IMBA Opposes Bill to Allow Mountain Bikes in Wilderness

Dec 7, 2017
by Vernon Felton  
Wilderness mountain biking Photo By Leslie Kehmeier Courtesy of IMBA
Photo By Leslie Kehmeier, Courtesy of IMBA


Here are the facts. IMBA recently sent out a press release with a headline that reads, IMBA Advocates for Collaborative Approach to Wilderness Designations on Public Lands.

So why is my headline so very different (and inflammatory)? Good questions.

But first, a bit of background...

There's currently a bill (H.R. 1349) in the United States House of Representatives that seeks to allow mountain bikes in Wilderness areas. Since 1984, mechanized vehicles have been banned from the nation's nearly 110 million acres of federally-protected Wilderness. Prior to 1984, the Wilderness ban had been on motorized vehicles. At the urging of several non-profit organizations, bicycles were explicitly banned from Wilderness in 1984, via new U.S. Forest Service regulations. While some mountain bikers have long advocated that the Forest Service remove the ban and restore their earlier ban on motorized access, this federal agency has steadfastedly refused to budge. Here's a primer on the whole situation.

Consequently, the Sustainable Trails Coalition, began lobbying Congress directly to amend the Wilderness Act itself and allow bikes access into the Wilderness. For a variety of reasons, the only members of Congress who would sponsor STC's proposed legislation have been Republicans and since the Republican contingent of Congress is generally keen to relaxing environmental protection on public lands, there has been fear in some quarters that any bill seeking to amend the Wilderness Act to let in bikes could be hijacked to allow, say, strip mining or fracking or any number of other extractive industries.

For the record, this is a claim that the Sustainable Trails Coalition outright rejects. You can read their position here.

IMBA's perspective has always been, and apparently continues to be, that mountain bikers are better off negotiating for boundary adjustments to proposed Wilderness areas that would help retain access to existing, popular mountain bike trails.

There is a lot to unpack here. A lot. So here's what I am going to do. I'm going to park the language of IMBA's press release directly below for you to read. I've reached out to IMBA for an interview, to dive deeper into their stance on this issue. We're still working on the timing of that interview. As soon as it happens, I'll bring you a more in-depth analysis of both IMBA's position and its significance. I'll also reach out to the Sustainable Trails Coalition, to get their take on the shape of things.

Let's not rush to judgement.

In the meantime, here's IMBA's press release.

IMBA Advocates for Collaborative Approach to Wilderness Designations on Public Lands
Mountain Biking Voices Must be Heard and Heeded
(Boulder, Colo. December 6, 2017)

H.R. 1349, introduced by Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA), would amend the Wilderness Act of 1964 to permit certain wheeled devices, including mountain bikes, in Wilderness areas. IMBA is not supporting this legislation and has submitted its testimony to the House Natural Resources Committee.

The testimony emphasises IMBA’s respect for the Wilderness Act, IMBA’s collaborative strategy to protect important trails during the development of new conservation designations, IMBA’s work to promote alternative mountain bike-friendly land protections and IMBA’s strong concerns regarding the U.S. Forest Service’s inconsistent management of mountain bike access in recommended wilderness areas.

“IMBA’s 30 years of on-the-ground collaboration and leadership have earned mountain bikers access to tens of thousands of miles of trail on public land,” said Dave Wiens, IMBA Executive Director. “We’ve made incredible progress for mountain biking through partnerships, and we’re going to continue gaining ground by raising the profile of mountain biking all across America.”

IMBA has been involved in discussions about Wilderness and other forms of legislatively driven protections for public lands for decades. When mountain bikers are given a seat at the table in these discussions, important trails can be protected while finding common ground with those who are looking to create new conservation designations. IMBA is actively working with leaders in the conservation community to ensure this collaborative scenario becomes the standard across the country.

Examples like the Continental Divide Wilderness and Recreation Act in Colorado and the Blackfoot-Clearwater Stewardship Act in Montana have been widely celebrated and serve as models for how collaborative efforts involving mountain bikers throughout the process can lead to advancing both conservation and recreation.

“Mountain bikers and the recreation community depend on public lands and thoughtful conservation. Public lands are being threatened at an unprecedented level right now, and it's imperative that public land users come together to protect these cherished places and offer our voices in this critical dialogue,” said Wiens. “We know Wilderness hits some mountain bikers’ backyards, and we understand why those riders support this legislation. To continue elevating mountain biking nationally, IMBA must remain focused on its long-term strategy for the bigger picture of our sport.”

Some public land planning discussions are less inclusive of all user groups and, in those cases, IMBA will actively oppose new Wilderness and other designations that would negatively impact revered mountain biking opportunities. IMBA has recently raised specific concerns about the the U.S. Forest Service’s management of recommended wilderness with the Secretary of Agriculture, and continues to work with partners to elevate mountain biking in planning processes nationwide. Mountain bikers are exemplary public land stewards and highly engaged advocates who should have a voice in the future of local trails.



520 Comments

  • + 829
 IMBA = Interfering with Mountain Biking in America.
  • + 2
 this deserves more likes
  • + 108
 Goodbye IMBA. Not renewing. I thought Wiens would right the ship but this is the last straw for me. Stop cowering and trying to find the best backdoor political strategy and just stand up and fight for what is right. Goodbye IMBA, not renewing.
  • + 50
 IMBA has lost its purpose. They have stopped riding bikes, and have stopped caring about the people that ride. Shame on you IMBA.
  • + 92
 I respectfully disagree. The relatively small area of land in my state that is designated as wilderness area has always been off limits to any vehicle. Hey are also the most tightly restricted and well preserved lands, and that means they are remote, undeveloped and very peaceful. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for more mountain bike trails but there are more appropriate places for those.
By advocating for responsible trail development, Organizations like this can keep mountain bikers at the table so that we are included and further discussions about trail access
  • + 2
 Agreed, IMBA is a bunch of control freaks and cowards! They claim to want an equal seat at the table but don't want to get their hands dirty!
  • + 46
 @maxlombardy: I disagree with you, I live in CO too and we have tons of trails in wilderness areas that go pretty much unused. Don't worry, the changes leave everything to the local land managers so the republic of boulder can keep biking banned everywhere.
  • + 28
 @Kitejumping: not sure what you mean? Again, I support increasing access, but not in the most pristine areas in the state, that’s all.

There’s something to be said for not pissing off hikers (the majority of people that spend time in the woods aren’t mountain bikers). They don’t need more reasons to hate bikers.

Not sure why so much hate? I see this as basically the same argument why we don’t want e-bikes allowed on MTB trails?
  • + 28
 @maxlombardy: boulder is a very anti-mountainbike city, and the overcrowded trail systems there that are all multiuse only make other trail users dislike bikers more. In other more remote parts of the state, there are trails in wilderness areas that are pretty much abandoned and covered by beatle kill trees due to lack of use.
  • + 23
 @Kitejumping: Exactly. Boulder is a weird place
  • + 17
 @maxlombardy: I'm not sure what state you are in but many areas have been designated wilderness in my lifetime that had bicycle and even motorcycle access at one point. you mention places that are more appropriate but I'm not sure what is more appropriate than silent zero emission human power. The fact is that I don't see us getting more access. only less. as time goes on we will need more access, more trails, etc. for more people. Nobody is pushing for alternate designations that would keep development and industry/extraction out but would allow for hiking, biking, horses, motorcycles and/or other forms of current and future recreation.
  • + 1
 Haha agreed! It is because of the biased location IMBA is located.
  • + 37
 @maxlombardy: I agree with both of you. I live in an area that is surrounded by Wilderness. There has even been new Wilderness designated in the last ten year that has outlawed mtn biking on existing trails. That is frustrating certainly.

But then some days I go out into the woods, not as a mtn biker, but as a hiker, skiier or backpacker. It is then that I realize the importance of protecting these areas. They should be hard to get to. They should require difficulty and time to get to. We need to preserve our adventure in this country.

For every new acre of Wilderness, how many acres are gobled up by development and infrastructure? To me, that seems to be the bigger issue when it comes to losing access.

Also, we need further discussion on the interaction with e-bikes and Wilderness and who is for what. That trade-off certainly wouldn't be worth it to me.
  • + 19
 @maxlombardy: What makes you think that mtb is more harmful than hiking? Non-motorized is non-motorized. It's time we educate people, rather than let a group of hikers that hate mtb run the show.
  • - 1
 @thedriftisreal: One more was just given
  • + 14
 @dualsuspensiondave: We had a trail system around here that was at one time was officially "non-motorized", that was until people started to cosider "pedal-assist" as something in-between the two. Now e-bikes be ridden on our "non-motorized" trails.

Sometimes it feels like a high-jacking of the sport. Especially when you have been in it for so long.

Anyways, there are lots of other rad sports that can be done in Wilderness and being in the Wilderness and everything that comes along with that, is what can make those sports so rad.
  • + 17
 @maxlombardy: Respectfully as well, much of the actual mountains are considered wilderness except where the interstate and highway passes (roads) pass through. Nearly everything in the actual mountains is wilderness and thus hit with the blanket ban.

You are fortunate to have so little wilderness categorized land as it largely does not limit your choice of human powered travel. Here in Washington, we'd like to have a few trails that cross over the mountains, or access the alpine. However, don't think that any of us want access to popular hiking trails, or trails that are in wet areas or places that riding would damage the land. There's room for some balance here. Even 10% access to the land would be 100% better than none at all.

Ride on Max!
  • + 8
 @Kitejumping: Glad I'm not the only one who thinks that! Great place to be a roadie, sucks if you're a mountain biker.
  • + 3
 @mosierman: That's a whole other issue that needs to be addressed, and my biggest problem with pedal assist and e-bikes.
  • + 2
 @maxlombardy: but u can hike in many of these places right?
  • + 18
 @maxlombardy: As a national organization, I think it's incumbent upon IMBA to recognize the spectrum of access issues across the country. I know I'm painting with a broad brush when I say this, but Colorado seems to be significantly more amenable to trail building than California where I live now. Taking the stance that IMBA has on this issue only makes sense when viewed narrowly from the perspective of a place that enjoys relatively progressive trail access. Not cool to add their commentary as they did. It actually is a pretty dick move.
  • + 3
 @mosierman: I spent 10 years biking and hiking in your neck of the woods and it was never easy to get to whether I was riding or on foot.
  • + 15
 @marxbix: Here in Canada in the town of Squamish (where pink bike hq happens to have moved to) we live and ride in a post extraction terrain. Here, its been great, our little collaboration with logging in particular. It has allowed unreal access to build and ride. The battle you face in the USA for access is uphill all the way. Wild areas should probably stay wild so we can do more than just talk about them in the future, thats why I really like the zero emission human power comment. I agree too that there should be alternate designations to clarify use.
  • + 4
 That reminds me of Park City, where they were actually cleaning up a tailings pile right in the middle of the trail system last year.
  • + 16
 @maxlombardy: the wilderness near Missoula Montana was open to bikes until the ban in 1984. So this bill would be great I think because the wilderness by me could be evaluated and maybe opened, while yours could remain closed if it isn't suited. We've also lost over 80 miles to wilderness study here in Montana and they aren't and won't be wilderness for years but we already got kicked out. So I'm personally a little salty.
  • - 24
flag gticket (Dec 7, 2017 at 23:26) (Below Threshold)
 Why not let the trails go unused? Why does every piece of land have to be trampled? Why can't we have sacred places? I remember some European commented about the Cascade volcanoes outside of Bend, she couldn't believe there wasn't heli-skiing on them. I gleefully told her, there never will be. Hope she enjoys whatever tourist trap is next on her list. I like real adventure and wilderness provides that. A machine, bike or helicopter, will only dull the uniquely American experience of a wilderness.
  • + 32
 @gticket: " A machine, bike or helicopter, will only dull the uniquely American experience of a wilderness."

In your opinion. For others the best way to experience the wild is from the seat of a bicycle. You do not have the right to dictate how other people experience the wild places that all citizens have a right to experience. It is not the government's place to say who's opinion on how to experience any aspect of life is right or wrong so long as that action by a citizen does not prevent any other citizens from acting as they wish. It does have a right to dictate how much human impact is acceptable within the boundaries of the land it manages. But the only way to justly manage that impact is to manage it consistently. The only way to do that is to use scientific data, and the currently available scientific data comparing the impact of hikers and mountain bikers declares the impacts of each to be very similar, and quite a bit lower than the impact of other forms of recreation that are currently allowed access to wilderness areas.
You feel that seeing a bike on the trail ruins your wilderness experience, well that biker may feel that your presence is ruining his experience. But his bad mood caused by you does not justify you being banned from using the trail any more than your bad mood caused by him justifies banning his use.
  • - 2
 @maxlombardy: Could it be that IBMA is playing I give you you give me? It seems to me that they want to give up protected wilderness areas in exchange to make some areas protected or opened for bikers only. Altough I don't know the bacground of this situation and I am just saying from what I read here.
  • + 3
 @taldfind: sense
  • + 4
 @mosierman: so because some people choose to use a bike over walking, they should be cut out of accessing those areas?
  • + 9
 @Kitejumping: Your comment about tree-falls and disuse strikes at the heart of this issue. Do we see wilderness as something preserved for humans to go out and enjoy? Or something preserved for nature itself, a remote place where trails shouldn't be well maintained (but should exist in some fashion to reduce effects of wandering folks).

I am torn on the issue myself. I think it really depends on the area, and that's what the new bill says as well. Many (probably most) wilderness areas are not suited to MTB use. But there are key parts that can connect huge swaths of trail, and that will have minimal impact from cycling.
  • + 5
 @gticket: "uniquely American experience of a wilderness." This must be one of the most clueless statements I have read on Pinkbike...nay, the internet. You may want to travel a bit and experience the world.
  • + 2
 @maxlombardy: WRONG. Ebikes aren't bikes, they aren't soley human powered. And the point is this, the original intent of wilderness was never to keep skiers, bikers, hikers with poles, snowshoers, snowboarders, splitboarders that all have some form of mechanical transport that is human powered out of the "most pristine areas".
  • + 3
 @maxlombardy: No it hasnt always been off limits. Maybe since youve been alive, but it hasnt always been
  • + 5
 @mosierman: Allowing bikes n wilderness DOES NOT MEAN bike on all trails. Its giving power back to local land managers to allow them on certain trails. You guys need to read up on this
  • + 6
 @Kitejumping: and the mountain bikers in boulder LOVE multi directional/multi purpose trails and their lycra, heart rate monitors and trying to PR climbs on Strava! I will never understand the climate of mountain biking in the area.
  • + 3
 @bikekrieg: "Do we see wilderness as something preserved for humans to go out and enjoy? Or something preserved for nature itself, a remote place where trails shouldn't be well maintained (but should exist in some fashion to reduce effects of wandering folks)."

My sentiments exactly. For everyone else, thank you for the productive discussion!
  • + 12
 @mosierman: "But then some days I go out into the woods, not as a mtn biker, but as a hiker, skiier or backpacker. It is then that I realize the importance of protecting these areas. They should be hard to get to. They should require difficulty and time to get to. We need to preserve our adventure in this country."

Um. Mountain biking is hard. It is extremely taxing on the body and not everyone can do it. On this years trip to Bend, my son and I were several miles out on the COD trail (Grand Slam) and we saw four (4) other bikes. Four. Why not more? Because it is hard work!

The reality of opening wilderness to cyclists does NOT include any of the following:

Installation of chair lifts.
8" travel downhill rigs flying at 40+ MPH
Droves of 'mountain bikers' with their sub $500 bikes riding deep into the woods.
Thousands of people trampling the trails with overuse.
Installation of paved roads and parking lots.

It does include:
Outdoor types who appreciate nature and are willing to pedal up and down hills for hours to get to remote locations. Seriously, do you think anyone besides XC/trail riders are going to go on long sojourns into these pristine lands?
  • + 5
 @bman33: Us Boulder folks need to reclaim Left Hand Canyon and start building our own free ride trails out there. That place has a lot of potential with some effort. Then we need to keep IMBA out so they don't pave over jumps and berms to make it horse friendly like all of the other trails in the area
  • + 4
 @mtbgreg80302: Let me know, I will drive up from Denver and throw some dirt! Only place I ride in/near Boulder now is Valmont.
  • + 6
 @maxlombardy: Bike were allowed in Wilderness from the inception of the Act until 1984 when the US Forest Service changed the interpretation of the language without any public input.
  • + 5
 @natkidder: Add "but with Sierra Club pressure/input"
  • + 2
 @chrishamiton: You're lucky in Canada, in that first, you're allowed to ride bikes in so many places that would be Wilderness in the states. If you had our restrictions, much of the alpine riding in BC would be closed to bikes. Part of that is that Canada seems to use more logic in these debates, and I'm sure part is also due to a smaller population having fewer user conflicts.
  • + 2
 @maxlombardy: Great point, and I agree completely. The purpose of wilderness areas is to keep them as wild as possible so that we and future generations can experience the beauty and peace of those places. Not everything needs to be developed and shaped for human entertainment...
  • + 5
 @maxlombardy: You know commercial cattle grazing is allowed in wilderness. Does that fit in you idea of "remote, undeveloped and very peaceful"?
  • + 4
 @maxlombardy: in your pristine wilderness areas do they allow equestrian's? Do you think bike's have more impact on these pristine wilderness trails than horses? Would mountain bikes on existing trails have any negative effects to the rest of the Wilderness area? Would donations and parking fees from mtbr's help to keep these area's "pristine"? Mountain biking is not a crime! Mountain biking does not hurt the environment if responsible trail building/maintenance is implemented.
  • + 1
 @saltheguinea: roadies are always welcome in my wilderness area.
  • + 3
 @bman33: it is a dump filled with transients/bums not looking for work, and people looking to the government for help. Not to mention all the pompous people. Also, I'm sure this IMBA statement has a lot to do with blue vs. red just sayin.
  • + 2
 @taldfind: ha. helicopters and bikes defiantly add to the experience.
  • + 1
 @mosierman: The wilderness will still be hard to get to which means it will not get as crowded as shuttled / easy access trails. I don't see harm in being able to go bikepacking deep in the wilderness - not going to be railing berms on a XC bike.
  • + 1
 @mosierman: totally agree with you
  • - 1
 @Poulsbojohnny: haha... I can think of dozen trails that bisect Wilderness areas in my local area and around Bend that can easily be shuttled.

You might not see chairlifts being installed but everything else you listed will surely happen.

More people, more cars, more facilities.... next you know it ends looking like Yosemite Valley, a circus.

Be happy that you have the strength and determination to make it into those remote areas, and be grateful that most people can't.
  • + 3
 @TheOriginalTwoTone: no one is stopping you from accessing Wilderness areas, you just have to hike to get there.

