Putting the "Wilderness Act" in perspective- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Putting the "Wilderness Act" in perspective

    With all this hand-wringing over the Wilderness Act I had a look at actual land use in the USA and I think people should relax:

    - Total land: 1,937,700,000 acres (that's nearly 2 billion for the numerically challenged)

    - Wilderness Act covers: 9,000,000 acres (that's 0.4% of the total continental land mass)

    - Total developed land in the USA as a percent of total land: 5.6% (excluding Alaska!!)

    - About 75% of the population lives on this 5.6% of developed land

    - 94.4% of US land is forest, rural, range, pasture or crop.

    - 74% of the US is forest and range and pasture land (excluding crop land)

    If you live next to an area closing to MTB's that's not fun, but in the big picture, a very large chunk (74%) of the US is wilderness/rural/forest land.

    Figures from the US census: http://www.census.gov/compendia/stat...es/10s0354.pdf

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    Quote Originally Posted by canuckjgc
    With all this hand-wringing over the Wilderness Act I had a look at actual land use in the USA and I think people should relax:

    - Total land: 1,937,700,000 acres (that's nearly 2 billion for the numerically challenged)

    - Wilderness Act covers: 9,000,000 acres (that's 0.4% of the total continental land mass)

    - Total developed land in the USA as a percent of total land: 5.6% (excluding Alaska!!)

    - About 75% of the population lives on this 5.6% of developed land

    - 94.4% of US land is forest, rural, range, pasture or crop.

    - 74% of the US is forest and range and pasture land (excluding crop land)

    If you live next to an area closing to MTB's that's not fun, but in the big picture, a very large chunk (74%) of the US is wilderness/rural/forest land.

    Figures from the US census: http://www.census.gov/compendia/stat...es/10s0354.pdf

    You'd make an excellent Wilderness advocate. They often quote % of land NOT Wilderness to support more Wilderness designation!

    I think some of this is useful, but generally, a tad too anecdotal. The devil is in the details when it comes to what land has been designated Wilderness and what land is being proposed for the same.

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    0.4% has been designated wilderness by the Wildnerness Act. You can't tell me that 0.4% happens to be the only/best MTB'ing in the US! Any proposed additions would add another fraction of a percent. Even if it doubled (which it won't) it would still be under 1%. Why people are fighting over less than half a percent of land is beyond me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ride Wilderness
    You'd make an excellent Wilderness advocate. They often quote % of land NOT Wilderness to support more Wilderness designation!

    I think some of this is useful, but generally, a tad too anecdotal. The devil is in the details when it comes to what land has been designated Wilderness and what land is being proposed for the same.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by canuckjgc
    0.4% has been designated wilderness by the Wildnerness Act. You can't tell me that 0.4% happens to be the only/best MTB'ing in the US! Any proposed additions would add another fraction of a percent. Even if it doubled (which it won't) it would still be under 1%. Why people are fighting over less than half a percent of land is beyond me.
    True - biking along the Jew Jersey turnpike is definitely no different than biking the Monarch Crest Trail (which the wilderness advocates want to close to bikes. Who would know?).
    When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. ~H.G. Wells

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    Quote Originally Posted by canuckjgc
    0.4% has been designated wilderness by the Wildnerness Act. You can't tell me that 0.4% happens to be the only/best MTB'ing in the US! Any proposed additions would add another fraction of a percent.
    Again, broad stroke percentages are misleading. Also, I never said, nor will I say "only/best". Misquoting or using "only, always, never" will make for a pointless discussion.

    I don't know that I want to take the time to do this, but if one were to go state by state, forest by forest I think you would find strong evidence of a) areas designated Wilderness that contain wonderful MTB opportunities, and b) current areas where great riding exists, but is now threatened by Wilderness designation. Again, no definitive terms like "all" or "only".....but certainly some excellent cases.

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    You simply don't understand how very small an area the Wilderness Act covers. Does it catch some MTB areas? Sure. But you still have 99.6% of the land left over.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ride Wilderness
    Again, broad stroke percentages are misleading. Also, I never said, nor will I say "only/best". Misquoting or using "only, always, never" will make for a pointless discussion.

    I don't know that I want to take the time to do this, but if one were to go state by state, forest by forest I think you would find strong evidence of a) areas designated Wilderness that contain wonderful MTB opportunities, and b) current areas where great riding exists, but is now threatened by Wilderness designation. Again, no definitive terms like "all" or "only".....but certainly some excellent cases.

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    Quote Originally Posted by canuckjgc
    You simply don't understand how very small an area the Wilderness Act covers. Does it catch some MTB areas? Sure. But you still have 99.6% of the land left over.
    Cool, I don't understand. Unsubscribing to this nonsense....

  8. #8
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    Nothing wrong with protecting our natural beauty but the problem is you have politicians in charge of what is and what isn't wilderness.. They could designate a junkyard next to a mobile home park a Wilderness if they so wanted to do so.
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    You're right of course, but who other than elected representatives should do it?

    I wouldn't want an unaccountable government bureaucrat doing it...

    Quote Originally Posted by Lawson Raider
    Nothing wrong with protecting our natural beauty but the problem is you have politicians in charge of what is and what isn't wilderness.. They could designate a junkyard next to a mobile home park a Wilderness if they so wanted to do so.

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    Nonsense? If you wonder why MTB'ers have a hard time making any progress, look at it from the decision maker's point of view.

    He or she is trying to balance the needs of all stakeholders. That individual sees that wilderness designation covers a fraction of a percent of US wilderness. MTB'ers fighting to access that fraction of a percent come off seeming a tad greedy.

    Previous discussions made it sound like vast tracks of land were being threatened with a ban on MTB's. The numbers show that is not the case.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ride Wilderness
    Cool, I don't understand. Unsubscribing to this nonsense....

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    That's an impossibly misleading statistic b/c it has no context to the issue at hand. Here are some other equally misleading ones on both sides: Oil development in ANWR will only impact 2,000 acres out of a 1.9 million acre refuge (yeah, but it will be visible for tens of miles...). The Columbia river only carries ___% of the freshwater in the united states, so it shouldn't be a big deal if we use it all. A certain number of species worldwide go extinct every year (I don't know the statistic, but the number looks really large when it is taken out of context). Etc. etc. etc...

    The reality is that there is only a limited amount of pristine backcountry singletrack in the country and these areas are also the most likely to be subject to wilderness designations, thereby putting mountain bikers in an adverse position to wilderness advocates.

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    Carbon dioxide only accounts for 0.04% of our atmosphere, so it's no big deal if we double the concentration.
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    Wow, that's a horribly misleading comment.

    You fail to acknowledge that Wilderness designations are extremely concentrated in their distribution.

    You fail to acknowledge that many land managers aside want nothing to do with mountain bikes, so in some cases a proposed Wilderness would make a significant impact by entirely closing or severely impacting the available mountain biking in an area.

    You're ignoring the fact that some Wilderness advocates specifically use designations to close trails to bikes so they can hike that trail without being bothered by a mountain biker.

    Your statistics don't take all public land designations into account by distinguishing between those that do and don't permit mountain bikes.

    What would REALLY be a useful statistic would be to compare the mileage of trails open to bikes compared to the mileage of all trails outside Wilderness, compared to the mileage of all trails inside Wilderness and the mileage of trails inside Wilderness that were formerly accessible to mountain bikes. And such statistics should exclude dirt roads where motorized traffic is permitted because hikers very rarely use them even though they are technically permitted to.

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    I guess we could say .4% is not a big deal and we have plenty of places to ride. Sure, but the problem is the wilderness lands are being expanded at an alarming rate and it is no longer just extreme back country, mountain tops, or sky islands. Here in southern NM, Jeff B and friends have proposed 1.2 million additional acres and these lands have trails, dirt roads, pipelines, powerlines, and are popular recreational areas for nearly everyone. Maybe next year it is 1% and in 5 years 10%. The militant hikers and ecoextremists have finally found an easy legal way of blocking us and other users from public lands.
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    The .4% figure isn't even right - only 30% of land in the US is public, the rest is private, so we're actually talking about higher numbers since you have no right to ride on private land. statistics = sausage
    When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. ~H.G. Wells

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    Since you like stats..Could you tell me??

    What percentage of the mountains are wilderness? Take out all the crappy (in terms of MTB) land and then what percentage? Now take out all the "withdrawn" land that nobody is allowed into? What percentage now? How 'bout you look at the percentage of wilderness in the Rocky Mountains.
    I can't go anywhere from where I live and not run into wilderness, private land or Indian Reservation. Mostly wilderness.
    There are many damn good reasons to fight against the addition of anymore wilderness from where I stand. I hate that I have to take that stance.

  17. #17
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    The latest figures show 40% public ownership which equals about 800,000,000 acres.

    Wilderness designation = 9,000,000 acres, or 1.1%

    Barely a blip.

    Quote Originally Posted by cutthroat
    The .4% figure isn't even right - only 30% of land in the US is public, the rest is private, so we're actually talking about higher numbers since you have no right to ride on private land. statistics = sausage

  18. #18
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    canuckjgc you bring up some valid points, but unfortunately people a get their feelings hurt when you tell them that they can't bring their bike to any place the want to.

    I feel that most of these people who are arguing for mountain biking will not stop until they can ride where ever they want when they want

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikevandeman
    canuckjgc you bring up some valid points, but unfortunately people a get their feelings hurt when you tell them that they can't bring their bike to any place the want to.

    I feel that most of these people who are arguing for mountain biking will not stop until they can ride where ever they want when they want
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by cutthroat
    True - biking along the Jew Jersey turnpike is definitely no different than biking the Monarch Crest Trail (which the wilderness advocates want to close to bikes. Who would know?).

    I'll assume you're just a bad typer, and not a total Ahole, but if that Jersy twist was an anti-semitic smear, F U !!
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    Quote Originally Posted by canuckjgc
    You're right of course, but who other than elected representatives should do it?

    I wouldn't want an unaccountable government bureaucrat doing it...
    What areas get protected should be left with the states and the people therein. They have more stake in that land than the federal government does. I don't trust the Federal Government to do what is right because it always seems they have alterior motives other than protecting wilderness.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by canuckjgc
    With all this hand-wringing over the Wilderness Act I had a look at actual land use in the USA and I think people should relax:

    - Total land: 1,937,700,000 acres (that's nearly 2 billion for the numerically challenged)

    - Wilderness Act covers: 9,000,000 acres (that's 0.4% of the total continental land mass)

    - Total developed land in the USA as a percent of total land: 5.6% (excluding Alaska!!)

    - About 75% of the population lives on this 5.6% of developed land

    - 94.4% of US land is forest, rural, range, pasture or crop.

    - 74% of the US is forest and range and pasture land (excluding crop land)

    If you live next to an area closing to MTB's that's not fun, but in the big picture, a very large chunk (74%) of the US is wilderness/rural/forest land.

    Figures from the US census: http://www.census.gov/compendia/stat...es/10s0354.pdf
    You live in Canada, and are pulling stats off a census site. This tells me, and maybe I am wrong, that you really don't know/understand the US wilderness issues, forest management issues and so on.
    large chunk (74%) of the US is wilderness/rural/forest land.
    Using this argument, this puts the Frank Church/River of No Return Wilderness, or the Kettle Crest non motorized WSA or the USFS trails in Sun Valley, in the same category as a 10000 acres megafarm in Iowa, which is categorized as "rural". Laughable.

    Maybe you are trolling?


    I kind of see it like this.

    There's tons of trees in Canada. Why do people get so upset about clearcutting?
    Last edited by formica; 03-11-2010 at 06:26 PM.

  23. #23
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    you know what Twain said..."there are three types of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics".

    the problem with your whole point here is that Wilderness areas tend to me in mountains...and the sport we are talking about is mountain biking. There is a TON of flat, boring, heavily logged, mined, or otherwise pretty shitty areas that are BLM or NF land. you can ride on that terrain all you want...not exactly what I'm looking for.
    Furthermore, some of the new wilderness areas are places where there are existing singletrack has existed for as long as people have been riding bikes on dirt. Then, it's taken away, and it stings.
    Also, it's not like Wilderness is expanding a few drops or acres at a time, it affects one area greatly while then not affecting another at all. For instance, I live in Northern New Mexico, where we have great riding that none of (at least now, thank jah!) is threatend to be turned into Wilderness. But, if you lived in Bozeman MT where literally hundreds of miles of trail are suddenly getting closed to bikes, you'd have a different feeling about it, I'm sure.
    Lastly, to me....I fist learned about the Wilderness Act in the early 90's when I took a NOLS trip in High School...I was a total supporter. Then, in my late teens and 20's I became a rock climber, and hung out in Yosemite where the Park Service can blow up a wall to put a tunnel in to bring more tourons into the valley, but the Wilderness Area started 200' up any wall...so placing fixed anchors is illegal...anchors that no one besides a climber that needs them for a belay (we're not talking about bolting sport routes here) can see. Now, as a mountain biker, I see that I'm being banned from places I love to go.
    I love wild places, but don't support Wilderness. Now that's screwy, right? If the Wilderness act was re-written to allow more flexibility with it's users, it's number of supporters would grow, and getting more Wilderness areas passed would be eaiser. I think we all, as mountain bikers love wild places, the backcountry, mountains and forests and streams. And, we want them protected...but, sadly we're shut out of the most protective designation...and it sucks.
    sorry for the long post.

  24. #24
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    100% of nothing

    While discussing trail miles as a % of what is available to ride-We look at our area here in Idaho in the proposed "W" called the Boulder White Clouds-If the proposal is passed 100% of the trails now open to bicycles, hikers and Horses (non-motorized) will be closed to bicycles.

    The argument that there will be X miles fo rideable "trail" after "W" is bogus becase the "W" advocates claim dirt roads and motorized access trails. We lose 100% of the non-motorized trails currently open to bicycles if "W" is designated by congress.
    Last edited by Howley; 03-11-2010 at 08:00 PM.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by canuckjgc
    .........
    - Total developed land in the USA as a percent of total land: 5.6% (excluding Alaska!!)

    - About 75% of the population lives on this 5.6% of developed land

    ............


    Do the other 25% live in caves? Are they defining that 5.6% as urban/suburban?

  26. #26
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    I wonder what percentage of wilderness would be lost to some miles of singletrack ??? or to the Huge damage that my tire treads displace ?? We are not talking about romping bulldozers through the entire 0.4 percent of the US that is wilderness, we are only talking about what amounts to probably 0.4 percent of the 0.4 percent , so .0016 of the US is the cost of a very impressive wilderness singletrack system ... Now that doesn't sound like much at all. Comsidering the percentage of tax payers that are cyclists ..

  27. #27
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    1) You're a Troll

    2) You're Canadian. Why do you care?

    Wilderness designation threatens bike access to established trails, and limits access to solid, sustainable trails. It's a big deal for access here.

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    Let's apply some meaningful data to this discussion

    As an example, I'll use my beloved Montana.

    To emphasize the fact that I'm not using mountain bike biased data, I cite as my source the Montana Wilderness Association.

    Montana is 94,109,542 acres in total. Montana has 3,443,038 acres of designated wilderness. Ergo, Montana is approximately 3.66% wilderness.

    Sure, at first blush, that seems pretty skimpy and no cause for concern in the MTB community.

    But let's remember that most of the remaining land is private and, thereore not open to MTBs. While Montana is famous for its mountains, the majority of the state is actually prairie, farm and ranch land--not much fun on the bike.

    So lets look at a more meaningful measure. What gets us jazzed about riding? The mountains, the woods, the wilderness (not the legal definition, but a practical one). If we wanted pavement, we'd be roadies. So I submit that a more meaningful measure is roadless area.

    Again, according to the Montana Wilderness Association, Montana has 6,397,000 acres of roadless area. Bounce that off the 3,443,038 of already designated wilderness and we find that mountain bikes area already excluded from nearly 54% of our prime habitat! And this doesn't even take into account National Park land and other localized non-wilderness areas that maintain MTB restrictions. Viewed in this light, it becomes apparent that the existing baseline is already unacceptable, let alone any future losses.

    Montana is not alone in this--you will find similar numbers in most Western states.

    But wait . . there's less! That's right, the impact of designated wilderness reaches beyond the wilderness borders. Many obvious routes start and end in unrestricted areas, but a portion, often a very small portion, passes through a corner of designated wilderness, thus rendering the entire route useless. So, while we're banned from 54+% of the acreage, we're effectively removed from an even larger proportion of the trails. I can tell you from personal experience that the proposed new wilderness in Montana doesn't just remove us from more trails, it removes us from the BEST ones!

    What's most frustrating about this is the lack of necessity. Even if something only hurts a little, you shouldn't have to do it at all if it's not necessary. MTB impact is comparable to hikers and far less than horses, which are not excluded from wilderness, so you can see why we might be a little testy about any losses at all--there's just no legitimate reason for it--any impact-based argument for taking bikes out of the woods must also take out, at a minimum, horses and maybe hikers as well.
    All other things are rarely equal . . .

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by lacticacidbath
    you know what Twain said..."there are three types of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics".

    the problem with your whole point here is that Wilderness areas tend to me in mountains...and the sport we are talking about is mountain biking. There is a TON of flat, boring, heavily logged, mined, or otherwise pretty shitty areas that are BLM or NF land. you can ride on that terrain all you want...not exactly what I'm looking for.
    Furthermore, some of the new wilderness areas are places where there are existing singletrack has existed for as long as people have been riding bikes on dirt. Then, it's taken away, and it stings.
    Also, it's not like Wilderness is expanding a few drops or acres at a time, it affects one area greatly while then not affecting another at all. For instance, I live in Northern New Mexico, where we have great riding that none of (at least now, thank jah!) is threatend to be turned into Wilderness. But, if you lived in Bozeman MT where literally hundreds of miles of trail are suddenly getting closed to bikes, you'd have a different feeling about it, I'm sure.
    Lastly, to me....I fist learned about the Wilderness Act in the early 90's when I took a NOLS trip in High School...I was a total supporter. Then, in my late teens and 20's I became a rock climber, and hung out in Yosemite where the Park Service can blow up a wall to put a tunnel in to bring more tourons into the valley, but the Wilderness Area started 200' up any wall...so placing fixed anchors is illegal...anchors that no one besides a climber that needs them for a belay (we're not talking about bolting sport routes here) can see. Now, as a mountain biker, I see that I'm being banned from places I love to go.
    I love wild places, but don't support Wilderness. Now that's screwy, right? If the Wilderness act was re-written to allow more flexibility with it's users, it's number of supporters would grow, and getting more Wilderness areas passed would be eaiser. I think we all, as mountain bikers love wild places, the backcountry, mountains and forests and streams. And, we want them protected...but, sadly we're shut out of the most protective designation...and it sucks.
    sorry for the long post.
    I like your long post. I get it. I'm from Bozeman, MT.

