More wilderness designations for the Wasach?
Mctweek, an MTBR member, posted this on another page. But since I don't know how many of you visit the "Trails and Advocacy" page I felt it worthwhile to make a posting here.
There is a proposal to add nearly 30,000 more acres of the Wasatch mountains east of Salt lake city, to the Wilderness areas designations that already exist there.
Read more at www.saveourcanyons.org
If you look at the mapped proposal you'll see Desolation and Dog lakes as well as Mill D tr. are within the new proposals domain.
Last edited by Shelbak73; 04-13-2008 at 12:39 PM.
I agree with some of the SOC party line, but I will fight this when it conflicts with established multi-use trails. Does anybody know who to contact to voice an opinion? Is it the Forest Service that currently manages these areas?
Originally Posted by Shelbak73
SOC is national...
SOC is well organized. I am from Salt Lake but now live in the Bay Area. I have seen SOC propaganda out here at least three times that I can recall. I even saw a Heli Free Wasatch bumper sticker once. They have good intentions but they are way, way over the top IMHO. Said the mountain biker AND backcountry skier...
Just write your govenor, congressman, and senator and tell them you oppose the wilderness designation.
Live to ride!
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You don't like what SOC is doing? Send them a note here:
That's what I did. I wonder why they are so careful about not posting an email address? Only way to contact them is through forms on their site. Here is what I wrote:
I'm not a fan of their bike policies for sure. I am for most of their other policies though (heli-free wasatch, watershed, resort development, etc...). Makes it tough, I can't support them until they relax their biking stance.
I am not a member of SOC. I have lived in SLC for over 3 years now after moving from Colorado where I spent the first 27 years of my life. I am anxious to learn more about SOC. I do agree with most of what SOC stands for but I am extremely worried that your policies are anti-mountain bike. I would like to know more about SOC's stance on mountain bikes and if closing trails to mountain bikes is a major focus of your organization.
I can not support your other actions that I agree with (heli-free wasatch, watershed, resort expansion, etc....) when I know supporting those could just lead to me losing more trails that I enjoy biking. I am a strong believer that mountain biking when done right on well designed, maintained, and built trails causes no more erosion than hiking. I also see many trails more severely damaged by horses than any damage that could be caused by cyclists. Yet I see no focus of SOC to ban equestrians. The vast majority of the cyclists I ride with are very cautious about trail etiquette and maintenance and go above and beyond to be polite to other trail user groups and help keep the trails in good shape. I know this isn’t always the case with bike riders but in my experience this is the majority of riders.
Please inform me on your stance on these issues. I am anxious to learn more and if I agree with you policies I'd be happy to become a member, donate money and volunteer my time. But if you are anti-mountain bike I am afraid this will not be possible.
Until then - Save us from Save Our Canyons. Soon no one will be allowed in the canyon unless they float in on a non-damaging cloud of smug.
Last edited by Bortis Yelltzen; 04-15-2008 at 09:20 PM.
When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro....
"Soon no one will be allowed in the canyone unless they float in on a non-damaging cloud of smug..."
lol! Thats pretty damn funny...
Chumley for prez!
I wrote a letter too. I think the hardest thing for me is that I don't really know where they stand as far as bikes are concerned. I just asked them for a straight answer. Because mtn. bikers represent such a huge group in the wasatch, and many of us are load and obnoxious, I just don't see this bill passing without our support. I'll write as many letters to senators/congressmen as I have to.
Sad thing is that I agree with a lot of their policies, they just need to learn to negotiate with other interest groups imho.
BY, perhaps I would be a little faster uphill if I had a cloud of smug. What must I eat to produce such a cloud?
Wilderness is anti-bike, so thus- SOC is anti-bike
This is very unfortunate. I have a hard time as viewing this proposal as anything more than bickering among trail users, who do not want to share the trails, thinly veiled as legislation to protect the Wasatch.
The trails in these areas are very well maintained and much of that maintenance comes from mountain bikers. We need to make sure this does legislation does not pass.
Chumley for prez!
from SOC FAQ:
"What is SOC's position on mountain bikes in the Wasatch?
