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  1. #1
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    Backcountry public lands designation?

    Howdy, all -

    I had a conversation recently with the president of the Blue Ribbon Coalition. He was at our local ski hill for a snowmobiling event. I am a patroller there - was dressed in the jacket - and also identified myself as a mountain biker and IMBA member.

    We talked for a while about the backcountry designation bill that the BRC and IMBA were supposedly cooperating on. He said that the BRC was shopping the bill looking for a sponsor, but also said "the hardest thing right now is convincing the loggers and miners that we're not trying to kick them off of public land."

    Huh?

    Apparently the "backcountry" designation that the BRC is pushing would still allow extractive uses like mining, logging, oil exploration, etc. I guess I fail to see at that point what the reasoning is behind this "backcountry" designation. Why bother?

    Can anybody from IMBA or who is involved in this debate explain this to me? At this point I'm thinking that abandoning the moto-folk and pursuing a partnership with the greenies would make more sense than continuing to open public land to extractive users. I mean - isn't that what we're really trying to do? Maintain access for backcountry users (like us) that don't damage the land while protecting it from groups like mines and logging companies that rip stuff to bits?
    Don't ask me a question unless you really want to hear what I think.

  2. #2
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    I'd be very careful of the BRC. My understanding is that they pretty much want all public lands opened to all uses, including the opening of roadless areas, mining, logging, etc. regardless of enviromental impacts.

    http://www.georgiapirg.org/blueribbon/

    http://www.commondreams.org/news2000/0620-06.htm

    http://wildforests.com/wildforests.asp?id2=5564

    quote from the last link, which is an in depth report on BRC by US PIRG
    *
    The Blue Ribbon Coalition repeats and disseminates the anti-environmental rhetoric of their extractive industry supporters, including calling for increased logging in national forests, even if the statements are incompatible with the stated recreational values of the Coalition. The Coalition has mischaracterized federal land management policies, calling the roadless initiative a "totalitarian lock-up of our public lands." The roadless initiative instead seeks to create a publicly supported policy that would preserve clean water sources, wildlife habitat, and recreation opportunities in our last wild national forests.

    "The timber, mining, and oil and gas industries are using the Blue Ribbon Coalition as a front group to advance their agenda to keep as much of our public lands open to logging, mining, and oil and gas exploration — uses hardly compatible with recreational interests, "
    I guess it all depends on where your recreational values lie, but I personally find thier agenda unacceptable, I've know about them for quite some time. There's got to be some middle ground somewhere between BRC and the Sierra Club!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by formica
    I personally find thier agenda unacceptable, I've know about them for quite some time. There's got to be some middle ground somewhere between BRC and the Sierra Club!
    Middle Ground...I guess without the BRC, the see-saw would be very heavy on the Sierra Club end....

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by formica
    I'd be very careful of the BRC. My understanding is that they pretty much want all public lands opened to all uses, including the opening of roadless areas, mining, logging, etc. regardless of enviromental impacts.
    Oh I know, Formica, I'm quite familiar with their agenda. I used to be a member about a million years ago (as a member of the Mile High Snowmobile Club, which my X and I joined, you are automatically a BRC member.) Jack Welch, the BRC's founder, used to come in and give regular reports on BRC activities. What a load o' bullcrap, and it pissed me off incredibly to think that my money from a great organization was going to support those bozos.

    Still...

    There is validity to the argument that we have some common concerns with motorized users. They are quite obviously courting our (MTBers') support because they think it gives them legitimacy. However, rather than banding with the BRC and its group of yokels I'd rather work with more moderate folks from the environmental community (like Trout Unlimited, Ducks Unlimited, etc.) AND with responsible motorized users on the kind of backcountry designation that is being discussed.

    I have a friend who's a big BRC member. He's been sending me articles for a couple of years now on the backcountry designation that IMBA is allegedly developing with those guys. That's why I'm concerned. I am strongly in support of a new public lands designation because I believe (and strongly) that without increased protection we won't have public lands in 100 years other than a few "islands" of wilderness, national monuments, etc. We need a new protection designation if that isn't to happen. However, allowing extractive uses as part of this designation seems to defeat the entire purpose, and if IMBA is backing this I'd sure like to hear why.

    And then do everything in my power to change their minds.
    Don't ask me a question unless you really want to hear what I think.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountaingirl1961

    ...
    There is validity to the argument that we have some common concerns with motorized users.
    ...

    I am strongly in support of a new public lands designation because I believe (and strongly) that without increased protection we won't have public lands in 100 years other than a few "islands" of wilderness, national monuments, etc. We need a new protection designation if that isn't to happen. However, allowing extractive uses as part of this designation seems to defeat the entire purpose,
    ...
    I pulled a few thoughts out of Mtngirl's last post because I think she is on to something really important here. The first singletrack experiences I had, the first access battles I heard of, the first trail work experiences I had, all involved motorcycles. I wonder whether all offroad clubs affiliated with the Blue Ribbon Coalition know they are being used as a front by mining and logging interests? The motorized off-road groups, like mtn bikers, don't want to be shut out of prime riding areas, which wilderness designation does. But areas can also be lost to development, and again, both motorized off-roaders and mountain bikers can be shut out of areas by development. This would include development by the the logging and mining interests that back BRC.

    The problem right now is that the only thing that protects an area for sure against development is Wilderness Designation (or maybe National Park designation). When the only tool you have is a hammer, all your problems look like nails. Not everyone in the Sierra Club or other environmental organizations is anti-mtn bike. But once an area is gone, it's gone, so you use the only tool you have to protect it.

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    thank you guys, for being rational

    Thanks for pointing out this basic flaw about the Blue Ribbon Coalition. If they're in bed with big extractive industry, that explains to me why they will always butt heads with anyone who has common sense. I feel like such a novice, I was unaware of BRC's tactics. This is like politics. I don't want to vote for any of 'em. They're all wacked. Well, the environmentalists tend to run off the other end of the scale, wanting to lock up any piece of land that looks like fair game. They do tend to be quite successful though, because the message is more idealistic.

    Thank goodness for the mountain biker, who seems to cut through the crap almost every time. Mountain bikers often seem to find a middle ground of compromise. Well, we probably shouldn't align ourselves with either extreme side. Because I think that hypocrisy doesn't fit us well. But we have a flaw, and it's alarmingly apparent in these forums. Most vocal mountain bikers don't want to speak up about the hard stuff, like all the work it takes to save trails and worrying about land designations. Maybe doing battle with old friends that have turned into greenies. No, on these forums, bikers want to go on endlessly about the cool stuff they got for Christmas, or how good it is riding on the snow covered trails. Well, I maintain that if all you twits out there got off your hands and got vocal, showed up at meetings, joined IMBA, and wrote letters to congressmen and land managers; we wouldn't have to snuggle up to the Sierra Club or the Blue Ribbon Coalition. We would be a force of our own. Frankly, it is only due to the ponderous nature of government and bureaucracy that we still have as many riding areas as we do.

    Around Montana, I have met many land managers and environmentalists who claim to be mountain bikers. Powerful and educated wolves in sheeps clothing. They are trying to close down large amounts of public land to mountain bikers under a new designation called "recommended for wilderness". These are historical riding areas that are already non-motorized. The current land managment is working pretty darn good, but they want more restrictions. These lands are not overrun with people, quite the opposite. It's the one tool being used for all repairs again. "Hey Mabel, I kinda think this here mountain range needs fixing, hand me that there big W outta the tool box!"

