In a recent editorial in the Jackson Hole Guide, Luther Propst of Jackson asserts that conservationists needed to keep in mind that many public lands recreationalists have a common interest in protecting the land. (see Propts piece here http://www.jhnewsandguide.com/opinion/guest_shot/fun-hogs-and-the-future-of-conservation/article_f98a41a3-6dd0-5915-b166-fe0a5b898138.html) Recreationists like mountain biking proponents could be allies in efforts to protect wildlands as designated wilderness for instance. Propst’s suggests that what he characterizes as “fun hogs” need to be cultivated because they could be converted into environmental activists.

While there is no doubt advantages to trying to make allies, one has to keep in mind what the prime purpose, goals and ethical reasons for designating various land classifications. We work to set aside wildlife refuges, wilderness areas, parks, and other “special designations” because we are trying to protect certain values not found or normally protected under more general use public lands classifications.

For instance, in wilderness, we seek to protect and preserve “self-willed” lands that are minimally influenced by human activities. That is, for example, why we do not permit logging in wilderness. But there is also a philosophical component to wildland protection. It is recognition of the value of self-restraint. Activities that we might accept in other settings we don’t accept in wildlands. Wilderness and park designation is the closest thing our society and culture has to “sacred lands”.

As with anything sacred, we sanction some activities, but recognize that not all things are appropriate. Most people know of the story of Jesus chasing the money chargers from the Temple because he considered it blasphemy to conduct commercial businesses in a sacred place.

That is, in a sense, a metaphor for our wild lands. At least some wilderness supporters feel our parks and wilderness areas should be treated as sacred places. And one protects these places not to preserve an outdoor gymnasium for adrenaline rushes, but to preserve the opportunity of encountering the sacred in a gentle, respectful manner.

I do not wish to suggest that one shouldn’t have fun in the outdoors—I agree there is no healthier place to have pleasurable experiences. But we should not treat these lands as amusement parks. If the main reason anyone supports or opposes wildlands protection is based on whether they can do their particular amusement, it jeopardizes the value of these lands as sacred places.

The irony of Propst’s statements is that in many places today the threat to wildlands comes from individuals who put “fun” ahead of what is best for the land, and the preservation of what some call “wildness.” Increasingly I view recreationalists as much of a threat to our special public lands as the old “extractive” industries.

For instance, Propst specifically referred to Idaho’s Boulder White Cloud (BWC) wilderness proposal as a good example of how conflicting recreational pursuits could be accommodated and wilderness supporters could garner allies if they only accept and accommodate conflicting uses like mountain biking. The BWC is the largest unprotected roadless area left in the lower 48 states. As such, it has real value as a continuous and intact unit. But due to mountain biker opposition, and the “compromise” proposal that has been reached, the once continuous roadless area may soon be officially fragmented into four or five pieces to permit mountain bike access to high alpine basins and lakes or to utilize trails that create “loops”.

If mountain bikers were truly interested in protecting the wilderness values of the area, they would be supporting the whole intact landscape, not some fragmented version of it.

Propst sees the BWC as a good compromise because it reduced the opposition of mountain bikers to the proposal. And the remaining landscape may get some added protection as wilderness or perhaps a national monument. That is a definitely a valid point.

However, it doesn’t take much to extend that argument and suggest that snowmobiles, , ATVs, jet skis, airplanes, and other mechanical access should also be accommodated as well. I am not trying to set up a strawman here. Technology, speed, and the mind-set behind the activity, change one’s relationship to the land and experience. By accommodating every recreational pursuit as a way of “broadening the conservation tent,” will we end up destroying Wilderness in order to save it?

In many places like the Boulder White Clouds, the Dunior area near Dubois, Wyoming, the Gallatin Range by Bozeman, Montana and many other proposed wilderness areas around the West, the growing threat is from “fun hogs’ themselves, not from mining, oil and gas development or logging.

