Forum Index > Stewardship > Wheels in wilderness bill gets hearing.
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RandyHiker
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RandyHiker
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PostFri Dec 08, 2017 6:15 pm 
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Bill to allow MTB usage in wilderness introduced in Congress.

https://www.pcta.org/2017/wheels-wilderness-bill-gets-first-congressional-hearing-55438/

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Notably, the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), the world’s largest mountain biking advocacy group, also is opposed to the measure.

Let your congressional rep know what you think of this...

https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative
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Waterman
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PostSat Dec 09, 2017 8:20 am 
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Thanks for the heads up.

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Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference.
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DIYSteve
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PostSat Dec 09, 2017 11:45 am 
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IMBA offered written testimony against the bill.

IMO the bill was introduced as part of the resource extraction lobby's strategy to drive a wedge in the outdoor recreational community. See this HCN editorial from a few years ago.
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trestle
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PostSun Dec 10, 2017 8:55 am 
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This op-ed is a year old but worth looking at considering that Rob Bishop, Chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, typically supports rolling back protections on federal lands and is from Utah:
Allowing Wheels in Wilderness Would Benefit Lands and Utah Economy

To be clear, the bill was introduced by the vice-chair of the Natural Resources committee, Rep. Tom McClintock, who is not from Utah.

And at least some in the conservation movement will be utilized as well, in the guise of game carts:
The Game Cart for Human Powered Travel in Wilderness Areas Act

Following similar threads on social media and posted comments on numerous articles, the constant refrain seems to be "local control". Mountain bikers in MT are particularly upset at loss of access to Wilderness Study Areas (WSAs) on FS land. As DIYSteve noted, this debate will cause further division among outdoor recreation groups.

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RandyHiker
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PostSun Dec 10, 2017 5:12 pm 
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In my view the "game cart" concept is a way to increase mineral exploration and extraction.   With it prospectors will be able to use horse drawn wagons and move tons of provisions in and ore out of designated wilderness areas.   Horse teams and wagons existed in 1964 so I believe that Zahniser and others authoring and revising the 1964 act intended to prevent such utilization of wilderness lands.   

The claim owners of a flourospar deposit around Williams Lake lobbied the USFS to allow them to use horse drawn two wheeled carts to develop their claim -- which lay within a private inholding back then.    I believe the USFS eventually bought out the claim and the whole proposal may have been simply a way of inflating the supposed value of the claim for negotiating a higher price for the buyout.
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Malachai Constant
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PostSun Dec 10, 2017 8:25 pm 
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The simple answer is why, there is no huge clamor to have MTB in wilderness that is one reason IMBA is against it. I bike and hike and have no desire to push my bike up a steep choosy hill and break my head trying to get back. Folks who do highly technical rides us made trails and get it wired before proceeding. Bikers who do technical rides without practice are like kayaker who run rapids on sight candidates for Darwin awards. Backcountry hunters do it because it is challenging, if you allow carts it will increase the idiots out there and make things more dangerous for hunters and hikers. I agree this is just a ruse to allow mining which will reduce access for all but miners due to safety concerns.

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mb
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PostSun Dec 10, 2017 9:10 pm 
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The reason this came into being is because Wilderness Areas, and Wilderness Study Areas, have expanded dramatically in the last 10 years. This includes not just Montana changes in access in Wilderness Study Areas, but the creation of the Boulder-White Clouds wilderness in Idaho   That caused the loss of hundreds of miles of trails which has been used, and often maintained by, mountain bikers.

A new organization was created, the Sustainable Trails Coalition, specifically for this purpose. IMBA is against the bill because they are afraid.

Basically, not all wilderness areas look like Alpine Lakes. They're not all overcrowded, they're not all choss. And the rules are being applied outside of wilderness areas.

It's strange but not strange that this is now a party line issue. The bill does not hurt wilderness in any way in its current form, but laws and sausages can get corrupted later.

The congressman introducing the bill  (McClintock) is known to be pro-logging, but also pro-mountain bike and pro-access, he has a history of helping with local issues on those topics.

nerd.gif Note that bicycles (and presumably wheelbarrows and game carts) were allowed in some wilderness until 1985. It was the agencies which decided to reinterpret it as anti-wheel, vs. the original anti-motorization. Note that other 'mechanized' things are allowed (stoves, skis, gps devices, etc).

Here's a quote contemporary to the creation of the 1964 act:
“A man on foot, on horseback or on a bicycle will see more, feel more, enjoy more in one mile than the motorized tourists can in a hundred miles.”

― Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire
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puzzlr
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PostSun Dec 10, 2017 10:55 pm 
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RandyHiker wrote:
The claim owners of a flourospar deposit around Williams Lake lobbied the USFS to allow them to use horse drawn two wheeled carts to develop their claim.