    The worst thing about Wilderness is how the process has become political rather than about the land or about the people that appreciate it. When the Wilderness groups start truly working with the rural population that lives on these areas Wilderness will regain support and respect. Let's face it, it is not the only answer or always the correct answer to every issue. It is much easier to accept Wilderness when it isn't being crammed down your throat.
    I don't know what trail we're on, but at least it's getting dark

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by canuckjgc
    You simply don't understand how very small an area the Wilderness Act covers. Does it catch some MTB areas? Sure. But you still have 99.6% of the land left over.
    Nonsense. Wilderness areas are the very best lands to visit and enjoy and there is no valid reason why cycling is excluded as a reasonable managed recreational use (while horseback riding, for example, is rightfully allowed).

    If some minority, say African Americans, had been descriminated against in only 0.4% of the cases - would that be acceptable? You know - just not allowed to a very few good jobs - they still would have 99.6% of low paying ones, would not they?

    If hikers and equestrians had been excluded from visiting wilderness - would it be acceptable?

  31. #31
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    the whole pie please

    looking at the numbers on MT that were posted and IT seems that some things did not add up...

    I am wondering what amount of MT is private or developed(what ever that means)? I seemed to miss that..

    Also what amount of land is open to Mt bikers currently? ie NF, BLM and so on

    are bikes not allowed in roadless areas?

    ON average how long or far would most people ride here?

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fischman
    Viewed in this light, it becomes apparent that the existing baseline is already unacceptable, let alone any future losses.

    Montana is not alone in this--you will find similar numbers in most Western states.
    Very true, many of the backcountry options that are open to mt. bikes are trails where motorbikes are allowed. So these trails suffer from extreme ruts, and can get extremely dusty and not very fun when it stays dry for a few weeks.
    How do statistics account for this?
    Options to ride to enjoy a quiet non motorized pristine nature experience are very limited off of Wilderness Designated lands.
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  33. #33
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    my 2 cents

    As a mtber who has traveled extensively in the western states where almost all the wilderness areas are, I say that THERE ARE PLENTY OF PLACES FOR US TO RIDE without having to access wilderness areas, or wilderness study areas.

    Bikes affect wildlife more than a hiker or a horseback rider...just look at the speed factor if nothing else, not to mention the attitudes of WAY TOO MANY mtbers towards nature: kick its ass and rock on dude. Wilderness provides relatively (except in Montana and Idaho) small island of protected habitat for elk, deer, bears, cougars, and even wolves to thrive. Everywhere else is open to us, so quit whining and start riding.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuck80442
    As a mtber who has traveled extensively in the western states where almost all the wilderness areas are, I say that THERE ARE PLENTY OF PLACES FOR US TO RIDE without having to access wilderness areas, or wilderness study areas.

    Bikes affect wildlife more than a hiker or a horseback rider...just look at the speed factor if nothing else, not to mention the attitudes of WAY TOO MANY mtbers towards nature: kick its ass and rock on dude. Wilderness provides relatively (except in Montana and Idaho) small island of protected habitat for elk, deer, bears, cougars, and even wolves to thrive. Everywhere else is open to us, so quit whining and start riding.
    Haha funny... misleading stats now followed by distorted generalizations and grossly untrue statements. i can just imagine a host of mt. bikers chasing down critters across the terrain yelling out an old Metallica tune at the top of their lungs. (i hate Metallica... but i digress)

    i think an important thing to factor in to mt. bikers who disagree with the sentiment that bikes be allowed in Wilderness Areas is this will most likely NOT mean the floodgates would open and bikes would be allowed on every trail.

    What's more likely is quite the opposite.

    i mean i have a hard time wrapping my mind around the possibility of it happening first of all. But if it did, there would be a process and each trail/area would be examined for feasibility for bikes to accepted. There would be an opportunity for persons with concerns about the impact of bikes to be represented.

    i mean look at when Bush relaxed the process for mt. bikes to be allowed in National Parks. It's been well over a year since that's happened and i have not heard of any trails opening up or being created for bikes in National Parks.

    If anything it would affect the process in proposed Wilderness designated areas. Along with the current push from Montana to exclude mt. bikes from an area that is simply a process that examines if it's POSSIBLE to be Wilderness well before Congress approves it. That means trails open currently will close down because all of a sudden there is a claim that mt. bikes degrade the natural character of the land. That's what is really happening now.

    Great debate, i hope there are alot of mt. bikers paying attention. i've always felt that when you peel off the layers and learn about the process, you will find that mt. bikers have historically recieved a raw deal, and not much has changed.

    There is a vocal minority which make distorted claims and proudly and openly use litigation to get what they want when their lies and distortions aren't accepted as truth. So maybe there is something to all of this, i dunno.

    i personally hope so, blanket bans on mt. bikes are stupid. i haven't heard any reasonable logical argument here or anywhere that makes me think any different.
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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuck80442
    As a mtber who has traveled extensively in the western states where almost all the wilderness areas are, I say that THERE ARE PLENTY OF PLACES FOR US TO RIDE without having to access wilderness areas, or wilderness study areas.

    Bikes affect wildlife more than a hiker or a horseback rider...just look at the speed factor if nothing else, not to mention the attitudes of WAY TOO MANY mtbers towards nature: kick its ass and rock on dude. Wilderness provides relatively (except in Montana and Idaho) small island of protected habitat for elk, deer, bears, cougars, and even wolves to thrive. Everywhere else is open to us, so quit whining and start riding.

    here here,.... I agree completely I thought i was the only one here

    and I hope your ready for the onslaught of whiners to tear your argument apart

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuck80442
    As a mtber who has traveled extensively in the western states where almost all the wilderness areas are, I say that THERE ARE PLENTY OF PLACES FOR US TO RIDE without having to access wilderness areas, or wilderness study areas.

    Bikes affect wildlife more than a hiker or a horseback rider...just look at the speed factor if nothing else, not to mention the attitudes of WAY TOO MANY mtbers towards nature: kick its ass and rock on dude. Wilderness provides relatively (except in Montana and Idaho) small island of protected habitat for elk, deer, bears, cougars, and even wolves to thrive. Everywhere else is open to us, so quit whining and start riding.
    The issue isn't for "mtber's" who travel, it is for locals, racers, and big-ride adventure seekers. Wilderness isn't an issue until it shuts down a trail you love and ride on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. That is where the sting is.

    I don't know how many riders you know who have a bad attitude towards nature, but in the racer crowd, there are far more granola loving, bike commuting, hippie freaks than people who are cavalier about conservation.

    Furthermore, the Wilderness act is totally irrational, as it allows mule trains and horsepacking in remote areas.

    If you can offer some kind of compelling evidence that a horse, that weighs a thousand pounds, takes twenty pound shits and pees gallons at a time, has less impact than me on my 25lb bike, you win.

    I would not have any problem with wilderness designation if the Wilderness Act would be interpreted to allow bicycles.

    It baffles me that people try to argue FOR wilderness designations, especially if you claim to be a mountain biker.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuck80442
    As a mtber who has traveled extensively in the western states where almost all the wilderness areas are, I say that THERE ARE PLENTY OF PLACES FOR US TO RIDE without having to access wilderness areas, or wilderness study areas.

    Bikes affect wildlife more than a hiker or a horseback rider...just look at the speed factor if nothing else, not to mention the attitudes of WAY TOO MANY mtbers towards nature: kick its ass and rock on dude. Wilderness provides relatively (except in Montana and Idaho) small island of protected habitat for elk, deer, bears, cougars, and even wolves to thrive. Everywhere else is open to us, so quit whining and start riding.
    I'm not saying there shouldn't be wilderness areas, but the science doesn't back up your argument - mountain bikes do not have any more impact than hikers or horses. In the case of horses it's less impact. The problem is wilderness and roadless advocates use false arguments to ban bikes, and the trend is to expand these areas and further limit the trails we now have. It's driven largely by a mentality that the hikers and equestrians just don't like mountain bikers. It's not based on the science, it's based on the desire to not have to share the trails with bike riders - they go too fast, they scare me when I'm hiking, biking does not fit the emotional aesthetic of enjoying the outdoors at a nice slow speed, etc. The issue is not only limited to wilderness - many state. county and municipal parks are being shut out to bikers because the hiker/horse lobbies just don't like us and don't feel they have to share their trials with bunch of undesirable people. So you end up losing more and more access. So, if you like to ride, you need to stand up and oppose the expansion of land designations that prohibit biking. Otherwise you can say good bye to riding classics like the Continental Divide Trail, Monarch Crest, and on and on.
    When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. ~H.G. Wells

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    In NH we have the White Mountain national forest. We have many miles of trails but a lot of them are very steep and rocky going up mountains, really only for hiking. Luckily we also have a lot of nice hard packed singletrack that is cut into what was clearly much wider trails. There old railroad beds from the extensive logging that occurred at the turn of the century.

    Unfortunately most are in our 6 wilderness areas, some as new as 2006 and now off limits to us. This is where my problem with “Wilderness” comes from. I can’t use my bike there because I might do damage to some place that was completely clear-cut with miles of rail lines and river logging. Doesn’t make sense and seems awfully unfair.

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    IMBA provided congressional testimony about a Wilderness proposal in Colorado yesterday. The recommendations are to use bike-friendly companion designations rather than just Wilderness, and to create new management strategies that recognize the low-impact nature of mountain biking.

    http://www.imba.com/news/news_releas...testimony.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by CahillNH
    Unfortunately most are in our 6 wilderness areas, some as new as 2006 and now off limits to us. This is where my problem with “Wilderness” comes from. I can’t use my bike there because I might do damage to some place that was completely clear-cut with miles of rail lines and river logging. Doesn’t make sense and seems awfully unfair.
    This is the kind of stuff I don't understand. Whether it's Wilderness, National Parks, etc...
    It's not like we want to come in and radically alter the landscape...we are talking about properly maintained singletrack trails.
    How long would it take Mother Nature to "re-claim" them if they were not used? A season, maybe two?

  41. #41
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    I feel the sting as well, living in Missoula. I certainly can't think of any really good reason why I have to turn around at the boundary between the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area and Wilderness. And I know a lot of people pissed about the situation in Bozeman.

    But, keeping in mind that I do think bikes should have a place in Wilderness, I suggest a little perspective for those of us who live near federal lands of any sort. While riding on a local trail over and over, every week or more during the season, will certainly make us attached to it, legally we have no more say in the management of that piece of ground than anyone else. This is the Massachusetts argument, familiar to many Westerners. In fact, our use of these lands is effectively subsidized by the taxpayers from the rest of the country. This is not an opinion.

    So I suggest, when we argue for increased and maintained access, that we bring a real humbleness to the table in light of this fact. This is not true for just "us" as mountain bikers, but for all of us fortunate enough to have great access to federal lands for whatever use.

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    I think the science should be the determining factor, and the science shows no significant impact from MTB use on publicly own trails. The Wilderness advocates would gain a lot of allies without risk to wilderness if they'd open the Wilderness trails to MTBers.
    Happy Trails
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    Horses DO cause more damage than bikes! That's a fact. One local trail here in Utah that is multi-use is routinely torn apart by horses, while hikers and mountain bikers have to tiptoe around the horse crap and the deep scars left by the hooves. And they don't stay on trail! I have seen horse riders casually go off the trail and start riding anywhere they please! And the argument that mountain bikers don't care is simply BS. Like me, there are many who are not out to race a World Cup in a local trail. We take our time, slow down and take on the beauty that surrounds us, without tearing the trial or scaring the wildlife. In the end, what it comes down to is RESPECT. I have respect for the wilderness, but I don't see any respect from other groups, namely HORSE riders.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by jollybeggar
    I think the science should be the determining factor, and the science shows no significant impact from MTB use on publicly own trails. The Wilderness advocates would gain a lot of allies without risk to wilderness if they'd open the Wilderness trails to MTBers.
    People love to say this when it comes to land management issues, but unfortunately science cannot make decisions for us. To make decisions means we need to weigh values. Science can help inform us of appropriate methods to achieve our goals, but rarely are issues so clear-cut (har har) as to be solvable through science alone. Policy issues like Wilderness are of the type known as "wicked" to analysts for good reason.

    What I mean is this: Science can do a decent (though not always completely accurate) job of telling us what the most ecologically damaging action may be, or perhaps what the most economically viable decision is. It cannot help us weigh values like spiritual satisfaction derived from the wilderness experience, or the non economic value of recreation.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by speedmetal
    I don't see any respect from other groups, namely HORSE riders.
    Old money can afford to be arrogant.

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    Great post.

    Quote Originally Posted by M_S
    I feel the sting as well, living in Missoula. I certainly can't think of any really good reason why I have to turn around at the boundary between the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area and Wilderness. And I know a lot of people pissed about the situation in Bozeman.

    But, keeping in mind that I do think bikes should have a place in Wilderness, I suggest a little perspective for those of us who live near federal lands of any sort. While riding on a local trail over and over, every week or more during the season, will certainly make us attached to it, legally we have no more say in the management of that piece of ground than anyone else. This is the Massachusetts argument, familiar to many Westerners. In fact, our use of these lands is effectively subsidized by the taxpayers from the rest of the country. This is not an opinion.

    So I suggest, when we argue for increased and maintained access, that we bring a real humbleness to the table in light of this fact. This is not true for just "us" as mountain bikers, but for all of us fortunate enough to have great access to federal lands for whatever use.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by robinlikethebird
    here here,.... I agree completely I thought i was the only one here
    No, there are plenty of other irrational opponents of cycling. That is exactly the problem that we need to solve.

    Quote Originally Posted by Skookum
    Haha funny... misleading stats now followed by distorted generalizations and grossly untrue statements.
    He is just following the bluebrint.

  48. #48
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    The more I read about trail access in the western states the more I feel blessed to live in Pa.within an hours drive of where I live we have all most unlimited access to a dozen trail systems in which none are National Parks.Pa is a very friendly Mtn Bike state,access issues are all most unheard of at least in my neck of the woods.

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    The problem I see is that we have a user group (mountain bikers) who are completely eliminated by any wilderness designation. Yet, from the mountain biker's perspective, there doesn't appear to be a rational reason to do this related to the purpose of the wilderness designation. As opposed to resource extraction and motorized vehicles, there is both science and practical experience to support an argument that mountain bikes don't and won't have any more adverse impacts to trails than horses or hikers. This is especially true for wilderness, which because it is typically more remote will generally attract fewer DH and freeride bikes (I am absolutely not against DH/Freeride, I just think of this as the example that anti-bikers try to use to say all bikes are bad because they are the least compatible with other user groups).

    So, from a mountain bikers perspective, I see horses being allowed in wilderness and the only thing I can think of as a good argument is the statement above regarding the "spiritual satisfaction derived from the wilderness experience." That's about all there is, and I think its ridiculous. For one, it implies that having congress label an area as "wilderness" somehow deepens the spiritual experience of visiting there. More importantly, it appears to be a thinly veiled selfish decision to impose one's own values of what the wilderness experience "should" be. Sad...

    A better approach, from the mountain bikers perspective, would be to not have a flat ban on mountain bikes in wilderness areas but rather to allow them to be included in management plans just like horses, hikers, and new trails. The one illuminating thing in the OP's post (although I am sure he/she did not intend it) is even if mountian bikes do become allowed in wilderness there will be millions of other acres available for spiritual reflection well away from those damn dreaded mountain bikers=)

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by M_S
    It cannot help us weigh values like spiritual satisfaction derived from the wilderness experience, or the non economic value of recreation.
    What is the value of these experiences when there suddenly is none.

    Would you recognize that this can be said for both hiking and biking experiences?

    i would, so to me this intangible can be weighted on either side of the argument, but i think it applies clearly to the side that is refused access. i know i know, i could "still" choose to hike there, but to me i derive no satisfaction from hiking whatsoever. Only when i'm trekking in to do trailwork.

    Quote Originally Posted by speedmetal
    Horses DO cause more damage than bikes! That's a fact. One local trail here in Utah that is multi-use is routinely torn apart by horses, while hikers and mountain bikers have to tiptoe around the horse crap and the deep scars left by the hooves. And they don't stay on trail! I have seen horse riders casually go off the trail and start riding anywhere they please! And the argument that mountain bikers don't care is simply BS. Like me, there are many who are not out to race a World Cup in a local trail. We take our time, slow down and take on the beauty that surrounds us, without tearing the trial or scaring the wildlife. In the end, what it comes down to is RESPECT. I have respect for the wilderness, but I don't see any respect from other groups, namely HORSE riders.
    Moto's create more impact too. But like the horse folk they also take alot of time to log out trail. If there were no horses or motos on the trails up here, the trails would be littered with trees every year and absolutely no effective means to clear them. Mt. bikers have been and are continuing to get chainsaw certified as well, which is a good thing.

    So yah it's a pain when these two groups chop up the trail, but i'll take that challenge over having to stop and throw my bike over trees all the way down the mountain.

