February 23rd, 2005 10:49 PM
Critical action alert re: CA Wilderness bill
PLEASE MAKE A COUPLE PHONE CALLS TODAY... It's important to get your input in the final hours before we lose 170 MILES of trails to Wilderness. This bill is extremely bad for mountain biking as written, but can be adjusted to both protect the land and preserve bike access. The chair of the committee is committed to public input so your opinion can make a difference!
Action Alert: California Wilderness Bill Moving Forward
-- Phone calls to U.S. House urged.
Mountain bikers nationwide are urged to ask their U.S Representative and Congressman Richard Pombo (R-CA), the chairman of the House Resources Committee, to delay action on the Northern California Wilderness bill until suitable compromises are reached to accommodate mountain biking.
The Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act (S.128/H.R.
233) would designate more than 300,000 acres as Wilderness and ban mountain biking from 170 miles of singletrack trails.
Last week a U.S. Senate committee voted unanimously to move the bill to the Senate floor for full consideration. It is expected to pass the Senate this week. Next the bill goes to the House Resources Committee for consideration and finally to the U.S. House floor.
Thousands of mountain bikers rallied last week to call the Senate urging legislators to consider alternative land designations that protect natural areas while preserving bicycle access. Thank you! Now is the time to call again.
House Resource Committee Chairman Richard Pombo places a high priority on public input. His committee has jurisdiction over all federal Wilderness legislation and your call is important to raise awareness of this challenging issue.
IMBA believes mountain biking is low-impact, muscle-powered recreation and is an appropriate use of trails on public lands and is consistent with the values of Wilderness land protection which includes recreation in natural landscapes.
IMBA remains firmly dedicated to land conservation and believes that Wilderness designation is just one of many tools that may be employed to protect wild places. When proposed Wilderness Areas include significant mountain biking opportunities, IMBA proposes alternative land designations that protect natural areas while preserving bicycle access.
IMBA supports protecting all lands in the bill, but for one-quarter of the areas under consideration, Congress should use protection measures other than Wilderness or adjust boundaries to accommodate bicycling.
* Please delay action on H.R. 233, Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act, until suitable compromises are reached to accommodate mountain biking. The bill sponsored by Rep. Michael Thompson (D-CA).
* This bill would close more than 170 miles of singletrack trails to bicycling. View a complete list of threatened trails: http://www.imba.com/news/action_aler...b_miles_lost.h
* IMBA supports protecting all the lands in the bill, but for one-quarter of the areas under consideration, Congress should consider alternative land designations that protect natural areas while preserving bicycle access.
* Strong environmental protection and mountain biking can co-exist. Wilderness is not the only way to protect public lands. Why must land protection often mean eliminating bicycling opportunities?
* Mountain biking started in California and is a popular sport - 5.2 million Californians participated last year (Outdoor Industry Association).
* Mountain biking brings significant revenue to the state's economy through bicycle related industry, tourism, bike shops, touring companies and more.
* Mountain biking is low-impact, muscle-powered recreation and is an appropriate use of trails on public lands. IMBA members highly value land conservation, clean water and clean air.
* IMBA supports new Wilderness designations where they don't close singletrack bicycling opportunities.
* Bicyclists simply want to continue to ride on trails that have been open to them for years.
* Recreation science indicates that mounatin bikers affect natural resources no more than hikers or horses - two user groups allowed on Wilderness trails.
Critical Action Steps:
1. Call Congressman Richard Pombo (R-CA) at the House Resources Committee regardless of if you live in his district. 202-225-2761
2. Call your U.S. representative using the Capitol switchboard 202-224-3121. To learn the name of your representative or their direct phone number go to http://www.congress.org.
3. Politely tell them you are calling in regards to H.R. 233 (Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act) and use the talking points listed above. The status of the bill is that it will soon be heard by the House Resources Committee. If the bill is passed out of committee, all members of the House will vote on the bill.
4. Please provide your name and address so your input is recorded.
5. If you would rather fax a letter, call your representative's office to get the proper fax number and staff member assigned to the bill. Email comments are not recommended on such short notice.
Read IMBA's Strategy for Wilderness and Mountain Biking http://www.imba.com/news/news_releas...ilderness.html
Join the discussion in the Save the Trails forum: http://forums.mtbr.com/forumdisplay.php?f=57
Maps of Proposed California Wilderness http://www.imba.com/news/action_aler...ness/maps.html
Attend IMBA's 24 Hours of D.C. - April 6-7 http://www.imba.com/news/news_releas.../01_06_dc.html
Examples of conservation projects where mountain
bicyclists have been a part: http://www.imba.com/resources/conservation/actions.html
A summary of scientific studies that compare mountain biking to other forms of trail recreation: http://www.imba.com/resources/scienc...t_summary.html
In Virginia, mountain biking leaders recently negotiated a compromise on a Wilderness proposal that protects lands and preserves bicycle access in the Jefferson National Forest by using a National Scenic Area designation. http://www.imba.com/news/news_releas...ilderness.html
Donate to support IMBA's work for mountain biking: http://stores.yahoo.com/imba/imbaannualfund.html
Not a member? Join IMBA today at http://www.imba.com.