Action Alert: Ask Your Senators to Support Bill S.3205

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.
You can also refer to the Sustainable Trails Coalition’s sample comment letter.
Please send your comments to the two senators in your state:
Senator Chris Murphy:
Senator Richard Blumenthal:
Senator Susan Collins:
Senator Agnus King:
Senator Elizabeth Warren:
Senator Ed Markey:
New Hampshire:
Senator Kelly Ayotte:
Senator Jeanne Shaheen:

New Jersey:
Senator Bob Menendez:
Senator Cory Booker:

New York:
Senator Chuck Schumer:
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand:

Rhode Island:
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse:
Senator Jack Reed:
Senator Patrick Leahy:
Senator Bernie Sanders:

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

Thank you,
Philip Keyes
Executive Director

PS: If you’d like to learn more about the Wilderness issue and this bill, here are a few articles we recommend.