    Just sayin...
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  51. #51
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    Still more layers (and unsubstantiated statements) in this thread

    "canuckjgc you bring up some valid points, but unfortunately people a get their feelings hurt when you tell them that they can't bring their bike to any place the want to."
    "I feel that most of these people who are arguing for mountain biking will not stop until they can ride where ever they want when they want"
    Poor attempt to brush off legitimate arguments a emotional nonsense.
    I reiterate--what would be the reaction if we tried to ban hikers from over half of our roadless areas? Would anyone call them emotional or selfish when they balked?
    There's also an assumtion that anyone who argues for increased access, or at least the preservation of existing access, is arguing from a MTB point of view. Not so. I was (and continue to be) a backcountry hiker for 20 years before bying my first bike. For some years (also before the bike) I had horses in the mountains. I also grew up with an enduro motorcycle. When I speak, I speak as a current or former member of all these groups--no preconceived bias but rather opinions based on fact and direct experience in all these activities.
    Lastly, I haven't heard anyone advocate for unrestrained MTB access to any and all trails at any and all times. Most of us acknowledge that some trails aren't really suitable for or sustainable as MTB trails. We also accept certain restrictions: some trails are only open to MTB on certain days to prevent user conflicts, some are closed during certain times of the year (mountain goat kidding season for instance), and my awareness of my own mortality keeps me off some trails, open or not, during hunting season. All this is okay!

    "Bikes affect wildlife more than a hiker or a horseback rider"
    "Wilderness provides relatively (except in Montana and Idaho) small island of protected habitat for elk, deer, bears, cougars, and even wolves to thrive."
    Says who? Maybe in some or even most cases, certainly not in all.
    1. Speed factor? I've seen quite a few equestrians flying through the woods at a pretty good clip! After all, it's pretty easy to decide to go fast when you're not the one providing the power to do so.
    2. I've passed by many deer and elk on the bike without more than a head raised briefly from their grazing. I pass through quickly and they go about their business showing no signs of stress. Yet, when walking, I'm in their zone of concern much longer and they take much more notice of me.
    3. I grew up in a rural, mostly undeveloped part of the central Colorado Rockies. Never saw a mountain lion. The only wild lion I've ever seen was in a neighborhood I moved into in C Springs, half a mile from the nearest open space. I think they're getting used to us.
    2 and 3 revisited: Anybody whose made multiple trips from Denver west has probably seen herds of Bighorn grazing on the rocks right next to the freakin' interstate! Neither speed or human encroacment seems to be bothering them.
    Now, just so we're clear, I'm not advocating abandoning our need to preserve wild places and our moral responsibility to wildlife (see my comment above); I only make these observations to point out the unsubstantiated statements we're expected to accept as gospel are not part of a constructive argument.

    "attitudes of WAY TOO MANY mtbers towards nature: kick its ass and rock on dude"
    Anecdotal at best. I know such people exist, but I've never seen them in all my miles on the trail. In fact, quite the opposite.

    "In fact, our use of these lands is effectively subsidized by the taxpayers from the rest of the country."
    This is true and important to acknowledge. However, that's a two way street. How much taxpayer money went into disaster relief in New Orleans because they built a whole damn city below sea level?!? Again, just so we're clear, I'm not insensitive to the destruction and suffering; I only bring this up to point out that we all subsidize each other in many ways. Are westerners getting more or giving more? I don't know, and I'm not sure how much it matters. The point is that we shouldn't give up a legitimate claim on what's already there just because others may have subsidized it--it's there for everyone--some have simply made the choice to live where it's easier for them to take advantage of it.

    One new argument to throw out with regard to impact and the purity of the wilderness experience. I put forth the proposition that backpackers may have an even larger impact than MTBs. MTBs will almost always pass through pristine places, where the very act of backpacking means setting up a campsite. (I know there are bikepackers, but this is far less prevalent than backpacking or MTBing). The net result is that the bakpacker comes much closer to establishing a presence in the wilderness than the MTBer will. As for the bike being a mechanical device employing various degress and types of technology, have you seen the modern backpaker's quiver? Tents with ultralight titanium poles and space-age UV and tear resistant fabrics. Similarly evolved backpacks. Freeze dried, lightweight, calorie rich foods. And it's the "non-mechanical" backpacker, not the "mechanical" cyclist that will burn fossil fuels in the wilderness! That's right, folks, that magnificent little ultralight cookstove has to burn something, usually white gas or kerosene.

    Some of this is admittedly exaggerated for effect (yes, I admit when I commit hyperbole, unlike some others here), but the logic is sound.

    Out.
    All other things are rarely equal . . .

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    Good job!

    Quote Originally Posted by Fischman
    As an example, I'll use my beloved Montana.

    To emphasize the fact that I'm not using mountain bike biased data, I cite as my source the Montana Wilderness Association.

    Montana is 94,109,542 acres in total. Montana has 3,443,038 acres of designated wilderness. Ergo, Montana is approximately 3.66% wilderness.

    Sure, at first blush, that seems pretty skimpy and no cause for concern in the MTB community.

    But let's remember that most of the remaining land is private and, thereore not open to MTBs. While Montana is famous for its mountains, the majority of the state is actually prairie, farm and ranch land--not much fun on the bike.

    So lets look at a more meaningful measure. What gets us jazzed about riding? The mountains, the woods, the wilderness (not the legal definition, but a practical one). If we wanted pavement, we'd be roadies. So I submit that a more meaningful measure is roadless area.

    Again, according to the Montana Wilderness Association, Montana has 6,397,000 acres of roadless area. Bounce that off the 3,443,038 of already designated wilderness and we find that mountain bikes area already excluded from nearly 54% of our prime habitat! And this doesn't even take into account National Park land and other localized non-wilderness areas that maintain MTB restrictions. Viewed in this light, it becomes apparent that the existing baseline is already unacceptable, let alone any future losses.

    Montana is not alone in this--you will find similar numbers in most Western states.

    But wait . . there's less! That's right, the impact of designated wilderness reaches beyond the wilderness borders. Many obvious routes start and end in unrestricted areas, but a portion, often a very small portion, passes through a corner of designated wilderness, thus rendering the entire route useless. So, while we're banned from 54+% of the acreage, we're effectively removed from an even larger proportion of the trails. I can tell you from personal experience that the proposed new wilderness in Montana doesn't just remove us from more trails, it removes us from the BEST ones!

    What's most frustrating about this is the lack of necessity. Even if something only hurts a little, you shouldn't have to do it at all if it's not necessary. MTB impact is comparable to hikers and far less than horses, which are not excluded from wilderness, so you can see why we might be a little testy about any losses at all--there's just no legitimate reason for it--any impact-based argument for taking bikes out of the woods must also take out, at a minimum, horses and maybe hikers as well.
    Good post.

  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fischman
    "
    One new argument to throw out with regard to impact and the purity of the wilderness experience. I put forth the proposition that backpackers may have an even larger impact than MTBs. MTBs will almost always pass through pristine places, where the very act of backpacking means setting up a campsite. (I know there are bikepackers, but this is far less prevalent than backpacking or MTBing). The net result is that the bakpacker comes much closer to establishing a presence in the wilderness than the MTBer will. As for the bike being a mechanical device employing various degress and types of technology, have you seen the modern backpaker's quiver? Tents with ultralight titanium poles and space-age UV and tear resistant fabrics. Similarly evolved backpacks. Freeze dried, lightweight, calorie rich foods. And it's the "non-mechanical" backpacker, not the "mechanical" cyclist that will burn fossil fuels in the wilderness! That's right, folks, that magnificent little ultralight cookstove has to burn something, usually white gas or kerosene.

    Some of this is admittedly exaggerated for effect (yes, I admit when I commit hyperbole, unlike some others here), but the logic is sound.

    Out.
    Very sound logic. True and well stated.
    I don't know what trail we're on, but at least it's getting dark

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skookum
    What is the value of these experiences when there suddenly is none.

    Would you recognize that this can be said for both hiking and biking experiences?
    I would, sure. But the only point I was making in the post was that this is mostly not a scientific question. That's all.
    Last edited by M_S; 03-12-2010 at 10:52 PM.

  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fischman
    "In fact, our use of these lands is effectively subsidized by the taxpayers from the rest of the country."
    This is true and important to acknowledge. However, that's a two way street. How much taxpayer money went into disaster relief in New Orleans because they built a whole damn city below sea level?!? Again, just so we're clear, I'm not insensitive to the destruction and suffering; I only bring this up to point out that we all subsidize each other in many ways. Are westerners getting more or giving more? I don't know, and I'm not sure how much it matters. The point is that we shouldn't give up a legitimate claim on what's already there just because others may have subsidized it--it's there for everyone--some have simply made the choice to live where it's easier for them to take advantage of it.
    This is a reasonable point but I think it's more important to keep things in context. We're talking about Wilderness specifically, federally controlled lands more broadly. Also, more federal dollars go to rural areas than urban areas AFAIK so I do not know if we want to go down that road. The more important component of my post was that we should simply recognize that these are lands that belong to every citizen of the United States. The opinion of someone in NYC should, hypothetically, be weighed with about as much importance as ours. Now, of course that's not how it works, and in many cases the decision making is more or less deferred to local groups and managers, they being the most knowledgeable on the subject. However that simply makes us stewards of everyone else's land, and our disproportionate use is a form of subsidy.

    You are right to point out that there are many forms of subsidy. If we recognize when we are the beneficiaries of such, and show that we are grateful, I think this goes a long way towards winning people to our side. When we are perceived as whiners, shouting "no fair!" when our particular mode of recreational activity is disallowed, we will win nobody to our cause.

    One new argument to throw out with regard to impact and the purity of the wilderness experience. I put forth the proposition that backpackers may have an even larger impact than MTBs. MTBs will almost always pass through pristine places, where the very act of backpacking means setting up a campsite. (I know there are bikepackers, but this is far less prevalent than backpacking or MTBing). The net result is that the bakpacker comes much closer to establishing a presence in the wilderness than the MTBer will. As for the bike being a mechanical device employing various degress and types of technology, have you seen the modern backpaker's quiver? Tents with ultralight titanium poles and space-age UV and tear resistant fabrics. Similarly evolved backpacks. Freeze dried, lightweight, calorie rich foods. And it's the "non-mechanical" backpacker, not the "mechanical" cyclist that will burn fossil fuels in the wilderness! That's right, folks, that magnificent little ultralight cookstove has to burn something, usually white gas or kerosene.

    Some of this is admittedly exaggerated for effect (yes, I admit when I commit hyperbole, unlike some others here), but the logic is sound.

    Out.
    Overall a great post. But again I am not sure that parsing the definition of "mechanized use" or trying to prove we are low impact, even if it is the truth (I think we are, but I'm biased) will get us very far. It can be a component of our argument, sure, but I think there needs to be more, and it has to have the right tone.

  56. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by canuckjgc
    With all this hand-wringing over the Wilderness Act I had a look at actual land use in the USA and I think people should relax:

    - Total land: 1,937,700,000 acres (that's nearly 2 billion for the numerically challenged)

    - Wilderness Act covers: 9,000,000 acres (that's 0.4% of the total continental land mass)

    - Total developed land in the USA as a percent of total land: 5.6% (excluding Alaska!!)

    - About 75% of the population lives on this 5.6% of developed land

    - 94.4% of US land is forest, rural, range, pasture or crop.

    - 74% of the US is forest and range and pasture land (excluding crop land)

    If you live next to an area closing to MTB's that's not fun, but in the big picture, a very large chunk (74%) of the US is wilderness/rural/forest land.

    Figures from the US census: http://www.census.gov/compendia/stat...es/10s0354.pdf
    Your numbers are wrong. There's way more then 9M of federally designated Wilderness in the US. http://www.wildernessproject.org/pdf...itedstates.pdf Here in WA state, there's almost 4.5M, which is over 10% of the entire state. Not that comparing Wilderness acreage to total acreage is valid anyway, it should be compared to Federally owned lands IMO only IMO.

  57. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curmy
    Nonsense. Wilderness areas are the very best lands to visit and enjoy and there is no valid reason why cycling is excluded as a reasonable managed recreational use (while horseback riding, for example, is rightfully allowed).

    If some minority, say African Americans, had been descriminated against in only 0.4% of the cases - would that be acceptable? You know - just not allowed to a very few good jobs - they still would have 99.6% of low paying ones, would not they?

    If hikers and equestrians had been excluded from visiting wilderness - would it be acceptable?

    No, they would have either a portion of the 99.6% or all of the 99.6%. Theoretically, they could have 99.6% of the 99.6% but that would be improbable.

    You keep pounding on the horse issue, and I don't disagree with you that there has been a LOT of damage by horses. I would rather see them limit horse access however, instead of allowing cyclists in all Wilderness as well. I do side with those that have lost access to formerly legal trails through new designations.

    I am somewhat surprised by responses on the forum how few seem to enjoy access to Wilderness on foot. When I first started mountain biking, my backcountry partners were also my backpacking and backcountry skiing partners. It seems there is less crossover these days between hiking and biking. I do know a lot of people that bike and ski, but not that many that bike and backpack. Just my own personal observation.

  58. #58
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    The OP should look at a lot of maps of the northwest.

    If you go looking for trails to ride, you end up finding a few on National Forest Land. Then you find an area of the map and see trails going all over the place, and about the time your heart starts to skip a beat with excitement, you see the "Wilderness" boundary lines, and realize you can't ride any of them.

    There might be more National Forest acres, but there is a tremendously higher percentage of trail miles to acreage on Wilderness lands. What good does a million acres of Forest Land do, if there isn't even one trail on it, but right next door is a million acres of Wilderness with 300 miles of trails on it that you can't ride? Still equals no trails to ride.

    Now if the acreage ratio to trails was the same on National Forest land, we would indeed have nothing to cry about, but that is not even remotely close to being a fact.

  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by BumpityBump
    ]I am somewhat surprised by responses on the forum how few seem to enjoy access to Wilderness on foot.
    I have hiked and climbed a whole lot back in school. Now I have family and job and I do not have time for long overnight hikes. But I really enjoy a long day riding and see no good reason whatsoever why I should be denied access to the best public lands that are paid for with my tax dollars. I would not be damaging those lands or even impacting in any significant way and I would not spoil recreation for anybody else.

  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by canuckjgc
    With all this hand-wringing over the Wilderness Act I had a look at actual land use in the USA and I think people should relax:

    - Total land: 1,937,700,000 acres (that's nearly 2 billion for the numerically challenged)

    - Wilderness Act covers: 9,000,000 acres (that's 0.4% of the total continental land mass)

    - Total developed land in the USA as a percent of total land: 5.6% (excluding Alaska!!)

    - About 75% of the population lives on this 5.6% of developed land

    - 94.4% of US land is forest, rural, range, pasture or crop.

    - 74% of the US is forest and range and pasture land (excluding crop land)

    If you live next to an area closing to MTB's that's not fun, but in the big picture, a very large chunk (74%) of the US is wilderness/rural/forest land.

    Figures from the US census: http://www.census.gov/compendia/stat...es/10s0354.pdf
    I was wondering when someone would come up with an on-line version of Jenga.

  61. #61
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    Backcountry Transportation

    The plenty of other places to ride argument has it backwards for some of us Wilderness users. A mountain bike would be a damn good tool for traveling, exploring and enjoying Wilderness. A quiet, non-polluting, human-powered, low-impact means of getting around--really closer to a 'trail canoe' than a Jeep--would have been allowed by the original Act had it existed at the time.

    The sheer pleasure of riding MTBs for sport makes us forget that our bikes are excellent, Wilderness-compatible transportation. You can drive your car on the Interstate or in a circle at a track or parking lot--would that be adequate compensation for it being banned from two-lane roads so that horse-drawn buggies could make a comeback? Makes as much sense...

  62. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mule Ears
    The plenty of other places to ride argument has it backwards for some of us Wilderness users. A mountain bike would be a damn good tool for traveling, exploring and enjoying Wilderness. A quiet, non-polluting, human-powered, low-impact means of getting around--really closer to a 'trail canoe' than a Jeep--would have been allowed by the original Act had it existed at the time.

    The sheer pleasure of riding MTBs for sport makes us forget that our bikes are excellent, Wilderness-compatible transportation. You can drive your car on the Interstate or in a circle at a track or parking lot--would that be adequate compensation for it being banned from two-lane roads so that horse-drawn buggies could make a comeback? Makes as much sense...
    Excellent point!

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    Quote Originally Posted by thorkild

    So, from a mountain bikers perspective, I see horses being allowed in wilderness and the only thing I can think of as a good argument is the statement above regarding the "spiritual satisfaction derived from the wilderness experience." That's about all there is, and I think its ridiculous. For one, it implies that having congress label an area as "wilderness" somehow deepens the spiritual experience of visiting there. More importantly, it appears to be a thinly veiled selfish decision to impose one's own values of what the wilderness experience "should" be. Sad...
    I think you nailed it. The hiker position seems to be that there 'religion' (ie, spititual satisfactions derived from the wilderness experience) trumps our 'religion', even though science says the impact is similar. This is where science needs to rule. Maybe we need a church that advocates riding bicycles on backcountry singletrack as the path to salvation...

  64. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuck80442
    Bikes affect wildlife more than a hiker or a horseback rider...just look at the speed factor if nothing else, not to mention the attitudes of WAY TOO MANY mtbers towards nature: kick its ass and rock on dude.
    "Taylor and Knight: Hiking and biking cause same impact to large mammals on Utah island"

    "Papouchis, Singer and Sloan: Hikers have greatest impact on bighorn sheep"

    "Gander & Ingold: Hikers, joggers & mountain bikers-all the same to chamois"

    "Spahr: Hikers have greater impact on eagles than cyclists"

    http://www.americantrails.org/resources/ManageMaintain/SprungImpacts.html


    These studies suggest otherwise, and the results are not posted on a mountain bike specific site, it covers all trail interests.

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    It's about them taking Trails away that we have ridden for years, and deeming them 'Wilderness' or 'Experimental Wilderness'.
    It's about the insanity of allowing Horses and Outfitting inside Wilderness areas and excluding Cyclists.
    It's about getting thrown off of the land that you yourself own.
    It's about a growing Governmental Entity tht is being mechanized to carry out the whims and wishes of those who would claim a greater right to your own property than they would allow you to claim for yourself.
    Wake up.

  66. #66
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    I generally support wilderness distinctions. The problem is that so few places in America really qualify as wilderness. Most "wilderness" areas are wilderness in name only. You can't really create wilderness, but you can definitely ruin it and much of it was already ruined long ago.

