View Poll Results: Do you support allowing Mountain Bikes in Wilderness areas?

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91. This poll is closed
  • Yes

    57 62.64%
  • No

    9 9.89%
  • Yes, but at the US Forest Service's discretion.

    25 27.47%
  • Aren't they already allowed?

    0 0%
Results 1 to 42 of 42
  1. #1
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    Wilderness Debate_ We want to know your thoughts.

    There's been a hot little debate going on in the Mountain Bike world and we'd like to think that we have our finger on the pulse of the mountain bike world. So we are testing our theory. The advent of the STC(Sustainable Trails Coalition) has ignited a national debate. They are a new organization that has been fueling this debate with their raising funds as a 501c4 organization to lobby Washington to allow Mtn bikes into Wilderness areas. That is a broad statement as it is not that simple and much more detailed than that. But in the interest of brevity we won't get into the finer details, feel free to read up on it here ---> FIX AMERICA?S TRAIL SYSTEM and If you really want to learn more, head to their facebook page as they have done a great job of framing their argument with the intent of the original legislation and the bureaucracy that took hold in the 1980's. Here's our question, Do you support allowing MTB's in wilderness areas? We don't want this to become a shit slinging fest, we just want to know what people think as we advocate for you and want to know if we're doing it right. Please take the poll below and feel free to comment if you'd like.
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  2. #2
    My other ride is your mom
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    Yes

  3. #3
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    I support the STC and the limited change they are trying to achieve. I'd be all for more Wilderness, however it's at odds with mountain biking. Recreation that I believe goes hand in hand with the intention of the Wilderness Act. I've read that for every letter/email that your representative receives, that opinion/view point represents an additional 250ish constituents. STC makes it easy to find out who that is. I've also been told that a real letter, on paper, mailed with a stamp has more impact than an email. Write Your Congressman ? FIX AMERICA?S TRAIL SYSTEM

  4. #4
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    No... Who's next? ATV's?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phillbo View Post
    No... Who's next? ATV's?
    I agree...

    however, when I do reflect on my opinion... we here in Arizona are very lucky to have tons of remote non wilderness land to play in ... and we wouldn't want to ride most of the AZ wilderness trails anyway...

    so I don't know what my opinion would be if I lived in Maryland...

    But as I sit, I would say no access to mtb bikes in wilderness

  6. #6
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    Yes. I do agree with the approach of having local land managers making exceptions based on conditions or special mitigating circumstances, rather than a blanket policy one way or the other.
    Last edited by SuctionGoat; 02-18-2016 at 06:50 PM.

  7. #7
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    Mountain bikers deserve a seat at the table. Having worked with and spent a lot of time with land managers and other user group representatives, there is a misconception that mountain bikers are anti-wilderness and anti-environment. That couldn't be further from the truth. MTBers (in most cases) relate more to the Sierra Club type than the ATV type. We want to preserve wild lands.

    But this misconception has left mountain bikers at the bottom of the heap, putting everyone else's desires for land use above ours. Of course there needs to be balance and logical decisions about how land is used (as is proposed by STC's legislation), but at the moment we don't even have a voice.

    STC is playing the game that must be played in order to have a seat at the table. Everyone lobbies, IMBA can't (as per their 501c3 designation), but STC is set up to do just that and MTBers deserve an advocate who can actually advocate in a meaningful way.

    YES to STC

  8. #8
    My other ride is your mom
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    Quote Originally Posted by RajunCajun44 View Post
    I agree...

    however, when I do reflect on my opinion... we here in Arizona are very lucky to have tons of remote non wilderness land to play in ... and we wouldn't want to ride most of the AZ wilderness trails anyway...

    so I don't know what my opinion would be if I lived in Maryland...

    But as I sit, I would say no access to mtb bikes in wilderness
    Considering Maryland is one of four states with ZERO wilderness areas, their perspective is VASTLY different than us out west.

    As for riding the trails in wilderness areas....there are a lot I would like to ride (HAB).

