, because there was no rulemaking pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). Its effect may have been revived by the Forest Service’s decision of February 6, 2013. But in our view that decision will become ineffective on May 7, 2013, for want of the followup procedures required by 36 C.F.R. § 261.70. We understand that there may be an APA exception for so-called interpretative rules, but in our view a blanket ban on bicycles on the PCT cannot be merely interpretative given its far-reaching substantive nature and the requirement that the policy be harmonized with 16 U.S.C. § 1246(j)’s allowance for mountain biking.
III. Questions of fairness and policy considerations
The letter informs us that there are many miles of national forest trail managed specifically for mountain biking. Overall, however, Forest Service policy toward mountain biking is unfair and unjustifiably exclusionary. In California, Oregon, and Washington, the great majority of the most beautiful and remote Forest Service trails are off-limits to cyclists because they lie in Wilderness areas. The non-Wilderness PCT would be one of the few exceptions were it not for the separate closure order that forbids bicycle use on it too.
The letter mentions the PCT’s problems with “ecological restoration and the backlog of maintenance.” (P. 2.) The Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) has acknowledged that it cannot sustain the entirety of the trail. Presumably this is a PCTA appeal for yet more taxpayer funding. At the same time, the PCTA wants to preserve the restrictionist status quo. Mountain bikers have an established history of doing restoration and maintenance work on trails. It seems incongruous to us that the PCTA and the Forest Service would look askance at a source of volunteer labor, to be provided by a nonmotorized and environmentally benign user group, only to turn to the federal government for more money to fund the PCT for the relatively few people who currently use it. In this latter regard, our research has disclosed that much of the PCT sits virtually unused year-round except for a few weeks during which a smattering of through-hikers may walk a section.
One continuing problem with the current policy is the manner in which it divides the trail community. On the Internet, PCT purists have been threatening to assault any mountain bikers they find on the PCT. The threats have been coming from hikers who, thanks to the 1988 closure order, regard the PCT as their taxpayer-funded private preserve and retreat. This is a management problem for the Forest Service that a fair policy will alleviate.
IV. Unbalanced input from interest groups preceding this decision
Finally, we wish to observe that after the Forest Service communicated to us that a review of the closure order might occur in March of 2013, we asked our supporters not to bother your staff or the PCTA before any review occurred. The PCT traditionalists were not so considerate, however, and bombarded both your office and the PCTA with hostile, pleading, and frantic e-mails. In addition, despite our request, your office has never been willing to meet with us, at the same time that we have the impression it was consulting with the PCTA regarding our request. This strikes us as unfair. Our offer to meet with you and your staff remains open.
Again, we ask you to rescind or reconsider the 1988 order.
so awesome...so very, very awesome....
Big news: Feds to consider allowing bikes on PCT
Guess the spam problem isn't solved after all
fresh fish in stock......
It will never be 100% 'solved' - but man-O-man is it better now!
Originally Posted by NateHawk
The Gov will only move if you take them to court. Otherwise you got nothin'.
fresh fish in stock......
Sorry for all the words....but this is pretty BIG. A lot of official statements about the positives of Mountain Bikers on FS trails...specifically a National Scenic Trail...
That and the HUGE statement that Mountain bikes are considered a "semi-primitive" mode of travel. Many of these statements directly contradict what the anti-sharing people claim...and debunks many of their arguments to keep us off trails.
From the Sharing the PCT Facebook page: (edited to remove some content...very long )
Forest Service made a major announcement in favor of mountain biking on National Scenic Trails. The PCT is one National Scenic Trail; the Continental Divide Trail (CDNST) is another.
The Forest Service in Colorado has reversed course about mountain biking on a 31-mile planned CDNST reroute and will allow bicycles.
They recognize that the CDNST's primary use is for hiking and horseback riding, and yet mountain biking should be allowed where it will not interfere with those primary uses. The documents conclude that in low-visitation areas no meaningful interference is likely and multiuse is beneficial.
The full text of the documents below:
Some tasty nuggets from the decision (again from the Sharing the PCT FB page):
[header: Biking [Is] Not Substantial Interference with Nature and Purposes of the Act]
We believe the selection of Alternative 5 [allowing bicycling, horse use, and hiking on the proposed 31 miles of new CDNST trail to be constructed] meets the most objectives of both the CDNST and the CT [Colorado Trail] as detailed in our analysis below.
We have thoroughly analyzed the laws, regulations and policy in order to determine that including mountain bikes on this segment is not a substantial interference with the nature and purposes of the Act. [“The Act” means the Trails System Act of 1968, 16 U.S.C. § 1241 et seq.]
Our review of law, policy and direction together with the considerations specific to this segment indicates that bikes are an appropriate use of the CDNST. . . . [U]se of bikes on this segment does not cause a substantial interference with nature and purposes of The Act.
We believe “Maximum outdoor recreation potential for conservation and enjoyment . . .” (16 U.S.C. 1242) is best met through the inclusion of bikes in these multiple-use management areas on both the GMUG [Gunnison] and RNF [Rio Grande] [national forests].
