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  1. #1
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    First bikes in wilderness, then what?

    I've gotta say I'm saddened by the extreme "you're either with us or against us" mentality displayed by BOTH sides in the debate over bikes in wilderness. Much as everyone would love to believe, questions and issues like this are NEVER black-or-white.

    I'm an avid MTBer as well as hiker and backpacker. I'm on the fence on this issue, but definitely leaning toward the "Be very careful what we ask for—we may get it" camp.

    As a biker, I've had a few experiences with a$$hole hikers. As a hiker, I've had more (but still not many) experiences with a$$hole bikers—usually when I was hiking up a multiuse trail and some jerk came railing downhill around a blind corner and had to grab a handful and skid to a stop in front of me and my kids. (And I'm not by any means suggesting all bikers are irresponsible—there are plenty of smart, considerate bikers out there.)

    Here's the question that bothers me: if bikes are allowed in wilderness, then how **exactly** do we justify this while NOT allowing hang gliding, paragliding, e-bikes, e-ATVs and more? This is a legitimate question—those are all quiet, environmentally-friendly modes of transportation with no more impact than normal bikes.

    Many people deride the "slippery slope" argument. But if bikes are allowed in wilderness, you can be damn sure other user groups will follow—to think otherwise is delusional.

    So how exactly do you justify drawing the line at bikes? And if you don't—if you advocate EVERYONE being allowed into wilderness areas, then how can you possibly think this won't ultimately have a negative impact on wilderness?

    I don't think hikers have more "right" to wilderness than bikers. Ditto for horses. I do think if there is a shred of hope to preserve wilderness in at least a semi-wild, semi-primitive state, the line must be drawn somewhere. Letting all user groups into wilderness and expecting them to be universally good stewards with little to no impact on wilderness is a pipe dream. (As many have already pointed out elsewhere, there are plenty of examples of hikers screwing up wilderness—do we actually think bikers are such environmental saints that we'd be so much better?) I'm not saying wilderness would be destroyed—but it won't be as wild as it is now.

    Is the MTB community ready to provide bombproof reasoning for why we should be allowed and nobody else should? If not, are you 100% okay with whatever happens to wilderness if everyone is allowed in?

    Scott

    PS - Arguing endlessly about who damages trails more, who has good places to hike and ride already, or the original intent of the Wilderness Act is an exercise in stupidity. These are NOT the central, most important points in this debate. The central points are "How do you define wilderness, and should it be preserved as it exists today?" (With DETAILED reasons in support of whatever your thesis is.) Any other arguments are just strawmen.
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone View Post
    I've gotta say I'm saddened by the extreme "you're either with us or against us" mentality displayed by BOTH sides in the debate over bikes in wilderness. Much as everyone would love to believe, questions and issues like this are NEVER black-or-white.

    ...Here's the question that bothers me: if bikes are allowed in wilderness, then how **exactly** do we justify this while NOT allowing hang gliding, paragliding, e-bikes, e-ATVs and more? This is a legitimate question—those are all quiet, environmentally-friendly modes of transportation with no more impact than normal bikes.
    You don't.
    Work WITH these other groups to protect the wilderness from the real threat:
    Oil, mining, and timber interests.
    We will have to work together to stop them.


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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone View Post
    ...So how exactly do you justify drawing the line at bikes?
    Draw the line based on science and facts. I think that's all any of us would ask. If you are going to draw the line and say hikers, but not bikers, then base it on science and cold hard facts, not personal anecdotes or "common sense" (which tends to be anything but) or which one is more "natural". Because otherwise you are just drawing the line based on personal biases and dislikes.

    I think mountain bikers are also asking that the line be drawn on a case by case basis, and not just a blanket deny or allow. Because there may be cases of existing trails in wilderness where adding bikes to the mix would be either dangerous to existing users and/or detrimental to the environment, and so bikes should not be permitted on those specific trails and most of us would be ok with that, but there may also be many other cases where bikes can be allowed with little impact and where mountain bikers can contribute to maintaining the trail and protecting the environment.
    Last edited by ray.vermette; 01-05-2018 at 02:29 PM.

  4. #4
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    Try human powered. Start there. Let the hang gliders do their own advocating. You do know bikes were allowed until the hikers got their panties in a bunch and we were booted out in 1984. The whole idea of wilderness is to explore and enjoy nature, under human power. The STC bill put forth would allow bikes in limited areas under the approval of the land manager. Not all trails would work, maybe for terrain or crowding issues and such. Think the trails would appeal to the shuttle or downhill bro fest? Not likely. Back country, lots of remote climbs. Seems ideal for the bikepackers. Able to stretch and get away from the crowds and trailheads. My take? Mt bikers have a proven track record of being great trail stewards, and wilderness right now needs all the help it can get.

  5. #5
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    Wilderness is an artificial definition and a very fortunate act that congress passed. Whether right or wrong, Wilderness Area definitions were originally crafted and written for use of citizens to experience nature away from the mechanized and industrial world. I am paraphrasing from memory, but the original language stated allowing non mechanized travel while specifying activities that included hiking, hunting, horseback riding, skiing, boating, fishing AND bicycling. I think it is objectively clear that motorized objects were targeted as being excluded from wilderness, whether hydrocarbon fueled even solar powered fueled. To be more scientifically correct, it should have probably said that anything that did not get it's power thru an ATP process was not to be allowed. That get's us back to square one.

    I believe there is no slippery slope aspect when discussing bikes in wilderness. They were in the original draft and the final watered down congressional act. As a side note, the big change came in a Republican era, usually less Fed oversight, (please dont start a political debate) that targeting biking from the Horseman's wealth based influence on Congress at the time. Slippery slope mantra's and narratives are a bigger problem because in the middle of the blind fight, other things are getting slipped in all around. Did you know that >90% of all US coastlines just got approved for drilling and Wilderness area drilling is in the works. Biking on wilderness trails are the drop in the proverbial bucket compared to the real issues that are happening right now. Put the fight into what really matters in the big picture. At the same time put the smarts into things like overuse, impact control, erosion control, education, etc.. As others have stated, the entrance points are probably the largest impact/conflict areas so focus there.
    Finally, I kind of blame the Sierra Club for much of the fear mongering and politicized division while letting the real issues collapse under the misguided debates, but that is just me.

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    I agree, it is not as slippery as some people make it out to be. Human Powered is clear and unambiguous. Personally, I think hang gliders have a legitimate argument to be there as well and I have never hang glided in my life. The e-<whatever> is not valid. If there is a motor, electronic or gas, it doesn’t matter. It’s a motor even if only “assist”.

    I personally feel the policy should be clear, MTB allowed in wilderness, but subject to case by case exemption or prohibition based upon land manager justification. Some level of “reasonable” justification would need to be developed with clear reasons why MTB are not compatible with the exclusion.

    An easy example would be John Muir Trail:

    “There is a high demand for permit availability for hiking / equestrian use which is the historical use of this nationally, and even world recognized, significant trail. Allowing MTB would tax an already limited resource only taking into account the historical and acceptable usage of the trail.

    The JMT is characterized as steep/extensive vertical elevation gain and loss, narrow, and sustained rocky terrain not allowing enough room for reasonable and safe passage / passing of MTBs and pedestrian / hiking / equestrian traffic. In addition, the JMT is covered in snow throughout a significant portion of the typical use window and has a high volume of stream crossings. Many of these features would promote additional “off trail usage” due to the inability for the majority of MTB’ers to successfully and safely navigate the terrain as designed as part of this historical trail.

    It is not advisable or responsible to allow MTB within the JMT trail system.”