    Not that I've EVER ridden in a wilderness area...but there are a few very close to me which ride well....or so says my friends cousin hairdresser.

  9. #9
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    ummm, they allow horses.

    allowing bikes should be a no brainer.

    and ATV's aren't the devil. if we don't respect our motocross brethren, we won't get any respect ourselves.

  10. #10
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    Yes. All for it. Now that doesn't mean I'd be rushing out the door to ride any/all Wilderness trails. As mentioned above, most probably wouldn't be worth taking a bike. However, there are those areas such as the White Clouds in Idaho that had incredible mountain biking trails (I've never been, but know a few people who have and I've checked out the ride reports), but recently that area was designated Wilderness. So, yeah I'd put that area high on my list to check out if bikes are allowed.

    I think another misconception when talking about bikes being allowed in Wilderness is that I rarely, if ever, hear people wanting to 'add new' trails to Wilderness. Yet, other user groups tend to think that's what the mtb agenda is. I really think we just want the opportunity to ride an existing trail or road that's been well established, not create a fresh system of trails.

    Another issue with bikes being banned is that it's illegal to even possess a bike in Wilderness. So, on AZT passage #4, for example, you can legally ride north from Patagonia for about 15 miles until you come to the 'W' boundary. The trail through the W is actually pretty good, mostly, if not all rideable for the 3 miles it traverses through. So, even if the W trail on passage 4 sucked, I couldn't legally carry my bike through to Gardner Canyon. Instead, bikers are forced to turn around back to Patagonia or as most do, avoid that passage entirely. To me, that's just dumb. Thankfully, the AZT is going to re-route the trail around the W area in the coming months. There are plenty of other similar slivers of W that have established trails to connect adjacent areas.
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  11. #11
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    Will someone please explain how allowing people to bicycle in Wilderness will lead to ATVs, drilling for oil, and murdering unborn children?

  12. #12
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    The double standard is what I don't like. I don't have a big problem with setting aside wilderness and leaving it to foot-traffic only. What I have a problem with is leaving it open to equestrians, who create erosion on the scale of motorcycles and ATVs, besides dumping big piles of "didn't leave it like I found it" on the way.

    Quite a few of the wilderness areas wouldn't be well suited to bikes, because the trails aren't well suited to bikes. I'm not all for going in and building a bunch of trail in wilderness.

    As we move forward, I think there will be an ever greater push to get rid of wilderness and replace it with wal-marts, zip-lines, cell-towers, and the like. I think there should be a good push to keep wilderness areas wild and significantly limit the access to them. Making it foot-traffic only seems to do that in many places. I'm not opposed to having it foot traffic AND bike, but I know in some places that just won't be possible without a lot of trailbuilding and in others it would lead to trail conflicts due to high volumes of existing traffic.

    I'd rather there be a push to put more trails on legitimate non-wilderness land. IMO, there is plenty of this and it could be done without impacting the wilderness areas.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  13. #13
    The .05 percent
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    If you think "green" organization s such as the Sierra club will ever give up wilderness to Mt bikes you are kidding yourself. They are a very well organized group with deep pockets and lots of influence. Can't even get trails on Mt Elden without having them interfere. Would be cool, but will never happen. Prob more likely to lose places to ride than gain the crown jewels of the forest.

  14. #14
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    I'm more concerned about banning horses in wilderness.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by sinatorj View Post
    If you think "green" organization s such as the Sierra club will ever give up wilderness to Mt bikes you are kidding yourself. They are a very well organized group with deep pockets and lots of influence. Can't even get trails on Mt Elden without having them interfere. Would be cool, but will never happen. Prob more likely to lose places to ride than gain the crown jewels of the forest.
    This is a great point. We think that there needs to be some consideration to the tactics that are employed by bike groups like IMBA and STC. To that point, no other user group is saying, "sure! Let's have a discussion about this and see if we can meet in the middle". So then the question becomes, why should we? Being conciliatory hasn't worked in getting us what we want so why not try "their' approach.
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  16. #16
    Log off and go ride!
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    I am in favor of banning the sierra club.
    So many trails... so little time...

