Mountain Bike History For Sale

Feb 6, 2017
by Vernon Felton  



The United States Bureau of Land Management (or “BLM”) is currently considering the sale of two oil and gas leases in the Dry Creek area, in and around Virgin, Utah, that include the original Red Bull Rampage event site. We first ran the story here.

This opens up all sorts of thorny questions. On one hand, we all use energy. You are reading this right now courtesy of electricity...the source of which came from somewhere and had some impact on the environment. We drive cars. We heat our homes. We, in other words, demand energy.

Would it be hypocritical to oppose energy extraction on this particular parcel simply because doing so might obliterate a place that's part of mountain bike history and near and dear to many riders? On the other hand, should we simply continue green lighting new energy leases when there are so many already in existence that are not being utilized to their fullest? And beyond that, we've seen the kind of air pollution and ground water contamination that's resulted from other leases. Should we risk that in a place that's on the doorstep to a National Park? Should we be concerned about the health of the residents of Virgin, Utah or should we simply consider that those leases might bring more jobs to the area?

Thorny questions indeed.

Several organizations have stepped into the fray to advocate against the potential leases...including one group that's arguing that this chunk of dirt played an important role in mountain bike history and is still home to trails that draw riders to test themselves. That group is the Sierra Club. Yes, that Sierra Club--the one that stopped receiving invitations for Christmas dinner from many mountain bikers way back in 1984 when the group played a role in banning mountain biking in Wilderness areas. Why is the Sierra Club getting involved? Do they really have mountain bikers' interests at heart here? What's their take on this whole issue? I spoke to Ryan Dunfee, the Sierra Club's Addup Community Manager, who also happens to be a mountain biker and the former Managing Editor at Teton Gravity Research.
Ryan Dunfee in Moab Photo by Rob Collier
Sierra Club Addup Community Manager, Ryan Dunfee, in Moab, Utah. Photo courtesy of Rob Collier.

There’s some confusion right now about the nature of what’s potentially happening with the Rampage site. Some people are under the impression that it’s part of the movement in Congress to sell of public lands for extraction, but that’s not the case here, is it? This is a typical case of the BLM leasing some property to oil and gas companies. Explain, for our readers, how that works…..

This is a typical lease sale for oil and gas exploration... except for the fact that it is literally next door to the major entrance to a National Park. The leases also include lands proposed for Wilderness designation. An oil and gas developer proposed the parcels for lease. In fact, someone has nominated the parcels for a few years. They are probably looking for oil since there is not a natural gas pipeline close by. If they find only gas, they would need to build a pipeline to connect to a transport pipeline.

After yesterday s torrential rain seeing the venue bathed in warm light at the crack of dawn was a sign that things had turned around for the Rainpage .

Are the leases specifically for oil and gas? Do they specify particular extraction processes?

The leases are specifically for oil and gas. The lease does not include permission for any specific form of oil and gas development, but does imply that permission will be granted for development. Once a lease is issued, it is difficult not to issue a drilling permit. Mostly they can put stipulations on the development, such as permitting drilling only at specific times of the year.


Let’s get right to the point: Why does this potential leasing of parcels around Virgin matter?

The lease is near the entrance to Zion National Park, and some of the proposed area for leasing includes the existing Flying Monkey DH trail as well as the original Red Bull Rampage venue, which played host to feats that blew the doors off what we thought was possible to do on two wheels, and raised the profile of the sport as a whole to a level not seen in years.

We’re not a sport that puts a lot of a value on our history, but way more than a museum, a place like this actually lets you be a part of that incredible history. Riders from all over make the trip down to Virgin to ride the old venue themselves and see if they can hack it, and I think that’s an incredible thing to be able to do, and part of what makes public lands in this country so rad.

Also, a portion of the parcels being considered for lease includes lands that are considered to be in a natural condition and to possess wilderness characteristics. There is no pipeline for moving any oil or gas from the lease site, so it will have to be trucked to a processing location. This will increase heavy truck traffic on the highway into Zion National Park, which is not exactly going to help your journey there convince you that you are entering an area of sacred, protected public lands... which all belong to you as Americans, by the way.


R-dog.

If the BLM goes ahead with selling those leases, what is the likelihood that trails like Flying Monkey will be destroyed and/or access to riding closed off?

The answer depends on how much development happens in the area and whether or not there are additional leases in the future. The leases are good for 20 years, but the clock can be stopped for a large number of reasons. There are leases in place that are much older than 20 years. If oil is found the lease is good until the oil is depleted or no longer pumped.

It is possible that mountain bike trails could be re-routed to accommodate the roads that large drilling rigs and tanker trucks will need to access well pads. The roads to I-15 or south to Kanab will see a tremendous increase in tanker trucks depending on the direction the oil is trucked, which beyond their aesthetic impact for visiting tourists, will undoubtedly be a much bigger pain for the locals that actually live there.

And, if you’ve ever ridden Mag 7 in Moab, you were probably surprised and maybe a bit unsettled to start your journey into the epic desert backcountry start alongside a bunch of oil and gas platforms, so there’s that to consider too.


One of the comments that frequently appears in our forums is that we humans all use these natural resources—to heat our homes, fuel our cars, etc.—and that protesting the extraction of oil and gas on these parcels is just hypocritical. Our energy, in short, has to come from somewhere… How do you respond to that line of reasoning?

To give some perspective, there are literally, today, almost a million acres of public land in Utah that are already under lease for oil and gas development and which aren’t even being drilled. As well, oil and gas exploration in the state is at a 30-year low. So my response would be: yes, oil and gas are still a sizable part of our economy and day-to-day lives, but in this specific case, when there’s so much land that’s already available for drilling, and yet so little of it is getting drilled, why do we need to add these specific parcels -- which are steps away from Utah’s most popular National Park and an incredible venue for downhill riding -- to that pile?
The Canadian legend clawed his way back to another top 10 Rampage performance on his new ride.

I empathize with the impulse to consider a campaign like this selective hypocrisy, but none of us live lives of black and white. Does getting a plastic bag at the grocery store, or buying a new carbon trail bike, mean you can’t be outwardly concerned about climate change or natural resource exploitation? Of course not.

I think the question in this case is a bit simpler: yes, currently, oil and gas has to come from somewhere -- but does it need to come from the original Rampage venue right on the edge of Zion National Park? If you don’t think so, then tell the BLM. I believe you could be a full-time roughneck and get behind this campaign if you don’t believe this particular area is appropriate for drilling.


Remy was crushing it today.
Photo by Matt DeLorme

A number of our readers have also stated that they were confident that, since these are federal lands we’re talking about, drilling or fracking would surely be done in a way that doesn’t lead to any negative outcome—i.e., excessive air pollution or groundwater contamination. Your thoughts?

It is hard to know for sure what problems could come from development. There has been a legal challenge to stricter controls on fracking -- and certainly the Trump administration hopes and plans to loosen the rules for all kinds of fossil fuel development -- and that means there is some uncertainty about the ability of the federal government to control fracking. Not to mention the impact of increased heavy truck traffic in the area, the potential for water pollution in a very dry area dependent on a select few sources of clean water, and the degradation in the quality of life for local residents and of the experience of visitors, who’d be forced to view gas flares and pump jacks while biking in the area or hiking around Zion.

And, on the macro scale, it’s 2017: we can’t just be talking about the impact of oil and gas exploitation as only a local issue. 2016 broke temperature records (again), and it’s pretty obvious that climate change does not get better by pulling more oil and gas out of the ground.

Rampage zone reflected in Aggy s shades.

The Sierra Club has a rocky relationship with mountain bikers. I know that plenty of Sierra Club staffers ride bikes and that a significant number of riders are still members of the Club. That said, the Sierra Club has engendered a good deal of ill will with riders because of their opposition to mountain biking in federally-designated Wilderness areas within the United States. Given the bad blood, why should riders believe the Sierra Club has the interests of mountain bikers in mind on this issue?

I’m glad you brought this up. After years of working in the action sports world and then getting a job with the Sierra Club, all my bike friends were messaging me on Facebook, saying, “The Sierra Club?!? Better get them to quit hating on bikes!”

The Sierra Club is one of a few organizations that advocated for the Wilderness Act. The Wilderness Act possesses a special meaning to the Sierra Club, and I think when bikes were kicked out in the ‘80s, it was a different time, both in terms of what the Sierra Club stood for, who it represented, and how strong mountain bikers were as a contingent of the population, especially an organized, political one; I’m not sure IMBA had even been founded yet. However, right now, it is far easier for us to attempt to satisfy diverse users of the land in developing new wilderness legislation than to change the meaning of Wilderness.



