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  1. #1
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    We the people ... H.R. 1349 proposes an amendment to the Wilderness Act to allow bicycles in Wilderness

    Do you want to be able to ride the entire Arizona Trail without talking extensive highway detours around wilderness areas that arbitrary prohibit bicycle use? Complete the Around the Peaks route in Flagstaff without taking 10+ miles of dirt roads to bypass a couple miles of existing trail that is within the wilderness boundary? Ride numerous other trails that are open to hikers and equestrian use but not to bikes based on rules written to keep out motorized users long before mountain biking was a sport (circa 1964)?

    Contact your local representative and let them know that you want them to vote YES on H.R. 1349 which will allow local land managers to decide whether to allow bikes on certain trails within the wilderness areas instead of adhering to the nationwide ban that is currently in place.


    The original post from the Sustainable Trails Coalition on FB:

    http://www.facebook.com/SustainableT...78083562300440

    Arizona mountain bikers, we need your help!
    Please take a minute to write Representative Kyrsten Sinema to let her know you support House bill H.R. 1349. You can write her directly at this link https://sinemaforms.house.gov/forms/writeyourrep/ or via Twitter (@RepSinema).
    House bill H.R. 1349 will reverse the blanket ban on mountain bikes in Wilderness. Passage of the bill will allow local forest rangers to determine whether mountain biking is appropriate for each trail.
    Thank you for your support, and please share this with the Arizona mountain biking community.

    Here is my submission, feel free to use it and modify as you wish, but please stick to the facts.

    I am writing you to ask for your support of H.R. 1349. This bill proposes an amendment to the Wilderness Act which will allow local land managers to decide whether to allow bicycles on certain trails within wilderness areas instead of adhering to the nationwide ban that is currently in place. The current legislation that prohibits bicycles in Wilderness areas was written to keep out motorized users long before mountain biking was a sport (circa 1964).

    Happy Trails!

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    Well Done DT!
    This does seem sensible to open the door a crack; without motorizing Wilderness Trails.
    There are so many slippery slopes to beware of.
    What is IMBA's position on this initiative?
    Cheers
    TS

  3. #3
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    Every time I hear about allowing bikes in wilderness areas I take a step back and think of what would really happen (in Arizona) if bikes were allowed in wilderness areas...

    Ill take the Arizona trail as an example.. the two major wilderness areas where the Arizona trail goes through are the Mazatzal and Superstition... I assure you that most of the Arizona trail that was built here was done so with no consideration of bike riding... And add to that the ruggedness of that area, ... I would estimate less than 5% of all mountain bikers would enjoy rides on the AZT in these two wilderness areas... For the vast majority of riders, this would be a hike a bike suffer fest...

    So than that leads me to the fact that whether a law is passed or not doesn't really have much of an impact on most of the wilderness areas in Arizona...

    There may be a small amount of rideable trail that we would all love to take advantage of in Arizona wilderness areas... But no doubt most of it just isn't suited for bikes..

    Therefore, I don't mind if the law passes... it really has no significant impact on Arizona wilderness areas..

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Transition Senior View Post
    Well Done DT!
    This does seem sensible to open the door a crack; without motorizing Wilderness Trails.
    There are so many slippery slopes to beware of.
    What is IMBA's position on this initiative?
    Cheers
    TS
    IMBA has (in the past) taken a stance against allowing mountain bikes in the wilderness, opting instead to work with land managers to re-draw proposed wilderness boundaries to exclude existing riding areas or lobbying against the wilderness designation entirely.

    https://www.imba.com/resources/land-...ss-and-imba#q3


    This position is counterproductive in several ways:

    1.) Shrinks the amount of land protected within proposed wilderness areas.
    2.) Does nothing to allow access to trails that are already within existing wilderness boundaries.
    3.) Gives the impression that mountain bikers are anti-wilderness and by default aligns other conservation groups against the MTB community.


    This stance has cost them the support of many members (and entire regional chapters) and has led to the creation of the Sustainable Trails Coalition who's only aim is to lobby for wilderness access for bikes. IMBA is currently re-considering their case based on STC's success in recruiting members and effectively introducing legislation intended to make mountain biking compatible with existing wilderness areas.

    You can read more about the issue on STC's site, and while it is a one sided view of the case I do agree with them 100%.