    My $0.02

  7. #7
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    to the op, not being snarky here, just think the concern expressed is more along the lines of “what is a reasonable policy for wilderness access and impact”




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  8. #8
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    Good comments all. Paraphrasing what was said above, it sounds like nobody's the least bit concerned that allowing bikes could lead to allowing more—that right?

    I also agree that bikes are a pretty inconsequential concern compared with oil drilling and fracking.

    But I think it's still reasonable to ask "What is the point of wilderness?" I'd personally be more in favor of an outright human ban in wilderness areas, period.

    And regarding "human powered" versus e-bikes...this strikes me as totally arbitrary. What exactly would the hazards of e-bikes in wilderness be compared with human-powered bikes? (Not that I'm an e-bike fan, just saying.) And why exactly should they be disallowed?

    I'm all in favor of science-based facts too. I'm just not convinced that science would provide a crystal-clear rationale for banning e-bikes.

    Scott
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  9. #9
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    ebikes have motors and batteries that power them. That is a huge difference. If for some reason you had to leave it, very damaging.

    Focusing on the original intent of the act is what we should be doing, because it allowed bikes. It was changed for no real reason.
    I'm sick of all the Irish stereotypes, as soon as I finish this beer I"m punching someone

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone View Post
    And regarding "human powered" versus e-bikes...this strikes me as totally arbitrary. What exactly would the hazards of e-bikes in wilderness be compared with human-powered bikes? (Not that I'm an e-bike fan, just saying.) And why exactly should they be disallowed?

    I'm all in favor of science-based facts too. I'm just not convinced that science would provide a crystal-clear rationale for banning e-bikes.

    Scott
    Assisted, even if lower powered "e", and that is only assuming the current technology, which IMO will only get better, by a motor implies a much higher ability for change or impact to the environment. For example:

    A healthy human can produce about 1.2 hp briefly and sustain about 0.1 hp indefinitely; trained athletes can manage up to about 2.5 hp briefly and 0.3 hp for a period of several hours on a bike.

    versus

    I've seen existing e-bike listed up to 7,000W. That's 9.4 horsepower.

    That at "best" it is roughly 4X the power at a single point of contact from a mtb (extreme brief effort) to e-bike (which can sustain that power output), but most likely on average up to 94X more power sustained.

    Certainly there is a much higher realistic expectation of significant trail damage when you can exert the equivalent of more than 9 horses as opposed to 1 tenth of a horse's power at a single instance on a single spot on the trail.

    And that is the science of why MTB does not equal e-bike as it is related to potential trail damage. Not too mention, e-bikes are heavier and other variables which only make the comparison even worse.

  11. #11
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    Thanks—interesting horsepower numbers! And based on those, I'd agree trail damage could be worse with e-powered bikes.

    I don't believe trail damage (while important) is the primary issue; an increased number of people penetrating farther into a wilderness area (in the same amount of time as a hiker) strikes me as the most important issue, because (IMO) that has the greatest impact on fundamental changes to the character of the wilderness.

    That said, e-bikes could probably go farther. Though I know plenty of MTBers who are a) fast, and b) can ride all day for days without electricity. So I'm not sure the difference is significant.

    As for the "bikes were originally allowed but access was revoked" argument, it could easily be argued that one reason for revoking access to bikes (aside from all the smoke-filled-room-dealmaking and backscratching everyone loves to talk about) is that the difference (in terms of traveling farther/faster into wilderness) between foot travel and biking is easily equal to the difference between human-powered bikes and e-bikes. The desired goal has always been to *limit* the extent to which people can cover every inch of a wilderness area as much as possible (or at least to make it as difficult as possible).

    Because put simply, "people all over a wilderness" equals "significant change to the character of wilderness."

    Scott


    Quote Originally Posted by roughster View Post
    Assisted, even if lower powered "e", and that is only assuming the current technology, which IMO will only get better, by a motor implies a much higher ability for change or impact to the environment. For example:

    A healthy human can produce about 1.2 hp briefly and sustain about 0.1 hp indefinitely; trained athletes can manage up to about 2.5 hp briefly and 0.3 hp for a period of several hours on a bike.

    versus

    I've seen existing e-bike listed up to 7,000W. That's 9.4 horsepower.

    That at "best" it is roughly 4X the power at a single point of contact from a mtb (extreme brief effort) to e-bike (which can sustain that power output), but most likely on average up to 94X more power sustained.

    Certainly there is a much higher realistic expectation of significant trail damage when you can exert the equivalent of more than 9 horses as opposed to 1 tenth of a horse's power at a single instance on a single spot on the trail.

    And that is the science of why MTB does not equal e-bike as it is related to potential trail damage. Not too mention, e-bikes are heavier and other variables which only make the comparison even worse.
    29er wheels are dangerous. They may cause you to go faster which can result in serious bodily injury. —Jim311

  12. #12
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    Should horseback riding and pack travel be allowed in wilderness? They aren't human powered.

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    Quote Originally Posted by endo_alley View Post
    Should horseback riding and pack travel be allowed in wilderness? They aren't human powered.
    I would say based upon historical use and general acceptability of horseback travel, yes. Once again, it is not ALL or NOTHING. We can have both (Horse/MTB), plus hiking, plus backpacking, and other forms of human powered travel, plus other animal derived power if they can justify the need. Do we allow dog sledding in wilderness? I would assume yes.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone View Post
    PS - Arguing endlessly about who damages trails more, who has good places to hike and ride already, or the original intent of the Wilderness Act is an exercise in stupidity. These are NOT the central, most important points in this debate. The central points are "How do you define wilderness, and should it be preserved as it exists today?" (With DETAILED reasons in support of whatever your thesis is.) Any other arguments are just strawmen.
    The point and objective of wilderness is pretty clear. Read the Wilderness Act of 1964 (WA) if you haven't.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wilderness Act of 1964
    DEFINITION OF WILDERNESS
    (c) A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain. An area of wilderness is further defined to mean in this Act an area of undeveloped Federal land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation, which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions and which (1) generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man's work substantially unnoticeable; (2) has outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation; (3) has at least five thousand acres of land or is of sufficient size as to make practicable its preservation and use in an unimpaired condition; and (4) may also contain ecological, geological, or other features of scientific, educational, scenic, or historical value.

    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone View Post
    But I think it's still reasonable to ask "What is the point of wilderness?" I'd personally be more in favor of an outright human ban in wilderness areas, period.
    I don't think many people, except environmental extremists, would agree to a human free wilderness. In fact, this position is in direct conflict with the defined objectives of the WA. Excluding people from a resource (that they pay for mind you) will reduce the political and social will to preserve it. Example: Do you see many mountain bikers fighting for more wilderness?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wilderness Act of 1964
    PROHIBITION OF CERTAIN USES
    (c) Except as specifically provided for in this Act, and subject to existing private rights, there shall be no commercial enterprise and no permanent road within any wilderness area designated by this Act and except as necessary to meet minimum requirements for the administration of the area for the purpose of this Act (including measures required in emergencies involving the health and safety of persons within the area), there shall be no temporary road, no use of motor vehicles, motorized equipment or motorboats, no landing of aircraft, no other form of mechanical transport, and no structure or installation within any such area.
    Motorized equipment is banned in wilderness. E-bikes are motorized equipment. The term motorized is not defined in the WA, but is generally taken to mean a non-living power source. This isn't as slippery of a slope as you are framing it and slippery slope arguments don't hold much water anyways.

