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STC applauds introduction of Wilderness bill in US Senate

Published May 22, 2018

WASHINGTON (BRAIN) — The Sustainable Trails Coalition has thanked Utah's Sen. Mike Lee's introduction of a revised version of his 2016 Human-Powered Travel in Wilderness Areas Act. The act would allow local managers to decide if mountain bikes should be allowed in federal Wilderness areas. Similar legislation is now pending in the U.S. House. 

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Lee is chairman of the Senate's Public Lands Subcommittee. The House bill was introduced by Rep. Tom McClintock of California, who is chairman of the House Federal Lands Subcommittee.

"STC thanks Chairman Lee and Chairman McClintock for their principled leadership and urges people to support the legislation," the organization said in a statement Monday. 

STC's news release included quotes from several supporters, including Linda George of Utah, who said, "Thoughtful access to new and existing Wilderness areas, where deemed appropriate by local land managers for the health and sanctity of these special areas, will foster appreciation, stewardship and interest in protecting these lands. One example would be an access corridor for segments of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail that traverse lower-elevation Wilderness along the western slopes of the Wasatch Range."

In the STC statement, Jake Weber said, "I am a Southern Utah mountain bike guide. Hooray for a common-sense bill being introduced in the Senate that will allow local land managers to manage their designated public lands as they understand them best. Sen. Mike Lee is listening to his constituents. While we may not agree on everything, we can agree that bikes belong. They always have."

The Senate bill will not open Wilderness trails to mountain biking unless the federal agency in charge of a Wilderness area authorizes it or takes no action within two years. Trails would open to nonmotorized, human-powered travel, letting agency staff observe the result. They would still be able to restrict or prohibit mountain biking, just as they can other recreational activities.

The bill does not require creating trails or modifying existing ones to facilitate bicycling or other human-powered uses. It calls for the character of a Wilderness area is to be preserved.

 

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