Tuesday, November 24, 2009

This Could Happen Here: The U.S. Forest Service deems mountain bikes “acceptable for use” on the Continental Divide Trail.

From Here

A U.S. Forest Service decision that mountain biking is an “acceptable use” of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail came into effect Nov. 4. But the decision isn’t a free pass to begin mountain biking, with individual forest service offices making the final call.

In its decision, which was published in the Federal Register in October, the Forest Service said that while hiking and horseback riding are the primary uses for the trail, it also allows for non-motorized uses, such as mountain bikes. The ruling gives individual Forest Service offices the power to create management strategies appropriate for their districts.

The Forest Service received a huge response during the 30-day public comment period in 2007, receiving 8,000 comments total, 7,200 of which fall into the “Other” category, which is made up of “principally mountain biking enthusiasts,” according to the ruling.

“The directive charges the local land managers with making the decision on which uses will be allowed based on an analysis of the local conditions,” said Steve Sherwood, director of the Rocky Mountain Region’s Recreation, Heritage and Wilderness programs, in a press release by the International Mountain Biking Association.

Sherwood said the decision was a positive outcome to promote fair use of the trail.

“We had a lot of push back on the issue of shared use beyond hiking and horseback riding and we still have strong advocates each way both within the agency and externally, but people need to understand that the CDNST is a 3,100-mile trail that can and needs to accommodate multiple uses,” Sherwood said.

The burden now falls to mountain bikers to negotiate with individual Forest Service offices to negotiate a shared-use agreement on the trails, said IMBA Government Affairs Director Jenn Dice.

Mountain bikers are going to have to continue making a case for shared-use arrangements that allow citizens to get the maximum recreation value out of this wonderful national resource,” Dice said.

Bottom Line:
Riders/racers need to remember that many of our precious mountain bike trails are either located on private land (Birch, Agassiz, Falcon Lake etc) or Government control land (e.g., BHP, Sandilands, Spruce Woods) . In either case it is critical that riders/racers behave responsibly and advocate for land management, and sustainable ecologically sound development. Cyclist can work in partnership with local NOGs, politicians and Governmental bodies to ensure these trails are available for our children to ride/race. Failure to do so might ultimately mean the banning of mountain bikes from the parks (e.g., BHP) and ‘back yards’ we now enjoy.

If you have the time go and ride some of the trails Greg has been craving out in Brandon.

Use it responsibly or loose it forcibly.

1 comment:

  1. you won't find that trail yet.. the entrance to it will open (visible) when I connect to something so people don't get lost... next spring.