Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 27
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation: montanabiker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    136

    Help Save Central Montana Mountain Biking

    Help us save mountain biking in Central Montana. The Helena/Lewis and Clark National Forest is taking comments. Post your comments and show your support. Thanks

    Go here: Helena National Forest - Planning

    Comment here:https://my.usgs.gov/ppgis/studio/launch/59310


    Help Save Central Montana Mountain Biking-crystal-lake-6-13-11-031.jpgHelp Save Central Montana Mountain Biking-pug-w-m.jpgHelp Save Central Montana Mountain Biking-silver_gulch_june_07_011-1.jpgHelp Save Central Montana Mountain Biking-009.jpg

  2. #2
    All fat, all the time.
    Reputation: Shark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    6,479
    Ugh, sorry to see your area being hit with the wilderness designation too. Idaho lost a lot of great riding the past year because of it.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: evdog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    1,133
    Can someone post a summary of what MTB trails are in these areas? I'm willing to write letters but aside from the CDT I have no knowledge of what is up there.

    Unfortunately all National Forests will be undergoing this wilderness inventory process under the 2012 planning rule. It doesn't mean all the areas in light green are proposed for wilderness recommendation, just that they have been identified as having wilderness characteristics. Typically these are the exact places MTBers value most, just like other trail users. So it is very important to get as many people writing in comments now that let the USFS know what areas are important to us, so they do not get recommended for wilderness.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation: cookieMonster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    283
    Thanks for bringing this matter to my attention. I will DEFINITELY be writing comments. I have been riding and otherwise recreating in most of these areas for 30+ years (my whole life, basically). I am a 5th-generation Montanan -- my relatives helped build some of the trails and routes in that area.

    I cannot support ANY more wilderness designation in this state as 'wilderness' is currently defined. I will do what I can to voice my opinions, but this has gotten out of hand. Some of the areas listed RARELY even see a mountain biker. One of my favorite trails -- period -- looks to be on the chopping block for mountain bikers. I have never seen another SOUL on that trail. Where, I ask, is the problem?

    If need be, I'll happily go to jail for riding my bike, if that's what it comes to.
    Dear U.S. Forest Service: Please ban all wilderness in my riding areas.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation: montanabiker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    136
    Thanks for your support guys.

    Yeah it was sad to hear about Idaho getting hit last year with Wilderness.

    I'll list some notes about my area and where I mostly ride. I'm from Lewistown so I mostly ride on the eastern side of these National Forests. Someone from Helena or Great Falls may be able to chime in about the trails on the Rocky Mountain Front, Helena area and Big Belt mountains which I am not as familiar with.

    Big Snowies
    -Ice cave trail-called one of the best trails in montana
    -lost peak trail-eastern big snowies amazing ride
    -uhlhorn trail-trail across the ridge of the snowies

    Little Belts
    -Dry wolf trails
    -pilgrim creek
    -jefferson creek
    -lost fork of the judith
    -middle fork of the judith
    -south fork of the judith
    -miles and miles of others too many to list

    Highwoods
    -pretty much every trail in the range is amazing
    Last edited by montanabiker; 02-04-2016 at 01:49 PM.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation: socal_jack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    831
    Damn! The inventory under consideration is a shade over 1.3 million acres, roughly the size of Delaware!

  7. #7
    All fat, all the time.
    Reputation: Shark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    6,479
    So far the majority of comments are against wilderness (no surprise)

    https://my.usgs.gov/ppgis/report/pub...9310?showall=1

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    307
    I'm in favor of both Wilderness and mountain biking. I think we need to lobby for permission to ride bikes in wilderness areas. The ban is based on the term "mechanized travel" which is a stretch to say bikes are 'mechanized travel'. Horses are allowed in Wilderness areas and they cause a lot more trail erosion than bikes do.

  9. #9
    All fat, all the time.
    Reputation: Shark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    6,479
    That is true.
    Unfortunately equestrian and hiking groups are much larger in #'s and many prefer to keep bikes out. It will be a tough fight. Hopefully IMBA helps to fight, along with STC which is going through the political side of it.