    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone View Post
    The desired goal has always been to *limit* the extent to which people can cover every inch of a wilderness area as much as possible (or at least to make it as difficult as possible).
    What do you mean by cover? And with what? The WA already prohibits creating permanent habitations or significant structures within these areas. If you mean "humans traveling through" wilderness, then the WA disagrees (see point #2 under Definition of Wilderness above).

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone View Post

    But I think it's still reasonable to ask "What is the point of wilderness?" I'd personally be more in favor of an outright human ban in wilderness areas, period.


    Scott
    Sorry Scott, this is the part that gets me right here. Wilderness was not set aside as a nature preserve. We have entire government agencies devoted to wildlife management and conservation. Wilderness was set aside specifically for recreation. It was set aside so that PEOPLE could EXPERIENCE what vast undisturbed tracts of land were like. You can't eat that cake, and leave it in the freezer too. The real question is this:

    Many areas that are now Wilderness or being considered for Wilderness designation have mountain bike trails in them. Most mountain bikers would LOVE to see the trails they love preserved and protected from development, but the most effective tool we have for doing that also outright bans them from those trails. How can we have our trails protected, and ride them too? The best answer is simply to allow admission of bikes to those areas where it's appropriate.

  16. #16
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    What happens next? Wilderness gets a solid boost of support from a younger demographic that will support Wilderness expansion, help maintain trails, and fight against real threats to Wilderness (mining, extraction, shrinking). And once we're through the insanity of this change, you might be able to ride, push and carry your bike through some Wilderness on an epic adventure, where you may or may not see another human being.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone View Post
    I've gotta say I'm saddened by the extreme "you're either with us or against us" mentality displayed by BOTH sides in the debate over bikes in wilderness. Much as everyone would love to believe, questions and issues like this are NEVER black-or-white.

    I'm an avid MTBer as well as hiker and backpacker. I'm on the fence on this issue, but definitely leaning toward the "Be very careful what we ask for—we may get it" camp.

    As a biker, I've had a few experiences with a$$hole hikers. As a hiker, I've had more (but still not many) experiences with a$$hole bikers—usually when I was hiking up a multiuse trail and some jerk came railing downhill around a blind corner and had to grab a handful and skid to a stop in front of me and my kids. (And I'm not by any means suggesting all bikers are irresponsible—there are plenty of smart, considerate bikers out there.)

    Here's the question that bothers me: if bikes are allowed in wilderness, then how **exactly** do we justify this while NOT allowing hang gliding, paragliding, e-bikes, e-ATVs and more? This is a legitimate question—those are all quiet, environmentally-friendly modes of transportation with no more impact than normal bikes.

    Many people deride the "slippery slope" argument. But if bikes are allowed in wilderness, you can be damn sure other user groups will follow—to think otherwise is delusional.

    So how exactly do you justify drawing the line at bikes? And if you don't—if you advocate EVERYONE being allowed into wilderness areas, then how can you possibly think this won't ultimately have a negative impact on wilderness?

    I don't think hikers have more "right" to wilderness than bikers. Ditto for horses. I do think if there is a shred of hope to preserve wilderness in at least a semi-wild, semi-primitive state, the line must be drawn somewhere. Letting all user groups into wilderness and expecting them to be universally good stewards with little to no impact on wilderness is a pipe dream. (As many have already pointed out elsewhere, there are plenty of examples of hikers screwing up wilderness—do we actually think bikers are such environmental saints that we'd be so much better?) I'm not saying wilderness would be destroyed—but it won't be as wild as it is now.

    Is the MTB community ready to provide bombproof reasoning for why we should be allowed and nobody else should? If not, are you 100% okay with whatever happens to wilderness if everyone is allowed in?

    Scott

    PS - Arguing endlessly about who damages trails more, who has good places to hike and ride already, or the original intent of the Wilderness Act is an exercise in stupidity. These are NOT the central, most important points in this debate. The central points are "How do you define wilderness, and should it be preserved as it exists today?" (With DETAILED reasons in support of whatever your thesis is.) Any other arguments are just strawmen.
    actually the key point is what is mechanized travel.

    http://www.ecocyclist.org/norcamba/w...ess/stroll.pdf

    Legislators actually used bikes as an example of exercising which was one of the reasons to pass the act. The original implementation in policy allowed bikes in 1966. Bikes became prohibited in 1977.

    Ultimately the interpretation became any mechanical device with moving parts that gave mechanical leverage. This should mean that hiking poles that collapse or are spring loaded, climbing equipment, skis (poles move, bindings move), kayaks (oars move) etc should all be banned.

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    I think an important point is being missed in this discussion: Legacy MTB trail access.

    To me, allowing MTB access isn't necessarily going to open up a lot of new trails to MTBing. Local land managers have the final say on what is and isn't allowed. It is more about regaining access to MTB trails that existed before an area was designated as wilderness. We have seen multiple instances of popular MTB trails being closed and/or made unusable due to being completely or partly located in a newly created wilderness area. This new interpretation of the act would still allow legacy hiking/equestrian trails to stay as such if the land manager is so inclined, but also allow legacy MTB trails to stay as such.

  19. #19
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    What you want, or feel, or think wilderness should or should not be is irrelevant.

    What does matter, is the original intent of the Wilderness Act itself, which included bicycles and other non-motorized activities.

    Do other activities qualify for inclusion in wilderness areas? Probably, but that's not my concern, and shouldn't be a consideration of restoring bicycle access.


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    I stand corrected and should point out the original intent of the first authors on the concept of wilderness, in preparation for the first Wilderness Act drafts, excluded all mechanized means - yes bikes.

    The WA INCLUDED bikes in definition of mechanized means and so intent also a bit arbitrary to fully define correctly. Needless to say this discussion is about the approved WA which included bikes.

    Here is one for you, are gravity assisted activities human powered devices?

    Anyway, I used to think these type of things would be something we citizens would be allowed to vote on.....where did that intent get so screwed up? Damn it!

  21. #21
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    Then what? Withdraw any further support of the treacherous, back stabbing IMBA.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tommybees View Post
    Anyway, I used to think these type of things would be something we citizens would be allowed to vote on.....where did that intent get so screwed up? Damn it!
    We elect congressmen and representatives. And if the issue has enough public support, a bill will be crafted. And they will vote on it.

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    So I would imagine that no b lines, stunts, berms, machine built brown sidewalks, nauseating over abundance of trail signs, warning labels, and junctions will be built or tolerated in wilderness areas.....oh darn.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HacksawReynolds View Post
    So I would imagine that no b lines, stunts, berms, machine built brown sidewalks, nauseating over abundance of trail signs, warning labels, and junctions will be built or tolerated in wilderness areas.....oh darn.
    That's the irony of all this. So few "mt. bikers" (percentage wise) seek such an ungroomed experience that will likely involve hike-a-bike more than once. Shuttling won't be possible either, as there are no roads or motor vehicles in Wilderness. So all these concerns of Wilderness getting overloaded with mt. bikers are very inaccurate, in my opinion. Sections/trails that do get a lot of bike traffic can be regulated by permits, just like with hiking and horseback riding.

    And I truly hope those who do ride in Wilderness (once it is legal) accept the terrain as-is. The first time we hear about some guys building a booter... or a bootleg DH trail, is the day we lose our privilege.

    Thank goodness commercial filming is not a slam dunk in Wilderness either... cause you know once bikes are allowed, some of the bike brands that invested $0.00 in this effort will be lining up to shoot commercials or take photos for their branding/advertising. I can't wait to hear about the "Specialized Muir" or "Trek Desolation"... designed for rugged backcountry adventures.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_Beer View Post
    That's the irony of all this. So few "mt. bikers" (percentage wise) seek such an ungroomed experience that will likely involve hike-a-bike more than once.
    Yes the art of riding 8" wide primitive tread with a dismount involved here and there is quickly becoming a lost art.

