Photo: Jeff barber

Designated wilderness areas go by a variety of names around the globe, and in the US they have been protected by federal law under the Wilderness Act since 1964. The thousands of trails in Wilderness areas spaghettied across the US are currently closed to mountain bikes. We would like to hear your thoughts on whether those tracks should be opened up to bikes, or if they should preserve their current “hikers- and equestrians-only” status. Here is how the US Wilderness Act defines its namesake.

“A Wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain. An area of wilderness is further defined to mean in this Act an area of undeveloped Federal land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation, which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions and which (1) generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man’s work substantially unnoticeable; (2) has outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation; (3) has at least five thousand acres of land or is of sufficient size as to make practicable its preservation and use in an unimpaired condition; and (4) may also contain ecological, geological, or other features of scientific, educational, scenic, or historical value.” from Wilderness.net

For readers living outside of the US, let us know how land access laws affect trail access in your country.

# Comments

  • isawtman

    Wilderness Areas are less than 3% of the population in the lower 48 states and mountain bikers are 3% of the population. This is really not need. I say we give wildlife some space to roam. This article shows the need for it: http://www.spokesman.com/blogs/outdoors/2017/mar/08/mauled-mountain-biker-was-going-fast-grizzly-bear-attack/ Brad Treat wasn’t mountain biking in a Wilderness Area, but it just shows that speeding mountain bikers do not mix well with wildlife

    • Jeff OnTrails

      Hey Mr. Myopia Troll:

      “There have been 78 human fatalities from black bears and brown bears (which include grizzly bears) since 1990 in North America.” Of those:
      – 37% were associated with hiking or walking (slow, quiet rec)
      – 19% camping (food storage)
      – 12% hunting (slow, quiet rec)
      – 8% at residence (home invasion)
      – 4% fishing (slow, quiet rec)
      – 4% trail running (moderate speed, quiet rec)
      – 3% mountain biking (moderate speed, quiet rec)
      – 1% tending fence on horseback (slow, quiet rec)

      So, 54% of the fatalities were associated with slow quiet activities like hiking and walking. “This information at least begs the question of whether limiting folks to enjoying only slow, quiet activities in areas where bears are present provides any greater safety for people or bears.”


    • SKeen

      It doesn’t seem appropriate to bring up a tragedy that happened in a non wilderness area to address this issue.

    • John Fisch

      The 3% statistic is not germane to this discussion. The vast majority of the lower 48 is private land, cities, agricultural land, etc. What matters is how much open land is available, and how much actually desirable open land is available. Even most of the public land has been mined, timbered, crisscrossed with roads, etc. Backcountry cyclists don’t want to ride these lands any more than Todd (aka Isawtman) wants to hike them. The fact is that upwards of 80% of our backcountry is Wildernss…. and that number is growing. Over 1,000 miles of traditionally ridden singletrack has been lost in the last few years alone. If hikers were banned from all Wilderness we all know they wouldn’t be saying “That’s okay, after all it’s only 3%.” But then Todd already knows all this.

      Something Todd in his ignorance and prejudice may not know:
      There have been 78 human fatalities from black bears and brown bears (which include grizzly
      bears) since 1990 in North America. Of those, 37% were associated with hiking or walking,
      12% hunting, 4 % fishing, and 1 % tending fence on horseback. Another 19% were associated with camping and 4% were trail runners. Like each and every other argument Todd makes about banning cyclists, this one equally or more so suggest banning hikers.

    • isawtman

      okay, if I am SO IGNORANT
      riddle me this

      When was the last time a hiker was hiking down a trail and CRASHED
      INTO A BEAR???


      Crashing into a bear is totally different that having a bear charge you, etc.
      Brad Treat was going at a high rate of speed and crashed into a bear.
      That doesn’t happen with hikers.

      And, Jeff and John, I hate to break it to you.
      But your little “bikes in the wilderness” movement died with Brad Treat.
      Your group the Sustainable Trails Coalition has wasted $250,000
      on this issue. Money that could have been used to build perfectly great
      mountain biking trails outside of Wilderness Areas.

