Lets save the Continental Divide trail- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1

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    Lets save the Continental Divide trail

    Sign the petition on IMBA's website: https://secure2.convio.net/imba/site...rAction&id=161



    Help Save Bike Access to the Continental Divide Trail

    When it comes to the longest trails in the country, mountain bikes haven't been welcome.

    Congress banned bicycles from the Appalachian Trail before our sport evolved, and access to the Pacific Crest Trail was eliminated in 1988, before mountain bike advocacy had fully developed. With nearly 5,000 miles of iconic trail off-limits on either coast, mountain bikers have had to look to the Rocky Mountains for their taste of epic, backcountry riding.

    The 3,100-mile Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (CDNST) is truly a unique resource for the mountain biking community. Running the spine of the Rockies from Canada to Mexico, the CDNST is largely open to bikes in non-Wilderness areas. But now that appears to be in danger as well.

    Take Action!
    Bike access to the country's longest shared-use trail is now in jeopardy. The Forest Service just released a draft rule that would encourage land managers to kick bikes off existing routes, and not include us on future segments. Your voice is needed to help preserve our access!

    Send Comments
    File formal comments with the Forest Service. IMBA's simple form makes it easy.
    Spread the Word
    Rally your friends and ask them to echo your support for bike access on this outstanding trail. We need thousands of comments to hold out hope for continued access.
    Help Maintain the CDNST
    If you live or play near the CDNST, consider organizing or attending trailwork days to help build and maintain this magnificent trail.
    Please people this trail needs all the help we can get

  2. #2
    Big "T"
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    Banning us from the CDT isn't an end in itself. The North Country Trail is the only other Federal National Scenic Trail that allows bikes in non wilderness areas. There is a very strong anti-biking lobby on the NCT. They've had cyclists in their crosshairs for years.

    If the Fed bans cyclists from the Continental Divide Trail, you can bet that the North Country Trail will be next.

    I've posted a short bit about this on my blog:

    http://www.northcountrytrail.blogspot.com/

    Spread the word!

  3. #3

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    Well it is not over yet. We need all Mtn Bikers to sign our petition as possible. Trail advocacy is all of our responsibility

  4. #4
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    I want to help

    IMBA's online form sucks. It starts with having you address your comments to someone, with no explanation of who it will be going to or how to find out. I emailed IMBA but haven't heard back yet. So, my first question is, how do you fill out IMBA's easy to use form?

    Question number 2. Who knows at what level of the forest service this is coming from. Can the original language be researched online? Is this a regional policy change, or is it a change in the forest service planning manual?

    I want to help, I live in Montana and we have a huge amount of the CDT. But I do want to fill out the form wisely.

    I just rode a piece of the CDT last weekend, it was almost entirely invisible from lack of use, thank goodness for the trail markers every so often. In 2 more years that section won't be rideable, you'll have to shoulder your bike and bash through the sage.

  5. #5

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    Man that sucks. I sent an e-email to the IMBA and no response yet. I am new to the IMBA and I do hope to get better involved.As a kid I was into jeeps and other four wheelers and I was into trail advocacy, I Learned that there are large groups out there that want a lot of trails closed to ALL traffic, including foot traffic. They state that people are not responsible enough to be able to enter without destruction.So advocacy is important.So anyway to make a short stort very long, Someday I will be able to tell you who the petitions are going to.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by montster2000
    Man that sucks. I sent an e-email to the IMBA and no response yet. I am new to the IMBA and I do hope to get better involved.As a kid I was into jeeps and other four wheelers and I was into trail advocacy, I Learned that there are large groups out there that want a lot of trails closed to ALL traffic, including foot traffic. They state that people are not responsible enough to be able to enter without destruction.So advocacy is important.So anyway to make a short stort very long, Someday I will be able to tell you who the petitions are going to.
    I did not build that form so I'm not 100% sure who it is being sent to, but based on the press release (http://www.imba.com/news/action_aler...ide_trail.html) I'm pretty sure it will be key US Forest Service staff and decision makers.

    I know much of the advocacy staff is out in the field right now working with regional affiliates so response to email may be a little slow.

    james

  7. #7
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    OK, here is some more links

    Drew from IMBA sent me a link and a FS guy sent this other one. Maybe if we study this stuf quickly we could get a handle on it in a day or so.


    http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/projects/cdnst_directive/

    http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/trails/cdnst/

    Drew claims these comments will go to Greg Warren at Region 2 in Lakewood, CO. They plan to adopt the bicycle ban in all the regions that the CDT passes through. So far I have seen very discriminatory language used by the clueless writers of this stuff. But I need to study this like a student, actually we all do. There is a time limit on the comments.

    Let's all do a little reading and then report back our findings here over the next couple days.

