Letters of Support

Senate Bill S.3205, the “Human-Powered Travel in Wilderness Act.”


We need you to write your Senators and Representatives and ask them to support and co-sponsor Bill S.3205, the “Human-Powered Travel in Wilderness Act.” The Sustainable Trails Coalition has been successful in getting S. 3205 bill before congress and now we need to show support and get our congressional delegation to throw some weight behind it. This bill would put the decision making in the hands of local land managers on which trails if any are appropriate for mountain bikers to enjoy on their bikes. It would also allow land managers to use appropriate tools such as small-scale motorized equipment or method of mechanical transport (like chainsaws, wheelbarrows) to construct, improve or maintain trails and surroundings in accordance with the purpose of the act and the preservation of wilderness character.

For more information on the bill and background information on Sustainable Trails Coalition’s work on issue of mountain bikes in Wilderness, please visit the following links.

Senate Bill 3205 http://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/3205

Sustainable Trails Coalition Frequently Asked Questions. http://www.sustainabletrailscoalition.org/resources/#faq

We need you to personally and respectfully ask your senators to support and co-sponsor Bill S.3205. You can submit your comment and request right on their websites – see below.

Please let them know who you are and where you live. Ask them to support and co-sponsors Bill S.3205, and let them know why this issue is personally important to you. Some points you may wish to consider making in your own words are:
• You support Wilderness but believe that human-powered travel, such as mountain biking, is compatible and appropriate in some Wilderness areas.
• The impacts of mountain biking are the same as hiking and pose no threat to Wilderness.
• The US Forest Service’s 1984 ban on bicycles was a misinterpretation of the 1964 Wilderness Act, and between 1964 and 1984 bicycles were allowed in Wilderness. Banning bicycles is fundamentally unjust.
• You wish to be able to experience America’s backcountry on a bicycle, whether it’s in White Clouds Wilderness or Long Canyon in Idaho, or 100s of miles of current mountain biking trails banned in Montana, mountain biking trails in the proposed Pisgah National Forests Wilderness back east. Local USFS offices should determine what Wilderness areas and what trails are appropriate for bicycle use.
• Allowing mountain biking on some Wilderness lands will help connect more people to Wilderness and make it politically easier for the mountain bike community to support expanding Wilderness protections to other lands.
• This bill is narrowly worded and carefully crafted to only allow human-powered travel and permit the USFS to maintain the trails using small scale equipment, such as wheelbarrows and chainsaws. The bill does not threaten the protections offered by the Wilderness Act to prevent logging, mining, and motorized transportation. It is a very limited bill that would strengthen Wilderness, not undermine it.
• Allowing bikes on some Wilderness trails is historically, philosophically and politically justified. Excluding bikes from all Wilderness trails is not.

You can also refer to the Sustainable Trails Coalition’s sample comment letter.

Please send your comments to your Congressmen and Senators listed below:

Senator Mike Crapo: http://www.crapo.senate.gov/contact/contact.cfm
Senator James Risch: http://www.risch.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/email
Congressman Mike Simpson: http://simpson.house.gov/contact/ You will be asked to submit your zip code which will take you to the e-mail form.
Congressman Raul Labrador: https://labrador.house.gov/contact-me#dialog

And we’d like to thank New England Mountain Bike Association – which provided what we think was a well written documentation of the Sustainable Trails Association that we followed in the above write up.

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