Mountain bikes, for instance, provide a disproportional impact due to mechanical advantage that allows the cyclist to cover much greater distances, thus amplifying any disturbance effects. Sensitive wildlife can be displaced by human presence, resulting in a net loss of habitat simply because the animals don’t use it anymore. Or they can become socialized to humans and also suffer mortality–for instance, grizzly bears that show no fear of people because they have become habituated are more likely to be killed either by cars, hunters or just because they are “too friendly.”

One hears that mountain bikers appreciate wilderness and wildlands as much as others. Yet we do not see supporting behavior. If mountain bikers were really concerned about protecting wildlands, they would be staunch wilderness advocates. It seems that the only time mountain bikers as a collective group appear to support wilderness is when the majority of trails they like to ride are excluded from the proposal—as was done in the BWC. Yet Such a compromise severely degrades the whole. Parks, Wilderness and Wilderness Study Areas, and other special designations signal that these places are unique, rare gems that should not be treated like other lands.

There are plenty of places to ride a mountain bike or engage in other fun hog adrenaline junkie pursuits that are outside of our few remaining proposed wilderness areas., We should be trying to maximize the amount of land given sacred status, not degrading or minimizing that quality. jhnewsandguide.com

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About The Author

George Wuerthner

George Wuerthner is an ecologist and former hunting guide with a degree in wildlife biology

86 Responses to Mountain Bikers as Wilderness Advocates? No evidence so far.

  1. avatar Michael says:

    something something something mechanical advantage says the hunter with a gun. Do you appreciate the trophies you kill? Are they beautiful animals mounted on your wall? I would suggest to you that mountain bikers are much better wilderness advocates than hunters. We appreciate the landscape the animals the natural surroundings. We don’t scare the animals nearly as much as you do.
    I ride to have fun and make turns and twists I also climb too for the trills too but you won’t ban climbers and their ropes and their cross country access trails? We all appreciate in different ways and ours is just as valid as yours. You just don’t see us as advocates because we don’t want to be associated with the hunters, “hikers and horses only” crowd like you. I am a wilderness advocate but blogs like this prevent me from joining your team.

    • avatar rork says:

      Surely mountain bikers have generated millions of dollars to purchase land for their recreation, seeing as they are such wilderness advocates. How much is the tax you managed to get congress to levy on your gear? Where are the acres you have bought? (At the bottom of the barrel I see you found climbers and horses, who from me at least, get the same respect as you do. I’ll throw in guides for good measure.)

      • avatar topher says:

        “How much is the tax you managed to get congress to levy on your gear? Where are the acres you have bought?”
        I thought this topic had been beat to death but you make a good point I hadn’t considered till now.

  2. avatar Ralph Maughan says:

    The last time George Wuerthner posted an article about mountain bikes and wilderness, I did pay attention to the mountain biking spokesman who implied that they would be good advocates for wilderness designation if only they were let into the Wilderness system.

    Perhaps this should be considered. Then, he made it clear, I thought, that he doubted their positive involvement would make little difference into securing more designated Wilderness.

    So then, on the ground, organizations of the mountains bikers were little different from oil and timber companies — their major effect was to prevent Wilderness designation.

  3. avatar topher says:

    “the mountain biking spokesman”
    They all seem to be speaking loudly for the mechanized crowd and nobody else. The good old vocal minority.

  4. avatar Deborah says:

    Thank you, once again, George, for speaking the Truth about the mountain biking cult. It is always all about “their” trails, and not much else.

  5. avatar Oliver Starr says:

    George, as a lifelong conservationist first, a resident in places where mountain biking is a primary form of recreation second, and finally as a former professional mountain biker, I couldn’t agree with you more.

    In spite of the fact that they aren’t motorized, bikes are far more damaging than snowmobiles.

    Further, I have yet to see even a single mountain biker ride in a way that doesn’t significantly degrade the environment.

    Mountain bikes aren’t quite as bad as motorcycles but they’re not far behind in terms of the way they tear up the ground. The new bikes with beefy suspension make much terrain that would be inaccessible to few, more accessible to many.

    No mountain biker can resist exercising the limits of their skills on beautiful trails. The result is rutted, torn up and consistently degraded terrain. And don’t even get me started about what happens when the ground that they ride on is wet.