    Sustainable Trails Coalition

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by RajunCajun44 View Post
    Every time I hear about allowing bikes in wilderness areas I take a step back and think of what would really happen (in Arizona) if bikes were allowed in wilderness areas...

    Ill take the Arizona trail as an example.. the two major wilderness areas where the Arizona trail goes through are the Mazatzal and Superstition... I assure you that most of the Arizona trail that was built here was done so with no consideration of bike riding... And add to that the ruggedness of that area, ... I would estimate less than 5% of all mountain bikers would enjoy rides on the AZT in these two wilderness areas... For the vast majority of riders, this would be a hike a bike suffer fest...

    So than that leads me to the fact that whether a law is passed or not doesn't really have much of an impact on most of the wilderness areas in Arizona...

    There may be a small amount of rideable trail that we would all love to take advantage of in Arizona wilderness areas... But no doubt most of it just isn't suited for bikes..

    Therefore, I don't mind if the law passes... it really has no significant impact on Arizona wilderness areas..
    Your's is a fair assessment, and it is important to remember that the passage of such a bill does not guarantee MTB access to wilderness but allows the acting land management to make the decision on whether bikes should be allowed within a particular region or on a particular trail, so a section of trail unfit for riding can still prohibit MTB access.

    At the same time I would like to point out that organizations like the ATA are constantly working to improve trail conditions across the state, so that, if MTB access is allowed in a section of wilderness I fully expect these organizations to continue to work to improve trail conditions for MTB use.

  6. #6
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    As far as the number of wilderness areas requiring a bike detour along the Arizona Trail as it makes its way across the state, here is the list:

    1.) Miller Peak Wilderness - AZT Passage #1: Huachuca Mountains
    2.) Mt. Wrightson Wilderness - AZT Passage #4: Temporal Gulch
    3.) East Saguaro Wildeness - AZT Passage #9: Rincon Mountains
    4.) Rincon Mountain Wilderness - AZT Passage #9: Rincon Mountains
    5.) Pusch Ridge Wilderness - AZT Passage #11: Santa Catalina Mountains
    6.) Superstition Wilderness - AZT Passage #19: Superstition Wilderness
    7.) Four Peaks Wilderness - AZT Passage #20: Four Peaks
    8.) Mazatzal Wilderness - AZT Passages #22: Saddle Mountain, #23: Mazatzal Divide, #24: Red Hills, #25: Whiterock Mesa


    I am willing to bet there are a few miles of trail on that list that would be OK to ride as-is, without any additional improvement, not that I would ever ride a bike on such trails or condone other to do such a thing

  7. #7
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    1.) Miller Peak Wilderness - AZT Passage #1: Huachuca Mountains
    2.) Mt. Wrightson Wilderness - AZT Passage #4: Temporal Gulch
    3.) East Saguaro Wildeness - AZT Passage #9: Rincon Mountains
    4.) Rincon Mountain Wilderness - AZT Passage #9: Rincon Mountains
    5.) Pusch Ridge Wilderness - AZT Passage #11: Santa Catalina Mountains
    6.) Superstition Wilderness - AZT Passage #19: Superstition Wilderness
    7.) Four Peaks Wilderness - AZT Passage #20: Four Peaks
    8.) Mazatzal Wilderness - AZT Passages #22: Saddle Mountain, #23: Mazatzal Divide, #24: Red Hills, #25: Whiterock Mesa

    thanks for the list... I honestly don't know exactly how much non hike a bike trails there are in that list... but, I can make a safe bet there isn't much man... wilderness areas in arizona (and most other areas) are usually hard to get to and effin rugged as hell... To add I am NOT in favor of altering or adding trails in a wilderness area to make them more bike friendly ... I say ride them as they are... which likely means a suffer fest..

    If I thought a lot of folks would ride the wilderness trails once they opened up, I would be against the law... but since I think the traffic would be minimal, the law passage doesn't bother me..

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by RajunCajun44 View Post
    I honestly don't know exactly how much non hike a bike trails there are in that list... but, I can make a safe bet there isn't much man... wilderness areas in arizona (and most other areas) are usually hard to get to and effin rugged as hell... To add I am NOT in favor of altering or adding trails in a wilderness area to make them more bike friendly ... I say ride them as they are... which likely means a suffer fest..
    Oh I don't know, the passage #1 section through the Miller Peak Wildeness sure looks like it would be quite rideable, then again John's definition of 'rideable' differs from most..

