not this again

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TahoeJeff
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not this again

Post by TahoeJeff » Fri Dec 18, 2020 11:09 am

Bill seeks to remove bike ban in wilderness areas:

https://www.tahoedailytribune.com/news/ ... ess-areas/


I thought this silly idea died years ago.


Once Congress establishes that one person can live at the expense of another, it pays for everyone to try to do so.

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rlown
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Re: not this again

Post by rlown » Fri Dec 18, 2020 11:34 am

Waterbars might be a deterrent after 2 miles.

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c9h13no3
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Re: not this again

Post by c9h13no3 » Fri Dec 18, 2020 2:19 pm

I dunno. I generally support access and finding a place for everyone. There are certainly some wilderness areas where, to me, bikes wouldn't feel out of place. I welcome them in places where hiker/runner use is light, and they help provide trail maintenance for what would otherwise be a neglected piece of land. Cows and horses are more impactful to me, and they're a regular occurrence in some wilderness areas.

On the flip side, they change the vibe of a place. Ramps start getting built in popular areas, they erode trails faster than hikers. Walking in bike tire ruts isn't particularly fun. Hiking on trails in Tahoe that allow bikes on a Saturday is much like walking in traffic.

The article mentions new Wilderness creations that took away access for bikers, and that rubs me the wrong way. But bikers in a place like Little Lakes Valley doesn't seem right either. There's probably some middle ground here, but I don't think repealing the bike ban completely is it.
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Re: not this again

Post by balzaccom » Fri Dec 18, 2020 3:20 pm

c9h13no3 wrote:
Fri Dec 18, 2020 2:19 pm
I dunno. I generally support access and finding a place for everyone. There are certainly some wilderness areas where, to me, bikes wouldn't feel out of place. I welcome them in places where hiker/runner use is light, and they help provide trail maintenance for what would otherwise be a neglected piece of land. Cows and horses are more impactful to me, and they're a regular occurrence in some wilderness areas.

On the flip side, they change the vibe of a place. Ramps start getting built in popular areas, they erode trails faster than hikers. Walking in bike tire ruts isn't particularly fun. Hiking on trails in Tahoe that allow bikes on a Saturday is much like walking in traffic.

The article mentions new Wilderness creations that took away access for bikers, and that rubs me the wrong way. But bikers in a place like Little Lakes Valley doesn't seem right either. There's probably some middle ground here, but I don't think repealing the bike ban completely is it.
Well put. I ride a road bike, not a MTB, but we do need to find ways for all sorts of people...and voters...in our wild lands.
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Re: not this again

Post by Wandering Daisy » Fri Dec 18, 2020 4:05 pm

Henry Coe State Park does a good job with mixing bikes and people. Bikes are allowed on the old roads, and only some trails but not in the "wilderness" equivalent. All the bikers I have run into have been very polite and aware of hikers and wear bright clothing so are easy to see. Bikers are as diverse as backpackers. I have also been nearly killed on some trails by crazy bikers rounding a blind corner. I think the bikers also see backpackers as a safety hazard; backpackers tend to dress in subdued colors making them hard to see. Trails have to be fairly wide for bikes and people to coexist safely and have fair open vistas to see each other.

Another safety aspect of biking is that they can get far into the back country quickly and if the bike breaks, there they are, in a survival situation. It is similar to snowmobiles when we were the only habitants 10 miles from the plowed road, and they would knock on our door, saying they ran out of gas and could they buy some from us, or their machines broke and it was near dark. We had only a minimal amount of gas for our use and with two adults and two kids in a 12x24 cabin, little space for others.

But I stand firm on not allowing bikes in the official Wilderness areas of the Sierra. I would be agreeable to perhaps move the wilderness boundary a bit if the wilderness designation is shown to be too far out on the edges (after a complete impact study). Since bikers are mostly day-use, they would bypass the quota system, which could cause crowding quite far back into the actual wilderness. But I think there are some compromises in some areas. Perhaps a short shoulder "bike season" with permits and quotas.