    I have also seen little restraint with respect to keeping ON the designated trails. If there’s a more extreme route pioneered by one, that track soon bocomes a trail and then a permanent scar.

    In my backyard poaching of closed trails is rampant and there’s zero enforcement. Even when it’s posted and trails are covered over, people simply ride across the unbroken earth to avoid the obstacles. The short-cut hairpins, slide around corners and in general exhibit little awareness of what’s really around them.

    Worse, many feel empowered to simply disregard the rules. I have run into the two coaches of one of the top high school mountain biking teams in the country, riding together, with three unleashed dogs on a trail that is posted as illegal for both bikes and unleashed dogs.

    Not only are they brazen in their disregard of the rules, but overtly hostile when gently corrected.

    If this is the example high school coaches that live in a rural community are providing, I think as a whole this community is far too immature to be gifted with access to such a precious resource when they have so far shown complete disregard for it where access has been granted or even legally withheld.

  6. avatar Ida Lupines says:

    Increasingly I view recreationalists as much of a threat to our special public lands as the old “extractive” industries.

    So do I, because it is too self oriented, all taking and no giving back in any meaningful way, and too much of a sense of entitlement.

  7. avatar tom bradley says:

    As a mountain biker since the early 1980s, I totally agree with the author. What use to be a way to see more of our beautiful forests has become a sport for adrenaline junkies with little understanding of their impact on an already strained ecosystem. I felt that opening our ski areas to mtn bikes might limit the impacts elsewhere, however I’m concerned that trashing these ski area trails has only made mtn bikers more likely to abuse the non-ski area trails. Its time for cyclists to wake up and see what just 30 years of impact have done to our forests.

    • You are one in a million! Most mountain bikers are still claiming that the Emperor is wearing clothes, when it’s obvious to everyone else that he is buck naked!

  8. avatar steve says:

    I live on the edge of one or the largest wilderness areas, the Selway- Bitterroot. When they created this wilderness, some compromises were made. Namely ag. related. There are easily more than 20 Alpine Lakes which have Manmade Dam’s on them. Numerous Fire lookouts,also manmade structures. And the best of all, an Airstrip in the middle of the wilderness! When the dam’s need repair they are able to fly Helecopters in with the materials!
    My point is to realize this area as a wilderness, the parties involved had to engage with the locals and throw them a bone to get the job done.
    Myopic determination does nobody any good in the long term. Better to come to the table willing to compromise, and get something, than walk away empty handed.Each party involved has convictions, who’s to say one has more value than the others.

    • Easy!: science tells us the best way to manage wilderness: either stay out altogether, or permit only minimal-impact recreation: walking. Mountain biking doesn’t meet that standard. Politics is irrelevant to the wildlife. Mountain bikers are only interested in their own selfish pleasures, at the expense of wildlife and all other wilderness visitors. Banning bikes is the only way to eliminate user conflict.

    • avatar Ed Loosli says:

      These “Wilderness Study Areas” are defacto Wilderness Areas and should not be compromised by fake Wilderness proposals like those allowing mountain biking to divide the currently protected Wilderness Study Areas.

  9. avatar Scott MacButch says:

    To be realistic, mountain bikers and dirt bikers have been riding the “B to B” (Big Boulder to Little Boulder) for decades, and it would be very hard indeed for me to visualize the complete banning of them on this trail – just isn’t going to happen. On the other hand I saw no evidence of them busting the rules and riding up the Big Boulder chain trail when I spent a week backpacking up there last August – it would seem they respect that closure.

    • Tell the truth! Banning bikes doesn’t ban mountain bikers. This is the mountain bikers’ favorite lie. They only PRETEND not to be capable of walking….

  10. avatar Roberto says:

    George the eco fundamentalist goes at it again. George is a wildernut, whose new age faith is Wilderness. So, there’s no arguing with George. Rational arguments will be lost on him. Plus, George, like all fundamentalists, is not interested in listening or debating. He just wants to keep spewing more hatred.