    My Two Schillingsworth: AZT: Huachuca Mtns


    Quote Originally Posted by RajunCajun44 View Post
    If I thought a lot of folks would ride the wilderness trails once they opened up, I would be against the law... but since I think the traffic would be minimal, the law passage doesn't bother me..
    Fully agree with you there, even on the AZT passages that are fully bike-legal I have had many an all day ride without encountering a single other rider, so I would not be concerned with wilderness areas being suddenly overrun with MTB folk if/when this measure passed.

  9. #9
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    This is likely the most civil, troll-less discussion on this issue on MTBR to date! Congrats

    Please, please, please call and write Rep. Sinema to request her support. She rides bikes (mostly road/tri) and would be the first democrat to sign on, which is critical. Better yet, ask her staff (person who answers phone) to schedule a brief meeting with her when she is in her district, where you and a few of her constituents explain the in's and out's of this legislation and what it means to AZ mt bikers. It's that kind of effort that really makes a difference. Let me know if I can help with any if the above.

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    i like the idea of bike access in wilderness areas. there are plenty of old fire roads and mining tracks that can be ridden on in wilderness areas also, besides the AT.

    while, there will probably be a lot of hike a bike for these trails that have only seen foot traffic for years, i think access is always good.

    plus, it will thin the heard, (more riders, dispersed over more areas, rather than many riders concentrated in smaller areas.)

    on the flip side, S&R will be busy when someone busts their head 20 miles in.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by deerkiller View Post
    i like the idea of bike access in wilderness areas. there are plenty of old fire roads and mining tracks that can be ridden on in wilderness areas also, besides the AT.

    while, there will probably be a lot of hike a bike for these trails that have only seen foot traffic for years, i think access is always good.

    plus, it will thin the heard, (more riders, dispersed over more areas, rather than many riders concentrated in smaller areas.)

    on the flip side, S&R will be busy when someone busts their head 20 miles in.
    I will start off by saying I like your post its all good... but by definition.. and I could be wrong (but I don't think I am)... by definition, wilderness areas do not have any "fire roads" or doubletrack... I always thought the only access to wilderness areas was "trails" ... someone please correct me if am wrong... if there are any fire roads in wilderness areas they are likely closed

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    ^ New fire roads cannot be built in Wilderness, but there are lots of old roads that have been consumed in Wilderness designations. Kinda defeats the "untrammeled by man" concept, but Wilderness advocates are more than happy to include non-pristine land in the Wilderness inventory... but you bring up low/no impact human powered bicycling, and they lose their minds!

    p.s. In several Wilderness areas that are popular with horses and horse outfitters, there are plenty of double, triple and quadruple track due to horses and hikers either walking side by side or avoiding the wet/muddy/poopy trail for a new one. STC just posted some pix on FB about this recently.

  13. #13
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    Some of us that ride around Flag a lot, would love access to some parts of the Kachina Peaks Wilderness. The Weatherford trail for example was an old road...see history excerpt below:
    "The Weatherford has an interesting history, beginning as one man's dream of a toll road to the summit in 1916. The automobile was still somewhat of a novelty at the time, and people were constantly testing the limits of the new "horseless carriage" to see where it could take them. Envisioned as a tourist attraction by local Flagstaff entrepreneur John Weatherford, the road eventually made it to Fremont Saddle, but was ultimately abandoned in 1934 as maintenance costs and lack of revenue forced the San Francisco Mountain Scenic Boulevard Company out of business."

    The great thing about this trail is that being designed for cars, the grade is quite rideable and that being the case, it is quite long compared to the other approaches to the summit. Thus the foot traffic is less than say Humphreys Trail on the Snow Bowl side. It would be awesome to be able to ride to nearly 11,800ft...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Raybum View Post
    Some of us that ride around Flag a lot, would love access to some parts of the Kachina Peaks Wilderness. The Weatherford trail for example was an old road...see history excerpt below:
    "The Weatherford has an interesting history, beginning as one man's dream of a toll road to the summit in 1916. The automobile was still somewhat of a novelty at the time, and people were constantly testing the limits of the new "horseless carriage" to see where it could take them. Envisioned as a tourist attraction by local Flagstaff entrepreneur John Weatherford, the road eventually made it to Fremont Saddle, but was ultimately abandoned in 1934 as maintenance costs and lack of revenue forced the San Francisco Mountain Scenic Boulevard Company out of business."

