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Thread: Please Help!!!

  1. #1
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    Please Help!!!

    WV Wilderness Bill Takes Bicycle Advocates by Surprise

    January 24, 2008

    The West Virginia Wilderness Bill that is slated to be introduced to both houses of the U.S. Congress next week was written without the knowledge or cooperation of the West Virginia Mountain Bike Association (WVMBA) or the International Mountain Bicycle Association (IMBA). The Senate and the House versions have both been written with identical language to put them on the fast track to passage by Congress.

    If this bill passes it would close down over 50 miles of high quality backcountry trails to bicycles in the Monongahela National Forest and end special events like the Highland Sky 40 mile running race and the Odyssey Adrenaline Fix adventure race. All of these activities are important to tourism based economies in West Virginia counties like Tucker, Randolph and Pocahontas.

    “All of the offices of the West Virginia Congressional delegation, both Senators and the three House members, had assured WVMBA and IMBA representatives that we would be ‘at the table’ when the specifics of boundaries and designations were negotiated and this did not happen”, said WVMBA vice-president Matt Marcus.

    “The Ridge and Valley Wilderness Act in Virginia was worked out in advance by mountain bike and Wilderness advocates and now enjoys a broad base of support by a variety of users. We have been using this as a model of what can happen when we have talked to the WV delegation but they apparently haven’t heard that message yet.”

    WVMBA and IMBA did not receive the Wilderness maps until January 11th, 2008 while Wilderness advocates had knowledge of the designated areas as early as October or November, 2007. Bicycle advocates found out about the Wilderness Bill from a Charleston Gazette article dated January 20, 2008.

    “We have visited all of the WV members of Congress every year for the last five years and have been willing to come to the table with Wilderness advocates to compromise but the WV Wilderness Coalition formulated their position in February, 2004 and have not been willing to compromise one word since they introduced it,” said Marcus.

    “The WV Wilderness Coalition has used deliberately misleading information and spin to convey the message that they have reached a compromise with the mountain bike community, but all we ever got was an ultimatum. People who are concerned about bicycling or special events in Dolly Sods North, Roaring Plains West and the Cranberry Expansion need to contact the WV members of Congress immediately and ask for WVMBA and IMBA to be included and changes to be made. Thanks for your support!”


    This still has to pass both the House and the Senate. Please take the time to write your representatives telling them that you are opposed to this bill in it's current form. If it can happen to us - it can happen to you!
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  2. #2
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    That sux......did the horsee folks get there fair share of rights?
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  3. #3
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    ugh. It, H.R. 1011, actually got passed by the House already on 10/23/2007. As it currently stands that bill currently sits in the Senate in the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. S. 570, identical to H.R. 1011, sits currently in the Senate ans is sponsored by Sen. John Warner [R-VA].

    See:

    http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h110-1011
    http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s110-570

    Contact your local SENATOR (since they will be voting on it) and clearly state that all affected parties were not contacted during the development of this legislation, and that the legislation threatens tourism based economies in Tucker, Randolph and Pocahontas counties which depend on activies banned by this legislation.

    If y'all are lucky, the legislation will die in committee like it did last in the 109th congressional session. I hope that helps.

    Al
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  4. #4
    featherweight clydesdale
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    Emails sent. Hope this works out.

  5. #5
    featherweight clydesdale
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    Quote Originally Posted by Visicypher
    ugh. It, H.R. 1011, actually got passed by the House already on 10/23/2007. As it currently stands that bill currently sits in the Senate in the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. S. 570, identical to H.R. 1011, sits currently in the Senate ans is sponsored by Sen. John Warner [R-VA].

    See:

    http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h110-1011
    http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s110-570

    Contact your local SENATOR (since they will be voting on it) and clearly state that all affected parties were not contacted during the development of this legislation, and that the legislation threatens tourism based economies in Tucker, Randolph and Pocahontas counties which depend on activies banned by this legislation.

    If y'all are lucky, the legislation will die in committee like it did last in the 109th congressional session. I hope that helps.

    Al
    HR 1011 is the Virginia Ridge and Valley Act, not the WEST Virginia Bill.

  6. #6
    Sheepherder/Cat Herder Moderator
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    sorry, I started focusing on the Ridge and Valley Act. I got a little worked up when I saw wilderness and closure.
    ...building wherever they'll let me...

  7. #7
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    We're getting the word out in WV.

    As you know it takes a majority in both the House and the Senate to get a bill before the President. Even if "those who represent West Virginia" continue to support the bill in it's current form; representatives of other states can stop it.

