So, what happens next? This is where mountain bikers could make a difference. True, the bill's chances could be better, but let's stop for a second: There's actually a bill in Congress right now. People have always said this would be impossible. That we should settle down, accept whatever bone is tossed our way and consider ourselves lucky. Thanks to the donations and support of mountain bikers this past year, there is now a bill in Congress that could change things. It's a small victory, but it's a victory all the same. That might be good enough for you or perhaps you don't mind being shut out of the Wilderness.
I'm not going to tell you how to feel about this--your opinions are yours and yours alone. If, however, you want access to some Wilderness areas, if you object to the way the Forest Service has been pre-emptively closing hundreds of miles of trails in states such as Montana, if you're tired of not being considered an equal when it comes to Wilderness access, you need to speak up in support of this bill. Now. Right now.
Forget the forums. It’s time for mountain bikers from the states to write their representatives in the Senate and House of Representatives and inform them that they object to the way the Forest Service and other agencies adopted anti-mountain bike policies in the 1980s. Tell your representatives that you are as much of an environmentalist as the guy with the hiking staff or the pack train. Tell them that you are tired of being shut out of Wilderness areas for no valid reason and with no recourse. If you're concerned that this bill could be co-opted and twisted into a Trojan horse for business interests, spell it out in your letter and demand that your representatives maintain the environmental protections afforded by the Wilderness Act. Make yourself heard.