    The great thing about this trail is that being designed for cars, the grade is quite rideable and that being the case, it is quite long compared to the other approaches to the summit. Thus the foot traffic is less than say Humphreys Trail on the Snow Bowl side. It would be awesome to be able to ride to nearly 11,800ft...
    This. I need an excuse to ride the section of single track in inner basin, think it is called pickup sticks? just need to access bear jaw to make it over to the AZ trail and we are set.
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    Done! Blows me away that IMBA and folks that ride bikes are not all in on this. Oh well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RajunCajun44 View Post
    Every time I hear about allowing bikes in wilderness areas I take a step back and think of what would really happen (in Arizona) if bikes were allowed in wilderness areas...

    Ill take the Arizona trail as an example.. the two major wilderness areas where the Arizona trail goes through are the Mazatzal and Superstition... I assure you that most of the Arizona trail that was built here was done so with no consideration of bike riding... And add to that the ruggedness of that area, ... I would estimate less than 5% of all mountain bikers would enjoy rides on the AZT in these two wilderness areas... For the vast majority of riders, this would be a hike a bike suffer fest...

    So than that leads me to the fact that whether a law is passed or not doesn't really have much of an impact on most of the wilderness areas in Arizona...

    There may be a small amount of rideable trail that we would all love to take advantage of in Arizona wilderness areas... But no doubt most of it just isn't suited for bikes..

    Therefore, I don't mind if the law passes... it really has no significant impact on Arizona wilderness areas..
    Schilling would ride it and let us know. Don't forget about the "wilderness" boundry in Sedona. And waterline road on SF peaks. In the end lack of bike quality trails is a reason to allow bikes in the wilderness. I don't propose that we "fix" those trails, but if there are places where bikes can ride why not. My thinking is that most won't ride the areas so traffic will still be close to zero.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sinatorj View Post
    This. I need an excuse to ride the section of single track in inner basin, think it is called pickup sticks? just need to access bear jaw to make it over to the AZ trail and we are set.
    Pickup Sticks (Inner Basin Trail) is fully legal to ride from the well at the wilderness boundary down to Lockett Meadow.

    http://www.trailforks.com/trails/inn...pickup-sticks/


    Access to Bearjaw would eliminate almost all the fireroad nonsense from the Around the Mountain loop, and doesn't need any work to be fully rideable

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    Quote Originally Posted by SugarHigh View Post
    Done! Blows me away that IMBA and folks that ride bikes are not all in on this. Oh well.
    Remember that IMBA makes money building trails, if they start opening up existing trails to riders where's the revenue going to come from?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsrt taco View Post
    Pickup Sticks (Inner Basin Trail) is fully legal to ride from the well at the wilderness boundary down to Lockett Meadow.

    http://www.trailforks.com/trails/inn...pickup-sticks/

    Access to Bearjaw would eliminate almost all the fireroad nonsense from the Around the Mountain loop, and doesn't need any work to be fully rideable
    Not that I would know of course, but Bearjaw isn't really that much fun. It's an old fall line chunk fest. Wait that is kinda fun and the Basque sheepherder pornographic carvings in the aspens are worth the ticket if caught.

    The FS is well aware that Bear Jaw is frequently poached. A proposed new trail that is being discussed in regional trail planning would connect Lockett Meadow to the AZ trail on the north side of the peaks.

    Good thread. I've donated to the Sustainability Coalition but time to write a letter of support. I'm with others in this thread in that i'd like to see wilderness areas opened to bikes at the land managers discretion. There are places it makes too much sense and others where really when it comes down to it, bikes don't belong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dsrt taco View Post
    Pickup Sticks (Inner Basin Trail) is fully legal to ride from the well at the wilderness boundary down to Lockett Meadow.

    http://www.trailforks.com/trails/inn...pickup-sticks/


    Access to Bearjaw would eliminate almost all the fireroad nonsense from the Around the Mountain loop, and doesn't need any work to be fully rideable
    Yeah forgot about that. Riding bear jaw would be cool. Honestly I have never ridden it, but I have hiked it.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsrt taco View Post
    Remember that IMBA makes money building trails, if they start opening up existing trails to riders where's the revenue going to come from?