Man up, put on your hiking boots and go.
  • + 2
 @mosierman: If you're allowed to hike it I should be allowed to bike it. Pretty Simple concept, otherwise ban people period.
  • - 2
 @TheOriginalTwoTone: Out of all the legit points that have been made about allowing bikes in Wilderness, that is the one you pick? Please put togther an arguement that doesn't make you sound like an 6-year old.

By that logic, anyone can say thst they should be allowed to anything they want in the Wilderness.

We mtn bikers are not the only user group out there. There needs to be balance. How would we all feel if a moto-advocacy group starting pushing a bill that allowed them on all "non-motorized" trails?
  • + 2
 @mosierman: Man up?! I'm pretty sure it takes far more balls to rip down a trail with a bike than just walking... I don't want to hike. It's boring, plus my knees are f*cked and the only way for me to get down is with a bike! No motor should equal access, period. @TheOriginalTwoTone made a totally valid point, granted with nothing to support it. Bikes cause no more damage to the environment than hiking, like someone said here earlier, there are multiple studies supporting this. If you can hike it you should be able to ride it!!!
  • + 2
 @taldfind: Your well put statement applies to so much more than wilderness access. A refreshing wiff of logic and reason.
  • + 2
 @taldfind: so if a study finds that my moto doesnt do any more damage than hiking or pedal-biking it should then be allowed in Wilderness?

As a mtn biker, would you feel you lost something if all of a sudden any motorized vehicle could go on mtn bike trails? I know that that would f-up a lot of trails around me. I think that that is how hikers are feeling now with this bill.
  • + 1
 @mosierman: The biggest point of the wilderness act of 64 was motorized vehicles. That shouldnt ever change. In 1984 they changed the wording to mechanized. that needs to change.
  • + 2
 @millsr4: To gain access to Wilderness, mtn bikers are going to need to convince non bike riding people that this is a good thing. I don't think that the, "if they hike I should be able to ride it" argument is really going to accomplish that.
  • + 1
 @mosierman: did you even read the second half of my comment?! Biking causes no more damage than hiking! Also skiing, splitboarding and horses are allowed already why not bikes?!?! "if they hike I should be able to ride it" is only part of the equation since it's the conclusion one should draw once you look at it rationally...
  • + 1
 @maxlombardy: Yes but in other states like utah, nevada and most west/mid west states much of the land is protected and is off limits to MTBs. This bill could open up tens of millions of acres to new riding and exploring.
  • + 6
 @mosierman: "so if a study finds that my moto doesnt do any more damage than hiking or pedal-biking it should then be allowed in Wilderness?" Yes, so long as the study meets the strict criteria of a scientific study and it's findings are supported by subsequent studies. This is how consistent, and therefore just, applications of the law work. Horse Back riding is permitted in the wilderness, and as far as I understand the available data, it is the most damaging to the environment of the forms of recreation currently permitted in wilderness areas. That can very easily become the standard used to determine what is, and isn't, permitted within the wilderness. If a form of recreation does more harm, or requires more development to be practiced, than what a horse will do, than it is not permitted.

My understanding and memory of how moto bikes fit into the hierarchy of impacts, it does more to erode a trail than a bike or hiker, but less than a horse. It has a similar impact on how it changes the behavior of animals as horses. It has a similar impact on trampling as bikes and horses. And it has a higher impact on water contamination than horses. It also has a much higher impact on noise and air pollution than a horse. Considering all it's impacts, it is currently believed to have a larger impact than a horse. Therefore, it does not meet the most logical (to keep the wilderness act strong) and easily implemented standard for wilderness entry.

"As a mtn biker, would you feel you lost something if all of a sudden any motorized vehicle could go on mtn bike trails?" My personal feelings on this are irrelevant. To re-illustrate my previous point:

I feel that seeing a moto-bike on the trail ruins my wilderness experience, well that moto guy may feel that my presence is ruining his experience. But his bad mood caused by me does not justify me being banned from using the trail any more than my bad mood caused by him justifies banning his use.

"To gain access to Wilderness, mtn bikers are going to need to convince non bike riding people that this is a good thing." Good point. How about that if mountain bikers are allowed into wilderness, then they will have no stake in fighting against any proposed wilderness areas. They will cease to be an enemy to the effort, and will either become neutral or a champion to the cause.
  • + 0
 @bman33: Same, dying for a place to sling some dirt and build some gnarly shit near Denver.
  • + 2
 @mosierman: Actually why don't you link a single study that shows a bike does more damage than a hiker then you might actually have a point. Otherwise the if you can hike it I can bike is a very valid point.

It's been posted over and over and you just won't let it sink in. There are other activities that do more damage than a bike that are allowed, so are you for banning horse back riding as well and only allowing hikers?
  • + 3
 It is absolutely unacceptable they have not yet released a statement to their members! They may think they get more money from corporate donors that may be true, however they only donate to get access to us the members. Boycott imba!
  • + 1
 The number of likes this is getting makes me smile. I've felt this for years. Come on, I want it to reach 1000 likes.
  • + 1
 Let’s put the “Mountain” back in Mountain biking!
  • + 0
 @TheOriginalTwoTone: Your arguement would be valid if trail damage was the only reason for not allowing bikes.

There are numerious other reasons, such as speed-of-travel, for non-bike people to not want bikes in the Wilderness.

For example, I dont necesserily want to have e-bikes on all of my local trails, despite there being studies that show that they don't do more damage than a normal pedal bike.

You sort of made my point in your last post. There are many things that are banned in Wilderness areas despite those things not doing any trail damage. You can't run a heli-skiing operation in Wilderness either and helicopter doesn't do any trail damage.

By just continuing to say "bikes dont do more trail tread damage than hiking", you aren't really addressing any of the other reasons.
  • + 5
 @mosierman: You don't get it, do you? The wants of "non-bike people" are not more important than the wants of "bike people." The wants of "non-e-mtb people" are not more important than the wants of "e-mtb people." The wants on "non-Mexican people" are not more important than the wants of "Mexican people." The wants of "non-gay people" are not more important than the wants of "gay people." The wants of "Christian people" are not more important than the wants of "non-Christian people."

And ultimately, the wants of moisierman are only enough to govern the life of moisierman. They are not (and never should be) enough to govern the lives of taldfind or TheOrigianTwoTone. To justly keep bikes out of wilderness, you need more than "Hikers don't want them here." Wilderness is public land, it is not the private property of hikers to manage as they wish. It is co-owned by all Americans, including the bikers, and therefore all have the right to use it.
  • + 3
 @mosierman: You might be able to make a point if it wasn't originally allowed.

Ebike is a non argument since they have a motor assist or not there is a motor so it's motorized which has always been banned.

You had a government agency change a law on a whim with no input from those they serve. That is a problem, sorry you don't see that way, but I wonder how you'd be acting if they come out and banned hiking.
  • + 5
 @mosierman: Walking is for suckers
  • + 1
 Whatever is happening in American MTM scene, I hope they sort this out in unity. A lot has changed to mtb technology where we have all these great bikes but then sadly, no more wilderness to ride in the future.
  • + 2
 @maxlombardy: Some of us live in states that have hundreds of thousands of wilderness acres. I will never understand some people's perception that hundreds of mountain bikers will be tearing down trails at break neck speeds if wilderness is opened to bikes. Most riders, if given the opportunity, would respect the area that they are newly-allowed-to-ride just to prove the communist Sierra club regime wrong. How is a mountain bike going to disrupt the peacefulness of deep country wilderness areas? Do you remember bear bells? Every hiker you ran into had those worthless things and it sounded like Santa Claus was following you down the trail. Is the squeak of a mt bike brake really going to ruin your day of hiking? They call that mesophonia and you can get treatment for that now...
  • - 2
 @taldfind:

I'm not saying that one user-group is more important than another. What I'm trying to say is that there are political realities and a status-quo that is currently in place.

Mtn bikers make a small percentage of the outdoor recreation market and an even smaller percentage of the overall population. We don't have the numbers or the power to just push-through and gain access to whatever we want. We need to work with other user groups for access. That is the reality.

Wilderness is the pinnacle of the conservation movement, do mtn bikers really want to be portrayed as having a role in the dismantling or loosing of our conservsation rules when the political winds inevitably shift.

This is a loosing battle that risks our spot at the table when it comes to future trail access.

We have a trail-system around here that has both moto-trail and non-moto trails. It seems to work really well and one of the reasons for that is because everyone respects the other user groups trails. If all of a sudden there was a push from the local moto club to have access to all trails, I think the trust would be lost and the cooperation would break-down.

The arguement you keep making is valid but the only one you are convincing is yourself.
  • - 2
 @TheOriginalTwoTone: Most people on Pinkbike were not even born yet when these rules were put in place. This is not about loosing access, this is about mtn bikers trying to gain access to another user groups most prized trails.

As for the e-bike being classified as non-motoroized, this is exactly what is happening all over the country. Like I said in a earlier post, the industry as a whole is trying to change the public perception of pedal-assist so that they can be classified as non-moto. I know because it happened here at Post Canyon.

We can all get on Pinkbike and bitch and moan about Wilderness anf how it is unfair but that isn't going to do a damn think to change peoples mind. The Sierra Club, Wilderness Society, etc. are far more powerful than IMBA or STC. The realities in this day and age, with so many different user groups, is that we need to work together.

If we as mtn-bikers can't respect current trail access rules, how can we expect other user groups to respect ousr? There are places around me like Sandy Ridge, Blackrock, Tiger, Alsea Falls, Galbraith, etc. that are mtn bike only. I sure wouldnt like it if the equestrian industry or moto industry attempted to gain access to those trails.

Do you know any bike-only trails around you that you would want to have stay that way?
  • + 3
 IMBA is stupid, stop supporting them.
  • - 3
 @boxxerace: have you seen how many trails are available in Washington that border or are very close to Wilderness areas? What we have is almost too much, most of the remote trails get pretty overgrown or have lots of downed trees. Why do we need access to Wilderness areas?
  • + 4
 @thejake: not everyone lives in Washington.
  • + 2
 @thejake: why? because there will only be more wilderness going forward. Rarely if ever will areas be removed from wilderness designation. Its easy, sweeping regulation that automatically limits us from access. black and white, no what if's. People that push this regulation, may or may not consider bikes when they do this. But its an automatic "NO" for us. thats why bikes should be considered in the wilderness. Not every trail but some trails
  • + 1
 @Kitejumping: your right, boxxerrace said he did though. Just out of curiosity where do you guys live that your surrounded by Wilderness Areas and have no trails to ride because every scrap of land is Wilderness? I do think it isn't right if an established and frequently used trail gets shut down, but again where is this happening?
  • - 1
 @thejake: thing is, that’s not the way it is. We are surrounded with tons of national forest, open to bikes. Most of the bike parks in CO are built on national forest and there are millions of acres of national forest and BLM land that is open to bikes. There are miles and miles of trails that NO BIKERS use, and yet people want to fight for access on wilderness areas? Why?
  • + 2
 The idea of wilderness is that it is an “Area managed for primitive and unconfined recreation with outstanding opportunities for solitude.”

There are no cars, no bikes, no ATVs and no whitewater rafts. It exists as it did 10,000 years ago. Yes, there is more to life than riding your bike anywhere and everywhere possible. Maybe you don’t want to hike there, and maybe the place would be better off if you and your friends never laid eyes on it. Good.
  • + 1
 @Ionic-man: you are selfish
  • - 1
 @taldfind: your logic is invalid, nice try though.
  • + 5
 IMBA didn't contribute a single ounce of effort towards Washington trails... all the trails there were fought for, built, and continually maintained by the local communities who love mountain biking. I can guarantee that it is this way for 99% of the trails across the United States. It is an absolute tragedy that these local communities now have to fight for trail access against the very organization that is supposed to be advocating for them.

Shame on you IMBA.
  • + 2
 Everyone, show IMBA how you feel:

www.surveymonkey.com/r/82KJT6V
  • + 1
 I think you have an excellent point. A lot of access questions really come down to different groups getting along. Horses do the most damage to trails but their access is never questioned. The animals tear the trails to shreds, and graze areas that local will life depend on. Their presence is far easier to spot than any MTB would be. However horseman do not like bikers or hikers for that matter. It's makes their user more challenging.
  • + 4
 @thejake: That's a valid question Jake. I'm actually pretty familiar with the quantity of trails we have, I'm a little over 1,000 trails in and added to Trailforks = www.trailforks.com/trails/all/?user=boxxerace

Here's the thing, the majority of the trails we have in Washington were either created originally as a hiking trail or by the moto & equestrian users. Many of the trails that are in decline are trails who are not seeing use as a result of who can legally access them, lack of maintenance by land managers (USFS, WA-DNR, etc) and often simply inaccessible. The weather and fires here really impact trails.

The second reason is that most riders simply don't know where to go beyond the well known trail systems. And this reason right here is why I've gone out of my way to spend months documenting trails on Trailforks, even if it's simply a GPS track or some other record that will have to be explored in person and updated. The more people find out what we have, the more people who will ride them, love them and take care of them.

Adding limited access to the wilderness will enable trails to be developed or accessed in terrain that is almost otherwise untouchable. It will make the experience all the more special, in the same way it is when you hike through this type of terrain. Look at how popular the trails that touch the Wilderness are! Cutthroat Lake and pass. Angels Staircase Route. Teanaway area. Over on the West side, there's hardly anything outside the I90 corridor and 410 trails that legally can be ridden. (notably Helens and surrounding area is the exception). Adding some access will only improve Washington, not degrade anything at all.
  • + 3
 @gticket: Parks and government controlled wilderness areas are just another way to ruin wilderness. A few years ago while filming a movie, Parks Canada said our helicopters had to stay 5 miles from the Nahanni River.
The reason they gave was to preserve the paddlers wilderness experience. Yet! portable potties every 2 km to 5 km along the the river did not. Since expanding the park to 6 times its original size, they have put an out house in the middle of the Cirque of the Unclimbables. PS there is NO road access to Nahhani National Park.
gticket If you want unused wilderness we have places just a few miles above your border that are real wilderness. Not the parks that make you line up to pay just to park.
PS do you know your dollar goes further up here.
  • + 0
 @maxlombardy: totally. Some people just have tto accept some areas shouldnt be accessed at all for that matter
  • + 4
 @maxlombardy: but horses and automatic rifles. chubby white people that walked through REI with a magnet on. entitled.
f*ck the wilderness designation on mechanized travel. Youll see, its going to affect your riding area one day, when some sierra club group steps in and takes a huge chunk of your riding area
  • + 4
 @stefanfresh: maybe we should not allow hikers rolling up in subarus. Close it off and put a fence on it, right?
removing mechanized travel ban on wilderness doesnt mean bikes will be on all trails. I can say it enough, and you advocates for wilderness ignore this. It simply allows locals to make the choice, not washington. Who here thats bitching has been to a National forest where they ask for the publics input? This is where its decided. the survey, the input.

This will piss people off, I dont care, but getting this type of legislation through, is best done in this administration. If it doesnt happen now, it never will. It just needs to be written by someone other than Hatch. Make sure theres no hidden "obamacare type" clauses about fracking, drilling and the like. Thats pretty easy. Conservatives DO want to give power back to the states and local level. Im all for that.
  • + 145
 Seriously re-considering severing all ties to this organization after reading this article. Heres what I got from it, correct me if I am wrong...

IMBA is essentially saying "we don't want to be responsible for heading this movement" and going against the very basis (that they and many others claim to work for) of expanding usage of publicly-funded property to all trail users. Putting the bait in front of the community to lure them into a movement being the inertia while they play coward and run to the press office taking the "high road" that they never advocated for a blanket fix.

Absolutely absurd that they continue on through the article to say "We don't want to work to improve trail access with Republicans, of all people, who totally don't care about the environment" and that they have their "own higher-than-thou vision for the future of the sport" Seems like IMBA is molting into a bureaucratic for-profit that at this point slowly kills the sport, similar to the UCI.
  • + 33
 Yeah, totally agree reminds me exactly of the UCI.
  • + 17
 Biggest difference is that the UCI is pretty good at milking $ out of the sport, where IMBA is slowly contracting. Perhaps moves like this will accelerate their decline.
  • + 22
 Sever away.

As if their position on emtbs changing from, “should be regulated as with other motorized off-road travel.” to the following wasn't enough of a reason...
www.imba.com/resources/emtb-management
  • + 34
 Would have, but already did last month when they came out in approval of motorized vehicles on our trails:

www.imba.com/blog/supporter/imba-updates-emtb-position-statement

I wonder what why will announce in January... merger with walmart? offshore tax evasion?

Down with imba; support your local volunteers.
  • + 10
 Astounding that they consider themselves officiated representatives of the sport. Come Christmas they will call for State-Issue automatic brakes to have mountain bikes stay under 15mph...
  • + 19
 Spot on. The org is now just a sham and has only served to help dumb down our local trail network, while asking for more $. Nope.
  • + 62
 I wonder if I can get a refund from all the money I have sent them over the years. It would help pay for the surgery I will need to remove the knife they stuck in my back.
  • + 55
 @siderealwall2 At the local level (where I've advocated in the trenches) we learned that sometimes you can't play nice with government. Sometimes (often) you got to push government. If we learned that, why can't a sophisticated org like IMBA learn that playing the patsy and rolling over (for "long term goals" as they call it) betrays riders and local clubs - their very own constituency.

I would use the words "gutless" and "treachery" but that barely touches the level of frustration
  • + 7
 @leelau: Lee, you make a great point. I might offer that local clubs are much more reality-based. Being in Boulder, CO (as I am, regrettably) IMBA is positioned to be less in-touch with real folks who ride local and understand the issues, and more in touch with the latest toast-and-avocado craze!
  • + 6
 I didn’t know the IMBA supports e-bikes. Screw them!
  • + 11
 @leelau: I work with my local chapters quite a bit, who both make excellent progress on mainly independent funds and direction. But even racing NICA has it's limits, 3 months of crappy XC racing has the requirement that you only ride approved trails the year round, follow and affidavit submitting to hikers+horses, etc, all because IMBA wanted to get their foot in the door. Snowboarding got to it's point with a self-sufficient user base that stood up for itself and made it clear they wouldn't back down. Most people on this forum don't have the time, money or interest to spend all day calling their representatives begging for bikes in parks, and I suppose Rep. Tom will be alone in this bill now, surrounded by a sea of California liberals and also shunned by the very organization he aimed to help. Absolutely ridiculous for them to attribute that to his detriment, too.
  • + 5
 Yep. Already left IMBA after the e-bike betrayal.
  • + 9
 Perhaps most upsetting to me is that there is a local ride series (the Epic Series) that I generally do every year, but part of the entry fee is a mandatory IMBA donation ($15 for each event). So, I can't take part without supporting an org that I now stand in opposition to. You know what that means? I'm out, all the way out.

