Wilderness Idaho the real debate- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Wilderness Idaho the real debate

    To start this thread I would like to have logical points on the Yes and NO of bicycles in PROPOSED Wilderness where cycling is currently allowd. The trails in question are now open to Non-motors, Bikes, horses and foot traffic. If proposed Wilderness was applied bicycles would be prohibited. Current lnad designation is National Recreation Area. Wilderness would apply an additional designation to Forest Servie and BLM land.

    The area in question: http://www.house.gov/simpson/pdf/wil...ea_5july06.pdf

    http://www.house.gov/simpson/ciedra.shtml

    Possible issues for discussion:
    Land designations
    Land management
    User access
    Impacts on terrain
    Impacts on wildlife
    Social impacts

    I hope a civil debate can be had regarding a balance between preserving access for future generations and protecting the land from development, over use, extractive industries and/or other issues you feel the land should be protected from.

    On your mark, get set, GO.

  2. #2
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    I'm starting to look at this issue for some E WA areas. I really like the idea of "corridors" - that is, a trail that has been used for mountain biking is kept at that designation, which may create a corridor through a surrounding wilderness designation.

  3. #3
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    Change the mechanized interpretation, or just change it to motorized.

    I'd help you Harley, but I have an appeal to deal with. You might want to research past usage (in terms of mtb) so you can bring up historical use. You might also want to bring up the issue of the mitigation of the loss of current trails and recreational opportunity with the construction of trails elsewhere. Also consider limiting usage to certain times of the year...as part of Ant's Basin (sp) is a bog in the spring and early summer. A fully developed TMP would be nice, but as the people will tell you...it is no fun to develop one.
    ...building wherever they'll let me...

  4. #4
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    I don't have facts or answers- just questions. Why should we be banned only on the basis of a Wilderness designation being PROPOSED? As you know, the process of Wilderness designation can take decades. So now, we would be locked out during that time regardless of how long it took to actually get the designation? We would be banned for years regardless of the outcome. In addition, I don't know of a proposed Wilderness Area that has actually failed or "gone away". Aren't they always at some level of consideration and therefore "proposed"?

  5. #5
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    proposed or recommended means we get the boot.

    Yes. The forest service is getting aggressive with their forest plans. All over Montana we are getting the shaft. Mountain bikers will be excluded from recommended wilderness just because. This directive seems to be coming from the highest level of the region 1 managment. We are doing what we need to do with IMBA's help and guidance to persuade them to change. No luck yet though.
    Investigate your region and find out if the story is the same. We may have to file a pile of lawsuits to get their attention. In Montana, we have met with the regional forester and she doesn't want to accomodate us, or even take us seriously. We are facing about 30 recommended wilderness areas next year.
    When they sh--t on mountain bikers this bad, I feel they aren't presenting a balanced forest plan. They are definitely under pressure from the wilderness movement. Because as a group we aren't vocal enough, they are going to make mountain biking into a legitimate criminal activity in the next couple of years.

  6. #6
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    GregB - the Wilderness Act has stipulations, definitions, and interpretations in it that may not necessarily align with what we as MTBers would like to see happen. I highly recommend that you don't go the lawsuit route as it is lengthy, expensive, and just a real pain in the a$$. Carefully review the environmental assessments and travel management plans for your areas and submit comments of a technical and substantive nature. The powers that be will listen if your comment is something they can address within the confines law. (Geez I sound like an adult.)

    As for our neck of the woods, I know the people I deal with on both sides of the fence are good people, and we are moving forward with really good work. Some really cool things are happening. ON that note, I strongly recommend developing a relationship with your land manager. I wish I could help you do that, but that is really a hard thing to do from Boise. Remember, in the end, you and the land manager constrained by the law, and both of you must adhere to it. (ie brush up on NEPA, the Wilderness Act, and the public comment process for EAs and EISs)

    Let me know if I can help. I can review documents for you if I have time.
    ...building wherever they'll let me...