    What exactly are your concerns since IMBA's footprint in AZ is almost nil?
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    ... I'm with others in this thread in that i'd like to see wilderness areas opened to bikes at the land managers discretion. There are places it makes too much sense and others where really when it comes down to it, bikes don't belong.


    I agree. One of the things I nearly always prefer is local control. I don't like people thousands of miles away that have no understand of real situation on the ground to make decisions. There are places where bikes should not go and others where it makes perfect sense. Let the local land managers make those decisions and let us petition the land mangers if needed. When that flexibility is reached then we have much better chance of making the RIGHT decisions. Not just blanket ones that don't really work.
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    Quote Originally Posted by life behind bars View Post
    What exactly are your concerns since IMBA's footprint in AZ is almost nil?
    No concern for me, but it does (partially) explain their lack of enthusiasm for opening wilderness access to MTB use.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dsrt taco View Post
    No concern for me, but it does (partially) explain their lack of enthusiasm for opening wilderness access to MTB use.


    Yeah, they made a miscalculation when they decided that this fight wasn't worth their efforts imho.
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    Quote Originally Posted by life behind bars View Post
    What exactly are your concerns since IMBA's footprint in AZ is almost nil?
    And even more so now that Verde Valley Cyclist Coalition voted to rescind their IMBA charter status.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    Not that I would know of course, but Bearjaw isn't really that much fun. It's an old fall line chunk fest. Wait that is kinda fun and the Basque sheepherder pornographic carvings in the aspens are worth the ticket if caught.
    I've heard of the carvings but have never spotted them, guess I'm just.. hiking.. too quickly to pay attention to my surroundings. Whereabouts along the trail are they?


    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    A proposed new trail that is being discussed in regional trail planning would connect Lockett Meadow to the AZ trail on the north side of the peaks.
    Now that is interesting!


    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    I'm with others in this thread in that i'd like to see wilderness areas opened to bikes at the land managers discretion. There are places it makes too much sense and others where really when it comes down to it, bikes don't belong.
    It is still going to be an uphill battle at a local level when/if this ever gets approved, but it's a huge leap in the right direction vs. a total nationwide ban.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dsrt taco View Post
    I've heard of the carvings but have never spotted them, guess I'm just.. hiking.. too quickly to pay attention to my surroundings. Whereabouts along the trail are they?
    About a third of the way down from Waterline. There's a spot where the trail levels off and is the only decent place to camp. Look in the aspen stand on the east side of the trail. There's a few interesting carvings of female anatomy. Must be 60 or 70 years old.

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    Was anyone commenting on this thread able to connect with Rep. Sinema? Any response?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_Beer View Post
    Was anyone commenting on this thread able to connect with Rep. Sinema? Any response?
    I got an email relating to an unrelated piece of legislation that she is sponsoring, so I know they did get my email, but no direct response to regarding support for H.R. 1349.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RajunCajun44 View Post
    Every time I hear about allowing bikes in wilderness areas I take a step back and think of what would really happen (in Arizona) if bikes were allowed in wilderness areas...

    ....

    There may be a small amount of rideable trail that we would all love to take advantage of in Arizona wilderness areas... But no doubt most of it just isn't suited for bikes..
    I wish more people would think rationally like this instead of letting emotion take over the argument.

    My own thoughts are similar... Imagine if 100% of trails immediately opened to bikes. Many would see little or no bike traffic because of remoteness, difficult terrain (massive HAB), or because rides would be too hardcore and committing. Most riders would gravitate to a fairly small number of trails popular due to easy access and rideable trail, or riders would use segments of wilderness trail to link together rides we can't do now. A much smaller number of riders would want to take on the longer backcountry routes and the difficult terrain that comes with it.