    Of course, if George was a reasonable and smart person, he would see how working with cyclists would help his cause. As a fundamentalist, he can’t, it’s all about him, him, him and what he wants.

    • Sorry, this isn’t about George. Millions of people who love nature agree with him, which is why we have the Wilderness Act. Mountain bikers don’t care about nature OR other people. They just want to have the freedom to trash any area of the world in order to get their cheap thrills. They are the most selfish people imaginable.

    • avatar Jay says:

      Are you a “gnar seeker” Roberto? You like to shred and huck?

      • avatar Roberto says:

        No, I just ride in the woods in my buddies.

        Now, let’s see if this comment makes it through George’s censorhip.

        • avatar Ed Loosli says:

          Roberto: No one is saying that you shouldn’t be able to “ride in the woods” or walk for that matter. What is against the law is riding bikes (with or without motors) in a designated WILDERNESS AREA. There are many millions of acres of non-Wilderness public and private land open to you and your bike. Enjoy.

          • Correction: there are millions of miles of PAVED ROADS where mountain bikers can ride — just like everyone else. There is no good reason to allow bikes off-road. They are extremely destructive, and their presence denies the majority of citizens from the safe and rightful use of their public lands.

            • avatar Ed Loosli says:

              Mike Vandeman: Out of curiosity to me and other readers, what was the outcome of the California trial in 2011??

          • avatar Roberto says:

            Wilderness is 50m acres in the lower 48 and growing. The current regulation is not what Congress intended (indeed bikes were legal in Wilderness until 1984 or 86), and is simply the result of an inane interpretation by the USFS. The regulation will be overturned someday, and bikes will be legally reinstated in Wilderness, along with other modes of human powered activities.

            Don’t be surprised when it happens. Meanwhile, people ride all over Wilderness due to the sheer size of it, and the very few rangers patrolling it.

            • avatar Ed Loosli says:

              Only 5% of the United States is protected as official Wilderness — bicycle riders have 95% of the rest of the U.S. to ride on. If you ride a bike in Wilderness, I hope you get arrested by a ranger or under a citizens arrest. If your bike is confiscated, so be it.

              • avatar topher says:

                Can’t imagine wearing a broken bike like an albatross would be much fun.

              • avatar Roberto says:

                The 95% number is misleading and disingenuous at best. Less than 25% of the lower 48 is open public land. So Wilderness is a very large portion of what can be accessed by John Q. Public. Between National Parks, Wilderness, land with Wilderness potential, bikes are banned from a very large portion of available public lands.

                So, Ed, when the Wilderness ban is overturned, what will you do? You don’t realize it but the day will come.

                Topher, is this a physical threat? I thought that Wilderness lovers were peaceful people. So much for that theory!

                All this boils down to one thing: a minority uses the USFS regulatory ban on cycling as a cover so that they don’t have share wonderful landscapes and trails with others. It’s a shame.

                Now, smart Wilderness lovers should work with cyclists to overturn the ban, so that they gain a new supporter of Wilderness. Of course, fundamentalists like George are incapable of seeing the bigger picture and are hyper focused on keeping trails to themselves.

                Meanwhile, people keep riding their bikes.

              • avatar Jay says:

                Well Roberto, you’re certainly endearing yourself to those on the fence. I’m sure they appreciate the figurative middle finger you’re thrusting in their face regarding illegal wilderness intrusion.

              • Nonsense! Are you saying that mountain bikers are incapable of WALKING? That is false. Being able to walk is a prerequisite to mountain biking, otherwise you could get stranded in the back country by a mechanical failure. Mountain bikers have access to 100% of Wilderness already: on foot! But they don’t want you to know that.

            • avatar Jay says:

              And you wonder why people can’t stand mountain bikers.

              • avatar topher says:

                Not a threat. Just a passing thought. I’m probably not the typical wilderness lover and not very representative of most wilderness advocates that I have met. To say that a smart wilderness lover should work to overturn current wilderness protections is ridiculous.