Cam Zink dropping into his terrifyingly big roll in. Cam has won here before and knows how to put down a winning run and gave it all he could.
While I am personally bummed at some of the epic riding that has been eliminated because of wilderness designation, particularly the Boulder-White Clouds area in Idaho, wilderness-designated areas are a relatively small slice of the public lands pie and often far away from where people actually live. I think the better challenge for the Sierra Club and other conservation organizations is to help preserve more land for mountain biking overall. I think, with 600 full-time staff and chapters in every state, there’s a lot of variation of how mountain biking is approached within the Sierra Club, and I have no doubt comments will follow this piece from folks who’ve had frustrating interactions with the Club before.

However, I’m encouraged by how the organization is progressing as a whole with regards to biking. I was in an all-staff meeting the other day and, to show off how cool some of the recent conservation wins have been, one of the staff played a POV clip from him absolutely mobbing down some trails near Lake Tahoe that had recently been protected for recreation use on his Bronson. That’s really encouraging to me, and the support I received to get this specific campaign in Virgin up and running was unilateral.

So yeah, me being the new guy in the office with my Following and knee pads does not wash away the bad blood, but I think this campaign is a very small step towards working towards progress people who dork around on expensive non-motorized toys can be psyched on.


Graham Agassiz at RedBull Rampage 2015 Virgin Utah USA

The BLM says they are “considering” leasing these parcels, but the general vibe on their site suggests that the agency is fairly committed to going ahead and selling these gas and oil leases. Am I mistaken in my reading of the BLM’s intent? Are they truly on the fence or are these leases a foregone conclusion?

The BLM language is typical of all proposed leases. Part of the mission of the BLM is developing natural resources, and they are supposed to base their decision on multiple considerations such as other competing values such as recreation, wildlife, water, etc. This has often been characterized the most benefit for the most people. This is a difficult guide to use, since there are many benefits that are difficult to quantify. It’s also worth noting that not all resources have to be developed everywhere.

They do have regulations concerning visual resources, water resources, and air quality, but these are pretty loose in what can be considered reasonable impacts to resources. Generally, when they look at development of an oil field, they measure the impacts only to the actual oil drilling and pumping pad, roads, pipelines, etc. They look at these as though the impact is confined to the immediate footprint of the pad, road, etc. This is not a good or valid way of looking at impacts, as we already discussed the impact of added heavy truck traffic to the local quality of life, the impact of oil and gas infrastructure on the experience at Zion, and, again, climate change.

Antoine Bizet and Aggy doing final pre-flight checks before the start of the finals.

So, there is still some time (until February 10th) for readers to log in their input with the BLM—either yea or nay—on the sale. How do you recommend that readers put their best foot forward in making their opinions clear to the BLM?

First, I’d ask riders to add their names to our petition, which focuses on the impact of this proposed oil and gas lease on the broader mountain biking community. We’ll be submitting that for the February 10th public comment period deadline, so jump on it! Once you’ve had a chance to do that, the next most important thing you could do is share that with your friends.

If you’ve been to the area personally, the next thing you can do is fill out your own public comment (click “Comment on Document”) and describe your relationship with the area. If you’ve visited Zion National Park, ridden Gooseberry Mesa, Virgin, Hurricane, Flying Monkey, or the old Rampage venue, tell the BLM what that experience was like and what it meant to you. Remember that this is YOUR land -- the BLM is responsible to you when it makes decisions. Public opposition does help in stopping leases. If nothing else, public opposition provides political cover for making a decision against leasing.

Is there anything else that readers can do to make their voices known on this issue?
It is always good to write your members of Congress -- your representative or senators - or call their offices to express your concerns about issues like these. If they weigh in with the BLM, that makes a huge difference.


The dig crews await the cool release of the evening shadow.


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209 Comments

  • + 238
 We need to protect these lands not solely for biking, but for future generations to enjoy year after year. Nobody wants to have pristine desert landscape marred by the unsustainable drilling of fossil fuels. Before long every piece of public land will be marred by the greed of the almighty dollar. I've seen first hand what public lands look like after then have striped away the natural resources. It ruins habitat for animals, tourism, contributes to global warming, etc, etc. There is no need for this senseless drilling, Mtn Bikers and fellow outdoor adventurers unite and say enough is enough.
  • + 17
 ^this guy speaks the pure truth
  • + 22
 That could be said for a lot of land that is used or misused.
  • - 17
flag Freewheel46 (Feb 6, 2017 at 12:38) (Below Threshold)
 @rivercitycycles: huh? I'm just not sure what you mean.....
  • + 28
 On your last line - a real upside of the new administration's aggressive policies seems to be a gradual renewal of unity between the various land users. Hikers, bikers, hunters and equestrians all have common goals once again. We may bicker and fight and cut each other out when things are good, but now that the land we all love is threatened, we are setting aside our differences; remembering what REALLY matters. It's heart-warming. I hope this change continues, and I hope it's relatively permanent. Even the Sierra Club isn't big enough to stand against these threats alone.
  • + 5
 @Bluefire: no doubt! Coalitions matter more than ever, esp. on traditionally progressive side. It's great to see.
  • + 8
 There is a huge public relations potential in this case for mountain bikers to show that they care, and win hearts of some people who don't like us. That would be a great title in a News Story: Mountain Bikers fight "oil company" for the sake of Wilderness.

I love political douchery... just love it... please repeat that: saving wilderness for the future generations, it grabs folks by their guts. Eh! eh! eh! Wait wait, before you roll out your self righteous bullsht... You may need such PR spectacle when opposition posts a story Mountain Bikers possibly killed 1200 jobs.
  • - 20
flag nathanlawrence (Feb 6, 2017 at 14:56) (Below Threshold)
 @WAKIdesigns: The hypocrisy is real. People need to calm down. Things change, we all rely of fossil fuels every single day. One day maybe we can all sit and a circle holding hands to create things from toothbrushes to vehicles. Until then just relax and let the world turn,,, or hey buy the lease
  • + 26
 RedBull should just buy the land and turn it into a MTB retirement community. mashed potatoes and early bed time
  • + 14
 @nathanlawrence: You should do some research into this matter. We have more than enough oil reserves already to far exceed our carbon budget. Drilling more does absolutely nothing to benefit us, it only benefits the oil corporations. Not to mention now that Trump is president, the GOP in Utah are hungry to turn over federal land to the state (which was never Utah's to begin with) and then to sell that off to special interests which Chaffetz has already attempted to do but pulled away from because of the harsh backlash from Utahn's. (that doesn't have to do with this but thought I'd throw that in to let you know of the a*sholes running this state)

This may be a small portion of land that was once a dump but then cleared out by freeride legends turning it into a world-renowned area of recreation but its more than that. Turning an area that's only a couple hundred yards away from a river that acts as a massive water source for the area ( aside from being near a National Park) into an oil field is senseless and cannot be measured in terms of the risk.

But hey there's good news. The locals don't want it, the impact studies have yet to be done and will show this risk so it will never pass.
  • + 28
 @SierraClubRyan: We've all seen it before from your arrogant little club. Side with cyclist and equestrian groups to kick out the motorized guys. Once they're gone, turn against the bikes and side with the horses and hikers to kick us out. Most likely you just want to kick the big oil guys out so when you return in a few years to close this to everyone but yourselves there is nobody with money to fight you. They fight a long game guys don't fall for it.
  • - 7
flag chrisingrassia (Feb 6, 2017 at 15:36) (Below Threshold)
 'Merrikuh!!
  • + 0
 Husky has a few leases in Bragg Creek, AB and a group formed a society to build trails that could be accessed on the lease roadup the mountain, win win, could see this as potential in Utah too as long you keep the protestors for hire out of there and spoil it for everyone
  • + 4
 @nathanlawrence: Normal Americans aren't allowed to purchase leases. The bidding is done in closed sessions and only oil companies are allowed in.
  • + 5
 @Unrealityshow: That wasn't the case until recently, THANKS OBAMA www.desmogblog.com/2016/09/29/obama-admin-oil-gas-public-lands-waters-endangered-species-act
For years people would show up at the live auction, make bogus bids, and in some cases serve time for doing so just to throw a wrench in the gears of the developing of BLM land.