    I really don't think bikes in Wilderness would be difficult to manage. Permits and quota systems already exist. Bikers would simply take up a hiker slot. Of a daily quota of 50, say 5 slots could be available for bikes. Hikers tend to want to go to a destination like a peak, a vista or a lake. Most MTBers would follow whatever logical route is most rideable and terrain would keep the majority away from that lake/vista/peak unless they ditch the bike and hike. There are tons of backcountry trails open to bikes now that see almost no traffic because they are hard to access or are too difficult for most riders.

    Trails likely to have issues due to easy access, large population nearby, unsustainable/hazardous or too popular with hikers would be land manager decision on yes/no/restrictions. I'd be near the front of the line to argue against bike access where trails could be easily shuttled as DH rides. I don't think that's the reason we are asking for access. It wouldn't be rocket science to identify routes that would be suitable for bikes, offer challenge and connectivity, and not cause conflict with other users.

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    Since I was thinking about this, here are a few examples where bikes could work...

    Sedona, Margs Draw Tr from Broken Arrow TH to Schnebly Hill Rd would be a perfect connector for bikes. I have a hard time with Wilderness boundaries running right up against urban areas, and considering the houses a few hundred feet away this is a perfect example of a trail that should open to bikes. It has less Wilderness feel than most of the trails in Sedona.

    San Diego. Espinosa trail, 3.5 miles bisecting Pine Creek Wilderness. Westernmost mile is popular access to a small seasonal waterfall. Beyond that the trail continues on, connecting to remote fire roads on the east side. That side sees no traffic except illegal migrants and an occasional local equestrian. It would not be popular with bikes either but would be a key connector for long rides or bikepack routes like Stagecoach400 that currently bypass this area mostly on roads.

    LA, San Gabriels, Burkhart Trail. Connects from high desert up to Hwy 2. Bikes were allowed until Wilderness designation in 2009. Not heavily ridden before. Since then is barely used at all until PCT was temporarily routed onto it. Deteriorating due to lack of use and maintenance. Access to Burkhart and another trail from Mt Waterman would provide continuous singletrack connection across the Gabes rather than 20mi on Hwy 2.

    Trails running just inside Wilderness boundaries. Numerous examples, like sections of Colorado Trail near Twin Lakes. Couldn't they have just drawn the boundary a couple hundred feet higher so the trail was outside it? Ernie Maxwell trail in Idyllwild CA - basically an urban trail that crosses Wilderness boundary just slightly at one end. Bikes were allowed for many years until the USFS realized this "error".

    SoCal mountains (San Jacinto, San Gorgonio). All trails are subject to quotas and permits already, so bikes would not add users if allowed. Most routes would be all or mostly HAB up and probably rideable down. There are 5-6 ways up each peak. I don't see why one suitable route up/down each couldn't be opened to bikes such as Fish Creek Trail up San Gorgonio.

    Sierras backcountry. I know a guy who did a guided MTB tour on the PCT in 1987 after hearing it would be closed to bikes the following year. So it is feasible. Would it be popular? Some routes would be for sure, if opened. Permits would take care of the crowds same as they do with backpackers. I think it realistic that a few longer routes could be opened to bikes. But I also think terrain would really limit what people would try to do back there.

    Sierras front range. There are lots of trails people would climb up to descend down. I can see some trails I've hiked becoming popular, others would not. Some would make sense to open to bikes, some would not. I'd be less inclined to agree these should all be opened, but some would work.

    Think Mt Whitney would be popular? haha. How many bikers HAB up Mt Elbert in CO? Whitney is a much longer/harder climb and much less rideable descent. Above Trail Camp it would be 100% HAB up and mostly HAB down. Beyond Trail Crest you might as well take it apart and carry it. That part almost killed me just to hike it. Below Trail Camp would be a fun ride down without the hikers, but there are too many of them for Whitney to be a viable option for bikes.

  32. #32
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    Thanks for contacting Sinema, dsrt taco. I hope others did too.