    And I truly hope those who do ride in Wilderness (once it is legal) accept the terrain as-is.
    Me too.

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    How did Wildlife Refuges and almost all US coastlines suddenly get released for oil exploration? There were years of public support and battling to get control in place and now poof all free to explore. I recall a lot of public support, but don't recall any public support for releasing the areas for exploration. The WA areas are next, temporary roads and mining /ineral exploration allowances are the WAct from the beginning. It has nothing to do with bikes, but that is what everyone is afraid of.
    Maybe it's the oil guys (great conspiracy theory) riling up the Sierra Club so they miss the big oil rigs getting erected next to the horse trails in the Wilderness Areas?

  27. #27
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    The Wilderness Act does not prevent mining and oil exploration on pre-existing claims. Several activities are allowed in Wilderness that are highly detrimental to the environment that most people automatically assume are banned.

    Read the act in full, or at least the "SPECIAL PROVISIONS" section, and be prepared to have your mind blown.
    Mountain bikers are generally a rational bunch...until someone moves a rock on our favorite trail and we lose our minds - LMN

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    Quote Originally Posted by sns1294 View Post
    I think an important point is being missed in this discussion: Legacy MTB trail access.

    To me, allowing MTB access isn't necessarily going to open up a lot of new trails to MTBing. Local land managers have the final say on what is and isn't allowed. It is more about regaining access to MTB trails that existed before an area was designated as wilderness. We have seen multiple instances of popular MTB trails being closed and/or made unusable due to being completely or partly located in a newly created wilderness area. This new interpretation of the act would still allow legacy hiking/equestrian trails to stay as such if the land manager is so inclined, but also allow legacy MTB trails to stay as such.
    This is where I am at as well. Despite living in Oregon which has numerous wilderness areas, if the STC bill passes, and the land managers decided to open all of the WA trails to bikes, it would have a very small impact on my riding. I can think of perhaps a couple of route options that would open up that I would hit maybe 1 time a year if that, but primarily, it wouldn't affect my day to day riding.

    Most of the WA trails I've hiked and backpacked on would be pretty awful to ride on, as you'd be spending most of your time lugging your bike over huge down trees, one after another. That, and most of those trails are under snow 8-9 months of the year. I realize this isn't the case for all WAs in other locations.

    But my real concern, is that every time some politician wants to create a legacy for themselves, they propose a new Wilderness Area. And a lot of these proposed Wildernesses and Wilderness Study Area include some very marginal tracts of land in terms of what you would think of as Wilderness.

    The Crater Lake Wilderness being proposed in Oregon includes hundreds of miles of trails currently accessible to mountain bikes, including portions of the North Umpqua Trail. The portions of proposed WA that encroach on the N.U.T. have all sorts of hydroelectric infrastructure on it, including aqueducts, access roads, power lines, and large diameter above grade water pipelines.

    I'm sure the Environmental groups that are drawing the proposed lines through these non-pristine areas are looking at it as an opportunity to preserve the trail, but I'm sure they aren't shedding any tears at the prospect of kicking mountain bikes off either.

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    I think this needs to be looked at as a case by case scenario. Mountain bikes aren't allowed in the BWCA. Neither are horses. Some wilderness areas allow horses, some don't.
    The BWCA does allow some motor use, which I don't care for. Limited horsepower outboard motors. In the winter, no snow machines are allowed at all. In Minnesota, a pedal assist bike isn't necessarily considered a motor bike. Depends on the watts. So then some pedal assist bikes could be allowed in the wilderness. How are the trails going to be made? How will they be maintained? No motors, right?
    The point I'm trying to make is that wilderness areas have different rules, trying to make blanket laws to cover them all isn't very sensible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Torgy View Post
    I think this needs to be looked at as a case by case scenario. Mountain bikes aren't allowed in the BWCA. Neither are horses. Some wilderness areas allow horses, some don't.
    The BWCA does allow some motor use, which I don't care for. Limited horsepower outboard motors. In the winter, no snow machines are allowed at all. In Minnesota, a pedal assist bike isn't necessarily considered a motor bike. Depends on the watts. So then some pedal assist bikes could be allowed in the wilderness. How are the trails going to be made? How will they be maintained? No motors, right?
    The point I'm trying to make is that wilderness areas have different rules, trying to make blanket laws to cover them all isn't very sensible.
    1. ebikes won't be permitted in any wilderness areas under the new legislation. Non-motorized only.

    2. Nobody is suggesting a "blanket law to cover them all", the proposed legislation only gives the ability of the land managers to decide if bicycles are appropriate, and on which individual trails.


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    CJ, how will you build these trails?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Torgy View Post
    CJ, how will you build these trails?
    I'm not aware of anyone suggesting new trails should or would be built. It's largely more a question of restoring access to trails that bikes used to ride before they were incorporated into wilderness areas.

    BUT, if a land manager decided they wanted to permit a new trail, it can be done with hand tools. I've been involved in several trial builds that were done entirely with hand tools.


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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone View Post
    Good comments all. Paraphrasing what was said above, it sounds like nobody's the least bit concerned that allowing bikes could lead to allowing more—that right?

    I also agree that bikes are a pretty inconsequential concern compared with oil drilling and fracking.

    But I think it's still reasonable to ask "What is the point of wilderness?" I'd personally be more in favor of an outright human ban in wilderness areas, period.

    And regarding "human powered" versus e-bikes...this strikes me as totally arbitrary. What exactly would the hazards of e-bikes in wilderness be compared with human-powered bikes? (Not that I'm an e-bike fan, just saying.) And why exactly should they be disallowed?

    I'm all in favor of science-based facts too. I'm just not convinced that science would provide a crystal-clear rationale for banning e-bikes.

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    Ebikes make it easy to go further. People feel they didn't earn it. It's purely an ego based argument. We cause trail conflict going downhill, and anyone who's being honest has seen it from normal bikes.

    Ebikes can't spill oil or gas on the trail, and they're quiet. I'm fine with letting them in too. It would be amazing to think that would increase the amount of people enjoying the outdoors. Sitting on our asses at home is killing us as a country.

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    Quote Originally Posted by One Pivot View Post
    Ebikes make it easy to go further. People feel they didn't earn it. It's purely an ego based argument. We cause trail conflict going downhill, and anyone who's being honest has seen it from normal bikes.

    Ebikes can't spill oil or gas on the trail, and they're quiet. I'm fine with letting them in too. It would be amazing to think that would increase the amount of people enjoying the outdoors. Sitting on our asses at home is killing us as a country.
    Motorized vehicles is not up for discussion with this bill.

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    Quote Originally Posted by _CJ View Post
    I'm not aware of anyone suggesting new trails should or would be built. It's largely more a question of restoring access to trails that bikes used to ride before they were incorporated into wilderness areas.

    BUT, if a land manager decided they wanted to permit a new trail, it can be done with hand tools. I've been involved in several trial builds that were done entirely with hand tools.


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    Here in MA, all the trail builds I have worked on only used hand tools. Once we had a tractor carry in some boardwalk stuff. Mattock, rogue hoe, mcleod, prybar. 20 people with a line of pin flags can do some good distance in a 1/2 day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone View Post
    First bikes in wilderness, then what?
    Then:
    -Improved/increased trail maintenance
    -More support for new wilderness designations
    -Less infighting withing the mtb community
    -More cooperation among all non-motorized user groups
    -ebikes take their rightful place among the OHV community

    Anyone have any more?