  10. #10
    beater
    Reputation: evasive's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    4,429
    Quote Originally Posted by evdog View Post
    Unfortunately all National Forests will be undergoing this wilderness inventory process under the 2012 planning rule. It doesn't mean all the areas in light green are proposed for wilderness recommendation, just that they have been identified as having wilderness characteristics. Typically these are the exact places MTBers value most, just like other trail users. So it is very important to get as many people writing in comments now that let the USFS know what areas are important to us, so they do not get recommended for wilderness.
    I think it's important that everyone understands this. This is NOT the same as what happened in Idaho (new Wilderness created by legislation) or in the Bitterroot (decision by Forester to manage WSA as Wilderness).

    Unfortunately, the trend in R1 to manage WSAs and recommended Wilderness areas as though they are Wilderness means that we can lose access if the forest decides they should be recommended areas. That's why it's important to document MTB use and provide comments. Those comments will be more valuable coming from people who understand what this process actually is.
    "Back off, man. I'm a scientist." - Dr. Peter Venkman

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

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation: cookieMonster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    283
    Quote Originally Posted by Shark View Post
    That is true.
    Unfortunately equestrian and hiking groups are much larger in #'s and many prefer to keep bikes out. It will be a tough fight. Hopefully IMBA helps to fight, along with STC which is going through the political side of it.
    You, know, I'm not even sure that's true, at least of equestrians. Hikers, yes. I think if you looked at "trail user-days," mountain bikers may even turn out to be the most frequent users in some areas. But I'd say there are now more mountain bikers than equestrians. But the eq.'s have more money, typically; and unfortunately that's how our country runs these days.
    Dear U.S. Forest Service: Please ban all wilderness in my riding areas.

  12. #12
    All fat, all the time.
    Reputation: Shark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    6,479
    Quote Originally Posted by cookieMonster View Post
    You, know, I'm not even sure that's true, at least of equestrians. Hikers, yes. I think if you looked at "trail user-days," mountain bikers may even turn out to be the most frequent users in some areas. But I'd say there are now more mountain bikers than equestrians. But the eq.'s have more money, typically; and unfortunately that's how our country runs these days.
    I didn't mean actual trail users. I meant the groups that show up at meetings, lobby for or against access etc.

    IMBA members vs Sierra club #'s.

    We are nowhere close.

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation: cookieMonster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    283
    Gotcha. You're right. I wish it weren't true...
    Dear U.S. Forest Service: Please ban all wilderness in my riding areas.

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    261
    I've ridden bikes and horses all my life, but I identify as a cyclist.
    My wife is an equestrian and we live in a very horsey area.
    There are many more MTBr's, than equestrians. Millions more.
    Mtbr's are much more anti-equestrian, than equestrians are anti-mtb.
    Equestrians feel that if they let MTB's in, then MTBr's will just turn around and try to ban them. From what I've seen, they're probably right.

  15. #15
    beater
    Reputation: evasive's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    4,429
    Quote Originally Posted by Low Pressure View Post
    Mtbr's are much more anti-equestrian, than equestrians are anti-mtb.
    Equestrians feel that if they let MTB's in, then MTBr's will just turn around and try to ban them. From what I've seen, they're probably right.
    That might be the case in places where people use the word "equestrian." Where there are horsemen and horsewomen, interactions tend to be much more chill. That's been my experience in Montana. Where I live, cyclists have pretty good relationships with the Backcountry Horsemen, even doing some joint trail work weekends.
    "Back off, man. I'm a scientist." - Dr. Peter Venkman

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

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Posts
    536
    Quote Originally Posted by Low Pressure View Post
    I've ridden bikes and horses all my life, but I identify as a cyclist.
    My wife is an equestrian and we live in a very horsey area.
    There are many more MTBr's, than equestrians. Millions more.
    Mtbr's are much more anti-equestrian, than equestrians are anti-mtb.
    Equestrians feel that if they let MTB's in, then MTBr's will just turn around and try to ban them. From what I've seen, they're probably right.
    That sounds like a very unjustified fear. AFAIK, MTBer's have never attempted to ban anyone from trails.

    I think that the only place where horses are banned are in parks specifically developed for MTB use.
    Riding Washington State singletrack since 1986

  17. #17
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    234
    Quote Originally Posted by evasive View Post
    That might be the case in places where people use the word "equestrian." Where there are horsemen and horsewomen, interactions tend to be much more chill. That's been my experience in Montana. Where I live, cyclists have pretty good relationships with the Backcountry Horsemen, even doing some joint trail work weekends.
    Very good points. I find the backcountry folks to be a lot more chill, happier to see you, more polite, have better trained animals who aren't a danger to all other trail users, and actually do trail work.

