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Wilderness Preservation from Bikes

Wilderness Preservation from Bikes
By Ariadne Unst and J. Zimmerman, Ph.D.

David Foreman's Modest Proposal.

The Spring 2003 issue of Wild Earth prints Dave Foreman's observations on the effects of mountain bikes on the trails and the land, and a proposal for an approach to appropriate wilderness use.

Ariadne's web agrees with his comments and supports his proposal.

Effect of mountain bike on the land.

Our experience has been similar to that of Dave Foreman, who writes:

Proposals by David Foreman.

We agree with the proposals by Dave Foreman. Here is the gist of the first four of his proposals:

  1. "Existing wilderness areas must remain completely closed to bicycles and other human-powered wheeled contraptions."
  2. "No amendments should be made to the Wilderness Act."
  3. "In legislation establishing new wilderness areas, certain trails currently in use by mountain bikers and where resource damage is minimal may be specifically designated as open to continued mountain bike use in very narrow corridors excluded from the wilderness, but closed to motorized vehicles and extractive use."
  4. "Enforcement against motorized trespass and self-policing by the mountain-bike community will be linked to continued access."

Where mountain bikes are appropriate.

Where trails are constructed in non-wilderness areas with the goal of being used by mountain bikers, and where the bikers help preserve and maintain the trails, then mountain bikers can enjoy the land in harmony.

Examples of appropriate bike trails are in some of the California Demonstration State Forests, where logging roads and trails have been adapted for use by mountain bikers.

Book Choice.

Wild Earth is published by the Wildlands Project. Contact them to purchase the Spring 2003 Wild Earth and see David Foreman's full text. This will let you see companion articles also, such as Jim Hasenauer's "A Niche for Bicycles."

Book Choice.

Related pages.