  17. #17
    The .05 percent
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    Gambling man I see. Prob more likely to piss off some hikers than to get busted by law enforcement, but if you do get caught I would not try to throw hands with the LEO.

  18. #18
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    Oh no. It could not be contained in one thread.

  19. #19
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    I like the STC approach. I don't think bikes should be allowed on all trails in Wilderness, but there are plenty of places where it makes total sense and would have limited impact on wilderness characteristics or other users.

    Freeskier's example is a good one. We have a similar stretch of trail through Wilderness near San Diego. This trail sees almost no use because it does not lead to a desirable destination or offer a useful connection for hikers. Bike traffic would also be limited due to short trail length and lack of other trails nearby. But it would be a game-changer for bikepacking.

    I wouldn't have as much issue with the bike ban if the Wilderness system were not expanding. But new Wilderness is constantly being proposed somewhere. On top of that, the 2012 Planning Rule the Forest Service recently started using dictates that every National Forest will do an inventory of lands that have Wilderness characteristics and consider adding those areas as recommended wilderness. That means we will have to fight all over again with every management plan amendment. We don't automatically lose access with recommended wilderness but it limits new trails and tilts things out of our favor for sure.

    We have very few pristine high elevation / alpine areas available to ride in the US. I keep hearing about new ones being proposed for Wilderness which would make some iconic rides off limits to bikes: Monarch Crest, Wasatch Crest, Lions Head near W Yellowstone (Mile Creek to Sheep Creek / Targhee). For those who answered "no" please try to convince me why it is ok to ride those trails now, but would no longer be ok if they become Wilderness.

  20. #20
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    Thanks for the great discussion everyone!
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  21. #21
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    I just find it so ironic that a mule team can carry a 20' x 30' wall tents and wood stoves into a wilderness but a you can't ride a 25 lb. bike in a wilderness area. If you read the original discussions involving "Wilderness" it was all about getting people out and "exercising". Bikes (mtb) were not part of the picture at this time but the Sierra Club quickly took care of this when they came onto the scene. I find the recent closures in Montana and Idaho due to "Wilderness" labels to be not only sad but scary because this kind of legislation could happen anywhere.....

  22. #22
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    bicycles should be allowed any place horses (who do as much damage as motorcycles) are allowed.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by TORCA View Post
    This is a great point. We think that there needs to be some consideration to the tactics that are employed by bike groups like IMBA and STC. To that point, no other user group is saying, "sure! Let's have a discussion about this and see if we can meet in the middle". So then the question becomes, why should we? Being conciliatory hasn't worked in getting us what we want so why not try "their' approach.
    If IMBA and/or STC were to broaden the discussion from being exclusively about bikes to the larger implications of the wilderness bill's interpretation they might actually pick up some allies along the way. The interpretation of the bill makes stewardship of those places more difficult by preventing prescribed fire, limiting how wildfires are treated (no saw crews), complicating invasive species treatment, and in the southern border areas it limits their ability to clean up after immigration related camps and trash.

    I don't know if expanding the discussion would dilute their bike message but it could be an interesting approach for one of the two groups to explore.

  24. #24
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    Anything human-powered should be fine. And that doesn't pave the way for ATVs.

    Kick the equestrians for post-holing the trails and sh!tting all over them.
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phillbo View Post
    No... Who's next? ATV's?
    OK if you are going to use the slippery slope argument, why not just restrict current MTB trail access because you know... we don't want ATV's in County and City parks.

  26. #26
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    I don't support bikes in wilderness areas carte blanche. I think that freely opening up those areas to users will do more harm than good, honestly.

    What I *DO* want to see is support to open trails to MTB that are currently cross-cutting, wilderness areas. Two that come immediately to mind are sections of AZT (as mentioned above), and the trails that Border/network in and out of Sedona's Munds wilderness area.
    I'm certain there are more, but those are two examples off the top of my head.