I've camped on that land many times (right across Kolob Res Road from the old site next to the river), cool spot, I don't think the lease is the worst thing but more of a strange decision just because how close it is to Zion, there is so much empty BLM land in Utah that people don't care about, seems extremely bold to pick this exact spot and draw this much attention from so many groups.
  • + 4
 If you haven't already, go on BLM's website and comment on this proposed lease. The open comment period closes February 10th, it's not too late to make your voice heard.

eplanning.blm.gov/epl-front-office/eplanning/planAndProjectSite.do?methodName=dispatchToPatternPage&currentPageId=105719
  • + 6
 @WAKIdesigns: Give them jobs because they are going to need the money for medical bills once they start to get health issues because of environmental pollution. Also for travel to natural places that aren't destroyed yet. That's just a short sight vision, it's killing the same f*cking planet that sustent us. Let's just destroy all forests in the world, polute the seas, who cares, what it's important is that it would create jobs! Who cares what happens in 100 years, who cares if we start to die from sickness due to contamination, who cares if in the process we kill our planet. Hey, atleast we had jobs!
This is about greedy motherf*ckers wanting to make more money, simple and plain. They are not trying to save the United States from an energy blackout or some shit.
  • - 1
 @MountainBikerJoe Needs support!! That's True!!!! Enough is Enough no drilling at least 500 miles around the Rampage Sites old or New.... Wink my opinion Redbull Rampage is, was, and always will be the best Freeride scene on the planet!!! Most Hardcore!!! If those drillers are looking for desolate places to drill go to Nevada!!! Stay away from Rampage!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • + 3
 @ktmrcr01: Thanks for saying it. Long time before I trust Sierra Club
  • + 3
 @passwordpinkbike: not even near sighted . Salt Lake City valley just had a stretch of days with the worst air quality in the country. the area that houses most of the states population already has health problems due to our poor air quality. while some of the state may be making good income on our society's reliance on fossil fuels that reliance is taking its toll on most of the states health and well being. But I own a 4 cylinder car and put about 5k miles a year on it so I can't complain, right, change happens slow and it should start by not leasing this land to fossil fuel developers. I love this spot and would be ok with losing it if they were covering the trails with solar panels. If you have been to the spot or not it is important to a lot of people in utah. Sign the comments on this page. eplanning.blm.gov/epl-front-office/eplanning/planAndProjectSite.do?methodName=dispatchToPatternPage&currentPageId=105719
  • + 1
 @nathanlawrence: coming from a Calgary guy shocker!!!
  • + 1
 @ybsurf: Great assumption, because I'm from Alberta I'm all for oil and gas! If this was a logging issue and I said " coming from a Courtney BC guy, what a shocker!" Would that make any sense or have relevance?? I live 2.5 hours south of Calgary and have nothing to do with oil and gas anymore. People need jobs. Like @jyemen said all trails where I live are easily accessed and shuttled through well sites and lease roads.
  • + 1
 I guess I ride trails at resorts too.. Tell me though what do most chairlifts run off?? I'm gonna say from personal experience, Diesel fuel which is a by product of....?
  • + 1
 @nathanlawrence: whaaaat? Are your lifts running on Diesel? Holy clusterfck... are your trains running steam-locomotives?

Jobs... you do realize that those jobs will last max 20 years so you may as well quit them now? You do realize that US will just show you the finger when the time comes? Whole world is going electric, Chinese go bananas with solar, and nuclear fusion is behind the corner... oil is a lost battle. And all these complex, expensive, heavily subsidized actions like tar sands or fracking will be the first to go. Trump is a last stand of the old age. He's going to create so much disgust to dickhead culture that next president will be so green that my vomit will look like spinach. The last nail to the coffin of fossils would be nuclear lobby going big world wide.

Greenies are pushing and their gospel is spreading big time.
  • + 2
 I could see a compromised solution where it is minimally/less intrusive, like some of the sites out in Moab area. I understand the need for energy, and it's more efficient/better for the economy if we produce it locally, but whatever happens, I sincerely hope the BLM acts in a manner that will preserve the landscape and the public access, whether there is gas operations or not.
  • + 1
 @nathanlawrence: you have a real point, neg props aside. If it wasn't so bureaucratically complex and we weren't all so strapped with taxes, we could have more non-profit access funds that purchase land like this and keep it public. Perhaps someday in the future.
  • - 2
 @scott-townes: fun fact - the feds make more off of oil than oil companies do. You should do some research into that. Oil is a nearly perfectly competitive resource (doesn't matter where it comes from, oil is oil, transport costs aside) and has a steady demand. If you want to talk about companies making a killing in profits, let's talk about the tech companies who hide behind layers of IP laws and lobbying. 80%+ profit margins vs a few percent for oil companies. Not saying you're wrong, I just think you are assigning blame on a surface level, and not seeing deeper into the issue.

The real issue is that the federal government IS a corporation (look it up), and they act according to their own interests. Local interests are far down the list. If we want to fix this in the future, we need to take back local government and tell the federal overlords to butt out unless they are asked to come in. I would really like to see public land transferred to a public trust outside the direct control of the feds and managed by a coalition of local agencies, that together act on a national level. That's a far fetched dream, I'm aware
  • + 4
 That awkward moment when you remember that the Sierra Club accepted over $25 million in donations from the oil & gas industry, mostly from Aubrey McClendon, CEO of Chesapeake Energy—one of the biggest gas drilling companies in the U.S. and a firm heavily involved in fracking.

www.nytimes.com/2012/02/14/science/earth/after-disclosure-of-sierra-clubs-gifts-from-gas-driller-a-roiling-debate.html
  • + 2
 @trialsracer: You're a bit confused on so many issues.

1. We have plenty of people in the government who receive donations from the oil industry and equally important are the lobbyists who both end up influencing public policy and law but that doesn't mean the federal government is a corporation and it makes money off the oil industry. Its called corporate welfare (look it up). The federal government gives out hundreds of millions in tax cuts/breaks a year to corporations especially in the oil industry despite record profits. Please explain how this makes the government money. It doesn't. Its just a favor passed on by those in our government who receive donations from them.

2. What the hell do you mean by oil being a nearly perfect competitive resource? The U.S. dollar is also named as the petrol dollar due to our currency becoming the "unofficial" world currency which is now weighed in oil instead of gold, that took place after WW1. That gives you a hint as to why our country has always been so focused on the resource. We're now trying to hang onto it despite a drop in demand due to the world coming to its senses about the importance of alternative energy sources. This is why the GOP who happen to receive most contributions from the oil industry also happen to be the world leaders in human-caused climate change denial. This market is about as being perfect as the diamond industry where they purposely withhold resources to drive up the prices or in extreme cases to unleash reserves as a form of economic war by driving down prices (look up why oil prices have dropped so suddenly recently).

3. The US Government underneath control of anyone outside of the GOP is immensely safer than trusting the states with the land. Not being from Utah I can understand how you have this fantasy but try living in a state with crony GOP-ers who are doing everything they can to obtain federal land and have a track record (Chaffetz as of a week ago) of trying to sell off public land to private interests.