    Really two very different groups of people. The difference between folks who grew up on a farm or ranch vs those that come from the city of the burbs and pay a bunch of money to have their horses boarded.

    I usually have fairly positive experiences with a majority of the "equestrians" I come into contact with since I entirely move off the trail, smile, make polite conversation etc... but I have had some ridiculously unwarranted and uncalled for interactions with that crowd too.

    And there is a special place in hell for the jack@ss equestrian that post holed the sh!t out of 2 miles worth of newly constructed purpose built mountain bike trail that we built which were clearly posted as closed to horses.

  18. #18
    mtbr member
    Reputation: 29ger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    218
    Comment made.

    Personally, I wouldn't want to kick hikers or horses out of public multi-use trails (but the "equestrians" that ride purpose groomed snow single track are idiots. No one can even use the trail when they are done.) But they certainly don't mind excluding bikers.

  19. #19
    mtbr member
    Reputation: cookieMonster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    283
    I'm bumping this thread because we need even more people to comment. So far, there is not a single comment on the FS website that is in favor of more wilderness. But we need to speak loudly...
    Dear U.S. Forest Service: Please ban all wilderness in my riding areas.

  20. #20
    beater
    Reputation: evasive's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    4,429
    To re-iterate and expand on my comment above, commenters should understand what this process is. The HLCNF is required to conduct an inventory of their lands to identify areas that could qualify as Wilderness. The areas currently highlighted were selected via a GIS exercise, using attributes like parcel size, connectedness, etc. What we need to do now is document a history of non-confirming use in these areas. In some cases, the USFS has already done this in the travel plans. That simple fact: that the travel plans for some of these inventory areas states that there is no wilderness character, shows clearly that the selection of the inventory areas was pretty mechanical.

    Expressing opposition to more Wilderness at this stage is beside the point and not terribly relevant to the current process. Again- we need to document existing nonconforming uses.

    Example: Muskrat Creek Trail 72 in the Elkhorns is included in the inventory area. This is one of the most popular MTB trails in SW Montana, pulling riders from Helena, Bozeman, and Butte. This trail is a true MTB gem, with one of the best backcountry 2,000'+ descents you'll ride anywhere. While it's never crowded, I don't think I've ever ridden it without encountering another rider. MTB use is long-standing and well-established, and MTBers are generally responsible for clearing downfall every spring.
    "Back off, man. I'm a scientist." - Dr. Peter Venkman

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

  21. #21
    mtbr member
    Reputation: cookieMonster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    283
    ^^So essentially, if we can provide records of people having ridden in these locations, they will be less likely to become wilderness?

    I sort of disagree that it is not helpful to claim opposition to new wilderness. I think every opinion is valid, whether it's stated eloquently or not (ahem...some of the posts on the FS site). Either way, people are clearly stating that "wilderness" as it is currently managed, is not the model by which they'd like any more of Montana to managed. There are many trails that I'd love to have ridden, but they are now managed 'as wilderness' -- so I can't. Case in point -- the Gallatin Crest trail near Bozeman. It never occurred to me to ride that trail, as it begins 5.5 miles up an existing trail that features 2000' of climbing already. Then the real climbing begins. Anyway, that trail didn't have a history of "tons and tons of use" by mountain bikers. Yet, there are plenty of people who would (and did) do it once or twice a year.

    The root problem here is that "wilderness" with its blanket ban on bikes needs to be revisited by the U.S. Supreme court. I don't think you'd find a single person who would say they want "more damage" to the environment. We simply want to use public land in an (I think) reasonable and responsible manner.
    Dear U.S. Forest Service: Please ban all wilderness in my riding areas.

  22. #22
    2006 Yeti AS-X
    Reputation: Lawson Raider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    2,876
    Technically, the Constitution does not allow the Federal Government to own land other than the District of Columbia but obviously that hasn't stopped them from doing so. That is a political argument for another thread or time but for argument's sake - protecting areas of pristine land I am definitely for as long as the public can use and enjoy it.

    Mountain biking is the best way in my opinion to enjoy these areas as well as hiking, horse riding, etc... Just my opinion.
    I don't use Strava. Don't need an application to tell me I am slow because I already know.