              • avatar Roberto says:

                Jay,

                No need to project your hatred on others. Most people could not care less whether one bikes in Wilderness or not. Only a minority of wildernuts do. And those wildernuts would not change opinions whether one rides in Wilderness or not anyhow. So, it really has no impact.

                Topher,

                Banning bikes from Wilderness has nothing to do with protection. It’s a human powered mode of transport that has an impact similar to hiking and vastly less than horse riding. The current ban is inane, and only serves a minority to use public lands as their own private trails.

                BTW, it’s pretty funny to see you backtrack on your threats after being called on it!

                Again, you should enjoy the ban while you have it. It won’t last forever. Not everybody is a zealot, and most reasonable folks don’t understand it. So, it will get overturned. It’s just a matter of time.

                Again, if you were honest, you would support biking in Wilderness in order to get more. The biggest obstacle to Wilderness today is mountain biking. Every time a new Wilderness area is proposed, cyclists rally to oppose it. Of course, that would require sharing, and clearly this is nobody’s forte here.

                As for MVD, see you on SIDOH.

                • Thanks for demonstrating exactly why so many people hate mountain bikers. They actually seem to relish the hatred, or they would do something to lessen it. Like, for instance, obey the law. Or tell the truth, for once in your life.

            • Mountain bikers obviously don’t understand the purpose of Wilderness. Its purpose is to preserve wildlife and wildlife habitat, since they (other living things) are precisely what makes Wilderness attractive to humans. Therefore, machinery, such as mountain bikes, have no place there. They not only destroy habitat due to their presence, but mountain bikers’ incessant demand for ever more trails causes much more habitat to be destroyed. But unless you understand conservation biology, all of this is probably going over your head.

              • avatar topher says:

                Probably not as funny as the constant shifts mountain bikers make between arrogance and petulant whining whenever the subject of wilderness comes up.

              • avatar Jay says:

                As I’ve said before, spoiled little brats throwing a tantrum because they don’t get to take their fancy little toys to huck and shred wherever they want to. And in Roberto’s case, petty criminals as well.

              • avatar Roberto says:

                Interestingly, I see that Topher and Jay are incapable of countering arguments, resorting back to blanket attacks on cyclists. Shows what I already knew: our arguments are strong and will prevail. It’ll be fun to see you on the trail when the regulatory ban is overturned. 🙂

                The real criminal on this thread is MVD who was convicted of assaulting cyclists on a trail.

              • avatar Jay says:

                You haven’t made any arguments, you’ve just presented yourself as a spoiled little punk making farfetched predictions. Your fancy little toy won’t be legal in wilderness in our lifetime, son.

              • avatar topher says:

                “Interestingly, I see that Topher and Jay are incapable of countering arguments”
                No need for me to argue for Wilderness protections that are already in place and have been for 50 years. There is no indication of any part of the Wilderness Act being overturned that I’m aware of.

  11. avatar Jason B says:

    On a recent trail run through Desolation Wilderness, I came upon not one but TWO abandoned and smoldering campfires! Are you kidding me?!? A 95,000 acre forest fire was burning not 20 miles away and backpackers are still having fires? I think it is high time overnight camping in Wilderness is banned. Day use only.

    • avatar rork says:

      Bahaha. Maybe for tiny ones it might work. Might consider something less extreme, like not allowing the burning of wood. I’ve often burned none – it’s against no-trace ethic, wastes time, and often there’s almost nothing to burn anyway.

  12. avatar rork says:

    Near me in MI, mountain bikers have exactly one thing on their agenda. I await the day when the number of acres they have payed for is a positive number.

  13. avatar rork says:

    Had two bikers near dusk riding trails closed to bikes with large headlamps. I could hear their discussion from 400 meters away which consisted mostly of screaming the two words brake and tree. I was unable to climb down the white oak fast enough to share my views with them.