    How about you guys out there, just sitting on the fence, go join IMBA this year.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by HarryCallahan
    I pulled a few thoughts out of Mtngirl's last post because I think she is on to something really important here. The first singletrack experiences I had, the first access battles I heard of, the first trail work experiences I had, all involved motorcycles. I wonder whether all offroad clubs affiliated with the Blue Ribbon Coalition know they are being used as a front by mining and logging interests?
    I don't think so, Harry. I had a conversation about this with another BRC member friend of mine (velosapiens, posts here on occasion). He's a very active access/trails guy and had no idea that the BRC bill continued access for extractive interests.

    My other BRC friend just mailed me an article from BRC's February 2006 magazine, "It's All About Access," which was a reprint from January 2006's Mountain Bike Action magazine. The article was extremely complimentary about the BRC, was extremely slanted against the environmental movement (referring to them as the Jolly Green Giants), and didn't mention at all the accommodations in the bill for the extractive industries - supposedly developed in concert with IMBA.

    This looks a lot like a bait and switch, ladies and gentlemen. IMBA, somebody knowledgeable about this... please chime in!

    Quote Originally Posted by HarryCallahan
    The problem right now is that the only thing that protects an area for sure against development is Wilderness Designation (or maybe National Park designation). When the only tool you have is a hammer, all your problems look like nails. Not everyone in the Sierra Club or other environmental organizations is anti-mtn bike. But once an area is gone, it's gone, so you use the only tool you have to protect it.
    There is also National Recreation Area designation, which works but which requires more management on the part of the gov't than wilderness designation and is therefore harder to pass.

    I don't think people want to be extremists, but Harry's right. When you only have a hammer... and if something has to be done to preserve this land from development... what choices do you realistically have?

    We need a better choice and I think there's a lot of potential in a new designation. IF it's done the way it should be done.
    Don't ask me a question unless you really want to hear what I think.

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    BRC Wolf in Little Reds clothes

    Finally, a thread worth reading. While I sometimes find the Sierra Clubs inflexibility on Wilderness issues disturbing, I find it equally disturbing that IMBA has decided to get in bed with the Blue Ribbon Coalition. In Idaho it gets even worse. Our Idaho IMBA representative is also on the Board of Directors for the Blue Ribbon Coalition. He even writes nice articles for the BRC about mountain bike areas. http://www.sharetrails.org/index.cfm?page=42&story=536
    http://www.sharetrails.org/index.cfm?page=42&story=666
    http://www.sharetrails.org/index.cfm?page=42&story=634

    It makes it way to easy for the extractive industries to use the BRC as a front to fight Wilderness and roadless initiatives. Adding mountain bikers (IMBA representative) to the mixture of multi-use users makes the argument being pushed forward by the extractive industries via BRC, that much sweeter and palatable.

    Whether you buy into the wilderness issue or not, I find it unfathomable how a mountain bike organization like IMBA could ever join hands with a group that promotes ATV use. The biggest threat to my favorite riding trials isn’t Wilderness Bills but, ATV users. I have nothing against motorcycles but ATVs are the swarming locust hell bent to destroy sweet single track!

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    Swarming Locusts?

    Swarming locusts is certainly a weird description, but I agree that ATV's are really damaging to singletrack. Around here (Bozeman) we have lost quite a lot of singletrack during the last 5 years due to ATV's. And I expect to lose several more miles this year. I honestly think that most of the riders don't fully realize the destruction that only a few passes can cause. I have never been able to catch someone poaching, good thing too, because I would probably be embarrassingly, angrily, stupid.

    I have friends who ride motorcycles and belong to multiuse advocacy groups. They hate ATV's. They hate that they sometimes have to align themselves with them because of organizational unity. They want to preserve singletrack as much as we do. My barber rides an ATV, he doesn't purposely poach singletrack, but he admittedly is poor at interpreting maps. Nicest guy you could ever meet.

    I know the subject here is the BRC, and ATV's are a tangent. Just throwing in my 2 cents. IMBA in bed with the BRC, I'm embarrassed.

    Greg

  10. #10
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    Since the locust are swarming

    I thought I might chime in...

    As mark(Irishbudda) pointed out above I currently sit on the Board of Directors of the BRC and I am one of the state reps in Idaho for IMBA and I would definatly consider myself an enviromentalist, unfortunatly some groups have tarnished that name and changed the definition of what an enviromentalist is, but that is another diatribe.

    First of all, the founder of the BRC is Clark Collins who recently retired and still lives in Pocatello. Which is an amazing place to ride not only a mountain bike but also a dirt bike. Jack Welch is the current president of the BRC.

    Now onto Backcountry Designation which I think is a good idea if properly writen, just like anything else. As I have been privey to some wilderness bill language that is not very rosey at all. Here is the link to the BRC page on Backcountry: http://www.sharetrails.org/index.cfm?page=39

    Backcountry designation would leave the land in its primitive state while allowing a minimum level of management to occur. For example in Beetle kill areas fires breaks and mechanical thining could occur to reduce catastrophic wildfire. Since we have ourselves created this unnatural occurance of large fires some form of management will be needed to return the land back to a natural state where fire was a natural shaper of the landscape. As far as mining goes I am unsure what the exact language would be but if it mirrored what is in past wilderness bills then existing claims would be reconized. Currently in a wilderness area you can mine if you had an existing claim before the wilderness area was created. A prime example is the "Gold Hand Mine" inside of the Frank Church Wilderness of No Return. They constructed a 2.7 mile road into the wilderness area to mine gold, which is completely legal under the wilderness act because this act is beholden to the 1872 mining law. And now the Sierra Club and other groups are complaining about a new road into the Sage Creek Roadless Area in Idaho constructed by the JR Simplot company to mine phosphate on an existing mining claim. The Clinton Roadless rule would have allowed a similar amount of access to this mining claim since it is also beholden to the 1872 mining law, but I am sure you will find few enviromental groups who will admit to this. If you want to see real change when it comes to mining in this country you need to first change the 1872 mining law, which I would love to see changed!

    Personally I would much rather create National Recreation Areas, since I have seen the one in the Sawtooth National Forest work so well for so long.

    Someone earlier talked about our national forest being open to development, which is so very far from the truth. All of our public lands are goverened by an act called NEPA which has some very strong protections for the land. The only way you are going to see condos on National Forest Land is if the federal goverment sells it off.

    In relation to IMBA, BRC, and all the enviros I think the new guard will start to role in during the next five to ten years as people retire and are replaced by new individuals who have learned a lot and will be better able to not only care for the land but also share it.

    On anothernote. Here is a though to ponder for all of those people out there who seem to hate logging with a passion. Look around your house and ask yourself where did those trees come from if they do not come from our National Forest they will come from Canada or worse from some third world country with who knows what kind of enviromental laws. Timber harvest can be good when you look at the alternatives, take a look at Cascade, ID. Once a thriving timber town put out of business by the enviromentalist who did not want a single tree cut. The timber industry was replaced by a ski resort call Tamarack. Now all of the private ranch and timber land around Tamarack is being turned into ranchetes and housing developments. Now which would you prefer the lower biodiversity of a housing development or the higher biodiversity of a timber harvest area. I will take the timber harvest as the better of the two evils.