  23. #23
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Posts
    536
    Quote Originally Posted by cookieMonster View Post
    The root problem here is that "wilderness" with its blanket ban on bikes needs to be revisited by the U.S. Supreme court. I don't think you'd find a single person who would say they want "more damage" to the environment. We simply want to use public land in an (I think) reasonable and responsible manner.
    This probably more of a matter for Congress to address through a change of the Wilderness Act. Which is what STC is trying to do.
    Riding Washington State singletrack since 1986

  24. #24
    beater
    Reputation: evasive's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    4,429
    Quote Originally Posted by cookieMonster View Post
    ^^So essentially, if we can provide records of people having ridden in these locations, they will be less likely to become wilderness?

    I sort of disagree that it is not helpful to claim opposition to new wilderness. I think every opinion is valid, whether it's stated eloquently or not (ahem...some of the posts on the FS site). Either way, people are clearly stating that "wilderness" as it is currently managed, is not the model by which they'd like any more of Montana to managed. There are many trails that I'd love to have ridden, but they are now managed 'as wilderness' -- so I can't. Case in point -- the Gallatin Crest trail near Bozeman. It never occurred to me to ride that trail, as it begins 5.5 miles up an existing trail that features 2000' of climbing already. Then the real climbing begins. Anyway, that trail didn't have a history of "tons and tons of use" by mountain bikers. Yet, there are plenty of people who would (and did) do it once or twice a year.

    The root problem here is that "wilderness" with its blanket ban on bikes needs to be revisited by the U.S. Supreme court. I don't think you'd find a single person who would say they want "more damage" to the environment. We simply want to use public land in an (I think) reasonable and responsible manner.
    I don't disagree with you. But how much experience do you have with government public comment processes? Staying on-topic is important, and people often have a hard time understanding that, and instead use the process to vent about anything tangentially related to the topic. Off-topic comments are generally dismissed as unrelated and have no impact on the outcome.

    In this case, what I'm saying is that comments about the legitimacy or desirability of Wilderness are unrelated to a discussion of the SUITABILITY of those specific polygons. That's the topic the Forest is accepting comments about. We need to demonstrate that the polygons overlapping trails we love are unsuitable for Wilderness because of the established history of nonconforming use. So sure, by all means say you don't think we need more Wilderness. But make sure you say it in the context of stating that you've been riding Muskrat Creek X times a year for Y years.

    As an aside, although they're WSA management issues, the Gallatin Crest (and the Bitterroot) are different beasts and are somewhat unique when it comes to the nationwide discussion of Wilderness. That's because of the 1977 Montana Wilderness Study Act.
    "Back off, man. I'm a scientist." - Dr. Peter Venkman

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

  25. #25
    mtbr member
    Reputation: cookieMonster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    283
    Gotcha. I'll have to log back in and comment about several other trails I've ridden. I did comment on the Muskrat trail. But there are others in the north-central region that either I haven't ridden or haven't visited in over 20 years. That doesn't mean I don't plan on going back, and I hope that land is open when I return!

    I don't have much experience with the public comment process. I guess I just feel sort of helpless, because it always seems like the FS just does what it wants in the end. Either that or they listen to special interest groups funded by out-of-state organizations. I understand that "wilderness" is land set aside and protected for everyone in the U.S. -- but who is really most affected by management of our local lands? Is someone from the east coast going to find him or herself on the Muskrat trail one day while bird watching and be bothered by 50+ mountain bikers flying by? No. Because both aspects of that scenario are fictional. It is not that heavily-used, and pretty much nobody outside of a small niche of Montana mountain bikers even knows the trail exists. So my point is -- why not leave it managed just the way it is?

    That holds true for most of the land on this inventory. And, whether the opinions on this inventory are framed exactly like the decision-makers want them or not -- I would hope they would not discount them on a technicality. They will find some very angry people indeed -- if they ignore those voices.
    Dear U.S. Forest Service: Please ban all wilderness in my riding areas.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Biking in France, Massif Central
    By StumpjumperUK in forum Vacations & Destinations
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 02-13-2014, 01:03 PM
  2. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 10-12-2013, 03:39 PM
  3. Mountain biking in Central Oregon
    By Dry Side in forum Oregon
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 09-18-2011, 11:10 AM
  4. Mt biking in or near Big Sky Montana
    By vinnyl26 in forum Idaho, Montana, Wyoming
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 07-21-2011, 08:56 AM
  5. New website for Montana Mountain
    By anthony.delorenzo in forum Alaska
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 04-19-2011, 09:37 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •