[MCN] For Release: 133 Conservation Groups Tell Congress: Keep Bikes Out of Wilderness and TAKE ACTION

Dawn Serra dserra at wildernesswatch.org
Tue Dec 5 12:20:38 EST 2017


For Release: December 5, 2017

*133 Conservation Groups Tell Congress: Keep Bikes Out of Wilderness**

**/U.S. House hearing on GOP bill opening all Wilderness areas to bikes 
and other wheeled contraptions is Thursday, December 7^th /*

George Nickas, Wilderness Watch, 406-542-2048 
<tel:%28406%29%20542-2048>, gnickas at wildernesswatch.org 
<mailto:gnickas at wildernesswatch.org>

Kevin Proescholdt, Wilderness Watch, 612-201-9266 
<tel:%28612%29%20201-9266>, kevinp at wildernesswatch.org 
<mailto:kevinp at wildernesswatch.org>

MISSOULA, MONTANA – A broad coalition of 133 conservation and Wilderness 
organizations from across America have asked Congress “to reject an 
unprecedented call to amend the Wilderness Act to allow for the use of 
mountain bikes in designated Wilderness.”

The sign-on letter from the 133 organizations was prepared ahead of a 
December 7th hearing in the U.S. House’s Subcommittee on Federal Lands 
on a Republican-sponsored bill (H.R. 1349) which would open up all of 
America’s 110-million acres of Wilderness to mountain bikes and other 
wheeled contraptions.

“For over a half century, the Wilderness Act has protected wilderness 
areas from mechanization and mechanical transport, even if no motors 
were involved with such activities. This has meant, as Congress 
intended, that Wildernesses have been kept free from bicycles and other 
types of mechanization and mechanical transport,” the 133 organizations 
wrote Congress in a sign-on letter prepared for the December 7th hearing.

A copy of the letter to Congress signed by 133 conservation groups can 
be viewed here: http://bit.ly/2AU0ume

“We see this for what it is: an assault on the very idea of Wilderness 
and the values of the Wilderness Act,” said George Nickas, executive 
director of Wilderness Watch. “At a time when wilderness and wildlife 
are under increasing pressures from increasing populations, growing 
mechanization, and a rapidly changing climate, the last thing Wilderness 
needs is to be invaded by mountain bikes and other machines.”

In the letter to Congress, the 133 conservation groups point out:

“In a seemingly cynical attempt to use people with disabilities as a 
justification for the bill, the legislation lists ‘motorized 
wheelchairs’ and ‘non-motorized wheelchairs’ as the first uses to be 
authorized in the bill (even prior to the listing of ‘bicycles’), 
despite the fact that the 1990 amendments to the Americans with 
Disabilities Act (ADA) have allowed wheelchairs in designated Wilderness 
for more than a quarter-century.”

HR 1349 supporters erroneously claim that mountain bikes were allowed in 
Wilderness until 1984, but then banned administratively by the U.S. 
Forest Service. This claim is simply not true.

“The 1964 Wilderness Act (36 U.S.C. 1131-1136) banned all types of 
mechanized transport, including bicycles, in designated Wilderness. 
Section 4(c) of that act states, “[T]here shall be...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.” (italics added)

“Mountain bikes are exactly the kind of mechanical devices and 
mechanical transport that Congress intended to keep out of Wilderness in 
passing the Wilderness Act. Bicycles have their place, but that place is 
not inside Wilderness areas,” explained Kevin Proescholdt, Conservation 
Director of Wilderness Watch.

“We believe that this protection has served our nation well, and that 
the ‘benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness’ would be forever 
lost by allowing mechanized transport in these areas,” the 133 
conservation and Wilderness protection organizations wrote Congress.

# # #



Dawn Serra
Communications and Outreach Coordinator*
Wilderness Watch
*P.O. Box 9175
Missoula, MT 59807
P: 406.542.2048

www.wildernesswatch.org <http://www.wildernesswatch.org>
“Like” WW on Facebook 

Follow WW on Twitter <https://twitter.com/WildernessWatch>
Donate <https://wildernesswatch.crm.salsalabs.org/webDonation/>
/*/Wilderness Watch/*///defends our 110 million-acre National Wilderness 
Preservation System.


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