HCN: Stop trying to make biking in wilderness happen

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Don
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Re: HCN: Stop trying to make biking in wilderness happen

Post by Don » Fri Apr 01, 2016 1:05 pm

Larry-
I fall inline with Rand's view, at least in the context of western wildernesses. Few are as pedestrian as those we were on in the Hermosa Creek area (I don't think motorcycles and bicycles are permitted in designated wilderness areas), especially as one gets to higher elevations. The trails are more 'bedrocky'. I'm reminded of some letters to editor in the local Flagstaff AZ paper, where mountain bikers complained about the local hiking club's trail maintenance because they took out the obstacles (small fist-sized to loaf-of-bread-sized rocks, small boulders)...they craved the challenge.
I suspect I am entering the realm of personal choice, but I think that both the mountainbikers that seek the challenge of obstacles and high speed transit, and marathon distance runners of similar character, aren't "getting it", wilderness-wise. At the end of their trip, they just have this blurry, bouncy mind video of whatever was within the 20' tunnel of vision.
My trail maintenance days on the Kenai Fjords NP Exit Glacier Trail, were primarily due to marathon runners cutting straight down (and up, for that matter) through the switchbacks put in to keep the percent slope of the trail moderate (not so much for ease of walking, as for minimizing erosive overland flow of rainfall). It took many volunteers several seasons of carrying jute netting and many hours to stabilize the slopes denuded of vegetation by the extreme sports runners. While this isn't a common problem with mountain bikers, I agree with Rand that even light traffic in some soil types leads to dusty trails, and where moist soils are prevalent, wheeled conveyances are more erosive than the other transport means. Perhaps most significantly, wheels are prone to leave ruts, which can become channels for water to be further erosion of trail.
But I guess my biggest rant on mountain bikers has to do with attitude...so many are so into their rapid descent, that they presume they have the right of way, whether the "impediment" be horseback riders, backpackers, family's hiking.
Okay, I know, enough already...; ~ }
-Don
Rand wrote:Larry,

I've done a fair bit of mountain biking, and it is striking the amount of damage a bike can do to a steep and winding hiking trail versus a well graded dirt fire road like you find in Hermosa creek.

I'm a little puzzled by the burning desire to ride bikes in wilderness area. Don't most of these areas have plenty of adjacent Nation Forest Areas to ride in, if that is what you really want to do? I mean it -is- nice to ride in a beautiful area, but anyone insisting they take in as much scenery as one would hiking is a complete idiot. No, if you're on a bike you're there primarily to ride...at which point someone will come back with ease of access arguments. I find this argument pretty lame too, if an area is set aside as 'Wilderness', does this not imply that ease of human use is -last- on the priority list, and preservation is first? We've got plenty of National Park's in beautiful places where 'ease of access' rules the priority list.
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
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Rand
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Re: HCN: Stop trying to make biking in wilderness happen

Post by Rand » Fri Apr 01, 2016 10:29 pm

Don wrote:
My trail maintenance days on the Kenai Fjords NP Exit Glacier Trail, were primarily due to marathon runners cutting straight down (and up, for that matter) through the switchbacks
I'm kinda surprised by this. It's almost always kids/teenagers that I've seen doing this in the east. I figured that crowd would be more nature conscious.
While this isn't a common problem with mountain bikers, I agree with Rand that even light traffic in some soil types leads to dusty trails, and where moist soils are prevalent, wheeled conveyances are more erosive than the other transport means. Perhaps most significantly, wheels are prone to leave ruts, which can become channels for water to be further erosion of trail.
I think it is more that the knobby tired help break up soft(wet) soil, making it easier to wash away once it does rain. Ruts are just the extreme end of this affect, but you can still get damage from lots of knobby tired clawing their way uphill. The most intense damage I've seen is high traffic trails on steep terrain where all the grass/tree roots die. Then the ground really starts to break up as the 'trail is now a stream' affect turns it into a ravine.
But I guess my biggest rant on mountain bikers has to do with attitude...so many are so into their rapid descent, that they presume they have the right of way, whether the "impediment" be horseback riders, backpackers, family's hiking.
Okay, I know, enough already...; ~ }
-Don
Be sure it is a blast, to go downhill on a gnarly trail once you have enough skill, I just don't get the 'oppressed minority, gimme my equal rights' attitude. The impact is not equivalent to hikers, so you shouldn't expect access to every place your machine can plausibly go.

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PAwildernessadvocate
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Re: HCN: Stop trying to make biking in wilderness happen

Post by PAwildernessadvocate » Sat Apr 02, 2016 7:04 pm

Two good articles on this issue from the Spring 2003 edition of Wild Earth:

http://www.pawild.org/pdfs/dscottWEbikes303.pdf
Mountain Biking in Wilderness: Some History
by Douglas W. Scott
The Wilderness Act's prohibition of any "other form of mechanical transport" was deliberately written as a broad categorical exclusion intended to prohibit any form of mechanical transport, precisely to guard against the later invention of new technologies -- like the mountain bike.
http://www.pawild.org/pdfs/OdonnellCarrollWE.pdf
Mountain Biking in Wilderness: Don't Tread Here
by Brian O'Donnell and Michael Carroll
We need to keep in mind what the Wilderness Act says. In its definition of wilderness, the act refers to protecting the "earth and its community of life" and "outstanding opportunities for solitude" before mentioning the word "recreation." Further, it refers to "primitive recreation," not just "recreation." This is no accident or oversight, but the very heart of the Wilderness Act….Mountain bikes are simply incompatible with designated wilderness.
"There is no better way to save biodiversity than by preserving habitat, and no better habitat, species for species, than wilderness." --Edward O. Wilson

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PAwildernessadvocate
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Re: HCN: Stop trying to make biking in wilderness happen

Post by PAwildernessadvocate » Tue Apr 05, 2016 7:45 am

Please Vote “NO” on Allowing Machines in Wilderness Today!

http://www.denverpost.com/opinionpolls

Please vote “NO” today in this Denver Post poll asking if the Wilderness Act of 1964 should be fundamentally altered and contravened by suddenly here now in 2016 allowing bicycles (machines/mechanization) in designated wilderness areas!

VOTE HERE: http://www.denverpost.com/opinionpolls


Also, for a good review of this issue, please read this article by renowned wilderness historian Doug Scott from the Spring 2003 edition of Wild Earth magazine:

http://www.pawild.org/pdfs/dscottWEbikes303.pdf
Mountain Biking in Wilderness: Some History
by Douglas W. Scott

"The Wilderness Act’s prohibition of any 'other form of mechanical transport' was deliberately written as a broad categorical exclusion intended to prohibit any form of mechanical transport, precisely to guard against the later invention of new technologies — like the mountain bike."

http://www.denverpost.com/opinionpolls

Thank you!



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Joe

Re: HCN: Stop trying to make biking in wilderness happen

Post by Joe » Tue Apr 05, 2016 8:12 am

One of the nice features of keeping bikes and all other vehicles out of wilderness areas is that it will keep the number of humans to a minimum because few humans actually like to walk long distances. Then, it should be played up- as to how these areas are crawling with snakes and hungry bears- that'll keep the numbers even lower. (ha, ha)
Joe

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