    I don't see any reason to allow bikes to pedal off into the backcountry un-checked, but I'd also like to see Horses severely restricted too. My personal bias. I know. not fair.

    I'll vote to, rather than increase access, re-designate a few special cases for improved usage without breaking the law.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by ARandomBiker View Post
    I don't support bikes in wilderness areas carte blanche. I think that freely opening up those areas to users will do more harm than good, honestly.

    What I *DO* want to see is support to open trails to MTB that are currently cross-cutting, wilderness areas. Two that come immediately to mind are sections of AZT (as mentioned above), and the trails that Border/network in and out of Sedona's Munds wilderness area.
    I'm certain there are more, but those are two examples off the top of my head.

    I don't see any reason to allow bikes to pedal off into the backcountry un-checked, but I'd also like to see Horses severely restricted too. My personal bias. I know. not fair.

    I'll vote to, rather than increase access, re-designate a few special cases for improved usage without breaking the law.
    You clearly haven't read up on what the Sustainable Trails Coalition is trying to achieve. They are advocating for exactly what you want. I'm with you, there's a lot of great trails here in Tucson that would be a blast to ride, except for the big "W" designation. As you mentioned, just not AZ, but other states that have small parts of trail that allow riding to the Wilderness boundary. Who wants to ride that? These little ribbons to nowhere are counted as mountain bike "accessible".

    All the while IMBA has stated explicitly that they don't back what STC is trying to achieve. While IMBA apparently can't lobby directly due to their non-profit status for this small provision to the Wilderness Act directly, it can't even support an organization that is trying to do just that. If you go to STC's website they have documents that prove bicycles were specifically listed as the very type of activity that was to be allowed in Wilderness. Check out IMBA's FB page. They have been heavily campaigning in the last couple days on how much "good" they've been doing. However, just today The Wilderness Society used IMBA's own press release to make it seem like there is a coalition of sorts between IMBA and TWS. http://wilderness.org/sites/default/...el%20Act_0.pdf

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeepVI View Post
    You clearly haven't read up on what the Sustainable Trails Coalition is trying to achieve. They are advocating for exactly what you want.
    I have read up on this. But the poll asked if I thought Wilderness areas should be opened to bikes.

    They wanted my thoughts on the matter, and "I agree with the STC" doesn't elaborate much.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by ARandomBiker View Post
    I have read up on this. But the poll asked if I thought Wilderness areas should be opened to bikes.

    They wanted my thoughts on the matter, and "I agree with the STC" doesn't elaborate much.
    Ha! Fair enough. You know how it can be though, people make off the cuff comments without really being fully aware of the full story.

  30. #30
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    Yes absolutely. We are non motorized. Atvs are motorized simple as that

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  31. #31
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    Unfortunately, eBikes make the motorized/non-motorized waters muddy.
    Though it's been almost beaten to death as a debate in general (ebikes) it's still very relevant to the Wilderness discussion. How far "upstream" do you chase this?
    Right now in broad terms, "only things with feet" can use wilderness areas...so we allow bikes, what about low-power electric "assist" that only help when you pedal?
    what about if it has pedals, but can propel even if coasting? Some of those 'homemade' setups put out some big watts, they're practically electric mopeds.

    It's gonna be a delicate balance, for sure. I suspet that some people will get their feelings hurt no matter the outcome.

  32. #32
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    Isnt it pretty simple? Human powered only? On the other hand it would give access to those who are not normally able to reach these places due to lack of fitness or disability. But, it would more likely get abused for anyone with an Ebike. How bout human powered only with an exception of a disability permit?

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  33. #33
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    Are wheelchairs allowed in wilderness areas? Are powered wheelchairs allowed in wilderness areas?

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slippin jimmy View Post
    E bikes are pretty sick a d would be a great way to explore long distances or bike packing




    So would a KTM. So where do you draw the line? Motors, would be my line of demarcation.
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  35. #35
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    New laws in Cali have defined an Ebike that can be pedaled normally and that the assist will not propel the bike over 20mph is allowed the same access and is considered the same as a regular bike. This will probably be the standard, I actually would go for making the limit 15mph.