  7. #7
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    Good advice Visi...
    I say this because all those things are what we are doing. However, neither the F.S. or the wilderness people have reciprocated with any compromise, anywhere. There is a movement going here in Montana that has taken us by surprise. It is not the wilderness proposals, but the banning of bikes from recommended wilderness. On this scale it is unprecedented. The unwillingness of land managers to have discussions about the land uses have pointed us in different directions looking for the cause. Without naming names right now, the problem goes to the top of region 1. Most people have been curteous to us at meetings but their heels are firmly dug in. We can't get to the negotiation stage. If you have suggestions of how we can get the managers to the table in a spirit of cooperation, I'm listening.
    Lawsuit is the last resort, we see it that way. This is a serious situation though. We aren't talking about wilderness law. We are talking about recommended wilderness becoming de facto wilderness.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by formica
    I'm starting to look at this issue for some E WA areas. I really like the idea of "corridors" - that is, a trail that has been used for mountain biking is kept at that designation, which may create a corridor through a surrounding wilderness designation.
    We're with you on corridors over here in Montana. We have proposed 2 through areas where we agree on wilderness designation. We haven't heard back from managers on where we stand on this though. Formica, go ahead and propose corridors. The more the FS hears from us on this, the more it might sink in as a viable land planning option.

    Unfortunately, our plight isn't quite that simple. Right now I'm worried that Jack Abramoff managed to accellerate the demise of mountain biking in Montana. Conrad Burns is going into retirement, but he was on our side.
    Greg

  9. #9
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    one of the points that came out of our meetings ( Kettle Crest, meeting w/ other conservation groups) is that these groups weren't so much against mountain bikers as they were concerned about locking out mining and other similar interests, forever, which is something that a wilderness designation can do. The problem as they pointed out, from this perspective is that any other designations ( proposed wilderness, etc) aren't forever, they are only as good as the time frame for that particular forest plan.

    So we've got folks looking at how to afford the kind of protection that will keep mining, etc out but (from mtb point of view) still allow mountain bikers. That's why personally I like the corridor idea.

    It seems like some how the inconsistency in policy from forest to forest should be addressed too.

    ~f.

  10. #10
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    The Kettle Crest trail would work good as a corridor. It would be good if you could negotiate an agreement that would allow a mid-trail bailout trail in case things went bad on a ride. That wouldn't be entirely necessary though. Negotiating with wilderness groups is one thing. But will they back up the idea with a document to the forest service?
    That corridor model doesn't fit most of the Montana problems. We have rideable areas with complex trail systems in place that are targeted for recommended wilderness takeover. Our problem seems to be a lack of cooperation or compassion towards bikers. We are viewed as insignificant. Our organization would be laughable if the projected outcome wasn't so sad.
    So, Howley, what's your take on this?

  11. #11
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    ANYTHING other than Wilderness

    There are other "permanent" designations other than Wilderness such as National Recreation Areas, preservation areas and conservation areas as well as the old National Park.

    These designations prevent New Mining etc. Remember Wilderness can not exclude Existing Mining claims.

    Don't buy into the rhetoric of the E's that Wilderness is the only solution. We as a society have come a long way in establishing governance for land since the 1964 Wilderness act.

    Other designations exist that are as strong and provide allowances for bicycles.

    The E's get paid directly for the number of acres of new Wilderness by the foundations such as the Pew Trust.

    When confronted with the question of "What are we protecting the land from?" and "What are we preserving the land for?" and other designations solve the issues the E's still go for only Wilderness because it is their jobs on the line.

    When it comes down to it Wilderness restricts use to only Horses and Hikers.
    As an unintended consequence it also brings attention to the area making the close in trails over used especially by outfitters.

  12. #12
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    The Wilderness Act is more than just an land management designation to those who advocate for it. Wilderness has always been and will always be an idea and an ideal, codified by Congress, which is parhaps why it is difficult to grasp and so hard for people who don't believe in that ideal to accept. Really, it isn't about the bikes. It is about preserving places in perpetuity and allowing for their enjoyment in a slow, quiet, and primitive manner. Mountain bikes provides none of that.

  13. #13
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    religion in the land

    Now we have our lines drawn. To ideals and ideas rather than logic or social good will.

    My bike provides all of that. Your bike may not but I am not judging your bike or how or why you experience the land. All I can hope for is equal respect for my preference to enjoy the land with yours.

    Alas it is not to be so. I can not have fun or experience the land because it violates your ideal concepts of how we should commune with nature. Not all of the land needs to be set to any ones specific ideal. So why not share? I do not want to ride my bike everywhere why do the E's want all the land converted to wilderness? How much is enough?

    Ride an unicycle in church and go to hell?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Howley
    Now we have our lines drawn. To ideals and ideas rather than logic or social good will.

    My bike provides all of that. Your bike may not but I am not judging your bike or how or why you experience the land. All I can hope for is equal respect for my preference to enjoy the land with yours.