      Let’s give Wildlife some space to roan

      The Brad Treat case shows exactly where mountain biking is different from hiking.

    • Jeff OnTrails

      Todd – thank you for finally referring to yourself as SO IGNORANT! Now go get yourself less ignorant and look up “sociopath” in the dictionary!

    • isawtman

      Thanks for calling me names.
      It’s at that point I know I have won the debate.

    • Jeff OnTrails

      Lol Todd. You don’t debate. You copy/paste the same illogical and untrue opinions over and over again… for 5+ years now 😛 (I remember when you didn’t know what “…” meant, and you accused Ted of one of your many far fetched conspiracies). For someone who is certain STC is dead and mountain biking will never be allowed in Wilderness, you sure remain active trolling anywhere and everywhere you find the topic. You must be bored. Pretty sad that the only people who give you any attention in this world are the people who laugh at you and your nonsense 🙂 We could all ignore your trolling, but it is kinda fun to get you to demonstrate what a sociopath you are 😀

    • isawtman

      But Jeff, Ted Stroll does have some far fetched ideas. My personal favorite is when Ted wrote that if Fishing Reels are allowed in Wilderness Areas, then so should mountain bikes be allowed. The reason is that fishing reels provide the mechanical transport of fishing line out into the water. Folks I am not making this up. This is really one of Ted Strolls theories. Personally, it think there is a big difference between transporting fishing line and transporting people. All of the other transportation banned in the Wilderness Act are items such as motor vehicles, boats and airplanes that actually can transport people.

      And here’s another one of Ted’s theories that I love and this one he actually said in his testimony to Congress. Ted said that only the most rugged and intrepid mountain bikers will be gong into Wilderness Areas. Ted never explained how he would enforce that. Perhaps you need to take some sort of “rugged and intreped” test. But I don’t think that’s the case. If you open up Wilderness Areas to mountain bike, then all sorts of mountain bikers will be going into them including the shredders and the people who want to become the “king of the hill.”

      I continue keeping track and commenting on this issue for a few simple reasons. I have already researched this issue and it’s not hard making a few comments once in a while. Why should I stop now when I have been doing such a good job so far. I still have time to go hiking quite often and do trail work and maintenance. By the way, I have over 1500 volunteer hours on National Scenic Trails including clearing trails in Wilderness Areas. So, far I have never seen anything to suggest that the Sustainable Trail Coalition has sponsored trail maintenance, etc.

      These message was not copied and pasted like most of my messages.

    • Jeff OnTrails

      Lol, Todd. You are either intellectually challenged or 100% troll. I suspect you’re both. As I’ve pointed out many times directly to you, you leave the context out of everything! Here is the context around fishing reels (you do know what “context” means, right?):

      “Probably the most significant finding is what Congress meant when they referred to “no other form of mechanical transport” in the Wilderness Act. It’s ambiguous because they don’t mean just the mechanical transport of humans; so even a fishing reel is technically implicated by the statute. But when you go into the legislative history, which nobody has ever done before, you find that all Congress meant in the original language was no “mechanical transport or delivery of persons or supplies.” Both House and Senate used that language originally and what they’re really talking about is large, load-bearing conveyances that would either carry humans or cargo, and this is what the prohibition on mechanical transport means. It means no horse carts, no wagons, no trailers, no tankers—things that, though they’re not motorized, probably were propelled behind a motorized vehicle or mule train and would impact the landscape.”

      You should probably read his law review: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/55a5b885e4b01aa3dd8fd254/t/55c611aee4b03257969c9291/1439044014588/Penn+State+Law+Review+TS.pdf

      Your constant comments about “intrepid mt. bikers” is hilarious. Ted is generalizing about the type of rider that will tackle the rugged backcountry. Certainly you, Todd, won’t be going anywhere in the rugged backcountry (even outside of Wilderness) on one of your 2 mountain bikes. You’d crash and hurt yourself before you were a mile from your car. Keep pretending mountain biking in rugged terrain is easy! Why is it that so few hikers percentage-wise visit Wilderness, and especially deep Wilderness vs. local parks trails? Is it because they don’t have the skills, fitness, comfort level to explore deep into the primitive landscape? Who is making sure the unprepared don’t go in the backwoods?? This point you continue to bring up shows what a lunatic you are.

