Dec 18, 2008 at 1:07 pm #1232718
@kennyhel77Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Heard this on NPR today. Hmmm instead of hiking the JMT you might be able to ride your mounain bike on it. This is part of the same legislation I believe that Bush has inacted with allowing guns in Natl. Parks. Intersting debate can come out of this I believe. Would bikes destroy the trails or cause less errosion than horses? The though of bking the JMT does sound intersting and the speed of finishing the hike or other trails in Natl. Parks would be enticing…..or notDec 18, 2008 at 5:41 pm #1465278
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Tell me it ain't so, Ken. That would be an unmitigated disaster and lead to all sorts of problems, up to and including violence, IMO. Hikers and bikers just do not belong on the same trail for a lot of reasons, most importantly the difference in the speed they travel at, but also for esthetic reasons. My 2 cents.Dec 18, 2008 at 6:24 pm #1465283
Why do so many people think a) Bush can enact legislation, and b) that Bush is responsible for allowing law-abiding gun owners to carry their licensed weapon in National Parks? Anyway…..I can see this turning into a skiier vs. snowboarder kind of arguement. I don't think bikes would be any more damaging than horses, but I sure bet a lot more people would get seriously hurt, farther from help. Some of them might be hikers too.Dec 18, 2008 at 6:35 pm #1465284
W I S N E R !Participant
I think MTB impact depends entirely on the rider, their skill level, and style.
Mind you, none of these three can really quantified before letting someone loose.
I know many people that are courteous and can ride without leaving a trace- easy on the brakes, no skidding, etc.
Others are capable of quickly destroying a trail (and any living thing in their path).
But the same goes for hikers, no?
Those that rearrange campsites, litter, light reckless fires, etc.
Do we legislate based on the lowest common denominator or educate people and trust they'll do right?
One thing I'm fairly certain of:
MTBs in the back country will certainly lead to a higher demand for rescues/airlifts- imagine blowing a switchback on the south side of Forester Pass…Dec 18, 2008 at 7:29 pm #1465296
I've always been told that the big reason bikes are not allowed on the PCT is horses–they are very easily spooked by the bikes. I don't think horses and bikes co-exist very well. So if you allow one, you probably can't have the other. It'll be interesting to see what the horse lobby does on the bike issue.Dec 18, 2008 at 7:59 pm #1465304
According to the new legislation, National Parks will now have the option to allow bikes on some trails. That doesn't mean that they will, or if they do, that it would be on every trail in the park. We're just going to have to wait and see what park management does with the new "ability." Conversely, let's see how long it will be before Obama reverses it.
This should probably be in Chaff, BTW.Dec 18, 2008 at 8:01 pm #1465306
@blister-freeLocale: Puertecito ruins
>>Heard this on NPR today
Heard what exactly? Lots of speculation here, not much fact.
Edit: Any handy links? Can't find this on NPR's website.Dec 18, 2008 at 8:43 pm #1465311
Joe, the Bush administration IS responsible for lifting the nation-wide ban on concealed handguns in national parks. And no, he did not need to enact legislation for this. The Interior Department promulgates regulations for national wilderness areas–without Congressional approval. (Congress delegated the power to regulate the interior to the executive administration a long time ago.)
In any case, yes, the Bush administration (and Bush, if the "buck" even passes through his office anymore) is responsible for lifting national bans on mountain-biking, guns, etc., in the parks. The parks, and states, though, still have the authority to enact their own rules regarding these matters, so it's doubtful if mountain-biking will be allowed on the JMT. Guns most certainly will not be.Dec 18, 2008 at 9:09 pm #1465315
My other sport is racing mtb enduro's and marathons… so as a mountain biker I can assure anyone that unfortunately we are a pretty rough on tracks… and as a community we don't deny that… which is why there is a lot of effort put into trail building and maintenance…
Walkers and mtb'ers don't co-exist very well on the same trails due to the speed difference and raison d'etre of being there… one is to quickly get to where they are going and the other is to enjoy the process of the 'going'… which is why the trails are generally seperate – though not always…
In Australia Nat Parks authorities only allow walking as a modeof travel mainly because the 'pristineness' factor is a top of the list value. Mtb'ers are allowed in some State Forests and reserves.Dec 18, 2008 at 9:14 pm #1465317
@ryanLocale: Northern Rockies
Bikes have been on a few trails in Yellowstone NP for a number of years now.