  67. #67
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    I live near several large wilderness areas. I enjoy them on foot and on skis. I also have hundreds of miles of trails open to mountain biking. I enjoy them on foot, on skis, and on my bike. I consider myself someone who puts great value on the outdoors and wildlands. I love riding my mtb to the tune of around 3000 miles a five month season, but I also like being in wilderness where limitations on types of transportation limit the number of users and how far they can travel. The wilderness act does not exclude me, it just means I cannot ride my bike there. I'm OK with that.

    Also: The issue is not and never was about trail impacts. The sooner all the "horses cause more trail damage" people get past that argument, the better.

  68. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by ACree
    I think you nailed it. The hiker position seems to be that there 'religion' (ie, spititual satisfactions derived from the wilderness experience) trumps our 'religion', even though science says the impact is similar. This is where science needs to rule. Maybe we need a church that advocates riding bicycles on backcountry singletrack as the path to salvation...
    Except that spirtituality, for better or worse, was one of the primary motivators for the Wilderness movement, not science. I'll repeat, because it doesn't seem to be clear: sceince does not and cannot make value-based judgments for us. I agree with the poster who daid that the sooner we can get past the trail damage argument the better chance we will have.

  69. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm
    Also: The issue is not and never was about trail impacts. The sooner all the "horses cause more trail damage" people get past that argument, the better.
    Not true. The wilderness act itself is designed to set aside areas that are "untrammeled by man." Once set aside, the goal is to keep lands this way. This has everything to do with trail impacts of various user groups. At the agency level, the rules are designed to keep existing and future impacts once the designation is set. The issue is about allowing uses that are consistent with wilderness values (as congress has defined them, not some wandering soul's concept of the wilderness experience).

    Mountain bikers see the horse thing as the ultimate hypocrisy b/c the horses have serious impacts, yet are allowed because they fulfill some romantic notion about the old west. Mountain bikers don't have this impact, yet are excluded largely because someone once upon a time didn't think bikes meshed with their idea of the wilderness experience. I really don't think most people on this forum would actively advocate for the removal of horses from wilderness areas, its more the equal playing field theory.

  70. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm
    The wilderness act does not exclude me, it just means I cannot ride my bike there. I'm OK with that.
    And I am not. I do not have the luxury anymore to pursue many other activities - and why should I?

    Quote Originally Posted by zrm
    Also: The issue is not and never was about trail impacts. The sooner all the "horses cause more trail damage" people get past that argument, the better.
    Impact is the ONLY issue here. There is no other possible reason to exclude any activity on a publicly owned land.

    Quote Originally Posted by thorkild
    Mountain bikers see the horse thing as the ultimate hypocrisy b/c the horses have serious impacts, yet are allowed because they fulfill some romantic notion about the old west. Mountain bikers don't have this impact, yet are excluded largely because someone once upon a time didn't think bikes meshed with their idea of the wilderness experience. I really don't think most people on this forum would actively advocate for the removal of horses from wilderness areas, its more the equal playing field theory.
    Exactly.

  71. #71
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    I'd be fine with both horses and bikes banned from some areas. Wilderness designation is more or less supposed to restrict use and to preserve the land. Human usage is not necessarily a priority.

  72. #72
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    The following is from the Wilderness act. The first two quotes mention the American people (humans). The last talks about primitive and unconfined recreation.


    " it is hereby declared to be the policy of the Congress to secure for the American people of present and future generations the benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness"


    "For this purpose there is hereby established a National Wilderness Preservation System to be composed of federally owned areas designated by Congress as "wilderness areas", and these shall be administered for the use and enjoyment of the American people"

    "(2) has outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation; "

    Since the bike was invented sometime in the 1800's, I'd say that makes it fairly primitive. Yes, it's more modern now, but so are boots/shoes, tents, packs etc. To me, the way the act was interpreted in 1966 speaks volumes about the intent of Wilderness.

    “Mechanical transport, as herein used, shall include any contrivance which travels over ground, snow, or water on wheels, tracks, skids, or by floatation and is propelled by a nonliving power source contained or carried on or within the device.”

  73. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by rayray74
    “Mechanical transport, as herein used, shall include any contrivance which travels over ground, snow, or water on wheels, tracks, skids, or by floatation and is propelled by a nonliving power source contained or carried on or within the device.”

    IAW this statement it is perfectly legal for an individual to self propel themselves on a wheelchair yet if there was to be an individual confined to a Rascal chair then they are in conflict with the wilderness act. Yet their exists powered trams in and over designated wilderness areas. So where does my bike fit into the mix? Does it contain a non-living power source? If not then the trails should be considered open.

    A hang glider is also a banned item on the wilderness list, yet I could legally fly a para-glider over the same section of wilderness.

    To me it seems as if the entire congressional decree is in conflict with modern times. There is no conceivable means in which riding a bike will make a negative impact for future generations. Yet the issue remains. The wilderness act is old and obsolete IAW life today yet it remains standing.

    I’m not suggesting to go out and ride in designated wilderness areas, but to question the rules and framework around us as individuals. Write IMBA / Congress and anyone who you think will give two cents about the cause and perhaps it will make a difference.
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  74. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by s0ckeyeus
    I'd be fine with both horses and bikes banned from some areas. Wilderness designation is more or less supposed to restrict use and to preserve the land. Human usage is not necessarily a priority.
    Are we preserving it for our future alien overlords?

    What is exactly the point of "preserving"? From whom and for what purpose? Stated purpose is "shall be administered for the use and enjoyment of the American people". Where is "supposed to restrict use" here?

    Managed access for cycling does not interfere with preservation anyway - there is no reason to ban it. Out alien overlords would not know we took a spin on a few trails to enjoy nature.

    Yes, it's more modern now, but so are boots/shoes, tents, packs etc.
    My backpacking and backcountry climbing outfit is more technological - and heavier - then my bike. And I do not pack and use a stove on my bike.

    Anybody who preaches "wilderness experience" to exclude others should hike naked.

  75. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by rayray74
    The following is from the Wilderness act....

    “Mechanical transport, as herein used, shall include any contrivance which travels over ground, snow, or water on wheels, tracks, skids, or by floatation and is propelled by a nonliving power source contained or carried on or within the device.”

    Non-living power source? MTBs have a living power source right? Then MTBs should be exempt shouldn't they?
    "That which does not kill you makes you stronger"

  76. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by jayjudy13
    Non-living power source? MTBs have a living power source right? Then MTBs should be exempt shouldn't they?
    They actually changed that, after it was adopted, specifically to exclude bikes and hanggliders.

    Until we get a congress that has more bike riders then horse riders, I doubt much will change. They just do not understand what it is about cycling.

  77. #77
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    Wow, they went after the hanggliders too? I can't think of anything with less impact on the ground than that... unless they crashed... In that case, well, that would be terrible...
    "That which does not kill you makes you stronger"

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    I don't think the pack animals and horses are a good thing either, nor armies of hikers, and I have seen the damage caused by both firsthand. But WILDERNESS should be set aside primarily for WILDLIFE, and the last thing these remaining islands need is more people in them, on bikes or not. Imagine Colorado wilderness areas (already full of people) if bikes are allowed as well. I think it is more important to focus on riding and creating trails/access elsewhere. Fight to keep existing trails and access, but leave wilderness alone. There are many millions of acres of public land open for us to ride in as it is, including plenty of the epic high altitude mileage that tends to be protected wilderness.

    Contrary to many posts here, wilderness designation is hard to come by, as it requires an act of Congress as well as support by Senators and Representatives from the state where the wilderness is proposed, something that is not very easy to get. It is not being applied willy-nilly. There are more important things at stake then whether or not we get to ride in a wilderness...such as the survival of endangered species, the possibility for reintroduction of wolves in the southern rockies, preventing complete fragmentation of remaining animal habitat et cetera.

    I live in Northern New Mexico and I will never run out of trails and double track to explore around here no matter how long I ride. I grew up in Northern Colorado, a place with plenty of wilderness areas, and there are still countless miles of bike friendly terrain I have not yet explored.
    Last edited by chuck80442; 03-15-2010 at 01:53 PM.

  79. #79
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    OK, I'm not reading through the entire thread, just want to know.......that they are also closing this off to those 1,000kg+ beasts as well

    Quote Originally Posted by cutthroat
    True - biking along the Jew Jersey turnpike is definitely no different than biking the Monarch Crest Trail (which the wilderness advocates want to close to bikes. Who would know?).
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold
    You're doing mtbr wrong, you're supposed to get increasingly offended by the implications that you're doing ANYTHING wrong.

  80. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by jayjudy13
    Non-living power source? MTBs have a living power source right? Then MTBs should be exempt shouldn't they?
    That was the original forest service interpretation. Bikes weren't "officially" banned until the mid-80's.

  81. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuck80442
    But WILDERNESS should be set aside primarily for WILDLIFE
    No, that is an anti-human eco-extremists interpretation and it is not how the law was written, nor is it the intended purpose of the law.

    We are preserving nature for us and our children to enjoy, not for somebody else.

    Quote Originally Posted by chuck80442
    Contrary to many posts here, wilderness designation is hard to come by
    Rubbish. Best trails are taken away by that designation.

    Quote Originally Posted by chuck80442
    I live in Northern New Mexico and I will never run out of trails and double track to explore around here no matter how long I ride.
    If you are contempt being discriminated, it your problem. Do not make it ours.

  82. #82
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    So Curmy, basically it's all about you and what you want? If something is not useful to you and your needs (be it profit or entertainment) it is useless? Just trying to understand where you're coming from.

  83. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm
    So Curmy, basically it's all about you and what you want? If something is not useful to you and your needs (be it profit or entertainment) it is useless? Just trying to understand where you're coming from.
    No, it is not about what I want. It is about the needs of the second largest group of trail users. We, the people, own those lands, and yes, we manage them for our benefit and the benefit of the future generations.

    What do you suggest? Why would you want to limit recreational use that does not damage anything? For some theoretical anti-human notion?

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    It's not all about what Curmy wants . . .

    . . . or what I want either. It's about what's right, what makes sense, what's consistent.

    It's so easy to try to end rational discussion by dismissing your adversary as selfish. By taking this moral faux high ground, you attempt to discredit their arguments by discrediting them personally. But a rational debate should remain on topic and not stray into character assasination.

    I'll go out on a limb and claim to speak for most folks on the "no more wilderness" side of this debate. All we want (more importantly, all we're entitled to, morally if not legally) is access to those areas where our presence will contribute no additional negative impact. Most bikers are willing to consider a number of conflict- and impact-reducing strategies such as even/odd days, seasonal closures, land swaps, etc. I'm sure, if we put our heads together, we could come up with even more creative ideas.

    The whole "we're excluded from XXXX" vs "you've still got YYYYY available to you" argument is bogus and has no place in this discussion. If it was legit, the folks on the "more wilderness" side of the debate would be equally willing to apply this to hikers and equestrians.

    I have been a hiker for 35 years and a biker for 10. When I offer the following opinion, I do it without bias toward one group or another, and I freely admit it is an outgrowth of my own personal experience.
    1. Many years before I even considered purchasing a bike, I would see signs indicating bike restrictions on certain trails. My reaction wasn't "Hooray for me! I don't have to share this trail!" It was disappointment that someone else could not enjoy the woods in their chosen way.
    2. I never worried about bike encounters. It's very easy to take a step or two on the edge or just off to the side of the trail. I always stepped aside for bikes to pass in either direction and never felt my experience was diminished in any way. This makes sense as this slight and very temporary detour didnt' disturb my hiking flow in any way, but I knew expecting the biker to yield would disturb his/her flow. Slowing down to walking speed and especially dismounting do have an appreciable impact on the biking experience. I'm not advocating hikers yeild; the requirement for bikes to yield is too entrenched and there may be legitimate safety reasons for it. I point this out to show that, even where bikes are allowed, they are the ones making the concessions. As of now, hikers are restricted from nothing. I'm not lookong to exclude hikers, only to point out inconsistencies.

    I can think of two occasions where I have offended hikers. In one case, I approached from the front, gradually slowed down, and stopped a good 30 yards away, dismounted the bike, and proceeded to walk by them, offering a friendly greeting in passing. The only response I received was a few scoffs and some under-the-breath muttering as I rode out of earshot. The other time was a similar event where I approached from behind, announced my presence in as friendly a voice as possible, and politely asked if I could pass. Similar reaction. In both cases, I offered no offense. In fact, I went to great effort (as I always do) to offer no offense. They were only offended because they chose to be offended.

    I object to the intellectual dishonesty where people choose, without reason, to be offended, and then use that manufactured offense as evidence in their argument that bikes degrade the backcountry experience for others. (Yes, I know there's some bad apples out there, but they are in a very small minority and shouln't prevent the good ones from enjoying what should be open to them.)
    All other things are rarely equal . . .

  85. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curmy
    If you are content being discriminated, it's your problem. Do not make it ours.
    He did mention double track too, so take his opinion with a grain of salt.

    His stance don't jibe with me niether. In Washington State there are quite a few protections that are not exclusive to an area be it Wilderness Designation or Motorized designation. From I-90 north (the highway runs through the middle of the State) there are provisions for Grizzly Bear habitat, which states that there will be no new trail built anywhere unless to mitigate the loss of road or trail somewhere else.

    So in no way is the big W exclusive to the protection or reclamation effort of a species.

    Wilderness Designation is just another designation.

    Being a Native American i also have a big problem with the idealized notion that the lands were untouched by man prior to Western settlement. Quite the contrary Indians managed the land by starting fires which cleared the underbrush, thinned the forests. Many of the forest lands were harvested for timber resources since. Now all the forests have grown in thicker. When the land becomes Wilderness the "ideal" is for it to burn as that is the natural course, however the problem lies is now we have land that's been altered, so the burns cause massive environmental damage in dry areas.

    You look at the Wild Sky Wilderness here in Washington State. It's coming down off the alpine areas of the Cascade Mountains of existing Wilderness areas. These old Wilderness areas typically in truth too rugged to feel the effects of management from man Western or Native. Wild Sky is the ongoing trend, you can certainly bet more areas are and will continue to be targeted for Wilderness Designation that by the letter may in truth not originally would have qualified it to in fact be Wilderness. In other words many lands that should be Wilderness already are, and many lands being targeted of recent no so much so...

    So to be clear this is speaking towards the concerns of future expansion of Wilderness, which is subject to a review process, but this process is changing. Existing Wilderness again was (for the most part) appropriately designated as such imo.

    Now, even if cycling were somehow allowed in, it would actually cause mt. bikers to be on the new Wilderness Designation Environmental expansion push. And really as far as designation's go it's still an antiquated way to manage. People who think managing the forests are strictly about "raping the forest until it's resources are exhausted" are simply smoking too much crack. But we as mt. bikers would now be by default, a huge part of the new environmental coalitions to push for more. And it wouldn't be that great of a thing...

    Do mt. bikers want environmental protections for the National Forest. Sure, but those professing Wilderness as the best ever, sure as hell lie constantly sugar coating the ill-effects of it, or moreso overstating the positive effects from it. Yes In that respect, the ban of mt. biking is not the only distortion about the original intent of Wilderness for certain. The whole letting the fire rage until it get's close to the border thing is just stupid in some situations.

    Yes wildfires were natural, but many of them were caused by Natives too. And it was a practice that when done with regularity caused changes in the environment. This does not diminish the effect of how things were managed afterwards. The common thought of early pioneer loggers was to mow down the forests, as it was just sight pollution, all these enormous trees in the way of potential roads and towns. There were all kinds of shiny metals to pull out of the hills.

    But there is still logging, and there is still mining going on, much of it on private land which is very nice land and worth protecting in it's own right imo. And to that extent with the new laws that have subsequently been created in modern times, there are now protections.

    Another problem with the environmental ideal while we're on this road is the fact that pulling resources from the U.S.A. provides these protections in a sustainable manner. Whereas if we get our McDonalds bag from paper from wood pulled up from the rain forest in Brazil where a clear cut ensures that area will turn into the next Persian Gulf...

    One world baby...

    So there is way more to worry about in my mind about the current "state" of caring about the environment. In many ways it's very flawed as it feeds off of the will of people who want to do right for this world. It's a shame as it's so much an exploitation in many ways as you peruse these various groups websites and see so much poppycock.


    Roping the topic back into the blanket bike ban specifically it's very difficult for me to also wrap my head around the fact that there are so many people that profess to care for the environment, that they want themselves be the only ones to enjoy it and only under the conditions they see fit. Get over it, i personally feel that whatever recreation persons choose, it does bring them out to enjoy the great outdoors. Certainly with varying degrees of impact, and that impact has been expressed about pretty good here. But ultimately the more persons you are able to get off the of the tube and see the awesome sights of the land and living things on it, the more there will be a shared respect and want for protection. The promotion of low-impact recreation should be a priority for not only the health of our own species, but also to provide lessons of respect the ideal of quiet serene places. If it takes people to get their on a bike then so be it.
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  86. #86
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    Wow, Skookum! . . . . best contribution yet to this thread!
    All other things are rarely equal . . .

  87. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuck80442
    Contrary to many posts here, wilderness designation is hard to come by, as it requires an act of Congress as well as support by Senators and Representatives from the state where the wilderness is proposed, something that is not very easy to get. It is not being applied willy-nilly. There are more important things at stake then whether or not we get to ride in a wilderness...such as the survival of endangered species, the possibility for reintroduction of wolves in the southern rockies, preventing complete fragmentation of remaining animal habitat et cetera.
    Bingo, though the precedent is set for not needing home state senators with Alaska Wilderness, which was vehemently opposed by Alaskan senators

    It's nice to feel the victim, but on most people's radar, mountain biking is not very important. Not at all, really.

    And if you all want to decry the injustice of limited access to wilderness by bikes, then surely y'all would invest an even greater passion and effort in volunteering to lead groups of underprivileged inner-city kids into the woods, because they sure as heck don't have many chances to play in the outdoors, much less ride expensive toys in Wilderness. Right? If you don't get equally riled up about that, then all of your cries of injustice ring pretty hollow to me, and I should be on your side.