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    Quote Originally Posted by _CJ View Post
    ...Anyone have any more?
    Mike Vandeman and Todd McMahon's heads explode?
    Mountain bikers are generally a rational bunch...until someone moves a rock on our favorite trail and we lose our minds - LMN

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    Quote Originally Posted by _CJ View Post
    Then:
    -Improved/increased trail maintenance
    Care to elaborate?

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    Quote Originally Posted by HacksawReynolds View Post
    Care to elaborate?
    Having come from multiple "adventure sports" background including kayaking, rock climbing, trail running, surfing, hiking, backpacking to name a few, I am confident when I say MTB'ers are the most responsible and most active / responsible trail steward group out there.

    I believe this statement is accurate in that where MTB'ers are allowed, this will result in improved trail maintenance without taxing LM resources. In essence, the MTB community becomes a free resource for the local LMs resulting in better maintained trails for all users.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HacksawReynolds View Post
    Care to elaborate?
    Just the ability to use wheelbarrows and chainsaws for one. MA rider here. Mt bikers in the New England area have become one of the go to resources for land managers and agencies for trail work. Hacksaw you're in New England too?

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    Quote Originally Posted by goodmojo View Post
    The original purpose was to have unspoiled land that people can enjoy as exercise.
    Actually, in the case of capital "W" Wilderness, it's not exactly accurate to say that the primary purpose is simply "recreation" (as defined by the Wilderness Act of 1964):

    The Wilderness Act, signed into law in 1964, created the National Wilderness Preservation System and recognized wilderness as “an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” The Act further defined wilderness as "an area of undeveloped Federal land retaining its primeval character and influence without permanent improvements or human habitation, which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions . . . ." (For the complete definition of wilderness, see Section 2(c) of the Wilderness Act.)

    We can debate whether that should be modified or not, but I think it's important to at least have a working understanding of what defined "Wilderness" really is.

    Particularly as opposed to the general idea of lower-case "wilderness" which is not the same thing, nor even clearly defined, though people sometimes seem to use the two interchangeably.
    "The only way we can truly control the outcome of a ride is not going on it, which is a choice I'm unwilling to make." -K.B.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HacksawReynolds View Post
    Care to elaborate?
    I'd expect this to mean clearing down trees and restoring slid out trail sections.
    Riding Washington State singletrack since 1986

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    Quote Originally Posted by _CJ View Post
    Then:

    Anyone have any more?
    Pour all that wasted effort and resources ($$$ and man hrs) on both sides fighting over the trivial reestablishment of consideration of mt biking access to an area, new or pre-existing, into real oversight efforts of the corporate profiteers who are going to mine the resources (timber, oil, minerals etc) out from under our noses and not provide any of the benefits back to the citizens that actually own it. They will put in 'temporary roads, wipe out existing trails and landscape and leave the scars forever. These areas could then be called Wilderness Was Area.
    #Getyouracttogther

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    Quote Originally Posted by roughster View Post

    I believe this statement is accurate in that where MTB'ers are allowed, this will result in improved trail maintenance without taxing LM resources. In essence, the MTB community becomes a free resource for the local LMs resulting in better maintained trails for all users.
    Wilderness isn't really about well maintained trails and improvements. It's enjoy it as it is. From what I understand.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone View Post
    The desired goal has always been to *limit* the extent to which people can cover every inch of a wilderness area as much as possible (or at least to make it as difficult as possible).
    If limiting the ability of humans to travel further/quicker into the wilderness were the goal, then horses, pack animals, skis, canoes, and kayaks would all be restricted.

    You can't use that as a valid reason to restrict mountain bikes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smithhammer View Post
    Actually, in the case of capital "W" Wilderness, it's not exactly accurate to say that the primary purpose is simply "recreation" (as defined by the Wilderness Act of 1964):

    The Wilderness Act, signed into law in 1964, created the National Wilderness Preservation System and recognized wilderness as “an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” The Act further defined wilderness as "an area of undeveloped Federal land retaining its primeval character and influence without permanent improvements or human habitation, which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions . . . ." (For the complete definition of wilderness, see Section 2(c) of the Wilderness Act.)
    Those aren't reasons, those are directives.

    The reason was "Preserving wilderness preserves natural ecosystems, wild areas and opportunities for solitude or primitive and unconfined recreation."


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    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    Just the ability to use wheelbarrows and chainsaws for one. MA rider here. Mt bikers in the New England area have become one of the go to resources for land managers and agencies for trail work. Hacksaw you're in New England too?
    Chainsaws -- while permitted in Wilderness areas for unique circumstances (but difficult to get permission for) -- are not part of this bill. They were included in last year's now-expired Senate bill.

    I think _CJ is touching on the same thing as me with regard to trail maintenance: clearing deadfall... even by hand saw, as that makes most trails better or everyone, especially the bicyclist. But shoring up a washout and brushing back overgrowth is likely too. I don't envision much "buffing out" the Wilderness trails... just make them passable for more uninterrupted pedaling.

    I think the BCHA will be lobbying for chainsaws more and more as time goes on. A lot of them are done screwing around with crosscut saws in their old age.

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    Quote Originally Posted by _CJ View Post
    Those aren't reasons, those are directives.

    The reason was "Preserving wilderness preserves natural ecosystems, wild areas and opportunities for solitude or primitive and unconfined recreation."


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    I didn't say recreation isn't part of the reason for Wilderness designations, only that it isn't the sole reason. Both the excerpt I provided, and the one that you did, exemplify this.

    Keep in mind, I'm not taking a position on the issue with my comments (so far) - only saying that it's important to have a good understanding of what Wilderness is, which I don't think people always do.
    "The only way we can truly control the outcome of a ride is not going on it, which is a choice I'm unwilling to make." -K.B.

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    Recreation is mentioned 3 times in the Act: https://wilderness.nps.gov/document/wildernessAct.pdf

    Without recreation, good luck finding support for keeping Wilderness or ever growing it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_Beer View Post
    Recreation is mentioned 3 times in the Act: https://wilderness.nps.gov/document/wildernessAct.pdf

    Without recreation, good luck finding support for keeping Wilderness or ever growing it.
    Jeezus - once again, no one is saying that recreation isn't part of the picture, nor shouldn't be.
    "The only way we can truly control the outcome of a ride is not going on it, which is a choice I'm unwilling to make." -K.B.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HacksawReynolds View Post
    Wilderness isn't really about well maintained trails and improvements. It's enjoy it as it is. From what I understand.
    About the only "improvements" that I see on Wilderness trails are bridges over creek/river crossings. If you're thinking that well-maintained and improved means flow trails or similar, then hell no, nobody wants that. A nasty 8" ribbon of rock, roots, and dirt will suffice quite nicely. Just keep it logged out and brushed back to be passable.
    Riding Washington State singletrack since 1986

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    If HR1349 passes, I expect trails will be maintained to the same standards - and using the same best practices - that are currently employed today in Wilderness Areas. The bill doesn't change that.

    The only difference is there will be more volunteers to help and a wealth of expertise to draw on. And they'll be allowed to use wheelbarrows.

    The work will all be manual. No machine-built trails. No dirt sidewalks, no flow trails, no jump lines, no dumbing-down.

    Trails that have a primitive character - but are otherwise sustainably-built - will likely remain the way they are.
    Mountain bikers are generally a rational bunch...until someone moves a rock on our favorite trail and we lose our minds - LMN

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smithhammer View Post
    I didn't say recreation isn't part of the reason for Wilderness designations, only that it isn't the sole reason. Both the excerpt I provided, and the one that you did, exemplify this.