These are wide, graded, multi-use paths and they don't venture deep into the Yellowstone wilderness.
They're fun rides, and pretty. My favorite is a four mile path along the Firehole River.
I think it adds to the experience in the park, and it's neat to see the little kids on their 12" wheels with trainers bombing down the trail and saying "whoa!" when a fumarole erupts near them. I'd be dismayed if they allowed bikes on trails into the remote areas, but from a practical standpoint, I guess I just don't see that happening anytime soon.
Funny this conversation is about guns and bikes. This fall, I ran into a hunter with a deer carcass and a rifle around his shoulder as he ripped down the trail in a mountain bike. I thought the whole scene was pretty funny, and it made me laugh, if for nothing else than the sheer absurdity of the situation. The whole scene lasted 30 seconds, and was kind of eerie, but it didn't really stain my overall wilderness experience on that trip.Dec 18, 2008 at 9:42 pm #1465318
I would love nothing more than to have some trails open to bikes in Yosemite so I can enjoy both my favorite sports without having to leave the park. No one will argue that bikes don't do more damage than hikers. That's obvious. What people overlook are the HUGE advancements in durable and sustainable trailbuilding techniques that have happened in just the last dozen years as a direct result of the rise in popularity of mountain biking and the advent of freeride mountain biking. Never have trailbuilding techniques advanced so fast. I think the net is positive in the end. That said, hikers and bikers do have a tenuous relationship at best but it is due to the worst members of both groups. Combine the most responsible bikers and hikers and rarely are there problems. The issues are generally on the descents. The JMT terrain isn't the type that lends itself well to high speed bombing descents. The remoteness, length, and technical nature is also kind of a built in qualifying feature. The riders that make it very far up the trail will be the ones that don't cause problems.Dec 18, 2008 at 9:59 pm #1465324
Nate, I'm a little confused about the fact that 51 Senators, both Republican and Democrat, asked the DOI to overturn the ban on licensed concealed hanguns in parks, and that is the "Bush Administration". Oh well, off the thread anyway. I think we all own the National Parks, and we should find a way to maximize use, as long as it doesn't interfere with others, or do any additional damage. We should share, and learn to play nice together.Dec 18, 2008 at 10:37 pm #1465332
Joe, I was just pointing out that it wasn't legislation, it was a rule change, for which the executive branch is solely responsible. As for all the propaganda about the "urging" of Senators….last-minute rule changes tend to have a healthy amount of public relations in the form of bi-partisan support attached to them. (And let's not kid ourselves that Bush could be convinced to unilaterally undertake anything that he didn't want to, regardless of letters from 51, or 99, Senators).
Anyway, California seems to do well with all the mountain-biking. Lots of trails for both hikers and bikers here. Not sure I care one way or the other….sometimes jealous of the speed.Dec 18, 2008 at 11:24 pm #1465336
@cbertLocale: N. California
ah man i hope not many trails, especially in backcountry
i think bikers need places to go for sure, but the only time i was on a shared trail i was unable to enjoy and let my thoughts drift after the first group surprised me from behind – they overtake too fast and it made me so conscious of the trail behind me that i wasn't able to enjoy what was in front of me and around me as much
it they do it, i'd rather have the trails open to one and closed to the other on a rotation or something rather than open to both at the same timeDec 19, 2008 at 2:29 pm #1465476
@romanlaLocale: Southwest Louisiana
Yeah…a rotation would be a good idea. The trails in Tsali National Forest (North Carolina) rotate between bikes and horses on different days of the week. If I remember correctly, they close the trails after rains too. The national forest near my house isn't very good about closing them and the horses absolutely destroy the trails. I'm also wondering how many people would actually be able to ride the trails. I've seen some trails that were open to bikes that I wouldn't attempt to ride. I didn't see anyone else trying to ride them either! lolDec 19, 2008 at 2:43 pm #1465482
I would think that most of the parks would have miles of 2-track service roads that would make great MTB trails, while not being hiking trails. Coulnd't hurt those any more than vehicles, and it would give good ambulance access. That evil Bush. But at least I can carry my gun now at Guadelupe.Dec 19, 2008 at 3:19 pm #1465487
Joe, that's exactly what they did in California. Fire roads turned into mountain-biking trails. Works great.
And here's the evil man himself:
Just look at the joy he gets out of destroying mother earth!!!
