The big "W" - what are your thoughts?-
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  1. #1
    mtbr member
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    Feb 2004

    The big "W" - what are your thoughts?

    Back to a topic I have really mixed emotions about “Wilderness. Over on the trail building page, Greg406 posted a link to a great article on “Wilderness Lite.” The article presents some interesting points and thought it might spark some interesting conversation on the I103 page. The comments to the article were almost as entertaining as the article so read on if you have time.

    There were several other articles associated with the link on Wilderness and whether bikes were intended to be excluded in Wilderness.

    More articles

    Let the food fight begin!

    Oh, and Twisted if we could have some more visual entertainment please.

  2. #2
    Reputation: smilycook's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    I guess I will start...

    First off I am a preservationist and have no desire to see vast new networks of roads created and paid for by the forest service, I hate paying taxes too... Additionally I have no desire at all to ride in existing wilderness areas. I can even support wilderness in the right areas, but do not veiw it as a good tool in areas which already have existing mountain bike usage.

    Enviromentalist are stuck on wilderness as the only tool, even thought you could protect the land equally well without banning mountain bikes. Sure mountain bikes don't need to be allowed on every trail, but we do deserve to ride in equally scenic areas. We need to look at real impacts on the land. How much more sediment does one use release into the enviroment as compared to another, no one is perfect. Go for a walk on the trails that are ripped apart in the sawtooth wilderness by horse usage. How many bikes would it take to equal the damage done by one horse train?

    Based on previous horse train encounters (roughtly 10 horses/mules for three people)
    Est Weight: 10000lbs
    Avg mountain biker weight: 220lbs
    Roughtly 45 mountain bikers would apply the same amount of force for one pack train.

    Frankly right now the biggest issue in the west is the ranchetting of millions of acres of old ranch land.

    Live to ride!
    18 Cannondale Jekyll Carbon
    16 Diamond Back DB8

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Dec 2005

    You've raised a cocktail topic

    Whilst muching weinies and sipping martinis, one could ponder their ratio of impact per average pack train. It would make an interesting environmental impact study for some grad student. I'm sure that my own impact ratio on a trail is more than 45 bike trips per pack string. mmmmmmm big deal.

    The big W needs some company for sure. The time was correct for it many years ago. If there was more realization of this from wilderness people, we would have more protected lands by now, instead of fights.

    And I think equally we need to cultivate a friendlier way to ride motorcycles than what exists now, which is mostly mx track brought to the mountains. No wonder they get a bad rap. How about trials tires, a 200 lb. weight limit, and 93 db. exhaust?

    Ranchettes are tragic.

  4. #4
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    Mar 2005

    not a zero sum game

    I think there are enough land management options available that if mtn bikers and wilderness advocates could agree to talk, it certainly appears to me that the conflict areas are such that mitigation can be achieved as part of the discussion without having to resort to wilderness lite at the expense of no Wilderness at all. Doesn't have to be a zero sum game, as the point of a couple of those previous articles points out.

  5. #5
    Sheepherder/Cat Herder Moderator
    Reputation: Visicypher's Avatar
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    Aug 2004
    The Canadians had some good ideas with the corridors through the Chilcotins. I just wish everyone (i.e. mtbrs, horse people, backpackers, etc.) would work TOGETHER towards a mutually agreeable solution. It would take compromise...and dare I mention it...involvement in the maintainence and stewardship of the land...but I think we would all be better for it.

    From the responses on this thread, it seems like people would be willing to work towards this.

    And yes, ranchettes...and urban sprawl...are bad.
    ...building wherever they'll let me...

  6. #6
    mtbr member
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    Dec 2005
    Corridors are the answer to some of Montana's problems. We have proposed several. Many of the managers at the forest and district level are enthusiastic about corridors, but the northern region headquarters people are against corridors. Wilderness groups are against corridors because they percieve them as a weakening of the Wilderness act.

    I call it responsible, sensitive, land planning.