    Alas it is not to be so. I can not have fun or experience the land because it violates your ideal concepts of how we should commune with nature. Not all of the land needs to be set to any ones specific ideal. So why not share? I do not want to ride my bike everywhere why do the E's want all the land converted to wilderness? How much is enough?

    Ride an unicycle in church and go to hell?
    Well, I suppose Wilderness involves lines in the sand, but I think you are wrong when it does not involve logic or social good. Equal respect does not mean equal amounts of public land designations. You are sounding a lot like Butch Otter to me. I respect the sport of mountain biking enough to feel like I don't need to be able to ride mine everywhere. I feel bad if the only way you can have fun is on the mountain bike. That seems so limiting to me. We, environmentalists who also mountain bike, do share, and I am not saying that it all needs to be Wilderness. Maybe some do, but I don't think you'll find any pragmatic Wilderness advocate, at least in this state, who does. I will say that how much we have, Wilderness-wise, is not enough. They are not making any more of it, last time I checked...

  15. #15
    Sheepherder/Cat Herder Moderator
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    Everyone place nice.

    While the Wilderness Act (Act) does intend what Boisematt says, it is sticky in its relationship with past and historic use, NEPA, and certain outdoor recreational use groups. I do sympathize with both positions, but it does appear both positions are based on common theme, preservation and our love of the great outdoors. The Act seeks to preserve areas within its definition of wilderness. IMBA seeks to preserve mtn. biking opportunites in the great outdoors. We all love being outside. We all should compromise. I do believe the suggestion of corridors, as well as a travel management plan for those corridors, is a very appropriate compromise.

    Please remember to spend your collective energies on finding solutions, not defending positions. Somewhere in all those environmental laws is a solution.

    Oh...and if you all are curious...I'm a pragmatist, not an environmentalist...I am also a spackler.
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  16. #16
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    But what about this recommended wilderness that is now off limits to bikes? It's defacto wilderness, by government employee preferential decree. There is a forest planning rule that is easily interpreted to show the FS is wrong in this decree. (FSM 1923.03) However, they are applying this decree widely. Why and where is it coming from?

    Remember, this is not wilderness, just recommended wilderness.

  17. #17
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    Hmmmm....recommended wilderness means the process is "almost" done...but "done" depends on Congress speed in processing the recommendation. Hasyour group reviewed the wilderness study for compliance with NEPA & NHPA? How substantive were the comments on the EIS? I assume was done??? Aye chihuahua, I am starting to get interested in this cause, and I already have enough on the plate.

    PS. Greg, not alll government workers are bad. That aside, I sympathize with you. I wish I had known more about your plight a year ago when you first PM'd me. I would have helped you more. In the future, give me a heads up. I'll give you more help. Oh....I can find all those documents if I know what area I have to deal with. It might also help if you give me the Federal Register notice for the recommendation of designation. Who knows...I might get the itch and read them all...
    ...building wherever they'll let me...

  18. #18
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    We had substantive comments on the 2 EIS's we had to comment on, but of course our efforts pale in comparison to what the E's have sent in. The FS did recognize that most of those E comments were form letters. Literally about 900 times more comments than bikers sent in. After the first of the year we will be lobbying the new county commissioners. One NF alone covers 8 counties. We will have 1 more comment period in the spring on one NF (thanks to the E's who have pushed for it). The other 3 forest plan comments are closed.

    I don't know about NEPA or NHPA. How can this benifit bikers? Could you enlighten me?

    Greg

  19. #19
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    Yikes.

    NEPA, National Environmental Policy Act. It is a broad reaching piece of legislation, but for your purposes you must know it to handle actions associated with the Wilderness Act's required EISs. The parts of the Act that you should know (at least that I think you should) for this specific issue are below. I included some proposed language for you. (Oh yeah, they are in somewhat of a legislative format, so you will have to pardon the legaleze.)

    42 USC 4331(b)(4);(5)
    In order to carry out the policy set forth in this Act, it is the continuing responsibility of the Federal Government to use all practicable means, consistent with other essential considerations of national policy, to improve and coordinate Federal plans, functions, programs, and resources to the end that the Nation may preserve important historic, cultural, and natural aspects of our national heritage, and maintain, wherever possible, an environment which supports diversity, and variety of individual choice; achieve a balance between population and resource use which will permit high standards of living and a wide sharing of life's amenities;...