    Keep in mind, I'm not taking a position on the issue with my comments (so far) - only saying that it's important to have a good understanding of what Wilderness is, which I don't think people always do.
    I see it as letting nature pretty much rule the place. Which is awesome.
    Riding Washington State singletrack since 1986

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smithhammer View Post
    I didn't say recreation isn't part of the reason for Wilderness designations, only that it isn't the sole reason. Both the excerpt I provided, and the one that you did, exemplify this.

    Keep in mind, I'm not taking a position on the issue with my comments (so far) - only saying that it's important to have a good understanding of what Wilderness is, which I don't think people always do.
    I don't know man, maybe you need to work on your reading comprehension or something....."preserves....FOR....recreation" is what it says.

    The Wilderness Act wasn't about creating a nature preserve, It was set aside to be enjoyed by humans, in a primitive and unconfined manner, which by any definition includes bicycles, as was clearly stated in testimony at the time.

    First bikes in wilderness, then what?-stc-2.jpg

    First bikes in wilderness, then what?-stc-3.jpg

    First bikes in wilderness, then what?-stc-4.jpg

    First bikes in wilderness, then what?-stc-5.jpg
    First bikes in wilderness, then what?-stc-6.jpg


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    Quote Originally Posted by Curveball View Post
    About the only "improvements" that I see on Wilderness trails are bridges over creek/river crossings. If you're thinking that well-maintained and improved means flow trails or similar, then hell no, nobody wants that. A nasty 8" ribbon of rock, roots, and dirt will suffice quite nicely. Just keep it logged out and brushed back to be passable.
    I like the way you speak.👍

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    Quote Originally Posted by HacksawReynolds View Post
    I like the way you speak.👍
    The primitive nature of backcountry trails can't be beat!
    Riding Washington State singletrack since 1986

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    Quote Originally Posted by Curveball View Post
    The primitive nature of backcountry trails can't be beat!
    Totally! It's pretty much all that I build and ride these days. We have dozens of miles of it from my door. No signs, no trail names, no fuss.
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    Quote Originally Posted by _CJ View Post
    I don't know man, maybe you need to work on your reading comprehension or something....."preserves....FOR....recreation" is what it says.
    You're right. Even though I've already abundantly acknowledged above that recreation is an intrinsic part of the purpose of the Act, I'm probably just not "comprehending" the parts about "...may also contain ecological, geological, or other features of scientific, educational, scenic, or historical value."

    I'll try harder to only see it through the lens of my own recreational interests and ignore the other parts.

    Carry on....
    "The only way we can truly control the outcome of a ride is not going on it, which is a choice I'm unwilling to make." -K.B.

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    The trick is to see it as *part* of it. I've seen you make the same statement others have made, including the billion dollar charitable trust who is the biggest funder of wilderness expansion (both in land area and blocking bikes). They say 'it's not for recreation'. But it *is*, clearly and repeatedly.

    And also yes, the continued expansion of 'W' Wilderness and exclusion of bikes to areas which don't have what are nominally 'wilderness' character is a problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    Just the ability to use wheelbarrows and chainsaws for one. MA rider here. Mt bikers in the New England area have become one of the go to resources for land managers and agencies for trail work. Hacksaw you're in New England too?
    2 borders nawth of ya.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mbmtb View Post
    .... I've seen you make the same statement others have made, including the billion dollar charitable trust who is the biggest funder of wilderness expansion (both in land area and blocking bikes). They say 'it's not for recreation'. But it *is*, clearly and repeatedly.

    And also yes, the continued expansion of 'W' Wilderness and exclusion of bikes to areas which don't have what are nominally 'wilderness' character is a problem.
    Are you referring to my comments above? If so, I'm not sure what I've said that reflects this.
    "The only way we can truly control the outcome of a ride is not going on it, which is a choice I'm unwilling to make." -K.B.

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    National Park Service trail crews use chain saws for log out in many parks and they will tell you there would be no open trails without power saw use.

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_Beer View Post
    Chainsaws -- while permitted in Wilderness areas for unique circumstances (but difficult to get permission for) -- are not part of this bill. They were included in last year's now-expired Senate bill.

    I think _CJ is touching on the same thing as me with regard to trail maintenance: clearing deadfall... even by hand saw, as that makes most trails better or everyone, especially the bicyclist. But shoring up a washout and brushing back overgrowth is likely too. I don't envision much "buffing out" the Wilderness trails... just make them passable for more uninterrupted pedaling.

    I think the BCHA will be lobbying for chainsaws more and more as time goes on. A lot of them are done screwing around with crosscut saws in their old age.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodman View Post
    National Park Service trail crews use chain saws for log out in many parks and they will tell you there would be no open trails without power saw use.
    Parks are managed differently than the Wilderness system, though. For example, all trail clearing in the Bob Marshall Wilderness is done with hand saws, mostly cross-cut. That includes both USFS staff and volunteer crews.

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    Sorry I was not clear in my post. NPS trail crews uses chainsaws even in Wilderness areas within the national parks (most backcountry in National Parks is Wilderness). Just pointing out management differences between how NPS manages Wilderness and how the USFS does.

    Quote Originally Posted by evasive View Post
    Parks are managed differently than the Wilderness system, though. For example, all trail clearing in the Bob Marshall Wilderness is done with hand saws, mostly cross-cut. That includes both USFS staff and volunteer crews.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodman View Post
    Sorry I was not clear in my post. NPS trail crews uses chainsaws even in Wilderness areas within the national parks (most backcountry in National Parks is Wilderness). Just pointing out management differences between how NPS manages Wilderness and how the USFS does.
    I suppose it varies regionally. According to the NPS, 53% of their lands are in the Wilderness system, but that’s skewed by the acreage in Alaska. Here in the middle-northern Rockies, there is no Wilderness in Glacier, Grand Teton, or Yellowstone NPs, although the NFS lands directly adjacent are largely Wilderness.

    I have friends who received permission to snowmobile into Wilderness in Alaska for scientific research. They didn’t have a hard time getting it either- the attitude seemed to be “meh, everything up here is wilderness anyway.”

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    Yes, NPS is much more chainsaw friendly than USFS in Wilderness. I'm not sure of BLM or USFW's interpretation though.

    But this is all a tangent. HR1349 doesn't address chainsaws. I think it'll be the horsemen that will ultimately tackle that (and new generation land managers).

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    The muddled thinking in this thread is indicative of why we keep spinning our wheels. Half of you are just scared of change, most have completely unrealistic perceptions of what wilderness is, hardly any realize that some are using Wilderness commercially, and have steadily locked out other users by a variety of means over the years. I realize most of you will never have an opportunity to actually observe Wilderness being used on a daily basis, but if you did you would be appalled that for a few heavy impact users it is business as usual, while the rest of us light users are locked out so it can continue. You are being screwed as you mouth your reverent words about the fantasy of pristine wilderness. The only pristine wilderness is the stuff that is so rough and remote it can't yet be exploited commercially. The more recreational users in Wilderness the more protected it will be, and the more secure. So it's time to wake up... unused Wilderness can be commercialized with the stroke of a pen if necessary. Get as many recreational users out there as possible, maybe it will shine some more light on what is really going on. My take on it...
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    Quote Originally Posted by bsieb View Post
    The muddled thinking in this thread is indicative of why we keep spinning our wheels. Half of you are just scared of change, most have completely unrealistic perceptions of what wilderness is, hardly any realize that some are using Wilderness commercially, and have steadily locked out other users by a variety of means over the years. I realize most of you will never have an opportunity to actually observe Wilderness being used on a daily basis, but if you did you would be appalled that for a few heavy impact users it is business as usual, while the rest of us light users are locked out so it can continue. You are being screwed as you mouth your reverent words about the fantasy of pristine wilderness. The only pristine wilderness is the stuff that is so rough and remote it can't yet be exploited commercially. The more recreational users in Wilderness the more protected it will be, and the more secure. So it's time to wake up... unused Wilderness can be commercialized with the stroke of a pen if necessary. Get as many recreational users out there as possible, maybe it will shine some more light on what is really going on. My take on it...
    I don't see anyone arguing against what you are saying, arguing in favor of being locked out, nor saying that it all needs to be "pristine." Though of all our land management designations, Wilderness does call for land to be left in as much of an "untrammeled" state as possible.