      Regarding trail maintenance, I hate to break it to you, but STC and its supporters don’t conduct birthday party events either… but that doesn’t mean they don’t attend birthday parties on a regular basis. You sir, are simply an idiot.

    • isawtman

      Jeff, I hate to break it to you but the phrase
      “no mechanical transport or delivery of persons or supplies”
      still bans mountain bikes.

      As you know, at the Wilderness Act Hearings in 1964,
      Congressman Compton White Jr asked the
      following question to Forest Service Lawyer Mr Florance.
      “I’m talking about the mechanical contraption behind the horse,
      the spring wagon. This is considered and is this not a mechanical device.”
      Mr Florance responded by saying “no, it is not a motorized vehicle”
      Mr White responded by saying “Well, thank you, Mr Florance, for your
      explicit explanation”

      To me, when Congressman White said “Well, thank you, Mr Florance, for your
      explicit explanation” that meant that Congressman White didn’t agree with
      Mr Florance. Furthermore, after the exchange between Congressman White
      and Mr Florance, the Wilderness Act was changed to read “no other form
      of mechanical transport.” That cleared up any doubt about whether
      non-motorized transport was banned, too.

      You say “It means no horse carts, no wagons, no trailers, no tankers.”
      But what is a wagon? It is some wheels attached to a metal frame.
      What is a mountain bike? The same thing, wheels attached to a metal frame.
      Mountain bikes are basically the same thing as wagons and should be banned
      from Wilderness Areas.

      And if only the “rugged and intrepid” mountain bikers will be going into
      Wilderness Areas, why even bother. Mountain bikers are less than 3% of the
      population and the amount of “rugged and intrepid” mountain bikers would be
      way less than that. You actually pointed that out really well by saying that I wouldn’t
      be taking my mountain bike into Wilderness Areas. But I still contend that if allowed
      there will be all sorts of mountain bikers going into Wilderness Areas that really
      have no business doing so. Thanks for making my point for me.

    • Jeff OnTrails

      You are hopeless, Todd. Absolutely hopeless. What is your IQ? Nevermind, I’m done with you until possibly the next time you troll your intellectually vacant thoughts somewhere. Where you will once again bring up all these same idiotic, nonsensical things. STC hasn’t organized any trailwork? Coming from a guy with a Facebook page dedicated protecting a trail he has never been on and never will be on? ????????????????????????????????????

    • isawtman

      Jeff, this article is about Wilderness Areas
      and I have been in plenty of Wilderness Areas
      including doing some trail work

    • Jeff OnTrails

      Another whiff, Todd. Your batting average for addressing facts and reality is .000. Last I checked, the PCT passes through almost 50 Wilderness areas.

    • isawtman

      And hopefully the PCT can go through more Wilderness Areas in the Future.

    • Jeff OnTrails

      More Wilderness you’ll never visit? Go to bed Todd. You’re a Yucking Fidiot.

    • isawtman

      When you start making personal attacks on me, that only means I’ve won the debate.
      Plus, you have no idea where I will be hiking in the future.

    • Jeff OnTrails

      Re-Todd, when you constantly post “3+3=7” thousands and thousands of times over 5 years, you are not debating anything and I have every right to call you the idiot that you are. Buzz off troll! Why don’t you spend your time educating PCT hikers on snow safety, LNT principles and being good trail town visitors instead of pretending that you are making any difference in obstructing mountain bike access restoration.

    • isawtman

      yes, Jeff you can call me whatever names you would like.
      You’re just making my case for me. If you cannot be civilized
      here in the comment section, well, meeting you out on the
      trail isn’t going to be all that pleasant either. You’re making a
      great case for separate trails for separate uses.