    Comments submitted pertaining to the EIS defiencies, if any, in addressing historic use of the area for mountain biking, mitigation of loss of said opportunity, and how the proposed action will ensure a balance between said opportunity, the population, and the resource in question.

    42USC 4332(C)(iv)
    The Congress authorizes and directs that, to the fullest extent possible: (1) the policies, regulations, and public laws of the United States shall be interpreted and administered in accordance with the policies set forth in this Act, and (2) all agencies of the Federal Government shall include in every recommendation or report on proposals for legislation and other major Federal actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment, a detailed statement by the responsible official on alternatives to the proposed action...

    Comments on the EIS should refer to this part of the Code. The comments should specifically request what alternatives the EIS has presented regarding of existing recreational active which have historically occurred over the past X number of years.
    ...building wherever they'll let me...

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Visicypher
    Yikes.

    NEPA, National Environmental Policy Act. It is a broad reaching piece of legislation, but for your purposes you must know it to handle actions associated with the Wilderness Act's required EISs. The parts of the Act that you should know (at least that I think you should) for this specific issue are below. I included some proposed language for you. (Oh yeah, they are in somewhat of a legislative format, so you will have to pardon the legaleze.)
    Can you clarify? The Wilderness Act itself (or congressional Wilderness designations) does not trigger NEPA. Do you mean the administrative actions of the Forest Service's forest planning process as outlined in the NFMA and Multiple Use - Sustained Yield Act related to the management of proposed wilderness on Forest Service lands?

  21. #21
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    Yes and no...and about clear as mud.

    NEPA governs the actions of all federal agencies. It is such a fun piece of legislation. (I am not kidding either. The more I deal with it. The more fun I have.)

    42 US 4332
    The Congress authorizes and directs that, to the fullest extent possible: (1) the policies, regulations, and public laws of the United States shall be interpreted and administered in accordance with the policies set forth in this Act, and (2) all agencies of the Federal Government shall --

    (A) utilize a systematic, interdisciplinary approach which will insure the integrated use of the natural and social sciences and the environmental design arts in planning and in decisionmaking which may have an impact on man's environment;

    (B) identify and develop methods and procedures, in consultation with the Council on Environmental Quality established by title II of this Act, which will insure that presently unquantified environmental amenities and values may be given appropriate consideration in decisionmaking along with economic and technical considerations;


    (C) include in every recommendation or report on proposals for legislation and other major Federal actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment, a detailed statement by the responsible official on --

    (i) the environmental impact of the proposed action,

    (ii) any adverse environmental effects which cannot be avoided should the proposal be implemented,


    (iii) alternatives to the proposed action,


    (iv) the relationship between local short-term uses of man's environment and the maintenance and enhancement of long-term productivity, and


    (v) any irreversible and irretrievable commitments of resources which would be involved in the proposed action should it be implemented.


    Prior to making any detailed statement, the responsible Federal official shall consult with and obtain the comments of any Federal agency which has jurisdiction by law or special expertise with respect to any environmental impact involved. Copies of such statement and the comments and views of the appropriate Federal, State, and local agencies, which are authorized to develop and enforce environmental standards, shall be made available to the President, the Council on Environmental Quality and to the public as provided by section 552 of title 5, United States Code, and shall accompany the proposal through the existing agency review processes
    ...building wherever they'll let me...

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Visicypher
    Yes and no...and about clear as mud.

    NEPA governs the actions of all federal agencies. It is such a fun piece of legislation. (I am not kidding either. The more I deal with it. The more fun I have.)
    No argument there!

    As I understand it, though, Congress is exempt from NEPA because they are not considered a federal *agency*. The Federal agency (in our case here the Forest Service) that promulgates rules as directed by Congress would be required to work within the procedural confines of NEPA, and this is where I believe the National Forest Management Act comes in, as its forest planning process is considered to follow NEPA standards. So in the case of Congressional Wilderness, that would alter the makeup of the forest which would affect the forest planning process. But the Forest Service could not, through NEPA, consider alternatives to Congressionally designated Wilderness.

    Of course the question of mountain bikes is subject to interpretation because there is some question as to the interpretation of "mechanized", but NEPA does not direct any specific action (it is procedural, not substantive) of the federal agency, rather it directs them to follow certain procedures in their planning processes...

  23. #23
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    Ack.

    If the Congressionally designated Wilderness is based on a Federal Agency Recommendation (Agency) which subsequently is based on Agency research and data, the Agency has to comply with NEPA, so in a roundabout way NEPA still kicks in.

