[Cdt-l] Mountain Bikes
mail at cdtsociety.org
Wed Nov 18 21:46:03 CST 2009
As the Forest Service explained in the recent amendments to the
Comprehensive Plan for the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail,
"the nature and purposes of the CDNST are to provide for high-quality
scenic, primitive hiking and horseback riding opportunities and to
conserve natural, historic, and cultural resources along the CDNST
When these amendments were under consideration, CDTS submitted comments
that advised that "in backcountry (and, especially, alpine) settings ...
bicycle use should be authorized rarely, if at all." The amended plan
now leaves it to the consideration of individual forest units to
determine whether bicycle use "will substantially interfere with the
nature and purposes of the trail."
The Forest Service has indicated its intention to address the mitigation
of bicycle use in its planning processes. This implies that bicycle
advocates will need to demonstrate the compatibility of bike use -
rather than placing the burden on hikers and equestrians to show that
the impacts are adverse. Nevertheless, in reviewing the forests' travel
planning proposals, we expect to highlight aesthetic (quiet and
solitude) and ecological aspects of bicycle use that, in our judgment,
would result in "substantial interference with the nature and purposes
of the trail."
When the CDNST was designated as a national scenic trail in 1978,
mountain biking had not yet appeared on the horizon. The trail was
intended, as noted, for hiking and horseback riding. An experience apart
from the noise and hustle of the everyday world was to be fostered and
protected. We will continue to promote this original vision -- and, of
course, in national parks as well as national forests.
Continental Divide Trail Society
Jim Wolf, Director
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