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Mountain Bikes Being Allowed On Natl. Park Trails
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Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Mountain Bikes Being Allowed On Natl. Park Trails on 12/18/2008 14:07:49 MST Print View

Heard this on NPR today. Hmmm instead of hiking the JMT you might be able to ride your mounain bike on it. This is part of the same legislation I believe that Bush has inacted with allowing guns in Natl. Parks. Intersting debate can come out of this I believe. Would bikes destroy the trails or cause less errosion than horses? The though of bking the JMT does sound intersting and the speed of finishing the hike or other trails in Natl. Parks would be enticing.....or not

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Mountain Bikes Being Allowed On Natl. Park Trails on 12/18/2008 18:41:01 MST Print View

Tell me it ain't so, Ken. That would be an unmitigated disaster and lead to all sorts of problems, up to and including violence, IMO. Hikers and bikers just do not belong on the same trail for a lot of reasons, most importantly the difference in the speed they travel at, but also for esthetic reasons. My 2 cents.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
National Parks on 12/18/2008 19:24:11 MST Print View

Why do so many people think a) Bush can enact legislation, and b) that Bush is responsible for allowing law-abiding gun owners to carry their licensed weapon in National Parks? Anyway.....I can see this turning into a skiier vs. snowboarder kind of arguement. I don't think bikes would be any more damaging than horses, but I sure bet a lot more people would get seriously hurt, farther from help. Some of them might be hikers too.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Mountain Bikes Being Allowed On Natl. Park Trails on 12/18/2008 19:35:42 MST Print View

I think MTB impact depends entirely on the rider, their skill level, and style.

Mind you, none of these three can really quantified before letting someone loose.

I know many people that are courteous and can ride without leaving a trace- easy on the brakes, no skidding, etc.

Others are capable of quickly destroying a trail (and any living thing in their path).

But the same goes for hikers, no?
Those that rearrange campsites, litter, light reckless fires, etc.

Do we legislate based on the lowest common denominator or educate people and trust they'll do right?

One thing I'm fairly certain of:
MTBs in the back country will certainly lead to a higher demand for rescues/airlifts- imagine blowing a switchback on the south side of Forester Pass...

Christopher Mills
(Hiker816) - MLife

Locale: Denver
Mountain Bikes on Natl. Park Trails on 12/18/2008 20:29:05 MST Print View

I've always been told that the big reason bikes are not allowed on the PCT is horses--they are very easily spooked by the bikes. I don't think horses and bikes co-exist very well. So if you allow one, you probably can't have the other. It'll be interesting to see what the horse lobby does on the bike issue.

Art Sandt
(artsandt) - F
Re: Mountain Bikes Being Allowed On Natl. Park Trails on 12/18/2008 20:59:06 MST Print View

According to the new legislation, National Parks will now have the option to allow bikes on some trails. That doesn't mean that they will, or if they do, that it would be on every trail in the park. We're just going to have to wait and see what park management does with the new "ability." Conversely, let's see how long it will be before Obama reverses it.

This should probably be in Chaff, BTW.

Edited by artsandt on 12/18/2008 20:59:50 MST.

Brett Tucker
(blister-free) - F

Locale: Puertecito ruins
Re: Mountain Bikes Being Allowed On Natl. Park Trails on 12/18/2008 21:01:35 MST Print View

>>Heard this on NPR today

Heard what exactly? Lots of speculation here, not much fact.

Edit: Any handy links? Can't find this on NPR's website.

Edited by blister-free on 12/18/2008 21:03:20 MST.

Nate Meinzer
(Rezniem) - F

Locale: San Francisco
Bush on 12/18/2008 21:43:24 MST Print View

Joe, the Bush administration IS responsible for lifting the nation-wide ban on concealed handguns in national parks. And no, he did not need to enact legislation for this. The Interior Department promulgates regulations for national wilderness areas--without Congressional approval. (Congress delegated the power to regulate the interior to the executive administration a long time ago.)

In any case, yes, the Bush administration (and Bush, if the "buck" even passes through his office anymore) is responsible for lifting national bans on mountain-biking, guns, etc., in the parks. The parks, and states, though, still have the authority to enact their own rules regarding these matters, so it's doubtful if mountain-biking will be allowed on the JMT. Guns most certainly will not be.

Dan Healy

Locale: Queensland
Mtb's in Nat Parks on 12/18/2008 22:09:24 MST Print View

My other sport is racing mtb enduro's and marathons... so as a mountain biker I can assure anyone that unfortunately we are a pretty rough on tracks... and as a community we don't deny that... which is why there is a lot of effort put into trail building and maintenance...

Walkers and mtb'ers don't co-exist very well on the same trails due to the speed difference and raison d'etre of being there... one is to quickly get to where they are going and the other is to enjoy the process of the 'going'... which is why the trails are generally seperate - though not always...

In Australia Nat Parks authorities only allow walking as a modeof travel mainly because the 'pristineness' factor is a top of the list value. Mtb'ers are allowed in some State Forests and reserves.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Re: Bush on 12/18/2008 22:14:11 MST Print View

Bikes have been on a few trails in Yellowstone NP for a number of years now.

These are wide, graded, multi-use paths and they don't venture deep into the Yellowstone wilderness.

They're fun rides, and pretty. My favorite is a four mile path along the Firehole River.

I think it adds to the experience in the park, and it's neat to see the little kids on their 12" wheels with trainers bombing down the trail and saying "whoa!" when a fumarole erupts near them. I'd be dismayed if they allowed bikes on trails into the remote areas, but from a practical standpoint, I guess I just don't see that happening anytime soon.