    Evdog- I'm am 100% in agreement that the trails themselves dictate how much bike traffic they'll receive, based on the variables you mentioned. The narrative that once allowed, trails will be taken over by bikes is silly... but then some hikers just really aren't happy to see anyone in the backcountry. Great list of real world examples of where bikes could work. I feel like a local district ranger, talking with local trail users could figure this out in a week or two... and if any trail bikes were permitted on got a little too busy, well guess what? Yep, the USFS/BLM has the tools for limiting or completely prohibiting use on that trail. That's how it works.
    Last edited by Empty_Beer; 06-15-2017 at 05:22 PM.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_Beer View Post
    I feel like a local district ranger, talking with local trail users could figure this out in a week or two.... Yep, the USFS/BLM has the tools for limiting or completely prohibiting use on that trail. That's how it works.
    I remember trying to talk my wife and a friend of hers from riding the AZ Trail in it's entirety, way back before it was completed. They wanted to be the first, or among the first to ride it. When they completed the journey, they both agreed that of the 808 miles (I think that's what their computers read) of trail, maybe 200 of it was actual bike trail. The remainder was what most of us see in the wilderness. A primitive hiker trail.

    A few years later, I was contracted to work on a segment of the AZ Trail, south of Mormon Lake. People were mostly riding old FS roads to get through the area. The work we did to create a visible trail, lasted maybe two years. Some was overgrown with vegetation in less than a year.

    My observations are this is a thread that I recall reading several years ago on another forum. It recycles from time to time in various forums. It's a romantic notion to think of riding in places we previously could only hike in. But here is a dose of reality;

    Suggesting that local District Rangers could work anything out in a week or two is delusional. Like Dennis Miller once said about the notion of L.A. cops getting together to create a conspiracy to frame O.J. Simpson, those clowns can't figure out how to clear traffic after a Dodgers game, they are incapable of conspiring to do anything. The Forest Service has tools...and that's how it works? I suggest you speak to Rockman or Raising Arizona about how quickly and effectively the local Ranger District responds to the needs of local trail users. Default position #1, we don't have any money to do that. Next; we don't have the manpower to look into that or manage such a project. Then, there is always a crisis that diverts their attention for 3-5 years just when you've been promised (after waiting 5-10 years) that this is the year they expect to get started on that project. There's more. There are excuses like lawsuits filed by the Southwest Center for Biological Diversity, intended to stop logging or salvage logging, but written in such a way that the FS interprets it to mean that all trail work must be haulted for a few years until the suit is settled.

    Then you have turnover. A person is promoted to District Ranger late in their career, looking for a place to run out the clock, doing as little as possible. Just when you think you have them convinced to move forward on something, they retire and you have to start all over.

    Then there are FS employees who, despite having a job title that requires them to oversee trail construction, maintenance, and restoration, they also have been red card trained and jump at ever opportunity to leave town to go do support work on wildfires, earning extra cash, while abandoning local trail concerns during the peak of the work season.

    I can also attest to FS employees who love the wilderness and even the non-wilderness areas so much that they have created an almost impenetrable wall around it, using the guise of some perceived endangered owl to delay or stop all future projects in a large area that has trails already in it. I worked with a woman at the Peaks Ranger District who told me she would use her job to close areas to users, because in her mind, too many people from Phoenix were coming up to Flagstaff and damaging the natural resources.

    When you can get someone at the FS in Flagstaff to do something as simple as build a new access trail out the back of Buffalo Park, that feeds into the many other trails at the base of Elden, a project that could be completed in one or two days using volunteers, then maybe we can move on to something more substantial for them to take on. You really have to understand that most of us are passionate about what we do, and what we want our land managers to do for us. Yet they see everything we suggest as a way of making them do more work. They don't ride bikes and they don't want to work more hours improving our recreation options.

    Ten years from now, when nothing has happened regarding this seemingly reasonable proposal, maybe looking at a plan B will make more sense. In fact, the next user built trail constructed in Flagstaff should be named; Plan B

  34. #34
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    ^ I hear ya. Loud and clear. I guess I should have clarified that a district ranger who knows the trail system he/she manages could theoretically sit down with a map and fairly quickly make a list of the trails that could work and the trails that won't work. I know I could. I wouldn't expect any trail to open anytime soon if we are victorious due to the reasons you stated above. I guess what matters most to me is that congress ends the blanket ban on bicycling in Wilderness and recommended Wilderness. If and when that happens, then the harder work starts.

    Thank you for all you've done and dealt with for mountain bikers. Working with govt. agencies at any level is pretty frustrating to say the least... but when I read or learn about pro-active, bike friendly district rangers, etc. elsewhere, I know there's hope.

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