The closure of the Boulder-White Clouds to mountain bikes thanks to its new Wilderness designation and the coincidentally-timed launch of the Sustainable Trails Coalition is brewing a controversy of epic proportions in the mountain bike and conservation world. But that storm of controversy may also create the critical winds of change. I’ve written about this topic already–if you missed it, you can check out my article, here.
Admittedly, this is a controversial topic, even in the mountain biking community. Some commentators have asked me to reconsider my position, and others have cursed me up and down for my take on the topic.
I just want to let everyone know: I’ve spent some time reconsidering my position. I’ve reconsidered, and I’ve decided that the opinion piece that I penned before may have been too mild. I’m now only more passionate about getting mountain bikes into Wilderness.
Personally, I think this is a topic that should be of major importance to the entire MTB community. It does my heart good to see anyone and everyone covering this topic–and some other mountain bike media outlets and writers that I respect have been doing a fantastic job. First, Kurt Gensheimer, the Angry Singlespeeder, wrote on MTBR about the Sustainable Trails Coalition. While he made his position known, this is actually one of the more level-headed articles I’ve read from him–I think it’s extremely well-reasoned.
Next up, Vernon Felton and Bike Magazine have released the video above–and they have more coverage on the way both in print and digital. Here’s a link to the original video and explanation, but I’ve copied the key info below for your convenience. Be sure to investigate the articles that Vernon has linked to:
What the hell is this video about? Well, hopefully it speaks for itself–it’s both about the recent loss of some of the best riding in the western United States and about the larger issue of why mountain biking in wilderness areas is illegal. Or to put it simply, this is a video about why you should give a damn about a topic you may not have thought much about before.
What we’ve created is, I’ll readily admit, a fairly short video about an amazingly complex subject. That’s because The Golden Rule of Video says something along the lines of “Thou shalt not bore the crap out of the audience.” We tried to toe that line while still giving you enough grist to form your own opinion.
That said, if you’re itching for more background on the ban on bikes–how it happened, why it happened, and the rationale for it—check out this story here.
Want to see those studies I refer to, which show that bikes have no more negative effect on trails and wildlife than hiking? Read this summary of the science.
What’s happening in Montana with the trail closures? Check this out.
But rest assured, you’ll also be seeing a full-length feature story on this subject in Bike’s print and digital magazine in the near future and it will, I promise, go in-depth with members of the Sierra Club, IMBA and the emerging Sustainable Trails Coalition—a group which is aiming to go at the bike ban from a different angle than IMBA.
We’re just getting started here.
Do you want to ride your bike in Wilderness as well? Donate to the Sustainable Trails Coalition Now!