  7. #7
    jalepenio jimenez
    Reputation: mudflap's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004

    Wilderrness: land of no use?

    WILDERNESS. What a satisfying concept.

    It sounds so politically correct to have lots of WILDERNESS. Kind of like chicken soup for the soul.

    But, as much as the concept of wilderness is appealing to the very roots of my soul, I have to say that I very seldom venture into any of the many wilderness areas here in the great state of Idahoe.

    But I would. Rest assured I would, if I could only ride my bike on some of the incredible trail networks that exist in places like, for instance, the Frank Church WA.

    First place I'd hit is Sulphur creek. I've often thought about poaching that trail, but alas, my inner soul just hasn't been able to work itself up to going to that extreme, yet.

    For myself, the wilderness areas hold, as an over abundant resource, incredible trail networks that are just screaming for a little attention by the adventurous mountain biker. Sure they contain many other attributes, all of which I no doubt appreciate, but those trails becken to me much more than the unlogged forests or the untramelled meadows.

    It's the trails that exist in these locked up playgrounds that so spur me. In all honesty, I must admit that it's not the exclusive "wilderness" label that I am drawn to.

    I really couldn't give a hoot about the lands locked-up protection or it's pristine beauty: beauty that's not exclusive to wilderness areas, but rather the same beauty that exists all around me anytime I am out in Idahoes great outback. It doesn't necessarily have to be "wilderness" to have that special something.

    As it is now, alot of us ride trails adjacent to wilderness areas quite frequently.

    We honor the taboo that is placed on these incredible lands with their incredible trail networks and stay the hell out for everyones good.

    We're all good little citizens and wouldn't think of tresspassing on to these sacred grounds with our mechanical monsters and a pack full of jelly doughnuts and warm budweisers. Why, heaven forbid, we'd ruin it for everyone if we were to be allowed into these locked up, gated non-communities that we are to appreciate from afar, but not to tresspass within.

    The trail continues, but we don't. We look in awe across that invisible line that denotes a wilderness boundry, and ponder the nature of existence on the other side.

    But only briefly. We know better than to be held spellbound by it's exclusive designation. It's no different than where we ride now. It's just off limits. To me, that is it's only difference.
    Last edited by mudflap; 10-26-2007 at 03:08 PM.
    White Clouds - Heart of Idaho

  8. #8
    BMX:Our Shining Future
    Reputation: davidarnott's Avatar
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    Feb 2007

    I've Probably Shot Off About This Once Already

    It amazes me that the Federal government EVER bans bicycle use on federal lands Bicycle use solves so many social problems simultaneously such as obesity carbon dioxide production depression overcrowding of streets noise stench etc etc etc Any responsible government would do whatever it could to encourage bicycle use to the greatest extent possible But we don't have a responsible government We have an irresponsible government So our government bans bicycle use on federal lands such as wilderness areas national parks national monuments proposed wilderness study areas federal Interstate highways sidewalks etc etc etc Of course it's not an ELECTED governent anymore so we can't really expect it to be responsible It's a BOUGHT government so we can expect it to provide tax breaks for Hummers and Exxon/Mobile which it in fact does

    While I am ranting here any responsible government would be pouring as much money as possible into electric passenger rail lines as fast as possible before gas hit seven bucks a gallon and left the United States Of America incapable of functioning But no we can't even get the stupid corrupt bastards to fund Amtrack and so when the oil runs out Europe and Asia will be able to move and we won't Thus we will be screwed

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    May 2004

    Some Commentary and Action that I agree with

    Quote Originally Posted by Irishbuddha
    Back to a topic I have really mixed emotions about “Wilderness. Over on the trail building page, Greg406 posted a link to a great article on “Wilderness Lite.” The article presents some interesting points and thought it might spark some interesting conversation on the I103 page. The comments to the article were almost as entertaining as the article so read on if you have time.

    There were several other articles associated with the link on Wilderness and whether bikes were intended to be excluded in Wilderness.

    More articles

    Let the food fight begin!