Funny this conversation is about guns and bikes. This fall, I ran into a hunter with a deer carcass and a rifle around his shoulder as he ripped down the trail in a mountain bike. I thought the whole scene was pretty funny, and it made me laugh, if for nothing else than the sheer absurdity of the situation. The whole scene lasted 30 seconds, and was kind of eerie, but it didn't really stain my overall wilderness experience on that trip.

Edited by ryan on 12/18/2008 22:14:59 MST.

Thomas Bennett
(DavidMakalaster) - F
Yosemite on 12/18/2008 22:42:28 MST Print View

I would love nothing more than to have some trails open to bikes in Yosemite so I can enjoy both my favorite sports without having to leave the park. No one will argue that bikes don't do more damage than hikers. That's obvious. What people overlook are the HUGE advancements in durable and sustainable trailbuilding techniques that have happened in just the last dozen years as a direct result of the rise in popularity of mountain biking and the advent of freeride mountain biking. Never have trailbuilding techniques advanced so fast. I think the net is positive in the end. That said, hikers and bikers do have a tenuous relationship at best but it is due to the worst members of both groups. Combine the most responsible bikers and hikers and rarely are there problems. The issues are generally on the descents. The JMT terrain isn't the type that lends itself well to high speed bombing descents. The remoteness, length, and technical nature is also kind of a built in qualifying feature. The riders that make it very far up the trail will be the ones that don't cause problems.

Edited by DavidMakalaster on 12/18/2008 22:43:37 MST.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
MTB on 12/18/2008 22:59:00 MST Print View

Nate, I'm a little confused about the fact that 51 Senators, both Republican and Democrat, asked the DOI to overturn the ban on licensed concealed hanguns in parks, and that is the "Bush Administration". Oh well, off the thread anyway. I think we all own the National Parks, and we should find a way to maximize use, as long as it doesn't interfere with others, or do any additional damage. We should share, and learn to play nice together.

Edited by skinewmexico on 12/18/2008 23:00:22 MST.

Nate Meinzer
(Rezniem) - F

Locale: San Francisco
Yes, but on 12/18/2008 23:37:17 MST Print View

Joe, I was just pointing out that it wasn't legislation, it was a rule change, for which the executive branch is solely responsible. As for all the propaganda about the "urging" of Senators....last-minute rule changes tend to have a healthy amount of public relations in the form of bi-partisan support attached to them. (And let's not kid ourselves that Bush could be convinced to unilaterally undertake anything that he didn't want to, regardless of letters from 51, or 99, Senators).

Anyway, California seems to do well with all the mountain-biking. Lots of trails for both hikers and bikers here. Not sure I care one way or the other....sometimes jealous of the speed.

cary bertoncini
(cbert) - F

Locale: N. California
bikes on natl park trails on 12/19/2008 00:24:28 MST Print View

ah man i hope not many trails, especially in backcountry

i think bikers need places to go for sure, but the only time i was on a shared trail i was unable to enjoy and let my thoughts drift after the first group surprised me from behind - they overtake too fast and it made me so conscious of the trail behind me that i wasn't able to enjoy what was in front of me and around me as much

it they do it, i'd rather have the trails open to one and closed to the other on a rotation or something rather than open to both at the same time

Roman Ryder
(RomanLA) - F

Locale: Southwest Louisiana
Trails on 12/19/2008 15:29:32 MST Print View

Yeah...a rotation would be a good idea. The trails in Tsali National Forest (North Carolina) rotate between bikes and horses on different days of the week. If I remember correctly, they close the trails after rains too. The national forest near my house isn't very good about closing them and the horses absolutely destroy the trails. I'm also wondering how many people would actually be able to ride the trails. I've seen some trails that were open to bikes that I wouldn't attempt to ride. I didn't see anyone else trying to ride them either! lol

Edited by RomanLA on 12/19/2008 15:30:08 MST.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Bikes on 12/19/2008 15:43:10 MST Print View

I would think that most of the parks would have miles of 2-track service roads that would make great MTB trails, while not being hiking trails. Coulnd't hurt those any more than vehicles, and it would give good ambulance access. That evil Bush. But at least I can carry my gun now at Guadelupe.

Nate Meinzer
(Rezniem) - F

Locale: San Francisco
Fire Roads on 12/19/2008 16:19:55 MST Print View

Joe, that's exactly what they did in California. Fire roads turned into mountain-biking trails. Works great.

And here's the evil man himself:Bush on Mountain Bike

Just look at the joy he gets out of destroying mother earth!!!


jeffrey bennett

Locale: Near the bottom
packing in the park on my mountain bike on 12/19/2008 17:34:24 MST Print View

I bet hes packing too. In fact I think I see a deer quarter handing over his shoulder.

"But at least I can carry my gun now at Guadelupe."

Edited by jollygreen on 12/19/2008 18:00:43 MST.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Bikes on 12/19/2008 18:02:59 MST Print View

I've seen a guy take a deer out on a motorcycle, strapped to the sissy bar. I'm having a little trouble featuring that on a mountain bike. But I'd like to see a picture!

John Tunnicliffe

Locale: Northern California
Bikes in Wilderness? on 12/19/2008 19:53:43 MST Print View

Accepting the infernal bicycle on the JMT would be sufficient evidence to me that we had finally lost ourselves among our amusements, to the everlasting detriment of our spirits.

The clatter of chains. The glittering parts and springs and bits of reflectors and helmet visors littering the view. Tracing the Leave, not Leaving No Trace. Windsong smothered in the whop and whine of LifeFlight helicopters.

Stellar. Just stellar. And just who is the idiot who concepted this nitemare? Is he still loose? Can we catch him?

Danger, Will Robinson. The Knuckleheads approacheth.