    I support lifting the ban in the abstract sense that there is no real reason to keep it in place. I support it because it seems like it would make more people support protective designations. But I also feel that a lot of people need to grow up and look at the bigger picture, instead of just their preferred, privileged recreational activities.

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    I am so impressed by the thoughtful posts regarding this topic. Everyone contributing has managed to kill the troll that started the thread.

    I simply cannot add any words of value to the dicussion. You guys are helping me immensly.

    But I would like to add an observation. Over the last several years of advocacy in Montana, the agency (forest service) wording is that bicycling is an incompatible use in a Wilderness Area (extended now to Recommended Wilderness). I must add the inverse of that agency statement. Wilderness is an incompatible use in a bicycle area.

    Skookum and Fischman truly rock.

    One final item, I was just made aware of a much to the point article in the March Outside magazine. Page 22. I scanned it quickly at a bike shop and will be trying to buy the issue. I have no idea if it is still in the newstands. It speaks to this very subject we address, and is a very bold statement from the usual Outside magazine fare.
    I don't know what trail we're on, but at least it's getting dark

  89. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by M_S
    It's nice to feel the victim, but on most people's radar, mountain biking is not very important. Not at all, really.
    Mountain biking is the second largest group of trail users. Yes, promoting healthy recreational activities is very much important.

    Quote Originally Posted by M_S
    And if you all want to decry the injustice of limited access to wilderness by bikes, then surely y'all would invest an even greater passion and effort in volunteering to lead groups of underprivileged inner-city kids into the woods, because they sure as heck don't have many chances to play in the outdoors, much less ride expensive toys in Wilderness. Right?
    Right. And that relates to that discussion how? Are you asserting that mountain biking enthusiasts are on average less involved with other worthy causes? If you do imply that - you are very much full of it.

  90. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by formica
    Maybe you are trolling?
    Maybe you figured it out

  91. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by canuckjgc
    You simply don't understand how very small an area the Wilderness Act covers. Does it catch some MTB areas? Sure. But you still have 99.6% of the land left over.
    Fall for Propaganda much?

    The entire percentage as stated is misleading in how it is figured to begin with, one as previously noted, must also look at what area's and where it is covered, wilderness acts are pointless and take away from your very own survival, your computer, is made from oil and mined minerals, it takes something like 100 tons of Ore for one ounce of Gold, think about that, just for gold, now think of the area you really need for that, What is your bike made from and how many have you had? How do you whipe your ass, do you want to continue whiping it? Or not just so you can look at a friggin wilderness area? Wilderness area's are fire hazards, large animals dislike them as they are hard to move around in because of dense undergrowth. Put a bit more thought into this before you Eliminate the very survival of this country.

  92. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by M_S
    Bingo, though the precedent is set for not needing home state senators with Alaska Wilderness, which was vehemently opposed by Alaskan senators

    It's nice to feel the victim, but on most people's radar, mountain biking is not very important. Not at all, really.

    And if you all want to decry the injustice of limited access to wilderness by bikes, then surely y'all would invest an even greater passion and effort in volunteering to lead groups of underprivileged inner-city kids into the woods, because they sure as heck don't have many chances to play in the outdoors, much less ride expensive toys in Wilderness. Right? If you don't get equally riled up about that, then all of your cries of injustice ring pretty hollow to me, and I should be on your side.

    I support lifting the ban in the abstract sense that there is no real reason to keep it in place. I support it because it seems like it would make more people support protective designations. But I also feel that a lot of people need to grow up and look at the bigger picture, instead of just their preferred, privileged recreational activities.
    The jerk in chief is designating more land as national monuments, which gives them more power similar to the wilderness acts, so once again, the constitution is crapped on.
    second wilderness area's limit the access to only certain groups of healthy individuals, it is unconstitutional. And they should be repealed.

  93. #93
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    Outside article

    I found the Outside article online.

    http://outside.away.com/outside/cult...cycle-ban.html
    I don't know what trail we're on, but at least it's getting dark

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    Quote Originally Posted by GregB406
    I am so impressed by the thoughtful posts regarding this topic. Everyone contributing has managed to kill the troll that started the thread.

    I simply cannot add any words of value to the dicussion. You guys are helping me immensly.

    But I would like to add an observation. Over the last several years of advocacy in Montana, the agency (forest service) wording is that bicycling is an incompatible use in a Wilderness Area (extended now to Recommended Wilderness). I must add the inverse of that agency statement. Wilderness is an incompatible use in a bicycle area.

    Skookum and Fischman truly rock.
    I absolutely agree. The 2 threads regarding Wilderness have given me a lot of hope, and maybe more importantly, encouragement that MTB'ers have educated, articulate opinions. Nothing is impossible in this Wilderness issue.

  95. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curmy
    Right. And that relates to that discussion how? Are you asserting that mountain biking enthusiasts are on average less involved with other worthy causes? If you do imply that - you are very much full of it.
    It's relevant because it should make it starkly clear that you are not so much a "loser" in this situation as you purport to be. As a mountain biker who would also love to be able to ride in certain Wilderness areas, your posts strike me as extraordinarily selfish. You constantly represent yourself as a victim. I do not think you are.

    Not to mention over the course of these two threads I have tried to explain the political and legal issues relevant to Wilderness access, and a lot of people still don't seem to get it. That's the internet I guess, though. Time for me to bow out.

  96. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by M_S
    It's relevant because it should make it starkly clear that you are not so much a "loser" in this situation as you purport to be. As a mountain biker who would also love to be able to ride in certain Wilderness areas, your posts strike me as extraordinarily selfish. You constantly represent yourself as a victim. I do not think you are.
    That is your opinion and it contradicts the basic facts of the matter.

    Fischman has already addressed the "selfish" accusation a few posts above. (http://forums.mtbr.com/showpost.php?...&postcount=84). You have no facts to stand on and resort to a feeble personal attack.

    Quote Originally Posted by M_S
    Not to mention over the course of these two threads I have tried to explain the political and legal issues relevant to Wilderness access, and a lot of people still don't seem to get it.
    Yes, it is very hard to "get" the meaning behind a complete lack of facts and logic in your statements. Guilty as charged.

  97. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm
    I live near several large wilderness areas. I enjoy them on foot and on skis. I also have hundreds of miles of trails open to mountain biking. I enjoy them on foot, on skis, and on my bike. I consider myself someone who puts great value on the outdoors and wildlands. I love riding my mtb to the tune of around 3000 miles a five month season, but I also like being in wilderness where limitations on types of transportation limit the number of users and how far they can travel. The wilderness act does not exclude me, it just means I cannot ride my bike there. I'm OK with that.

    Also: The issue is not and never was about trail impacts. The sooner all the "horses cause more trail damage" people get past that argument, the better.

    Not seeing how much different xc skiing is from mtb'ing as I do both.

    Seems they are both mechanical means of transpo in my eyes... in the summer, xc tracks melt, in the winter xc bike tracks are buried under snow.
    "Someone must have put alcohol in my beer last night." ~ Mr. Richard Baty, Esq.


  98. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by M_S
    And if you all want to decry the injustice of limited access to wilderness by bikes, then surely y'all would invest an even greater passion and effort in volunteering to lead groups of underprivileged inner-city kids into the woods, because they sure as heck don't have many chances to play in the outdoors, much less ride expensive toys in Wilderness. Right? If you don't get equally riled up about that, then all of your cries of injustice ring pretty hollow to me, and I should be on your side.
    i appreciate and respect the opinions raised and i see what you're shooting for. But this argument is not fair for a plethora of reasons. Firstly you're not aware of what the mt. biking community does, but i understand knowing a few mt. bikers that go above and beyond with kids programs. Take a kid riding days, and kid bicycle festivals.

    Not to say Curmy or anyone specifically would be signing up for these events, but this illustrates a key flaw in your position. If you consider that there is a certain level of effort that it takes to defend access (time/money/energy), then what in turn is to use the argument right back at you that the issue itself is wastefully robbing effort towards something that you personally would find more noble.

    Again your stance admittedly as well as mine is a bit of a reach.

    But since you raised the topic i'll demonstrate to you a project that wound up consuming well over a year of my free time.

    I-5 Colonnade Mt. Bike Skills Park Downtown Seattle underneath a freeway. You can peruse at your leisure, but i can and will say that i'm still going down to the park to work, various projects (i hardly ever ride there) and i still see neighborhood kids riding their bikes around. Mom or Dad with kids or a parent will bring a book and sit on a bench while their kid rides the park.

    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.ph...ighlight=tqalu

    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.ph...ighlight=tqalu

    And i even got my uncle to create some digital art, and with his help created these signs, which i had to personally fundraise additional money about $800 because we fell short in the project. But i saw the opportunity to spark the imagination of kids of all ages within the signs which should trickle down to more local understanding and appreciation of our environment.

    http://forums.mtbr.com/showpost.php?...2&postcount=56

    When i advertised the signs in particular, is when i was verbally attacked via email by Mike Robinlikethebirdvandeman about how my ancestors would be ashamed of what i had done.

    So i figured M_S, since you "went there", i'd humor you.
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  99. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skookum
    i appreciate and respect the opinions raised and i see what you're shooting for. But this argument is not fair for a plethora of reasons. Firstly you're not aware of what the mt. biking community does, but i understand knowing a few mt. bikers that go above and beyond with kids programs. Take a kid riding days, and kid bicycle festivals.

    Not to say Curmy or anyone specifically would be signing up for these events, but this illustrates a key flaw in your position. If you consider that there is a certain level of effort that it takes to defend access (time/money/energy), then what in turn is to use the argument right back at you that the issue itself is wastefully robbing effort towards something that you personally would find more noble.

    Again your stance admittedly as well as mine is a bit of a reach.

    But since you raised the topic i'll demonstrate to you a project that wound up consuming well over a year of my free time.

    I-5 Colonnade Mt. Bike Skills Park Downtown Seattle underneath a freeway. You can peruse at your leisure, but i can and will say that i'm still going down to the park to work, various projects (i hardly ever ride there) and i still see neighborhood kids riding their bikes around. Mom or Dad with kids or a parent will bring a book and sit on a bench while their kid rides the park.

    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.ph...ighlight=tqalu

    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.ph...ighlight=tqalu

    And i even got my uncle to create some digital art, and with his help created these signs, which i had to personally fundraise additional money about $800 because we fell short in the project. But i saw the opportunity to spark the imagination of kids of all ages within the signs which should trickle down to more local understanding and appreciation of our environment.

    http://forums.mtbr.com/showpost.php?...2&postcount=56

    When i advertised the signs in particular, is when i was verbally attacked via email by Mike Robinlikethebirdvandeman about how my ancestors would be ashamed of what i had done.

    So i figured M_S, since you "went there", i'd humor you.
    Well stated Skooks...

    Also, take a gander at just how much participation there is in Take A Kid Mountain Biking Day: (Our local club has been doing it since it started)

    BIG OL' MAP-O-MTB CARING

  100. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by M_S

    And if you all want to decry the injustice of limited access to wilderness by bikes, then surely y'all would invest an even greater passion and effort in volunteering to lead groups of underprivileged inner-city kids into the woods, because they sure as heck don't have many chances to play in the outdoors, much less ride expensive toys in Wilderness. Right? If you don't get equally riled up about that, then all of your cries of injustice ring pretty hollow to me, and I should be on your side..
    Boy, that's about the biggest pile of "holier than thou" drivel that has been served up in a long time!!

    Going by that weak logic, we should never complain if we get unsafe food, or water or anything else, because after all, there is always someone somewhere that is eating worse food, or drinking dirtier water, or not riding a bike at all.

    If you are so darn holy, get off the mountain bike forums, sell your bike, and give the money to charity.

  101. #101
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    Now the hard part

    Taking to the next level.

    A group. A club. An organization. A revamp of IMBA. A legal challenge.

    Now it becomes hard.
    I don't know what trail we're on, but at least it's getting dark

  102. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blurr
    The jerk in chief is designating more land as national monuments, which gives them more power similar to the wilderness acts, so once again, the constitution is crapped on.
    second wilderness area's limit the access to only certain groups of healthy individuals, it is unconstitutional. And they should be repealed.
    So should people be able to drive cars anywhere they want just because they will be discriminated against for being "unhealthy"? Is it our Constitutional right to be fat and lazy? Sure, but that doesn't mean that I will then have the right to demand a road so my fat ass can be driven to the top of the mountain. I know that's not what others are saying, but your post suggests that you are against wilderness areas specifically because only healthy people can enter them??!!?? Besides, somebody who is too unhealthy to hike in a wilderness area sure as hell isn't going to be able to pedal his or her bike there either.

  103. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuck80442
    So should people be able to drive cars anywhere they want just because they will be discriminated against for being "unhealthy"? Is it our Constitutional right to be fat and lazy? Sure, but that doesn't mean that I will then have the right to demand a road so my fat ass can be driven to the top of the mountain. I know that's not what others are saying, but your post suggests that you are against wilderness areas specifically because only healthy people can enter them??!!?? Besides, somebody who is too unhealthy to hike in a wilderness area sure as hell isn't going to be able to pedal his or her bike there either.
    Rubbish. Nobody is suggesting to ride everywhere. Cars drive on planned and maintained roads. Bikes ride on well designed and maintained trails. You arguments are beyond contrived.

  104. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lawson Raider
    What areas get protected should be left with the states and the people therein. They have more stake in that land than the federal government does. I don't trust the Federal Government to do what is right because it always seems they have alterior motives other than protecting wilderness.
    I think the idea that state governments are, on average, any more (or less) trustworthy or competent than the feds to be ludicrous.

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    "Putting 'Wilderness Act' in perspective."

    I'm still waiting for it to happen. I'm making the 105th post and it hasn't happened yet.

    This might help those who are only inwardly looking.

    Why is it that Biosphere Reserves, World Heritage Sites, UNESCO Programmes, 'Sustainable Environments' and 'Man and the Biosphere', the 'Wildlands Project', and 'Convention on Biological Diversity', and repeated submissions at the Earth Summits ... all call for wilderness reserves and corridors surrounded by highly regulated "buffer zones?"

    And why do federal agencies, the Sierra Club, the Wilderness Society and other environmental groups strongly promote the same agenda?

    It must be just coincidence?

    If US mountain bikers keep thinking that it is only from within the United States that the changes to access to wilderness within the US is being driven .... well keep supporting the IMBA and writing to your congressmen. Those unelected UNESCO delegates will guarantee that you will keep seeing much of the same changes being repeated. Enjoy the wilderness today ... because as the trends are showing, wilderness one day, will be only for wildlife managers and researchers.

    Warren.
    Last edited by Wild Wassa; 03-17-2010 at 10:34 AM.

  106. #106
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    Habitat connectivity and the recognition that ecological processes have little regard for reserve boundaries.

  107. #107
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wild Wassa
    Why is it that Biosphere Reserves, World Heritage Sites, UNESCO's Programmes, 'Sustainable Environments' and 'Man and the Biosphere', the Wildlands Project, and Convention on Biological Diversity -- all call for wilderness reserves and corridors surrounded by highly regulated "buffer zones?"
    All those worthy activities have nothing to do with imposing undue restriction on low impact human visitation. Just look at the available commercial tour operators at, say, top 10 Biosphere Reserves.

    Look at the list of Mexican Biosphere preserves: http://www.glocaltravel.net/destinat...e-reserves.asp. Notice that activities include mountain biking.

    There is absolutely no rational reason to issue a blanket prohibition on such recreational activities in those lands. We need to preserve them - not take them away.

  108. #108
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    "We need to preserve them - not take them away." -Curmy.

    Curmy, I totally agree.

    "There is absolutely no rational reason to issue a blanket prohibition on such recreational activities in those lands." - Curmy.

    I also agree, but it is happening by degrees. Think of what we once had ... and think about what we are now permitted to have?

    I can ride a bike in the Biosphere reserves here in Australia, with much limited access. Those same areas before they were turned into Biosphere reserves or were given legislated wilderness status no one even cared about. Token areas on the fringes, that's all we are being given nowadays. My region of SE Australia, the fines for biking out of area in non-wilderness can be as high as $3,300 in a place like Royal National Park. Or as high as $11,000 in the Kanangra-Boyd Wilderness, a part of the Greater Blue Mountains Biosphere.

    Are you saying that there is unlimited mountain biking in the Mexican Biosphere reserves? ... Is access highly regulated or unlimited like you appear to be implying? I think we all know tour operators visit Biospheres Mate.

    It was not only Biosphere reserves that I was mentioning but a general approach to wilderness. When the Wilderness Act was first passed into law, the US had one Biosphere Reserve ... now in the US there are about 50? ... with highly regulated biking access?

    The long term plan (the programmes were first proposed decades ago), is to start linking the Biospheres reserves as wildlife corridors ... we 'aint seen nuth'n yet.

    Warren.
    Last edited by Wild Wassa; 03-17-2010 at 11:17 AM.

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    Where I live, the animals actually thrive with the help of the trails. Makes it easier for them to travel and find food.

    I really think the previous President would have signed an EO, with a little pressure, heck the guy was a MTB. The current one not a chance.

  110. #110
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wild Wassa
    Is access highly regulated or unlimited like you appear to be implying?
    In no way or shape I have ever implied unlimited unregulated use of public lands.


    So far all counter arguments against lifting a complete prohibition of cycling in Wilderness areas fell into the following logical fallacies:
    1) Circumstantial Ad Hominem attacks - we want everything only out of self interest
    2) Misleading Vividness - somebody somewhere built an illegal trail
    3) Slippery slope - allowing bikes will inevitably lead to ATVs riders with chainsaws clearcutting forests.
    4) Appeal to tradition
    5) Red herring

    ... I must be missing some others.

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    I bet Teddy Roosevelt would have ridden a MTB had he been president now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Curmy
    Rubbish. Nobody is suggesting to ride everywhere. Cars drive on planned and maintained roads. Bikes ride on well designed and maintained trails. You arguments are beyond contrived.
    I was referring only to Blurr's post.

  113. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbikernc69
    I bet Teddy Roosevelt would have ridden a MTB had he been president now.
    I bet you're right. I also bet the current president hasn't been on a bike since he was 12.
    To the troll mobile, away...