  • Zoso

    I voted that SOME trails should be ok to bike.

    It is a complex issue complicated further by:
    1. Most people don’t understand the issues. It’s not simple and we are talking WSA’s as well.
    2. For many people outside of the western US, it’s not an issue at all as they haven’t had trails taken from them.
    3. I continue to be surprised at how many people have a knee-jerk reaction to this. I too don’t want bikes in most Wilderness areas, but certainly there are many that are very appropriate.
    4. It’s more of a politcal issue than a logical one. I.E. you often can’t use common-sense arguments and that’s frustrating.

  • FrankS29

    I don’t think bikes should be on established hiking trails. Hikers and bikes do not mix well, it’s dangerous and a buzz kill for both parties.

    However, I don’t see why biking specific trails can’t be made in SOME wilderness areas, especially if the local area supports it.

    A lot of people that foam at the mouth about bikes in the wilderness don’t realize how hypocritical they sound while supporting horses in those same areas. Horses are non-native, significantly damage trails and many seem to be VERY poorly trained at this point making them dangerous to all parties on the trail.

    Don’t know about you, but I would rather have a bike packer pass me on the trail than inadvertently stepping in a twenty pound dump left on the trail by a horse…

    • jaredmente

      Totally agree about the horses.

    • isawtman

      The Wilderness Act clearly says “no other form of Mechanical Transport” that’s why bikes are not allowed and horses are allowed. Frank says that some horses “seem to be VERY poorly trained at this point making them dangerous to all parties on the trail.” That’s why we need Wilderness so horseriders can have a place to train their horses without mountain bikers popping around a corner scaring the horses. I think you are making the point on why mountain bikers should not be allowed in Wilderness Areas. Thank you for the help

    • FrankS29

      You completely missed the point…

      Horses have a much higher potential for damage and problems than ANY mountain bike could ever have. Therefore, if horses are allowed, you sound like an imbecile even trying to argue why bikes can’t be allowed.

      As for the “no mechanical…” I don’t for one second think they had a bicycle in mind when that was written. It was simply an over broad term for automobiles and engine based transportation being applied to bicyclist.

      If they were truly trying to keep it as simple as possible horses never would have been allowed.

      I don’t need people training their horses around me when I’m the one put at risk. I’ve been flat out driven off of a trail by horses before because they could not even handle me walking by them!

      Even well trained horses are a nuisance to everyone else trying to use the trail. Trail damage and massive turds are not in anyway beneficial to the wilderness. They can reach fast speeds just as easily/easier as a bike and are FAR more dangerous at speed.

      So again, if you think a horse belongs on the trails, you don’t have any logical leg to stand on to support keeping bikes off of them.

      Just to be clear, I think bikes SHOULD be off of hiking trails in the wilderness. I just also think horses should be off them as well!

      If they want to cut horse trails and bike trails along with the hiking trails, then we can all stick to our designated spots!

    • Jeff OnTrails

      @FrankS29- understand that isawtman is an internet troll named Todd McMahon obsessed with anti-bike activism. He’s like a love child of Mike Vandeman. Google his name and some appropriate key words and you’ll see he comments endlessly on any article on the subject of bikes in Wilderness. There is no logic or truth in his repetitive arguments and he’s mostly chiming in on these comment sections to get attention/reaction from the only people who will engage with him: Mountain bikers. (99.99% of hikers avoid engaging with him). Kinda funny that his best internet friends are mountain bikers 🙂

    • isawtman

      Frank, you totally missed the point, and you are completely wrong with your statement: “I don’t for one second think they had a bicycle in mind when that was written. It was simply an over broad term for automobiles and engine based transportation being applied to bicyclist.” It’s obvious you have never read the Wilderness Act. The Act makes the following statement: “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.” As you can see from that sentence there is to be no motor vehicles, no motorized equipment or boats, and no landing of aircraft which includes motorized aircraft. So, all the motorized uses are already covered in the sentence. It’s obvious that “no other form of mechanical transport” covers more just motorized devices.

