Letter: Lee, Mountain biking in the wilderness is a bad idea
September 14, 2016
Mountain biking in the wilderness is a bad idea
Here we go again! Another bill sponsored by Senators Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee. Not satisfied with wilderness staying wild they and other advocates want to begin gutting the Wilderness Act by allowing non-motorized transport (including mountain bikes) in Wilderness areas. The Wilderness Act banned any mechanized transport in these areas and surely mountain bikes can be classified as such.
This bill would affect not just Grand County residents but all Americans. If we want to keep our Wilderness areas wild we need to put a stop to this "grab with both hands" bill. There are hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of acres of land that bikes can use on federal BLM and Forest Service land. Pushing into the Wilderness Areas just seems greedy. I mountain bikes but I don't support this "open wilderness areas to mountain bikes" idea. The Sustainable Trails Coalition supports this bill and seems to forget that trails exist not only for mountain biking but for those people who just want peace and quiet to hike, to birdwatch, to admire the scenery and animal life in these wilderness areas and leave it alone. That is what the Wilderness Act is really about. With many of our wilderness areas under siege already from those who want to "use" them (mining, oil and gas concerns, motorized travel, etc.) it seems a shame that here are more people adding to the problem. This bill twists the intent of the Wilderness Act to keep wilderness as free of technology and mechanization as possible. Those who oppose it are made to seem selfish and not willing to share. It took people like Aldo Leopold, Mardy and Olaus Murie and many others decades of work to get this bill passed by Congress. They wanted to preserve America's wild places. Mountain biking in the wilderness was not what they worked so hard for. It's a bad idea.
Hot Sulphur Springs