    Look at it this way - if we raise enough of a stink nation-wide on this; think of the influence we can have in the future.

    What many don't realize is groups like The Sierra Club, The Wilderness Society and Campaign for America's Wilderness are nationally based organizations that set up groups like The West Virginia Wilderness Coalition and whose salaried employees neither live nor pay taxes in my state (probably not yours either) yet want to control how we use our land.

    Chances are; they either have done, are doing or are planning on doing the same thing in your state as well.

    ...nothing against horseback riders but our hands are full enough just representing our own interests. The same thing may be happening in the New River Gorge in the near future.

    FYI - horseback riding is usually allowed in wilderness designations.

    I think we can all agree that mountain bikes have much less of an environmental impact than horses.
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  8. #8
    Sheepherder/Cat Herder Moderator
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    So I need more info...

    the proposed legislation doesn't follow the recommended alternative in the FEIS for the Monongahela NF???

    Sorry, I just want to know more, and be more informed.
    ...building wherever they'll let me...

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Visicypher
    So I need more info...

    the proposed legislation doesn't follow the recommended alternative in the FEIS for the Monongahela NF???

    Sorry, I just want to know more, and be more informed.
    The Eco groups don't feel the recommendations are worth the paper they're written on. Mainly because the recommendations are at odds with what they are trying to accomplish. Go to http://www.wildernesswatch.org/libra...tion/fire.html for the Wilderness Watch stance on wildfires.

    If you google West Virginia Wilderness Bill or WV Wilderness Bill, you'll get plenty of results from both sides of the table. Unfortunately, they are for the most part, one sided. Several offer arguments for their stance.

    Another excellent search is "Wilderness Designation," which will give you an idea as to what the term means in relationship to the National Park System. Each Wilderness Designation can be customized as far as what will and won't be allowed within the confines of the definition. Regardless - bikes are considered mechanical vehicles and are not legal nor are they allowed in a Designated Wilderness Area.

    I commend you on your desire to make an informed decision.
    Last edited by guitargonaut; 01-25-2008 at 08:27 AM.
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  10. #10
    Sheepherder/Cat Herder Moderator
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    Blech

    Quote Originally Posted by guitargonaut
    The Eco groups don't feel the recommendations are worth the paper they're written on. Mainly because the recommendations are at odds with what they are trying to accomplish.
    Thanks for the encouragement about trying to be informed. As a FYI, I read the record of decision on the FEIS. It didn't seem that bad. (Please, please, please correct me if I am wrong.) The recommended alternative allowed semi-primitivie non-motorized access, but I couldn't tell if it restricted/banned recreational access to existing trails. It looked like the WV MTBers had worked with the BLM on that document, and I would think it unfortunate if that proposed bill did not use the FEIS (if it is a good one for MTBers).

    So tell me, was the FEIS detrimental to MTBs?
    ...building wherever they'll let me...

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Visicypher
    So tell me, was the FEIS detrimental to MTBs?
    It was supportive in that it recognized mountain biking as a growing, low impact recreation. That being said - several areas recommended for the wilderness designation have existing trails in them - trails used for biking.

    Once an area becomes designated wilderness - bikes are not allowed. The legal definition of a Wilderness Area makes no allowance for anything considered mechanical. Bikes are considered mechanical devices and to change that would literally take an act of Congress (and the Senate, and the President...) We're not asking for no Wilderness Designation, we're just asking that boundries be moved to allow us to continue to enjoy that part of the park.
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  12. #12
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    Sounds like the wilderness groups and representatives in Idaho. They feel more than willing to spout off about how there wilderness bill is this great compromise and how they have local support. Except the wilderness groups were not willing to compromise at all, so they just stopped inviting the parties that did not agree with them.

    Plus the representatives felt it was acceptable to spend my tax dollars to lobby for a cause I did not support after a poll was done showing 73% of local people did not support the wilderness bill.

    I think enviromental groups and some politicans get along great since they are both slime balls...
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  13. #13
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    It is good that they did recognize us...bad 'cause we do lose trails.

    I am very familiar with the line in the 1964 act that roles bikes in. Ugh! What a pain that has been for all of us.
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    Double $tandard

    Quote Originally Posted by Visicypher
    It is good that they did recognize us...bad 'cause we do lose trails.

    I am very familiar with the line in the 1964 act that roles bikes in. Ugh! What a pain that has been for all of us.
    $trange..... They will grandfather a lumber companie$ logging road$ through wilderne$$ land becau$e they were in u$e before de$ignation, but they won't grandfather in trails, bikes have been using before wilderness designation.

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