      And as far as horses are concerned, horse riders are the true user group where their access is dwindling. Plus, only about .25% of the population goes horseback riding which is 10 times less than mountain bikers. Quit complaining about horses for pete’s sake.

      Furthermore, you have to read the Wilderness Act in the context of the day. It was back in the mid 60s when bicycles were considered a child’s toy. It wasn’t considered something an adult would actually ride on. The truth is the adult bicycling revolution happened in the 70s because of two things. There was the movie “Breaking Away” that popularized biking, and there was the gas shortage which also made some adults do more biking. And, since the bicycle was considered a child’s toy, nobody would want a bunch of children to go out riding in a remote and wild Wilderness Area.

    • John Fisch

      isawtman says “The Wilderness Act clearly says “no other form of Mechanical Transport”

      Which ignores
      1. The fact that Congressional use of that language was at the time specifically focused on keeping motorized vehicles out of Wilderness, not anything human powered. A reading of that text in full context confirms that. A reading of the testimony in the Congressional record during the writing, debate, and passage of the act further confirms that.
      2. That bikes were indeed allowed for the first 20 years of the Act, before a powerful, unopposed anti-bile lobby successfully pressed for a self-serving blind blanket ban.
      3. That other forms of human powered mechanical transport have always been, and are currently allowed. Again, these are low impact, human powered, just like a bike.
      4. That once the mountain bike issue became known to Congress,t hey addressed it head on, calling mountain biking a wilderness use, right alongside hiking and horseback riding, specifically referring to it as “primitive recreation” just as was provided for in the original Act.

      But then again, Todd the troll already knows all this.

    • FrankS29

      I tried to warn you what happens when you try and justify horses while fighting bikes…

      If you’re trying to say someone is proving someone else’s point, you flat out admit that bicycles were not on their minds when writing the rules. Then to assert that no adult would ride a bicycle in the 60’s!

      I stand by it being an overly broad statement being applied to bikes. That was an attorney covering bases when they assumed by the year 2000 we would all have jet packs…

      They went over items that create large amounts of noise, pollution and damage to trail systems or largely require roads. None of this applies to bicycles.

      As you say, very few people actually ride horses. Yet those few ruin the experience for everyone with trail damage, expel massive amounts of non-native waste, have the potential to eat large amounts of native vegetation and on top of that pose many safety concerns. You know, just about everything they say they are trying to avoid on the trails…

      Again, you can’t support horses while railing against bikes that don’t have nearly the trail and environmental impact simply because they have gears.

    • isawtman

      John Fisch is totally wrong again.

      1. In the hearing Congressman did ask about other forms of Transportation
      other than motorized transportation. John Fisch knows this is an absolute fact.
      The most famous case of that is when Compton White Jr ask said “What about the
      mechanical device behind the horse?”

      2. Mountain biking wasn’t even a thing until the late 1970s, early 1980s. The Forest
      Service did make a ruling then which was a clarification of the Wilderness Act, not a
      change to it.

      3. Other forms likes Snowshoes, skis and oarlocks are not considered mechanical transport
      because they were invented and used long before the mechanical age. A ski was found a
      few years back that was dated 6000 years before christ.

      4. The language you describe was in a Bill for a National Recreation Area and a Wilderness Area.
      The Wilderness Act was the major piece of legislation. Some flowery language in a lesser bill
      does not usurp the Wilderness Act.

      John Fisch has a long history of shovel a bunch of crap on this issue. Here is my response
      to one of his articles in 2016

    • John Fisch

      1. In the hearing Congressman did ask about other forms of Transportation
      other than motorized transportation. John Fisch knows this is an absolute fact.
      The most famous case of that is when Compton White Jr ask said “What about the
      mechanical device behind the horse?”
      Yep, and if you read the response you understand that he, nor anyone else in Congress at the time, had any intention of banning anything not artificially powered.

      2. Mountain biking wasn’t even a thing until the late 1970s, early 1980s. The Forest
      Service did make a ruling then which was a clarification of the Wilderness Act, not a
      change to it.
      And when biking came up, it was included, not excluded.