    And true NEPA is procedural, but part of it does direct specific procedures for review over certain topics which one could have include cycling.

    If I remember correctly, the White Clouds designation has to go through an EA even though it was initiated by a Congressional member...but that is another discussion.
    ...building wherever they'll let me...

  24. #24
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    I'm starting to get it. It feels like xmas and I just got a bigger tool box that has a starter set of tools in it, only some of which I understand how to use.

    Certainly, one national forest we've dealt with has not addressed the impacts on mountain bikers, having only mentioned them in passing 4 times in the EIS, and never once addressing how the recommended wilderness areas would impact us and what they would do about it. We now are aware of how to bring their attention to this and that they are obligated to address it. We can also get ahead of the curve by suggesting ways to accomadate the procedures and still propose some wilderness. Clearly it would go smoother if the wilderness proposed was non-controversial.

    Is there any additional language anywhere that would help counteract this decree towards booting us out of recommended wilderness?

    Greg

  25. #25
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    I'd have to read the decree to help you. All fed documents have a doc #. Find it and PM it to me. or Tell the the doc title and the area it impacts, and I can find it.
    ...building wherever they'll let me...

  26. #26
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    Nhpa?

  27. #27
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    National Historic Preservation Act....or something like that.
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  28. #28
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    While I'm not as green as Boisematt, there is an element of enviro in me. I usually recognize instinctively when wilderness is needed to protect an area.

    I have called out dedicated "E" lurkers before on our club website chat room. They report back to their friends about the radical bikers and their radical ideas. Is there any enviro lurkers out there? 500+ hits means there might be.

  29. #29
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    I believe Greg is just asking for opposing arguments, as he would like to expand the discussion in an effort of cooperation and coordinated effort. Right Greg?
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    I have enough places to ride my bike.

  31. #31
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    Well, uh, actually, I had a genuine moment of paranoia. Based on past experiences.

    But this issue is still good to discuss from all points of view. Otherwise no one learns much.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpeedyGonzalas
    I have enough places to ride my bike.

    "You got some splainin' to do, Lucy!"

  33. #33
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    enough places to ride-for who?

    I've heard this before.
    "there are so many places to ride already why do I need to ride in controversial areas like Wilderness?"

    For me these areas such as the Boulder White Clouds offer an experience that can not be replaced by trails in urban or lower elevation areas.

    As I lived and rode around Sun Valley and the trails became "homogenized" through maintenance and improvements, the trail experience changed. In one year there were 2500 user days on the local trails. That went up to 25,000 user days. I went looking further into the forest and higher up in the mountains to find solitude.

    I ride a bike in remote areas for solitude.

    Others may ride for speed, the thrill or the roller coaster effects of the trail and bicycle.

    That is not my preferred experience. I like to go slow on difficult to negotiate trails in remote areas. This is not the common experience for 80% of the people who buy mountain bikes. Just as most people who buy hiking shoes do not go out into the woods for days at a time.

    I advocate for my style of riding and for those who seek a similar experience. It is not for everyone. Lots of people come on our rides never to return. They "have plenty of places to ride" where they get the experience they want with out the risk, challenge and opportunity for disaster. We ride in remote areas for solitude and the challenge.

    I am asking the other trail users who want the same experience to share the trail. And where they want an experience and do not want to see me because I violate their sensibilities, then that is o.k. too. They have designated Wilderness. In Idaho it is right across the street from the Boulder White Clouds - it's called the Sawtooth Wilderness.

    Now who has enough places for their preferred style of experiencing the outdoors? If the While Clouds become wilderness 100% of the trails currently open that are non-motorized will be closed to bicycles. There is no way to replace these trails and the unique experience once lost.

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    Can you honestly tell me that you think that there is enough wilderness in this world? In this paved over, regulated, over-fished, dammed up, oil and natural gas drilled, strip mined, tourist tamed, if I can't get to it in my wheel chair then it has to be ramped cause my ass is too fat from eating chili-cheese fries with chibatta buns. As I said, there are enough places to ride my bike.
    "There is no way to replace these trails and the unique experience once lost."
    Yep, just like the free roaming buffalo.
    In all honesty, I admire and agree with you statement in so many ways, I REALLY do, but I gotta take one for the team here, since the team seems to be losing this battle so badly. COME ON MAN! Some places need to be wild again.