    And KTM makes bicycles (since the 60s) and Ebikes, not just motorcycles.
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  36. #36
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    I support the STC ideas. In fact, I should probably be throwing them some coin. There are obviously some wilderness trails that should be off limits. I think of really popular hiking trails like Peralta. However, a lot of the Sup's could easily support bikes. Sedona should be a case study in why some wilderness should be open as lines feel so arbitrary from the MTB perspective. While I generally support IMBA, they have accepted the dogmatic vision that wilderness equals no bikes for political convenience. It's nice to see the STC bringing a more realistic prospective.

    My personal opinion for implementation is that all current wilderness should be default non-bike with petition system setup to allow bikes on a case by case basis. Future wilderness areas should be default bike allowed with a case by case ban on bikes with a mandatory comment period.

    While I don't hate moto/ATV I do not believe they are compatible with a "wilderness experience" and can dramatically change the character of a trail rapidly. As such, I would not want to introduce them into a wilderness area.

    I like the simple "human powered" criteria. If that means e-bikes are more limited than other mountain bikes, than so be it. It is a worthy sacrifice.

  37. #37
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    I voted Yes. This is a completely non-political view of things. I don't see any reason why we should NOT be able to bike in wilderness. I don't mind closing specific trails for hiker only based on specific needs/requirements/volume etc. At the same time most wilderness is pretty empty and unused. Bikes won't interfere with hikers if there are no hikers. That said I am not really for creating new mtn trails in wilderness. If there is trail and you can ride bike on it so be it. But changing the trail to accomodate mtn bikes is not right either. I don't mind turning around because it turns to chit on a bike, but turning around due to a sign in stupid in my mind.

    Now I don't have any ideas on how to do go about lobbying for that and who's approach is best. This is just a "why the heck should we restrict non-motorized transport". Now motorized is different. You have noise, extra speed, and additional trail wear due more power put down by heavier equipment. Wilderness should be about a "remote backcountry" experience. You can do that on a 2 feet or two wheels and pedals. Or just 1 wheel and pedals for all I care.
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  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by ARandomBiker View Post
    Unfortunately, eBikes make the motorized/non-motorized waters muddy.
    I don't see that really. Does it have a motor? Yes or No? eBikes have electric motors and therefore are motorized. Pretty simple really.
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  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    I don't see that really. Does it have a motor? Yes or No? eBikes have electric motors and therefore are motorized. Pretty simple really.
    Totally Joe, What part of no motorized vehicle allowed do people don't get?

    Electric MOTOR in a bike makes it a MOTORized vehicle or MOTORcycle

    Quite simple really.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    I don't see that really. Does it have a motor? Yes or No? eBikes have electric motors and therefore are motorized. Pretty simple really.
    Kinda late, I've been off doing other things, but unfortunately I don't see it as simple as we'd like to to be.
    You and I agree, but I've met more than one person that says "it has pedals, it's a bicycle".
    Shrug.
    Electric assist can mean anything from the tiny seatpost assist motor that was found at the U23 CX worlds, all the way up to the giant battery pack monstrosities that pollute YouTube bragging about "putting out more watts than a TdF Rider"

    Sorry, this is divergent from the OP intent. I'll let it go.

  41. #41
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    As a reply to the person referencing the "well organized" sierra club, you are correct. What you missed is that the MTB industry has grown to a formidable economic size in the past few years. Note worthy are the explosion of bike parks (here in AZ and worldwide); the dollar amount and frequency of acquisitions (SC @ $400M+; Bell @$00M+); the avg income of today's mountain biker (and willingness to donate) are growing substantially. Stay positive, I say in 10 years we will be banning hikers from mountain bike specific trails.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by btablak View Post
    Stay positive, I say in 10 years we will be banning hikers from mountain bike specific trails.
    And I'm positive that right after that they will start ticketing people for walking out after they get a flat tire.

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