      3. Other forms likes Snowshoes, skis and oarlocks are not considered mechanical transport
      because they were invented and used long before the mechanical age. A ski was found a
      few years back that was dated 6000 years before christ.
      The best example of ignorance ever… whether or not something is, by definition, mechanical, has absolutely nothing to do with when it was invented. Moreover, man was applying mechanical concepts and mechanical devices long before the mechanical age. Yet further, modern ski bindings and snowshoes include are not the same as those invented before the mechanical age, but include very modern and highly refined mechanical devices.

      4. The language you describe was in a Bill for a National Recreation Area and a Wilderness Area.
      The Wilderness Act was the major piece of legislation. Some flowery language in a lesser bill
      does not usurp the Wilderness Act.
      Yes it was. The text of that bill had two sections; one addressing the Wilderness and one addressing the Recreation Area. Bikes were included in the portion of the bill specifically referring to the Wilderness area, NOT the Recreation area. Moreover, it doesn’t matter where in the bill that took place because specifically said “used as a wilderness for …. cycling” and further said “primitive recreation” which is a stated purpose of the Wilderness act.

    • isawtman

      1. John wrote “In the hearing Congressman did ask about other forms of Transportation
      other than motorized transportation.” Thanks for proving MY POINT. It shows that Congress
      was concerned about more than just motorized transport. The fact that they wrote “no other form”
      also shows that they were concerned about more than just motorized transport.

      2. The Forest Service screwed up. It’s not the Wilderness Act’s fault that the Forest Service screwed
      up. The Wilderness Act has been the same throughout. If you really think the Forest Service’s 1966
      rule was correct, then you can your group STC should be suing to have it reinstated. But no, Ted Stroll
      has said that they would probably loses that lawsuit, with of course means the current rule is correct.

      3. Again, the reason snowshoes, skis and oarlocks are not consider mechanical is because they
      were originally made out of wood and leather. All versions of bicycles from the beginning have
      had metal parts,

      4. Again, some flowery wording in a lesser Bill does not usurp the Wilderness Act. The lesser
      Bills don’t get scrutinized for language as much as a major piece of legislation. Also, in the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area and Wilderness it says that the Wilderness made by that Bill must
      be administered based on the rules established by the Wilderness Act. So, right there, the
      Bill concedes that the Wilderness Act is the main document to go by.

      5. I would like to remind John and Jeff of a quote by Ted Stroll. In a Dec 2015 Singletracks podcast
      Ted said “The way Congress works is if you have the Democrats controlling either house, then inevitable opponents of what we are doing could always find some senator or member of Congress who will find a way to block the kind of Legislative change we’re seeking, with two Republican houses, that becomes much more difficult” At that time, Ted was giddy because the Republicans controlled both houses of Congress. Since then, the Republican have had complete control of Congress and the Administration for 2 years. During that time the STC Bill did not pass. That was the best chance for the Bill to pass, but now, the Dems control the House of Representatives and as Ted said “…opponents of what we are doing could always find some senator or member of Congress who will find a way to block the kind of Legislative change we’re seeking.”

      John and Jeff, you guys just need to face it, your Bill is dead. Your organization, the Sustainable Trails Coalition has burned through $250,000 on this issue. It’s time you guys call it quits and use your
      talents for a better cause.

    • Jeff OnTrails

      Todd, if STC “called it quits”, what would you do with your time? You wouldn’t be able to spend so much time on-line trolling mountain bikers with your nonsense. STC is the greatest thing to ever happen to you. It gave you purpose and people to troll. You discovered how to get people to communicate with you on-line. These have been the best 5 years of your life, and I know you don’t want it to end. You should be donating $100/month to STC just to help fund your hobby.

    • isawtman

      Jeff, debunking your BS doesn’t take very much time.
      I still have time to go hiking and do trail building and maintenance.
      Which, by the way, your organization, STC has never sponsored
      a trail building or maintenance event.

  • Ron Callahan

    Can someone show these results to IMBA? At the time of my vote, 48% support opening wilderness trails to MTBs.