  35. #35
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    I have to agree here. Mountain biking seems but a small sacrifice for the larger good of permamant and perpetual protection.

  36. #36
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    Where do they serve chili cheese fries on ciabatta??? Yummmy...chili cheese fries...with onions and jalapenos even.
    ...building wherever they'll let me...

  37. #37
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    Who's right? Who's wrong? Both Howley and Boisematt are correct. The answer, to me, lies in cooperation. If either viewpoint is totally catered to, the other side will become more radicalized.

    Remember, we're not talking about building moto-x tracks in alpine basins. Just the ability to share. The E's in MT sure don't want to share. They also want every alpine location in west MT for wilderness. It must be the same in Idaho. Just think, when we run out of gas in a few years, these places will suddenly become self-protected. Then all the wilderness will be legislative overkill. The only people able to visit them will be bicyclists (the irony).

    Speedy and Visicypher are on another trail tho...

    I'm sure there is a cafe in West Yellowstone that will serve cheese fries with buffalo strips.

  38. #38
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    "The answer, to me, lies in cooperation. If either viewpoint is totally catered to, the other side will become more radicalized."

    Exactly! And I think the avenue for working out that compromise is the travel management/forest management planning process *prior* to Wilderness legislation (something that I think Visi's comments suggest as well from our policy discussion on NEPA above). If those conflicts can be worked out prior to legislative action, it would seem like any legislation that results would be better for both groups.

    What Howley isn't saying regarding the White Clouds is that there were significant concessions made by the environmental community to not only agree to two "corridors" (accessible to motors and bikes) that transect the three wilderness areas proposed to be created by the pending legislation, but also the most popular trail used by the majority of mountain bikers (Fisher-Williams loop) was always off limits from an environmental perspective and will not be affected by the proposed legislation. Him saying that 100% of the trails in the White Clouds will be closed to mountain bikes is a mischaracterization of the actual impact. He makes a BIG assumption that the trails closed to bikes are even ridable! Perhaps some of them are ridable by a few, but I think he is overstating the impact. I am certainly not saying that the proposed legislation won't impact mountain bikers, it certainly will. But like I've said before, it seems that a reasonable compromise that benefits most people has already been achieved.

    As for cheese fries, I think the Smiley Creek restaurant serves them - a decent place to stop on your way from Stanley to Ketchum...

  39. #39
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    Everyone should place nice, stop with the "he said" thing, and work together. Can we please do that and give me recommendations on the best chili cheese/cheese fries and chicken fried steak w/biscuits & gravy at each town in Idaho? A good gravy is hard to come by. And no referrals of anyone that serves gravy out of a can. Blech.

    And yes, food occupies a large portion of my thought processes...as do bikes and the demons that haunt me. I do wish Manley's was still around.
    ...building wherever they'll let me...

  40. #40
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    [QUOTE=boisematt]

    Exactly! And I think the avenue for working out that compromise is the travel management/forest management planning process *prior* to Wilderness legislation (something that I think Visi's comments suggest as well from our policy discussion on NEPA above). If those conflicts can be worked out prior to legislative action, it would seem like any legislation that results would be better for both groups.



    It really can help if the planning process isn't biased. When the planners start arguing in meetings and the regional forester is unwilling to budge and recognize bikers, a problem exists. We are seeing that in Montana and you may be getting a taste of it in Idaho.

    I think bikers need to learn to play hard, because we are on the verge of losing a lot. If the E's and forest planners were more reasonable, we wouldn't have to worry about this.
    Greg

  41. #41
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    Like a carp drawn to corn I am finally forced off the couch to take the bait. I think Greg and others are right on point when he says, “I think bikers need to learn to play hard, because we are on the verge of losing a lot. If the E's and forest planners were more reasonable, we wouldn't have to worry about this.”

    Not only do we need to play hard ball, we need to take a serious look at what we hope to gain, what the consequences may be, and what and how we share. We need to take a closer look at the emotional side of things and then put all that stuff away when its time to develop the rational on why we should be given access and in some circumstances denying others.

    As a case in point, there is an area south of Boise that is a great place to ride in the winter but the continued pressure from ATVs is slowly killing it. The BLM decided to take a stab at designating the area as non-motorized. Even though numerous people have been shown the area, very few commented on the EA and most made emotional appeals that don’t help the Federal Land Mangers. Even with the limit number of comments we were able to get most of what we requested. (See URL for example http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=210662)

    So we flip forward to today and what has happened. Well the horse groups were frustrated with getting the boot and threw such a fit the EA was thrown out and now the BLM is starting over. In the mean time, the ATVs are following the new signs which were supposed to read, “Non-motorized.”