-Disgusted
  • - 9
flag BryceBorlick Plus (Dec 8, 2017 at 9:21) (Below Threshold)
 @leelau: Ive never been an IMBA fan but I think this is awesome. Call me a skeptic, but that bill sounds like a Con stepping stone to resource extraction. I dont support a loss of access and I dont support the "I"MBA generally, but I like seeing wilderness restrictions remain and I like leadership that does the right thing rather than the popular thing.

But hey, if it gets opened up, f*ck it lets go heli dirt bikin through the alpine Smile
  • + 2
 @BryceBorlick: Here in the USA it was designed for the states to control, not the Federal government. The bill goes 4 ways. Also keeps a fair amount of protections.
  • + 2
 @siderealwall2: I hope you're right. The overall track record makes me skeptical though.
  • + 2
 @BryceBorlick: Read it yourself, we have no different language here than in Canada. Same english that should be easy to read.

www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1349
  • + 2
 2/3 of IMBA's mission is focussed on improving and protecting existing riding locations. I'm not arguing if they do that effectively or not, simply highlighting to folks that are not necessarily considering the broader perspective where aggressively pursuing expansion opportunities may in fact limit how effectively organization can pursue the balance of their mission.
  • + 115
 Imba is doing a great job advocating for motorcycles and hikers. They also do a great job ad ripping mtb trails out and replacing them with fire roads. As mountain bike trail user they are turing into a enemy for our cause.
  • + 51
 100% this!!! There's a few IMBA trails I've ridden in NZ and Oz and they are all 1m wide berm luge trails with soul sapping lack of tech in them.

Plus as they are all built over a short period of time while the area is closed down, none of the trails are ever test ridden first, they literally come in with bobcats, butcher the forest and any old trails that might be in the way, and then leave, closing the new trail off for a couple of weeks until some rain helps the dirt set - You end up with jumps that don't flow and have the wrong sized kickers for the gap or landing, berms that flatten out too early in the exit or are built in the wrong position. IMBA = poorly built trails that don't flow and have no tech all because they are built without passion.
  • - 19
flag isawtman (Dec 7, 2017 at 17:16) (Below Threshold)
 take a look around. We just lost 85% of Bears Ears National Monument to the Extractors who support Republicans.
IMBA cannot support the same lawmakers that did that
  • + 7
 @isawtman: And what’s wrong with that? Now we can mountain bike there as well as it still being protected.
  • + 5
 @isawtman: who is "we"?? The state of Utah gained their land back from the federal government to do with what the state chooses to do. How exactly did you "lose" it?
  • + 18
 @nohit45: I hope I’m wrong in the end but the support of that land grab by the Republican Party under the guise of states rights was bought by industry, which means that land is potentially available for purchase or lease to the next ranch, oil, gas or other land stripping industry to do what ever they want to
  • + 0
 @allenfstar: @nohit45: it is still under federal control and is protected under different federal agencies. The remaining land is in the process of becoming a national park with even better protection. There is not wanted land for mining on the land. it was reduced less than half not 85%.
  • + 5
 @nohit45: ?? It was federally managed land to begin with (BLM, USFS). Not state of Utah land. How did Utah gain it back?
  • + 1
 @MTBingSpartan: There was nothing in the monument designation for GSENM or Bears Ears that said we couldn't mountain bike there.
  • + 5
 @nohit45: dunno if you're from Utah, but nice to see someone else that hasn't bought into the fear and ignorance about Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante. All the land of the two monuments in question will still remain federal land, but likely return to what it was before. Meaning there is still a process and federal requirements for any proposed land use. Sadly, MTBs probably not welcome though
  • + 5
 @nohit45: isawtman is a hiker who trolls all mtb forums looking for attention. ignore.
  • - 1
 @MTBingSpartan: You can ride bikes in most national monuments. Not much fun for me to ride my bike past the beautiful views of chain link fences, oil wells, and coal mines.
  • + 1
 @allenfstar: Thankfully you are wrong, first of all there is no oil or natural gas worth digging for and having ranchers graze the land is good for the environment.
  • + 0
 @deserat: Well they won’t let us build trails there.
  • - 2
 @MTBingSpartan: What an injustice to the mtb community! Not being able to build trails everywhere?!
  • + 3
 @MTBingSpartan: Not sure how overgrazed native plant communities, destroyed riparian areas, and a landscape covered in cheatgrass is "good for the environment". Plus i have a hard time believing the no oil or natural gas part. I bet we'll see more pump jacks in the future.
  • - 2
 @deserat: Okay first of all cows to not graze down to the root, which means less soil erosion. And they keep the deer populations down by eating, if the deer populations went up drastically like in the Kiabab Mountains then the deer would all die off very, very quickly around 60,000 deer a winter, which means deer are extinct from that place in oh, 20 years or so, I won’t go into the details. But the coyote populations would go up and we would have a crisis on our hands. The oil and gas that is there is so little that it would be a waste of money and recourses to get it.
  • + 2
 @deserat: Well when Clinton made The Grand Staircase National Mounument there where hundreds of miles of trail gone, not specifically bike trails, and farmers and ranchers had to find a new place to graze cattle, which put many farmers out of business.
  • + 0
 @MTBingSpartan: But they do trample the shit out of soil crusts. So more soil erosion. Which is why the San Juans are covered in Utah dirt every summer. Also due to increased OHV use, probably. And more humans in general driving around the desert. And yes, ungulate and predator populations rise and fall. Sometimes drastically. They've been doing that for a lot longer than humans have been getting degrees so they can study it. The argument that we need another non native ungulate on the landscape to regulate native populations of deer and coyotes is kinda funny, though.

The natural resources that are potentially located in these areas are currently expensive to extract due to the lack of infrastructure in the area. Which is what Utah has wanted to change for so long. A wider road here, a new national park there, a few more hotels in Blanding and Escalante. Then the resource extraction starts becoming a bit more economical.
  • + 1
 @deserat: what you say is partially true. But the BLM already managed grazing to help with that. And the land was already under protection. All that Obama did was to name it federal land, take away the rights and voice of the local citizens and Native Americans. Have you even talked to locals or been down to the former Bears Ears?
  • + 3
 I know both those areas pretty well. I started exploring out there long before Bears Ears was even a thing. I used to live in SE Utah and I did my masters thesis on the long term effects of cattle grazing on arid ecosystems. A number of my study plots were within what became Bears Ears. I worked seasonally in the Needles District of Canyonlands. I also worked for a stint in Escalante. I've spent years climbing in Indian Creek. I've hiked the hayduke trail and the entire length of dark canyon, as well as a number of other canyons off elk ridge highlands and Cedar Mesa. I've floated the San Juan River numerous times, as well as sections of the Colorado and Green. I've hunted there and harvested elk. I have personal friends and acquaintances whose ancestors came across hole in the rock. Also, I have a masters degree in range science. Not saying, just saying. I've had these conversations/arguments hundreds of times and I could continue to add rebuttals. I don't think I'm going to change anyones opinion here and that's not my goal anyway.

Honestly, I'm pretty middle of the road when it comes to politics, etc. I definitely didn't fully support the designation of Bears Ears and I don't agree with all the rhetoric used by the far left in regards to this issue. But it goes both ways. Ultimately, I support the conservation of wild landscapes in this country. And I oppose over use and over development of these landscapes - whether recreationally or industrially. Most people don't realize it but these wild places and the flora and fauna that depend on them are disappearing at a crazy pace. I love pedaling my brains out up a mountain and then ripping down the other side. But it's a pretty selfish sport. Mountain bikers in this country currently have access to more trail miles, multi use and mtb specific, than at any other time in the history of the sport. The lose of trail access in MT and the Boulder White cloud designation definitely sucks for those guys. But, I we are a minority of the overall population. I don't feel that our self interests should outweigh the long term conservation of Wilderness or other wild lands.
  • + 1
 @nohit45: This. The federal overreach on declaring 'wilderness areas' is sickening. Let the states manage their lands as they see fit and keep your nose out of it.
  • + 1
 @MTBingSpartan: "having ranchers graze the land is good for the environment" said no educated person ever...
  • - 1
 @MrFogg: actually it can be. It can keep overcrowding plants down and balance the ecosystem. “Grazings bad for the environment” said every stupid person ever.
  • + 1
 @gunnerMTB: The ecosystem balances itself when left alone. Grazing animals cause damage to soils and native plants, not to mention the antibiotics that end up in water sources. Human placed herds also displace native animals and cause conflicts with predatory animals such as wolves and mountain lions, which are then killed to protect the livestock that isn't native to the area in the first place. Responsible grazing practices can be lower impact, but making a blanket statement that it is actually good for the environment is completely false.
  • + 1
 @MrFogg: actually it can be good, serious. Overgrazing is bad, but some livestock are known for eating invasive plants and keeping them down. So making a blanket statement that grazing is bad for the environment is completely false.
  • + 1
 @gunnerMTB: OK, as an engineer I am obligated to look at data and if warranted update my understanding of a problem. So what is the data supporting your claims? I know that locally we have been using goats to clear out invasive species for a long time, but that is only in areas where the invasive plants have already out-competed native species and where the damage caused by the goats is minimal, such as park-and-ride lots and the sides of roads.
  • + 1
 @isawtman: How did you "lose" ? Its now being managed by local managers. As all public lands should be
  • + 1
 @MrFogg: well you haven’t been down to southern Utah recently I guess. Ranchers down their are grazing their cattle in a controlled way that helps the environment. If it didn’t help why would the BLM give out grazing permits?
  • + 94
 I love Canada.
  • + 17
 Good old UK we can ride pretty much where ever we want
  • + 10
 @irideinplymotuh:
Erm, no we can't...
  • + 1
 @sam264: The south west we can loads of places to ride
  • + 9
 Me too. I plan to spend 5 months and 29 days there every year after I retire.
  • + 6
 @irideinplymotuh: Not sure what part of the UK you live in but if you tried riding your bike round some areas of Cumbria where I grew you'd probably see a farmer and a shotgun pretty quickly...
  • + 6
 @irideinplymotuh: er yeah. No. Unless you mean Scotland. But otherwise, no, you can't.
  • + 1
 @ali-chapple: Devonshire folk are pretty chilled out never had any trouble been stopped a few times never had any trouble
  • + 11
 Yup. We pretty much want nothing to do with IMBA here. IMBA standards can take a long walk off a short pier
  • + 2
 @sam264: do about 70% of my riding on private land and footpaths, last time I had an issue was 3 years ago and that was on a bridleway
  • + 30
 This. All day this. Oh Canada.
I have no clue how a country claiming to be as "free" as America has to endure such a painful litigious society run by lobbyists from all sides.....but I guess on the upside buying a gun seems to be quite a pleasant "free" experience.
Weird.
  • + 14
 @savagelake: no thanks. We gonna build a wall to keep you south of the border
  • + 5
 I like broccoli
  • + 16
 @freerabbit: I love lamp.
  • - 5
flag Rocky-Urban (Dec 7, 2017 at 17:22) (Below Threshold)
 @freerabbit: I love pussy
  • + 20
 To paraphrase Jim Jeffries, if America is so 'free', how come an 18 year-old girl can star in a gangbang porno, her final scene seeing her glazed with cum, but she can't have a beer afterwards?
  • + 1
 Yep!!
  • + 6
 Maybe IMBA Smart in Squamish should be re-named IMBA Shart to show solidarity.
  • + 2
 only in Scotland. England & Wales are still behind the times.
  • + 5
 First off, sigh. Second, yep. Third, I'll continue to spend my money and time traveling to BC from nearby Washington. Canada has a good thing going. I only wish I were a kid just getting into mountain biking today instead of 25-30 years ago!
  • + 1
 @mjc1973: Word.
  • + 3
 @irideinplymotuh: actually, fair point: I suppose the UK equivalent of wilderness would be common land, which you can ride on - in Devon you have Dartmoor and Exmoor so you do definitely have a fair amount.

But in England and Wales you are not allowed (legally) to ride on footpaths, only bridleways and other specifically designated paths (and common land of course). In Scotland you can ride anywhere.
  • + 1
 @alexhyland: Has to be said I do mainly only ride on Dartmoor so I most likely have a odd view on where I can and can't ride!! ????
  • + 3
 @alexhyland: Yes, though the Welsh government are considering opening footpaths to MTBs at this very moment - exciting times.
  • + 7
 To be fair, Canada has 1/10 the population of the USA. California has more residents than Canada alone. This has to equate in less stress on public lands for our neighbors to the north.
  • + 2
 Also, we just don’t sue each other for everything. You get hurt doing something, you deal with it. Go to the public hospital and get taken care of. I think land owners in the US are terrified of lawsuits @lccomz:
  • + 1
 @theedon: For sure. It’s not as if anyone who once volunteer patrolled at Whistler ended up suing the bike park claiming they had no idea serious injury was a possibility.
  • + 1
 @theedon: this article is about mechanized travel in US Wilderness areas. You do know those areas do not have private, individual ownership, right?
  • + 4
 Just generalizing. I love you guys and wish you the best with all your current challenges! @lccomz:
  • + 3
 @theedon: I have much love for Canada as well!
  • + 5
 @lccomz: @theedon: Awww, it's the spirit of Christmas!
  • + 80
 Aaaaaaannnnnnndddddd IMBA can suck a fat d*** !!!!! Boycott the hell out of them.
  • + 5
 if you give them a fat dick to suck you will probably doing them a favor
  • + 4
 I knew if I scrolled down far enough someone would say what we're all thinking
  • + 62
 What is this last sentence supposed to imply " Mountain bikers are exemplary public land stewards and highly engaged advocates who should have a voice in the future of local trails".

Local smocal man. I want to get into the thick of it. The untouched. The wild. Places where I can not run into large groups of people and see things that no one else gets a chance to unless they put in the enormous effort.

I want Wilderness on my riding menu.
  • + 25
 It's not even necessarily about wanting new access to existing Wilderness. It's about wanting to not lose more trail.
  • + 23
 I just want to go somewhere with no californians
  • + 3
 @ACree: That as well. However, the Cascades have in effect a large cement border between about Skykomish and somewhere near Lake Wenatchee, North to South. There's got to be room for a few trails in the North Cascades. Room for a trail or three beyond the borders of Crystal Mountain Ski Area / 410 trails. Room for (1) trail at Mount Rainier.
  • + 2
 @jefflong: I've got the opposite problem. California is awesome!
  • + 1
 @dualsuspensiondave: No it isn't. Born there in 69, grew up in San Diego. Nice back then, but these days it is overpopulated, overtaxed, and overrun with narrow minded liberals. Packed my bags in the 90s and have been back twice. Each time is worse than the last. WA is somewhat better (broad minded liberals), but I'm ready to move on once the kids are grown.
  • + 0
 @Poulsbojohnny: You're taking a lot for granted. Would've done anything to have grown up there. I did a road trip last year at this time from San Diego all the way up to Santa Cruz. Aside from L.A., the people were nicer than most places in the U.S. I'm definitely moving out towards Santa Cruz when my girl gets out of school next year. The people I met in Washington and Oregon weren't quite as nice, but I wasn't there long enough to be sure. Try being from Ohio! Rednecks everywhere. Crazy conservatives, that judge anyone different from them. All due to lack of education and not being cultured.
  • + 2
 @boxxerace: Take a look at the the trail map if you were able to keep riding at Dutch Miller Gap. Looks to me like without W restrictions, riding from North Bend to Salmon LaSac would be feasible.
  • + 1
 @ACree: Gotta say I'm not worried about losing trail where I am. (Ventura County).
  • + 1
 There is no one enjoying trails in my area frequently enough to have an impact even if I did choose to ride trails labeled Wilderness. Los Padres forest is so vast and remote that its not like anyone would notice. I might just take my chances and deal with the consequences. Probably not what people want to hear. Every situation is going to be different. But I will be damned if a group of 20 horses is allowed into an area and I'm not. No sir-e-bob.
  • + 50
 I feel so sad for advocates in Idaho, Montana and other affected areas. It's one thing to have IMBA have no position to support you as the volunteers in the trenches. It's quite another for IMBA to actively oppose you. So very sorry
  • + 10
 So true! I've written to IMBA and their board of directors and urge others to do so. IMBA should have supported HR1349 and at the very least been mute on it if they didn't feel they could support it. To actively oppose it is disgraceful and deeply disappointing and demonstrates a lack of understanding of the threats their constituents and the industry faces. PLEASE take the time to let IMBA know how you feel.
  • + 44
 I live five miles away from hundreds and hundreds of square miles of wilderness land covered in 2000'+ peaks... I'm sure this is just an interesting article for most but it actually really hits home for me. That would be unbelievable to have access to that area
  • + 18
 Same here. I actually have regularly ridden my bike up to the edge of the wilderness area and then locked it to a tree and hike in for some camping or fishing. To do it all on a bike would be fantastic.
  • - 2
 Some things are left better untouched. I love mtbing but... That's my honest opinion
  • + 20
 @tigerteeuwen: with all due respect, you are not the one fighting this battle. In fact you (probably, I can't be sure as I only have ever visited Canada) have far more rideable terrain than we do and are not seeing what little is left being taken away. Regardless of what should and shouldn't be ridden, having a trail advocacy organization publicly declare they will be ACTIVELY opposing mountain bike access in certain areas is similar to a doctor saying he will now be actively pumping second hand smoke into all his operation rooms. It's sick.
  • + 3
 @MortifiedPenguin: you're right about it not being my fight. Though my comment was more of a general statement about something's being left untouched. I do believe we have some pretty strong rules about not riding on crown land, but I could be wrong. (Not going to claim to be an expert)
  • - 19
flag isawtman (Dec 7, 2017 at 17:13) (Below Threshold)
 @MortifiedPenguin: Your logic is totally flawed. IMBA is trying to save the last remaining wild areas in the Lower 48 States. Wilderness Areas are less than 3% of the land area in those states and mountain bikers are less than 3% of the population. This isn't even worth it.
  • + 40
 @tigerteeuwen: in Canada it's presumed that we are allowed to ride on Crown Land.

In the US, the way in which the Wilderness Act is interpreted presumes that they are not allowed to ride on Federal Wilderness land. The proposed amendment (backed by the STC) rebuts this presumption and allows local land managers to make a go/no-go decision for bikers. So what the STC wants is actually LESS access then what we Canadians have. And IMBA opposes the proposed amendment.

