[Cdt-l] mountain bikes on CDT

Kathy-Tom Laskowske tom_laskowske at wycliffe.net
Wed Nov 18 08:16:55 CST 2009

I think if USFS formalizes this policy, it opens the door for pressure to be put on them to build or modify trails, and maintain trails, to accommodate bikes. Allowing bikes is one thing. Making bikes part of their vision statement is another. (I wonder if the USFS is putting this pressure on themselves for some reason, or if they'll just wait until the biker lobbyists do it?)

Biker-friendly trails have pluses and minuses. On the one hand it might motivate USFS to clean up the hundreds of deadfall on Wagontongue Mountain in Gila Natl Forest, New Mexico, that appears to have had zero trail maintainence for 15 or 20 years. Imagine trying to get a bike past that in its present condition! It's hard enough for hikers! Cleaning that up would be good for everyone.

On the other hand, steep trails are, commendably, often built with erosion control in mind. For example, from time to time a log is placed crossways into the trail to divert water. This acts as a stairstep, perhaps as much as a foot high. No problem for a hiker to negotiate, but going uphill I would think a biker would consider that an impediment. Is there going to be pressure to change the way trails like that are constructed? That would NOT seem to be a good thing. I hope the USFS will not cave to that kind of pressure.

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Brett 
  To: cdt-l at backcountry.net 
  Sent: Tuesday, November 17, 2009 10:53 PM
  Subject: Re: [Cdt-l] mountain bikes on CDT

  What is the current policy regarding mtb use of the CDT outside of USFS Wilderness areas and National Parks? Is it explicitly prohibited along certain non-Wilderness, non-NPS portions? Is this the problem raised via the comment period? Most trails in USFS or BLM land outside of Wilderness tacitly permit the use of mountain bikes. The CDT would appear to be no different (note that the CDTA guidebook even rates which segments of the trail are good for mountain biking). 

  I can understanding formalizing trail use policy for the CDT on whole, but I don't see how doing that in a pro-mountain bike way would undermine current restrictions against mtb use in Wilderness or National Parks. In the case of the former, that would require a rewriting of the Wilderness Act; in the latter, the Dept. of the Interior deferring to USDA's agenda, which seems unlikely.

  - blisterfree

  Jim and_or Ginny Owen wrote: 
    Thought y'all might be interested in this - 

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