The Sustainable Trails Coalition applauds House Federal Lands Subcommittee Chairman Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) for introducing legislation to let federal land managers regulate bicycle use on Wilderness trails. Details of the bill can be found at https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1349
The bill, H.R. 1349, puts mountain bikers on the same footing as campers, hikers, hunters, and equestrians by restoring federal agency authority to set conditions on cyclists’ use of trails in Wilderness.
Congress intended to allow human-powered travel in Wilderness when it passed the Wilderness Act in 1964, and for years afterward bicycling was allowed. In 1984, with minimal public input, the Forest Service overturned a good regulation, in effect from 1981–84, that allowed locally based federal employees to decide where bicycles could be ridden in Wilderness areas, replacing it with a nationwide blanket ban. Other agencies followed.
Representative McClintock’s legislation directs federal agencies to manage Wilderness as Congress originally intended and end blanket bans on “bicycles, wheelchairs, strollers, and game carts within any wilderness area.”
“Congressman McClintock’s bill will give mountain bikers long-overdue relief from agency misunderstandings,” said STC board member Ted Stroll.
“It’s important to understand that reversing the ban is not an open permit,” explained STC board member Jackson Ratcliffe. “Land management agencies already have the authority to regulate campsite locations, hunting, and where horses are allowed, or not. This legislation will simply return decision-making back to local authorities.”
STC’s base of thousands of mountain bikers will vigorously support Congressman McClintock’s bill.
STC was founded in 2015 to reverse outdated and counterproductive blanket bicycle bans in Wilderness, Recommended Wilderness, and Wilderness Study Areas, on the Pacific Crest Trail, and on parts of the Continental Divide Trail.
For comment from Congressman McClintock’s office, please contact the Congressman's Office, http://mcclintock.house.gov/contact.