Bikes are considered a semi-primitive non-motorized use.
After reviewing the effects analysis presented in the EA, we have found no substantial interference from the inclusion of bikes with the nature and purposes of The Act.
Our decision to include bikes on this segment supports multiple-use, non-motorized family recreation in a wide variety of unpopulated ecosystems consistent with the goals of the CT [Colorado Trail]. Selection of a hiker/horse only alternative would have undermined the duality of the non-motorized trail.
Volunteer base consistent with The Act (16 U.S.C. 1250) is primarily mountain biking clubs in this area. Due to limited agency funding and staffing, the GMUG [Gunnison] and RGNF [Rio Grande] [national forests] would rely heavily on these groups for the sustainable construction and long-term maintenance of this trail. CTF [Colorado Trail Foundation] would be the likely continue to be coordinator/agency partner for this segment of coincident CDNST/CT who would network with other non-motorized groups if bike use were included.
Many hikers have expressed a desire for trail design that avoids pointless ups and downs, moderate grades, grade control (switchbacks), and proper drainage (all features similar to Trail Class 3 with the designed use of Hiker); these nearly identical design features would also be accomplished though our recommendation of Trail Class 2 or 3 with use designed for Bicycle which has the added capacity for volunteer construction and maintenance that is not likely to be generated by hiking groups alone in this remote area of Colorado.
While we understand CDNST thru-hiker desires for exclusive use of the trail, exclusion of bikes (and for that matter horses), would not be an environmentally or fiscally responsible decision on our part. We believe that if we considered only hiker/horse use, the trail would never be fully constructed and maintenance would rarely occur because of the lack of established hiker or backcountry horseman volunteer groups...
Local communities rely on tourism generated by opportunities on federal lands. Rural communities would experience the largest economic benefit from the inclusion of all three user groups who would spend money on gas, food, lodging, supplies and equipment.
Commenters expressed concern that the use of bikes on this segment of trail would encourage illegal use of the CDNST in the La Garita Wilderness. This segment joins the existing non-motorized alignment before the wilderness boundary where this had not previously been an over-arching concern. This trail junction further serves as an entry/exit point back to the road system for bikers wishing to make a loop. While illegal use may occasionally occur in the wilderness, it is not anticipated to be more of a concern on the new alignment than on the existing route.
Many segments of the CDNST in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico (where not in designated wilderness) include mountain bikes as a valid use.
II. Forest Service replies to comments in the EA:
Policy (FSM 2353.44b(9)) directs that generally the CDNST should be designed for either Trail Class 2 or Trail Class 3 with a designed use of Pack and Saddlestock. Both of these trail classes and associated design features are very similar for either hikers or mountain bikes . . . . Allowing horse uses which is also compatible with the Act increases the footprint of the trail beyond what is needed for either hikers or mountain bikers. Slope (grade) is not expected to be a factor in the design as it is estimated at less than 10% for the proposed alignment.
EA has considered whether or not a substantial interference with the nature and purposes of the Act would occur with the inclusion of bikes. EA has considered best available science regarding social and resource impacts. None of the readily available science suggests a relationship to clothing of bikers affecting horses. We would assume that a biker’s physiological response on a horse would be similar to that of other animals which we have discussed under wildlife comments below.
While designated wilderness areas do preclude recreational “mechanized transport,” many other trails are open to mountain bikes in the vicinity even though the opportunity for specifically non-motorized trails appears to be limited.
[Comment: Bicyclists search for wilderness quality experiences, just like the hiker and equestrian. Bicycling is entirely consistent with the nature and purposes of the CDNST. Bicycling is common in Roadless Areas nationwide.] Reply: User is correct. . . . EA has considered whether or not a substantial interference with the nature and purposes of the Act would occur with the inclusion of bikes.
We believe proper trail design will minimize conflict potential. Commenter’s signing suggestions are valid. We will work with our partners to determine what works best for this remote and likely little used site.
[Comment: User conflict will occur, including displacement and disruption of the hiking and quieter trail experiences. The look and feel of mountain bike riding, the speeds, sports gear, relationship to a machine and other aspects of the sport are incompatible with the contemplative, slower paced trail uses envisioned for the trail.] Reply: The Act did not prohibit biking or motorized uses. The Act (16 U.S.C. 1242) describes that National Scenic Trails “will be extended trails so located as to provide for maximum outdoor recreation potential and for the conservation and enjoyment of the nationally significant scenic, historic, natural, or cultural qualities of the areas through which such trails may pass.” The 1976 Study Report further describes the purposes of the CDNST: “The primary purpose of this trail is to provide a continuous, appealing trail route, designed for the hiker and horseman, but compatible with other land uses. . . . One of the primary purposes for establishing the CDNST would be to provide hiking and horseback access to those lands where man's impact on the environment has not been adverse to a substantial degree and where the environment remains relatively unaltered. Therefore, the protection of the land resource must remain a paramount consideration in establishing and managing the trail. There must be sufficient environmental controls to assure that the values for which the trail is established are not jeopardized. . . . The basic goal of the CDNST is to provide hikers and horseback riders an opportunity to experience the diverse country along the Continental Divide in a manner that will assure a high quality recreation experience while maintaining a constant respect for the natural environment.