And, of course, wildlife habitat has to be seriously taken into consideration.

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Re: not this again

Post by dave54 » Sat Dec 19, 2020 12:19 pm

Years ago the same issues were raised about the National Park Service allowing bikes on certain designated trails (mostly old roads converted to trails). Despite all the dire predictions of doom, there was not wildlife fleeing in terror, there was not bloody carnage from collisions, and western civilization did not collapse. Pretty much nothing bad happened.

A common human trait is to over-catastrophize every change in regulations.

I have had more negative interactions with 'entitled' and arrogant trail runners than any mountain biker.
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Re: not this again

Post by CAMERONM » Sat Dec 19, 2020 9:44 pm

I think a key threshold is the term "wilderness" and what follows from that. It is an aesthetic issue for me. Perhaps because I am an architect, I have a great problem with what I consider to be overbuilt trails. In absolute "wilderness" areas I don't want to see elaborate drainage control, steps and other trail design features. Certainly not the dynamited trails of the past. But then again, I understand the need for certain key trails to be built robustly, and I accept that certain "thru" trails might need to be less "wilderness" like. Traffic is similarly an aesthetic issue; more traffic is less wilderness-like. Bikes of any sort are even more so. These are fine-grained issues here where one must be on-guard against those who don't think that anything is sacred. So yes, there are tons of places where bikes should probably be allowed, and certainly others where they should never be allowed.

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Re: not this again

Post by Lumbergh21 » Sat Dec 19, 2020 10:47 pm

dave54 wrote:
Sat Dec 19, 2020 12:19 pm
Years ago the same issues were raised about the National Park Service allowing bikes on certain designated trails (mostly old roads converted to trails). Despite all the dire predictions of doom, there was not wildlife fleeing in terror, there was not bloody carnage from collisions, and western civilization did not collapse. Pretty much nothing bad happened.

A common human trait is to over-catastrophize every change in regulations.

I have had more negative interactions with 'entitled' and arrogant trail runners than any mountain biker.
I agree. I have yet to have a bad encounter with a Mt Biker. Yeah they can go fast, but I have yet to have one sneak up on me. I hear them coming up on me, usually well ahead of time. At the same time, I've seen hikers who are yapping away with a companion or have ear buds in both ears nearly cause great damage to themselves and cyclists because even though the cyclist - who I heard coming a good 15 to 20 seconds ahead of time - is yelling at them, they don't move out of the way. Let's just keep it friendly and share the trails. I think a semi-wilderness area nearer to roads that is open to cyclists would be just fine. Just so long as they aren't bike packing the JMT or something, I'm fine with it.

Road cyclists (of which I am one) on the other hand, can be real entitled, elitist jerks. :p

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Re: not this again

Post by dave54 » Sun Dec 20, 2020 10:06 am

Lumbergh21 wrote:
Sat Dec 19, 2020 10:47 pm

I agree. I have yet to have a bad encounter with a Mt Biker. Yeah they can go fast, but I have yet to have one sneak up on me. I hear them coming up on me, usually well ahead of time. At the same time, I've seen hikers who are yapping away with a companion or have ear buds in both ears nearly cause great damage to themselves and cyclists because even though the cyclist - who I heard coming a good 15 to 20 seconds ahead of time - is yelling at them, they don't move out of the way. Let's just keep it friendly and share the trails. I think a semi-wilderness area nearer to roads that is open to cyclists would be just fine. Just so long as they aren't bike packing the JMT or something, I'm fine with it.

Road cyclists (of which I am one) on the other hand, can be real entitled, elitist jerks. :p
I resemble that last remark! :)

As the years pass and the knees and legs keep aging, I find myself mountain biking more and hiking less. I keep trying, though.