While the use of mountain bikes does create potential user conflicts, there are well-established rules for the right-of-way on Forest Service paths. SOC believes that the presence of mountain bikes does not represent any irreversible change in the character of the canyons or mountains. Local governments and the Forest Service need to manage user conflicts. Using the best preservation tool at hand, SOC is actively working toward the expansion of the boundaries of the wilderness areas in the Wasatch and bikes are not allowed in such areas. Mountain bike enthusiasts, when they review SOC's wilderness proposal, will find that the proposed restrictions on mountain biking are minimal."
I guess this sort of answers my question. Although I am sort of missing the part where increasing wilderness land will have a "minimal" impact on mountain biking in the wasatch.
It's not enough to list the different animals and plants in the Wasatch, juxtaposed with the fact that the population in SLC is growing. Where is the data to show that these plants and animals are being impacted in a negative way? Propaganda groups like SOC love to make blanket statements about how animals are being driven out of habitat because of a human presence.
Am I missing where this is actually demonstrated? Where are the studies, the numbers, the actual impact?
Without permanent protection the populations of these sensitive species are at risk due to habitat destruction and degradation.
I'm with ya.
Originally Posted by mr. welcorn
Wilderness = No mountain bikes. Plain and simple. There's no minimized or reduced access options. It's all or nothing when you speak in terms of wilderness designation.
I'm having trouble pulling PDF's off their website right now. Were you guys able to download them? Could someone email me a copy if you already have it downloaded.
Just in case, maps are here...
Both are somewhat similar. If you have trouble downloading drop a line and i'll email them.
This can't stand. Anyone got any ideas of how to counter it?
Here is the response I got back:
I read it as "quit your *****ing, we are just going to make it so you can't ride one of the funnest parts of the Crest trail, you'll still have the rest, and an exit on odd days, but the Crest will be an out and back to mtb'er on even days". What they forget is that as far as I know Mill D is the only way off the crest back into BCC. So new pirate trails will emerge to replace the Mill D exit into BCC from the Crest. Causing further conflicts. They say they are going to build new trails so no mileage is lost. But that will take longer than it takes for people to cut pirate trails.
Thanks you for contacting us regarding mountain biking in the Wasatch.
Rachael passed along your email and I am happy to address some of your
We are not by any means anti-mountain bike group or really anti any user
group, but rather an environmental group. Many of our members are mountain
bikers as are many members of our board and staff. Since our beginning in
1972, we have been dedicated to protecting the wildness and beauty of the
Wasatch mountains, canyons, and foothills. Some of this work has been done
at the county level, some at the city level, and then we also work at the
federal level too. We seek to protect access to public lands while working
toward the long term protection of those lands.
When protecting lands at the federal level, it has been our experience that
the best way to do so is under the Wilderness Act of 1964. This provides the
highest level of land protection that currently exists in the United States.
It is this act that guides the management of Wilderness lands. It has never
been the goal of our organization to close trails to mountain bikes. Last
fall, we carved out nearly 2,000 acres of our wilderness proposal in
response to concerns about popular mountain bike trails from our membership,
board, staff and other community members. We have also, for the past 5 or 6
years, done trail maintenance on many mountain biking trails to help repair
any damage done to the environment.
As our wilderness proposal currently stands, 1.6 miles of the Mill D trail
would be closed to mountain biking. Big Water, Little Water, all of the
Wasatch Crest Trail (or Great Western Trail) and the segment of the
Desolation Trail which connects dog lake and Desolation Lake all lie outside
our current wilderness proposal. Mill D has been the hardest part of our
proposal because it cuts the Mt. Olympus Addition in half, thus leaving a
large portion of the proposal unconnected and under 5,000 acres. We have
tried everything from a trail reroute to cherry stemming but those will
still result in a loss to some of the most unique terrain in the Central
As far as your comments regarding the damage of equestrian use in the
Wasatch I would again say that we don't advocate or align ourselves with any
user group. Equestrian use is permitted under the Wilderness Act of 1964,
however, it is not permitted in the Salt Lake City Watershed. Our Wilderness
Proposal is based on data gathered from Salt Lake City Public Utilities, the
water manager for over 400,000 Salt Lake residents. We are hoping that
between Wilderness designation and the purchasing of private lands within
the canyons we can reduce the amount of pavement and protect our water and
I hope that you can support our work as we are very excited to be working
toward additional Wilderness in the Wasatch. We are committed to relocating
trails that lie within our wilderness proposal so that their will not be a
loss in mileage to mountain bike trails in the Wasatch.
