Thursday, August 25, 2016
We need you to contact the two Senators in your state and ask them to support and co-sponsor Bill S.3205, the “Human-Powered Travel in Wilderness Areas Act.”
The Sustainable Trails Coalition has been successful in getting Bill S.3205 brought before the US Congress that could allow mountain biking in Wilderness Areas on a case by case basis. If it passes, it will be a huge victory for mountain biking and will right a wrong that has existed since 1984 when the US Forest Service (USFS) unjustly banned bicycles from Wilderness.
The Human-Powered Travel in Wilderness Areas Act will allow local USFS offices to determine which trails, if any, would be appropriate for mountain biking. It would also allow USFS staff to perform basic trail maintenance using wheelbarrows and small-scale power equipment that was also inappropriately prohibited.
You can read Bill S.3205 and get additional background from the Sustainable Trails Coalition’s website by clicking on the links below:
We need you to personally ask your senators to support and co-sponsor Bill S.3205. You can submit your comment and request right on their websites.
Please let them know who are and where you live. Ask them to support and co-sponsors Bill S.3205, and convey why this issues is personally important to you. Some points you might 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 the White Mountains, the Green Mountains or out west. 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.
Please send your comments to the two senators in your state:
Senator Chris Murphy: https://www.murphy.senate.gov/contact
Senator Richard Blumenthal: https://www.blumenthal.senate.gov/contact/
Senator Susan Collins: https://www.collins.senate.gov/contact
Senator Agnus King: https://www.king.senate.gov/contact
Senator Elizabeth Warren: https://www.warren.senate.gov/?p=email_senator
Senator Ed Markey: https://www.markey.senate.gov/contact
Senator Kelly Ayotte: https://www.ayotte.senate.gov/?p=contact
Senator Jeanne Shaheen: https://www.shaheen.senate.gov/contact
Senator Bob Menendez: https://www.menendez.senate.gov/contact
Senator Cory Booker: https://www.booker.senate.gov/?p=contact
Senator Chuck Schumer: https://www.schumer.senate.gov/contact/email-chuck
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: https://www.gillibrand.senate.gov/contact/
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse: https://www.whitehouse.senate.gov/contact/email-sheldon
Senator Jack Reed: https://www.reed.senate.gov/contact/email
Senator Patrick Leahy: https://www.leahy.senate.gov/contact
Senator Bernie Sanders: https://www.sanders.senate.gov/contact/comment
All Other States, click here
We are told that right now is a very good time to submit comments since the Senators are on break and are spending more time listening to constituents from their state. Please act now and make your voice heard.
Click on this link to read NEMBA’s Letter to Senator Elizabeth Warren
PS: If you’d like to learn more about the Wilderness issue and this bill, here are a few articles we recommend.
- No, Mountain bikes won't destroy our Wilderness Trails. Men's Journal.
- Banned in the USA: Part 1, Pinkbike, March 18, 2016
- Banned in the USA: Part 2, Pinkbike, March 28, 2016
- Responses to the 10 Most Common Arguments Against Allowing Mountain Bikes in Wilderness, Singletracks, February 15, 2016
- 96% of Mountain Bikers Think Wilderness Should be Open to Bikes, Singletracks, February 17, 2016
- Mountain Bike Recreation and Designated Wilderness: A Case for Reconsideration. National Trails Training Partnership. March 18, 2007
- By Law, Mountain Bikes in Wilderness. February 15, 2005