    Oh, and Twisted if we could have some more visual entertainment please.
    Note: although this is regarding W designation in SoCal forest, it applies in concept and practice to W designation in Idaho, and the rest of the United States in terms consistent with MY beliefs on the matter... both as a mountain biker and with respect to ALL users and into the very far future (when we are gone)


    Editor's note: Candace Oathout is an equestrian concerned about policy
    and legislative actions that would affect our ability to manage (and
    recreate in) our public lands. While equestrians are allowed in
    wilderness areas, the wilderness designation bans "motorized use" including
    mountain biking. Currently California Senator Barbara Boxer is pushing two
    wilderness bills in California that would detrimentally affect mountain
    bike access. The Sierra Club had attempted to declare most of the
    forests in Southern California as wilderness areas, including here in the
    Santa Ana Mountains, but they were defeated by the Warrior's Society and
    other organizations opposed to losing recreational access.

    By Candace D. Oathout
    Warrior's Society National Legislative Representative

    I was recently asked to lend support to efforts to stop legislation
    designating more Wilderness; something I am happy to do.

    Legislation has been introduced to add additional Designated Wilderness
    in five western states. It would designate approximately 8 million
    acres in Montana, over 9 million acres in Idaho, over 3 million acres in
    Wyoming, over a million acres in Oregon and about Âľ of a million acres
    in Washington. It will also establish the Flathead National Preserve
    Study Area which covers 285,000 acres adjacent to Glacier National Park.
    This amounts to more than 21 million more acres of Designated
    Wilderness and is in addition to the 107,436,608 acres that have already been
    designated, which exceeds the state of California in size. It is three
    times larger than the state of Arizona and Virginia. In fact we have more
    Designated Wilderness than the combined areas of the states of
    California, Maryland, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia.

    Surely it is time to place a moratorium on all Wilderness Designations.
    Many of the acres proposed have been reviewed for suitability as
    Designated Wilderness and have failed to meet the criteria outlined in the
    Wilderness Act of 1964 which states; “A wilderness, in contrast with
    those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is
    hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are
    untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.
    An area of wilderness is further defined to mean, in this Act, an area
    of undeveloped Federal land retaining its primeval character and
    influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation, which is
    protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions and which (1)
    generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of
    nature, with the imprint of man's work substantially unnoticeable; (2) has
    outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined
    type of recreation; (3) has at least five thousand acres of land or is
    of sufficient size as to make practicable its preservation and use in an
    unimpaired condition; and (4) may also contain ecological, geological,
    or other features of scientific, educational, scenic, or historical
    value. (emphasis added) so determined wilderness activists are changing
    the rules.

    The U.S. Forest Service in January of 2007 issued FSH 1901.12 which
    overrides the definition of Wilderness as an area of undeveloped Federal
    land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent
    improvements or human habitation, and expand the definition to include
    areas that have heliports, airstrips, cell towers, television/radio
    towers, radio repeaters, associated access roads, power lines, phone lines,
    structures, fence lines, areas with less than 70% federal ownership,
    developed campgrounds and tree plantations all of which do not qualify
    under the definition contained in the Wilderness Act of 1964. All of
    the above conditions will no longer stop efforts to change their status
    to Designated Wilderness.

    The designation of Wilderness is the most restrictive form of land use
    management. The 1964 Act states; “Except as specifically provided for
    in this Act, and subject to existing private rights, there shall be no
    commercial enterprise and no permanent road within any wilderness area
    designated by this Act and, except as necessary to meet minimum
    requirements for the administration of the area for the purpose of this Act
    (including measures required in emergencies involving the health and
    safety of persons within the area), there shall be no temporary road, no
    use of motor vehicles, motorized equipment or motorboats, no landing of
    aircraft, no other form of mechanical transport, and no structure or
    installation within any such area.”

