stone cold lampin'
we like bikes!
Thursday, February 24
bikes in wilderness in our lifetime?
This story in the latest Dirt Rag is a super interesting read. It's a long one but a good one. IMBA released a press release, somewhat in accordance with this a couple weeks ago. Check it out here.

I never thought to much about legally designated "Wilderness" until I moved to CO. There's a ton of great terrain that would be fantastic to ride, but all falls under the Wilderness blanket and we're outlaws in it's regard.

Blogger Chaybo said...
sorry dave but i have mixed emotions regarding this ammendment. Most territories that have wilderness areas also tend to have an abundance of established trail systems, and other recreational areas geared towards cycling. The idea behind a wilderness area is for people to get off of their lazy asses and walk in without creating disturbances for the critters that call it home. Having spent a little time in the areas up here ( hell, the entire bitteroot range is wilderness area )i for one enjoy the serenity of the great outdoors, and being able to visit low impact places .... IMO, leaving the wilderness act 'as is' would be the best way to keep the wilderness wild.

Blogger debaser said...
It's an interesting idea. As i understand it, the original bill was drafted long before moutain bikes were common. Now, IMBA is trying to redefine what that original law was meaning, right? That the law doesn't exclude human powered transportation in Wilderness areas.

The population density in MT, as I understand it, is a wee bit smaller than it is here. So I'll shout out my observations about the Wilderness and remote US Forest here.

There are a ton of people playing in the woods all summer long. When it comes down to it, the usage of 95% of the folks playing revolves around "high" density areas: campgrounds, popular trailheads, and the trails near those areas. When I head to the less popular trails, I see nearly noone. A semi-popular loop here (meaning mtb'ers talk about it fondly and publicly) - Wapiti Baptiste off the Sourdough trail, is deserted even on the nicest of days. The trailhead to hit this is in a campground. The first and last 10 minutes of the ride we'll see a fair amount of people hiking. After that, we see maybe one or two people for the remaining 2 hours.

Pretty deserted. Pretty low impact. It's not that it's not popular, it's just a bit of a haul to get up there. It's remote, and it's in the US Forest.

The Wilderness areas are even further away, 95% of the time. Even harder to access, so I can't imagine that many more people would head to Wilderness because it was suddenly open to bicycles.

As far as bicycle impact, I can't think that my bike is more of a disturbance than the asses and other pack animals that people are using to access Wilderness now.

If it's in the Wilderness area, certainly no development should happen. What I wouldn't want to see are more trails, especially social trails (unregulated, user created). No off trail use of mtb's.

Anyway, that's my initial thoughts about the whole thing.

Blogger Chaybo said...
doesn't the word 'sacred' mean anything ???

Blogger Chaybo said...
Ganz....and it's not that i'm totally apposed to the rule. What i find frightening is the fact that lobbying groups like the Sierra Club fight hard to create NEW wilderness areas as a way to keep other user groups from entering the forest. A brilliant loop hole on their behalf...scary on ours.

Check out what's happening in CA. right now:

Action Alert: California Wilderness Bill Moving Forward

-- Phone calls to U.S. House urged.

Mountain bikers nationwide are urged to ask their U.S Representative and
Congressman Richard Pombo (R-CA), the chairman of the House Resources
Committee, to delay action on the Northern California Wilderness bill until
suitable compromises are reached to accommodate mountain biking.

The Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act (S.128/H.R.
233) would designate more than 300,000 acres as Wilderness and ban mountain
biking from 170 miles of singletrack trails.

Last week a U.S. Senate committee voted unanimously to move the bill to the
Senate floor for full consideration. It is expected to pass the Senate this
week. Next the bill goes to the House Resources Committee for consideration
and finally to the U.S. House floor.

Thousands of mountain bikers rallied last week to call the Senate urging
legislators to consider alternative land designations that protect natural
areas while preserving bicycle access. Thank you! Now is the time to call

House Resource Committee Chairman Richard Pombo places a high priority on
public input. His committee has jurisdiction over all federal Wilderness
legislation and your call is important to raise awareness of this
challenging issue.

IMBA believes mountain biking is low-impact, muscle-powered recreation and
is an appropriate use of trails on public lands and is consistent with the
values of Wilderness land protection which includes recreation in natural

IMBA remains firmly dedicated to land conservation and believes that
Wilderness designation is just one of many tools that may be employed to
protect wild places. When proposed Wilderness Areas include significant
mountain biking opportunities, IMBA proposes alternative land designations
that protect natural areas while preserving bicycle access.

IMBA supports protecting all lands in the bill, but for one-quarter of the
areas under consideration, Congress should use protection measures other
than Wilderness or adjust boundaries to accommodate bicycling.

Blogger debaser said...
How many members does Sierra Club have?

How many members does IMBA have?

Yeah, we're SCREWED, buddy.

There was a newly created Wilderness Protection Area here, James Peak. Some hubabalu occured, and a trail there remained open to mtb's. Not all though, and a sweet trail Dave and Pablo and I rode is no longer open to wheels.

And yes, I understand sacred. I just don't think that bikes are as evil as folks would make them out to be (for disruption of natural resources/habitat/cute little bunnies/whatever). We create no more or less impact than hikers. It's just that we're able to go further in the same amount of time/energy. I don't want to drive my Jeep into the Wilderness...

Blogger magic said...
You guys are hell on wheels and those animals were there before you were a twinkle in your mama's eye. I don't ever remember running out of riding space when riding in Colorado. Maybe you #$%%^$#$'s should move back to Nebraska since this Wilderness Act has put a cramp in your lifestyle, or threw a monkey wrench into your plans. We ain't got none wilderness here cep't for a park down by Salt Creek. Just kidding, Mike.

Blogger Chaybo said...
man...i'm just apprehensive about changing a rule that to me makes zero sense in changing. You make an exception to bicycles, what other exceptions are made down the road.

Did you know that the basic rule is if it leaves a continuous track then it is considered mechanicalized and off limits in Wilderness areas...think about the boys and girls that maintain these areas. No chainsaws, no wheel barrows, just some old fashion elbow grease.

Blogger debaser said...
Does that mean no dragging in the dirt?

I hear you about the precedent, Chad.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Did you know that the basic rule is if it leaves a continuous track then it is considered mechanicalized and off limits in Wilderness areas

No skis allowed either eh? How bout a pogo stick?