I look forward to speaking with you again.
Thanks again for contacting us,
Save Our Canyons
When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro....
I agree that SOC have clearly missed some key points, though in fairness they probably haven't realized it. I would expect something more from a public interest group who claim to act in the interest of the "long-term good of Salt Lake City whose residents and visitors depend on these mountains as an escape from the hectic city". Simply asking for feedback would have done it.
I actually think Carl's response is quite measured. But at the end of the day, let's not forget one simple thing: is commercial development around the Mill D trailhead really a serious issue? Is there ever really going to be a 7-11 at Beartrap or some Multi-level parking lot plans? No, the only reason to make this a wilderness area is simply to reduce traffic. Bike traffic, to be specific.
The really unfortunate thing is that SOC have completely misjudged the will of the many dedicated bikers out here who will now be obliged to shuttle from Mill Creek to Guardsman's, thus greatly increasing car-miles and vehicle traffic in the canyon, a problem which gets worse every year (and, ironically, which SOC claim to be committed to alleviating but which they appear to have had little or no affect). And don't forget the problems at the Mill Creek end. Additional shuttle traffic, extra demand on an already insufficient parking system and of course increased potential for user conflict due to much heavier bike traffic.
Nice going, SOC. To paraphrase another genius of planning who favors the unilateral approach and has his finger on the pulse of the people "Mission accomplished!" http://forums.mtbr.com/images/smilies/mad2.gif
I will fight this as hard as I can. Once we give them Mill D they will take the Crest. It is just a matter of time. We can not let hateful hikers take our trails.
Agreed. I was pleasanlty surprised at the response as a whole. He put it to me as politely as he could have.
Originally Posted by SingleWhiteCaveman
Originally Posted by SingleWhiteCaveman
I also think it is crazy for SOC to say
"We have tried everything from a trail reroute to cherry stemming but those will
still result in a loss to some of the most unique terrain in the Central Wasatch." Hmmm, maybe we bikers like it because it is unique too.
So in order to work around this SOC says:
"We are committed to relocating trails that lie within our wilderness proposal so that their will not be a loss in mileage to mountain bike trails in the Wasatch"
So I read that as "we are going to close an existing trail to bikes and then cut a new one for bikes" How does closing a single existing trail to some users and then cutting a new trail to all users minimize our impact on the environment? Now there are 2 trails to maintain and cause problems and have user conflicts on. Is the new trail goig to be in a similar area just outside the new Wilderness area? Or is it going to be along the Jordan river near the SLC Fairgrounds next to the homeless corpses?
I don't know. I know they mean well, but they are just a bit over the top in my opinion. I am going to reply and point them to this thread so they can get a feel for what the local bike community thinks and try to correct us all if we are out of line.
When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro....
Studies, numbers? Sheesh................come on man, this SOC thing survives on donations, you think that generates enough $$ to do studies and gather real numbers?
Originally Posted by alizbee
Besides, 76% of all statistics are made up, 14% of all people know that.
When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro....
Now we know we they were so intent on 'maintaining/dumbing down' the Mill-D trail with their 'trails commitee' last year. Figures.
Last edited by AMMAROO; 04-16-2008 at 08:20 AM.
The question I have is "why?"
Usage of the canyons will not decrease. Car traffic will not decrease. And as has been pointed out, it may actually increase because of the enhanced need for a shuttle to ride the Crest and surrounding areas.
Tourists will still drive up to the resorts in the summer, hikers, picnicers, bikers, horsemen... everyone will still head to the canyons the way they always have.