4. I typed too much. You really have some misplaced blame and need to educate yourself on the matter.
  • + 3
 @SierraClubRyan: I signed the petition, and now I'm getting non-stop Sierra Club emails. God save my inbox! This isn't what I wanted.
  • + 73
 If the Sierra Club truly has the interests of mountain biker's in mind, they would cease legal action blocking the bike park at Timberline. Good interview, Ryan seems cool, but The Sierra Club is highly self serving in regards to their user group. My local towns potential mtb trails, no where near old growth or in sensitive ecosystems, have constantly been blocked by local sierra clubbers. Public funds for mtb trails were even diverted to hiking trails recently because of these people (spoiler-we don't have any mtb trails in near town, but shit loads of hiking only trails). People in this organization regularly use their position to deny user groups (outside of their own) access, citing false claims about environmental impacts, simply to reduce traffic. Its like when skateparks ban bikes. theres no good reason, just politics and reducing traffic. This was just a convenient ploy for them to do their conservation work.

f*ck the sierra club.
  • + 36
 Agreed: F*CK the Sierra Club! It is an anti-MTB organization. These people are hikers who drive gas guzzling SUV's to the trailhead, then scoff at bicyclists (who pedaled to the trailhead) for being on "their" trails and "causing erosion". If you really want to save the planet, then stop breeding. Overpopulation is the problem.
  • + 8
 @axleworthington @mustbike: there's absolutely no doubt the Sierra Club needs to turn a bike corner in its relation with riders around the country. I'd be curious where you both live so I can make a guess at what Chapters are working in the area. I think it's BS in 2017 that we'd still be working against fellow outdoor rec users, instead of together to achieve broader conservation victories that include diverse users. Changing that long history of bad blood's gonna take some time though, no doubt...
  • + 17
 @SierraClubRyan: I am assuming they live around Portland, if they don't, the Portland chapter has continuously been involved in lawsuits and other tacts to slow-down and stop mountain bike access - specifically Timberline bike park, which @mustbike mentioned. I believe they have also been involved more recently shutting down some of the only in-town bike trails in Portland. I am in the same boat - not a fan of Sierra Club at all. And it is times like these that I feel even more strongly about it. We must protect the environment and they have only acted as a divider, not a uniter. Cyclists, on the whole, are generally very environmentally conscious and most mountain bikers I know also commute and are thoughtful people. The bad blood that they have created in this area runs deep.
  • + 6
 Agree. ...Sierra Club has MANY years of doing mountain bikers right to even begin reconciliation in my book. Once you lose trust, very difficultto regain it
  • + 6
 @bman33: if the sierra club want mountain bikers support they should introduce a written policy supporting mountain bike trail use and building in appropriate areas, and insist that all chapters heed it. I'm sure mountain bikers agree with most of their policies and as a user group are very active in advocacy and volunteer maintenance. Its completely stupid that they deliberately put themselves at odds with such a user group rather than try and gain strength from the large common interest.
  • + 11
 www.sierraclub.org/policy/road-use-bicycles

Appendix F is written for Sierra club members to argue to close trials to bikes.

Sorry but Sierra Club at its core is against mountain biking. If you want to fight Manbearpig Sierra club is your pal. If you would like to ride bikes off road, not so much.
  • + 4
 @Gttroy: This is really interesting. I am glad you posted it and wish it were higher. If they want support, they need to revamp their language in their own policy. This they have control over. Just reading that makes me realize just how much they are against bicycle use, and honestly, put emotions over science.

f*ck the sierra club.
  • + 1
 @iamalexm: Thanks for filling me in... I'll look into it. Bikers are a natural ally that should already be in our tent - we gotta do some serious bridge mending.
  • + 3
 @SierraClubRyan: I tend to stay very politically involved in the local mtb scene - or at least very aware of what is going on. If there is anything I can do to help, I would be more than happy. Our environment is the most important thing we can be paying attention to and we need all the help we can get. Sierra Club needs to update their knowledge on the impacts of mountain biking, change their policies regarding it to reflect that knowledge and start mending bridges now. I don't know how many times we have reached out in the Portland mountain bike community only to be welcomed by more trail access shutting down and lawsuits.
  • + 6
 @Gttroy: the thing I find particularly irritating about the sierra club mountain bike policy is that many of the issues could be equally applied to hikers, trail erosion, signage, straying from trails, user ettique etc, yet I could find no such policy for hikers anywhere on their website.
  • + 1
 @catweasel: Exactly. I believe hikers have actually been shown to do more damage and cut trails more often! This is the kind of hypocrisy in their policies I was referring to that needs to be addressed. They have control over that. They can change it now if they want. Just the tone of the policy is bad from the beginning, as well.
  • + 2
 @axleworthington: inferno, m'f'ers!
  • + 46
 "It is always good to write your members of Congress -- your representative or senators - or call their offices to express your concerns about issues like these. If they weigh in with the BLM, that makes a huge difference."

This is how you change things. Not by bitching on pinkbike, not by making hashtags, and not by throwing molotov cocktails at colleges. Threaten the jobs of your elected officials, get your friends to help, Make the career political hacks that "represent" you fear getting a real job, every single day.
  • + 5
 Agreed, and also mention that we need term limits, not career politicians/judges. (Article5-2a)
  • + 4
 @jrocksdh: No doubt. Jefferson was terrifyingly correct in his predictions. Thanks again Madison.
  • + 0
 OPEN COMMENT PERIOD TO BLM CLOSES ON FEB 10th!

We can write the BLM and tell them exactly how we feel, just go to this link and click the "comment on article" button on the bottom right.

eplanning.blm.gov/epl-front-office/eplanning/planAndProjectSite.do?methodName=dispatchToPatternPage&currentPageId=105719
  • - 4
flag Spindelatron (Feb 6, 2017 at 18:06) (Below Threshold)
 #nodapl #petroldoesntpencil
  • - 3
 @jrocksdh: I thought being a judge was a career , who needs full time dedicated men/women who know the law ! As for term limits on politicians , all you'll get is more showmen like the doofus you got now !
  • + 1
 @Matt115lamb: id recommend the book 'men in black' by mark levin to you.
  • + 1
 @jrocksdh: read the review instead and don't think I'll bother !
Men in Black is a near-total failure as an attack specifically on the Court, but it’s not bad as a partial (in both senses of the word) overview of some questionable exercises/expansions of federal power. (And, for some readers, it will be a valuable illustration of some important differences between libertarians and conservatives.) If you read it, don’t regard it as a primer on how the SCOTUS works or how it’s supposed to work.
  • + 1
 @Matt115lamb: try any of his books and remember that most reviews are biased to the left. Levin is the premier conservative thinker today. Very few actually write their own books. Also consider some Hayek(road to serfdom), rules for radicals and the communist manifesto for a good base.
Do u have any ud suggest? Pm me
  • + 2
 I generally like Levin, but I'm not a huge fan of that particular book. With that being said quoting a paragraph from one review and citing that as a basis for not reading the book is the laziest argument I could imagine.
  • + 1
 @Session603: I couldn't agree more ! Least I read the review and that nearly bored my to death Wink
  • + 34
 The Sierra Club is full of shit. Why should the MTB community help the Sierra Club - because during a meeting some staff members watched an MTB video - big f'n deal. The Sierra Club does more for lawyers' bank accounts than it does for conservation. Their M.O. is to file lawsuits and then back out before trial. @vernonfelton - you should follow up with Sierra Club and ask them how many attorneys they employ.
  • + 27
 The Sierra Club does not give a shit about MTB. This is a situation where our goals align, after which they will go right back to throwing MTB'ers under the bus. Do a little research into the Sierra Club and their position on MTB before you believe their bullshit. Every time we want to cut new trails where I live, the F'ing local Sierra Club is the first organization to come fight us on it.
  • - 4
flag SierraClubRyan (Feb 6, 2017 at 13:00) (Below Threshold)
 @RichPune for sure we got lawyers! Not sure how many. Probably too many for some but they do a great job and are definitely someone you want on your side when the legislature is fairly dead-set against environmental protections.
  • + 0
 @SlodownU: I don't doubt it... where do you live and which Chapter is it that you usually run into? Just curious.
  • - 4
flag isawtman (Feb 7, 2017 at 5:47) (Below Threshold)
 @SlodownU: Yes, the Sierra Club doesn't give a sh*t about mountain bikers. That's because mountain bikers have been trying to push their way into Wilderness Areas when the original Wilderness Act plainly says "no other form of mechanical transport." Mountain bikers have make their bed here Maybe you guys will finally wake up
  • + 3
 @isawtman:
Right. Laws can be changed, as can interpretations of them (the meaning of "mechanical" is less clear than you think). Will the Sierra Club agree to help change the law or interpretation of it to allow mountain bikers to bike in Wilderness Areas? If they do, they will gain a lot of supporters from the mountain bike community. If they don't, then they are the ones who have made their bed.
  • + 2
 @SJP: my best understanding is that our encouraging a changed definition of Wilderness will be tough right now -- as was feared with Utah's senators proposed changing it, there is justifiable fear that any gains won by bikers through opening up that definition will be offest by add-ins that open access for natural resource extraction.