    Finally some might call me an atv lover or an anti-mountain biker, well I will let my actions speak for themselves. I do absolutly hate ATVs that widen singletrack and also mountain bikers that do the same
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  11. #11
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    Almost forgot

    The notion that the timber industry and the mining industry support the BRC is so very false, the BRC can barely even get the manufacturers of motorized vehicals to support them. Heck the Mountain Bike Industry barely supports IMBA.

    But groups like the Sierra Club seem ok with recieving support form companies like Boise Cascade.

    How many times are we gonna bring up how IMBA is in bed with BRC or IMBA is in bed with the Sierra Club, old rumors really do die hard I guess.

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  12. #12
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    Just say "no" doesn't work

    Chris, Here we go again!

    “In relation to IMBA, BRC, and all the enviros I think the new guard will start to role in during the next five to ten years as people retire and are replaced by new individuals who have learned a lot and will be better able to not only care for the land but also share it.”


    Chris the problem with your statement is you seem to forget the last two words in your statement, “share it.” The problem with some environmental groups, IMBA and BRC is they are uncompromising. It is their way or the highway. “Share it” sometimes means giving up a little of ones joy so others can enjoy their pursuits – sharing through giving.

    The world is full of user and environmental conflicts. The question is where we give a little to get a little. From what I have seen of BRC the answer is never! And I point toward the Hells Canyon boating issue as experience. They stall and pour more and more money into the campaign coffers and use political strong arming. As long as IMBA holds hands with groups like BRC and is uncompromising, they are part of the problem and not part of the wilderness/roadless solution!

    IMBA continues to be a good organization that improves and develops trails. It could be a great organization and one I would join if they paid closer attention to who they aligned with and were willing to give a little on finding solutions to wilderness issues.

    I am also wondering if you have been throwing back frosty Olyies with disgruntled loggers in Boville. Are you really serious when you say: “Timber harvest can be good when you look at the alternatives, take a look at Cascade, ID. Once a thriving timber town put out of business by the environmentalist who did not want a single tree cut. The timber industry was replaced by a ski resort call Tamarack. Now all of the private ranch and timber land around Tamarack is being turned into ranchetes and housing developments. Now which would you prefer the lower biodiversity of a housing development or the higher biodiversity of a timber harvest area. I will take the timber harvest as the better of the two evils.”

    Boise Cascade went out of business because they couldn’t continue to cut at the rate they were removing trees. In order to maximize profits many companies are cutting at rates that are not sustainable over time. As much as environmentalist would like to, they can’t make trees grow fast! Environmentalists also don’t set the price for wood. If the price went up companies could cut at slower rates and still make money and do it in a fashion that caused less environmental impact. Should we be angry at the environmental community that asked companies to cut in an environmentally appropriate fashion or the company that decided to maximize profits and then get out. There is enough blame to go around but you have decided to spout the extractive industry/BRC retort. In retort, I am wondering if Chenney has his hand up your arse and you are just another red-neck monkey sock puppet just like Bush! Come on Chris you are smarter than that!

    So you would rather ride in a clear-cut than the new trails at Tamarack? You are one twisted dude! So why is the extractive industry better than the recreation industry? While in many ways I might agree with you this argument has problems.

    I apologize to others for the long diatribe.

    Mike not Mark

  13. #13
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    Give a little to get a little?

    The forest managers here in Montana keep pulling out that logic constantly. So do members of the local envinronmental organizations, of which we have too many. They call compromise "giving up something of value in order to get something you want." For gosh sake, when they want to lock up 30,000 acres, and we want 4 for a trail corridor, they say "well, what are you willing to give up?" Crimeny, isn't 29,996 acres enough? Well no, I was told, it has to be a sacrifice, like a trail somewhere else. S--t! What kind of games do we have to play. We can't get treated fairly.

    I still say the answer is to swell the membership to IMBA to beyond the bursting point. We need a real voice for mountain biking, and I think IMBA could do it if bikers supported it. We are having our first club spring meeting in 2 weeks, and IMBA membership will be on the agenda. What are you guys doing about this? I do have frustrations with IMBA right now, but I think the root problem is biker non-participation causing IMBA to be poor, non-effective and having to compromise with other groups. The biker need becomes diluted with other peoples issues.

    Greg

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    They're not coming for me...

    First they went after the mining rights. It's under the ground, it's just metals and oils. It won't leave a big footprint. We said nothing.

    Then they went after timber. We need the limber, and it's trimming back the potential fuel for the fire. We said nothing.

    Then they went after the National Parks. We need to sell 'em to fund... Rural schools, prisions, the next warplane, etc. We said nothing.

    Then they went after Wilderness. The national debt's too high, we need to use our resources for security, etc. We said nothing.

    It wasn't our riding areas, we were protected.

    Then they went after our trails.

    Please correct me if I'm wrong, but that's my simplified view of argument for why mountain bikers should support them.

    It's a chipping away of access and why mountain bikers MUST fight access battles, and why no loss of access should be ignored. We <b>should</b> fight. Chipping away at something has been a card that's been played so many times it ain't funny. The same argument could be made for the Moto side too.

    The reason I stand for mountain bike access instead of new Wilderness areas or for Motorized access is simple. This is <b>MY</b> fight. I'm a rider first. The other two groups should be courting my thoughts and energies. If it falls in line with what <b>I</b> want, I just may support one of their particluar projects.

    I don't mind compromising, to a point. Working to an agreement were both sides walk away, and the first thought after leavng the table <b>isn't</b> "Now, how can I sue to undue that?" The Environmental lobby could have the support of a decent number of mountain bikers if they would work with us, but I don't know how likely that would be on a wide level.

    Before anyone comes to get me, I'll be in the streets with a bullhorn.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GregB406
    The forest managers here in Montana keep pulling out that logic constantly. So do members of the local envinronmental organizations, of which we have too many. They call compromise "giving up something of value in order to get something you want." For gosh sake, when they want to lock up 30,000 acres, and we want 4 for a trail corridor, they say "well, what are you willing to give up?" Crimeny, isn't 29,996 acres enough? Well no, I was told, it has to be a sacrifice, like a trail somewhere else. S--t! What kind of games do we have to play. We can't get treated fairly.

    I still say the answer is to swell the membership to IMBA to beyond the bursting point. We need a real voice for mountain biking, and I think IMBA could do it if bikers supported it. We are having our first club spring meeting in 2 weeks, and IMBA membership will be on the agenda. What are you guys doing about this? I do have frustrations with IMBA right now, but I think the root problem is biker non-participation causing IMBA to be poor, non-effective and having to compromise with other groups. The biker need becomes diluted with other peoples issues.

    Greg
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    They're not coming for me...

    First they went after the Jeeps. They're loud, they pollute, they tear up the landscape. We said nothing.

    Then they went after the Quads. They're just as loud, they pollute, and they cause even MORE erosion than the jeeps. We said nothing.

    Then they went after the Trail Motorcycles. They're loud, they pollute, and they cause erosion. We said nothing.

    It wasn't us, we were different.

    Then they went after us.

    Please correct me if I'm wrong, but that's my simplified view of the BRC argument for why mountain bikers should support them.

    It's a chipping away of access and why mountain bikers MUST fight access battles, and why no loss of access should be ignored. We <b>should</b> fight. Chipping away at something has been a card that's been played so many times it ain't funny. The same argument could be made for the Enviromental side too.

    The reason I stand for mountain bike access instead of new Wilderness areas or for Motorized access is simple. This is <b>MY</b> fight. I'm a rider first. The other two groups should be courting my thoughts and energies. If it falls in line with what <b>I</b> want, I just may support one of their particluar projects.