    • avatar Roberto says:

      Rork, what were you doing hiking at night? 🙂

      • avatar rork says:

        Sorry if not clear. I’m hunting til light fails, and then I have to pack up my gear and climb down the tree afterward, and I never use the same tree twice (so I’m using mountain climbing gear – climbing harness with loops of webbing around the tree to make attachment points for carabiners or for a step). This takes some time if you are following the safety rules.
        This is an area where I have defended about 120 acres of high-value land from encroaching autumn olive, asiatic bittersweet, japanese knotweed, and such, for a decade. Folks with eyes like mine can tell that it’s wonderful, alien free, and dogwood/ironwood/viburnum/highbush heavy. It’s holy ground to me and other people. I did not start out hating bikers apriori, but their use, both legal and illegal, is counter to my interests, that of other users, and of the land. The benefit beyond public health gains for the bikers is not evident to me yet. They are famous for failing to volunteer to help. They only show up at meetings when the possibility of more tails exists, when they are very organized, but superficial. I pity them.

  14. Sorry to disappoint you, but all the charges were dismissed (the assault charge first) — of course. Thanks for demonstrating once again that MOUNTAIN BIKERS ALWAYS LIE.

  15. avatar Roberto says:

    Jay,

    Spewing a bunch of insults does not further the wildernuts cause. Enjoy your trail monopoly while you can. It does not look like you are smart enough to understand how your positions are a disservice to your own cause.

    • Roberto, explain why you think that LYING helps the mountain bikers’ cause. Once you are caught in a LIE, no one will believe anything else you say. You have lost all potential credibility. Breaking the law seals your fate. Mountain bikers are persona non grata.

      By the way, hikers don’t have a monopoly. You are capable of walking, aren’t you? Or are you too LAZY to walk, like most mountain bikers?

    • avatar Ed Loosli says:

      Roberto: Is there any place on United States public property where you think mountain-bikes should not go?? How about up and down the steps of the Lincoln Memorial or how about on the turtle nesting beaches of Florida? The citizens of the U.S. and their elected representatives have wisely decided that there are a small portion of public lands that are too fragile and special to be trammeled by man’s machines – including mountain bikes – Wilderness. Also, as little electric motors get added to bicycles, that will be the next group that wants access to Wilderness Areas, then it will be motorcycles, then ATVs, then 4X4s… Get the picture? — It’s a very slippery slope to start down the “machines in Wilderness” road.

      • Ed, you are brilliant, but you are making a big mistake in thinking that you are talking to a rational human being. See http://mjvande.nfshost.com/thinking.htm.

      • avatar Roberto says:

        Ed,

        Your comment is no more than chicken little. Biking was originally accepted in Wilderness. To start, any trail that’s good enough for a horse is good enough for a bike. The places I would stay away from are the very few trails that are already too crowded.

        • avatar Elk375 says:

          Roberto,

          Have you ever been on a horse or mule when they blow up because of a mountain bike? Not fun, even the best trained horses will act up in a given situation.

          • avatar Immer Treue says:

            Elk,
            I’ve been on a Mt. Bike when that happened. Coming around a bend to a T in the trail, I saw two horses with riders before they saw me. I had all but stopped, to no avail. Mt bikes and horses are a horrible mix, and nothing more than tradgedy waiting to happen.

          • avatar Jay says:

            I doubt Roberto cares about your experience–from the comments I’ve read, the mountain-bikes-in-wilderness crowd don’t care how their presence impacts others.

            • avatar Roberto says:

              First of all, horse riders should start by training their horses. We used to use horses in battles with canons firing, so they ought to be trained to deal with bikes.

              I’ve met my fair share of horses on trails where I ride, and I never had a problem.

              If you can’t train your mount to behave on a public trail, then it shouldn’t be there.

              • There’s no such thing as horse training that will allow them to deal with any possible encounter. They have a normal inborn reaction to any suddenly encountered moving object, just as you do. That can’t — and shouldn’t — be trained away.