However, as has been noted many times in these comments, there's lots of incidents in which local Sierra Club entities have been fighting trail use, building, and access outside of Wilderness areas, where our charge (www.sierraclub.org/policy/road-use-bicycles) is to be finding common ground and advocating for bike trails where appropriate. In my opinion, that's where a lot more opportunity lies in improving our relationship with the bike community.
  • + 1
 @SierraClubRyan: You gotta start somewhere, Ryan. I hope you can recruit other brave employees within the Club to instill a surprising organizational change in attitude towards off-road bicycling. When the Club and/or its chapters start partnering with MTB orgs to advocate for and build new trails, or supports improved access in non-Wilderness areas, it may just start to win the MTB community over. Saying that lots of SC staff loves mountain biking doesn't do squat.
  • - 1
 @SJP: Yes, laws can be changed, but if you want to keep with the original intentions of the Writers of the Wilderness Act, then obviously, mountain bikes should not be ever allowed. The Act clearly bans mechanical transport, and if you think bicycles are not mechanical transport, well you're living in some type of fairy tale land. The Sierra Club will never support a change that allows mountain bikes in Wilderness Areas. They know that's totally against what the Wilderness Act stands for. And mountain bikers are less than 3% of the populations, that's not even worth it.
  • + 3
 @isawtman: Wilderness is bullshit. It it based on politics and not impact. You can ride horses, land airplanes, kill animals, drive motorboats (yes it's true in some places) in Wilderness but not ride a bike. Horses are much more destructive than bikes. This is why hardcore mountain bikers oppose new Wilderness. The Sierra Club is the enemy of mountain bikers.
  • - 2
 @axleworthington: Wilderness is not BS. Yes, there are some places that you can land an airplane, and do other stuff that is not in the spirit of the Wilderness. In the case of the air field, that was written into the individual Wilderness Bill as an exception, it is not a system wide inclusion. Mountain bikes ARE mechanical transport, which is specifically banned in Wilderness Areas. Horses live freely in some Wilderness Areas and their damage is comparable to other animals that live in the Wilderness such as Bison and Moose. And if the Sierra Club is the enemy of mountain bikers, just remember, it was the mountain bikers that made it that way.
  • + 3
 @isawtman: Horses are not a native species - and you think we should just let them live there? Great.

> And if the Sierra Club is the enemy of mountain bikers, just remember, it was the mountain bikers that made it that way.

Really? How so? Please go on. Are mountain bikers suing to get hikers banned from trails that I don't know about it?

> Mountain bikes ARE mechanical transport

Do you not think horses are (bio) mechanical transport? How about skis? Are those mechanical transport? Canoes w/ paddles? Are those mechanical transport? Please define what "mechanical" means. Gears seems to be the only "mechanism" that are singled out and it doesn't make anything inherently bad or different.
  • + 0
 @iamalexm: Whether horses are native is a debatable topic. They have found remains of horses in North America that date back to 11000 years ago. But what is not debatable is that horses ARE NOT mechanical transport. And Mechanical Transport is specifically banned in the original Wilderness Act.

And Yes, mountain bikers are trying to take over Hiking Trails. They have even written a bill before Congress that allows mountain bikers to take over hiking trails.

Also, XC skis, canoes and other primitive devices are okay in Wilderness Areas because they were invented and used Centuries before the mechanical age. Those devices originally used all wooden and leather parts. The same cannot be said for bicycles. Bicycles are a product of the Mechanical Age, and have always had metal parts.
  • + 1
 Bingo! This is a cheap attempt to co-opt mountain bikers to aid their cause. They really don't give a shit about mountain biker access to Wilderness space. They can go pound sand...
  • + 18
 How much is a lease? Counting my piggy banks up now...

But for real, what's the say the mountain bike community rallies up together, for my 501(c)(3) that buys the oil and lease permits, and then just never drills ?

Or, hey, maybe RED BULL can help out, maybe the first Red Bull bike park?
  • + 2
 A lot of time leases have provisions for the lease to expire if no drilling is conducted
  • + 2
 @ross005: I can take a shovel and a drinking straw to "Drill" for oil.
Nope, no Oil found here.
Nope, no oil found here either.
Hmm.... Nope, no oil here here either. WTF!!!
  • + 1
 @abzillah: if they don't find o&g reserves while drilling, that also expires the lease in most cases...lease holders are selling these leases to make money, so its in their interest to make sure people are forced to drill for petroleum...or sell it off to someone else who actually will. Unfortunately that means buy and holding the land for envriomental conservation won't hold up.
  • + 1
 Funny you ask that... activists have actually try to buy oil & gas leases on BLM land in the past to keep development from happening (Terry Tempest-Williams), but the BLM actually rejected her attempt saying that there's a stipulation that they can only be used for oil & gas. BS
  • + 0
 You can write the BLM here and comment on this specific proposal. The comment period closes on February 10th. They have to review all the comments so if you go to this link and comment your voice WILL BE HEARD.

eplanning.blm.gov/epl-front-office/eplanning/planAndProjectSite.do?methodName=dispatchToPatternPage&currentPageId=105719
  • + 8
 Over and over, environmental organizations keep making this argument:
"To give some perspective, there are literally, today, almost a million acres of public land in Utah that are already under lease for oil and gas development and which aren’t even being drilled. ...but in this specific case, when there’s so much land that’s already available for drilling, and yet so little of it is getting drilled, why do we need to add these specific parcels?"

They should stop; it damages their credibility. The reason many oil and gas leases are never drilled is that there is no oil or gas there. The buyer of the lease does not know in advance if oil and/or gas can be profitably extracted when they pay for the lease, so there will ALWAYS be a bunch of areas under lease that are not being drilled. Mr. Dunfee clearly knows this, since he says "They are probably looking for oil since there is not a natural gas pipeline close by. If they find only gas, they would need to build a pipeline to connect to a transport pipeline." And yet, later in the same interview, he makes the "lots not being drilled" argument as if he doesn't understand this. He knows that there is a decent chance that exploratory wells will find nothing of value and no development will happen beyond that.
  • + 10
 i trust the Sierra club about as high as I can bunny hop without clipless (not very high)
  • + 7
 Your doing it wrong
  • + 14
 @nojzilla: You're spelling it wrong.
  • + 3
 @spankthewan: damn auto correct
  • + 1
 Lol how does one bunnyhop higher clipped in?
  • + 6
 Of course we all want to keep those mountains intact. But we also want to use our cars and other transports fuelled by petrol.
We want that, but not in our houses doors. It is an ethical discussion hard to face... A good point is that this shouldn't happen so close of a national park, but money is money(in my opinion humans worst invention).
I know that by first hand, because where I live (IBIZA) had the same problem 3 years ago. The prospections could destroy our beaches and consequently our economy based on tourism. However they did them but fortunately there wasn't what they were looking for...
  • + 3
 "But we also want to use our cars and other transports fuelled by petrol."

Speak for yourself! I want to drive an electric car powered by the solar panels on my roof! Within a couple years solar will be cheaper than coal regardless of where you live or any incentives. Lets make that happen as soon as possible.
  • + 2
 @Sardine: that's a little hopeful...
  • + 3
 It's really funny how the mtb scene always shows how fun driving big trucks, travelling around the globe and having big meat and sausage BBQs are. Judging the destruction of the rampage sight is just so hypocritical.
  • + 2
 @Spindelatron: well f*ck me eh? Haha, that's actually pretty crazy. But that was a report on energy used to power homes and cities, not cars (from what I gathered, I'll admit I didn't read all 22 pages). The only problem I see with cars going fully electric is that most oil and gas companies will try their best to prevent it, so it may be a bumpier road than most people anticipate to reach that end goal. As well, oil will still ultimately be used in the making of the car, so you will never eliminate it. Although I see it becoming more prevalent in the future, I think it won't be until after we're all dead that everything becomes electrically powered.
  • + 5
 An oil & gas company leasing mineral rights is MUCH different than somebody buying the land outright. This place will not be "obliterated", as the author of the piece suggests. I would be surprised if the minerals even get leased, oil prices are very low right now and this is not exactly a great place to find oil or to develop it cost effectively.

FACT: as of today, the mountain biking industry has done much more damage to the wilderness in this small area of Utah than the oil and gas industry has. Think about that for a moment, and then relax.
  • + 6
 No kidding - how do all those Sierra Club greenies feel about a site full of erosion-promoting lines scraped into the cliffs, giant jumps and piled sandbag landings? How do their Prius' even make it up the access road?
  • + 5
 ha too bad after a few rain seasons all those trails would disappear if bikes stopped riding them. so think about that and relax.