    I don't mind compromising, to a point. Working to an agreement were both sides walk away, and the first thought after leavng the table <b>isn't</b> "Now, how can I sue to undue that?" The Environmental lobby could have the support of a decent number of mountain bikers if they would work with us, but I don't know how likely that would be on a wide level.

    Before anyone comes to get me, I'll be in the streets with a bullhorn.

    JmZ

    Copyright 2006 JmZ

    Quote Originally Posted by GregB406
    The forest managers here in Montana keep pulling out that logic constantly. So do members of the local envinronmental organizations, of which we have too many. They call compromise "giving up something of value in order to get something you want." For gosh sake, when they want to lock up 30,000 acres, and we want 4 for a trail corridor, they say "well, what are you willing to give up?" Crimeny, isn't 29,996 acres enough? Well no, I was told, it has to be a sacrifice, like a trail somewhere else. S--t! What kind of games do we have to play. We can't get treated fairly.

    I still say the answer is to swell the membership to IMBA to beyond the bursting point. We need a real voice for mountain biking, and I think IMBA could do it if bikers supported it. We are having our first club spring meeting in 2 weeks, and IMBA membership will be on the agenda. What are you guys doing about this? I do have frustrations with IMBA right now, but I think the root problem is biker non-participation causing IMBA to be poor, non-effective and having to compromise with other groups. The biker need becomes diluted with other peoples issues.

    Greg
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    Being IMBA's webmaster, i'm certainly not the policy expert, but i'm pretty sure IMBA has no formal involvement with the BRC or is in any development plans with them on bills.

    The two large policy/bill issues IMBA has promoted can be found here:

    http://www.imba.com/resources/wilderness/nca_nra.html

    And this was done some time ago. IMBA has been working on creating new partnerships opportunties with the Federal Land Management agencies, such as the new MOU with the National Park Service

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

    As far as IMBA Reps goes, these are local volunteers that have their own affiliations and interests. What makes sense in one part of the country might now work somehwere else.

    I'd encourage you to look at IMBA's website for more information. With over 3,000 documents and a robust search engine you can find the straight facts about anything IMBA is (or isn't!) involved with.

    http://www.imba.com

    james

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    "Someone earlier talked about our national forest being open to development, which is so very far from the truth. All of our public lands are goverened by an act called NEPA which has some very strong protections for the land. The only way you are going to see condos on National Forest Land is if the federal goverment sells it off." (quote)

    Unfortunately, on just about every NF sign I've seen, there is the quote:"Land of Many Uses".
    Development IS NOT resrticted to the building of condos, mcmansions and ranchettes, but also includes roads and resource extraction. Here in SoCal, there is a proposal to build a highway across a very small island of Nat'l Forest. And sadly, it's supported by a local mountain bike group who also sponsors (gives money to) the BRC. When another local group (actually a coalition) suggested an alternative designation to 'the Big W" in order to protect the area but alow mtb's, that mtb club pulled out because the the group opposed the road.
    As far as I can see, no extractive industry gives money directly to the BRC, but it is being funneled through members and other so called "grass roots" groups involved in the Wise Use movement.
    An interesting little essay I stumbled across recently is titled "Divine Destruction" by Stephanie Hendricks, a journalist from the Bay Area. Worth reading, but a little salt may be needed

    And as far as the "what would you build your house with if it weren't for trees" b.s., er argument, that is so old school; there are so many alternatives to wood frame but the construction industry and the timber industry's ties are close. The country and the construction industry needs a paradigm shift in thinking about materials and building codes.
    We also need to think of the waste generated in logging and construction. Somewhere I have several articles on the use of logging slag and construction waste being used for wood pellet fuel and recycled into material like OSB for building. I'll have to dig those out...
    Last but not least, I believe more trails are lost to development (all types) than to Wilderness Designation. Not that it makes the big W any better, but it puts it into perspective. Currently there are 2 projects, one in the PacNW, and the other in WVA(I believe) that are looking at strong protective designations to public land that allow MTB's. Sorry for the vagueness, but I'm at work and don't have access to the info. I'll try to post it ASAP.
    And just BTW, Dale Bosworth, head of the National Forests, stated a couple of years ago that the single greatest threat to recreational lands is unchecked ORV use. I'm not sure if getting in bed with the BRC is in the best interest on mountain bikers.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by smilycook
    I thought I might chime in...

    As mark(Irishbudda) pointed out above I currently sit on the Board of Directors of the BRC and I am one of the state reps in Idaho for IMBA and I would definatly consider myself an enviromentalist, unfortunatly some groups have tarnished that name and changed the definition of what an enviromentalist is, but that is another diatribe.

    First of all, the founder of the BRC is Clark Collins who recently retired and still lives in Pocatello. Which is an amazing place to ride not only a mountain bike but also a dirt bike. Jack Welch is the current president of the BRC.
    Boy, am I glad you chimed in on this. BTW, Welch himself told me he "founded" BRC. Perhaps he co-founded it with Collins?

    Welch also told me that they were shopping their bill for a sponsor, but were having problems because the extractive users were afraid that they were trying to shut them out of public land with this designation. Welch said that the BRC lobbyists were working to make certain that the extractive interest lobby knew that was NOT the case. In other words, your "existing mining claim" exception doesn't sound like it's close to what the bill actually is going to say. (Since I live in an area whose economy is very tied to mining I'm sure he thought he was talking to happy ears.)

    As a high-profile IMBA and BRC member I really, really hope you'll check into this for us. This is a big, huge deal, and in my mind is something that is worth mobilizing over.

    A few more points - ABSOLUTELY agree with you re: changes to the 1872 Mining Act. Hopefully, though, it'll wait until either the administration or the control of Congress changes. I wouldn't like to see either an all GOP or all Dem solution to that conundrum.

    Also - ABSOLUTELY agree re: ATV destruction of single-track trail. Is this something the BRC is addressing in any way?

    And - The sell-off of public lands has been happening for years. Right now it's lands that are adjudged to be unnecessary or too expensive to maintain... there are also ongoing land swaps between developers and the gov't switching out high-value public land adjacent to resorts for more remote inholdings. You're fooling yourself if you don't think that this sell-off will continue and will ramp up to fire-sale perportions as population pressure increases and we struggle through the shift away from a petroleum-based economy.

    And - note to James - IMBA may not be in this formally but the BRC is claiming IMBA's backing and has for a couple of years now. My friend sent me the first BRC Magazine article touting an IMBA partnership two years ago now. BRC Magazine's Feb. 2006 article contained the reprint from Mountain Bike Action, which had IMBA all over it. I have a hard time believing that this is completely one-sided.
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  19. #19
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    awesome thread

    The reason I stand for mountain bike access instead of new Wilderness areas or for Motorized access is simple. This is MY fight. I'm a rider first. The other two groups should be courting my thoughts and energies. If it falls in line with what I want, I just may support one of their particluar projects.
    thanks!

    i posted similar sentiments a while back in a passion thread, and was slammed for being uncompromising and small minded. it's nice to know that a few other people are willing to fight and fight hard for what we love.

    mountain biking is taking off as an industry and we really do need more people to join groups such as IMBA, if there are enough people with the same opinion than the membership will create the policy, not the organization.
    what would rainbow unicorn do?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Irishbuddha
    Chris, Here we go again!


    So you would rather ride in a clear-cut than the new trails at Tamarack? You are one twisted dude! So why is the extractive industry better than the recreation industry? While in many ways I might agree with you this argument has problems.