Yes we Canadians are lucky. But I've ridden lots in the US and it's crazy that mountainbikers are treated as scofflaw crims for doing the very same thing that we in Canada presume that it's out right to do. Which is why I feel badly for American mountainbikers to get shafted by the very same organization (IMBA) which purports to represent them.
  • + 15
 @isawtman: " IMBA is trying to save the last remaining wild areas in the Lower 48 States"

mmmmhmmmm.... tell that to the guys in the Boulder-White Clouds region, elsewhere in Idaho, Montana, etc.

But they'll keep an open mind about ebikes. That's fun.
  • + 16
 @tigerteeuwen: I will admit this subject hits very close to home for me. Sorry for jumping on you about your comment, I do agree conservation and stewardship of the lands we have are very important.

To me this is more about IMBA turning their backs on the one group they claim to support most.

And @isawtman: Check your facts. Montana has roughly 3.5 MILLION acres of wilderness land, which comprises 3.75 percent of of total land area on Montana. Let's go with what you say and there is only 2.75 percent of our land designated as wilderness. That would still constitute 2.5 MILLION acres of land. When you factor in a large portion of this wilderness is mountainous, and a very large portion of Montana is NOT, 3.5 million or even 2.5 million acres starts to get bigger and bigger.

Not to mention the fact that the little area we do have to ride is being whittled away steadily by various legislation and landowners. For IMBA to "dangle a carrot" so to speak of supporting H.R 1349, which at least provides hope we will have a voice in what happens to the land and then turn and not only withdraw support but ACTIVELY lobby against said bill is a true Benedict Arnold move.

I for one support land use for as many users as said land can wisely support. Whether or not you think mountain bikes are allowable on certain lands, this move by IMBA was not right.


Source:

wildmontana.org/discover-the-wild/montanas-public-lands/wilderness-areas

wildmontana.org/discover-the-wild/what-is-wilderness/factsheet

and a calculator
  • + 4
 Unbelievable imba couldn't of just sat this out. You now can blame IMBA for not getting the access.
  • + 7
 @tigerteeuwen: but horses can touch and tear the crap out of it? Respect any opinion. Just from a sustainability standpoint and for no easier access argument seems negated when you look at the amount of people who ride horseback in the wilderness
  • + 6
 @tigerteeuwen: Wilderness in the states does not mean untouched. Some wilderness areas have landing strips, houses, and mule trains are allowed to bring in modern fully functioning hunting camps with kitchens and electrical fence to keep bears out.
  • + 7
 @tigerteeuwen: True that. Room for untouched. Room for some with hiking only access. Room for biking and hiking only access. Even some horsey's in a few far off places where their turds go unnoticed.
  • - 6
flag isawtman (Dec 7, 2017 at 20:37) (Below Threshold)
 @bkm303: Mountain biking actually made out fantastically with Boulders/White Clouds. The Bowery Loop was kept completely out of the Wilderness Area, but with the wilderness surrounding it. 26000 acres were lopped off the Wilderness at the last minute so the 4th of July Trail could remain out of the Wilderness. And 155,000 acres of land were decertified from Wilderness Study Area Status and can become multi-use.
  • - 8
flag isawtman (Dec 7, 2017 at 20:38) (Below Threshold)
 @MortifiedPenguin: Wilderness Areas are only 2.7% of the land area in the Lower 48 States
  • + 6
 @isawtman: I live in Montana, so that's the place I used. 2.7% of 1.9 billion acres is still 50 MILLION. Nothing to turn your nose up at and say "this isn't even worth it."

I believe my point still stands however about this not being a matter of actual land acreage or use but rather the fact that IMBA turned their backs on the group they were supposed to represent.
  • + 4
 @MortifiedPenguin: isawtman is a hiker who trolls all mtb forums looking for attention. ignore.
  • + 4
 @bkm303: : isawtman is a hiker who trolls all mtb forums looking for attention. ignore.
  • - 5
flag choppertank3e (Dec 7, 2017 at 22:13) (Below Threshold)
 @MortifiedPenguin: What is stopping you? Most of the riding I did in the states when I lived there was illegal. Stop bringing attention to yourself by asking permission and just do it illegally on the down low.
  • - 1
 @RichPune: No one said that the Wilderness Act was perfect, only that changing it now is a bad idea, which is the gist of IMBA's statement. If we try to horn in on the toys, we piss off the rest of the sandbox, and then when groups with oodles of funds like the Sierra Club do sit down to talk about new wilderness areas, we simply won't be invited to play.

Also, I'd be more than happy to kick the mule trains and horses out. Horses are the worst.
  • + 2
 @isawtman: I sure am glad that you don't get to decide what is and isn't "worth it", for myself and others....
  • + 1
 @tigerteeuwen: While, generally speaking, I don't agree with your comment, that's not what's at issue here. The land in question is already available to access by hikers and horses, so it is already "touched". It's painfully clear from looking at all of the comments across all sites I've read about this, that the vast majority of MTBers would argue that if it's accessible to hikers and horses, it should also accessible to bikes. This is the issue in question. Also, I'm quite sure that most of us (yourself included) realize that bikes do far less damage to trails than the horses that are already allowed on the trails, and we do more maintenance to repair the trails than they do as well.
  • + 4
 @Fresh1: I actually didn't know that about hikers and horseback had Access , but I do know first hand horses do ruin trails.

With that in mind I do not see an issue myself considering that they are allowing horses.

(But not e-bikes)
  • + 2
 @MortifiedPenguin: Also the % of land mass isn't relevant. The % of Federal land would be more relevant, and W as a % of what we would call high quality backcountry/alpine landscapes even more important.
  • + 2
 @Pynchonite: we aren't invited to the table now though. That's quite literally the goal of this bill. To allow wilderness areas to consider mountain biking and decide, based on facts hopefully not lobbying dollars, whether mountain bikes are suited to a particular wilderness.
  • + 2
 @ACree: I *think* I agree with you?

If I understand you correctly you are saying that a vast majority of the wilderness areas also happen to be prime mountain country, and the vast majority of non-wilderness is not mountainous. If so, yes % of land mass is totally irrelevant and the ratio of "rideable to unrideable" is more important.

Do wilderness areas only comprise 2.7% of the lower 48's land area? Yes. Do those same wilderness areas contain 45%, 60%, or maybe 75% of available RIDEABLE terrain? I don't know, but that is what counts.
  • + 38
 @Vernon Felton: Vernon, it’s good that you bring us this news. You knew this was going to light up the comment boards like the proverbial Christmas tree. However there’s got to be more to this than meets the eye. Which is why you want an interview with Dave Wiens I’m sure. I agree with all the comments about the IMBA building dumbed down trails these days. They’re doing that in our locale too. Making low tech “flow” trails that don’t flow. No tech, no gnar, no flow. But... on the other hand I think we’d all be better off not having a knee jerk reaction to this topic. Emotional, angry responses are not usually the best ones. A word of caution here. The folks sponsoring this bill are staunch right wing republicans. This is the same group that wants to sell off federal lands to private developers. It’s possible, just possible that there is an ulterior motive here. We don’t have all the facts and insight here. The Republican Party is absolutely masterful at getting folks to vote against their own self interests. So I can understand the trepidation that some may have given who has sponsored this amendment to the wilderness act. I’m not faulting the STC. I think they’re doing what they can. For the record I want to be able to ride my bike in wilderness areas. I’m not a fan of equestrians ripping up trails and staring down their noses at us mtbers. I think the US govt. is ding themselves a great disservice in not allowing us into wilderness lands. They’d get so much volunteer staff for trail maintenance it’s not even funny. The environmental groups that oppose us are doing likewise. We’re a positive force for trail access, land preservation and maintenance. That needs to be recognized. Sadly I don’t think the IMBA is the right vehicle for that anymore, and the function of the STC is too limited. Perhaps a new organization needs to be founded?
  • + 9
 Every rider in the US needs to read this comment.
  • + 3
 Thank you for some sense. Most of these responses are what I expected, people yelling without thinking. So what happens when bikes can use wilderness? Next it's dirt bikes, then four wheelers, then Jeepers, and worst of all.... then corporations sucking the life out of mother nature in the name of the almighty dollar. Folks need to calm down and think.
  • + 8
 Ted Stroll, the bill's sponsor and author is not a staunch partisan from what I can see from our few meetings. He and those backing the bill are proposing a great and simple addition to the Wilderness Act that meets the needs of almost everyone. I'd urge everyone to read the bill and look into STC. It would be great if we could change or evolve IMBA to be compatible with STC and actually support mountain bikers.
  • - 3
 So true. Thank you for bringing some sense to this topic.
  • + 10
 @fattyheadshok Um, I'm a staunch right-wing Republican and I gladly help support my local trails with time and $. Your broad-sweeping statement about all conservatives as wanting to sell off federal lands to industry is categorically false. We just want to have more localized control and input as to the management of said lands and get the federal bureaucracy off our backs. It's called freedom. You can thank the liberally bent organizations, such as Sierra Club and a lot of crazed Democrats for the fed land grab that prohibits so many bikers for at least having a seat at the table to have cogent conversations about how we can grant more access, while preserving our natural resources. The two are not mutually exclusive.
  • + 5
 The Republican Party is absolutely masterful at getting folks to vote against their own self interests. LOL. It isn't just the Republicans, my friend. The Democrats are just as masterful.
  • + 2
 "Sadly I don’t think the IMBA is the right vehicle for that anymore, and the function of the STC is too limited. Perhaps a new organization needs to be founded?" Solid observation. IMBA died yesterday.They have once again proved their irrelevance and how out of sync they are with mountain bikers. IMBA is now just a self-elected Board of Directors with heavy industry backgrounds and paradigms, plus 18 staff that are desperately seeking relevance as the chapter program has failed to be financially sustainable. It's past time to assess what mountain bikers need and want today; NOT 20+ years ago.
  • + 1
 @LetsBeHonest: ebikes, we all want ebikes. We also want easy trails, why focus on saving old bad trails when we for the low cost of 200$ a foot can build you new trails? Forget wilderness we can't get paid to build fire roads out there, lets just focus on metropolitan areas so we can get some more yeti's and rei bikes sold. i was going somewhere with this...uh imba sucks.
  • + 28
 They’re too busy sucking e-bike lobbyist c*ck to be concerned about actual user access.
  • + 24
 H.R. 1349's only addendum would be:

"Nothing in this section shall prohibit the use of motorized wheelchairs, non-motorized wheelchairs, non-motorized bicycles, strollers, wheelbarrows, survey wheels, measuring wheels, or game carts within any wilderness area.”

This is a completely reasonable addendum, and one that (I think) 99% of the mtb community would push for. Is it possible the Treks and Specializeds of the industry have their beef with the "non-motorized bicycles" portion of the language, and are pushing IMBA to reject it?
  • + 24
 Dump imba.
  • + 20
 Went over to join the Sustainable Trails Coalition because of this article.
  • - 25
flag isawtman (Dec 7, 2017 at 17:09) (Below Threshold)
 Waste of money, STC is just another black money group and has not reported on how they have used the money they already collected.
  • + 19
 @isawtman: They've gotten 2 bills to committee: one in the senate last year, and one in the house this year. I'm not a capitol hill expert, but I think getting a 2 bills to committee with a measly $200k budget is pretty damn impressive.
  • + 7
 @isawtman: sure they have. They've paid some lobbyists. Same way any other legislation gets through this congress, apparently. Good enough for me, at least they're doing something for mtb access and not caving all over the place.
  • + 3
 @isawtman: I don't know what Black Friday has to do with any of this. Did you even read the article?
  • + 6
 Ted and STC are doing great work. Join and give to them if you are able! As for IMBA:

I've written to IMBA and their board of directors and urge others to do so. IMBA should have supported HR1349 and at the very least been mute on it if they didn't feel they could support it. To actively oppose it is disgraceful and deeply disappointing and demonstrates a lack of understanding of the threats their constituents and the industry faces. PLEASE take the time to let IMBA know how you feel. Akarnold1
  • + 6
 DO NOT ENGAGE WITH "isawtman"

Don't feed the Todd, er I mean, troll. He is Todd McMahon, you can google him. He doesn't mountain bike (though he's got a mountain bike in the garage he's happy to tell you about). He trolls newspapers, forums, and any site that has articles relating to mountain bikes in Wilderness. He constantly has been shown the facts and refuses to acknowledge them. He is a colossal waste of your time.

DO NOT ENGAGE WITH THIS TROLL.
  • + 15
 When you reach out to IMBA, ask if industry contributions, and their recent decision to support ebikes use on nonmotorized trails impacted this decision. Also, how are their year over year revenues doing, and how financially solid are they currently.
  • + 18
 grabs popcorn...
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thanks for your always professional reporting and opinions on the topic, @vernonfelton
  • + 14
 Imba sucks. Imba trails suck. Woody keen especially sucks. I see imba on a trail sign I know I am at the wrong trail network.
  • + 17
 IMBA SUCKS
  • + 11
 I always thought IMBA did great work until I learned what they've actually done. Ever since they started working to block STC, I've been sending money to STC. It just seems that STC are worried that STC will overtake them and get the industry money that goes to IMBA.

Bikes in wilderness should be at the discretion of the local land manager. There are more cases than not where bikes would damage the land less than the horses that are allowed there, and the trails are not well used (and therefore no conflicts with hikers or horses would exist).

IMBA, you're a relic, and STC is the future!!
  • + 10
 IMBA is effectively saying that bikes don't belong in the woods ?!?!?!?! So riding a horse is ok but my bike isn't ?!?!?!? WHAT KIND OF ADVOCACY GROUP IS THIS !!!!

NOT MINE !

IMBA REALLY SUCKS AND WILL GO BANKRUPT BECAUSE OF THIS.
  • + 12
 Best MTB advocating I have done is choose not to become an IMBA chapter when I was president of our regional mountain bike club. They fought me at the time but now thank me.
  • + 11
 Maybe this will end IMBA 's war on fun.... boring, homogenized trail systems designed to get people to buy bikes... hopefully it's not too late to reverse the damage they have done.
  • + 11
 I just wrote IMBA to tell them how much I disapprove of them and will keep my support of their organization to a minimum. This is ridiculous. Horses do so much more damage and we aren't planning on banning them.
  • + 12
 H.R. 1349 does nothing to give bears access to unicycles in Wilderness areas.
  • + 1
 Maybe they count as a kind of survey wheel or wheelbarrow?
  • + 8
 I have disgust for our country's president and our country's leading mountain bike organization. They are worse than useless. They're destroying our very few opportunities to do some good. After so many years mountain bikers finally have a chance to have access to just a small number of the wilderness trails that would be most suitable and the one organization that is recognized by the government to speak for us and that we look toward to champion our cause stabs us in the back. I'm so angry with IMBA!!
  • + 4
 I agree with you @jncrider, and what's worse, is that IMBA gets a lot of funding from industry. So even if all of us mountain bikers stop supporting them, many of the big brands will still be cutting them a check each year. I think it's time we found out which brand gives the most to IMBA, and start a campaign to get that brand to back STC!!!!
  • + 1
 @kiwifyx: This. Find out who donates, and then tell everyone you know not to buy their product. Money talks.
  • + 8
 Think of it in road biking terms: IMBA is basically stating that they support biking, but only in bike lanes. If you want to ride your bike to work, and there’s no bike lane, you’re shit out of luck. Not everyone has city/county/state built and approved trails right outside their door. IMBA wants to grow mountain biking, but only if it aligns with their political beliefs.
  • + 8
 I'm a huge mountain biker and also a pretty avid backpacker. There is something to be said about the wilderness in that you can only get out there is you strap your gear to your back and hoof it out there. It would be cool to be able to bike back there, some of my trips in the backcountry wilderness left me wishing I could bike out there, but idk what it is that makes me think maybe they shouldn't be out in the Wilderness areas. Let me know if anyone else is both a backpacker and a biker and if you see where I'm coming from or have some input on this thought...
  • + 20
 @MCMbiker - I do both as well, and I get your point... to a point. That said, Wilderness was originally established as a designation for ALL non-motorized trail users to enjoy. It wasn't until the mid-80's that the Sierra Club and some other NIMBY's fought for the right to ban mountain bikes- and mostly that success was due to the fact that mountain bikers were so small in number and couldn't fight for themselves.

I'm certainly not for opening up access to all Wilderness areas, but I'm certainly of the mind that it shouldn't be a blanket ban and the individual land use managers should have the ultimate say.
  • + 5
 What do you mean by hoofing it out there. Pun intended. Horse packing is legit in wildernes areas. I like horses. I like biking and backpacking and think they are the same based on who I go out with. When with kids backpacking is awesome, but when with a couple friends on bikes, in a wilderness area, stealth like on a huge loop you can only do on bikes.......priceless. Seems like no harm no foul to me.
  • + 2
 I couldn't agree more @MCMbiker - I know that backpacking me (carrying a large pack) wouldn't want to meet mountain biking me flying down the trail...
  • - 2
 I agree as well. Like I said up higher in the comments. There a lot of great sports that can be done in the Wilderness and having the Wilderness to do them in is what is so special. I really think that we should look at what we have in this country and not at what we dont. With the way politics works in this country. Nothing is for free, everything comes with a cost. These Congressman aren't sponsering thes bills because they care about mtn biking. They care about allowing industry to exract resources and developers to build condos. I find it ironic that people are upset about IMBA supporting e-bikes while also being upset about IMBA not supporting riding in Wilderness.
  • + 4
 Thanks for the input guys. And yes the point about horses is an interesting one, because if we are talking environmental damage, horses do far more than bikes do; I think why they are still permitted is because when these areas were first being trekked and discovered, horses, and pack animals in general were used because the travellers had to.

So it seems they are allowed basically because they always have been even though now they aren't a necessity because people traveling through wilderness now do so for "leisure" rather than necessity as they did back in the day.

So if we are talking about strictly environmental impact, then horses should be banned and bikes allowed.

I think why bikes still aren't allowed is because the precedent it would set. Like you said @mosierman, its kind of a segway into getting more changes pushed through. Mountain bikes --> E-bikes --> dirt bikes --> more motorized vehicles --> now we should have paved road --> cars--> buildings etc,

So its a slippery slope that I am fine not going down at the end of the day. And I guess it kind of makes it special because it makes the activities that you can do out there all the more rewarding (rock climbing, mountaineering, cross country skiing etc) because it is such protected land.

Sorry for the banter but I'm just thinking out loud. Thanks good discussion by the way.
  • + 5
 I'm a backpacker, hiker, mountain biker, and off-road motorcyclist. I don't think all trails should be open to all user groups (including mountain bikes), but I also don't think all wilderness should be banned by default. eBikes, on the other hand, should be banned from all non-motorized trails. I work with land use advocacy groups that educate people on LNT and TreadLIihtly! principles. I work with groups that want to maintain hiking access only in some areas, and I work with some groups to get more motorized singletrack on our national lands.

