November 27, 2012 at 10:03 am #114134In August 2009, the Montana Mountain Bike Alliance hosted its second annual backcountry festival in the tiny town of Lima, population 250. Roughly 150 cyclists from across the region showed up to trek along singletrack in the Lima Peaks by day and party by night. The MMBA brought in a band. Bikers sponsored a spaghetti dinner, even rented local buses for shuttles. All told, the event raised nearly $1,000 for Lima’s assisted living center. Locals thanked the MMBA for the biggest economic boost in Lima in a decade.
Bob Allen, MMBA’s co-president, told the story to members of the Blackfoot Challenge during a recent meeting at the Lubrecht forestry center. It’s a prime example, he said, of the kind of contribution mountain bikers bring to small communities in Montana. It’s also a prime example of why the MMBA wants to see a portion of the Scapegoat wilderness addition boundary contained in Sen. Jon Tester’s Forest Jobs and Recreation Act altered. Mountain bikers have lost access to hundreds of miles of trails across Montana and Idaho in recent years, partly due to a new Forest Service philosophy banning bicycles in certain areas that could theoretically be designated wilderness. Allen is drawing the line in the Scapegoat.
Read more here: http://missoulanews.bigskypress.com/Ind … sters-fjraDecember 22, 2012 at 10:22 pm #114135
I just wanted to add a few details to help clarify the loss of access picture, since the article is 3 years old and MtBs did indeed lose access to the Lima Peaks area and those incredible trails. Over 550,000 acres of lost access in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge Forest alone.
This "new Forest Philosophy" referred to in the article is taken from a "Dear Colleague" letter by Congressman Raul Grijalva (D – AZ), Chairman of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands.
He writes alot of these, and somehow these letters become USFS management policy creating "defacto wilderness". I guess because Grijalva sits on that Committee? Don’t you wish you could do that with your Dear Colleague letters? Wilderness w/o an Act of Congress.
Take a look at the map below and all the light-blue "proposed wilderness" contained in the FJRA of Testers that we have lost access too (Lima is at the south end). (track the bill w/ this link)
Much of that land deserves to be protected, much of it saw knobby tires for decades too. MMBA is working w/ the Tester camp to keep access to other areas should the Bill pass.
Write letters to Managers and Elected folk if you care about access.
The new Colo CDT section, while not wilderness or proposed, has access issues. I think the public comment period has ended, but who cares, write a letter to the USFS there anyway.December 23, 2012 at 11:08 am #114136
Thanks for the update, skibum. So sorry to hear about all of this lost access… this is just so sad!
One question: How much enforcement goes along with these changes in policy? Just wondering… if there are people that have been riding these trails for decades, do you think they’re going to stop riding just because someone posts a sign?December 23, 2012 at 11:29 am #114137
I’m not sure–these are remote and largely unpatrolled areas. I’m not one to poach, but will continue to advocate "within the system" to the best of my ability.December 23, 2012 at 11:34 am #114138"skibum" wrote
I’m not sure–these are remote and largely unpatrolled areas. I’m not one to poach, but will continue to advocate "within the system" to the best of my ability.
I hear you on that. I just wonder what it’s like for the locals in those places.December 23, 2012 at 4:08 pm #114139"skibum" wrote
I’m not sure–these are remote and largely unpatrolled areas.
Zen Koan – "If a tree falls in the woods and no-one is around, does it make a sound?"
Yeah, not many people get to these areas except during hunting season. Maybe some hikers…if I see them from afar, I try to hide so as to not ruin their wilderness experience (and protect myself from the Snark).December 23, 2012 at 7:39 pm #114140if I see them from afar, I try to hide so as to not ruin their wilderness experience (and protect myself from the Snark).
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