What I'm saying is the effects of bike trails are cosmetic/reversible compared to the permanent damage from oil/gas/real-estate development.
  • + 3
 @jwerndenver, FACT: as of today, hikers and tourists have done far more damage to the wilderness in that small area of Utah than the mountain bike industry has, so again, think about that and relax.
  • + 5
 "FACT: as of today, the mountain biking industry has done much more damage to the wilderness in this small area of Utah than the oil and gas industry has."

You mean the small area of Utah wilderness that has no existing oil and gas drilling? Thanks captain obvious! How about overall damage across the globe of oil drilling vs all non-motorized activities combined? I'll even let you throw in horses!
  • + 5
 Here is the way I see it, based on current events, and the oil industry.

The land may be put up for sale, but:

A) will it sell?
B) will it EVER be used for oil?

A) Maybe but not likely for oil, see below...

B) Whole ball of chickens here, hang on for the ride!

So oil as you know it is not the asset it used to be at $52 a barrel right now as opposed to over $100 in the recent past. EROI (Energy Returned On Investment) is the ratio of money invested in getting the oil to market compared to money gained once the oil is sold.

In the 70's the EROI was about 1:200, or a dollar invested got you two hundred out. Currently we are at about 1:12 average, and shale oil is averaging about 1:3.

Over 50 North American oil companies have declared bankruptcy since early last year, and projections are for 65% of global oil companies to go bankrupt in the next two years.

So debate away gents and ladies, but methinks this beautiful Rampage site is safe!
  • + 0
 Then you have good old tar sands oil which may use as much energy to extract it as they get (eroei).
  • + 4
 @MX298: Well most oil sands operations typically lead anywhere from 3:1 to a 7:1 eroei depending on whether its a mine or in-situ operation. Close enough to 1:1, right? Good try though. Spent 16 months there and have yet to find any tar, lots of bitumen though! You should learn the difference Wink
  • + 2
 @MCsession7: a whole 16 months? I worked 22 years in the industry and can understand why it's referred to as tar by a laymen. Try not to be too hard on those not overly familiar with the industry terms.
  • + 1
 @Spindelatron: probably, although my expertise wasn't on the financial side. Either calculation I believe still doesn't take into full account the true cost of carbon sources as a fuel nor full subsidies. The government's ties to lobbyists make it very difficult to get accurate information and both equations rely on current legislation/regulation to determine part of those costs. But again, just my own opinion.
  • + 0
 @MCsession7: I do understand the difference, "tar" just a general term. Heavy and full of impurities to the point we can't run it , yea 20 years in the industry too. You are right as it's all about money, if it's cheep they will drill. I bet they don't though. And No one wants to live in fort McMurray ! ! ! ????
  • + 1
 @MX298: Cheap Oil does not exist anymore.
  • + 1
 @Bomadics: oil is cheaper now then it was a decade ago! It may be harder to get but drilling techniques are improving as well. Oil is NOT going away any time soon!
  • + 1
 @MX298: I never said Oil was going anywhere, but oil exploration is at an all time low because all the cheap oil is gone, there is plenty of oil left but it is all either deep water, in the Arctic, or shale. Oil is NOT cheaper than it was a decade ago, average price of a barrel of oil in 2006 was $58.

The oil industry is in trouble so unlikely to acquire new land when there are already discovered fields ready to be drilled, Also the abandoned well rate is going up fast, this from oil companies who can't even afford to properly decommissioned their wells, they just walk away. So obviously these wells would be restarted before new ones drilled.

What I was talking about was how much energy we get out of a barrel of oil once it gets delivered to market. Once you factor in all the costs, exploration, drilling,processing, transport, refining,insurance, loss etc.We are rapidly approaching the 50/50 mark where it costs one barrel of oil in energy to deliver one barrel of oil to market.

This is bring about net energy decline, it costs more do do ANYTHING now than it did 10 years ago even factoring in inflation. Oil companies are battling for survival, this Rampage site will never, and you can quote me on this, EVER be drilled for oil.
  • + 1
 @MX298: Above I meant comment that oil is so close in price to 10 years ago it is not cheaper because of net energy decline, so it is more expensive to get out of the ground at about the same barrel price.
  • + 5
 No one is ''oblitering'' anything. Show of hands who has actually been on an oil lease? [Me]. What about an active drilling site? [Me]. Frac site? [Me]. Pipeline? [Me]

Well-heads are located on a small area of level-ground called a pad. This isn't the 1800s. We utilize directional drilling. And with so many eyes on the oil and gas industry, I absolutely guarantee you there's been more ground-surface disturbance result of the Rampage events. The only thing that could change is access, and that's a much more specific concern that can be raised with other stakeholders.

Final thought - why does it matter this is located adjacent to a National Park? Are you saying the land and environment is worth less everywhere else?
  • + 5
 With all of this concern for the environment I sure hope that no one is buying new bikes or components, look how many amazing 2nd hand (reuse, recycle) bikes and equipment there is on just this website's buy/sell pages alone.

We are all guilty of wasting our natural resources.... no one gets to point fingers. Lets just agree to try and be as responsible as we can... considering thats all any of us can commit to.
  • + 4
 Opening this land to O&G sale doens't mean someone comes in with a bulldozer the next day and flattens the entire area...worse case some drilling happens and some of the area gets destroyed, but these guys make it sound like they nuke the area and its sterilized for life. With the finding and discovery costs required for a new find, and the shit oil price, don't be surprised if no one buys this and life carries on just fine
  • + 4
 It's hard to imagine that drilling would have a big effect on the existing trails. Flying Monkey is on the steep side of mesa where I can't imagine it would be remotely possible to build a oil derrick. There's already a road that goes to the top of the mesa so I doubt any road construction would impact the trail. The only possible issue would be if they close off access via the road but I really doubt they would do that. It's a similar story with the old Rampage site. My guess is they want to drill up on top of the mesa where it's just miles and miles of desert and pinion pines ... it's likely that mtn bikers would never even see a derrick. While I would prefer everything just be left alone, I think there's a good chance this would have little impact on the existing trails.
  • + 3
 when i just signed the petition 10 minutes ago i was the 419th signer.

www.addup.org/campaigns/blm-keep-historic-red-bull-rampage-venue-free-from-oil-gas-drilling

i'd be interested to check back soon to see how much of a spike the pb community adds to the count because of this article.
thanks vernon for the article and thank you Ryan Dunfee for the informative answers.
  • + 1
 I was only the 503rd. Long way from the 5000 goal...... Unless you're an unemployed oil man from southern Utah sign the petition ya bastards
  • + 1
 @dro-cfr: it was actually a 4,000 goal, but just now it is at 848 so at least it doubled ~
  • + 3
 Just based on the fact that the location is so close to a National Park, I definitely hope this doesn't come to fruition. I'm glad that people are working together and focusing on what we have in common instead of being hung up on our differences.
  • + 3
 Bulldoze it and sell the lease for future oil/gas drilling. It's not actual mountain biking that goes on there, it's a made for profit trick and stunt riding venue that 99.99% of actual mountain bikers cannot even relate with. (Full credit to the guys that can ride it) Let's be serious, RedBull Rampage is not real mountain biking so saying it's a mountain bike area is a farce.. Kill it.
  • + 3
 I'm trying to lower my footprint here, so limiting the sources of my footprint while also preserving a historic and beautiful mountain bike area sounds like a great idea to me. I ride a bike in the first place because I don't drive. I think if we just all stop having kids and eating beef we won't need to drill anymore. Reducing oil drilling would be a great incentive to use less, that's for sure!
  • + 1
 I agree, if we just stop having kids, there won't be anymore humans to use up the fossil fuels. Great point. But at the same time, some of us enjoy our kids, bikes, outdoors. So we are supposed to give up our lives our loves so that one generation can enjoy it and then no more humans? That is not realistic, time to come up with something that can actually be implemented.
  • - 1
 @dtimms: I think @Coldspringer is just highlighting the natural hypocrisy that occurs when parents care about the environment.
  • + 1
 @RichPune: I might be hyper-sensitive to this argument because I hear it a lot from environmentalist (I am a environmentalist too but hate that argument). And as much as it is true, that if there were no more humans the planet would be better from a pollution stand point, it isn't something that is going to happen (minus nuclear war). So I argue that let's put forward plans that we can actually get in place to make this a better world.