  8. #8
    Big Boned
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    Just a thought -- Bush is (ostensibly) a mountain biker. Can't hurt to send an email to the White House and make them aware of this.

    [email protected]

    (STOP LAUGHING!!!)
    Never rub another man's rhubarb.

  9. #9
    I should be out riding
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    Interestingly enough, that subject came up on a recent ride. We were wondering if IMBA could have gotten anywhere, having had a mtn biker in the white house for the past 7 years, had they tried to approach advocacy through that front. Two emails to Jenn Dice at IMBA so far, no meaningful answer yet. Seems to me like (no matter what your party affiliation) this would have been the best chance in years to have made progress, if not on Wilderness, on meaningful on the ground policies at USFS, and it seems to have been wasted.

  10. #10
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    IMBA is not doing a great job, they should be educating us MORE.

    For example, why are there plans to cut off access to bikes? Might be nice
    to know that before firing off letters. We might make the problem greater.

  11. #11
    Builder of Trails
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    Quote Originally Posted by chas_martel
    IMBA is not doing a great job, they should be educating us MORE.

    For example, why are there plans to cut off access to bikes? Might be nice
    to know that before firing off letters. We might make the problem greater.
    I pulled up IMBA's home page and saw a prominent link entitled Bike Access Under Fire on 3,100-Mile Continental Divide Trail. Clicking that link, I found an article that states in regard to the CDT, "The Forest Service just released a draft rule that would encourage land managers to kick bikes off existing routes, and not include us on future segments."

    That doesn't specifically state WHY they're doing it, but it gives a starting point for someone who wants to investigate further outside of IMBA.

    Dewayne

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by dburatti
    I pulled up IMBA's home page and saw a prominent link entitled Bike Access Under Fire on 3,100-Mile Continental Divide Trail. Clicking that link, I found an article that states in regard to the CDT, "The Forest Service just released a draft rule that would encourage land managers to kick bikes off existing routes, and not include us on future segments."

    That doesn't specifically state WHY they're doing it, but it gives a starting point for someone who wants to investigate further outside of IMBA.

    Dewayne
    Yeah, thanks for helping make my point. We could cop a clue from the
    2nd Amendment crowd; for example, people like Gun Owners of America or The Texas
    State Rifle Association. Their alerts give a fair amount of detail, like what agency is
    involved. The names, address, email and tel numbers of actual people proposing
    infringement. They also provide background the proposed the infringement and any history that might be related to provide context.


    I spoke to Drew at IMBA yesterday and he said that shortly they would send out
    an alert with more info. I think he said within 72 hours.

    I'm not wasting my time writing letters or calling till I am capable of sounding
    more educated. Otherwise I will just sound like blah blah blah blah blah blah

  13. #13
    Big "T"
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    Quote Originally Posted by dburatti
    I pulled up IMBA's home page and saw a prominent link entitled Bike Access Under Fire on 3,100-Mile Continental Divide Trail. Clicking that link, I found an article that states in regard to the CDT, "The Forest Service just released a draft rule that would encourage land managers to kick bikes off existing routes, and not include us on future segments."

    That doesn't specifically state WHY they're doing it, but it gives a starting point for someone who wants to investigate further outside of IMBA.

    Dewayne
    Correct, it doesn't state WHY. It is either a philosophical land management issue or it's political. IE. there is a land use lobby out there acting against the interests of MTBing. I like IMBA, but too often we don't get the skinny behind what's behind the scenes politically.

    If there is another user group, or if there are corporate interests out there trying to boot cyclists off public lands, we need to know about it. These things don't happen in a vacume. When it comes to federal regs in the Bush Admin somebody's interestes are driving every policy decision. Who's driving this one?

  14. #14
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    A new, updated IMBA alert on the way.

    Just got off the phone with Drew from IMBA and he will be posting a new alert on the 8th. He said it should explain things better. Also it came up that the IMBA easy form may be lumped together and count as only one comment. So write individual letters. Drew will be posting the contact address as part of the alert. Check the IMBA website for the new alert periodically.

  15. #15
    Old Fart at Play
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    Here is the email I received from IMBA today. What bothers me (among other things) is point 7a of the directive, "7. Bicycle (mountain bike) use may only be allowed on a trail segment of the CDNST where the following conditions are met (16 U.S.C. 1246(c)):
    a. An affirmative determination has been made that bicycle use would not substantially interfere with the nature and purposes of the CDNST" Guilty, until proven innocent! How about this language instead: "Bicycle use WILL be allowed unless it is conclusively shown that such use would substantially interfere with the nature and purposes of the CDNST"

    Bike Ban Looms Over Iconic Continental Divide Trail

    Mountain bikers may find some of the nation's best singletrack off-limits if the Forest Service pushes through with a new directive. The agency wants to limit or prohibit bike access on the Continental Divide Trail (CDT), which runs the length of the country, from Montana to New Mexico.