    However, I'm curious if you can give some examples of how 'heavy commercial use' is happening within Wilderness boundaries? I've spent a fair bit of time in and around Wilderness areas, and currently live near some big tracts of "W" and it's not happening where I live. I'm not doubting you, just curious to hear where you see that happening.
    "The only way we can truly control the outcome of a ride is not going on it, which is a choice I'm unwilling to make." -K.B.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bsieb View Post
    The muddled thinking in this thread is indicative of why we keep spinning our wheels. Half of you are just scared of change, most have completely unrealistic perceptions of what wilderness is, hardly any realize that some are using Wilderness commercially, and have steadily locked out other users by a variety of means over the years. I realize most of you will never have an opportunity to actually observe Wilderness being used on a daily basis, but if you did you would be appalled that for a few heavy impact users it is business as usual, while the rest of us light users are locked out so it can continue. You are being screwed as you mouth your reverent words about the fantasy of pristine wilderness. The only pristine wilderness is the stuff that is so rough and remote it can't yet be exploited commercially. The more recreational users in Wilderness the more protected it will be, and the more secure. So it's time to wake up... unused Wilderness can be commercialized with the stroke of a pen if necessary. Get as many recreational users out there as possible, maybe it will shine some more light on what is really going on. My take on it...
    Spot on brother. Nicely stated.

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    The Rocky Mountain Front in Montana is heavily used by commercial horsepacking outfits. The major trails heading into the Front are borderline unwalkable from the horse pugging.

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    Quote Originally Posted by evasive View Post
    The Rocky Mountain Front in Montana is heavily used by commercial horsepacking outfits. The major trails heading into the Front are borderline unwalkable from the horse pugging.
    Thanks - I wasn't thinking of those kinds of commercial examples. For some reason, I had it in my head that he was referring to industrial/extractive/etc activities in Wilderness.

    Anyway yeah, there are definitely some incongruities in what is considered "ok" and what isn't, and that obviously isn't limited to just Wilderness. The 'horse are ok, but bikes aren't is ridiculous from an impact perspective. And just try to wraping your head around the whole "no snow biking in Yellowstone and Grand Teton" BS....
    "The only way we can truly control the outcome of a ride is not going on it, which is a choice I'm unwilling to make." -K.B.

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    Quote Originally Posted by evasive View Post
    The Rocky Mountain Front in Montana is heavily used by commercial horsepacking outfits. The major trails heading into the Front are borderline unwalkable from the horse pugging.
    The Wilderness Act prohibits commercial activities? How do these horse-packing outfitters away with that? And if part of the concern related to bikes is increased conflict, shouldn't the non-commercial users (bikes) receive preferential treatment over the commercial users (horse-packing outfitters)?

    .

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    Quote Originally Posted by _CJ View Post
    The Wilderness Act prohibits commercial activities? How do these horse-packing outfitters away with that? And if part of the concern related to bikes is increased conflict, shouldn't the non-commercial users (bikes) receive preferential treatment over the commercial users (horse-packing outfitters)?

    .
    Good question. I'm not sure. But here's an article in which a Wilderness advocate with 40 years of history working as a commercial guide leading groups into the Front expresses grave concerns about the impact of mountain bikes.

    Bike deal adds heartache, hope to wilderness proposal | State & Regional | missoulian.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smithhammer View Post
    However, I'm curious if you can give some examples of how 'heavy commercial use' is happening within Wilderness boundaries
    What is and isn't Allowed in Wilderness

    Skip the text and head straight to the table listing allowed activities.
    Mountain bikers are generally a rational bunch...until someone moves a rock on our favorite trail and we lose our minds - LMN

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    Quote Originally Posted by evasive View Post
    Good question. I'm not sure. But here's an article in which a Wilderness advocate with 40 years of history working as a commercial guide leading groups into the Front expresses grave concerns about the impact of mountain bikes.

    Bike deal adds heartache, hope to wilderness proposal | State & Regional | missoulian.com
    People such as this will do or say anything to protect their special status, because they believe they have a special right to it. They have their head up their ass so far they think the sky is brown and horseshit smells pretty. Cheats and liars is what they are, and the West is full of them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ray.vermette View Post
    What is and isn't Allowed in Wilderness

    Skip the text and head straight to the table listing allowed activities.
    Thanks!
    "The only way we can truly control the outcome of a ride is not going on it, which is a choice I'm unwilling to make." -K.B.

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    Wilderness: it ain't what you think

    PDF scan of newspaper article from 1985:

    Wilderness: it ain't what you think
    Mountain bikers are generally a rational bunch...until someone moves a rock on our favorite trail and we lose our minds - LMN

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    Quote Originally Posted by evasive View Post
    Good question. I'm not sure.
    I think it slipped in the door because it was sold as a "traditional use."

    Of course, how "traditional" gets defined is interesting....
    "The only way we can truly control the outcome of a ride is not going on it, which is a choice I'm unwilling to make." -K.B.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bsieb View Post
    The muddled thinking in this thread is indicative of why we keep spinning our wheels. Half of you are just scared of change, most have completely unrealistic perceptions of what wilderness is, hardly any realize that some are using Wilderness commercially, and have steadily locked out other users by a variety of means over the years. I realize most of you will never have an opportunity to actually observe Wilderness being used on a daily basis, but if you did you would be appalled that for a few heavy impact users it is business as usual, while the rest of us light users are locked out so it can continue. You are being screwed as you mouth your reverent words about the fantasy of pristine wilderness. The only pristine wilderness is the stuff that is so rough and remote it can't yet be exploited commercially. The more recreational users in Wilderness the more protected it will be, and the more secure. So it's time to wake up... unused Wilderness can be commercialized with the stroke of a pen if necessary. Get as many recreational users out there as possible, maybe it will shine some more light on what is really going on. My take on it...
    Yeah great, get as many recreational users out there as possible and it will soon have much less of a wilderness feel to it.

  81. #81
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    ^Exactly what is a wilderness "feel"? Calling BS...
    I ride with the best dogs... Roxie, Calli, Ocee, Violet, Wiley, Sable, and Jet.




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    Quote Originally Posted by bsieb View Post
    ^Exactly what is a wilderness "feel"? Calling BS...
    Quiet, serene, wild. Primitive tread.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HacksawReynolds View Post
    Quiet, serene, wild. Primitive tread.