Sorry @Coldspringer if I jumped the gun a bit and didn't get your argument.
  • + 2
 Lol, my mexican friends(huge usa pop. Growth) have huge families and love their carne asada
Ur utopian dream aint gna happen...although yal are tyring by various means of increasing beef costs.
  • + 2
 @dtimms: without kids to grow up and pay taxes the economy will tank. I love carne asada too .
  • + 2
 @MX298: I totally agree! I dream of getting Social Security someday. Probably just a dream
  • + 2
 "The leases also include lands proposed for Wilderness designation"

^Really hope that doesn't include any mountain bike trails/areas.

Any mountain bike trails that were lost to Wilderness need to be re-opened to mountain bikes. And any future Wilderness areas where bike trails exist need to be grandfathered in.

Not saying bikes need to be allowed in every part of wilderness but Boulder-White Clouds is a perfect example of good mountain biking trails lost for BS reasons.

emmm, Give us our damn trails back and we'll talk, k?
  • + 2
 @SierraClubRyan: Re: "...wilderness-designated areas are a relatively small slice of the public lands pie and often far away from where people actually live." That applies to hikers and equestrians as well. Can you develop a coalition of people within the Sierra Club that will vocally support access for bicycling in Wilderness?
  • + 1
 I personally believe there's a place for energy exploration and resource "extraction" with BLM lands, but the cases must be examined and considered individually. That said, I also think the BLM planning processes (specifically version 2.0) are starting to veer in the right direction, and they're beginning to give a louder voice to recreationalists like us.

There's an even bigger issue at play than just the RedBull Rampage site that's not mentioned here... Congress is currently trying to roll back this new/updated planning process to make it even easier to drill on our lands. Take five minutes to write to your senator and tell them you want them to reject the Congressional Review Act, and to keep the new planning process in place so we can all enjoy our public BLM lands. Hell, this website makes it easy and even writes the letter for you.

secure.everyaction.com/14QBtieqrk6R6xVhpe5b-g2
  • + 5
 Its always pretty windy in Utah.. whack some wind turbines up instead
  • - 3
 Right, because a landscape full of tall wind turbines sticking out like a sore thumb looks so much better.
  • + 8
 @SlodownU: Well, yeah, it kind of does.
  • + 4
 @Jack-McLovin: Right then. A bunch of permanent wind turbines that require regular maintenance, need a road leading to each one, and are an unnatural part of the landscape look great. Ok. So instead of a couple of ugly, but temporary drilling platforms, we get permanent wind turbines. I have a better solution, how about leaving nothing there?
  • + 2
 @SlodownU: nothing there is probably the best solution for all in this situation. We'd sure love to see more wind turbines, but I don't think those below at the entrance of Zion either.
  • + 5
 Maybe we can figure out how to harness power from a smug sense of paternalistic arrogance - the Sierra Club seem to have lots of that...
  • + 1
 @SierraClubRyan: wind turbines are a fallacy and an unsustainable "solution" to our energy problem.
  • + 2
 At the end of they day I just f*cking love wind turbines so don't listen to me because I am bias. #FreeTheWindTurbine #TurbinesMatter
  • + 1
 One of the better options i can think of to protect it, is unless congress critters do listen and don't sell it, is if major bicycling, hiking, camping, and off-roading companies band together, and put an offer forward to keep oil and gas companies away from there, but one issue is though oil and gas companies have near bottomless bank balances, and have dozens of politicians in their pockets as well as their lobbyists.
  • + 1
 All associated resources should be poured into developing the technology & infrastructure towards the inevitable electric future where all necessary energy can be supplied by clean renewable methods. Internal combustion is like the derailleur, maybe a chosen stepping stone, but ultimately the wrong way. Like gearboxes, if it were not for the greedy & the corrupt the corporate establishment's refinement of the gearbox could've & would've began a long time ago as would the evolution of the EV & associated power storage technology.

It's not only not necessary to dump every single drop of grime & slime into our air, land & water, it's also not beneficial.
  • + 1
 I grew up in virgin riding all the Rampage site and surrounding trail networks. The idea of this happining is ridiculous. What Kinda world is this of we are willing to do this to such a beautiful part of the world! Makes no sense.. #rideordie
  • + 1
 We have an oil addiction that has no immediate remedy to come off from. I read alot books(, not fb or internet blogs) , and have always been intrested in our energy needs vs. enviroment. I would argue that even if some oil is found there, it will not be much and certinly not worth destroying that beautiful land for. It is a fact that in order to keep the world running as is, we need oil and natural gas. period. Oil does not replenish itself like magic. The worlds large oil reserves have passed peak output. Pretty soon all the good , cheap stuff will be gone and whats left will be harder to get at, and more expensive to refine, or not worth drilling for at all. All the major "alt forms of energy like windmill storage batts, hydrogen storage batts and Nuclear plants, all need oil to be made or maintained. Its a shame that we even have to consider drilling on such prestine land. I am in favor of saving this spot, as well as others, because it is a fact that all the major oil fields
have been already been discovered, and i dont want to see land lay waste for nothing.
  • + 2
 Where do you get this info? "World large oil reserves have past peak output" . . . . There is enough to oil in the world to run like this for decades and they have quit looking for oil as it is so plentiful and cheep now! The big problem is population and no one wants to talk about it ! ! !
  • + 2
 I want to make it clear, this isn't me.
  • + 1
 @MX298: are you out of your mind? If "they quit looking for oil..." why would this article even exist?
  • + 1
 A Texan field was recently found that makes the north dakota area look miniscule.
  • + 1
 @Apecush: it says "considering the sale of two oil and gas leases". Not drilling ! oil exploration is in a downturn globally. The oil field in Texas was found by USGS, not an oil company! So yes I am out of my mind to even comment on this!
  • + 1
 There are so many places in the US that can be used for oiling and extracting. I'm not saying to put the burden on other land besides Utah, I just want to say that there is always another way or option. The government is too money hungry as we know, and as riders, hikers, campers, whatever you are, we should stick beside each other and for our passions that this land supports us to participate in. We need to at least take a stand and be an annoyance in these company's ears. Sad to see this arise but I believe there is always a way to negotiate something between the two sides...
  • + 1
 Geez. When I lived in the Bay Area, the Berkeley Sierra Club was on a mission to eliminate mtn biking in the open space. They were convinced that mtn biking was the worst use on public land. When we pointed out that cattle grazing that was ok on some open space was much more damaging, their response was "but they are so pastoral". Glad to see, that at least some of them are brighter than the Berkleyans.
  • + 2
 cool, thats what the sierra club is saying about our bike park... they support cycling but don't support the permits to make it happen. Wanna save a tree? burry a sierra clubber.
  • + 1
 For all of the people who wrote pointless comments on here: you could have spent your time writing a comment to the BLM. Stop your bitching about the Sierra Club and arguing into your echo chamber and get writing those damn comments to the BLM.
  • + 4
 I will have to rethink everything I know if Mt. Biking has any influence over this decision.
  • + 0
 Vernon, I want to give you a BIG, FAT, I TOLD YOU SO!!!!!!!!!!!! Vernon is one of the main people pushing for adding mountain biking into Wilderness Areas. I've been saying all along that mountain bikers could lose more miles of trails because Republicans want to sell off Lands, than mountain bikers would gain through being able to ride in Wilderness Areas. Maybe you'll finally figure out how to work with the environmentalists and hikers instead of trying to take over their trails
  • + 4
 Actually, if we are going to get into the "I told you so" business, this is precisely what I have been writing about for years: the push by certain mainstream environmental organizations to exclude bikes has led to a point where many mountain bikers no longer support them. In short, they've fractured their potential support base, which leads us into a position like this in which environmental groups suddenly realize that many mountain bikers won't support their preservation efforts because those riders have been kicked to the curb for so long. Almost every article on Wilderness that I have ever written has touched on this issue. It has been my primary concern that the organizations who continue to advocate for our exclusion from Wilderness are effectively shooting themselves in the foot by reducing their constituency. I've written that at Bike, Adventure Journal and at Pinkbike. I've also made that a key point of the video "Gathering Storm" that I created while at Bike.

Let's be absolutely clear here: What is happening with the original Rampage site is a typical leasing arrangement on BLM lands. The BLM has always been in the business of selling energy leases on its property and this is one such case. It has absolutely nothing to do with mountain bikers advocating for their return to Wilderness areas. Arguing that it does is a complete red herring. You are essentially arguing that by advocating for our rights, we have somehow incurred the wrath of, well, I'm not sure who's wrath you think we've incurred here.