    The CDT includes the famous Monarch Crest, many sections of the Colorado Trail, well-known Steamboat Springs singletrack, important trails around Butte and Helena and much, much more.

    Take Action

    Your strong voice is essential to saving epic rides along the CDT. The Forest Service’s proposal to restrict and prohibit mountain biking has been warmly embraced by some anti-bike groups, who are giving it their full support. All mountain bikers are urged to take action:

    File Comments
    Formally file your comments with the Forest Service. IMBA's simple form takes seconds and will submit your official comments. The deadline is October 12.
    Spread the Word
    Rally your friends and ask them to echo your support for bike access on this outstanding trail. We need thousands of comments to hold out hope for continued access, so please forward this to your riding friends across the country.
    Help Maintain the CDT
    If you live or play near the CDT, consider organizing or attending trailwork days to help build and maintain this magnificent trail. Learn about volunteer opportunities near you.
    Donate
    Can you imagine losing our longest shared-use trail? The IMBA Legal Fund needs your financial support.
    Four Ways
    You Can
    Save The CDT

    File Comments
    Use IMBA's easy form to file your comments with the Forest Service. https://secure2.convio.net/imba/site...rwgqly12.app6b
    Spread the Word
    We need thousands of comments to hold out hope for continued access.
    Help Maintain the CDT
    If you live or play near the CDT, learn about volunteer opportunities near you.
    Donate
    Can you imagine losing our longest shared-use trail?
    Additional Information

    Why is the Forest Service revising its management directive? The CDT is currently managed under guidelines from an outdated 1985 Comprehensive Plan and the agency believes it's time to update that document by clearing up any ambiguity regarding the purpose of the trail and its allowed uses. As part of this effort, the Forest Service is focusing on a hiking and horse-centric vision.

    The CDT is a 3,100-mile shared-use route from Canada to Mexico, traversing some of the most scenic high-elevation terrain in the country. Mountain biking is permitted in most non-Wilderness areas and has occurred on some sections for 25 years. According to the Continental Divide Trail Alliance (CDTA), the trail is only 70 percent completed, with many existing miles in desperate need of repair and maintenance. CDTA estimates the cost to complete the CDT at $27 million.

    IMBA believes a shared-use philosophy that includes bicycling is compatible with the intent and purpose of the CDT, and that mountain bikers can help overcome these significant hurdles impeding the trail’s completion. With 40 million participants, mountain biking is the second most popular trail activity in the country (Outdoor Industry Foundation, 2007). This large constituency helps lobby for public lands funding and donates nearly one million volunteer hours each year to trail construction and maintenance. Mountain bikers can be valuable partners for the CDT.

    Among long-distance trails, the CDT is unique in that has generally allowed mountain biking. Unlike the Pacific Crest Trail or Appalachian Trail, mountain bikes are largely welcome on non-Wilderness sections of the CDT. IMBA isn’t asking for access to all 3,100 miles, but there are many non-Wilderness sections where non-motorized users can get along and mountain biking should continue.

    The Forest Service has said it believes Congress intended the CDT to be for hiking and horse use only. Unfortunately, the agency is basing its proposed directive on a 1976 Study Report—written before modern mountain biking was established--and a similarly out-dated Comprehensive Plan of 1985. Not surprisingly, both documents focus primarily on providing experiences for the “hiker and horseman.” But neither suggests the trail should be limited to these two uses, and in many instances encourages non-motorized activities.

    In fact, the 1976 CDT Study Report states, “The primary purpose of this trail (CDT) is to provide a continuous, appealing trail route, designed for the hiker and horseman, but compatible with other land uses” (italics added).

    In 1983, Congress amended the National Trails Act to clarify potentially acceptable uses on the CDT and other National Scenic Trails. Bicycling is listed alongside various forms of hiking, backpacking and horse use (16 USC 1246(j)).

    This congressional statute is clear and should supercede internal agency documents. IMBA does not believe bicycling should be discouraged or prohibited on the CDT. More than two decades of bicycling on the CDT has shown that this activity does not substantially interfere with the nature and purposes of the trail and that all users can get along.

    Today, the environmental and social science of trail recreation is better developed and many backcountry trails are shared by hikers, equestrians and mountain bikers. A growing scientific consensus has shown that impacts of mountain biking are similar to hiking and less than horse or OHV use (Marion and Wimpey, 2007).

