[cdt-l] Mountain bike use

Bruce Ward bruce at cdtrail.org
Fri Jul 13 12:01:35 CDT 2007

The CDTA has issued an alert with more background regarding Jim's
comments below on the Forest Service Proposed Directive. It is critical
we receive your input before providing our comments to the Forest
Service as the leading non-governmental non profit working with the land
managers on the efforts to complete, protect and maintain this national
treasure. Please go to www.cdtrail.org and provide us with your thoughts
so we can provide comments that truly represent our constituents.
Current deadline to comment is August 13.

Bruce Ward
Executive Director
Continental Divide Trail Alliance
PO Box 628 
Pine, CO 80470
Tel.  303  838 3760
Cell: 303 917 1476
Fax: 303 838 3960
Shipping Address:
13700 Highway 285
Pine CO 80470

-----Original Message-----
From: cdt-l-bounces at backcountry.net
[mailto:cdt-l-bounces at backcountry.net] On Behalf Of Jim Wolf
Sent: Thursday, July 12, 2007 7:14 PM
To: cdt-l at backcountry.net
Subject: [cdt-l] Mountain bike use

The Forest Service has published proposed directives for planning,
development, and management of the Continental Divide National Scenic
Trail (72 Federal Register 32276, June 12, 2007). The Society has
submitted a number of comments, mostly technical in nature. One issue of
special concern, however, deals with mountain bike use. On this topic,
we wrote:

    The provisions regarding mountain bike use are too lenient. The
    CDNST was conceived as a simple facility for hikers and horsemen,
    without the intrusion (except on roaded portions) of motorized or
    mechanized instruments. This understanding of the recreational
    experience of a national scenic trail has been recognized for the
    Appalachian Trail, and the same should apply here. We find it
    disturbing while ambling along in a backcountry setting, at a pace
    of two or three miles an hour, with stops to admire the wildlife and
    flowers, to have a mountain bike speed by at a rapid clip. Yes, we
    know that biking is not proscribed /per se/ on a national scenic
    trail, but that does not imply that it should be authorized where it
    may well take away the sense of solitude and freedom that the CDNST
    aims to afford. For some hikers, perhaps the occasional mountain
    bike will be accepted cheerfully - but what is to assure that the
    one or two bikes do not soon turn into a horde? How might they
    impact the physical setting of the Trail, especially in the fragile
    and often moist alpine terrain that characterizes many parts of the
    route? And for the horseback rider along the trail, the sudden
    appearance of a bike could startle his or her mount, causing it to
    take off in situation of potential hazard. Each national forest has
    a system of trails, many of which are and will continue to be
    available for mountain bike use. But a national scenic trail is,
    /and is intended to be,/ different - somewhere where the visitor can
    enjoy a high quality recreation experience in a relatively unaltered

    As a minimum, paragraph 7 should be revised to presume that mountain
    bike use is not to be authorized. That is, "bicycle (mountain bike)
    use may /not/ be allowed on a trail segment of the CDNST /unless/
    the following conditions ["an affirmative determination has been
    made that bicycle use would not substantially interfere with the
    nature and purposes of the trail"] are met....". It might be helpful
    to spell out some of the factors that might come into play in
    determining whether bicycle use will or will not substantially
    interfere with the nature and purposes of the trail - levels of use,
    impact on the physical and biological environment, velocity of
    expected bicycle traffic, proximity to highways or other populated
    locations, etc. But in backcountry (and, especially, alpine)
    settings, on trails designed for pedestrian and equestrian use,
    bicycle use should be authorized rarely, if at all.

[Another provision in the proposal defines the nature and purposes of
the CDT as follows: "... to provide for high quality, scenic, primitive
hiking and horseback-riding, non-motorized recreational experiences and
to conserve natural, historic, and cultural resources along the
Continental Divide."]

We understand that mountain bike groups are opposing the proposed
directives and have alerted their members to file comments. The hiking
community needs to be heard as well, so we urge our members and other
CDT users to submit their views by writing to:

USDA Forest Service
P.O. Box 25127
Lakewood, Colorado 80025-0127

Comments should be submitted on or before August 13, 2007.

Jim Wolf

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