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Anybody see this?

Grab your bear can or camp chair, kick your feet up and chew the fat about anything Sierra Nevada related that doesn't quite fit in any of the other forums. Within reason, (and the HST rules and guidelines) this is also an anything goes forum. Tell stories, discuss wilderness issues, music, or whatever else the High Sierra stirs up in your mind.
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Re: Anybody see this?

Postby oldranger » Fri Dec 18, 2015 2:34 pm

Commo4day

you clearly missed the point of my second concern. That is simply the overloading of trails by adding a second user group. The first few miles of any trail out of Tuolumne meadows is already packed with day hikers adding bikers can not possibly make that experience as nice. Similarly the trail up to Green Lakes in the Three Sisters wilderness experiences hundreds of hikers every weekend during the summer. If opened to Mt. Biking the number of users would surely double and what kind of wilderness experience is that? I suspect also that mountain bikers would expect me to step off the trail as they pass. Given the numbers of mt. bikers going up and down that trail it would get pretty tedious.

The concept of designating wilderness was based on preserving some lands in a wild state and to enable us to experience it in roughly the same fashion that our predecessors did. In order to do so it has been necessary to restrict numbers and thus our ability to go when and where we want to go. Using mountain bikes in wilderness is a significant game changer because it expands the number of people who want to enter the wilderness and greatly extends the range of day use --each of these will then have a serious impact on the meaning of the "wilderness experience" without even considering physical impacts. Also your pics are red herrings. Multiple trails are the result of 1. bad trail design and 2. well over 100 years of use including 1/2 of that time being almost exclusively used by horses which constitute just a minor part of use these days. The oldest Mt. Biking trail in Bend is about 20 years old.

dave 54

I think you fail to understand the skill and determination of mountain bikers. Rock steps are a challenge to them not an obstacle. Here in Mountain bike country the number of mountain bikers with a great skill set is amazing. And there are few trails in Wilderness areas in the Cascades they would not jump at the chance to ride. I could easily foresee the "Three Sisters Challenge" a race around the 3 sisters on a bike and completely within the wilderness. One thing I am certain of is that if bikes were allowed in Wilderness quotas for day rides/hikes would quickly follow.

I understand the desire to have access to Wilderness when some areas previously open to Mt. Bikes have been closed. That is the reason that I have opposed the creation of new "wilderness" in roaded areas that mt. bikers and ohv users previously could access.

Mike
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Re: Anybody see this?

Postby chulavista » Fri Dec 18, 2015 2:51 pm

Here's a list of National Park Service units (>50) that allow mountain biking.

https://www.imba.com/nps-trails-roads

I was confused at how places like the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone could allow mountain biking if it is banned in wilderness and I came across this map.

http://www.wilderness.net/map.cfm

It looks like the Giant Forest, Peak Lake Ranger Hut, and Bearpaw High Sierra Camp locations aren't considered wilderness. Never knew that. Most of Yellowstone is not wilderness, wow! Glacier National Park...not wilderness! Grand Canyon...not wilderness!

Would it be correct to say that the process for allowing bicycles on a trail in SEKI would be to declassify the trail as wilderness? Is there a good book that explains all the legal background why some places are wilderness/non-wilderness, national park, national monument, etc.?
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Re: Anybody see this?

Postby cmon4day » Fri Dec 18, 2015 3:52 pm

OR,

I do agree with you on overuse potential. And as the article stated, that it would be up to the local land managers to designate which trails are open and those that are not. I think this would allay your fears in the Tuolumne Meadows example. This would be an area that was closed to MTB's.

I think though that your perception, along with many others, is not reality. Everyone is citing user conflict as a major issue, I beg to differ. As a long time MTB'er I understand and obey the right of way rules, as do the majority of MTB'ers. Yes, there may be, no there are, individuals who do not act responsibly. But that is no reason to exclude all. Lets say for example there are BP'ers who cut switchbacks or have fires where they are not allowed. Do we restrict all BP'ers from the Wilderness because of those who do not act responsibly? No! So why should it be any different.

On thing we should accept is nothing stays the same. Our predecessors crossed the wilderness in wagon trains, then users (prospectors) would use the wilderness for their mining interests, and now BP's, climbers, and fishermen and women are the primary users. Why not MTB'ers? Times change. How is coming across a couple of MTB'ers on your BP trip going to ruin your wilderness experience? Its no different than coming across a couple of BP'ers?

And yes, riding down rock gardens is challenging and fun. So what difference does it make whether or not a MTB'er is challenging him or herself on these trails? None!

And yes, I agree, the pictures are a bit of a red herring. You got me on that. I'm sure a person who opposes MTB can produce pictures showing trails that are not favorable. But the point I was trying to make it that all this talk on MTB's being damaging to trails is blown way out of proportion.
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Re: Anybody see this?