    Mike not Mark
    Mike, Sorry about the mix up. Anyways isn't a ski hill just a bunch of clearcuts cleverly disquised as so called ski runs, that is what it seems like to me. Personally I don't like riding at ski resort for exactly that fact, throw in the lift and the ski hill clear cuts and I just don't get the same experiance. Frankly I don't like the massive development going on around the cascade and donnely area. Tamarack is now turning into what was once a nice quite down into another richy-rich ski hill area which I also despise.

    While clearcuts definatly are a scar on the land I would imagine that if more thining projects were allowed to continue than the mill in cascade might have survived and then maybe tamarack never would have come to the valley. Speculation for sure. Just look at what happens when ranching gets pushed out due to frivolous lawsuits, the land turns into ranchetes and then we loose our riding areas.
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  21. #21
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    NEPA still applies to a road...

    Quote Originally Posted by BobL
    "Someone earlier talked about our national forest being open to development, which is so very far from the truth. All of our public lands are goverened by an act called NEPA which has some very strong protections for the land. The only way you are going to see condos on National Forest Land is if the federal goverment sells it off." (quote)

    Unfortunately, on just about every NF sign I've seen, there is the quote:"Land of Many Uses".
    Yes I agree the forest service has a mulitple use mandate and that is why right of ways can be allowed like roads. But it still goes throught a process which you can be involved in and comment at, if you really dont like the road then it can be blocked if enought people get toegther...power to the people. I don't know anything about LA area or care to and don't ever plan to visit so I won't speculate on anything and just stick to my neck of the woods as locals usually make the best decisions.

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  22. #22
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    so far...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mountaingirl1961

    As a high-profile IMBA and BRC member I really, really hope you'll check into this for us. This is a big, huge deal, and in my mind is something that is worth mobilizing over.
    .
    I will have to get the full bill text and get back to you on this one. Expect something late next week as I have night classes in the first part of the week.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mountaingirl1961

    A few more points - ABSOLUTELY agree with you re: changes to the 1872 Mining Act. Hopefully, though, it'll wait until either the administration or the control of Congress changes. I wouldn't like to see either an all GOP or all Dem solution to that conundrum.

    Also - ABSOLUTELY agree re: ATV destruction of single-track trail. Is this something the BRC is addressing in any way?

    And - The sell-off of public lands has been happening for years. Right now it's lands that are adjudged to be unnecessary or too expensive to maintain... there are also ongoing land swaps between developers and the gov't switching out high-value public land adjacent to resorts for more remote inholdings. You're fooling yourself if you don't think that this sell-off will continue and will ramp up to fire-sale perportions as population pressure increases and we struggle through the shift away from a petroleum-based economy.

    And - note to James - IMBA may not be in this formally but the BRC is claiming IMBA's backing and has for a couple of years now. My friend sent me the first BRC Magazine article touting an IMBA partnership two years ago now. BRC Magazine's Feb. 2006 article contained the reprint from Mountain Bike Action, which had IMBA all over it. I have a hard time believing that this is completely one-sided.
    We have definatly talked about ATV widening at board meetings and I am always chatting about it with the motorcycle guys and keep on meaning to write a story for the magazine. I am due for a story soon. The FS and BLM are also trying to do some education and I have seen some pretty good pamflets coming out of idaho and colorado.

    Land sales and swaps are definatly intresting. Most of the land swaps in our area have been benificial since state land can be sold much easier. The disdain for federal land sales in the west is pretty strong among the recreation community, especially the latest proposal. Definatly an item to keep close tabs on...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountaingirl1961

    And - note to James - IMBA may not be in this formally but the BRC is claiming IMBA's backing and has for a couple of years now. My friend sent me the first BRC Magazine article touting an IMBA partnership two years ago now. BRC Magazine's Feb. 2006 article contained the reprint from Mountain Bike Action, which had IMBA all over it. I have a hard time believing that this is completely one-sided.
    Any chance they publish the BRC magazine online? I'd like to look at it. Or can you email me a copy webmaster-at-imba.com? thanks!

    Nevermind - found it on thier website.

    Again, I'm not the policy guy but i'd say that article was a reprint from another magazine and in no way in intended to show IMBA partnering with BRC - at least as far as IMBA's concerned. BRC may have other intentions. IMBA is a member driven organization. They go the way the members dictate. Sometimes slower that any of us would like, but they do get there. Freeriding is a good example. IMBA wasn't very pro-freeride/DH/Stunt in the beginning of the movement but now IMBA is building some of the best stuff out there for those sports and have multiple grant opportunites just for them. I don't think the majority of IMBA members want to partner formally with BRC considering IMBA's success with the federal and state management agencies using less confrontational tactics. You can always be a member of both. who knows- I'm just a web geek with a bike. :-)
    Last edited by imbawebguy; 03-07-2006 at 09:27 AM.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by imbawebguy
    Again, I'm not the policy guy but i'd say that article was a reprint from another magazine and in no way in intended to show IMBA partnering with BRC - at least as far as IMBA's concerned. BRC may have other intentions.
    That article is a reprint, James, but they've run other articles in the past two years claiming partnership with IMBA on this. Check their archives.
    Don't ask me a question unless you really want to hear what I think.

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    So this is a one-way relationship?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Irishbuddha
    Chris, Here we go again!


    Boise Cascade went out of business because they couldn’t continue to cut at the rate they were removing trees. In order to maximize profits many companies are cutting at rates that are not sustainable over time. As much as environmentalist would like to, they can’t make trees grow fast! Environmentalists also don’t set the price for wood. If the price went up companies could cut at slower rates and still make money and do it in a fashion that caused less environmental impact. Should we be angry at the environmental community that asked companies to cut in an environmentally appropriate fashion or the company that decided to maximize profits and then get out. There is enough blame to go around but you have decided to spout the extractive industry/BRC retort. In retort, I am wondering if Chenney has his hand up your arse and you are just another red-neck monkey sock puppet just like Bush! Come on Chris you are smarter than that!

    Mike not Mark
    As part of the paper industry...Boise Cascade does not exist but Boise Paper does. I will not speak for the timber industry but the paper industry as a whole produces 20 % more timber than it uses per year. This was not always the case but is standard practice today.

    Regardless, this (thread) is a very good read...

    Nate

  27. #27
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    have not forgotten you mountaingirl1961

    Quote Originally Posted by Mountaingirl1961
    That article is a reprint, James, but they've run other articles in the past two years claiming partnership with IMBA on this. Check their archives.
    I have tracked some items down and I am awaiting a couple more emails..Chris
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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by smilycook
    I have tracked some items down and I am awaiting a couple more emails..Chris
    Cool beans. BTW, just heard from an MTBR member about a joint project between his MTB group and the local Sierra Clubbers... hopefully he'll chime in here.
    Don't ask me a question unless you really want to hear what I think.

  29. #29
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    I am a mountain biker first, an IMBA member second, and a member of the BRC third. I joined BRC because they do try preserve trails for mountain biking, and to be truthful, I do enjoy taking my Jeep off road on designated OHV trails. However, if this is true...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mountaingirl1961

    We talked for a while about the backcountry designation bill that the BRC and IMBA were supposedly cooperating on. He said that the BRC was shopping the bill looking for a sponsor, but also said "the hardest thing right now is convincing the loggers and miners that we're not trying to kick them off of public land."

    Huh?