    So why bring this story up. It shows with a little elbow grease and writing technical replies that are rooted in the Federal Land Mangers language and technically supported using their documents and requirements can produce wins and a better relationship with the Land Managers. It also shows that most of the local mountain bikers are lazy when it comes to protecting what they have while the other user groups are more engaged.

    It becomes even more contentious when you look at a Wilderness area where the national organizations are all just saying “no” and aligning with who ever is closest to fighting for what they want. At this level, I think we need to step away from the national organizations, find some common ground among the local mountain bikers and those that are interested in learning the details and then developing a mountain bike specific approach and avoid holding hands with the motorized community. The approaches need to be oriented toward the individual Wilderness areas and not banket approaches.

    Open discussions need to occur with local environmental groups and they shouldn’t be seen as the enemy. Environmental organizations are just other user groups that have learned how to play the game much better than most bikers. Until bikers show a little moxie and willingness to work together why should they “E” give anything up?

    On a personal level, I am ok with the White Clouds Wilderness issues but think what is happening in California is a travesty. If I knew more about Montana, I might be more willing to take up the pen and work toward more corridors.

    In the mean time, we need to find more common ground and think about what we want and what we are willing to give. I know that sounds like and old cliché when you are losing some of your favorite trails. But in the time these Wilderness areas have been going through the motions, I have lost more of my favorite narrow quiet single tracks to ATV’s and guide books than Wilderness. This may not hold true in Montana, Wyoming or other areas.

    Ok, there is my sermon – ops the corn is almost through the maze – got to run!

    Before the big dash, I would like to add that some of the Idaho boys and girls need to come over to Montana to ride and vice versa. Time to drink some beer and do some riding next summer.

  42. #42
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    Hope passion and facts - rather than assumptions and emotion

    Quote Originally Posted by boisematt

    What Howley isn't saying regarding the White Clouds is that there were significant concessions made by the environmental community to not only agree to two "corridors" (accessible to motors and bikes) that transect the three wilderness areas proposed to be created by the pending legislation, but also the most popular trail used by the majority of mountain bikers (Fisher-Williams loop) was always off limits from an environmental perspective and will not be affected by the proposed legislation. Him saying that 100% of the trails in the White Clouds will be closed to mountain bikes is a mischaracterization of the actual impact. He makes a BIG assumption that the trails closed to bikes are even ridable! Perhaps some of them are ridable by a few, but I think he is overstating the impact. I am certainly not saying that the proposed legislation won't impact mountain bikers, it certainly will. But like I've said before, it seems that a reasonable compromise that benefits most people has already been achieved.
    I stand by the facts not assumptions. The trails are ridable by me when I am in shape but not by everyone nor should they be. Re read my post about this unique experience. I make no assumptions on anyone's ability in trail experience preferences. I'll post a link to photos as evidence. Yes these trails are ridable by but a few and it is these few who I advocate for.

    The facts are that the Fisher Creek Loop was constructed and is maintained by motorcycle dollars. If the E's owned it then they could have made a concession to allow cycling to continue there. There are corridors that bisect the proposed wilderness. These are motorized trails and yes a bicycle can ride on a motorized trail but the is where the disparateness is most obvious. These trails are not the same as the ones lost to Wilderness designation.

    It is up to the reader to determine if I am overstating the impact but the facts are that 100% of the non-motorized trails now open to bicycles will be closed to bicycles with Wilderness designation.

    As for giving one up for the Team I'll comment that the loss of the worlds environment to development, extractive use and "Wheel Chairs" is not reflected in the reality and fact concerning the Boulder White Clouds.

    The rage against the machine should be waged where it makes a difference. The effects of Wilderness in the BWC is that bicycles will be excluded. There is no other effective difference in the use or protection of the land. The current designation as a National Recreation Area provides protection for future generations.

    The irony is that the proposed wilderness also includes expanding the width of the Fourth of July trial to allow for wheel chairs...
    This is of course just out side the wilderness line.

    So if the E's need more wilderness because it pays the bills, then make 30k acres not 300k acres.

    Let's make a stand for the environment by protesting the destruction of the rain forest not in the exclusion of bicycles in an area that provides a unique experience.

  43. #43
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    There are waaaaay to many words in this debate.
    Nobody cares what kind of bike you ride.