Postby kpeter » Sat Dec 19, 2015 10:52 am

I've done some mountain biking, and my preference would be not to allow mountain bikes in the wilderness unless there were double track trails available, and to restrict bikes to trails. I guess I could grow to view mountain bikes in the same way I view horses--as another member of the coalition that is necessary to keep public support for wilderness strong. I am reminded of coming across kayakers with their enormous boats strapped to their backs as they carted them up the trail on a portage.

If mountain bikes were allowed in, however, there ought to be some re engineering of single track trails. Switchbacks are not currently designed for bikes, for example. The horse packers pay fees, as I understand it, to use the trails and these fees help defray the costs of repairing the wear and tear of the livestock. (Am I wrong about that now? It was once true.) If so, similar fees should pertain to bikes to repair the additional damage they will inflict and to adjust the trails as needed. Hikers do pay their small fee, which is commensurate with the damage they do.

My greatest worry, however, would be bikers going off trail. Hauling bikes to the top of a slope and then enjoying a thrilling ride down. The soil is so fragile in parts of the Sierra that a single such downhill joyride could create a gully.
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Re: Anybody see this?

Postby cmon4day » Sat Dec 19, 2015 1:14 pm

Ran across this article regarding MTB's in the Wilderness.

http://reviews.mtbr.com/the-angry-singl ... ness-issue

And here is the FB page of Sustainable Trails Coalition who supports lifting the ban on MTB's

https://www.facebook.com/SustainableTra ... fref=photo
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Re: Anybody see this?

Postby oldranger » Sat Dec 19, 2015 3:42 pm

kpeter

Commercial packers do pay a fee for stock trips. Private packers are treated the same as backpackers.

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Re: Anybody see this?

Postby dave54 » Sat Dec 19, 2015 6:50 pm

"dave 54

I think you fail to understand the skill and determination of mountain bikers. Rock steps are a challenge to them not an obstacle. Here in Mountain bike country the number of mountain bikers with a great skill set is amazing. And there are few trails in Wilderness areas in the Cascades they would not jump at the chance to ride. I could easily foresee the "Three Sisters Challenge" a race around the 3 sisters on a bike and completely within the wilderness. One thing I am certain of is that if bikes were allowed in Wilderness quotas for day rides/hikes would quickly follow. "


There will always be a Hans Rey type of rider that will try anything. They represent the minority and not the typical mountain biker. Many, if not most, wilderness trails would be difficult for the average rider to negotiate, leaving long stretches of hike-a-bike. I expect the typical trail rider would be a bikepacker, not an adrenaline fueled 20-something looking for thrills. There will be a few, of course, mostly near trailheads. Interior trails would get very light use by more conscientious riders.

I never was a big fan of the slippery slope type of argument and will not get sucked into it here. Note that carts and wheelbarrows are currently allowed under special circumstances.

I have heartburn over the inconsistencies of the Wilderness Act itself. Ipods and small portable speakers can blast rap music and heavy metal into the next canyon, lithium AA batteries with LED lanterns light up an entire campsite like a night baseball game, and bright neon day glo clothing render a party visible from the next mountaintop. All of these are legal and even defended by some. IMHO all are more disruptive of the wilderness values, destroy solitude, and violate the intent and spirit of the Wilderness Act more than a regulated bicycle.

No one is advocating turning Wilderness trails into a XC velodrome. The STC is only requesting agencies review the current prohibition (which is an agency determined regulation, not a law) on a case-by-case basis to see if some trails may be opened to bikes. Other regulations as to party size, prohibitions on competitive events, unnecessary damage to resources, etc can remain in place. The same arguments were used pro and con when the NPS opened some of their trails to bikes.

I am reminded of the experiment tried by Lassen Volcanic NP to allow snowmobiles on the main Park road, highway 89. There were the usual predictions of total devastation from the usual parties, of course. After the usual round of hearings and planning documents the NPS allowed snowmobiles on the snow covered Park road one Saturday per month. The first day the place was packed, with snowmobile clubs from all over northern California and southern Oregon in attendance. The next month numbers dropped, and slowly dwindled. By the end of the second year there were Saturdays when not a single snowmobiler showed up. The NPS finally closed the experiment with scarcely a whimper from the snowmobile community. After the novelty wore off snowmobilers realized there were better places to ride anyway. I expect mountain biking would be similar.
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Re: Anybody see this?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sat Dec 19, 2015 10:27 pm

This fall I visited my daughter in Durango Colorado and we hiked on some trails heavily used by mountain bikers. It was very unnerving for me. If one or two mountain bikers come past me in a day, no problem. If someone comes barreling down on me every 15 minutes, that is another thing. I no longer can simply walk down the trail, but have to be constantly looking behind me. I think it is a matter of controlling the numbers of both hikers and bikers. Currently, there is no means to regulate the number of day-hikers. I would venture that most mountain bikers would be day-use too.