Our biggest downfall is that bikes have been classified as "mechanized" vehicles. Adding eBikes with "pedal assist" only makes bikes even more mechanized and villainized by opposing land use groups.

To summarize, I don't want bikes having access to all hiking trails. On the other side of the coin, I don't want bikes cart blanche banned from all wilderness areas. And finally, I don't think eMTBs bring any benefit to our trail access issues; they only bring potential negatives.
  • + 4
 I am a backpacker and mountain biker. I honestly support bikes everywhere, but more than that - I believe the locals should be designating access and not just sweeping agendas for the nation.
  • + 4
 @MCMbiker: That's not a slippery slope - people draw those designations all the time. Non-motorized covers it. Just like the bill was originally written.
  • + 1
 @MCMbiker
You would think that with all the biking and hiking that you would be at least medium, not huge. Just sayin.
  • + 1
 I used to live in Oregon and I spent a lot of time in the Three Sisters Wilderness Area. I hiked and skied the whole thing, on both sides of the Three Sisters. I also spent some time in the Eagle Cap. And a few other areas as well.

Once I was more than 5 miles in I almost never saw another person. The only people I ever met in the winter were some folks on snow machines who were relying on USFS maps they had picked up that day which had an out of date wilderness area boundary. It was kind of nice, having the trails well packed. I can't see any reason why a fat bike shouldn't be allowed in there when there is snow on the ground, and allowing snow machine riders to follow designated corridors would only create trails that skiers and fat bike riders could use as well.

It really seems to me that much of the regulation of wilderness areas is intended to keep people out. I believe that people should be encouraged to spend time in wilderness areas.

The USFS has additional access restrictions which limit traffic into fragile areas. Some of those would not be needed if they would build a few out houses. Others need to be in place. I think that a little direction from Congress specifying that recreational use is to be encouraged and allowing limited development, such as trail maintenance and out houses. Then do as @stevemokan suggested and leave it up to the district rangers to create local regulations.

Also, the horses really make a mess, and they are allowed while using a wheeled travois would be prohibited. But a Travois on skids, which does a lot more damage than one with wheels, would be allowed. That makes no sense.
  • + 3
 @MCMbiker: there's really no slippery slope argument to be made here, IMO. The original Wilderness Act explicitly forbids motorized transport of any kind, and STC's proposal does nothing to change that - it only proposes to change the interpretation of "mechanized" in the passage below:

"there shall be no temporary road, no use of motor vehicles, motorized equipment or motorboats, no landing of aircraft, no other form of mechanical transport, and no structure or installation within any such area."

What STC proposes is to go back to the original (pre-1980s) *interpretation* (not changing the text itself) of the term "mechanized" - which did not include bicycles, game carts, strollers, wheelchairs, etc until Sierra Club and other NIMBYs pushed mtbs out in the 80s. And again, STC's proposal doesn't immediately allow everything everywhere, it just lets local land managers decide what's allowed where.

Even if the definition were to "slip" beyond mtbs (not sure what that would be, but just for the sake of argument let's assume it happens), local land managers would still be able to forbid those modes of transportation if they feel it's harmful/unsustainable, and those same land managers don't even have the ability to allow anything with a motor without getting the Wilderness Act rewritten.

The conversation about whether a mtb should be in a certain place is definitely worth having, there are definitely places where bikes don't need to go (or horses, for that matter). The problem is that the conversation can't even happen with the way "mechanized" is interpreted currently.

Personally I find some humor in the fact that something as simple as a unicycle could be considered "mechanized", but I can bring mechanically complicated AT ski bindings/boots, skins, climbing equipment, jumars/ascenders, etc, all of which allow me to do what I'd never be able to do "on foot" in the traditional sense.
  • + 7
 Disappointing but not surprising. You young people reading this post need to understand these simple facts. One: The government exists to protect itself from you, not the other way around. Two: The government will do anything and everything possible to protect itself from you. This includes heavily funding organizations of any sort, in any sector of society that will ultimately protect its own interests. This includes organizations like IMBA. As you read their letter, it was written in a way to deceive. They did not come right out and state their ultimate goal, which is the same goal as your loving and nurturing government, and that is to keep you in cities, in your house, and in front of the TV where they will entertain, monitor, and dumb you down. IMBA may have started out as a trail advocacy organization, but they get subverted and taken over and the mission changes. The enemy among us. Another tactic is to push the feel good concepts down your throat and get you believing you are protecting this or that, like wild areas and such while at the same time they dump millions of tons of depleted uranium, via bullets and munitions all over the planet. Start thinking as individuals not as groups, then join groups based on your own analysis and conclusions. Have a hint for you: If they only give you two choices you have no choices. If they try to force you into one group or another, beware. Stop the group think. Good luck young folk.
  • + 7
 After reading the above article, I went to IMBA's site and "dug around" for about 4 or 5 hours (couldn't sleep). From this insignificant rider's perspective... it seems IMBA is now making decisions based on THEIR relevancy... not on mountain biking's relevancy. I read and read, article after article, position after position... and one thing became very clear: The current leaders of IMBA like to talk, postulate, be part of committees and feel "special" to rub elbows with government celebrities. It became pretty obvious that if they could defer a "hot topic" to another meeting/committee, they considered that a "success". You see... if H.R. 1394 was be implemented, then one of the biggest obstacles to the mountain biking community in the U.S. would disappear. With it, IMBA's position of being the "Voice of the Mountain Bikers" would be weakened.. as they'd no longer be able to claim mountain bikers are being treated unfairly (and use being banned from wilderness-riding as an example). Also, I must have read the word "conservation" at least 300 times... and... it began to feel more like I was reading from the Sierra Club's website. AND... though it's small... it's also significant: when you go to IMBA's website... their banner is a picture of people hiking.... not biking... in a forested area (Granted, they're carrying tools... which implies they are going out to make new roads.... errrrr... "trails" for mountain bikers... but... still.... no bikes on the title page? That's..... odd.... and telling). Thus, with their support for e-bikes, the withdrawal of support from HR 1394, and being the creators of some of the worst "trail" building in the country (seriously, the stuff they build and tout is more like a 3 and 4-foot wide "miniature dirt road" than a trail), I'm not re-upping my membership with them. They've lost the reason for their existence. I'll be looking into joining the Sustainable Trails Coalition. They seem more like folks I want to be associated with.
  • + 1
 By the by (and... this is weird to be replying to my own post... I'm such a geek): Here's another "thought from the dark side of conspiracy": As it stands (and as much as we don't like to admit it), IMBA is the strongest "voice" we've had when it comes to getting a place at the "Bureaucrats' Table". AND... , looking at the "Big Picture", things have been moving in a positive direction. Yes, we've lost a number of battles... but, overall, we seem to be winning the war. And IMBA has been pretty key with those wins. With that in mind, let's look at IMBA from the perspective of a mountain-bike hating, tree sodomizer: IMBA has become a powerful, centralized, unified "voice" for mountain biking rights. AND.... mountain bikers are actually making significant inroads (politically speaking) into areas the mountain-bike hating, tree sodomizer community NEVER thought would be possible. SO... how can they (the mountain-bike hating, tree-sodomizer community) minimize the mountain bikers' voice? By minimizing IMBA. How can that be achieved? Tear IMBA apart. How do they do that? Well, the most effective way is to place multiple people who sympathize with the ideology of the mountain-bike hating, tree sodomizers at the head of IMBA to fundamentally change the ideology/purpose of IMBA. Once there are enough of these "revolutionary" types embedded, then start releasing decisions that are CONTRARY to the majority-voice of IMBA members: "e-mountain bikes are good", "No bikes in wilderness", "Let build trails that look like roads", "Bloat the functioning overhead (a.k.a. "Bureaucracy") to consume more and more of the membership's donations". And... "TAH-DAH"....... IMBA falls apart, as its now pissed-off membership shatters and scatters into hundreds of small, insignificant "clubs" and "associations".
  • + 11
 bye Imba
  • + 6
 IMBA has long taken too supine of a stance that amounts to accepting the proposition that mountain bikers are second class citizens when it comes to the right to enjoy public land. IMBA operates under the principle that hikers and equestrians own the right to the land and mountain bikers must appreciate the crumbs. It is a cowardly approach that has failed the mountain bike community. I am calling for a boycott of financial support of IMBA so that an alternative organization can emerge and pick up where IMBA has failed to aggressively advocate for equal rights to land use for mountain bikers.
  • + 8
 IMBA can KMA and they will never get another dime of mine. On my way out the door, I will encourage the chapters I'm involved with to bail on IMBA altogether as this point.
  • + 9
 That. Nobody who cares about mountain biking should give a cent to IMBA ever again. They are dead to us.
  • + 6
 IMBA does not want to deal with the beaurocratic red tape. They are taking the safer easier rout. Unfortunatly they are not listening or being an effective advocte of your average mountain biker. They are NOT the voice of mountain bikers.
  • + 6
 don't forget to check out imba's board of directors and corporate members and decide if supporting the businesses they run (including jensonusa and yeti, two i know many many people support) is still worth your dollars.
www.imba.com/about/board
www.imba.com/partners/corporate
  • + 5
 I can stop supporting yeti but is it okay if i buy from jenson because its all i can afford?
  • + 1
 @Gregorysmithj1: hey man, it's your money and your morals. go crazy.
  • + 6
 If you want to really achieve effective change, consider at least one of the following actions:
1. Cancel your IMBA membership and demand a refund for the remainder of your term. If you simply choose not to renew, the "trickle effect" will take place over the next 11 months, depending on your renewal date, and won't have the gigantic impact that a massive, vocal exodus will be certain to have. Just email heather.bonewitz@imba.com with a cc: to David.wiens@imba.com and board@imba.com
2. Join the San Diego Mountain Biking Association in demanding the resignation of Executive Director Dave Wiens and every IMBA Board member. Post your demand on Facebook, Twitter, your club's website and Facebook page, and every mountain bike forum in the Western Hemisphere. Check out SDMBA,s Facebook page and website for more info on what they are calling for.
3. Don't give money to IMBA's DigIn campaign because they keep 20% of your contribution; passing 80% to the chapter or club projects. Give your contribution directly to the chapter or club where the real work is being done.
4. Write or email every member of IMBA's Board of Directors and tell them how you really feel about this issue and what you are going to do, i.e. Cancel your membership, lobby your chapter to leave the chapter program, not make any more contributions or donations, and boycott their sponsors. Find them at www.imba.com/about/board
5. Write or email IMBA's corporate sponsors, tell them how you feel and what you are going to do, and demand that they immediately withdraw their financial and public support of IMBA, it's Executive Director and Board of Directors.
6. Consider boycotting each and every sponsor that refuses to withdraw their support. The sponsors are listed at the bottom of the home page at www.imba.com. Start with Trek, Specialized and REI.
7. Start an online petition at change.org to accomplish #2, 5 and 6.
8. Get together with your mountain bike friends and burn all of your IMBA socks, shirts and hats. Post pics everywhere. Light em' up!
9. Finally, give very serious thought to what a new, much more effective and representative mountain bike organization should do and how it should be organized. Remember, no IMBA member can vote for a Board member or have any say about their policy positions. Shouldn't we do MUCH better? Post your ideas and suggestions on Pinkbike for all to see and consider!
Other ideas fellow (real) mountain bikers?
  • + 9
 International Motor Bike Association?
  • + 10
 F-IMBA
  • + 5
 Vernon said: " I'll bring you a more in-depth analysis of both IMBA's position and its significance. I'll also reach out to the Sustainable Trails Coalition, to get their take on the shape of things.

Let's not rush to judgement."

300+ comments strong. Sorry Vernon, we can't follow instructions. he he
  • + 1
 @IamZOSO Well, I tried.
  • + 5
 I would suggest a class action lawsuit against IMBA for misrepresenting the interests of mountain bikers. They have become the lap dog of the Sierra Club, Wilderness Society, e-Bike manufacturers, and whoever will throw a few pennies on the table. They are a complete fraud. They lie when they say they can't lobby; their 501(h) election says they can spend 400-500 thousand dollars on this crucial activity. Stop sending them money. Send a subpoena or two instead. Never forgive. Never forget.
  • + 4
 The access issue is a Trojan horse, and is a stepping stone in the eyes of Orin Hatch and others seeking to privatize public lands. They don't give a shit about your access to wilderness. Their goal is to weaken wilderness legislation and protections on public lands in general so that it may be later sold off.
  • + 1
 This is a misinformed response. They had nothing to do with the authoring or development of this bill. Read the bill. It is a great bill that could really help us.
  • + 3
 @AKAKTM: Mike Lee is the sponsor of the senate bill, and he clearly articulates his objective of selling public lands in the west here: www.lee.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/issue-lands. Why align yourselves with these scumbags when STC could have chosen another legislator?
  • + 2
 @half-man-half-scab: Yes, Ted got Mike Lee and Tom McClintock among others to sponsor the bill. All good guys that sponsored it. IF you go to the link you posted immediately above, Lee's position is very reasonable. I don't see where he is saying he wants to sell public lands, but we are always selling and acquiring public lands at the state and federal level. That's how things work. To be mad because a person supports selling land is unreasonable (even though what you've linked doesn't say what you have implied).
  • + 1
 @AKAKTM: At the end of the first section, Public Lands, he plainly states: "But Congress has not honored that promise to sell federal land in Utah or most of the west. They should. Sen. Lee is fighting to make Congress keep that promise and to mitigate the damage the federal government is inflicting on rural communities in the meantime."

He is pushing for the sale of all public lands. How do you reconcile the fact that the champion of your bill says he promises to open access and also promises to sell those very same lands?
  • + 1
 www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJCgE1MuuRo
@3:00
"As we work toward achieving a full transfer of land to the state governments..." -
Senator Mike Lee
  • + 4
 Time for them to change their name to Industry Mountain Bike Association. It can only be that so much of their revenue is now from manufactures of ebikes, they will throw the people who supported them and provided the funding for years under the bus.
  • + 4
 I love mtn biking but it is not everything. One day I will be a worn-out, crotchedy old man and all I will want to do is go for long hikes in the mountains without some neon-adorned young punk zipping by me on their plastic two-wheeler pedal bike. Just kidding... I hope.
  • + 6
 Wilderness is overrated. I'd much rather ride my mountain bike and focus my "exemplary stewardship" through urban sprawl, industrial zones, and along busy thoroughfares
  • - 40
flag Rocky-Urban (Dec 7, 2017 at 17:03) (Below Threshold)
 Spoken like the typical self entitled American douche bag the entire world hates. Even the Chinese are now more respected than Americans which is astonishing considering how ruthless and greedy they Chinese are.
  • + 10
 @Rocky-Urban: well some one has small penis syndrome. why don't you stop using insults to back your nonfactual claims and use some real information
  • - 25
flag Rocky-Urban (Dec 7, 2017 at 17:23) (Below Threshold)
 @MVbikerMTB: Self entitled and fragile ego easily shattered by an online comment. Pathetic.
  • + 18
 @Rocky-Urban Nah dude, @bvd453 was being sarcastic. Your comment was just abhorrently racist.
  • + 7
 @Rocky-Urban: kind of ironic coming form someone in a country where most of the population is upside down in debt has an HUGE drug and alcohol problem

Mind your own back yard before passing judgement on someone else's
  • + 4
 @MVbikerMTB: I'm guessing no penis
  • + 8
 @Rocky-Urban: Wow your a fukin penis
  • + 0
 @jefflong: Give him a break guys. The poor sap lives in a frozen Swedish colony where they're still forced to take a knee for a king when they're not harpooning wales.
  • - 2
 @Rocky-Urban: spoken like a typical self righteous Norwegian a*shole that no one in the world cares about.
  • + 8
 we should start a rebellion
  • + 4
 I know it's not a popular stance, but every video showing riders roosting the corners, skidding, or cutting corners on trails doesn't help mountain bikers be perceived as "trail stewards" to our opponents. I get that a lot of groups will hate us just for being on bikes. but most riders aren't throwing dirt on ever corner, skidding, or taking alternate lines on the trail... YET. The more the media portrays this behavior as "normal", the more it will negatively affect our image as mountain bikers.
  • + 6
 I guess I bring this up because horses obviously do more damage to the trails than MTBs, especially when wet. However, if everyone rode like most videos portray, throwing handfuls of dirt into the bushes on every turn, that statement would no longer be true, and we'd have an even tougher time keeping our existing trails. I have young friends who try to roost on every corner. They've learned, through MTB media, that this is a desirable skill. I try to explain the impacts, but I've got an uphill battle when the media have far more sway than I ever will. If you're at a resort, or private land, go for it, but there are definitely negative impacts to having almost every marketing video contain roosts. It's nearly impossible to find a promo video these days without some kind of roost.
  • + 2
 THIS
  • + 4
 Anyone else curious where Tom McClintock got this idea? He's been pushing the repeal of the affordable care act, and Trump's tax plan and such, and he just pulls this out of his ass? Kinda weird. I'd like to know more about what the bill proposes specifically before I could say I support it. He's incredibly unpopular in his district apparently.
  • + 5
 Because the Right is latching on to the mtb/wilderness battle as a way to push their agenda of weakening federal public land management and Wilderness Act in general. Definitely not because they give a shit about mountain bike access. We're puppets to them.
  • + 4
 @deserat: My thoughts exactly. My guess is some oil/ real estate lobbying was done, this is probably the first step in some sort of master plan.
  • + 1
 @deserat: Yup. Hatch has dreams of prying all the mountain bikers away from other outdoor rec groups. Divide and drill.
  • + 2
 He is the Chairman of the House Subcomittee for Natural Resources and Federal lands.
  • + 0
 @slowtime: Good point, but we’ve also got Scott Pruitt (An oil monger who doesn’t believe in climate change) as the head of the EPA. I don’t trust anything these guys come up with unless I can look at it myself.
  • + 4
 IMBA seems to be trying to politicize Mountain Biking. I know that it is mostly right wing politicians that are trying to do this, and it seem’s to me that IMBA is simply opposing this because Republicans are apparently “bigoted.” No matter what side of the aisle I think that we as mountain bikers should support amending the bill.
  • + 6
 IMBA SUCKS!!! As a board member of a sub-imba chalter, I can say that they take our money and do not help is at all. I hate them.
  • + 8
 I let my IMBA membership expire and used that money to contribute to STC.
  • + 2
 me too, for the last 2 seasons now and will continue to do the same every year when my IMBA membership would have needed to be renewed.
  • + 4
 Apologize if this is covered here and I missed, lots of comments.

Two things:

1. A blanket ban on mountain biking in Wilderness Areas is stupid.
2. So is this bill.

It's dumb because it EFFECTIVELY replaces a blanket ban with blanket permission to ride a mountain bike on any trail in any wilderness area.

