THINGS ARE GETTING WORSE
In recent years, however, a growing number of mountain bikers have come to the conclusion that it’s time to fight the ban. There are, after all, several million more mountain bikers in the United States than back in 1984. Though still outnumbered by hikers, the demographics are shifting.
What’s more, an increasing number of trails are being closed to mountain bikers—in some cases, as much as a hundred miles of trail at a time—not because they are located in Wilderness areas, but because the Forest Service is merely recommending that the area one day become Wilderness.
This shift in policy has accelerated the rate at which mountain bikers in the United States are getting kicked to the curb. Ten years ago you could have shrugged off this whole Wilderness issue. It's rare for members of Congress to stop throwing poo at one another, vote a new Wilderness into being and then get the presidential sign-of. The Forest Service’s new, unwritten policy, however, has effectively widened the reach of the ban by bypassing Congress entirely and creating de facto Wilderness areas. You need look no further than Montana, where mountain bikers are on track to lose access to nearly 800 miles of singletrack within a decade's time. The loss of key backcountry singletrack routes outside of Sun Valley, Idaho, this past August, spread the pain further. At present, the Forest Service is considering Wilderness additions in North Carolina's famed Pisgah National Forest--there's hope that the Forest Service will consider an IMBA-backed plan that would preserve access to Pisgah's famed mountain bike trails, but nothing is guaranteed.
This doesn’t sit well with everyone.