  44. #44
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    I am only allowed to keep my post MTB related. I've been so over-regulated.

    It is the end of an era....
    ...building wherever they'll let me...

  45. #45
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    Yeah, it is the end of an era. The end of innocence and ignorance. We just gotta lurch through the awkwardness of some growing pains, organizing our philosiphies and creating advocacy organizations around those philosiphies.

    Is there a group of bikers organized to oppose the Boulder/White Clouds proposal? (SWIMBA seems to be just for Boise only.) Or have you all just put in your individual comments and hoped for the best?

    Most everyone here has presented sage opinions. I am impressed. But what is the state of the Boulder/White Clouds process right now? Do you have any lawmakers that you are working with? What is the F.S. agenda, why would they create further restrictions beyond the scope of the Nation Recreation Area? Are any lawmakers trying to scale the wilderness boundries back? Is IMBA a player? Has anyone gone after the F.S. planning rule 1923.03?

    I see a possibility of bringing bikers to the future planning table for all wilderness proposals. I'm trying to get bikers into the public comment process sooner and at a much larger scale, a scale that would rival the enviros. This means form letters (which I hate) and educating bikers that they must write letters now. (because they are losing access now.) And - we need to write smart. Not everyone needs to write point by point verbal diagrams, but we all need to step back from emotional and lazy responses and make an intelligent written stand.

    Maybe, given time, we can push through the Blue Ribbon Backcountry designation, or create a new "Wilderness Lite" designation. The E's often balk at anything less than wilderness, calling it "Wilderness Lite". Well maybe it's time for "Wilderness Lite" to be real. It could fill the slot between Blue Ribbon Backcountry and federal Wilderness. It's gonna be up to mountain bikers to infiltrate the wilderness push with a dose of common sense.

    Howley, I'm understanding you. Boulder/White Clouds is just like what's happening in Montana except on a smaller scale. That's why I want to get a grip on what's going on. Specially the ban on bikes in recommended wilderness. It's a form of segregation.

  46. #46
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    Hmmmm.....


    My post was actually not related. My reference to "an end of an era" related to me and my relish for posting spackle related content.
    ...building wherever they'll let me...

  47. #47

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    It seems like we want everyone regulated but ourselves.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpeedyGonzalas
    It seems like we want everyone regulated but ourselves.
    It's all about sharing as long as it is someone else doing the sharing!

    While we are at it let's get rid of all the "E"s because they are "evil doers." Without the "Es" I could catch boneless brown trout on any river with a sewage system. Nothing like corn fed brown trout.

    Now let's go pick on the guy in the wheel chair. There is no reason, he should have access when bikers were shut out of an area that is 70% rideable and 30 hike-a-bike. I can see an episode of "Handiman" zooming around the Wilderness with an "H" and an "E" on his chest and destroying biking.

    Come on Howley, its spilt milk at this point. Time to start finding some common ground and looking at Travel Management Plans and other tools and build some in-roads with the Federal Land Manages.

    If you can't start looking forward, I will throw you the old bone I love to point out and is as worthless as the emotional appeals. My family homesteaded in Colorado and Idaho in the late 1800's so if you newcomers would just stop coming and writing books to draw more people there would be more pristine trails for "me." But then again, it isn't all about me. There are ATVs, miners, strings of horses and packers, back packers and let's not forget the wildlife.

    P.S. Viscypher, I hope you were able to regulate your Rocky's uptake.

  49. #49
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    Well, I guess we all have the same problems. This side of the border is the same as that side. I assume no one is approaching and negotiating with the forest service.

    I have enjoyed the banter and have learned some more arguing points, but realize nothing concrete is happening. Prove me wrong, please.

    Mountain bikers approach to the problem is broken, to fix our tactics is going to take a lot of.... Spackle.

  50. #50
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    To help in my regulation, I ate more fries and a taco at my desk. I'd like to thank my clerical support for feeding my tapeworm.

    Greg B. I will prove you wrong. A few of us actually have a good repertoire with the USFS & NPS. We are working with a land manager and the NPS on one of the biggest trail projects in the West. We are also applying for state grant money for trail work. I like, and highly respect, the USFS and NPS people I work with on trail issues.

    Just remember, don't point fingers and make all discussions work towards mutually beneficial solutions based on compromise. Don't draft up boundaries and build up walls, expand ALL of your energy into finding a solution beneficial to all.
    ...building wherever they'll let me...

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