While STC and others say that local land managers can still close trails to mountain bikes under their standard land management authority, it's not that simple. If this bill were to pass each local land manager would have to update their trail and recreation plans in order to close any trails in Wilderness Areas to bikes. To do this everywhere all at once would be insanely expensive and time consuming and would have to comply with procedures outlined in the Administrative Procedures Act and National Environmental Policy Act.

The Republican Party has spent the last several decades starving these agencies of resources, and they simply don't have the staff or money to do this on the scale that would be necessary.

Basically, the problem here is one of default conditions. Right now the default is that you can't ride a bike on any trail within a Wilderness Area, and there is no way for local land managers to make an exception. This is stupid because there are many places where riding bikes in wilderness areas wouldn't harm the wilderness values of the area.

This bill would make the default that you can a bike on any trail in a wilderness area, without any actual ability for local land managers to figure out where this makes sense and create exceptions. This is also stupid because there are many places where riding bikes in wilderness areas would be very harmful to the wilderness values of the area.

Bottom line is that the blanket ban should be eliminated, but it should be replaced with a law that empowers local land managers to open Wilderness Area trails to bikes on a case by case basis, and it must be accompanied by an appropriation that gives the Forest Service, BLM, and Parks Service the money and staffing they'd need to do it in a timely manner.
  • + 11
 @isilverman , I recommend that everyone read the bill. I've put a link to it within the story. The bill DOES NOT open up every Wilderness trail to bikes. The bill removes the blanket ban on bikes in Wilderness areas and puts control of whether or not bikes belong on any particular Wilderness trail in the hands of local land managers. If mountain biking is deemed unsuitable on a particular trail, land managers can still keep the trail hiking/equestrian only.

In other words, the bill says that mountain bikers must be considered as legitimate trail users in Wilderness areas. It is, in that respect, a very level-headed piece of legislation. It allows decisions about mountain biking to be based on facts and science, as opposed to an outdated prejudice that holds that bikes are inherently destructive.

And for anyone who maintains that bikes are inherently destructive, I highly recommend you look at all the studies that consistently show that bikes have the same erosive impact as hikers and less impact than horseback riders--the latter of which has free reign in Wilderness areas. We can ultimately disagree about our willingness to share trails, but let's base our discussions on facts.
  • - 2
 @vernonfelton: I read it. It's super short.

But it isn't clear to me that it means what you say it does.

It looks like it removes the ability of the Wilderness Act to ban bikes, and requires the land managers to rely on other legislative authority to make their land management decisions. If that's the case, every rule prohibiting bikes on wilderness trails should be void as soon as the statutory authority on which it is based (here the Wilderness Act) is removed. That's how our regulatory system works, or at least how I understood it to work when I studied it in law school.

Of course the other thing I learned is that this shit is really complicated and I'd have to dig into all of the regulatory codes of multiple statutes to figure this out with any certainty.

I'd love someone from the Forest Service or BLM to chime in on how this would actually be implemented.

If I'm wrong about that, and it actually allows current rulesto stay in effect until land managers make an actual decision on each area, then I'm in support.
  • + 4
 @isilverman: It would be great to get someone from Forest Service or BLM to chime in. Agreed. I'll look into it. Thanks for the suggestion.
  • + 1
 @vernonfelton: I just watched Stroll's testimony. And I think I got this one right.

His quote:

"It only ends the antiquated blanket bans and stops there. It leaves in place regulations that let local Forest and Park Supervisor decide who can be on a particular Wilderness Trail."

He's a lawyer, and that's very careful lawyer language. You'll notice that he doesn't say it will leave in place the local regulations that ban bikes, he says it ends the antiquated ban and leaves in place the regulations that let local supervisors decide to ban bike should they so choose.

And you'd be doing everyone a huge service if you could get some commentary or clarity on this from a FS land manager.

I'm going to ask a trails and recreation lands manager for the Forest Service I know about his take. He who might be willing to talk to you as well, at least off the record if you're interested.
  • + 4
 @isilverman: Stroll's comments are in keeping with what I understand about the bill. The bill removes the ban. If land managers want to restrict bikes on Wilderness trails, they are then free to close trails to bikes. In other words, it moves things to a ground zero environment in which bikes are considered an option on Wilderness trails with, again, the ability for land managers to say, effectively, "No bikes here."

I think what will be interesting is to hear land managers' take on the ease or difficulty of saying "No" to bikes. That's the only thing open to debate, as far as I can see.
  • + 1
 @vernonfelton: Seems like at a minimum, one could expect that trails that were open to bikes pre-Wilderness designation would be reopened to bikes. For trails in high use areas or that W areas that predate mtb use, more analysis would be needed.
  • + 2
 @ACree: Were STC's bill to pass as they have written it, land managers of Wilderness areas (the Forest Service and, to a lesser extent, BLM, Fish and Wildlife and National Park Service) would evaluate each of their Wilderness holdings and specify which trails were suitable for mountain bikes and which are not. Again, they'd be required to consider bikes as legitimate trail users, as opposed to banning them outright with no review or consideration.

What's worth exploring, I think, is the timeline that the land managers would have within which to make those decisions. Would they have enough time? Would it be a pain in the ass? What would constitute a reasonable length of time in which to make their ultimate decisions? Those are all worthy questions worth asking and answering.
  • + 1
 @vernonfelton: Thanks Vernon for a reasonable piece and responses backed by facts. So many here have it wrong and don't begin to realize the threat Wilderness designations pose to our sport.
  • + 1
 @Silverman it hasn't been covered before. The issue as I understand you're raising is what discretion FS or federal officials have to ban bikes from Wilderness areas if the ETC Bill passes therefore removing the presumption that bikes are banned.

@vernonfelton The only situation I have studied is where the FS closed trails in Sedona which was not a Wilderness area. The official in question was Jennifer Burns for the FS and I wrote about the process in ON article entitled "Sedrama". I'll reach out to Sedona contacts to see if they have any background on this
  • + 1
 @isilverman hit enter too soon. In the Sedona analysis above the FS had discretion to close trails and errcised discretion on administrative fiat. I don't know if that same broad FS power and discretion extends to prohibitions on Wilderness
  • + 2
 @leelau:

Thanks, and yeah, that’s really what I’m curious about.

If land managers are able to make these decisions without updating their entire plans or triggering environmental review with all of the cost and time involved it would make a huge difference for the practical impact if the legislation.

I just get worried when a sweeping change like this is made with such simple language. There is an entire regulatory framework that has grown up around the current prohibition, and new regulations will have to take their place before we can really understand how it will play out.

It may already be baked into the administrative procedures act, but I’d be a lot more comfortable if I knew that existing rules would stay in place in place until the land management agencies promulgated new guidance that spelled out how the decisions concerning the where, how, and when, bikes are will be allowed in Wilderness Areas.

I want to ride my bike in a lot of these places and I think that should be legal, but I also want to see it done right, and for the places and experiences that would be damaged by bike use to be protected.
  • + 5
 To quote the great Team Robot "IMBA: More access is probably better hopefully, but less would be okay too, as long as it isn't too much less, please."

What spineless losers.
  • + 3
 Here's the issue: the paid staff of IMBA are professional non-profit employees, in a small employment pool.
They have forgotten about mountain biking.

They are simply afraid to do anything that might threaten their future jobs at the Sierra Club/Nature Conservancy/NRDC/etc.
  • + 3
 IMBA obviously does a lot of good but they are very out of touch or being run by a bunch of closet Sierra Club members. As someone who loves downhill mtb primarily the IMBA doesn't even acknowledge my existence. Don't skid, don't ride in the rain are good general guidelines, but this is mountain biking. Those things are awesome, in moderation and with some restraint. Don't go blowing up berms on cross country singletrack. If you see a brake hole leaving to a been in Whistler, F it, see how fast you can drift through them. So, yeah, I get where they're coming from but they've been drinking the wrong Kool aid
  • + 3
 Dave Wiens, Executive Director of IMBA, responds today. What say ye?

ANSWERING YOUR QUESTIONS ON BIKES IN WILDERNESS

Posted: December 9, 2017 at 9:09:47 AM
In: Access
By: Dave Wiens
0 Comments
Dear mountain bikers,

This past week, IMBA took a stand that was unpopular with many mountain bikers when we submitted written testimony stating that we do not support HR 1349, a bill that would amend the Wilderness Act by reversing the ban on bicycles.

We’d like to discuss this further with our members and the mountain biking community.

IMBA takes seriously our role as the recognized national leader and a powerful voice for mountain biking. It is a monumental responsibility, especially during this politically divisive time. We considered the responsibilities of our leadership role, and our mission, in our submitted testimony on HR 1349. IMBA’s mission is to create, enhance and protect great places to ride mountain bikes. The word “protect” guided and motivated us and made it imperative that IMBA not be silent on this bill. We reaffirm our position today and below.

Core to IMBA’s mission is being a catalyst for trail development all across the country—both close to population centers and in the epic, backcountry locations that define mountain biking for so many of us. This speaks to (among other things) public health and wellness, community economic prosperity and engaging youth. IMBA is positioning mountain biking at the highest levels in the United States as a solution addressing some of today’s most timely and important topics.

A foundational element of our mission is our dedication to land protection and to working for new and creative ways to protect lands for mountain biking. We honor and recognize the fact that we are one of many user groups sharing our beloved trails. Collaboration and partnership are paramount to progress. Our organization has built and nurtured cherished working relationships with land management agencies over our 30-year existence. These partnerships have consistently delivered results, and IMBA will continue to respectfully work within the framework of these partnerships to further mountain biking.

IMBA’s mission does not include amending the Wilderness Act and never has. In 2016, IMBA’s board of directors reaffirmed our position on this issue, which is to respect both the Act and the federal land agency regulations that bicycles are not allowed in existing, Congressionally designated Wilderness areas. This does not mean that we are content with the present situation on these vital and revered public lands. HR 1349 has raised this topic to a national level.

How did we get here? Beginning nearly 30 years ago, a group of mountain bikers—organized as IMBA—found their way into U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and National Park Service planning processes and meetings: processes that the pioneers of the conservation movement in the 1960s and 70s realized they could influence.

With a several-decade head start, the conservation organizations were less than thrilled to have two-wheeled, human-powered lovers of trails and public lands showing up and working hard to insert the voice of mountain biking into important conversations. Through our partnerships with federal land agencies (the decision makers), IMBA has made and continues to make an impact on trails and access to public lands.

Over three decades of work, IMBA has earned the trust of land management agencies and incredible progress has been made; IMBA has been an integral part of opening up untold miles of trails to mountain biking; and IMBA has helped protect large tracts of our precious public lands. These efforts and partnerships have been, and continue to be, core to IMBA’s world.

Believe me, I would like to see mountain bikers regain access to some Wilderness trails as much as anyone. However, we feel strongly that HR 1349, while addressing an important aspect of land protection reform (bicycles in Wilderness) is not in the best interest of mountain biking long-term.

IMBA has great respect for any movement that gets more mountain bikers engaged in advocacy and in learning all aspects of complicated issues. Wilderness and land protection have always been difficult. Add in today’s political climate, and it becomes exponentially more difficult. This is not black and white and it’s far from over – no matter the outcome of HR 1349.

We know that mountain bikers won’t always agree with our approach, and may choose not to support us. That’s okay. IMBA will continue to work for the long-term gains of mountain biking, just as we have for three decades.

We are paying attention to your responses. Below, you’ll find answers from the IMBA team to the most common themes that are surfacing in the conversation online and in the media. This post will be updated as other important and relevant questions emerge. We invite you to read on and to check back for updates. Also, we plan to release a survey during the upcoming week as an additional way for your voice to be heard.

Thank you.

Dave Wiens, IMBA Executive Director
  • + 3
 Dave, I've been following Wilderness designations and watching IMBA and other organizations and working with USFS, BLM and state level land managers for years. We recently defeated an attempt to create a 100,000 acre Wilderness in LA County just outside the city--thankfully. IMBA got it wrong, badly wrong, on this one. IMBA should support this bill and if IMBA could not unconditionally support it, IMBA should have said nothing and stayed neutral. Ted has an excellent bill that's getting traction and helps the MTB community while preserving a powerful means to protect Wilderness...and IMBA not only missed the boat, but opposed the move. Too bad.
  • + 2
 I read this. Says so much while saying so little


Confirming they will cut off local trail advocates at the knees in furtherance of "long term goals" and citing commonality of interest with conservation at the expense of advocating for local decisions for go/no-go for access

So if you understand IMBA's "long term vision"; feel that they're the best group to achieve that vision; and will defer to IMBA's decisions at the expense of your local group's interest then IMBA is for you.

If you prefer local level action and local level land manager discretion then STCs approach is for you
  • + 2
 NH here. Nothing new to add, but we have some really cool areas that are blocked off due to wilderness designation. Would love to be able to get out on adventures in those back country areas. I don't understand why they would turn down an any opportunity to expand access.
  • + 2
 I love mtn biking but it is not everything. One day I will be a worn-out, crotchedy old man and all I will want to do is go for long hikes in the mountains without some neon-adorned young punk zipping by me on their plastic two-wheeler pedal bike. Just kidding... I hope.
  • + 2
 I'm glad after all of these years that I've never given IMBA a penny. I've ridden solo many times in Desolation Wilderness here in Northern Cal over the last 8 years. I stay on the trail, leave no trace, keep a low profile, and will continue to due so. A number of years ago I was riding Molas Pass near Engineer Mtn Trail and was absolutely astounded at the erosion and trail damage that was caused by the horse pack trains coming through there.
  • + 2
 My opinion. Some wilderness is suitable for bikes. Some wilderness is not suitable for bikes. But for IMBA to take the position of opposing bikes in all wilderness areas and to position yourselves as advocates for those of us who ride? Shame on you. You don’t speak for me.
  • + 2
 DO NOT ENGAGE WITH "isawtman"

Don't feed the Todd, er I mean, troll. He is Todd McMahon, you can google him. He doesn't mountain bike (though he's got a mountain bike in the garage he's happy to tell you about). He trolls newspapers, forums, and any site that has articles relating to mountain bikes in Wilderness. He constantly has been shown the facts and refuses to acknowledge them. He is a colossal waste of your time.

DO NOT ENGAGE WITH THIS TROLL.
  • + 2
 There is definitely an underlying issue here. IMBA intentions in my mind, have always been good for the environment from a sustainability perspective, but I think IMBAs focuses are more so on conservation than they are advocating for the sport. Which if you agree with that, only means we need to separate ourselves as mountain bikers from arm chair environmentalists. This is Pinkbike after all...

To be more honest, I find myself questioning if IMBA really cares about mountain biking... The conspiracy theorist in me says they are simply environmental lobbyist that have from the onset, chosen to label and tie their own interests on the backs of cyclists, only to push a hidden agenda. I repeat, "the conspiracy theorist in me" Smile . And I say cyclists because when I picture IMBA, for some reason all I see is suits in the day and lycra on the weekends. Maybe a couple of the IMBA reps mountain bike. Maybe... But judging by the press release and most all the wheelchair paths, I mean trails that IMBA likes to create, it's a near certainty they don't mountain bike...

I don't always take time to share my comments, but when I do, I enjoy drinking beer. Stay thirsty friends-
  • + 6
 @cdubb30 I believe that IMBA cares a lot about mountain bikers and the state of mountain biking. I do not always agree with their positions (particularly in the matter of how to deal with the ban on bikes in Wilderness), but I also know that the organization has done a lot of good over the years. It is not an organization without its faults, to be sure, but on the whole, I think IMBA deserves more praise than it generally receives.

I personally wish they would outright oppose the ban. For two reasons.

(1) It's the right thing to do. Bikes belong on trails. They don't belong on every trail, to be sure, but regulations that ban bikes outright with no reasoning (other than that some hikers hate bikes) should be opposed. If you don't attack that faulty reasoning, you unintentionally support the belief that bikes are inherently destructive. That is a failure on a grand scale.

(2) IMBA's approach (negotiating for boundary readjustments and alternative protective designations) was the best strategy 20 years ago, when there were relatively few riders to rally to the cause. The demographics, however, have changed in the past two decades. There are many of us. We are proven trail stewards. We contribute to our communities and to preserving the environment. We oftentimes do the bulk of trail work. In other words, the power and moral high ground has shifted. We do not need to continue to act as if there were few mountain bikers operating in a landscape completely dominated by those who are unwilling to share the public trails. It's time for a change in tactics. And if IMBA does not decide to change its tactics, it'd be....I don't know... nice, I suppose, if they didn't oppose the efforts of other mountain bike organizations.

Those, however, are my opinions on the matter. I've never been shy about them. When I report on these stories, I do my best to keep my opinion off the page and to simply relay what's on both sides of the coin. If I am writing an editorial, it's an entirely different matter--at those times, I voice my opinions (the way I am doing so here).
  • + 1
 @vernonfelton: Thanks Vernon, for those thoughts. I'm going to regret saying this but; we often times simply advocate for the things that affect us the most. To be honest, for me, riding on wilderness is only a nice to have because I frankly have plenty of trails to ride. I don't understand the conservation effects of keeping bikes off trails but as a fly fisherman, I guess I can see it from a purist's point of view. As much as it pains me to say that...But darn-it IMBA, if you're gonna stand for mtn bikers, then stand for mtn bikers!

Hey Vernon, I appreciate your posts man. I never really got into PB articles until you joined the team. Keep bringing us the good content.
  • + 2
 I don't get all the IMBA bashing. Do they deserve this response just because they will not fight a battle they know they cannot win. Seems like us bikers are being greedy; will all of you really ride the vast amounts of wilderness designated ares, or is it just the fact that Uncle Sam is saying you can't.

On the other hand, Mt. Penn in Reading, PA is an IMBA Bronze level riding center and that is the best thing to happen to that city since, well the Pretzel.
  • + 2
 Cowardly. You will never win by playing not to lose no matter what color your stripes are. Great job Vernon. Bureacuracies cheat when it suits them—what they advocate and require the user and citizens to adhere to they will ignore if they have to walk the same line, both sides. Common sense, reasonableness, personal, professional and group responsibility and civility are lacking. Everywhere. Including here too often. Bikes and riding are awesome. Go Ride. Merry Christmas.
  • + 2
 Most important part of all this is that when bikes were originally banned in the legislation it was not based on any real data or logic supported by facts of any kind. Just older generations begrudgingly blocking us based on inaccurate assumptions. There is NO REAL FACTUAL OR LOGICAL BASIS to support the claim that bikes would harm the natural area's. I understand their position but I disagree. For me, what it boils down to is this; if people can't actually go out and enjoy this natural beauty they will feel no personal stake in protecting it. What is the point of protecting if you ban people from enjoying it? This is a fear mindset instead of an opportunity mindset. I appreciate IMBA very much but would not join Frown
  • + 4
 FYI: User "isawtman" is Todd McMahon, notorious internet troll who lives in Wisconsin and spends all his free time trolling mt biking forums and articles about mt biking.
  • + 2
 This isn't the popular stance, but I respect IMBA's dedication to playing nice with others. I will be renewing my membership because, as much as I love mountain biking (and my wife could tell you what kind of a wretched mess I am when I can't ride), there are more important things than simply getting to ride in the Lone Peak Wilderness Area. I live in Utah, where there's more trail than I'll ever get to in my lifetime and I've lived in the Midwest where there's, well, not much. What little natural space you find in Iowa you find on the margins, between fence rows or on the banks of rivers. Having places that are pretty well untouched is important because relatively few still are. If they're lonely and unused, that's just great. We have a ton of trails and not many friends. We can certainly cultivate both but it'll be harder to find friends if we support changing the Wilderness Act now.