    Apparently the "backcountry" designation that the BRC is pushing would still allow extractive uses like mining, logging, oil exploration, etc. I guess I fail to see at that point what the reasoning is behind this "backcountry" designation. Why bother?
    Then BRC will not be getting my membership dues next year and I will continue to write letters to the board for the remainder of my current membership requesting that they change their views on this. I hope the BRC rep on this board is listening because I know other BRC members that feel the same way.
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    NEPA "Protection"

    "All of our public lands are goverened by an act called NEPA which has some very strong protections for the land." quote

    NEPA does not preclude environmentally damaging impacts from the development of public lands. It merely sets up a process for evaluating those impacts, identifying alternatives to the development and evaluating the benefits of the proposed development. Sometimes that process results in the proposed development being modified or, in some cases, not occuring at all. However, in many instances, the proposed action is approved after going through the long, and expensive, NEPA process. Don't hang your hat on NEPA to save our public lands from development.

  31. #31
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    Backcountry Designation Rought Draft

    Ok well I did some research and got some pretty good information. Below is the text of a rought draft for a backcountry designation, I do want to stress the roughtness of this draft and the fact that it has not been scrutinized by an official congressional bill writer.

    SEC. 1. DESIGNATION OF ( ) BACK COUNTRY AREA
    (a) FINDINGS AND PURPOSE-
    (1) FINDINGS- Congress finds that--
    (A) The Back Country Area includes important resources and values, including wildlife habitat, clean water, open space, and opportunities for Recreation and solitude;
    (B) The Back Country Area includes areas that are suitable for recreational uses, including the use of snowmobiles and other motorized and non-motorized vehicles; and
    (C) The Back Country Area should be managed in a way that protects the
    resources and values of the Back Country Area, and its relatively undeveloped nature, while permitting continued recreational uses, subject to appropriate regulations.
    (2) PURPOSE- The purpose of this section is to provide for management of
    certain land in the ( ) National Forest in a manner that:
    (A) is consistent with the management plan; and
    (B) protects the natural qualities of the land.
    (b) DESIGNATION- The approximately ( ) acres of land in the ( )
    National Forest generally depicted on the map entitled `Proposed ( ) Back Country', dated ( ), is designated as the `( ) Back Country Area'.
    (c) MAP AND LEGAL DESCRIPTION-
    (1) IN GENERAL- As soon as practicable after the date of enactment of this
    Act, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Resources of the House
    Of Representatives and the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the
    Senate, a map and legal description of the Back Country Areas.
    (2) EFFECT- The map and legal description shall have the same force and effect as if included in this Act.
    (3) CORRECTIONS- The Secretary may correct clerical and typographical errors
    in the map and legal description.
    (4) AVAILABILITY- The map and legal description shall be on file and available for public inspection in--
    (A) the office of the Chief of the Forest Service; and
    (B) the office of the Forest Supervisor.
    (d) MANAGEMENT-
    (1) IN GENERAL- Except as otherwise provided in this section, the Secretary
    shall manage and administer the Back Country Area in accordance with the
    management plan.
    (2) GRAZING- Nothing in this Act, including the establishment of the
    Back Country Area, affects grazing on land in or outside of the Back Country
    Area.
    (3) MOTORIZED AND MECHANIZED TRAVEL-
    (A) REVIEW AND INVENTORY-
    (i)IN GENERAL- Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary, in consultation with any interested parties, shall complete a review and inventory of all roads and trails in the Back Country Areas.
    (ii)CONNECTION- In conducting the review and inventory under clause the Secretary may connect any existing road or trail in the inventory area to another existing road or trail in the inventory area for the purpose of non-motorized, mechanized and motorized use, if the connection results in no net gain in the total mileage of roads or trails open for public use in the Back Country Area.
    (iii) CLOSURE- In conducting the review and inventory under clause(i),the Secretary may close or remove any road or trail in the Back Country Area that the Secretary determines to be not sustainable and is causing significant unmitigable adverse environmental impacts,
    (iv) DESIGNATED AREAS- As soon as practicable after completion of the review and inventory under clause (i), the Secretary shall prohibit motorized and mechanized travel in the Back Country Area, except on routes--
    (I) identified as being open to use in the inventory; or
    (II) established under paragraph (5).
    (5) NEW ROADS AND TRAILS-
    (A) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in subparagraph (B), no road or trail shall be established in the Back Country Area after the date of enactment of this Act.
    (B) ESTABLISHMENT- The Secretary may establish--
    (i) a new road or trail to replace a road or trail of the same character and scope that has become non-serviceable or unsustainable
    (ii) as necessary, nonpermanent roads for--
    (I) hazardous fuel reduction;
    (II) fire, insect, or disease control projects; or
    (III) other management purposes;
    (iii) any road determined to be appropriate for reasonable access as determined by the management plan;
    (iv) a loop trail established under section 7; or
    (6) TIMBER HARVESTING- Timber harvesting shall be allowed within the Back Country, only to the extent necessary for--
    (A) Hazardous fuel reduction;
    (B) Fire, insect, or disease control project; or
    (C) Maintenance of a healthy forest environment
    (D) Protection of public health or safety.

    (e) PERMANENT FEDERAL OWNERSHIP- All right, title, and interest of the United States, held on or acquired after the date of enactment of this Act, in and to land within the boundaries of the Back Country Area shall be retained by the United States.

    (f) WATER RIGHTS-
    (1) EFFECT OF THIS ACT- Nothing in this Act--
    (A) constitutes an express or implied reservation of any water or water right with respect to land within the Back Country Area;
    (B) affects any conditional or absolute water right in the State in existence on the date of enactment of this Act;
    (C) establishes a precedent with regard to any future Back Country Area designation; or
    (D) limits, alters, modifies, or amends any interstate compact or
    equitable apportionment decree that apportions water among and between the State and other States.
    (3) WATER INFRASTRUCTURE- Nothing in this Act affects, impedes, interferes with, or diminishes the operation, existence, access, maintenance, improvement, or construction of a water facility or infrastructure, right-of-way, or other water-related property, interest, or use (including the use of motorized vehicles and equipment on land within the Back Country Area) on any land.

    SEC.5. ACQUISITION OF LAND.

    (1) CONSENT OF LANDOWNER- The Secretary may acquire land under this
    subsection only with the consent of the landowner.

    SEC. 6 REPORT-
    (1) IN GENERAL- The Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Resources of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the Senate a report concerning any agreement or the status of negotiations for the acquisition of land under--
    (A)subsection (a), on the earlier of
    (i)the date on which an agreement for acquisition by the United States of land referred to in subsection (a) is entered into; or
    (ii) 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act; and
    (B) subsection (b), on the earlier of--
    (i) the date on which an agreement for acquisition by the United States of land referred to in subsection (b) is entered into; or
    (ii) 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act.
    (2) REQUIREMENTS- A report under paragraph (1) shall include information on funding, including--
    (A)to what extent funds are available to the Secretary for the acquisition of the land, as of the date of the report; and
    (B) whether additional funds need to be appropriated or otherwise made available to the Secretary for the acquisition of the land.
    (d) MANAGEMENT OF ACQUISITIONS- Any land within a Back Country Area acquired by the United States after the date of designation of a Back Country area shall be added to the Back Country Area.