About 20(?) years ago the Boxer California Wilderness Bill was introduced in Congress, pushed by the California Wilderness Coalition. Several of their proposed Wilderness Areas were weirdly shaped amoebas with snake-like tentacles reaching out to include popular existing mountain bike trails. Areas that were in no way Wilderness suitable were included, solely to exclude bikes (members of the organization openly admitted it.) Following the introduction of the bill, the Plumas County Board or Supervisors passed a county ordinance stating the county will not recognize any new NF Wilderness unless first approved by the county. Unenforceable, but it expresses the sentiment well. The Wilderness bill failed, but it left a bad taste in my mouth. I am now very wary of any proposed wilderness bill and scrutinize it very carefully.
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Re: not this again

Post by Harlen » Sun Dec 20, 2020 6:49 pm

"Not this again" indeed. But here it comes again, and I believe mechanized vehicles of all kinds will be an ongoing challenge to the conservation of wildlands around the world. Mountain biking per se is a tough one, because it has far lower impact than motorcycles and ATV's, and many of its advocates love nature in it's own right, and try to ride responsibly. Living as we do in the mountain biking mecca--Santa Cruz Mountains, and having dealt with the issues first hand in my career as an ecologist for CalDPR, I have some insight into the issue. It's been my experience that sharing trails with mountain bikes is difficult to the point of causing serious conflict with other State Park visitors. DPR staff deal with a steady stream of complaints, usually from hikers and equestrians who have had conflicts with mountain bikers, most commonly due to high speed and reckless riding, and secondly, the reporting to us of one illegal new bike trail after another. It many cases, the terrain had been radically altered by ramps, downhill gullies, and dips and jumps. The ecological disturbance of these "rogue" riding areas is significant, and the time and effort required to restore the damage is too.

Of course this is a troublesome minority of mountain bikers, but I'm afraid the sport lends itself to that extreme behavior. This is of course open to debate, but in my opinion, even the majority of mountain bikers are more in it for either the fun exercise, or adventure, rather than to appreciate and commune with nature. I am that guy too when I mountain bike. I am not able to check for new plants, survey animal sign, or birdlife, I get caught up in the fun and challenge of riding. It is simply that much harder to stop, and get off the bike, prop it up so that I'm not just dumping it over on the plants, and binos do not wear well while riding. When I'm riding, I'm riding. So I see mountain biking and hiking/backpacking as two very different endeavors. My nearest and best neighbor is all about mountain bikes- worked for Fox for over a decade, builds bikes, races, and has specialized gear for "bike-packing" trips. He and his friends do use their bikes to get out into wild country for multi-day trips, and I see that pursuit as something much more akin to our backpacking ethos.

I just studied up on this issue, and one of the new points I hadn't considered was the new electric assist tech. developments in cycling. It was stated that with this electric assist, it would be nothing for cyclists to cover 20-30 miles of trail (ideal conditions) in a few hours. One of the significant impacts to wildlife is the simple fact that cyclists can cover so much more ground than people on foot or horse. We are all a disturbance to wildlife, the more ground we cover, the greater the disturbance. A study commissioned by the Colorado chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers produced some disturbing data on the relatively greater impact of mountain bikes on elk and other wildlife. Basically, the impact was greater, and more frequent due to the greater distance traveled. Animals would flee more immediately (aver. 15 sec.), and farther distances from bikers than hikers. It was also found that if female elk were disturbed 10x or more during the breeding season, the calving was lessened to the point where zero to negative pop. growth occurred. I've droned on long enough, but I found a lot of soundly documented data from many sources, and all of it points to mountain bikes (and ATV's even more!) having a signficant deleterious effect on wildlife.

So I am one that will write a few letters to my representatives imploring them to vote against this Bill. I think some very sound points were made by others above, and if only the fringe, or otherwise appropriate parts of Wilderness areas are converted to Mountain bike access, I might agree. But I really worry about the precedent-setting nature of this Bill, what will be next?

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