Help Needed to keep trails in Montana!!- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Help Needed to keep trails in Montana!!

    There's a public comment period currently open for a proposed Wilderness conversion in Montana. Yeah, it's not Arizona, but it's still prime singletrack on the chopping block.

    Public comment

    Here's a recent ride report from a couple of friends, 406 & Evdog. There's also a couple of sample letters to cut & paste if that's your style.

    Please take a moment....
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  2. #2
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    Letter sent!

  3. #3
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    The most critical point to make is the importance of backcountry access. This document kind of lays the groundwork for the idea that bikes belong on front country trails but not in the backcountry.

  4. #4
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    Here's a screenshot from the thread I saw the info, if you didn't get through all the ride reports:

    Alternate C allows current bike access to remain. The OP doesn't think A or E will happen.
    Help Needed to keep trails in Montana!!-capture.jpg
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  5. #5
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    Thanks for posting John!

    Something to add: some people may be thinking how is a forest and travel plan amendment for Montana relevant to me here in the southwest? It is actually very relevant because the Forest Service, like other agencies and even the courts, tends to follow precedents once set. So if National Forests like Helena Lewis and Clark start disallowing use of bikes in Wilderness Study Areas and backcountry areas (they are considering use on trails designated "primitive" on the recreation opportunity spectrum) then other Forests are more likely to follow suit. So it is very important to get as many people as possible to write in. Montana for some reason has the highest concentration of Wilderness and environmental groups in the US, most of which are funded by out of state money yet are trying to kick bikes and motos off trails locally. You can bet they will be writing in with their "world is ending due to bikes on trails" BS comments. Region 1 which Montana is a part of also produces a lot of USFS Chiefs, so anything we can due to influence and educate people up there will not hurt us in the long run.

    I'll post up my TR here when ready.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for adding that point, Evan!!
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  7. #7
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    Wow, that is a fantastic TR! Not much smoke either. Thanks for sharing and thanks for the advocacy efforts.

    Comment letter sent.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by schillingsworth View Post
    Here's a screenshot from the thread I saw the info, if you didn't get through all the ride reports:

    Alternate C allows current bike access to remain. The OP doesn't think A or E will happen.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Alternative C has a poison pill in it- banning MTB use in the Elkhorns core. This is a fantastic backcountry area featuring Casey Peak, and the trailhead is only a 15 minute drive from Helena. If you support Alt C make sure to specifically oppose that.

    IMO I think itís too easy to get caught up in the alternatives. The final ROD will be a Frankenstein monster of parts of several, so itís better to make specific asks. After all, they state that their decisions to limit MTB use is in response to public feedback.

    I also think that spending a lot of energy focusing on the R1 ďpolicyĒ of managing RWAs as WAs is fighting the last battle rather than the current one. Alternative C proposes maintained MTB access in RWAs (eg Ice Caves loop in Big Snowies). They put it on the table, so just ask for it. In short, getting wrapped up in policy is probably self-defeating.

    But yeah, itís worth paying attention to across the west. For a lot of people, Montana is a quiet backwater. Not for the USFS. R1 is a trendsetter.

    Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  9. #9
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    Good point on asking for specifics. As much as I'd like few people will ever go in and read the documents to get an understanding of what is going on, so it is helpful for people in the know to distill some of the key factors out for easy consumption. Thanks for the post above!

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