                Similarly, it is impossible to train mountain bikers to yield the right-of-way to horses and hikers, EVEN THOUGH THAT’S REQUIRED BY LAW. Mountain bikers think that they have special God-given rights that no one else has, to abuse wildlife, horses, and people. That was exemplified by the mountain biker who recently ran into a cow. He no doubt blamed the cow!: http://www.pinkbike.com/news/biker-crashes-into-cow-2014.html

              • avatar Professor Sweat says:

                There is a difference between training a horse to behave on a trail and training a horse to not be surprised when a mountain biker careens around a blind curve with no warning. I’ve hiked many trails and had close calls thanks to mountain bikers who don’t announce their presence. I’m a mountain biker myself and only half of the people I’ve ridden with even considered shouting at the blind curves.

                Also, you mean to tell me war horses in battle were never ever spooked by cannon fire? Please, tell me more about the horse Calvary or horse-drawn Artillery unit you fought in.

              • avatar Roberto says:

                This is all so funny. After easily debunking the arguments against bikes in Wilderness, the discussion shifts to horses being spooked.

                Fact is that there are very very few bad multi use encounters. The CA state parks acknowledged this much in their huge study a couple years ago.

                Frankly, I’m always confused to why so called environmentalists oppose cyclists (an activity with an impact similar to hiking based on most serious studies) but somehow support horses. Pack train of horses crapping all over the trails, mulching them to bits, somehow are allowed in Wilderness. Then, horses mulch high alpine meadows, so that out of shape visitors can go far in Wilderness without exerting themselves much.

                Horses aren’t even native to north America.

                Let’s call a spade a spade. This has nothing to do with rational arguments, the nature of Wilderness or any other grandiose argument. This is just a ploy for existing users not to share the goods. So transparent and so shameful!

                • avatar Oliver Starr says:

                  “horses aren’t even native to North America”

                  Neither are bicycles…

                • Roberto, you are just a liar. The “studies” you refer to are nothing but junk science written by mountain bikers. The only good science on the subject (Wisdom et al) says that mountain biking has greater impacts than hiking or horseback riding. I doubt that you have read ANY of the research, nor would understand it if you did.

                  Horses ARE native to North America. They first evolved in North America!

                  Hikers and equestrians fully support sharing trails with mountain bikers (on foot) — just not with bikes, which are pieces of MACHINERY and obviously have no rights.

                  You still haven’t answered my question, of course: give us a good reason for allowing bikes on trails (hint: there AREN’T any).

              • avatar Professor Sweat says:

                “Let’s call a spade a spade. This has nothing to do with rational arguments, the nature of Wilderness or any other grandiose argument. This is just a ploy for existing users not to share the goods. So transparent and so shameful!”

                The good are ours as well as yours, my friend. The rules are in place to keep the bikes out, not you.

              • avatar Ed Loosli says:

                Roberto: Regarding horses; actually they are native to North America. Horses evolved in Asia, Europe and North America, however, horses were wiped out by early human hunters in North America thousands of years ago. Then, in the 1500s & 1600s the Spanish re-introduced the horse back to their native lands of North America.

    • avatar Jay says:

      So robbie–you come on this site, bragging about your illegal wilderness intrusions and spewing insults of your own (pretty sure “wildernuts” is not intended as a compliment), and when you get called out for acting like a little punk, you act indignant? That’s priceless! If you’re going to act like a brat, don’t be surprised when you get treated like one.

      Go out and play son–before you do, though, ask your mom to look up the word “hypocrisy”.

      • avatar Roberto says:

        Hey Jay,

        I can’t help you if you can’t read. I’ve never claimed to ride in Wilderness, not that it would matter one bit to the argument. You may be a bit young to have learned manners and basic reading skills though…

        Again, biking was legal before the USFS changed the regulations in the 80s. You are probably too young to remember it, but you can google it.

        New Wilderness proposals almost always encroach on trails currently used by cyclists. Whenever the wildernuts of your ilk manage to ram new Wildnerness designations through, somehow cyclists become excluded from trails they’ve used for decades. Same trails, same dirt, same places, same users.

        Something else for you to ponder (although I doubt you have the intellectual capacities based on your writing so far). When the USFS looks through its lands, all areas used by motor vehicles are deemed inadequate for Wilderness proposal, but somehow areas used by bicyclists are considered wild enough for potential Wilderness designation. So, per the USFS itself, bikes are compatible with wild places until those same places get slapped with a Wilderness designation. What a joke!