    SEC. 8. ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS.
    (a) NO BUFFER ZONES-
    (1) IN GENERAL- The designation by this Act or by amendments made by this
    Act of wilderness areas under section 3 and the Back Country Area in the State shall not establish any express or implied protective perimeter or buffer zone around a wilderness area or the Protection Area.
    (2) SURROUNDING LAND- The fact that the use of, or conduct of an activity
    on, land that shares a boundary with a wilderness area or the Back Country
    Area may be seen or heard from a wilderness area or the Back Country Area
    shall not, in and of itself, preclude the conduct of the use or activity.
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  32. #32
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    Here is a white paper on Backcoutry Designation

    Back Country
    A designation whos time has come

    In November 2000, The Forest Service released the Roadless Area Conservation Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS). The FEIS documents a decision to Prohibit Road Construction, Reconstruction and Timber Harvest Except for Stewardship Purposes Within Inventoried Roadless Areas. In general, the public supports protection of these lands. However, a number of organizations have challenged the Forest Service decision. The primary argument is not a conflict between protection and exploitation but a disagreement on the specific actions that are necessary to provide appropriate protection to these areas.

    Background

    In 1972, the Forest Service began the first review of NFS Roadless Areas. This study was known as the Roadless Area Review and Evaluation (RARE) process. The intent within the agency, at that time, was to identify areas that met the criteria and then make a determination of which areas qualified for inclusion in the Wilderness Preservation System. One of the criteria in this 1972 process, for inclusion of an area in the roadless inventory, was that primitive roads would be ignored unless they were constructed or maintained with mechanical equipment.

    Disagreements over what areas were suitable for Wilderness created significant controversy. In an attempt to reduce the controversy and conflict over the first review, the Forest Service undertook a second review (RARE II). This second review resulted in the 58.5 million acres in the current inventory. As part of this review, the Forest Service again made Wilderness suitability determinations. These recommendations were again sent to Congress through the Land Management Planning process. In the 21 years since this last review, Congress has designated some of the areas as Wilderness and not acted on some others.

    Instead of reducing the controversy surrounding Wilderness recommendations, this second review only served to expand the area under disagreement. Wilderness advocates, using the perception that all of these areas were pristine, pushed forward with their efforts to include all areas as designated Wilderness without regard to the Forest Service analysis. This controversy continues today.

    The latest action by the Forest Service was an attempt to placate the Wilderness advocates and to resolve the controversy once and for all. As clearly evidenced by the numerous lawsuits challenging the decision and the continued pressure to make all the areas Wilderness, this effort was again a failure. The litigation and debate surrounding these lands continues to deplete agency resources, restrict responsible management and draw the discussions away from what is necessary to truly protect the land.

    Proposal

    History has shown that administrative action has been unable to resolve the underlying conflicts associated with these lands. It is imperative that Congress takes some specific action to put this issue to rest. Congress needs to establish a new land designation that provides the protection the public demands for these lands while at the same time providing the managing agencies the necessary management flexibility to respond to recreational demands and address critical concerns of forest health, fire prevention and wildlife habitat enhancement. A designation of Back Country will achieve these objectives.

    In general, most of the lands included in the Roadless Inventory are generally undeveloped. Evidence of mans activities may be present and obvious to a knowledgeable observer. However, evidence is not dominant and the landscape is generally perceived as possessing natural, primitive or backcountry characteristics. It is important that these characteristics be maintained under any land designation category established by Congress.

    These lands provide a very valuable resource for recreational activities that allow people to experience and enjoy natural appearing landscapes. They provide opportunities for people to escape from the pressures of the everyday world. This can include a wide range of recreational activities including hunting, fishing, hiking, off-highway motorcycling, horseback riding, ATV use, bicycling or use of 4-wheel drive vehicles. At the same time, many of these lands are threatened by insect and disease epidemics and by catastrophic wildfires that could destroy the very values that the public wants to see preserved. Therefore, it is essential that this land designation also allow the managing agencies the ability to apply a minimum level of management to deal with these threats.
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  33. #33
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    got to love this quote

    from US PRIG

    ""The timber, mining, and oil and gas industries are using the Blue Ribbon Coalition as a front group to advance their agenda to keep as much of our public lands open to logging, mining, and oil and gas exploration — uses hardly compatible with recreational interests, "

    you would think if we were a front group then for these industries then they might actually support us finacially. The fact is we don't get a big check from exxon and a lot of the organization is paid for by contributions from individuals.
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  34. #34
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    Our local club has done many projects

    Quote Originally Posted by Mountaingirl1961
    Cool beans. BTW, just heard from an MTBR member about a joint project between his MTB group and the local Sierra Clubbers... hopefully he'll chime in here.
    with enviromental groups and also motorized groups. We have partnered with a local enviromental group on earth day projects and trail work projects and showed up at trail maintenance days for OHV areas, which had some awesome food as a reward for helping.

    In the end you need to know your partners and determine where you can work toegther and what you can agree on and agreeing to diagree is helpful too. I have been working on a non-motorized trail system of around 50 miles for the past four years and we are getting throught the EA right now. Long before the EA process started I sat down with enviromental groups and motorized groups to let them know what we were planning and I think this has made the process go much smoother. I also figure you might as well bring them in ahead of time as opposed to springing something on them on the last minute.

    Frankly I think a very important reason as a mountain biker to be a member of brc is because they protect motorcycle trails that we as mountain bikers ride on also.
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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by smilycook
    Back Country
    A designation whos time has come
    Thanks for the research Smilycook. Good stuff to read.

    A couple of thoughts now... will think about it more when I'm a little less overwhelmed:

    1. The White Paper is quite slanted and would be far more credible if it were less so. Presenting a cooperative rather than a confrontational face would be more successful in gaining support for this project, IMHO.

    2. There are some big, big holes in the draft that need to be specifically addressed.

    a) The draft states that areas receiving backcountry designation would be managed under the existing forest management plan. That, to me, seems like it leaves a lot of holes. Shouldn't a new plan be written for these designated areas outlining the higher standard of protection to be achieved and the new recreational, rather than multiple-use, focus?

    b) I also think that specific language needs to be in there that talks about managing existing roads and trails in such a way that the resource is not further damaged by their being there. Many, many trails on the ground are pioneered, erosional, and poorly designed (if they were ever designed at all). These trails need to be either closed and replaced or re-routed and rehabilitated to mitigate damage done to the resource.

    c) The language is blatantly vague when it comes to identifying existing roads and trails. As the draft is written it does not talk about system roads/trails, just existing roads/trails. That means pioneered trails would be allowed to stay and forever open to use. That is incredibly poor management.

    d) Mining isn't addressed, and needs to be particularly when this comes up over BLM property.

    e) There is a lot of discussion going on now regarding the thinning of trees for "management" purposes. In effect they're talking about allowing forestry companies access to commercially valuable trees in trade for doing thinning work. This defeats the purpose of protecting these areas. IMHO thinning work needs to happen but language needs to be in place that would prevent these kinds of commercial trade-offs. The language in the draft is just begging for lawsuits. It needs to be much more clear and much more restrictive.

    f) The no net gain/loss approach to trails concerns me. As population pressure increases the need for new recreational trails will grow and I think that carefully designed, carefully managed trail systems will need to be constructed in order to reduce conflicts and overuse.

    g) I think language needs to be in there that limits motorized uses to areas appropriate for motorized uses under the forest management plan. Leaving all backcountry areas open to motorized use does not adequately address the increased resource damage motorized uses cause. In areas where the terrain is too steep or wet for appropriate trail construction, or where wildlife would be unduly disturbed by motorized uses, there does need to be a mechanism for addressing those concerns and limiting access, preferably seasonally but if necessary permanently.

    h) I am very concerned about the establishment of "nonpermanent" roads for management purposes. These roads will quite quickly become permanent. Once the USFS tries to close them the fight will be on yet again.