  114. #114
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    Nope current president does not seem like the rugged outdoorsy type.

    Dean

  115. #115
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    Quote Originally Posted by dstepper
    Nope current president does not seem like the rugged outdoorsy type.

    Dean
    And so now the topic comes to a grinding halt.

    i can sure as hell bet you'll never catch Rush Limbaugh out riding Porcupine Rim either, but that's so much a whole lot of nothing. Isn't Rush Canadian? Love to see him take a run down North Shore.

    Bush did that National Park thing for mt. biking, that's it, big whoop. What the hell did he care he has a whole ranch he can ride to himself...

    My opinion is Bush sucked bad, but i think he could actually do a lot to help mt. biking now, as an ambassador for good health and such. i look at Clinton and i just don't get any kind of response about physical recreation that doesn't involve cigars...
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  116. #116
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    Quote Originally Posted by California L33
    I bet you're right. I also bet the current president hasn't been on a bike since he was 12.

    he's more of a awkward looking, Trek comfort bike barney.. so yeah, you're right!



  117. #117
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    Quote Originally Posted by dstepper
    Nope current president does not seem like the rugged outdoorsy type.

    Dean



  118. #118
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    Quote Originally Posted by N8!
    HELL NO!

    i knew you'd chime in with your McCopy/McPastey ways. No better way than to bastardize a political thread than to introduce large scale politics.
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  119. #119
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    Lol
    "Someone must have put alcohol in my beer last night." ~ Mr. Richard Baty, Esq.


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    I completely resent that accusation. My point (undisputed) is that the Wilderness Act takes up a mere 1.1% of public access lands.

    All other arguments are in the vein of "but that 1.1% happens to include a good chunk of great riding" or that the Wilderness Areas happen to be in your backyard and there is a NIMBY attitude.

    That's why I called the thread "putting it perspective". Most countries (except Canada) would kill for the vast amount of MTB'ing available in the US.

    The hue and cry in other threads made it sound like MTB'ing was an endangered activity.

    It is useful to look at the big picture.

    Quote Originally Posted by GregB406
    I am so impressed by the thoughtful posts regarding this topic. Everyone contributing has managed to kill the troll that started the thread.

    I simply cannot add any words of value to the dicussion. You guys are helping me immensly.

    But I would like to add an observation. Over the last several years of advocacy in Montana, the agency (forest service) wording is that bicycling is an incompatible use in a Wilderness Area (extended now to Recommended Wilderness). I must add the inverse of that agency statement. Wilderness is an incompatible use in a bicycle area.

    Skookum and Fischman truly rock.

    One final item, I was just made aware of a much to the point article in the March Outside magazine. Page 22. I scanned it quickly at a bike shop and will be trying to buy the issue. I have no idea if it is still in the newstands. It speaks to this very subject we address, and is a very bold statement from the usual Outside magazine fare.

  121. #121
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    Quote Originally Posted by canuckjgc
    I completely resent that accusation. My point (undisputed) is that the Wilderness Act takes up a mere 1.1% of public access lands.
    It is very much disputed. Did you read the thread?

    Your contrived accounting does not even closely reflect the tangible negative impact of wanton restrictions on cycling, especially in the Western states.

  122. #122
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    "- Wilderness Act covers: 9,000,000 acres" That number is wrong

    Bureau of Land Management 8,741,287
    Fish & Wildlife Service 20,702,488
    Forest Service 36,160,055
    National Park Service 43,890,670
    Total 109,494,500

  123. #123
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    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta
    I think the idea that state governments are, on average, any more (or less) trustworthy or competent than the feds to be ludicrous.
    Hear, Hear!

  124. #124
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    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta
    I think the idea that state governments are, on average, any more (or less) trustworthy or competent than the feds to be ludicrous.
    Both al gore in 2000 and john kerry in 2004 had campaign position statements supporting state and local governments to have more voice in federal land management decisions.

    Who do you think would make a better decision regarding federal land use -- a local with many years experience in the area and familiar with local needs and conditions, or a cabal of lawyers and lobbyists in Washington who have never been to the area in question?

  125. #125
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbikernc69
    I bet Teddy Roosevelt would have ridden a MTB had he been president now.
    Correct! Read his autobiography, particularly the chapter where he explains WHY he created the forest reserves. He felt they would be developed faster in government hands. The timber companies and miners would utilize only the profitable parts and leave the rest locked up. His vision was small settlements and communities all through the western forest interconnected by a network of roads and trails. The forest reserves were created to facilitate his vision, and later transferred them from Dept of Interior to Dept of Agriculture because Interior wasn't developing them fast enough.

    and the wacky enviros all lionize him as the great wilderness savior. LOL!!!

  126. #126
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    Quote Originally Posted by dstepper
    Nope current president does not seem like the rugged outdoorsy type.

    Dean

    By his own admission. He stated many times during his campaign he does not have experience in outdoor issues (and then went on with some ambiguous generic milque toast statement about using the best science to manage public lands).

  127. #127
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    A perspective on a perspective...

    The initial thread post with its ‘perspective’ on the don’t-whine-you-greedy-mountain-bikers-look-at-these-statistics begs the question: What are we protecting with a Wilderness designation? Are we defending a special landscape from mining, logging, new roads, structures and expanded motorized use - or are we sheltering it from bicycles? Or are we protecting the jobs of those employed by the Wilderness-machine that depends on new Wilderness to justify their existence? What has been missing from this dialog is any other manner of permanent protection, like companion designations to Wilderness, which preserves (w)ilderness character AND allows bicycles.

    http://www.wildernessbicycling.org/d...s_compare.html

    Personally I have no desire to fight the fight to get bikes into existing (W)ilderness areas as too much time, money and blood has already been squandered in this pursuit. But when it comes to bicycles being excluded from trails, including the Continental Divide Trail, that have been respectfully ridden for decades in the name of NEW permanent protection that bans our quiet, human powered activity, I get fired up.

    Let me paraphrase a section from the Wilderness Act before I continue my rant.

    "An area of wilderness is further defined to mean . . . an area of
    undeveloped Federal land retaining its primeval character and
    influence . . . and which . . . generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man's work substantially unnoticeable.”


    And

    "An area of wilderness is further defined . . . [as] undeveloped Federal land . . . [containing] outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation. . . ."

    So tell me how a wall tent city in the Bob Marshall Wilderness complete with wood fired hot tubs that were packed in by the animals that have worn the trails to shambles and graze their way across the scenic and hopefully-weed-free meadows while the dudes that paid BIG MONEY to recreate in and ‘experience’ the Wilderness via a commercial permit on our public lands sit relaxing in cantilevered canvas chairs with bodies wrapped in zippered and velcro-ed eco-friendly plastic fuzziness while listening to Mozart – or Jerry Garcia - on their i-pods while reviewing the days’ data on GPS' that were charged by the roll-up 10 x 20 inch photovoltaic panel while sipping cappuccinos that were frothed by the steam generated in a fancy Italian contraption over a pressurized propane stove that was lit by a Bic lighter’s rotating spark wheel resulting in loosened bowels that were relieved in a pit latrine is in keeping the with (w)ilderness character of the area? Oh - did I mention that fishes’ lips were ripped using one of those dreaded mechanical reels and carbon fiber fly rods? Or an elk was shot using a lever action Winchester 30-30 or compound bow after using a laser range finder to determine shot distance? Quick – document that (W)ilderness moment for the folks back home with that fancy digital SLR with its rapidly flapping mirror and shutter. Oh how I digress…

    But it is unacceptable to continue riding bicycles on a small percentage of trails in areas that contain (w)ilderness attributes deserving permanent protection because the ‘mechanical presence’ destroys that same precious (w)ilderness character? And this quiet and low impact mode of transport is perceived to stand in the way of new permanent land protection in the minds of those who subscribe to the (W)ilderness-or-nothing mind set / groupthink?

    Excuse Me! HELLO?

    The collective cycling community is a huge conservation minded constituency invested in the trails we currently ride and want to see these opportunities permanently protected. Do some of our public lands deserve Wilderness level protection? – Heck ya! Do we need to have a trail-by-trail dialog about traditional and historic bicycle use when we are discussing new landscape protection? ABSOLUTELY! It is very short sighted of the Wilderness-only conservation community to continually put us ‘greedy’ backcountry bicyclists in an adversarial position.
    More land could be permanently protected, including new (W)ilderness, if our support was solicited instead of spurned.

    The time is now to squawk loudly to our elected officials and land managers about the appropriateness of continued backcountry bicycle access to our spectacular trails on PUBLIC lands.

  128. #128
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    "So tell me how a wall tent city in the Bob Marshall Wilderness complete with wood fired hot tubs that were packed in by the animals that have worn the trails to shambles and graze their way across the scenic and hopefully-weed-free meadows while the dudes that paid BIG MONEY to recreate in and ‘experience’ the Wilderness via a commercial permit on our public lands sit relaxing in cantilevered canvas chairs with bodies wrapped in zippered and velcro-ed eco-friendly plastic fuzziness while listening to Mozart – or Jerry Garcia - on their i-pods while reviewing the days’ data on GPS' that were charged by the roll-up 10 x 20 inch photovoltaic panel while sipping cappuccinos that were frothed by the steam generated in a fancy Italian contraption over a pressurized propane stove that was lit by a Bic lighter’s rotating spark wheel resulting in loosened bowels that were relieved in a pit latrine is in keeping the with (w)ilderness character of the area? Oh - did I mention that fishes’ lips were ripped using one of those dreaded mechanical reels and carbon fiber fly rods? Or an elk was shot using a lever action Winchester 30-30 or compound bow after using a laser range finder to determine shot distance? Quick – document that (W)ilderness moment for the folks back home with that fancy digital SLR with its rapidly flapping mirror and shutter. Oh how I digress…"

    That had me rolling….but that sad thing is, it's true.

  129. #129
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    Quote Originally Posted by dave54

    Who do you think would make a better decision regarding federal land use -- a local with many years experience in the area and familiar with local needs and conditions, or a cabal of lawyers and lobbyists in Washington who have never been to the area in question?
    That entirely depends on the state or local government you are talking about. I think you grossly underestimate the power of business and other lobbying interests at state and local levels. You can influence a local politician/agency much more cheaply than a federal one. I think it is best that some lands come under federal control, and others state control, (or lands have components of both state and federal management) the key is balance.

    Corrupting influences aside, I do not agree that the locals always know better. The issue of snowmobiles in Yellowstone park is an example of this, IMO.

    Of course I do not agree with all fed decisions regarding protected lands (bikes in wilderness areas being one obvious example), but on average I think the feds do a better job of protecting lands than state and local agencies, who are usually under more pressure to develop and/or exploit them, and have fewer resources and clout to fight a business interest (or any interest for that matter) that may not have the best interests of the protected land in mind.
    Last edited by kapusta; 03-18-2010 at 09:16 AM.

  130. #130
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuck80442
    So should people be able to drive cars anywhere they want just because they will be discriminated against for being "unhealthy"? Is it our Constitutional right to be fat and lazy? Sure, but that doesn't mean that I will then have the right to demand a road so my fat ass can be driven to the top of the mountain. I know that's not what others are saying, but your post suggests that you are against wilderness areas specifically because only healthy people can enter them??!!?? Besides, somebody who is too unhealthy to hike in a wilderness area sure as hell isn't going to be able to pedal his or her bike there either.
    Reading comprehension is fundamental.

  131. #131
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    Quote Originally Posted by rayray74
    "So tell me how a wall tent city in the Bob Marshall Wilderness complete with wood fired hot tubs that were packed in by the animals that have worn the trails to shambles and graze their way across the scenic and hopefully-weed-free meadows while the dudes that paid BIG MONEY to recreate in and ‘experience’ the Wilderness via a commercial permit on our public lands sit relaxing in cantilevered canvas chairs with bodies wrapped in zippered and velcro-ed eco-friendly plastic fuzziness while listening to Mozart – or Jerry Garcia - on their i-pods while reviewing the days’ data on GPS' that were charged by the roll-up 10 x 20 inch photovoltaic panel while sipping cappuccinos that were frothed by the steam generated in a fancy Italian contraption over a pressurized propane stove that was lit by a Bic lighter’s rotating spark wheel resulting in loosened bowels that were relieved in a pit latrine is in keeping the with (w)ilderness character of the area? Oh - did I mention that fishes’ lips were ripped using one of those dreaded mechanical reels and carbon fiber fly rods? Or an elk was shot using a lever action Winchester 30-30 or compound bow after using a laser range finder to determine shot distance? Quick – document that (W)ilderness moment for the folks back home with that fancy digital SLR with its rapidly flapping mirror and shutter. Oh how I digress…"

    That had me rolling….but that sad thing is, it's true.
    Rayray74 is added to my list of heroes. Dreaded mechanical reels and ripped fish lips. Sweet.
    I don't know what trail we're on, but at least it's getting dark

  132. #132
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregB406
    Rayray74 is added to my list of heroes. Dreaded mechanical reels and ripped fish lips. Sweet.
    Can't take credit for the original post. It just had me laughing.

  133. #133
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    I'm a die hard mountain biker, but like a few other posters, I'm conflicted on this one.

    Some thoughts:
    If one of my local gems was being taken away, I'd be upset and downright pissed (seems like the situation in Montana).
    But I am an advocate of preserving wild spaces and severely limiting human access to areas that are truly special and human impacts would change them forever.
    To me, the worst possible outcome would be to allow ATVs, motorcycles and snow machines additional access.

    Here's an honest question for you folks:
    I understand that a bike doesn't cause more erosion or make more noise than a hiker or equestrian. But, to me, the root of the issue is numbers. Realistically, the number of horses isn't really growing (is it?). It such a big deal to live on property that can support horses and trailer them to trailheads that the number is self-limited. Mt Biking, on the other hand is exploding. Bikes are getting better all the time (easier to be on rugged terrain) and more and more people are biking every year. It's not too hard for me to imagine real and significant impacts from this growth to a trail like, say, the Monarch Crest, that is shuttle-able, and relatively close to a huge metro area.

    What is the thinking on that argument? Is there "science" that addresses this concern?

  134. #134
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    Quote Originally Posted by dino
    human impacts would change them forever.
    What would be an example of an area where a singletrack would "change it forever"?

    Well constructed trail would disappear in a few years if plowed over. There will be no tangible trace. Nothing will change. No pollution left behind, no invasive species dropped in manure, no wood burned. Our mere presence does not spoil anything - except for mood of anti-human blowhards.

    The notion that the mere visitation by humans in some area will necessarily "change it forever" is ridiculous and unsupported by facts. If you are concerned by sheer numbers - we already have a system of permits to limit the number of visitors. Bikes need no special treatment here.

    Global pollution and its effects on the whole planet is important. People enjoying nature on their bikes are not - maybe it will just add few more enthusiasts to address the real impacts of humankind.

  135. #135
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curmy
    What would be an example of an area where a singletrack would "change it forever"?

    Well constructed trail would disappear in a few years if plowed over...
    If you are concerned by sheer numbers - we already have a system of permits to limit the number of visitors.

    Global pollution and its effects on the whole planet is important. People enjoying nature on their bikes are not - maybe it will just add few more enthusiasts to address the real impacts of humankind.
    Curmy - I don't really disagree. My point is that many folks in this tread have said something to the effect of "science does not support a claim that bikes do more damage than horses." I agree with that on a one-to-one comparison, but I think the effect of opening *some* very remote and hard to access (on foot) places to bikes will mean more people. So my question (exaggerated to make a point) is: Is the impact of 5 equestrians the same as the impact of 1000 bikes (or pick your number)? In my experience wild places are changed not by hikers, bikers or horses per se, but by large numbers of humans in general. Many fragile environments are significantly altered by humans (crypo soil, tundra, nesting sites, etc).

    Also - are you advocating restricting access by way of permits? I'm aware that this is done in the Grand Canyon for rafting and in some National Parks for backpacking, but it's not exactly common practice on mountain bike trails, is it?

  136. #136
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    Quote Originally Posted by dino
    Also - are you advocating restricting access by way of permits? I'm aware that this is done in the Grand Canyon for rafting and in some National Parks for backpacking, but it's not exactly common practice on mountain bike trails, is it?
    Yes, first come - first served permits work just fine for a a few of popular trails in the Sierras here. For the most popular ones you need to reserve well in advance during the high season. Not too many of those (Whitney portal for example). Seems like a reasonable and fair solution to overcrowding for those few spots where it is a problem.

    It is not a common practice on mountain biking trails, since there are no mountain biking trails in the Wilderness or National Parks.

  137. #137
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    Something they've done here is alternate uses for every other weekend, and certain days of the week. I think more for user conflicts than numbers, because it's separated as "motorized/non-motorized", but it could be an example of how to handle a crowded trail.

  138. #138
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    I search out and find remote out of the way places to ride, examples, Kaibab plateau, AZ and Sequioa National Forest, CA. When trails are near urban areas yes they get a lot of use. Some areas like Colorado seems to get the press and are popular. But there are legacy trails all around the west; like in Sequoia National Forest that were built by the Conservation Corps in the 20's that currently are abandoned, overground, and have not seen a trail crew in decades. We have reopened Summit Trail in Quaking Aspen and are working on other trails near Kernville. My point is the average MTB heads off to certain popular MTBing designations that have shuttle, guide services and comforts. Few explore off the beaten path to the more remote out of the way designations. Most MTBers are weekend warriors with a road trip once a year, not ones that bikepack or spend a week or two on roadtrips. I don't believe the bikepackers and backcounty riders will ever being a large user group.

    Dean

  139. #139
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    Who do you think would make a better decision regarding federal land use -- a local with many years experience in the area and familiar with local needs and conditions, or a cabal of lawyers and lobbyists in Washington who have never been to the area in question?[/QUOTE]

    One of the biggest reasons we are even fortunate enough to be having this conversation about public lands is due to the fact that Roosevelt etc. took control of the land from the LOCALS (including local arms of big business at the time) who were quickly liquidating the forests and rangeland for their own short term profit.

    The feds make mistakes, but I would rather have them holding and managing our forests and deserts than hand over control to local interests who are all too often just looking to cash in on the resources over the short term rather than caring about the long term viability of an area and the wildlife within.