        As for MVD, he’s been the laughingstock of the SF bay area for over 20 years now.

        All this boils down to one thing: wildernuts use the Wilderness designation to kick out other users so that they can have the place to themselves. I guess you weren’t taught how to share when you were kids. Shame on you.

        Meanwhile, with Republicans poised to take back Congress on one hand, and cyclists opposition on the other, it’s going to be hard to get any new Wilderness for the next few years.

        • avatar topher says:

          “Again, biking was legal before the USFS changed the regulations in the 80s. You are probably too young to remember it, but you can google it. ”
          Nope. Bike are considered mechanical transport.
          PROHIBITION OF CERTAIN USES

          (c) Except as specifically provided for in this Act, and subject to existing private rights, there shall be no commercial enterprise and no permanent road within any wilderness area designated by this Act and, except as necessary to meet minimum requirements for the administration of the area for the purpose of this Act (including measures required in emergencies involving the health and safety of persons within the area), there shall be no temporary road, no use of motor vehicles, motorized equipment or motorboats, no landing of aircraft, no other form of mechanical transport, and no structure or installation within any such area.

        • avatar Nancy says:

          Roberto – since you seem passionate about your right to access wilderness via a bike, curious about your thoughts on ranching and the abuse (for decades) of livestock, on public lands and areas considered wild?

          • avatar Roberto says:

            Isn’t it amazing that a low impact activity like bicycling is not allowed, yet non native cows are allowed to trample everything?

            • Only a mountain biker would claim that an extreme sport like mountain biking is a “low impact activity”. At least cows don’t mountain bike … yet.

              • avatar Ida Lupines says:

                Hikers can step over/stop/avoid obstacles, and small creatures, whereas mountain bikers just plow right through, if they give those things any thought at all.

                Mr. Vanderman, I’ve read your comments and writings about this subject, and you outclass them every time.

                • That’s the result of 20 years of study. The mountain bikers, on the other hand, don’t do their homework — but wear their ignorance proudly and defiantly.

        • avatar Jay says:

          You got me robbie–I caint read a lick. Hit me pretty low with that one there son. Words like “hypocrite”, “scofflaw”, “petulant” “whiny”, “entitled”, “spoiled”–I don’t know what any of em mean. I bet you do though.

        • “somehow cyclists become excluded from trails they’ve used for decades”. Go ahead, Roberto, explain how you are “excluded from trails”, given that you have EXACTLY THE SAME RIGHTS AS EVERYONE ELSE! Or are you just admitting that you are too lazy to walk?

  16. avatar topher says:

    I used to like dirt biking, snowmobiling, mountain biking and four wheel drives. As I have gotten older my preferred methods for accessing public lands have evolved and I like to think I have a somewhat less myopic view of my impacts on the places I frequent. While I’ve always enjoyed hiking and backpacking I now prefer hiking boots and snowshoes to any other method of travel and I feel confident that I have less of an impact on the land and am less intrusive to inhabitants and other users.

    • avatar skyrim says:

      I share your thoughts here topher. After being stranded, stuck, high centered or broken, I’ve yet to have such trouble with my boots. However, it has been risky at times with mountain bikes on shared trails launching over hills and around blind corners coming from the opposite direction. A bit risky and several close calls.

  17. avatar Roberto says:

    Well everyone, it’s been fun educating everybody. Obviously, most are too obtuse to learn anything, but there’s not much I can do.

    See you on the trails. I’ll be the nice guy on a bicycle.

  18. avatar sarah c says:

    As long as cyclists are proud to “shred the brown” (as they now openly call it here in Calif), they will be just another self-interested user group far more interested in their own fun and adrenaline than protecting wild places. While there are exceptions, mountain bikers as a whole are not conservationists, and they are hostile to new wilderness designation wherever it may preclude their “shredding of the brown.” We should not give up trying to educate them about their impacts on the land, but we also should not ever be fooled into thinking that they are advocates for wilderness.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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