    There is are very serious consequences that inevitably stem from using
    the Forest Service’s new rule to designate Wilderness and then
    changing current land uses to comply with the criteria of Designated
    Wilderness. The de-construction of rural resource dependent industries is or
    should be of utmost concern. Not only does Designated Wilderness preclude
    active forest management, such as, logging to maintain forest health,
    it seriously impacts the ability to protect our watersheds from
    catastrophic wildland fires by active fire fighting. Lack of active forest
    management prevents land managers from treating invasive species and, pest
    and disease infestations or the stress of overcrowded growth that
    contributes to these problems. Removal of existing roads also places limits
    on land managers abilities to preserve wildlife habitat or even to
    survey or study endangered species. Imagine that the only way to stop the
    advance of the vigorous annual grass know as Cheat Grass which is
    extremely flammable is to hike or ride horseback to it’s location and use
    hand tools to remove it before it goes to seed. Keep in mind that this
    grass covers millions of acres and continues to spread each year. It is
    already necessary for land managers in National Forests to require
    field maintenance crews to hike in and have their equipment and supplies
    delivered, by pack mule, by volunteers, such as, the Backcountry
    Horseman of America. Many protests have been logged against even these limited
    efforts as they are considered by wilderness purists to have too much
    impact on Wilderness areas.

    Two thirds of forest land in the western United States is public land
    compared to one sixth of forest land in the eastern U.S. The data show
    that logging in the Rocky Mountain region is one quarter of what it was
    twenty years ago. It is even less in the Pacific Northwest at less than
    one tenth the volume it was twenty years ago. This has led directly to
    increased housing costs here in this country due to the need to import
    wood and increased deforestation in countries that export wood and
    wood products to the U.S. The cessation of logging combined with managing
    forest for “old growth” has led to overcrowded tree stands that are
    stressed by competition and much more susceptible to pest and disease
    infestation. This, in turn, makes them much more susceptible to
    catastrophic wildland fires that cost the agencies more than a billion of
    dollars in fire fighting costs in fiscal year 2006. 9.5 million acres of
    forest have burned last year alone. This amounts to almost 5% of forests
    burned in just one year.

    It is a fact that anyone can propose that an area be considered for
    wilderness designation. It is apparent that extreme wilderness advocates
    are driven by the belief that “untouched wilderness” is some how
    superior to the “works of man”. This belief is so strong that it is
    now being used to designated areas that do not fit the criteria for
    Designated Wilderness. Areas that are clearly inappropriate for this
    Studies have shown that “wilderness designations lead rapidly to
    excessive biomass accumulation that will enhance the likelihood of
    catastrophic wildfires. Surely it is time to look at the results of 43 years of
    designating wilderness and stop the insanity of repeating a failed
    policy hoping for a different outcome.

    Candace D. Oathout

    [email protected]

    Manitou and Shimano are the Major Component Sponsors of the Warrior's

    Cytomax is the Official Fluid Replacement Drink of the Warrior's

    Clif Bar is the Official Energy Bar and Gel of the Warrior's Society

    The Warrior's Society is a Blue Ribbon Coalition (BRC) affiliated

    The Warrior's Society is a Tax Exempt Organization under 501 (c) 4 of
    the IRS Code

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Dec 2005

    good thoughts, guys

    This is a thought circulating in the Bozone lately. "Whenever there is a question, bicycles should be part of the answer". Makes sense to me.

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Dec 2005

    something else is festering in my head

    So many cynical people have told me that they will just poach these new wilderness areas, it has triggered some fresh thoughts. What will happen to the social landscape here if there is too much wilderness? With over 50 new areas (in MT) and closure of over 1,000 miles of trail, it will indeed be too much.

    Will wilderness be cheapened? Will it be poached? Will the outcome be a new subclass of camo-wearing poachers, maybe packing pistols? How will the wilderness act survive the groundswell of wilderness haters created by too much wilderness? Will wilderness organization offices be bombed?

    I'm not advocating any of this, but somewhere along the way to wilderness domination, some invisible boundary may be crossed and p_ss off the wrong crowd. The religeous bent of wilderness lovers could also have it's flip side among others. Both camps have extremes.

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