  140. #140
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    When hikers and equestrians worked with land managers 25 years ago to ban mountain bikes form wilderness and ensure their own exclusive access in perpetuity that was selfless stewardship of precious wildlands. When MTBers ask for an equal share of access to trails in wilderness areas, that's selfish.

    When MTBers attempt to block proclamation of roadless areas with some of the best wild XC riding available in order to preserve historic access, that's selfishly putting their own access needs first. When hikers and equestrians ram thorough the wilderness designation anyway, robbing MTBers of access that harms no one while expanding their cachet of lands and trails where they enjoy exclusive access, that is selfless good stewardship and forward thinking, preventing devlopment of wildlands, doing what's best for our grand children. Really?

    The people who are getting everything they want are the hikers and equestrians and they always want more. Most MTBers and advocacy groups like IMBA want more wilderness too even if that means giving up some historic access. That's not selfish at all.
    Last edited by MTBJong; 03-18-2010 at 07:47 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MTBJong
    When hikers and equestrians worked with land managers 25 years ago to ban mountain bikes from wilderness and ensure their own exclusive access in perpetuity that was selfless stewardship of precious wildlands. When MTBers ask for an equal share of access to trails in wilderness areas, that's selfish.
    Well said.

  142. #142
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    Great discussion, but I just wanted to drop an idea in here re MTBs supposedly startling wildlife more than other trail users. Studies I've seen suggested they couldn't tease out a more detrimental effect of bikes than walkers, as has already been stated.

    Now for the completely anecdotal part: as a person who's hunted small game and trundled about on foot, on wheels, and on horses in game-rich woods for many years, I'm not going to be surprised if bikes end up winning this one in the end. The reason is pretty simple: hunters usually walk.

    I grew up on the Olympic Peninsula, Olympic nat. park having been created by Roosevelt himself in big part to protect elk herds. Hunters up there have been spitting profanity for years about how smart those elk have gotten... when the first shot is fired (usually a day or so before legal season unfortunately), the elk run straight for the park. Reports are plentiful of a whole herd of elk blasting just over the park line, turning around, and standing there staring back at the hunters. So somehow they're figured out EXACTLY where the boundary is.

    If the elk are smart enough to get all that straight, I have no doubt that they'll figure out very quickly that people on bikes don't ever have guns and people on foot sometimes do. As it is I've been able to get amazingly close to a wide variety of wildlife on the bike so I suspect it's already happening.

    And if you really want to see wildlife freak out, just bring a dog. It doesn't have to be big, it doesn't have to be loose, and it doesn't have to actually do anything- the rise in immediate deer/elk/etc panic factor is pretty obvious. They should be pre-programmed to avoid canids if they're going to survive anyway, so this isn't a huge surprise.
    "...Some local fiend had built it with his own three hands..."

  143. #143
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    Quote Originally Posted by verslowrdr
    Great discussion, but I just wanted to drop an idea in here re MTBs supposedly startling wildlife more than other trail users. Studies I've seen suggested they couldn't tease out a more detrimental effect of bikes than walkers, as has already been stated.

    Now for the completely anecdotal part: as a person who's hunted small game and trundled about on foot, on wheels, and on horses in game-rich woods for many years, I'm not going to be surprised if bikes end up winning this one in the end. The reason is pretty simple: hunters usually walk.

    I grew up on the Olympic Peninsula, Olympic nat. park having been created by Roosevelt himself in big part to protect elk herds. Hunters up there have been spitting profanity for years about how smart those elk have gotten... when the first shot is fired (usually a day or so before legal season unfortunately), the elk run straight for the park. Reports are plentiful of a whole herd of elk blasting just over the park line, turning around, and standing there staring back at the hunters. So somehow they're figured out EXACTLY where the boundary is.

    If the elk are smart enough to get all that straight, I have no doubt that they'll figure out very quickly that people on bikes don't ever have guns and people on foot sometimes do. As it is I've been able to get amazingly close to a wide variety of wildlife on the bike so I suspect it's already happening.

    And if you really want to see wildlife freak out, just bring a dog. It doesn't have to be big, it doesn't have to be loose, and it doesn't have to actually do anything- the rise in immediate deer/elk/etc panic factor is pretty obvious. They should be pre-programmed to avoid canids if they're going to survive anyway, so this isn't a huge surprise.
    Yet dogs are allowed in Wilderness. More proof it's not about the "impact" of a bicycle.

  144. #144
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    Quote Originally Posted by dino
    Here's an honest question for you folks:
    I understand that a bike doesn't cause more erosion or make more noise than a hiker or equestrian. But, to me, the root of the issue is numbers. Realistically, the number of horses isn't really growing (is it?). It such a big deal to live on property that can support horses and trailer them to trailheads that the number is self-limited. Mt Biking, on the other hand is exploding. Bikes are getting better all the time (easier to be on rugged terrain) and more and more people are biking every year. It's not too hard for me to imagine real and significant impacts from this growth to a trail like, say, the Monarch Crest, that is shuttle-able, and relatively close to a huge metro area.

    What is the thinking on that argument? Is there "science" that addresses this concern?
    The number of horses is limited by the number of wealthy persons. If your goal is to only allow the rabble to access on foot and the rich on horseback I guess that works out

    If you are worried about numbers deal with numbers. Require use permits. Many wilderness areas would not be impacted greatly by Mtn bikes. Only those near large population centers would have a big issue, but it is irrelevant since trail use can be restricted regardless of wilderness designations.

    You go to Tsali and horse and bike swap days on trails, other places trails are closed to bikes, or horses. It doesn't take a wilderness designation to do this. It just takes management.

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    yet we're not allowed in,
    http://www.oregonlive.com/news/index...to_more_t.html
    bunch of bulls***.

  146. #146
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    Here's what I don't like, and I hope I can explain this clearly.

    Anymore, it seems like a very vocal minority (say 5% of people) seems to dictate what the other 95% of us can do. This seems true in all aspects of life, not just in mountain biking. Its all special interest groups, anymore. They have one ***** and they persue it relentlessly. Eventually, congress placates them by passing some bill to get them to shut up.

    But it doesn't really get them to shut up, and the Wilderness Act won't get the segment of the population that want bikes off public lands to shut up, either. They'll just set their sights on the next group of lands that are still shared use and raise a fuss about those, as well. They won't rest until all bikes are banned from all public lands so the land can be "pristine" by their standards. Meanwhile the jackasses out there that litter, tear stuff up, show disrespect to the land/wildlife, etc. will still be there, just minus the bike crowd. Nothing will really change except there won't be any bikes.

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    Here's more food for thought cause it's really about nature and the environment. Right?

    Ever wonder how the equestrian rider gets to the trail? These remote trails in wilderness areas. They drive a big gas guzzling truck with a large trailer for how many miles to the trail head. Nothing like a caravan of large trucks with trailers to help the environment. Then, in order to enjoy the "wonders of nature", they strap a large "animal leather" saddle to a beautiful living animal and force that animal to do their bidding. And let the enslaved animal sh*it everywhere. All in the name of enjoying "nature".
    Let's not candy coat the issue here. It's not about protecting anything. Well it is but not in a "nature" sense. As others have said, it is about creating exclusive areas for their particular user group. Ask any hiker or equestrian if they would support the wilderness proposal if it banned them as well. If they said anything other than "Hell no", then they are bald faced liars or anti-humanists.
    It's the same for the Health care bill. Why is congress not willing to accept and use the proposed health care plan? Hmm? I wonder. Face it folks, It's like Ricky Bobby said, If your not "First", your last.
    Common sense is not prevailing in the "Pro-wilderness" argument and if you don't agree you are personally attacked and mocked and useless easily debunked arguments are thrown at your group and any valid points are typically just ignored.
    I call it the "I know you are but what am I" type of argument. It's tactics are described in detail in Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals" book.
    Fellow mountain bikers, make no mistake, We are systematically being attacked by those that seek to reduce greatly our access to areas prime for mountain biking.
    Some might say I am being a bit "overzealous" but its all been done before and I say...
    "First they came for the jews"
    Last edited by wormvine; 03-21-2010 at 11:21 AM.

  148. #148
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    Wormvine: You sound a bit paranoid when you compare not being able to ride your bike on a section of trail to being hauled away in cattle cars to become slave labor until you are gassed to death. Do you watch a lot of Glenn Beck? Go for a bike ride and chill out man.

  149. #149
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    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta
    That entirely depends on the state or local government you are talking about. I think you grossly underestimate the power of business and other lobbying interests at state and local levels....
    Do you believe there is no lobbying at the federal level? The only difference is Washington lobbying is done for philosophical reasons at the programmatic level where local lobbying tends to be for specific areas.

    The Wilderness Act was passed in 1964, but was written and first proposed in Congress in 1955. It had zero support then from the Congressional leadership of either party. It was a non-starter by either the dems or the repubs. It only gained momentum when states, local governments, and local organizations began to support it. Today, who is screaming for reform of the much maligned 1872 Mining Act and the 1934 Taylor Grazing Act? -- Answer: state and local governments. Congress is afraid to touch those two laws. The last time anyone tried was Interior Sec Bruce Babbit in 1994, but the Congressional leadership of both parties opposed it (looming mid term elections) and the Clinton White House told him to back down. The western states are still urging reform but the current Congress is deaf to the issue. Who added all the additions to the National Wilderness Preservation System since 1964? Congress makes the final decision, but only if state and local governments concur, and the nominations for new wilderness are all from local grassroots. Very few have been added over local objections. Many have been withdrawn from consideration because of local objection, usually for valid reasons. Wilderness designation is not always supported by science.

    Wilderness existed long before the 1964 Act anyway. The first was created in 1922 by the Forest Service with support and concurrence of locals. They were administrative reclassifications as 'Wild Areas', and if you pore over old maps (pre 1964) you will see them shown as such. The 1964 Act took the existing Wild Areas, renamed them Wilderness, and made their status federal law and not an administrative classification.

    You also make the mistake of equating wilderness designation with protection. The two terms are not synonymous. Sometimes they are diametrical opposites and the best protection for an area is to actively manage it. In designated Wilderness natural process are required to be allowed to progress without any human interference -- whether desirable or not. So the last remaining population of a rare orchid was allowed to die out from an easily controlled leaf disease because backpack fungicide sprayers were not allowed in a wilderness. Sudden Oak Death disease is spreading in California wilderness areas because intervention is not allowed, likewise introduced noxious weeds and insects. Firefighting tactics are limited in Wilderness areas, and erosion control structures on trails, like footbridges, puncheons, and retaining walls are not allowed. Even trail construction is affected. Only hand tools are allowed, no power equipment. So a section of trail construction that would take a day or two with a couple of workers and power tools takes a large work gang a week or more (which is the larger wilderness impact: 2 people camped for 2 days or 6 people camped for a week?)

    In the spectrum of federal land management classifications Wilderness is NOT the most restrictive although the media likes to say so in their editorials. Most environmental reporters are science ignoramuses and fail to do even the most basic research on the issues. Research Natural Area is far more restrictive than Wilderness designation.

  150. #150
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuck80442
    Wormvine: You sound a bit paranoid when you compare not being able to ride your bike on a section of trail to being hauled away in cattle cars to become slave labor until you are gassed to death. Do you watch a lot of Glenn Beck? Go for a bike ride and chill out man.
    There is a greater point to that poem than the literal definition by which you chose to use against us mountain bikers. Too bad you failed to understand. Saul?

  151. #151
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    Quote Originally Posted by dave54
    Do you believe there is no lobbying at the federal level?
    No, I never said anything of the sort.

    I am not sure what your point with the rest of your post is. As I said, I don't agree with all the decisions that the feds make. However, I could also go on for pages about bad decisions made on the local level regarding management of environmental resources.

  152. #152
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    Quote Originally Posted by sxotty
    The number of horses is limited by the number of wealthy persons. If your goal is to only allow the rabble to access on foot and the rich on horseback I guess that works out
    That is exactly how it is organized in most local parks. Rich little towns in the foothills got all the pull with local land managers. Rest of us just foot the bill.

  153. #153
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    Quote Originally Posted by verslowrdr
    ..............If the elk are smart enough to get all that straight, I have no doubt that they'll figure out very quickly that people on bikes don't ever have guns and people on foot sometimes do. As it is I've been able to get amazingly close to a wide variety of wildlife on the bike so I suspect it's already happening............


    That is interesting. I used to ride my mountain bike in a section of state land near my house before the dumb ass lazy bastards who shot targets there littered it up so bad the state closed it off,,,,,, but I am getting side tracked.....

    Anyway, there were heards of Antelope and deer that hung out in on the opposite side of the land section from where the road accessed and that is where I rode to stay away from the target shooters. I could ride up to a heard of antelope and get within 200 yards pretty easy on my bike. If you try to walk up to a heard of antelope they will be running for the horizon before you can get within 1000 yards. They would look at me as I rode up, but they didn't seem bothered at all. It was like they didn't recognize me as a human or something. Deer acted pretty much the same way. They just didn't seem bothered until I got pretty close.

    I don't know if this adds anything to the discussion, but I just thought it was cool that someone else had noticed this also.
    I'm not very smart, but I can lift heavy things

  154. #154
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    Quote Originally Posted by verslowrdr
    Great discussion, but I just wanted to drop an idea in here re MTBs supposedly startling wildlife more than other trail users. Studies I've seen suggested they couldn't tease out a more detrimental effect of bikes than walkers, as has already been stated.

    Now for the completely anecdotal part: as a person who's hunted small game and trundled about on foot, on wheels, and on horses in game-rich woods for many years, I'm not going to be surprised if bikes end up winning this one in the end. The reason is pretty simple: hunters usually walk.

    I grew up on the Olympic Peninsula, Olympic nat. park having been created by Roosevelt himself in big part to protect elk herds. Hunters up there have been spitting profanity for years about how smart those elk have gotten... when the first shot is fired (usually a day or so before legal season unfortunately), the elk run straight for the park. Reports are plentiful of a whole herd of elk blasting just over the park line, turning around, and standing there staring back at the hunters. So somehow they're figured out EXACTLY where the boundary is.

    If the elk are smart enough to get all that straight, I have no doubt that they'll figure out very quickly that people on bikes don't ever have guns and people on foot sometimes do. As it is I've been able to get amazingly close to a wide variety of wildlife on the bike so I suspect it's already happening.

    And if you really want to see wildlife freak out, just bring a dog. It doesn't have to be big, it doesn't have to be loose, and it doesn't have to actually do anything- the rise in immediate deer/elk/etc panic factor is pretty obvious. They should be pre-programmed to avoid canids if they're going to survive anyway, so this isn't a huge surprise.

    I ride by wildlife all the time and if I am not really close they don't give a damn. I once rode past a 10 point buck who was about 10 feet away from me on the edge of a fireroad.
    I actually moved to the opposite side of the road because I was a little uneasy as to why he did not seem to give a rats a*ss about me. He just stared at me and I just gave him a nod and kept going. I do not see the point of trying to shelter animals from humans. We are after all a natural part of this planet. As long as their habitat isn't being destroyed and species numbers are not being adversely affected I have no issue with recreating in our habitat.
    Most people probably do not know but Colorado has the largest population of Elk in the world. In fact the population is thriving. Even with the enormous amount of outdoor enthusiasts entering into Colorado's wilderness the states Wildlife population is healthy.
    Mountain bikers can easily co-exist with nature. The real question is whether eliteist hikers and equestrians can co-exist with mountain bikes. But we already know the answer to that one.

  155. #155
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    Didn't read through the whole thread, and I apologize if this has already been stated, but Wilderness Designations are not about mountain bikes.

    I've worked for quite a few conservation organizations and what they are most afraid of is mining, logging, ohv use, oil and gas development, unsustainable grazing practices, etc. Most of these folks either don't give a rip whether bikes are included or not or actually ride themselves and would love to be able to ride a bike on say, the PCT.

    Sure you've got some hardcore hikers out there who want the trails all to themselves, and don't get me started on equestrians, but a lot of enviros want to encourage folks to get out and enjoy the land in any number of ways whether that's hunting, fishing, biking, horseback riding, hiking rock-climbing, or even when done right, ranching. Many of us understand that it is these relationships to the land that make folks care enough about it to want to preserve it.

    The fact is that these conservation organizations simply don't have the resources to constantly watchdog local land managers (Forest Service, BLM, NPS) etc to make sure that each individual area is managed sustainably and in a way that minimizes user conflicts. It is incredibly difficult to influence these types of administrative decisions. Local land managers are not accountable to the electorate and in the end they have the final say. So you can fill a room with folks pissed off about a proposal and they just flat out don't have to listen. The standard of review for these types of administrative decisions generally renders legal recourse similarly ineffective.

    So what weapon do conservation organizations have to stop seriously destructive activities like clear-cutting, oil and gas development, or ohv use? The Wilderness act, an overly broad and inflexible statue written before mountain biking existed. And they are (in my mind incorrectly) terrified that opening up permitted uses in wilderness areas to include mountain bikers would open the floodgates to road building, ohv use, and a whole host of other things they REALLY don't like. So they push for more designations not because they hate bikes but because they are afraid of their complete inability to protect our public lands from destruction and development by other means.

    Anyway, not sure what the point of all that was other than to suggest rather than rail against new wilderness area designations, mtbers concerned about trail access would be far better served by working to convince environmentalists, hikers, and equestrians that mountain bikes are compatible with how THEY like to enjoy the wild places as well. This means more than just talking, it also means slowing down when you pass a hiker even if you are in the flow on the sweetest, buff, bermed out section of singletrack (that required a two hour fireroad grind to access) and you know that you aren't going to hit them. Getting off your damn bike and letting those crazy horses pass so they don't freak out at the wheeled monster they've never seen before. And yes, it also means doing trail work and being generally pleasant. While mountain bikes have been on trails for a while now, we are well served to remember that almost all of those trails were built by hikers and equestrians (and yes I know that for the most part we haven't been allowed to build our own).