I've said all along that is easier to share trails than to fight to regain them. Your fundamental premise--that Wilderness trails somehow belong to hikers and not riders is blatantly false. It's a misreading of history and the facts. Mountain bikers are every bit the environmentalists as hikers and every bit as deserving to recreate on the public lands that they pay taxes to support. Your entire premise is off base. I am a mountain biker. I'm also a hiker, a hunter, a fisherman and an environmentalist.
  • + 2
 @vernonfelton: Well said... but it'll just go over the head of Todd McMahon (isawtman). He simply cannot accept facts and just showed he doesn't even understand what exactly is happening in Virgin, UT. It's a lease, not a sell-off Todd!
  • - 1
 @vernonfelton: Vernon, this is not a Red Herring. They will be coming for the Wilderness Areas next. If the extractors want those areas bad enough, anything can happen. My original premise is not that "Wilderness trails somehow belong to hikers." My original premise is that the original Wilderness Act bans mountain bikes from the get go. Interpreting it any other way is "a misreading of history and the facts."

Yes, mountain bikers pay taxes, etc. And they are free to enjoy Wilderness Areas in the appropriate way, just like everyone else. It's obvious that mountain biking is different than hiking, or even horseback riding. It's perfectly okay to have different rules for different activities. Again, mountain bikers are less than 3% of the population and Wilderness Areas are less than 3% of the Land Area in the lower 48 States. This issue isn't even worth the riff you've created with hikers and environmentalists. Vernon, you need to get your head out of your tail on this one.
  • + 1
 If trump lifts the sanctions on Russia , the Exxon ( CEO Rex Tillerson ) / Rosneft ( Putin ) arctic oil plan should go ahead then the Utah deal will hopefully be a dead duck ! BUT that would open up another can of worms !
  • + 1
 the 'comment' site on the BLM does not work ... at least for us in canada. my family has ventured here for decades to 'get away from it all'. this is a ridiculous proposition for the site's location.
  • + 0
 Let's set one thing straight. All those people saying it is hypocritical to frown upon selling this land for oil need to hear this.

Yes we all use energy and oil. This however does not mean e ery bit of land has to be emptied by some company. You know that crisis we had in the last fee years where companieswent broke and ten thousAnds of people lost their job? The reason for that is an oversupply of oil caused by the Americans who jumped on shale oil like pornstars on dicks.

This particular piece of land is sold for oil because some governmental body would like to receive a shit load of pecunia. Yes we all rely on oil. That definetely does not mean we should drills holes everywhere we can.
  • + 0
 it's dead... if RB doesnt buy the land it will be death. But thats how life works dont u think ? The amount of bikeparks on the planet was multiplied by what, 5 .. 15 , on these last 10 years ??? --> Tons of new opportunities are created where we can express our sport fully, we shouldnt focus too much on the oldschool things "disappearing" because it's how it supposed to be
  • + 2
 Different (though roughly related) issue. This is a typical leasing arrangement on BLM lands, whereas Chaffetz was pushing a bill through Congress that would green light the wholesale, permanent transfer of federal lands, which eventually would lead them to be owned by private companies. In this case, the BLM retains ownership of the land and simply sells what amounts to energy extraction rights (the lease) to companies who can explore the potential for oil and gas and then extract it upon finding it. In short, the BLM isn't selling the land, they are selling the right to tap energy from the land, which is part of what the BLM does (they manage their lands for both recreation and energy extraction). The answer to the first question gets at all this, but, yeah, federal land policy is a bit of a tangled web. As for the larger issue of what Chaffetz was aiming for with his bill--that is still very much an ongoing concern. Legislators have been trying to sell off federal lands for decades now. It began when Reagan was president and while Chaffetz pulling his bill is a good thing, the larger issue hasn't going away. We'll also be working on a story about that in the near future.
  • + 1
 I have a solution. Get rid of your fucking cars and ride your bike! That might just slow down our consumption of fossil fuel.
  • + 2
 The only history that concerns me is not repeating it. Some don't care as long as they make a profit.
  • + 1
 Not to mention.. the Saudis, a population rich in fossil fuels, just announced $50 billion or greater into renewables. It's time to think of a better way.
  • + 2
 Are they burning the victims of mass execution ?
  • + 2
 Put it up for sale on the Buy and Sell section, and I'll give you $100, an Xbox, an RC car, and an airsoft gun.
  • + 2
 so we should start a kickstarter, and raise money to buy it and keep the dream alive!!!!!!!!!!
  • - 1
 we should show up when the leasing day comes and bring our piggy banks to this place, win the lease and leave it as a memorial of the history thats been done there. FREERIDE SANCTUARY!!
  • + 2
 Curious what that newly protected trail near Lake Tahoe was?
  • + 1
 Good note on the MAG 7 entrance. When I rode there, I was bummed out. Must these companies take all the land?
  • + 1
 I must say! We're all sounding abit selfish, to our own requirements.
  • + 0
 Any other canadains not able to sign the patition? asks for zip and wont allow postal codes. Whats up with that?
  • + 1
 @amongtalltrees hey man! Sorry about that -- the vast majority of U.S. government officials will only accept input from folks who are within the country, even though clearly in this case there's international visitation to check out this area of the country.
  • + 1
 Politics aside, do the RIGHT damn thing and sign this damn thing!
  • + 1
 just sign the damn petition. It's not huge but it's something that helps
  • + 2
 go drill in lebanon.
  • + 1
 Will the oil and gas lease ban bikes from the area? It seems no.
  • + 2
 Sad!
  • + 0
 We must all stop Manbearpig.
  • + 0
 This is, literally, an article.
  • + 0
 As someone who owns a lot of stock in mining: dig baby dig!!
  • + 1
 Sign the petition!
  • + 0
 The Orange House won't let this happen.
  • + 0
 Yeah Dunfee!
  • + 0
 Drill baby drill!
  • + 2
 trump can go hell and back
  • - 3
 [deleted]
  • - 3
 Isn't this something Trump supports are for?
  • + 5
 How does this have anything to do with Trump? These leases have been going on for decades. Education is something you should be thinking about!
  • + 1
 Generally federalism(and thereby federalist) would want all land to be in control of the states, unless it's a national resource, military installation, etc. But most Trump supporters are not federalist/constitutional conservatives but rather more of a populist- nationalist philosophy.
  • - 1
 @MX298: I thought anti-environment, anti-EPA... was a trump thing. Maybe you like Scott Pruitt
  • - 2
 @MX298: Drill, baby, drill
  • + 1
 supporters* not Trump the people who have a similar mindset
  • - 2
 Regardless it's Trump's fault
  • - 2
 Merica greats place on earth avoid.
  • + 1
 We have two us air force bases where I live an I used to drink with some the forces guys. Great lads but they couldn't understand when I said hell no!! to visiting murica Wink
  • + 7
 You don't want to come here, we don't want you, at last we agree on something.
  • - 8
flag nojzilla (Feb 6, 2017 at 13:11) (Below Threshold)
 @SlodownU: great isolationist attitude
  • + 5
 @nojzilla: If you don't want to come here anyway, then why are you getting your panties up into a twist? All I hear from most of you is how shitty it is here and how shitty we Merican's are, yet you complain whenever there's a discussion about putting the wall up. You can't have it both ways.
  • + 2
 @nojzilla: are you referring to Brexit?
  • - 3
 @RichPune: yeah I give you that but remember only half the UK voted for it and most of those that voted to leave are dumb racist c*nts. At least were only the 2nd biggest joke on the planet........
  • + 3
 @nojzilla: All we care about is being #1. Apparently it doesn't matter if it's for better or worse!
  • + 4
 @SlodownU: I agree with you 100%. Stay home Merica sucks ! ! !
  • + 3
 @nojzilla:

Personally I don't take pride in the shitification of the USA. Not sure why anyone is proud of it. Lots of cool stuff, but some people are reaaaaally taking pride in the wrong things.
  • - 1
 @nojzilla: sorry mate but 17 million ain't have the uk ! Most people either thought we'd stay in so didn't bother or didn't have a clue what they were voting for !
  • + 1
 @nojzilla: please, stay home. Why visit places you cant pronounce or make fun of?
  • + 2
 @Matt115lamb: I meant half of the people that voted but, I read the biggest voter turnout ever..... Even though, 1.8% is NOT a majority!
@jrocksdh when I travel it'll be to Canadia or the Shire/Mordor
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