The only user group effected by this proposal is mountain bikers. The Mill D area is already highly protected as a watershed. And highly regulated. Mountain bikers are already have limited access up there. If there are 120 rideable days on those trails, we are limited to 60 of them. 60 days a year, as compared to 365 for a hiker, who can access that trail any time they want.
This seems to me to just be an attempt for another feather in SOC's cap. They want to add to the number of wilderness miles they have pushed for. It's what they do. And if it eliminates premium biking trails along the way, then it's that much better for them.
Wether or not the wilderness area is needed is never even considered. In their minds it is ALWAYS, without question needed. They'd probably designate downtown SLC if they could get it passed.
And designating an area 'wilderness' doesn't actually change the nature of the landscape or actually do anything to 'protect' it. It just outlaws mountain bikes.
Chumley for prez!
guess who got an almost identical response to Bortis? Me.
here it is:
The response I got seems a bit more bland, but equally measured, I think some of the paragraphs might be cut and paste. I can only imagine how many of these he does a day. At least he responded, and for that I give him credit. I agree with pretty much all above. One thing that gets me is that they can make concessions banning horses, but they can't make a concession that allow bikes.
Thanks for contacting us with your concerns regarding mountain biking and
multi-use trails in the Wasatch. Rachael forwarded me this message and I am
happy to address some of your concerns.
As you well may know, Save Our Canyons has always been a champion of
preserving access to the public domains of the Wasatch all while ensuring
the utmost protection of the resources that lie within. Over the course of
the past few years SOC has been a lot of energy on the expansion of
Wilderness throughout the Central Wasatch in order to protect lands from
future development, protect additional acres that make up the Salt Lake City
watershed, and to redraw Wilderness boundaries that are natural rather than
political (where possible) to enhance wildlife migration corridors.
SOC is an environmental group composed of a number of members, who represent
multiple user groups, but all share a common goal of protecting the beauty
and wildness of the Wasatch mountains, canyons, and foothills. Most of us
agree that the best protection available is through Federal Wilderness
Designation using the Wilderness Act of 1964 and we hope that we can get the
rest of the community to see that as well.
Our initial Wilderness Proposal came from the Salt Lake City Department of
Public Utilities which was based on watershed data. At that time, many
trails, popular to mountain biking, would have been closed to that use
because of restrictions under the Wilderness Act of 1964. Since that time
Save Our Canyons has taken steps to ensure that there is not a net loss in
the mileage of mountain biking trails in the Wasatch. Last fall we made
adjustments to our wilderness proposal to exclude popular mountain bike
trails like the Wasatch Crest Trail, Little Water, Big Water, and the
Desolation Trail. This was all due to feedback we received from the mountain
bike community. There is however, still one area that we cannot seem to
remedy which is the 1.6 mile stretch of the Mill D trail. That said, it has
never been the goal of Save Our Canyons to alienate a user group from using
a trail. We recently cut out nearly 2,000 acres of our proposal to allow for
mountain biking on the aforementioned trails. We have also been a huge
supporter of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail and have submitted many comments
in favor of the "mountain bike alternative."
We are currently working to create additional mountain biking trails to
provide loop trails back to Guardsman Pass and elsewhere in the Wasatch. We
sincerely hope that the measures we have taken thus far will help you
support us in this endeavor as we need as many people as possible to get
behind this proposal. I myself as a person who recreates in the Wasatch on a
regular basis (yes, I have left my fair share of paint and blood on the
spine) have been at times conflicted by the restrictiveness of the
Wilderness Act. Thus far in history the Wilderness Act has yet to be undone,
which is why we feel that these lands deserve that protection. As the
population in the Salt Lake Valley continues to rise so will the demand for
places to recreate, clean water, and places to find solitude and be with
I hope to continue this dialog with you and go over maps to see if there are
ways to address your concerns, if we haven't already. I will happily answer
any other question that you have, feel free to call me as well. Maps, with
trails are available on our website www.saveourcanyons.org
in the Wilderness
Save Our Canyons"
The IMBA has some general information about the issue at hand:
"Wilderness often presents a dilemma to the environmentally conscious mountain biker. While most of us applaud the intentions of the Wilderness Act, we also believe that bicycles are an appropriate, muscle-powered activity that belongs in Wilderness alongside hiking and horseback riding.