This is not just a wilderness problem. Here on the American River Parkway bike path, we have the same conflicts. Simply by having two uses with vastly different speeds, problems arise. I both walk and bike on the trail. Most walkers stray onto the paved path when they are supposed to stay on the "shoulder". Many walkers walk three abreast, pushing baby strollers and seem clueless to the fact that a biker cannot see them on a blind corner. Many bikers go too fast and also ride three abreast. If I now walk, I usually take the horse trail because there are very few horses vs bikes. If I ride my bike, I do it weekdays, odd times when I know use is low and rarely on weekends, which is a real zoo. It is not that bikers or hikers are against "sharing" the bike trail. Most mean well, but in practice the two uses simply are at odds given the number of users. Put all this on a narrow high mountain trail, and I imagine pretty chaotic conditions.

Maybe I have had bad luck, but I have yet to walk on a trail that allows mountain bikes that I have felt at ease. It is no fun hiking always having to look behind you. The only place I have been that both uses seem to work minimally well together are in places where the "trails" are actually very wide- usually old roads that have been closed to vehicles - such as Henry Coe Park and Point Reyes. I am not saying that it is the biker's "fault". Just the nature of the different speeds on the same path seems to defy good flow of traffic. And it does not seem to matter if I, the hiker, have the right of way- I am not going to play "chicken" with a person on a bike that could easily wipe me out and seriously hurt both of us.
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Re: Anybody see this?

Postby freestone » Sun Dec 20, 2015 8:20 am

Bikers on the JMT? Yes, that will be their first big challenge if they get privileges but it's not the best tool for the job, and they will likely be carrying the bike on long stretches. How much fun could that possibly be?

I'm also visualizing pack horses with Tule bike racks! The ugliness of bikes on the JMT and PCT is endless.

And the Sustainable Trails Association, who are they trying to fool with all that gloss? Please visualize Mr. Smilie gagging on the spoon.
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Re: Anybody see this?

Postby cefire » Sun Dec 20, 2015 4:01 pm

cmon4day wrote:I really don't see the problem with MTB's in the wilderness. Everyone here on this forum loves the mountains for the solitude, scenery and adventure. What makes a person who loves to ride any different.


What makes a person who likes to ride their motorcycle any different? Their convertible car, is that any different? At some point, you've got to propose where the 'line' should be drawn and, more importantly why. In contrast, all that you currently propose is that the line be shifted just enough to add one more group.
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Re: Anybody see this?

Postby rlown » Sun Dec 20, 2015 5:20 pm

source: http://www.wilderness.net/NWPS/wildView ... nt&WID=344

Just an example:

Area Management

The Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness is part of the 109 million acre National Wilderness Preservation System. This System of lands provides clean air, water, and habitat critical for rare and endangered plants and animals. In wilderness, you can enjoy challenging recreational activities like hiking, backpacking, climbing, kayaking, canoeing, rafting, horse packing, bird watching, stargazing, and extraordinary opportunities for solitude. You play an important role in helping to "secure for the American people of present and future generations the benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness" as called for by the Congress of the United States through the Wilderness Act of 1964. Please follow the requirements outlined below and use Leave No Trace techniques when visiting the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness to ensure protection of this unique area.

General Wilderness Prohibitions

Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited on all federal lands designated as wilderness. This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters, unless provided for in specific legislation.

In a few areas some exceptions allowing the use of motorized equipment or mechanical transport are described in the special regulations in effect for a specific area. Contact the Forest Service office or visit the websites listed for more specific information.

These general prohibitions have been implemented for all national forest wildernesses in order to implement the provisions of the Wilderness Act of 1964. The Wilderness Act requires management of human-caused impacts and protection of the area's wilderness character to insure that it is "unimpaired for the future use and enjoyment as wilderness." Use of the equipment listed as prohibited in wilderness is inconsistent with the provision in the Wilderness Act which mandates opportunities for solitude or primitive recreation and that wilderness is a place that is in contrast with areas where people and their works are dominant.
Wilderness-Specific Regulations

Wilderness managers often need to take action to limit the impacts caused by visitor activities in order to protect the natural conditions of wilderness as required by the Wilderness Act of 1964. Managers typically implement 'indirect' types of actions such as information and education measures before selecting more restrictive measures. When regulations are necessary, they are implemented with the specific intent of balancing the need to preserve the character of the wilderness while providing for the use and enjoyment of wilderness.

The following wilderness regulations are in effect for this area.Not all regulations are in effect for every wilderness. Contact the Forest Service office or visit the websites listed for more specific information about the regulations listed.


I've seen Rangers take action in Moke against such incursions. I do not disagree with their choices. Ranger Rick was starting to bug me a bit as he showed up all the time near Round Top and Plasse's trail. :)
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Re: Anybody see this?

Postby LMBSGV » Sun Dec 20, 2015 5:54 pm

Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited on all federal lands designated as wilderness. This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment,bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters, unless provided for in specific legislation.


These are the two sentences I found most relevant. Thanks for posting, Russ.

I Googled the Sustainable Trails Association and their only listing is the Facebook page. However, there is the Sustainable Trails Coalition, which is a 501(c)(4) organization engaged in lobbying to relax the rules for mountain bikes in wilderness areas. Since they are a 501(c)(4) they don't have to list their donors.
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