I support IMBA because their stance represents what I believe to be important as a person beyond my love of mountain biking, while supporting mountain biking as well. I already give to several organizations who singlemindedly pursue trail expansion. I support IMBA because they represent me as a outdoorsman and mountain biker.
  • + 6
 Ride it before it's All sold to the highest bidder and logged.
  • + 7
 R.I.P IMBA
  • + 5
 a*sholes.

Anybody who rides - never donate to them again.


f*ck them and they don’t represent us.

a*sholes.
  • + 3
 I'm a firm believer in private trail development (through cooperation with local public and private lands) to promote economic development through recreation. Look at Moab.
  • + 2
 @foggnm - which trails in Moab are on private land? They're (almost) all on BLM land.
  • + 1
 The San Diego Mountain Bike Association, an IMBA chapter, has called for IMBA's entire board of directors to resign! See sdmba.com/letter_to_imba_from_sdmba.php
"As shown once again by IMBA’s recent stance on HR 1349, IMBA’s board is tone-deaf to the community and has too frequently taken controversial stances when claiming to represent mountain bike riders’ interests. Once again, SDMBA strongly calls for IMBA’s board to be replaced with elected mountain bike leaders with a strong, accomplished history of outstanding advocacy wins in favor of mountain biking. Unfortunately, the existing board has consistently failed to lead this organization as mountain bikers require."
  • + 2
 CA District 4 (northern Sierra Nevada)- Tom McClintock. Good job you deserve a pat on the back. Great to see this coming out of California and the capital area to say the least. But I doubt this will get by the democrats!
  • + 5
 Did i mention woody keen sucks
  • + 1
 T Arnold "It is time to seriously consider the relevance of IMBA in advocating for access for Mountain Bikers." Absolutely correct. IMBA has become tragically irrelevant; riders no longer support or believe in their ability to advocate for their interests. Do we burn it down and rebuild from the ashes, or do we launch a better organization? But it is critical to understand this: IMBA never has been a membership organization. Consider that the Board of Directors is self-elected (no member voting, nominations or input process). There is no process for "members" aka dues payers to provide input on policy making, i.e. e-bikes, bikes in Wilderness, etc. There are no task forces or committees for "members" to serve on to accomplish anything. IMBA is designed, on purpose, to be tone-deaf to dues payers. Surely mountain bikers deserve better?
  • + 1
 www.change.org/p/board-imba-com-demand-that-imba-not-lobby-against-mountain-biking-in-wilderness

This petition, started by the New England Mountain Bike Association and the San Diego Mountain Biking Association, demands that the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) cease its opposition to HR 1349, a bill that would allow mountain biking in Wilderness areas on a case-by-case basis. We demand that IMBA retract its public comment opposing HR 1349. IMBA's opposition to this bill is contrary to their stated mission to "enhance and protect great places to ride mountain bikes." We believe that IMBA should be supporting mountain bike access and not lobbying against it. 

We believe that IMBA should be supporting mountain bike access and not lobbying against it. This will be delivered to David Wiens, Executive Director, and the IMBA Board of Directors.

For more info visit http://www.sustainabletrailscoalition.org/
  • + 2
 So there is a big fat gift horse that the IMBA has chosen to look in the mouth of and say, nope. This group is no better than any government agency. They exist first and only to serve themselves, they don't represent us.
  • + 1
 If the main concern is trail and surrounding area damage; how about we propose reducing/eliminating open grazing rights in some of these wilderness areas and allow mountain bikes in. I think our four-legged food friends do heaps more damage than we would do. Not too mention all the excess nutrient loading from them defecating near pristine mountain streams/lakes.
  • + 1
 Open your eyes people, the sponsors of this bill are a republican from California and a republican from Utah (Orrin hatch). If there is one thing i know for certain its that these guys dont give one rats ass about land conservation, or preserving wilderness. If Orrin Hatch had it his way all of utahs national parks would be handed back to the state and then immediately handed to the oil, gas, mining, logging companies.

They are up to something here the republicans, this is their slippery slope to deregulating the idea even the notion of wilderness altogether, IMBA gets it, Sierra Club gets it. We can't allow them to carve up our last remaining wilderness just for our own short sighted selfish interests as mountain bikers.
  • + 4
 Just change your name to International E-Bike Path Association and get on with it...
  • + 4
 Classify Mountainbikes as weapons, have the NRA fight for your right to ride everywhere. Done!
  • + 1
 wish imba went hardline like the nra, dislike them or not they are effective!
  • + 1
 "IMBA has been involved in discussions about Wilderness and other forms of legislatively driven protections for public lands for decades. When mountain bikers are given a seat at the table in these discussions, important trails can be protected while finding common ground with those who are looking to create new conservation designations."

Well if this passes, we might not have to come to the table anymore, we could be out riding more trails instead. This is nothing more than IMBA trying to justify their existence. A group that has never really accomplished anything. Now some Official comes along and offers something even better than the weak line in the sand they have been fighting for and they oppose it because it surpasses their 'dedades of DISCUSSIONS" (with absolutely no results) . I never joined them based on their weak stance on trail access, and this just makes me feel better for not supporting them.
  • + 1
 I am not sure why so many people feel that politicians such as Mike Lee (R-UT) have their best interests at heart to write a bill that allows bikes in Wilderness Areas and will contain no other negatives like also allowing oil rigs or coal mines. That's a lot of trust in a politician who certainly isn't a mountain biker and isn't doing this out of the kindness in his heart.
  • + 1
 But this is not consistent with ANY facts. You can read the text of McClintock's House bill that passed out of committee yesterday (H.R. 1349). It only permits land managers to allow non-motorized bikes, strollers, wheelchairs and wheelbarrows on Wilderness deemed appropriate for it. It in no way advances any extractionist interests. There is no bill currently in the Senate (in which Mike Lee represents Utah). Last year's Senate bill was similar in that it was narrowly focused on reversing the blanket ban and restoring bicycle management to the original and '81-'84 rules.
  • + 1
 @Redhawk: I would love to believe that they intend to pass the bill with the language as it passed out of committee, but I don't buy it for a second. Not when an amendment could change so much of the text. If that happened, there would be nothing environmentalists could do to stop the amendment.
  • + 5
 IMBA. Ruining access like they ruined trails.
  • + 2
 The Natural Resources committee passed the bill today, Dec. 13. It still has to pass the full House and Senate, but atleast it's moving in the right direction.
  • + 3
 So the STC has teamed up with Tom McClintock?? Oh that is just dandy. scorecard.lcv.org/moc/tom-mcclintock
  • + 2
 NC People, do you really want to ride bikes in the Linville Gorge Wilderness? Shouldn't there be some places where you can only use foot powered transportation?
  • + 4
 Exaclty how far do you travel on a bike without using the power of your feet?
  • + 2
 @taldfind: hmmmm, lol
  • + 0
 I was all for STC opening up access to Mountain bikers but I have to say after seeing the current congress and administration take steps to strip away our environmental regulations and protections at every opportunity... I'm starting to agree that it might not be a good time to open up changes to the Wilderness Act. (we have anti-environmentalists running our environmental agencies, we've moved forward with pipeline construction which have already leaked oil, we've reduced national monument lands to allow for more mining, etc... )
  • + 2
 as soon IMBA took over MMBA there went the annual swap/award presentation/dealer new model Expo in Mich.;this story is no surprise.
  • + 2
 Hey bishopsmike we all love Canada. Always amazed while riding in Canada the organization's make trails better, a far cry from imba
  • + 0
 Bout to get downvoted to hell but as a Colorado resident I do not support mountain biking in Wilderness areas. There is plenty of wonderful mountain biking to be had in this state, there is no need to tear up our protected Wilderness areas. I know what kind of damage a herd of mountain bikers can incur to a small singletrack trail and I personally would prefer to keep that away from protected Wilderness. There are places to shred, and there are places to enjoy the pure Earth.
  • + 18
 Issue is groups like IMBA talk out of both sides of their mouth...in one sentence its about expanding access, and now there is a chance to do it and they are against it. this is why so many illegal trails are popping up, these guys are the problem.
  • + 17
 A few things: We are lucky to have so many non-wilderness areas. Many states out west are not so lucky and having access to these areas makes sense. The whole thing is silly. Horses, who shit everywhere and damage trails are allowed but no mountain bikers? Finally, if there were more mountain bike areas, it would distribute the impact the sport has as riders would have more options.
  • + 25
 In my experience, the trails that are damaged the most (widened, braided, eroded) are hiker-only. Trails that are primarily used by mountain bikers are almost always in the best condition and are regularly maintained. When's the last time you saw a group of hikers doing trail maintenance?

The other issue is the MTB community losing HUGE networks of trails to newly-designated areas... there's no retroactive policy protection. Just ask our friends to the north in Idaho and Montana. And it's bound to happen here in Colorado too.
  • + 26
 Check out the Sustainable Trails Coalition stance. It's not a blanket opening of mountain biking on every wilderness area it is only if the land manager of that specific area does an assessment and agrees for only that area.

The original intent was to ban things with motors but not hikers, equestrians, or bikers. I'm betting the lovely Sierra Club was the reason for the 1984 mountain bike ban....that was when they were really getting wound up against us. There's no reason to ban bikes if a horse can go there or a back packer with lugged boots.

STC position makes sense to me and I'm supporting them (and writing my peeps in congress). www.sustainabletrailscoalition.org/press-releases/2017/wilderness-bicycle-bills-unite-backcountry-mountain-bikers-and-sensible-conservationists
  • + 15
 @sprockets: agreed. The very position IMBA (and Sierra Club) argues against is a local decision - ie to allow the local land managers to decide go/no-go to bikes in that particular local wilderness.

@RXN059 I hope you see the nuanced position that STC has. The current Wilderness Act interpretation held by federal land managers is a blanket presumption that all biking is prohibited while hiking/horse-back riding is permitted; an indefensible position if one is truly arguing for wilderness preservation
  • + 22
 In your state there is plenty of riding. Oh well good for you. What about other states? Montana lost 800 miles of narrow trail THIS YEAR due to Wilderness management expansion. I guess you don't care about them?
  • + 15
 As a Colorado resident, there are some phenomenal loops close by that are off-limits due to wilderness, as well as some sections of the Colorado Trail. I'd also say that many of the terribly eroded areas around here are hiker only, such as Chataqua/flatirons area, and many of the 14ers. I would like the forest service to have the ability to allow bikes in wilderness where it makes sense.
  • - 9
flag RXN059 (Dec 7, 2017 at 16:53) (Below Threshold)
 I'm just going to reply to myself since I'm not going to make three different replies with the same thing:

Horses are allowed, yes. Horses are more destructive than hikers, horses shit. Personally, I don't like sharing trails with horses or the people riding them.

However, they have feet and poop is fertilizer. The issue is the tread. Bikes leave a constant tread over everything. Even if unintentionally, we skid, drift, slide, move rocks, etc. It's super fun but it's not very sustainable environmentally from a trail standpoint. The issues with high volume, single-file tread are partially why hiking parties in the Wilderness areas near me are limited to 15 individuals.

The enormous onslaught of hikers every summer does widen a bunch of hiking-only trails. It's really quite sad here in Colorado (especially the easier 14ers), and a lot of mountain biking trails are much more maintained. This is difficult to address and even harder to fix. Also, there are many, many less horseriders than mountain bikers. The sheer volume of traffic can't even be compared. Just a handful of reckless mountain bikers shredding a trail (read: having the best kind of fun around) can incur the same irreparable damage as many more hikers. I know that the vast majority of bikers are very respectful, very supportive of their local community and trails. They're not the reason to worry about trail destruction, but every community has those that can spoil it for everyone. Also (and this is a big issue in the Front Range) there is WAY too much individual trail sanitation occurring. I would hate to see this trickle over to our rugged Wilderness areas.

We are very fortunate to have so much access in Colorado. This is not the case in other states, and I understand that is beyond frustrating. I don't have a well-thought out response to that. It honestly needs to be a state-by-state decision, but I understand more than a few states would do away with mountain biking altogether given the chance. But, I still don't support a blanket opening of Wilderness areas to mountain bikes.

I should thoroughly read the mentioned STC position.

TL;DR - I'm really just a huge pussy and I don't ride my bike at all, ever.
  • - 18
flag Rocky-Urban (Dec 7, 2017 at 16:54) (Below Threshold)
 @DaveySImon: Screw you animal killer.
  • + 15
 @RXN059: "We are very fortunate to have so much access in Colorado. This is not the case in other states, and I understand that is beyond frustrating. I don't have a well-thought out response to that. It honestly needs to be a state-by-state decision, but I understand more than a few states would do away with mountain biking altogether given the chance. But, I still don't support a blanket opening of Wilderness areas to mountain bikes.

I should thoroughly read the mentioned STC position."

The sad and frustrating part is that the STC position is the position for which you advocate ie that it "needs to be a state-by-state decision". This is the position which IMBA opposes
  • + 22
 Don't sweat it @RXN059 , you're not the only one who feels that way. However, I find it mind-numbingly ignorant when the argument is used that mountain bikers "tear up trails". You do know that horseback riders have access to the entirety of what is Wilderness, right? Have you ever seen what just a *single* horse can do to even a dry trail?? Or do you just like the idea of 'untrammeled wilderness' for its romantic appeal?

Let's put it to bed: a bike will cause about the same amount of damage as a hiker. A bike will cause FAR less damage than a horse.

Secondly, nothing gets my pimp hand cocked back like the person who justifies a stance on NATIONAL policy based on the privileges they enjoy in their immediate area. Oh, Colorado has plenty of mountain bike trails not in Wilderness? Tell me again how that applies to Oregon, Montana, California, etc. Simple solution: remove blanket ban, and allow case-by-case reviews. I'll be the first person to stand up and say I'm not asking for access to all of Wilderness. Hey, there's many places I've been on foot that just wouldn't be much fun on a bike. But let's agree that taking trails away from mountain bikers, who in some cases *are the ones that built them to begin with* just because a new area has been deemed 'Wilderness' is plain dumb.
  • - 3
 @mikealive: Many of the points you highlighted I did as well in my follow-up comment. Mountain bikers don't inherently tear up trails, but we're really good at it when we have a mind to. Turns out the type of riding that is the most damaging is also some of the most fun.
  • + 14
 The bill isn't even to allow mtb into wilderness, it's to revoke the blanket ban on mtb in the wilderness and allow land managers and local communities to make their own decisions about mtb access to wilderness. Just because you think mtb wilderness might not be right in Colorado doesn't mean it might not work in some other more remote state
  • - 3
 It’s ok RXN, you are not the only clueless idiot in this country.
  • + 1
 @RXN059: "But, I still don't support a blanket opening of Wilderness areas to mountain bikes."

So you have no idea what STC is actually proposing, then.

Cool.
  • + 3
 @Rocky-Urban: screw you too frucking whale watcher
  • + 0
 @bkm303: Um, yes. That's correct,

@RXN059: "I should thoroughly read the mentioned STC position."

Regardless, just because I agree that I don't want riders in Montana and Idaho to lose any more of their riding areas to new Wilderness designations doesn't mean I support also opening up the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness to everyone with a DH rig trying to bomb 14ers. Because that's exactly what I would do if I could. There's a difference between lifting a ban to allow for more individualized attention to each case and giving a national green-light to riders. I stand by my statement that I do not support that green-light for every scrap of protected Wilderness, in its totality. Any interpretation of that as to whether I support either the IMBA or STC positions is conjecture.
  • + 3
 it is a case by case basis. Im sure there some areas in wilderness that even you would think they are fine to ride.
  • + 2
 @stevemokan: So true man. Glad that I had the chance to ride in the Boulder-White Clouds before they shut it down to us. It was so sweet back then...
  • + 2
 @mikealive: I like your work. Very solid argument there. Lets all support STC!!!
  • + 5
 @RXN059 The Sustainable Trails Coalition bill is a Federal bill that would apply to all States, not just Colorado. The proposal gives land managers the option to allow bikes. If STC pass the bill, Colorado land managers are perfectly free to continue to ban bicycles and wheel chairs from all of the CO wilderness.
  • + 2
 Yo most of the parts in these areas you'd be hiking 80% of the time
  • + 3
 @mikealive: It isn't entirely ignorant to say that mountain bikes tear up trails. Individually, they tear up trails about as much as individual hikers (depending on direction of trail, soil, all that). But we do a couple things that hikers don't, like sessioning sections and concentrating traffic. The Wasatch Crest Trail is a great example because, while each individual mtber isn't, in a single run, doing that much damage, collectively, we've absolutely blown the trail up. Trucks dump 50+ bikers at a time at the trailhead. Brake bumps become 2 ft drops. The trail is straight f*cked by July. We act different than hikers, so we do different kinds of damage: we just happen to really concentrate that damage in a few places, even with scads of other trails to ride. (The situation was reversed in the early 20th century, particularly in Utah on Mt. Timpanogos, where massive group hikes turned the trail into eight miles of landing strip and killed the peak's "glacier".) Our individual footprint might be technically equal, but that's only by taking an almost misleadingly narrow view of how mountain bikers affect the environment.
  • + 3
 @Pynchonite: It is entirely ignorant to present any utterly inconsequential trail effects from cross country riding as in any way relevant to this discussion. It is a minor issue and best left to local authorities and trail builders. It does NOT make a good argument for a blanket ban and should not be brought up by anybody with a brain in the context of this discussion.
  • - 1
 @Axxe: Never been on the Crest, eh? I'm just pointing out that the "mtbs = hikers" argument to allow us to ride wilderness areas oversimplifies life.
  • + 2
 @RXN059: That's the beauty of the STC proposal. Allow local land managers and users to determine if, when and where bikes would be allowed. Colorado has it GREAT. California not so much and if you watch carefully, Wilderness proposals and recommendations are popping up everywhere--even all around Moab. At some point, even Colorado will have well known trails shut down due to Wilderness. It's already happening in Colorado, Idaho and Montana.
  • + 6
 @Pynchonite: Mountain bikers having the same impact on the environment as hikers is not some misleading viewpoint, it is a fact established by multiple, scientifically sound studies conducted throughout the world. See my comment below to see names of those who conducted the studies.

