Bikes in the Boundary Waters Wilderness? Bill in Congress would allow it.


The U.S. Home Subcommittee on Federal Lands is scheduled to carry listening to Thursday on H.R 1349 that would open one hundred ten million acres of U.S. wilderness to mountain bikes and different wheeled units.

The invoice requires each motorized and non-motorized wheelchairs along with bikes, strollers, wheelbarrows, recreation carts and different units to be allowed in federal wilderness areas.

In fact, a lot of the 1.1 million acre Boundary Waters Canoe Space Wilderness just isn’t potential bike nation; it is principally water. However climbing trails inside the wilderness definitely could possibly be utilized by bikes, as might the community of trails on Isle Royale, if the invoice passes and turns into regulation.

There are 192 miles of climbing trails inside the BWCAW, together with the Kekekabic and Border Route trails, and tons of of miles of mountaineering trails on Isle Royale in Lake Superior, which is almost solely a delegated wilderness space.

Supporters say the invoice would solely permit the choice of bikes however that particular company land managers nonetheless might enact laws to ban bikes in particular wilderness areas.

“Backcountry cyclists search the identical experiences as backcountry hikers and horseback riders,” the Colorado-based mostly Sustainable Trails Coalition posted on its web site in help of the invoice. “The laws grants solely a risk” of bikes in wilderness areas.

However a coalition of 133 conservation and wilderness organizations from throughout the U.S. have requested Congress to reject the “unprecedented” effort to amend the Wilderness Act. The teams stated all mechanization, even when non-motorized, was particularly excluded from wilderness areas by Congress.

“Mountain bikes are precisely the sort of mechanical units and mechanical transport that Congress meant to maintain out of Wilderness in passing the Wilderness Act. Bicycles have their place, however that place isn’t inside Wilderness areas,” stated Kevin Proescholdt, Minnesota-based mostly conservation director of Wilderness Watch and a longtime activist for the BWCAW. The invoice “might impression each wilderness within the nation, together with the Boundary Waters.”

Others agreed.

“We see this for what it’s: an assault on the very concept of Wilderness and the values of the Wilderness Act,” stated George Nickas, government director of Wilderness Watch.

Critics of the invoice notice that the 1990 amendments to the People With Disabilities Act already allowed wheelchairs in wilderness areas they usually referred to as the inclusion of wheelchairs within the new laws a “cynical try” to make use of disabled individuals to…



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