    I guess I just hate hearing mountain bikers rail against the organizations that are the only reason we have anywhere nice to ride at all. And I similarly hate hearing conservation orgs I generally respect spout utter nonsense when it comes to mountain bikes. I just wish I knew how to fix it.

  156. #156
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    Quote Originally Posted by isilverman
    I've worked for quite a few conservation organizations and what they are most afraid of is mining, logging, ohv use, oil and gas development, unsustainable grazing practices, etc. Most of these folks either don't give a rip whether bikes are included or not or actually ride themselves and would love to be able to ride a bike on say, the PCT.
    Most apparently that is not the case. Observe Sierra Club. They would like nothing better then to ban all cycles from outdoors. Its a fact confirmed by years of their activities.

    Quote Originally Posted by isilverman
    Anyway, not sure what the point of all that was other than to suggest rather than rail against new wilderness area designations, mtbers concerned about trail access would be far better served by working to convince environmentalists, hikers, and equestrians that mountain bikes are compatible with how THEY like to enjoy the wild places as well.
    That what we have been doing for years, and that got us NOWHERE.


    Quote Originally Posted by isilverman
    I guess I just hate hearing mountain bikers rail against the organizations that are the only reason we have anywhere nice to ride at all.
    Only reason? They are the only reason this idiotic restriction had been added to WIlderness bill, and they are the only reason trails are being closed to cycling.

    Look at the recent attempt of "Sierra Fund" to drum up some dubious science about toxic dust on popular MTB trails like Downieville, suggesting that they should be closed to protect the public.

  157. #157
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    Curmy, you bring up some good points (even if you do it in a rather antagonistic way).

    As Curmy pointed out the National Sierra Club has some fairly retrograde policies regarding mountain biking. See http://www.sierraclub.org/policy/con...n/mtnbike.aspx for their unfortunately archaic take. And conservationists have blocked off access to lots of great trails. Hell, you can barely ride singletrack in Marin County thanks to the hiker/equestrian crowd up there. And the most recent proposal would have been an absolute disaster for sure.

    But please just consider that just as there are different types of mountain bikers (xc racers, freeriders, downhill racers, trail riders, etc) there are also many different kinds of environmentalists. The environmental movement is much larger than the Sierra Club. Environmental organizations that I worked for in Colorado regularly partnered with outdoor recreation organizations touting the economic benefits of roadless areas (trails are allowed, just not roads) including the benefits that come from mountain biking.

    And in addition to the National Clun, the Sierra Club also exists as a large number of independent, democratically governed, local chapters. Some of these are better on mtbikes than national Sierra Club and some are worse.


    The point is that the enviromental movement is not monolithic and if we as mountain bikers are actually going to have a chance at preserving access to trails in unspoiled areas we are going to have to figure out a way to work with them.

    Perhaps my suggestions at winning them over WERE totally naive, but I know for a fact that vilifying them won't work.

    And I hope you can see that we would have FAR fewer pristine areas to fight over access to if it weren't for their efforts. Like it or not we do owe them a debt for that.

  158. #158
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    Quote Originally Posted by isilverman
    But please just consider that just as there are different types of mountain bikers (xc racers, freeriders, downhill racers, trail riders, etc) there are also many different kinds of environmentalists. The environmental movement is much larger than the Sierra Club. Environmental organizations that I worked for in Colorado regularly partnered with outdoor recreation organizations touting the economic benefits of roadless areas (trails are allowed, just not roads) including the benefits that come from mountain biking.
    Assuming that is indeed the case - how does it help us? All it takes is one loudmouthed organization bringing garbage lawsuits (observe recent events in Montana). There may be several environmental organizations and their members that are all nice and fuzzy - but that does not change a thing.

    The fact is that Wilderness Act does contain an unfair restriction on healthy, very low-impact, popular recreational use that is mountain biking and that organizations such as Sierra Club actively oppose any relaxation of such restrictions. The fact is that we keep losing access. It does not matter if a few folks inside Sierra Club and their ilk are sympathetic. The only thing that matters is the end result.

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    As a member of the MTB community for ALOT of years here is my take on things.

    I don't want to see mountain bikes in wilderness areas. I have more than enough areas to ride. I am also a bow hunter who hunts wilderness areas on foot. I can guarentee that if wilderrness areas were opened up to bikes they would be negatively impacted.

    Really if you look at the arguments you would have a hard time justifying them. A mountain bike is just a mechanized mode of transportation. If we open WA's up to mountain bikes then why not trials bikes? ATV's? What else? Helicopter trips into alpine lakes? Like it or not horses are non mechanized. I have had them interupt hunts but very rarely. If mountain bikes were allowed in my hunt zones there would be way more pressure on the animals.

    Don't forget wilderness areas are not just for you they are for the biological and botanical inhabitants as well.


  160. #160
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fly Rod
    I don't want to see mountain bikes in wilderness areas. I have more than enough areas to ride. I am also a bow hunter who hunts wilderness areas on foot. I can guarentee that if wilderrness areas were opened up to bikes they would be negatively impacted.
    Guarantee? How? Explain. What exactly is negative impact beside the point that you do not like it?

    The fact that you want to set some public lands for yourself and your hobbies and we want to share it is NOT a negative impact.

    The rest of your post is the same tired slippery slope drivel. Completely unsubstantiated by any facts.

    Your hunt zones? Do you even realize how ridiculous do you sound? It is not your land. It is a common property of all taxpayers.

  161. #161
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curmy
    Guarantee? How? Explain. What exactly is negative impact beside the point that you do not like it?

    The fact that you want to set some public lands for yourself and your hobbies and we want to share it is NOT a negative impact.

    The rest of your post is the same tired slippery slope drivel. Completely unsubstantiated by any facts.

    Your hunt zones? Do you even realize how ridiculous do you sound? It is not your land. It is a common property of all taxpayers.
    ROTFLMAO! Are you reading your posts before you submit them?

    Do your research before you start with your "slippery slope drivel." For starters read some of the research produced by the Starkey Experimental Forest. Everyone who enters the forest is required to carry a gps unit. The game herds have satellite gps collars. As bikes enter the experimental forest the researchers can watch the animals moving away from them.

    Yes my hunt zones. The state is broken up into hunt zones. I am only allowed to hunt certain zones depending which permit I am able to pull. I know it sounds ridiculous to you but it is in fact state law and I have to respect it. Once again, educate yourself before you make yourself look ignorant.

    FWIW, If bow hunting is a "hobby" then mountain biking is a simple pastime. I feed my family, and a few lucky others, with elk and venison each year. How many mouths has your mountain bike fed? Again, do your research and you will find that bow hunting was not only a sport but a way of life for centuries before your mountain bike was a invented!


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    You are right that the wilderness act as currently interpreted bans bikes.The reason that
    it helps us because the compared to environmental organizations, and the extractive industry, hell even the OHV users, the mtb advocacy world is stuck in the stone age. We're bringing a pocketknife to tankfight.

    So here is another fact: We don't win without allies. The only way we could possibly amend the wilderness act is by splitting the enviro community.

    The fact is we have way more in common in the enviros than the motor crowd or the extractive industries. If we are going to preserve the access we have and figure out a way to get more we've got to find a way to bridge that gap. I believe that this gap isn't as wide as a lot of mtb bikers rightfully frustrated by the policies of some environmental group against mountain bike use suggest. That there is an opening there and we as a mtb community are doing ourselves a disservice by painting all enviros with the same broad brush when significant portions of them could be on our side.

  163. #163
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fly Rod
    ...
    Cool story, bro.

    You did not answer what is the reason to your laughable assertions, and you further demonstrated that you have no basis for them except for your selfish interests.

    You are a prime example of why opponents of mountain biking in wilderness can not be reasoned with. You enjoy killing animals with arrows and watching them die - and you do not like somebody riding a bike. Are you indeed dumb enough not to see a little bit of contradiction there?

    There is no measurable long term negative impact of cycling. None.

    (For comprehension challenged: "Slippery slope" referred to your remarks that allowing bikes somehow inevitably leads to allowing ATVs and helicopter tours. Making such a logical connection is somewhere between dishonest and asinine.)

  164. #164
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curmy
    You are a prime example of why opponents of mountain biking in wilderness can not be reasoned with. You enjoy killing animals with arrows and watching them die - and you do not like somebody riding a bike. Are you indeed dumb enough not to see a little bit of contradiction there?

    There is no measurable long term negative impact of cycling. None.

    (For comprehension challenged: "Slippery slope" referred to your remarks that allowing bikes somehow inevitably leads to allowing ATVs and helicopter tours. Making such a logical connection is somewhere between dishonest and asinine.)
    I might as well argue with a wall.

    FWIW, I don't enjoy killing animals and watching them die. I feel deeply for them. But I do it for many reasons that people with narrow minds and fixed ajendas will never understand. Bow hunting is not about killing. Killing happens on occasion but that is the smallest part of what I do.

    Not like to see people riding bikes? You are way off the deep end here. I did 5,000 vertical feet today on a mountain bike. I have trained and raced with some great cyclists. I am a veteran of multiple ultra endurance races. I freekin love to ride and love to see people ride. Just remember, a low post count does not equal low milage or experience! Just as a high post count doesn't equal an open mind and greater knowledge...

    Did you read the info on the Starkey Experimental Forest? I guess not.

    Have a nice day....

  165. #165
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fly Rod
    I might as well argue with a wall.

    Did you read the info on the Starkey Experimental Forest? I guess not.

    Have a nice day....
    Fly Rod, I have to agree with Curmy on most of this one. You absolutely come off as someone who is only interested in what benefits you.

    "I don't want to see mountain bikes in wilderness areas. I have more than enough areas to ride."

    Some of us don't. Some of us are sick and tired of seeing trails that mountain bikers put hundreds of hours into get closed off.

    "If mountain bikes were allowed in my hunt zones there would be way more pressure on the animals."

    That is what Curmy was talking about. Your hunt zones. He is right that it is public land belonging to all taxpayers. It is yours in a sense, but in this case you call it your land and want other users to say out so it doesn't affect your chosen activity. I am curious. Do you hunt on the trail, or do you envision bikes shredding everywhere?

    I could go on with the quotes and the responses, but you get the idea. I want to make one comment here though. Why does the debate always have to be all or nothing? Why can't bikes be allowed access in selected areas. Like trails that the wilderness area interrupts. The wilderness detours along the Colorado trail are a good example.

    I didn't read the Starkey Experimental Forest stuff, but I would argue with the idea that researchers can watch animals move away when mountain bikes move into the forest. If that is true, then I bet those same animals move away from people in general. I have worked in the mining and oil industries for over 20 years and I couldn't tell you how many times researchers have done studies and made reports that were later proven to be totally BS and just supported their agenda going in.

    If you look back in this thread, there were a few of us back in March that posted that we ride bikes up to animals and can get way closer than we can on foot. I know, I know, you are the great bow hunter that can sneak up on animals and all that crap. I used to hunt too and I was a very accomplished competitive shooter for many years. I loved that stuff. I volunteered for sniper training in the Army and did quite well at it. I don't have much desire to hunt any more after the war, but I can sneak up on about anything or anybody if I still wanted to, and I am telling you that animals are not any more afraid of people riding bikes down a trail than they are of people in general in the area. You and I will disagree on this I am sure. I won't argue with you about. I will tell you up front that I have personally played around with riding up to animals and I think it scares animals less than a lot of other things. Do some searches of these forums. You will find many accounts of people saying that they came across animals and got very close and the animals did not seem bothered. There is a fair bit of photo evidence too.

    Curmy is right about something else too. Dropping our pants for every one one of these "environmental" groups has gotten us nowhere. Well, it has gotten us pushed out of a lot of riding areas, but it hasn't gotten us anything positive.

    I will tell you what the answer really is. It is to flush the congress like the giant toilet that it has become and try our best to get some of this addressed with new law makers. It probably won't happen, but I would rather take that approach than to listen to people tell me to kiss the other sides rear end until they decide to like me.
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  166. #166
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    [QUOTE=Fly Rod]
    Don't forget wilderness areas are not just for you they are for the biological and botanical inhabitants as well.
    I find it interesting that these so called "pristine" wilderness areas have more intrusion than most National Forest land.

    You can look at maps of Oregon, and you find vast areas with nothing in them at all, not even dirt roads. Then you find an area of the map criss crossed with trails everywhere, and sure enough, you look and see a Wilderness boundary around them.

    If environmentalists are so concerned about preserving and protecting the animals, and ecosystem, then why don't they just ban all trail making in Wilderness areas?

    Oh, but then they would not have their playground all to themselves. They are greedy and want to keep their areas to themselves, and have no intention of working with us mountain bikers, because they don't have to. They have done a bang up job of locking up land as Wilderness, and keeping us out, so why even start working with us now. We have to forget about them being allies with us, "not happening" We need to have a strong enough advocacy to make them look just like the greedy turds they are to the rest of the nation, and force them to either allow us in or kick everyone out.

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    [QUOTE=Fly Rod]
    Do your research before you start with your "slippery slope drivel." For starters read some of the research produced by the Starkey Experimental Forest. Everyone who enters the forest is required to carry a gps unit. The game herds have satellite gps collars. As bikes enter the experimental forest the researchers can watch the animals moving away from them
    I think you are as full of crap as a Chistmas turkey!!

    I grew up in Oregon hunting and fishing since I was a little kid. I also spent many years in the woods as a timber faller, dirt bike rider, and mountain biker.

    I have almost hit deer with trees because they simply did not even get scared of me and my chainsaw, despite all the noise and trees crashing to the ground, because they were used to the sound. They ran about 100 yards away and started feeding again.

    I have ridden up to deer on a 2 stroke dirt bike, and sat there 30 feet away revving the engine up and down. Rinnggg Dinnnngg Dinnngg!!! They went back to feeding, and guess when they ran away? When I killed the engine and tried to quietly get off the bike. That's right pal, when you sneak is when they feel threatened. Geee, maybe because people sneaking around are the ones that stick arrows in them?

    I have come within 10 feet of bears on my mountain bike(not intentionally) and close to all kinds of animals. They are no more scared of me and my bike, then you on foot. In fact I would bet that you on foot scares them more!! You're just as bad as the echo nuts that want it all to themselves. Sorry, the land belongs to us all and we need to find ways to share, and stop trying to kick each other out. For one thing, there are far more hunting areas right in National Forest Land where there are few trails where mountain bikers would be. If you can't find a place to hunt where a mountain biker won't disturb you, then you are just an idiot.

  168. #168
    Slothful dirt hippie
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    Quote Originally Posted by twowheelsdown2002
    ...I have ridden up to deer on a 2 stroke dirt bike, and sat there 30 feet away revving the engine up and down. Rinnggg Dinnnngg Dinnngg!!! They went back to feeding, and guess when they ran away? When I killed the engine and tried to quietly get off the bike. That's right pal, when you sneak is when they feel threatened. Geee, maybe because people sneaking around are the ones that stick arrows in them? ...
    I'm sticking to my guns (look ma, I made a pun!) about game freaking out more when I'm on foot than on a bike. It's really pretty simple:
    - Nobody shoots at them on a bike.
    - Almost all hunters are on foot.
    - Game is smart enough to figure these things out, which is after all a biological advantage when spooking costs rather expensive calories. If bambi can stand there and keep eating without harm coming to her, she's got the energy expenditure-vs-input lead on her sister who bolts.

    Now if you REALLY want to see deer that live around houses panic, just put a medium or large sized dog in their viewfinder.
    "...Some local fiend had built it with his own three hands..."

  169. #169
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flyrod
    Do your research before you start with your "slippery slope drivel." For starters read some of the research produced by the Starkey Experimental Forest. Everyone who enters the forest is required to carry a gps unit. The game herds have satellite gps collars. As bikes enter the experimental forest the researchers can watch the animals moving away from them
    These morons wouldnt be the same ones who claimed grizzly bears never crossed a Road? lol do you really believe that load of horse ****? Evidently because you are simple minded enough to perpetuate it, this is just to silly to really even respond further to, so much for a bow hunter, Im gonna go ahead and call BS on that as well.
    I guess someone should have told the Herd of Deer that hangs out on the motocross track in hungry horse that they were supposed to run instead of sleeping alongside the track.
    Lemme help ya with animals, they will move away if you make sudden movements or other things that would suggest you were stalking, you can walk around laughing, talking banging pots for all they care, its if you suddenly shut up, or quit banging the pots that they become suspicious, that whole predator thing you know.

  170. #170
    Bicyclochondriac.
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    Quote Originally Posted by isilverman
    You are right that the wilderness act as currently interpreted bans bikes.The reason that
    it helps us because the compared to environmental organizations, and the extractive industry, hell even the OHV users, the mtb advocacy world is stuck in the stone age. We're bringing a pocketknife to tankfight.

    So here is another fact: We don't win without allies. The only way we could possibly amend the wilderness act is by splitting the enviro community.

    The fact is we have way more in common in the enviros than the motor crowd or the extractive industries. If we are going to preserve the access we have and figure out a way to get more we've got to find a way to bridge that gap. I believe that this gap isn't as wide as a lot of mtb bikers rightfully frustrated by the policies of some environmental group against mountain bike use suggest. That there is an opening there and we as a mtb community are doing ourselves a disservice by painting all enviros with the same broad brush when significant portions of them could be on our side.
    This level headed subtlety and nuance is utterly lost on people here who can only see an area on one light: Bikes or no bikes. In their minds, they see some enviro-nazi wanting to kick bikes out, so therefore ALL environmental/conservation group must have the same agenda. The idea that they are NOT all one group of like-minded people is just too complicated for some people to hold in their heads..
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  171. #171
    Over the Hill
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    I have been in so called wilderness areas that are anything but. To keep bikes off old mining /logging roads, flume trails and old railroad grades that are included in a wilderness area makes little sense. I don't advocate riding my bike out to Half Dome but some roads like the one from Mosquito Flats into the Lakes is stupid to not be open to bikes.

    San Mateo Wilderness here in So-Cal is old ranch property with many old roads, fencing, old cattle troughs, exposed irrigation pipes and more examples of past ranch activities...never should have received wilderness designation. It was never in jeopardy of mining or logging just a play ground for the big equestrian ranches that surround it.

    Dean

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