    • isawtman

      I’m afraid a handful of responses to a flawed poll on a mountain biking website doesn’t reflect the views of most people.

  • isawtman

    Right off the bat this survey is flawed. The first option is “All public land should be open and accessible to every user group.” Does that include ATV user groups, Dirt Bikers, Jeeps and so on? Also, it should be noted that everyone has access to Wilderness Areas, they just need to keep their mechanical contraptions out of the Wilderness. Seems fair to me.

    • John F. Utah

      I joined singletracks just to reply to you.

      I think horses should be banned from all trails because of the risk of crashing into a bear, don’t you think? Or should we ban the bears?

      We should ban all wildlife from these areas. Problem solved

    • isawtman

      First of all, John, I am honored that you joined singletracks just to
      chat with me. I’m sure the folks at singletracks are thrilled, too.

      I have never heard of a horse crashing into a bear on a trail.
      The problem with mountain bikers is they consider horseback riders
      the evil ones. The problem with that is horseback riders consist of
      about .24% of the population and the ones that actually ride on trails
      would be way less than that. Meanwhile, the amount of mountain bikers
      is ten times great than that at 2.9% of the population.

      And again, the Wilderness Act bans “mechanical transport” and horses
      are not mechanical transport. There has been some nutcase mountain bikers
      that claim that since horses have a metal bit in there mouth and metal horse
      shoes on their feet, that they are mechanical transport. But neither the bit
      or the horseshoes are doing the transporting, it’s the horse.

    • Jeff OnTrails

      Todd wrote: “First of all, John, I am honored that you joined singletracks just to chat with me.”

      Todd, you are a narcissistic sociopath! Go get some friends in Wisconsin to talk to! There has to be at least 1 other lonely hiker in your town that will chat with you!

  • vapidoscar

    I’d like to see some areas open for anyone to build trails like they have in Canada. I think it is call Queen’s land.

    • isawtman

      Canada also has some areas that are more restrictive than our Wilderness Areas. I’d like to see that, too.

  • Chris Capoccia

    Most wilderness should stay as-is, but some trails as connectors through wilderness would be great! I noticed this problem when I was on vacation in South Dakota. Centennial trail is cut in two

    • isawtman

      But you still had more than 80 miles of Centennial Trail north of the Wilderness that you could ride on.

    • Jeff OnTrails

      But Todd, you have all 2,190 miles of the Appalachian Trail to hike. It is the only trail in the US designated by congress as a footpath. Why do you need to hike anywhere else?

    • isawtman

      Jeff, my point was there is much trail to ride on north of the Wilderness.
      The Trail really isn’t cut in two because there isn’t that much trail south
      of the wilderness. There is only something like 20 miles that mountain bikers
      can ride south of the Wilderness. So, Mountain bikers have the majority
      of the trail that they can ride on. But of course, that’s not good enough
      for mountain bikers like Jeff.

  • b0bg

    Public land should be accessible to the public, what they choose to do there is a matter of secondary concern, but all decisions start from a presumption of permission. Obviously some use cases are incompatible with the long term health of the land and responsible stewardship. (Frack Yellowstone? Yosemite Mining? Hunting/Trapping in every property?) So yes, there can and should be limitations but they should be for valid, defensible, scientifically valid reasons, and they should be applied on a case by case basis determined not by the users, but by the harm to be avoided.

    I’d be ok having some places where bikes aren’t allowed (Half Dome Downhill?) but blanket bans that ignore context and the rightful user population are not how we’re supposed to do things in this country. Blanket bans are also ineffective, and counterproductive. If we expect people to value and respect these lands we need to offer a reason for the to care about them. If these lands become just a private playground for bureaucrats and their favored, privileged friends, don’t be surprised when people throw up their hands and want to sell it off to oil companies, loggers, and real estate developers.

  • BZN

    I think Some trails in Wilderness should be open for mountain biking, some only to hikers, and some for animals only. I’d ask the Wilderness experts and scientist for recommendations

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