    There are a lot of things I like in that draft, too:

    a) I very much like the "no sale, no how" approach.

    b) I think that, once we define what an existing road or trail is under this bill, the trade-out system for trail replacement/re-routing is a good idea.

    c) I like the "recreation first" management approach to this designation. I would like to see it emphasized more strongly than it is in the draft.

    d) The language outlining water rights (or lack thereof) for this designated land will stave off a lot of fights getting this passed. I'm no big fan of upstream storage, but the reality is that we need water, we aren't interested in conservation, and it's going to have to come from somewhere. And - artificial lakes are, indeed, valuable for recreational purposes.

    e) I like the fact that they haven't discontinued grazing in these areas, as I do not see grazing and recreation as incompatible uses. I do think that language needs to be included that mandates protection of riparian areas and other species that may be negatively impacted by grazing, rather than just a blanket approval of grazing rights in the forest. This needs to be done in such a way that does not negatively impact the permittees.

    This is a great place to start and is worthy of follow-up. I'll be very interested to see what others of you have to say about what you read here.

    Where is this in the process? And who can we talk to about appropriate modifications?
    Last edited by Mountaingirl1961; 03-17-2006 at 08:31 AM.
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  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by smilycook
    Frankly I think a very important reason as a mountain biker to be a member of brc is because they protect motorcycle trails that we as mountain bikers ride on also.
    As somebody said upthread, the BRC needs to exist if for no other reason than to counterbalance some of the obstructionists on the other side of the debate. I'm glad that people like you who ride both MTBs and motos are involved to hopefully bring some sanity to the table there.
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  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by smilycook
    fr

    you would think if we were a front group then for these industries then they might actually support us finacially. The fact is we don't get a big check from exxon and a lot of the organization is paid for by contributions from individuals.
    But do you get any checks from Exxon? Or other oil, gas, mining, lumber corporations?
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  38. #38
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    Nothing from exxon

    Quote Originally Posted by NMPhi767
    But do you get any checks from Exxon? Or other oil, gas, mining, lumber corporations?
    or anyone from the major oil industry, gas, mining, or lumber corporations. I know we get some money from the companies that make high end oil additive for two-stroke motors and oil for four stroke motors like motrex and blue diamond.

    In all seriousness we have a hard enought time getting money from the motorized industry and the majority of our major industry supporters are shown in ads in our magazine.
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  39. #39
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    Sure its taken awhile to think about this subject, but better late than never? My response to mtn girls points follow

    1. Is the white paper slanted? Yes, but considering what is happening in California, Nevada, and soon to Montana, there does need to be a counterpoint to wilderness. Wilderness is being applied too broadly as a blanket designation, and in many cases it isnt needed. Its just too much.
    2. I agree that there are big holes in the draft we have seen. I am glad that Mtn Girl is astute enough to recognize them, which helps allow me to add my 2 cents. The following point-by-point remarks matches Mtn Girls thoughts.

    Things that Mtn Girl didnt like:

    a. I also think that each area plan needs to have new, higher protection than the current forest plan. After all, these areas are worthy of being wilderness. The flora and fauna and scenery need to be protected, not exploited. Also, isnt recreational use the same as multiple use? What is the subtlety here?
    b. Trail specific language is imperative. Trails may need specific rerouting to protect resources. For example, not every viewpoint needs to be accessed by all user types. The land and animals should come first over our rights to access any particular meadow or lake. Each route should be evaluated for problems. Careful restrictions would give Backcountry Land a great quality.
    c. Mtn Girl is right about existing versus system roads. But I must say, sometimes new non-system road/trails make more sense than the system ones. Sometimes all tails in an area are so poorly laid out that they should be completely rethought. Some pioneered trails are evolved from game trails. They will remain even if closed to us. Some of them are worthy of continued use. No trails should be widened for use by ATVs or 4wd from an existing singletrack state. No trails should be routed through calving areas, delicate soil areas, or gathering areas such as wallows. Although seasonal closures of trails in such places could work out.
    d. Mining. Even wilderness areas allow mining on existing claims. There is specific wording in the wilderness act that allows this provisionally.
    e. About thinning trees, I agree with Mtn Girl word for word.
    f. I also agree with Mtn Girl about the no net gain/loss trail issue. But would like to emphasize that sometimes miles should be added to trails in order to steer them around sensitive spots or to make a more sustainable, lower impact route.
    g. I agree with Mtn Girl again about motorized access. There needs to be specific restrictions in many areas to protect wildlife, trail quality, and all other users experience. At times, restrictions may be needed for all user groups, including hikers and equestrians. I wonder if there should be horsepower or size restrictions on 2 and 4 wheel vehicles? How about suggesting a backcountry rated class of motorcycle? Light, low power, quiet.
    h. If a road needs to exist for management, then it will become permanent. So dont build any temporary roads except for mining. Do timber harvesting with horses and helicopters.

    Stuff Mtn Girl liked:

    a. no sale-no how. If an area is valuable for wilderness or backcountry, it should never be sold. However it could be used for an adjacent consolidation trade?
    b. Im not sure I agree.
    c. I dont like the recreation first approach. The land and biological considerations should be first. Recreation should be down the list. However, unlike wilderness areas, recreation should be on the list of priorities.
    d. I agree with Mtn Girl about water rights.
    e. I agree with Mtn Girl about grazing. I want to add that permittees should be held responsible for specific and cumulative trail damage by livestock. In our area I can name a number of livestock destroyed trails. Several miles worth of destruction.

    I will ask also, where is this in the process? And who can we talk to about modifications?

    In Montana, we are facing a new push for wilderness over the next few years. The push has already begun. Near Bozeman there is a very large WSA, the largest in the state. All the wilderness groups here have their designs on it. All these groups cooperate and communicate with each other. Mountain bikers here will lose out big time. I feel that very little of it is suitable for wilderness because there is no practical way to cherry-stem the many bike trails out of it. In spite of prior heavy, and currently moderate motorized use; and in spite of the development of mountain biking; the wildlife is thriving. Elk and grizzly and wolves are on the increase in this area. I believe that rather than closing this area to create a wilderness (a non-management solution), that more management is needed. This WSA needs to be managed for wildlife, forest health, and recreation. The Backcountry Land designation would be quite appropriate. I am afraid that the push for wilderness here will take the land from many of us before a Backcountry Lands Act will be ready. I cant very well stall the wilderness process here for a better solution, if the better solution is only a fantasy.

    Greg

  40. #40
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    Nice post, Greg. You make some good points

    No time tonight to go back and review the whole thread, so let me just throw out a quick impression or two.

    Multiple use includes logging and grazing, so not the same as recreational use.


    If the area around Bozeman is getting heavy recreational use yet also has improving wildlife populations, maybe there would be support to make it some sort of special study area. Some of the folks that push for wilderness only do so because it is a certain tool to block development. And it would be really great to have a forest with great natural and recreational values that was dedicated to improving the state of forest management near a good university.

  41. #41
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    Great idea Harry! I can see it now, Montana State University Forest Health and Biodiversity Special Study Area. Managed in conjunction with Gallatin National Forest and a coalition of recreational partners. Motto, "Critters first".

    Greg

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