^^Wow -- huge! I'm completely flabbergasted at the reasonable and logically sound analysis from the USFS. It's almost as if someone decided to apply *science* to the evaluation process...
Yes, it's quite amazing. We're in a race against time. As younger people rise higher and higher in the ranks of the Forest Service, National Park Service, and Bureau of Land Management, more decisions are going to go our way, and antiquated rules are going to be rescinded, including the blanket, no-exceptions bicycle ban in Wilderness. The question is whether we'll be (a) alive and (b) still able to ride when this happens. To repeat, it's a race against time.
There was an outfit called the Continental Divide Trail Association that, just like the Pacific Crest Trail Association, despised the ideas of bikes on its pet trail. The CDTA went defunct a couple of years ago. It no longer had a big enough membership to keep going. It disappeared seemingly overnight, although it had been influential until the day of its demise. It's something that you'd think would be sobering to the PCTA, but PCTA board members and staff remain fixated against bicycles on the PCT and two board members have refused to even speak to a PCTRI volunteer. The CDTA has been replaced by a new antibicycle clan called the Continental Divide Trail Coalition, but it's a small group and the Forest Service rejected its stance that bikes be kept off of the new La Garita segment, which hopefully will be built next year.
When it opens, La Garita is likely to be similar to Snow Mesa, which is one of the great unknown mountain bike rides in North America, especially if you continue off the east side of the mesa (you'll need a GPS) and down Miner Creek Trail to Creede. See these links:
Snow Mesa (Colo. Tr.) Western Slope Trail Reviews
The Snow Mesa ride starts at 10,898 feet elevation (Spring Creek Pass) and goes up to about 12,420 feet on the mesa itself. Breathing is difficult unless you live in Leadville, Silverton, or Breckenridge.
Thanks again for starting this thread as a sticky in Passion, CHUM. I'd forgotten about it being here....I was focused more on the SoCal forum.
But the significance of the PCT is much much more than simply a regional issue.
Wow that's fantastic. It sounds like they realized they need to allow mountain bikes mainly because they're the only ones who will do any construction or maintenance lol.
Pretty consistent with what Ive seen locally here in Western PA. I have seen equestrians headed out with cutting tool on occasion, but only to cut off low hanging branches.
Congratulation to you guys for your hard work. Well done
Don't think is a good idea but if they decide to open it to bikes anyway I'll be ready...
Life is a never ending mountainbike ride....
fresh fish in stock......
IMBA threw their hat in
What would the implications regarding this be for the Appalachain Trail, given the USFS possibly opens up the PCT? Could this transfer over or would another hearing and exchange have to take place?
From the AT sections I hiked mostly in NH, VT,MA, and some in GA, TN I feel that trail is a different beast. Very little in the way of switch backs and some sections resembling more a pile of boulders then a trail. However there are some trails near the AT that i feel would be great to explore via bike but they are "wilderness area" like the Pemigewasset Wilderness Area in NH. Funny thing is a lot of the trails follow old logging rail road beds.
Originally Posted by Borgbox
There is also a hut system in Maine close to the AT that is being billed to hikers, x/c skiers and mt bikers.
It's unlikely that the Appalachian Trail would ever become mountain bike accessible. First, it is governed by a different law, which specifies that it is a "footpath." Second, much of it would be unappealing to ride -- too rocky, rooty, steep, and muddy. So it wouldn't be worth lobbying for a change in the law to gain access.
Originally Posted by Borgbox
Originally Posted by SomethingRelatedToBiking
As a mt biker, thru hiker, mountaineer, rock climber, etc. BS on allowing bikes on the PCT.
Much of the central / southern Sierra section is too hard, rocky, etc to really ride anyway. Having to step aside while some bozo blasts down Foresters Pass would be just fantastic!
"Is nothing sacred?"
It's going to be weekend bozos shredding the trails where the PCT crosses a road.
The PCT isn't sacred, it's just exclusive use of a public trail. As such, it might be Un-American, but sacred, no. In my neck of the woods, SD county, the pluses for me would be tremendous. The stretch of trail that parallels Sunrise Hwy. has no attraction to any kind of cyclist other than the cross country type, and it would make multiple new loops possible when connecting with trails on the other side of the Hwy. that are bike accessible.
Originally Posted by dead_dog_canyon
There are a few sections where a shuttle might be possible, but their attractiveness to downhill shredders is negligible.
I don't have any familiarity with the Big Bear situation, but I can imagine scenes where something could go awry, but there has got to be a way to increase access and prevent abuses other than continuing an unfair, arbitrary ban on cyclists for the entire trail.
People who support that either don't like the idea of cyclists on trails in general, or have their own special interest in mind, which is fine. They need to acquire private land where they can indulge their special interest, not expect the taxpayers to pay for it on the public dime. Or public land.