Photo from a Seattle Times article re building a "super trail" to the Dutch Miller mine site, October 1968
Vehicles like this have been proposed for alpine mining operation. A gyroscope keeps the transporter upright.
Vehicles like this have been proposed for alpine mining operation. A gyroscope keeps the transporter upright.

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trestle
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PostMon Dec 11, 2017 12:03 am 
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Don't worry, Senator Daines of MT is specifically targeting WSAs.
Montana Senator Wants to Eliminate Wilderness Study Areas

mb wrote:
The bill does not hurt wilderness in any way in its current form

lol.gif   maybe not today

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Token Civilian
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PostMon Dec 11, 2017 7:18 am 
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MB, this is hardly a party line issue.

I suspect you'd find the Backcountry Horsemen far to the right of the Patagonia wearing, latte sipping, Seattle apartment living crowd.    The likes of a Ms DelBene, Mr. Larson, Ms. Murray or Ms. Cantwell would probably be a bit confused if a bunch of chaps & cowboy hat wearing horsemen came into the office and were asking to oppose this legislation.

This is an issue of those that want machines in the Wilderness vs those that don't, period.  That isn't unique to one so called party or another.
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DIYSteve
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PostMon Dec 11, 2017 8:47 am 
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The backlash is surely due in part to an overreach, i.e., some recent WA designations of places that shouldn't have been protected under the Wilderness Act, e.g., Boulder-White Cloud WA expansion into places used for years by bicyclists. IMO, that expansion under the Act was a big mistake. Backlash by bicyclists was wholly forseeable. The big problem is that such overreach threatens to dilute the protections of existing WAs. Protection/regulation as a National Recreation Area would have been the better route re B-WC expansion.

mb wrote:
Note that other 'mechanized' things are allowed (stoves, skis, gps devices, etc).

Nice try  down.gif  The Act prohibits "mechanical transport." A GPSr nor a stove has moving parts and thus are not "mechanical," and certainly are not means of "transport."
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RandyHiker
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PostMon Dec 11, 2017 9:12 am 
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If you want to understand how well hikers and MTB riders coexist--  look to Tiger Mtn for a real world example.

In the '80s as the MTB sport blossomed all trails were shared and there were bitter conflicts.   After many years the mountain was partitioned into foot only areas and shared areas.

The shared areas are still good hiking, but only on the double tracks / old roads.   Many miles of single track bike trails exist, but walking them is risky, as the bikers ride up the double tracks , but down the single tracks at speeds that would risk injury of both parties if a hiker was walking on the single track.
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RandyHiker
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PostMon Dec 11, 2017 9:23 am 
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Note also that the proposed bill contains the following language:

Quote:
shall not prohibit the use of motorized wheelchairs,

And here is a clip of a motorized wheelchair in action

https://youtu.be/atT9MQ72Z0I

The current language doesn't contain any language limiting wheelchair use to those with a disability...
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Token Civilian
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PostMon Dec 11, 2017 10:11 am 
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RandyHiker wrote:
If you want to understand how well hikers and MTB riders coexist--  look to Tiger Mtn for a real world example.

Tiger is a microcosm of the fallacy of multiple use in the context of wheels and feet / hooves on the same trails.  It also, as Randy points out, shows how the user groups CAN exist in harmony - by NOT having wheels on hiker trails AND having purpose built wheel trails in the same general area.

Wheels get their trails, built in a manner that favors wheeled travel (banked turns, lots of little ups and downs, etc - fast, flowy fun.) and operated in a manner that allows wheels to fully use them (e.g. bikes have right of way, one way descents, etc), built by the wheels user group (Evergreen).  Feet know that these trails are the primary domain of the wheels, so don't expect much if they choose to go on them.

Feet / hooves get trails free from wheels (except the odd poachers).  No need to be constantly on guard for some lunatic flying down the hill at you.

All user groups get something of what they wanted.

No conflict.

Not too difficult....until the wheels get their undies in a knot and go all drama queen and want to cause conflict by absolutely destroying the peace and quiet that feet / hooves enjoy in Wilderness.

Leave....us.....alone.....and there will be no conflict.
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DIYSteve
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PostMon Dec 11, 2017 10:56 am 
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One of my frustrations discussing the issues with bikes-in-WAs advocates is that most of them limit the discussion to trails. IMO, trails are a side issue. The Wilderness Act is about protecting places. When a wild place that was accessible via 2 days of walking becomes a place accessible via 3 hours of bicycling, it becomes a less wild place and that change is irreparable.
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Forum Index > Stewardship > Wheels in wilderness bill gets hearing.
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