What is misleading is to use shuttling as an example of why bikes are bad for wilderness, when shuttling is impossible to do in wilderness because there are no roads for you to use to shuttle your bike to the top!
  • - 1
 @Axxe: If you think most Wilderness areas are XC riding, we are referencing very different terrain. Shit is gnar. That's why I mentioned trail sanitation, not trying to see the wild get as tame as the local trails do every year. As @srellis13 stated, it's mostly unrideable uphill so mostly you'd be ripping super tech downhill, pissing off pretty much every group of hikers enjoying their publicly funded Wilderness, too.

Also, thanks for the ringing endorsement that I'm not the only "clueless idiot in this country". I'm relieved. Please continue chiming in insults over an internet forum. Love 'em. Big Grin
  • + 3
 @RXN059: Oh, sure, tell me all about wilderness trails.

Yes, it is XC riding. You ain't getting a shuttle ride to the top. Maybe you should learn what cross country riding means.

Wilderness riding is not for you, so don't speak.
  • + 6
 @RXN059: STC's bill gives local land managers the OPTION to allow bikes, which they don't have currently. Much of the wilderness might remain closed to mtb if the bill passed, the point is to let people who actually know the land and local user politics decide. It doesn't suddenly open up the collegiate peaks the day the bill passes, but newly designated wilderness areas that were historically open to mtbs before the govt magically deemed them wilderness might have a chance of being rideable again.
  • + 1
 @sprockets: best post on this yet. wilderness with bikes group is solid as well.
  • + 3
 @bkm303: That's not my interpretation of this language:

"This bill amends the Wilderness Act to declare that provisions of such Act prohibiting the use of motorized vehicles, aircraft, or other forms of mechanical transport shall not prohibit the use of motorized wheelchairs, non-motorized wheelchairs, non-motorized bicycles, strollers, wheelbarrows, survey wheels, or game carts within any wilderness areas, and other purposes." - H.R. 1349 (directly from www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1349/text)

"...within any wilderness areas..."

This sounds a lot like the green-light I referenced previously. This directly states that if this bill were to pass, every restriction listed within Wilderness areas is lifted and land managers must play catch-up to reinstate restrictions at the local level if that is what is desired.

"...and other purposes."

I know how to read this legal text. This is some dangerous language. Ambiguity opens the door for a lot more interference in these designated wilderness areas. There's a reason why this final phrase is in there. The fact that STC gave a press release in which they "applaud Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) for introducing the Human-Powered Travel in Wilderness Areas Act. Co-sponsored by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah)" does not sit well with me, whatsoever. I want to believe these guys have our backs and are truly do simply want to scale back federal restrictions in favor of local decision-making, but recent events have left a foul taste in my mouth.

So to update, I've thoroughly read the STC position. Still not about it. This is a blanket opening of Wilderness areas after which land managers are forced to catch-up should they choose to enact restrictions again. The STC website directly refutes this, but it's their bill. I'm not convinced an argument similar to due process can't be argued down the road if Colorado riders start raising a stink that riders in Montana and Idaho have open access. There's a difference between starting at 0% and working your way up in areas where it makes sense, and starting at 100% and working your way down by being the sustainability police.
  • + 1
 @Axxe: Boom, roasted. You got me. I've never hiked in a wilderness area, and I really enjoy a good gravel road to get my adrenaline boost. I only ride uphill on a chair lift, and I think 'the backcountry' is an outdoor gear website.

Seriously, don't try to qualify my riding from your armchair. I'm not going to argue about the definition of XC riding, it's already been beat to death. I said we're referencing different terrain. I'm talking trails that drop 5k+ vert feet in less than 5 miles and alpine tundra/crag with no track whatsoever. Come up to the Maroon Bells or West Elk Wilderness and we can ride our hardtails off some boulders.
  • + 1
 I vehemently oppose those who fornicate in wilderness areas. Buttocks & legs akimbo....So much grosser to happen upon than bikes.
  • + 2
 imba can suck my left nut. onestly fuck them. to fucking pussy to finish what they started. pisses me the fuck off
  • + 2
 So glad I live in Scotland where if you see dirt and want to ride on it, you can, wherever and whenever.
  • + 3
 Done with imba... who do they advocate for? Not us Mountain bikers..
  • - 1
 I wish their position was a little more proactive. It's definitely a huge bummer that we are losing trails but we can't have it all. Not being super well informed on the legislative side of this, I am going to trust that Dave Wiens knows what he's doing. He's a legend and did a great job of managing Gunnison Trails in Colorado. This is always going to be a give and take issue. Having said that, IMBA could do a much better job at adding variety to the trails they build. Most of their new trails are pretty damn tame
  • + 9
 The entire legislation is a one sentence amendment to the wilderness act:

Section 4(c) of the Wilderness Act (16 U.S.C. 1133(c)) is amended by adding at the end the following: “Nothing in this section shall prohibit the use of motorized wheelchairs, non-motorized wheelchairs, non-motorized bicycles, strollers, wheelbarrows, survey wheels, measuring wheels, or game carts within any wilderness area.”.

www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1349/text
  • + 2
 @dthomp325: lets not confuse this emotive issue with facts ... Wink
  • + 0
 @dthomp325: Glad they didn't leave out the survey wheels. Very important to the UT delegation.

I understand that the change feels inconsequential, but even kicking a hornet's nest doesn't usually kill any hornets: it just really pisses them off. The Wilderness Act is super important to a lot of groups. You don't mess with it unless you're A) wearing a netted-off redman outfit, B) preventing some greater harm to wilderness areas, C) don't give a poo if you ever work with other environmental groups ever again (and some outdoor rec groups, too).
  • + 0
 @dthomp325: I understand what this specific legislation says but what isn't mentioned in this article is the steps that have been taken by IMBA previously and a detailed plan of what their long term strategy is. This is not the only legislative battle that has been or will be fought by our community. Frankly our lands should be governed by public interest and if the majority of people don't want mtb's in wilderness then that's what we have to roll with. Personally I agree more with STC stance but I don't believe that the IMBA stance is wrong either. They may not have the most progressive stance but I think that they've been doing it for long enough that they must have a good grasp on how to promote mtb interests on some level. It always sucks losing rideable trail to a wilderness designation but we also have to treat this issue as a give and take. The best way forward is for all of us to conduct ourselves as stewards of the larger mtb community and convince people of the value that we already see. It doesn't always work out the way we want but no one (or two) organizations are going to fix this issue by themselves. It takes all of us to convince the larger outdoor community that we are deserving of access to some of these lands.
  • + 1
 Trump will solve it. Look at recent Trump's action in Utah... Just promise him some profit or you say that MTB has been invented by jews.
  • + 3
 This is why I will no longer support nor fund IMBA.
  • + 0
 America needs WAY more oil drilling in wilderness areas. More money for everyone. Then when they leave we can build trails there because the drillers will have already built access roads.
  • - 1
 I'm curious as to what Mike Lee's role in all of this is. I can't imagine someone with his background is truly interested in providing mountain bikers more access to trails with out some kind of catch. This is the same Mike Lee that just assisted in rescinding the Bears Ears National Monument status.
  • + 2
 perhaps he is responding to the tens of thousands of emails he has received from Utahns who did not want such a huge land grab for bears ears. Whether his motives are ulterior or not, the majority of the people he represents do not want all that land locked up as wilderness. So many atver, jeepers, moto riders, mountain bikers, and others were negatively affected by the huge designation of bears ears. It was already federal, protected lands, but now mechanized travel is not allowed, except on a few existing roads. I've lost some of my favorite jeep trails, bikepacking routes, and trails due to this overreach.
  • + 2
 @tbubier I think I have some idea of Utah attitudes from being at Rampage in 2013. The federal govt shutdown was underway at that time. Zion National Park had a guard and both ends of the park telling people they could drive through but not use the park. I heard lots of side conversations of people during meals in restaurants complaining with arguments like "this is public land we should be able to use it". That was one side.

The other Utah has a huge stream of revenue in their state due to tourism. Trip cancellations were crushing the hotel, restaurants, etc. They finally kicked in money from Utah budget to get the federal workers back in the parks and opened up.

I don't know the answer for sure but it certainly crossed my mind that maybe it should be Zion State Park.
  • + 1
 Regardless of what certain national media groups would like you to think, Bears Ears was not some pristine, virgin wilderness hidden away from the spoils of man only just now being opened to ravaging. It was, and thankfully will be again, a widely used outdoor recreation area popular with the residents of Utah. The national monument designation was a colossal slap in the face to the local community, sponsored by groups headquartered in D.C., who had no personal connection to the area.
  • + 1
 @tsheep: ^ well said! Before the designation, this area was off a lot of people's radar and was a fantastic area of the state where locals could still get away from it all without countless tourists and trash everywhere. Sadly, it's now on people's radar and solitude is getting harder to find. I guess it was only a matter of time. Fortunately it's far enough away from major airports and taxis, so it should still see little use. I think the best way to ruin nature is to make something a national park, where they'll pave roads, schlep busses full of tourists in, add a gas station, then some lodging, and it's no longer the peaceful, natural place it was. I'm glad we have the national parks that we do, but I'm glad we're not adding more; especially in Utah.
  • + 2
 IMBA serves about as much purpose as the IOC in regard to anything bike related......another completely useless group.
  • + 2
 Today I built 2 more corners and a jump on a new trail. What did you do today IMBA?
  • + 1
 This is completely ridiculous. How are we supposed to make progress if the organization that is supposed to be aiding the progress refuses to even open the conversation!?
  • + 3
 Meanwhile in Canada....... braaaap! ✊
  • + 4
 Fuck you IMBA!
  • + 1
 IMBA meaning Interfering with Mountain Biking in America. But my question why they will bill on this? bikeinquire.com
  • + 2
 IMBA just met their duplicity....dumb as fuck! Horse shitting all over the trails...not bikers. RIP IMBA !
  • + 2
 had a look at the international part , they seem to be involved in a lot of good stuff in Europe
  • + 1
 This is why imba sucks and never should be supported. See Team Robot’s post about imba from a couple years ago.
  • + 2
 passed committee 22-18!!!
  • + 2
 IMBA we will come to your town and your trails we will close down
  • + 2
 I just donated to the STC. What a great group.
  • - 2
 The Wilderness Act, signed into law in 1964, created the National Wilderness Preservation System and recognized wilderness as “an area where the earth and its community of life are UNTRAMMELED by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” (wilderness.nps.gov/faqnew.cfm)
  • + 5
 "In order to assure that an increasing population, accompanied by expanding settlement
and growing mechanization, does not occupy and modify all areas within the United States and its
possessions, leaving no lands designated for preservation and protection in their natural condition, it is
hereby declared to be the policy of the Congress to secure for the American people of present and future
generations the benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness. For this purpose there is hereby established
a National Wilderness Preservation System to be composed of federally owned areas designated by the
Congress as "wilderness areas," and these shall be administered FOR THE USE AND ENJOYMENT OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE in such manner as will leave them unimpaired FOR FUTURE USE AND ENJOYMENT as wilderness, and so as to provide for the protection of these areas, the preservation of their wilderness character, and for the gathering and dissemination of information regarding their use and enjoyment as wilderness; and no Federal lands shall be designated as "wilderness areas" except as provided for in this Act or by a subsequent Act."-Section 2(a) of The Wilderness Act, emphasis added.

This clearly states that the intent of the wilderness act is to preserve land for the current and future enjoyment (aka, recreation) of the american people so long as that form of recreation leaves the wilderness unimpaired and preserves the wilderness character.

Scientific studies done by the University of Guelph in Canada, Don Weir and Associates-Edmonton Alberta Canada, G.R. Cressford-Department of Conservation Wellington New Zealand, T.Weaver and D. Dale-Journal of Applied Ecology 1987, and John Wilson and Joseph Seney-Mountain Research and Development all agree that mountain biking is no more damaging to the environment than hiking. Or in the terms used in The Wilderness Act, Mountain Biking and Hiking are equally damaging to the wilderness character.

The blanket ban on mountain bikes was made by those who were ignorant of the scientific facts on the subject (mostly because wasn't much science on the subject at the time) being informed by those who had malice against mountain bikers. HR 1349 would update the Wilderness Act to be more scientifically accurate without degrading the intent of the act to any degree.
  • + 1
 @taldfind: That may all be true about erosion and land use for all. B
  • - 2
 I can't believe it because I've wanted bikes in the Wilderness since I can remember. However, I have to agree, at this time, with this administration, we need to keep bikes out of the Wilderness. Our new tax bill will be opening up 1.5 MILLION acres of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, that is larger than the state of Delaware. With the Republican party trying to push to allow bikes in the Wilderness we need to look at the bigger picture, and we need more information. There is no one stopping you from riding in the Wilderness right now, go do it. What is the penalty for riding in the Wilderness? A ranger may see you, take your front wheel and hike out with you. Maybe slap you with a fine, so you can donate money to a place you love (like riding at a bike park). It's more fun to do something illegal anyways. When I was a kid everything fun was illegal any way. You couldn't skateboard, you couldn't smoke pot, and mountain bikes weren't allowed on trails. BUT we did it any way. The real problem is the Republican run Congress, the Trump Whitehouse, and the Republican influenced Supreme Court. If they are wanting bikes allowed into the Wilderness trust me it's not for the best interest of mountain bikers. They are not mountain bikers or even outdoor enthusiast, they are business men looking to exploit resources. The Wilderness is our countries saving's, at some point we will exploit them, the Trump administration and dark money advocates want to exploit them now because there is a lot of money tied up in the Wilderness that they legally can't get to, YET. I know I am in the minority and I will get down voted for it. WE must never trust our Government and we should always Question their motives.
  • + 9
 You want me to disobey laws and not trust republicans because they also disobey laws? huh? I honestly don't understand what this republican drama has to do with the STC bill.
  • - 3
 @Gregorysmithj1: It's the big picture.
  • - 5
flag PaliGap1983 (Dec 7, 2017 at 21:16) (Below Threshold)
 @Gregorysmithj1: Hey Gregory, disobeying laws is your choice, just because I have recommend you try it doesn't mean that you will. The apple in Eden tastes good and the fiber is good for your GI. I never mentioned the Republicans were disobeying laws. Some of our best leaders have been Republicans, Nixon created the EPA in the best interest to our citizens. I did say not to trust our government just as I would say don't trust Nixon. We live in a beautiful country full of good and bad, and it is up to us as citizens to not stand by and let others do our bidding without us having a vote. I suppose what I was trying to get across is that we need more information as to why now after all the resistance do they want to open up the Wilderness to mountain bikes. I look forward to hearing why IMBA has flip-flopped, it may be enlightening. As to the Republican "drama", I mentioned it briefly with the opening of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, also with the defunding of the EPA and the shrinking of our national monuments, it is because the Republicans are the ones who are spear heading the STC. My Republican party sits more with Teddy Roosevelt and less with the TV stars like Reagan and Trump. I look forward to your thoughts. Regards, Mike
  • + 2
 You just can't ride anywhere you want.
  • - 1
 Fuck that. If people can do other stuff there I'll ride a bicycle there!
  • + 2
 I just want to ride my bike on these damn trails. It's not asking much.
  • + 1
 Stopped giving it imba and glad I did.
  • - 3
 well, most people don't realize is that the US constitution states that the federal government is not allowed to own or have control over land. That is to be left up to the states. Individual states are to have control over their own land management. In the past, the federal government has gone around and created a multitude of federally protected parks which is a great Idea but in the last 50 years or so they have used this Idea that they are protecting lands to take control of state lands so they can be used for various types of industry mainly tied to oil/gas/minerals. So in defense of IMBA who was to chicken s* * t to say why they are really doing this, they do have some good reasons to not sign onto this agreement, even if they themselves don't know what they are.
  • + 2
 +1. A lot of things D.C does are out of its Constitutional limits.
  • + 4
 The Constitution and SCOTUS say different.
  • + 5
 You are incorrect. This has been debated in the US Supreme Court. I would also point out that the feds don't "own" the land in this discussion. They are tasked with managing it. That can mean a lot of things, but technically the citizens of the US own it.
  • + 2
 Article 4, Section 3 of the US Constitution grants the federal government power to have and control land.
  • + 2
 Downvoted because of the factual craziness.
  • + 0
 I'm impressed. solid job @punknicehole
  • + 2
 not sure why you got commented down. this is very true. Actually even road blocks are unconstitutional! Try telling a cop that while hes got a flashlight in your window. You cant be detained without any probable cause. But IMBAs stance has nothing to do with this. Its ass-kissing at the lobbyist level. They have fallen victim and have become exactly what they started out fighting
  • + 1
 @DrPerceptron: if... they designate it federal land. hence wilderness, hence the argument
  • + 1
 wait what about ebikes, wont that f*ck up your chances?
  • - 1
 Based on all the d-bag comments here I definitely don't want mtb'ers in the wilderness areas. D-bags should remain banned forever.
  • + 2
 Bye Felicia (IMBA)
  • + 2
 Are you shittin me?
  • + 1
 Also, live free ride wherever you want. Who's stopping you
  • + 1
 EBiker money must be a lot since they shit on normal MTB'ers now.
  • - 3
 I'm opposed to anything Congress is in favor of. Those crooks just passed a tax bill that's thicker than a fat bike tire and none of them even read it. Got a pedophile about to be elected to the Senate. They will attach all kinds of s..t to a bill with a fancy label that does just the opposite of it's title. Only way to sort ourselves out is for a few million of us to show up in DC with baseball bats and demand that these thieves do what they were elected to do which is represent the damn people. Direct your anger towards the people that got us here in the first place.
  • + 1
 Good on yer, IMBA. You got balls and sense.
  • - 2
 With the future of MTB so uncertain, now that ebikes are in the picture, it makes sense to keep the wilderness, what it is, wilderness.
  • + 4
 I'm no fan of the Republicans - but the language of the bill is quite clear: "non-motorized bicycles". Bikes in, mopeds out, done.
  • + 1
 @pinhead907: you can thank the efforts of Wilderness with Bikes advocacy group. check em out on facebook.
  • + 1
 Softcocks
  • + 1
 Catch me if you can.
  • + 0
 Bunch of damned sheeple. Abbey would be ashamed.
  • + 0
 What a crock of shit
  • + 0
 fuck IMBA
  • + 0
 Fuck the IMBA.
  • - 1
 lmao we still goin
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