    The IMBA / Forest Service Memorandum of Understanding states mountain bicycling should be managed distinctly from motorized travel. It also says mountain bicycling is appropriate in areas listed as "primitive" on the Recreation Opportunity Spectrum. These areas comprise a significant percentage of the CDNST.

    Proposed Forest Service Directive Language on Mountain Biking

    The proposed directive contains the following sections that discourage our quiet, low-impact, human-powered activity:

    7. Bicycle (mountain bike) use may only be allowed on a trail segment of the CDNST where the following conditions are met (16 U.S.C. 1246(c)):
    a. An affirmative determination has been made that bicycle use would not substantially interfere with the nature and purposes of the CDNST, and
    b. Bicycles must also be allowed by the overall management direction for the land management plan area.

    8. Where bicycle (mountain bike) use is allowed on the CDNST, consider establishing bicycle use prohibitions and restrictions (36 CFR part 261) to mitigate the effects of such use on the nature and purposes of the CDNST. Management practices and actions that would promote or result in increased bicycle use on the CDNST should not occur. (72 FR 32276)

    Read the proposed directive in its entirety. http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/projects/cdn...148_080207.htm

    Visit the Forest Service’s CDT website with additional policy resources. http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/projects/cdnst_directive/

    If you have any additional questions regarding the directive, please email IMBA's Advocacy Team.

    Mailing Your Comments

    If you would rather write your own letter of support for continued shared-use management on the CDT, please use the following address:

    Greg Warren, CDNST Administrator
    P.O. Box 25127
    Lakewood, CO 80225-0127

    Or via email:

    [email protected]

    The Importance of Elected Officials

    Every comment counts and the support of town councils, county commissioners, tourism and parks boards and other elected officials is extremely important.

    Please consider asking your representatives, both local and national, to support equal treatment of mountain biking on the CDT.

    Find your U.S. Senator http://www.senate.gov/general/contac...nators_cfm.cfm

    Find your U.S. Representative http://www.house.gov/writerep/
    Last edited by Titus Maximus; 08-09-2007 at 05:38 PM.

  16. #16
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    An additional way to have your voice heard is through your State's congressman/woman. These elected officials are paid to represent your interests. While form letters are useful to an extent, and certainly show large numbers of people who share an opinion, a letter to your Senator will have more weight than any other form of comment.

  17. #17
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    some new thoughts

    We continue to meet with our unresponsive representatives. Some of their staff are truly deep down and snuggly in the warm back pockets of the Montana Wilderness Association. It's a sad situation. Very biased.

    Anyway, some friends of mine took a ride on a fairly nice and deserted section of the CDT last weekend. It alternated in and out of a BLM area. What they found out after returning home is that the BLM portion is a Wilderness Study Area. BLM WSA's are verboten. Again, damn! The adjacent forest service is not a WSA and the BLM was and the trail dipped back and forth. So we are going to ask for a bike corridor. Bike riders and some trails are held hostage to these rediculous situations in places that could easily accomodate our recreational presence with no, none, no impact at all. When checking out your favorite FS CDT section for comment, also research whether there is a BLM WSA lurking nearby.

  18. #18
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    I hope everyone that is following this issue is familiar with the American Horse Council:
    http://horsecouncil.org/http://horsecouncil.org/

    Check out all the great work they've done working with legislature in Washington D.C. to keep trails open to horses:
    http://horsecouncil.org/legislation/righttoride.html

    According to their website: "The goal of the AHC is to ensure that the industry works together in Washington to accomplish our ultimate goal of “Keeping Opportunities Open” for all segments of the horse industry. The AHC believes that consensus and coordinated action by our members in dealing with federal legislation and regulations is the best way to accomplish that goal."

    They did a study on the economic impacts and financial demographics of horse owners:
    http://horsecouncil.org/economics.html

    There you go. This is just a lobbying group for horse owners. They know what strings to pull and how to get things done and its working for them. Its not about erosion on the trails, or ecological impacts of horses vs bikes, or safety. Maybe IMBA can hire some of their lobbyists, apparently they are some of the best in the buisness:
    http://horsecouncil.org/membership/joinahc.html

  19. #19
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    Last chance to be heard

    The comment period ends on Oct. 12th, I believe. Those of you who haven't commented to save this area, should do so if you live nearby. I live in Montana, and they claim that we have just over 200 miles of the CDT trail. No way, it must have been measured in a straight line, I bet it is close to 400 miles. From the Scapegoat Wilderness to Yellowstone Park, it is kick butt riding that you could get lost on for weeks. Nobody uses it regularly, nobody. In Montana more people of all types are needed on the CDT just to help keep the trail from growing over. It's high, lonesome, and must be saved.

    This thread is the best source for information on the CDT anywhere on the web. Scour the links and please write your concerns. Thanks. Greg.

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