National Park Service Announces Expanded MTB Opportunities

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  • #111003
    The National Parks Service recently announced changes designed to expand opportunities for mountain biking in parks nationwide. “Bikes are a great way to exercise, get healthy, and experience the great outdoors,” said NPS Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “This new rule gives park superintendents greater flexibility to determine where bikes can be allowed in a park and additional authority to shut areas where cycling is jeopardizing visitors or park resources.”

    IMBA and the NPS have held a formal partnership agreement since 2005. The new rule (available online) is another step forward in that relationship, providing park staff with a more streamlined administrative process and localized decision making about where the best opportunities for mountain biking exist.

    There are already more than 40 NPS properties that allow mountain biking on dirt roads and trails. Research from the Outdoor Industry Association shows that bicycling is one of the most popular forms of recreation — especially among young people. “At a time when park visitation is declining, and America’s youth is becoming more sedentary, it’s good to see the NPS taking this positive step,” said Van Abel. “There are already successful examples from national parks that offer mountain biking; my organization looks forward to helping create many more of them.”

    Read more here: http://www.imba.com/news/nps-announces-new-rule

    I’m super excited to hear about this! For a long time I have longed to ride my bike on some of the epic trails in Glacier National Park, Smoky Mountain National Park, and others. There are thousands of miles of single track trails in our national parks! Obviously, not all of the trails will be good for mountain biking, and some may be way to congested with other users to allow the possibility of riding… but the thought of even a fraction of those trails which are currently off-limit to bikes being opened to two-wheeled traffic is exciting to say the least!

    Your thoughts?

    #111004

    This is a pretty big deal. Any idea about whether this will cover Sope Creek? Or is that still a "one off" waiting for approval?

    #111005
    "StreakMTB" wrote

    This is a pretty big deal. Any idea about whether this will cover Sope Creek? Or is that still a "one off" waiting for approval?

    Sorry I have no idea. It sounds like this rule just makes it easier for individual supervisors to allow mountain bike trails.

    #111006

    Sorry, my initial enthusiasm is wearing off a little bit:

    Those opposed to allowing mountain bikes in the parks should rest easy, as the new rules stipulate that mountain bikes would be restricted to fire and access roads only. That means you won’t find them on the majority of hiking trails and any newly created trails will have to be closely evaluated before access to bikes of any kind would be granted.

    Source: http://www.gadling.com/2012/07/08/u-s-n … in-biking/

    #111007

    Still, it’s a big step. I’d love to ride in Glacier, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Smoky etc. Many parks could add significant portion to their budget by opening a trail or two for bikers for a little fee.

    #111008
    "stumpyfsr" wrote

    Many parks could add significant portion to their budget by opening a trail or two for bikers for a little fee.

    Heck, if they didn’t even charge an additional fee, but had an influx of mountain bikers paying the standard fee to get into the national park, that would already be a serious increase in revenue! In today’s economy, with state parks in places like California getting shut down, I’m sure national parks could use a little extra monetary buffer to protect their existence into the future.

    #111009
    "mtbgreg1" wrote

    It sounds like this rule just makes it easier for individual supervisors to allow mountain bike trails.

    It is a step in the right direction. Now I will just wait for the mad rush of supervisors approving new mountain bike trails. 😆

    #111010

    As far as existing trails go here we have one in Saguaro National Park east that is 2.5 miles long and is usually tied in with the road to make a 7-9 mile loop. Pretty easy ride. The trail may be tied into the Arizona trail and be a thru MTB route in the future.
    The Grand Canyon doesn’t have legal mountain biking but does have the Rainbow Rim Trail right next to the park boundary which starts at the canyon wall while the trail is within feet and even inches in spots in the national forest north rim.
    Zion has a trail that’s open to dogs and I think bikes but many great trails within 10 miles (Guacamole, Gooseberry Mesa, Grafton Mesa, Little Creek, JEM and more).
    Canada is where it’s been legal for years with many national park trails open to bikes. The guide book, "Backcountry Biking in the Canandian Rockies" by retired national park warden Doug Eastcott can direct you to over 200 trails and legal rides. Ridden with him several times.

    #111011

    I’ve ridden a couple trails in Canadian national parks–The Crandall Lake trail in Waterton was particularly cool.

    Funny, the Canucks are known for being so much more environmentally friendly than us yanks, but they allow MTBs in their national parks. Could it be that MTBing isn’t such an evil thin after all 😎

    #111012

    @skibum, most folks care greatly about the environment, however the environmental movement is spearheaded by many folks that are very extreme. Also there are many hiking groups that oppose of sharing trails with anything other than other hikers.

    #111013
    "brianW" wrote

    @skibum, most folks care greatly about the environment, however the environmental movement is spearheaded by many folks that are very extreme. Also there are many hiking groups that oppose of sharing trails with anything other than other hikers.

    Exactly–hence the sarcasm in my post.

    #111014

    Rocky Mountain National Park will be working on an Environmental Impact Statement this summer to allow for mountain bikes on about 3 miles of singletrack trail in Grand Lake, CO. We will need lots of support from the mountain biking community when the report comes out next spring so look forward to more information in the near future. 😃

    #111015
    "grandlakejames" wrote

    Rocky Mountain National Park will be working on an Environmental Impact Statement this summer to allow for mountain bikes on about 3 miles of singletrack trail in Grand Lake, CO. We will need lots of support from the mountain biking community when the report comes out next spring so look forward to more information in the near future. 😃

    That’s great news! Keep us posted on when/where/how we can support. Thanks for the heads up.

    #111016

    Here is an article about the new law and how Rocky Mountain National Park is considering a 3 mile section on the East Shore Trail. It states "There is one 3-mile stretch of trail in the park being considered for bike use, said Vaughn Baker, park superintendent. It runs along the east shore of Shadow Mountain Reservoir, on the Grand Lake side of the park".

    Read more: Editorial: Not your average ride in the park – The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_21 … z224OdXNBz

    Hope to be riding that trail in 2014!

    #111017

    This would be an epic opportunity to experience real wilderness riding. This would put my new Mamba through the paces up to its limit if I’m brave enough, too.

    I hope this becomes a reality because I’m excited to see everything on a bike instead of on foot or from a car.

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