/snarkDec 19, 2008 at 4:34 pm #1465497
@jollygreenLocale: Near the bottom
I bet hes packing too. In fact I think I see a deer quarter handing over his shoulder.
"But at least I can carry my gun now at Guadelupe."
AmenDec 19, 2008 at 5:02 pm #1465502
I've seen a guy take a deer out on a motorcycle, strapped to the sissy bar. I'm having a little trouble featuring that on a mountain bike. But I'd like to see a picture!Dec 19, 2008 at 6:53 pm #1465519
@benwallerLocale: Northern California
Accepting the infernal bicycle on the JMT would be sufficient evidence to me that we had finally lost ourselves among our amusements, to the everlasting detriment of our spirits.
The clatter of chains. The glittering parts and springs and bits of reflectors and helmet visors littering the view. Tracing the Leave, not Leaving No Trace. Windsong smothered in the whop and whine of LifeFlight helicopters.
Stellar. Just stellar. And just who is the idiot who concepted this nitemare? Is he still loose? Can we catch him?
Danger, Will Robinson. The Knuckleheads approacheth.Dec 19, 2008 at 7:14 pm #1465520
Also be aware that a legal brief is circulating arguing that from a historical perspective bikes were never met to be excluded from wilderness areas. Details can be found on the International Mountain Biking Association web site Here.
This paper is meant to "test the waters" in the legal world, and if substantially unchallenged could, maybe, conceivably, find its way into court. Changing law based on a historical review is shaky at best as it opens up our entire system to review. So, I feel, unlikely to happen.
It's much easier for outgoing W to just "Make it so".
In the meantime IMBA is working hard toward that same end.Dec 19, 2008 at 8:12 pm #1465526
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Lawyers use words like accountants use numbers. Question to accountant: "What is 2 plus 2?" Answer: "What do you want it to be". I can only hope Obama makes it "Un-so", because bikes in true wilderness areas will turn out to be an unmitigated disaster from a backpacker's perspective. From the biker's perspective, too, the first time he comes tooling around a bend in a trail and runs into a sow with cubs, or a backpacker exercising his/her newly granted right to "carry" in national parks. I am usually pretty much a live and let live guy, but I don't feel there is much room for compromise on this one. What next? Dirt bikes?Dec 20, 2008 at 6:50 am #1465555
@hellbillylarryLocale: southern appalachians
IMO they deserve to have a place to ride just as much as we deserve a place to hike. If we continue to over legislate everything we won't have anywhere to go hiking without jumping through hoops like they do in california. I like being able to decide to go backpacking on friday at 5pm and just going without having to get a permit or worrying about quotas or if the date is odd even or whatever.
first they will come for the hunters then they will come for the atv riders then they will come for the mountain bikers who will be there when they come for us?
We all love the same wild places I don't understand why we can't share them.Dec 20, 2008 at 7:20 am #1465557
@benwallerLocale: Northern California
The wilderness is placed in protection for its own sake, not for your access to it. Human impact on wilderness tends to degrade wilderness. Bicycle impact on wilderness is human impact on steroids.
Again, wilderness is not an amusement park. Wilderness is simply wild. Under our body of law (consider the declared intent of the laws that established our wilderness areas), wilderness is to be adequately protected so that it may remain wilderness in perpetuity. Your convenience has nothing to do with it. Controlling access to wilderness is necessary to preserve wilderness. Put 5,000 hikers on the JMT at the same time and you don't have wilderness anymore. That's pretty simple.
This might be something of a revelation to some but no one is the center of the universe.
Think outside your box. Wilderness was not declared just for your amusement. Wilderness is for wilderness.
And the infernal bicycle has no place in it.Dec 20, 2008 at 8:32 am #1465563
I appreciate your views,however…
"The Wilderness Act did not forbid human visitation, in fact it emphasized "having opportunities for solitude or unconfined type of recreation" but it took steps to minimize human impacts. Section 4c stipulated "there shall be no temporary road, no use of motor vehicles, motorized equipment or motorboats, no landing of aircraft, no other form of mechanical transport…" (Public Law 88-577) (16 U.S.C. 1131-1136). The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) defined "mechanical transport" as "propelled by a nonliving power source". The 1964 Wilderness Act allowed bicycle use, but there were very few bicyclists riding in Wilderness areas."
….they were not prevalent at the time of the legislation.
If this original perspective is used as the fulcrum for change, it puts us between a rock and a hard spot. How we set the stage for navigating through the coming change is the question at hand.
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