    It's not as if thousands of mountain bikers would descend upon the "wilderness", most of us just want some access to limited areas to connect already existing routes (the AZ Trail). Wilderness areas have carved up existing routes making loops impossible, the AZ trail for example has 6 or 7 bike reroutes because of wilderness designations. The trails already exist, we're just not able to legally access them.
    Of all the paths you take in life, make sure that most of them are dirt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by life behind bars View Post
    It's not as if thousands of mountain bikers would descend upon the "wilderness", most of us just want some access to limited areas to connect already existing routes (the AZ Trail). Wilderness areas have carved up existing routes making loops impossible, the AZ trail for example has 6 or 7 bike reroutes because of wilderness designations. The trails already exist, we're just not able to legally access them.
    Thousands may very well descend upon wilderness areas if opened up to MTB. It would be something new and exciting and the cycling "industry" would pounce all over the new phenomenon. Social media craziness. MTB advocacy groups would be licking their lips as would epic adventure endurance race event promoters.

    Careful what you wish for.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HacksawReynolds View Post
    Quiet, serene, wild. Primitive tread.
    Read the scanned HCN from 1985 that ray.vermette posted.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HacksawReynolds View Post
    Thousands may very well descend upon wilderness areas if opened up to MTB. It would be something new and exciting and the cycling "industry" would pounce all over the new phenomenon. Social media craziness. MTB advocacy groups would be licking their lips as would epic adventure endurance race event promoters.

    Careful what you wish for.
    Yeah....OK.
    The last one I rode before it got shut down to bikes, we saw 0 people all day.
    This past year we rode as close as we were allowed to the Boulder white clouds. We came up on many no bike signs.
    Again, all day, not a single person on the trails.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HacksawReynolds View Post
    Quiet, serene, wild. Primitive tread.
    Wilderness will mostly remain like that with or without bicycles. Obscure non-Wilderness trails I seek out have similar character even though they receive some mtb use. Generally, get 3 miles past a trailhead, especially in rugged terrain, and you'll still be lucky to see another human (if it isn't an iconic trail that already requires a permit... e.g., John Muir Trail, etc.).

    Cool upload, Ray V! I look forward to reading it! Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by evasive View Post
    Read the scanned HCN from 1985 that ray.vermette posted.
    Any section in particular? Good gawd words words words.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shark View Post
    Yeah....OK.
    The last one I rode before it got shut down to bikes, we saw 0 people all day.
    This past year we rode as close as we were allowed to the Boulder white clouds. We came up on many no bike signs.
    Again, all day, not a single person on the trails.
    Sounds like Maine. I haven't seen another rider anywhere since August.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HacksawReynolds View Post
    Thousands may very well descend upon wilderness areas if opened up to MTB. It would be something new and exciting and the cycling "industry" would pounce all over the new phenomenon. Social media craziness. MTB advocacy groups would be licking their lips as would epic adventure endurance race event promoters.

    Careful what you wish for.
    Given my experience with special use permits for races on NFS lands, I think there’s zero chance of the last item.

    Quote Originally Posted by HacksawReynolds View Post
    Any section in particular? Good gawd words words words.....
    The descriptions of Wilderness trail condition a at the time. The editorial on page 14, for example.

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    There is plenty National Forest Land, BLM, Recreation Areas including OHV areas that are accessible (ok there are some restrictions) to MTB's and I have yet to see thousands of the Mt Bikers descended on these areas. Why would the suddenly go to these more remote areas? And MT Bikers do n Please try to back the fear factor into real numbers.

    Here are some other facts to ponder
    (from RV's post):
    First bikes in wilderness, then what?-wilderness-areas.png

    And from USGS on Trumps newly opened oil exploration area:
    First bikes in wilderness, then what?-us-oil.jpg

    Are you still really worried about adding a few mountain bike tracks to a WA area? I think there are bigger issues here, but that is just me.

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    There are already sections of wilderness which are overrun with hikers. And a few overrun by horses. It's mentioned in that 1985 HCN scan above about Colorado. I know of other places where it's happened too--the Enchanments in WA state is a famous one, and that's even true now that it has a permit/quota system. Many of tThe busiest hikes in WA state off I-90 go into wilderness, and there's no solitude on them.

    Anyway, in these cases it would make sense to keep them closed to bikes, or at least at peak times (e.g. weekends, summer). But adding bikes also wouldn't change the character from that perspective, as it'd still be crowded!

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    Tommybees- do you really think it is the prohibition of mountain bikes that is keeping Wilderness areas protected from extraction and profit?? And if bikes were allowed the protections would be gone?? That's like blaming your 2nd map on beach cruisers!

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    Empty-Beer,
    I am hack writer, so if I represented my case as the, " prohibition of mountain bikes that is keeping Wilderness areas protected from extraction and profit", I need to correct that as it is not at all what I meant to convey. In fact, quite the opposite of my intended point. I strongly believe that in the big picture, allowing biking back into WA's has a trivial impact relative to all user groups and was uniquely described form of intended recreation during the formation of the WA. I also think that in no way is biking any kind of plausible tipping point or gateway to other "evils". More importantly, I think that there are bigger and more impactful issues that are being missed and that those are the issues I am trying to point out.

    Stepping back it is almost sickening the amount of resources (human, $, articles, hearings, etc.) that has been put into debating, the intent, allowance and reasons for no biking in the wilderness. I am suggesting that all of that energy and effort be transferred into more critically important efforts of intelligently managing WA's. In all cases, managing use/overuse, especially at trail heads, is mandatory for all user types. There are unique requirements for each area and has been missed as a result of the biking discussion and the status quo has remained for all these years.

    Of most concern is the new US administration's shift to increased oil exploration and mining. What I picture in the near future is a "temporary" 12' wide CAT trail into the middle of a meadow, with a "temporarily constructed" exploration well drilling rig that is set up for 10 years. Did you know that they have removed most of the public hearing requirements ( now only 1 hearing at the state capitol for any new area), have blanket opened 1000's of square miles of land and sea shore (except in front of Mara Lago, Fl) and advocate a period of a rapid exploration? How does this get missed by so many in this discussion of allowing the assessment of managing added bikes back onto some wilderness trails?

    Simply put, I argue that allowing biking back into Wilderness Areas as a whole would lead to improved stewardship and oversight for all users types. One could argue that the more remote an area is the more a bike is applicable, but that is getting off topic. In parallel, I argue that all of this debating power get realigned into getting more oversight power against any form of commercial development. In fact I would propose adding language to the Wilderness Act that defines a Wilderness Area as being devoid of any form of commercial profit and development intended for profit.

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    Well said Tommybees, and an important point. The low impact, human powered uses get all the negative attention while the commercial users laugh all the way to the bank. You are being screwed... if you are not observing first-hand, shut up and listen, you might get your eyes opened.
    I ride with the best dogs... Roxie, Calli, Ocee, Violet, Wiley, Sable, and Jet.




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    Quote Originally Posted by Tommybees View Post
    In fact I would propose adding language to the Wilderness Act that defines a Wilderness Area as being devoid of any form of commercial profit and development intended for profit.
    I really like this proposal a lot!
    Riding Washington State singletrack since 1986

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    I prefer my wilderness experience without mountain bikers. I just do.

    That being said, there are a lot of dumb wilderness designations out there.

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    Mountain biking seems to be the only pre-e×isting use that is NOT grandfathered in Wilderness Areas.

    Sent from my SM-P900 using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by raisingarizona View Post
    I prefer my wilderness experience without mountain bikers. I just do.

    That being said, there are a lot of dumb wilderness designations out there.
    How would you feel if the bike trails that you ride were brought under Wilderness designation?
    Riding Washington State singletrack since 1986

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    Here's a specific case of very significant trail access loss if the proposed Wilderness happens.

    https://www.singletracks.com/blog/mt...n-bike-access/

    If the efforts of STC are successful, then our access may be retained in this area and we could fully support the Wilderness effort.

    This is a prime example of why we should support the efforts of the STC.
    Riding Washington State singletrack since 1986

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