But why did bicycles ever become embroiled in the Wilderness debate? Note that bicycling is not mentioned in the Wilderness Act. The key provision often debated is in Section 4(b), which prohibits in Wilderness all motorized travel and equipment and allows "no other form of mechanical transport."
What does the term "mechanical transport" mean? In 1965, shortly after the Congressional action, the Forest Service wrote formal regulations to implement the Wilderness Act and defined "mechanical transport" to mean a cart, sled or other wheeled vehicle that is "powered by a non-living power source." As of the year 2005, that definition is still law. However, nineteen years after the passage of the Wilderness Act, during the early days of mountain bicycling, the agency added a regulation that prohibits "Possessing or using a hang glider or bicycle." That 1984 action was one of the first to ban bicycling on public lands and by eliminating riding on approximately 25 million acres, it was also certainly the largest.
Unfortunately, most Americans are not aware that bicycles are banned from Wilderness. This can create the impression that bicycles cause more harm to the environment than do hikers or horses. In fact, science has shown that bicycles generally cause about the same amount of damage as hikers and less damage than horses. IMBA has summarized the findings of this research, available at: imba.com/resources/science/impact_summary.html.
When the topic of bicycles and Wilderness is debated by the conservation community, views are often split. The Spring 2003 edition of Wild Earth, a biodiversity and conservation publication of the Wildlands Project, invited six environmental advocates to weigh in on the issue. You can get a sense for both sides of the argument and those on the fence. (The article is linked from the online version of this toolkit)"
I bet the president himself (an avid biker from what I have heard), doesn't even know that he can't ride a bike on wilderness land, neither do probably half of the senators or congressmen in washington (for some reason I sort of doubt they care). Banning bikes in 1984 was a bad idea and I think it's a bad idea now......Hang gliders on the other hand?
You'd think the biking industry has enough money that they might have lobbyists, well maybe not.
Last edited by mr. welcorn; 04-16-2008 at 01:01 PM.
I carried this discussion to another forum. I think it's important to get the word out. Here's a post I thought brought up some important points. If we fight to block this designation, or even change the boundary, chances of failure are much higher. Protection of this area isn't a bad thing, there just need to be some concessions for bikers, such as the designation of certain areas as National Recreation Areas, National Scenic Areas or National Conservation Areas...for example. I don't completely agree with his assessment of IMBA, but that's beside the point.
Alright, I've officially gone overboard on this issue. I just spent 30 minutes on the phone with a representative from wilderness.org in Durango. He also happens to be the president of the Durango Wheel Club and sits on the board of Trails 2000. The fights down there over portions of the Colorado Trail and the Hermosa Creek Trail are pretty much identical to the proposal up here. They were able to reach consensus to keep those trails open to non-motorized mechanized travel.
The conversation ran the gamut from the the intent of the original WA 1964 to common sense approaches to new land designations. From what I cold gather the WA 1964 is not open for re-interpretation as the forces behind it have uber deep pockets and fro the most part (and I agree) the act is a good one and does far more good than harm.
The approach that worked for them (mtb'rs) was too take the stance that they too want to protect the areas in question, but that it cold be done without eliminating the most widely used trails while conceding the use of more obscure areas. To me that seems to make sense on all levels because, as was pointed out, what would the Wasatch look like if there was no protection?
Mtb'rs need to segregate themselves from the typical motorhead stereotype (IMBA's major downfall) and organize into a far more green consortium along the lines of Trails2000 in order to better work with environmental groups. Being new to this area I am pretty ignorant to what the current state of cycling advocacy is here so enlightenment on that would be appreciated.
on yer left
That'd be my post. I guess I'm here and there now. Just what I needed, another time suck. My wife is gonna kill me, again.
Originally Posted by bagtagley
So....I found this list of advocacy in Utah. Seems there is a need for something more along the lines of Trails2000 here.