Proposals that would restrict or close selected riding access for mountain bikers in the Shoshone National Forest have stirred angst amongst regional riders.

They are banding together to question the plans before the public comment period ends Jan. 12.

Riders claim the Forest is poised to take unnecessary action under its Land Management Plan, while Forest officials say they are merely balancing the needs of all trail users, including mountain bikers, horseback riders and ATV travelers.

One part of the plan would add 35 miles of approved biking trails, while another would subtract what some say is 28 miles of existing trails.

Mountain bikers say they could well lose access to places they are long used to riding.

John Gallagher of the Park County Pedalers said the Shoshone non-motorized trail plan is really responding to issues that have occurred elsewhere, in Utah and Colorado, where participants in the different activities have overlapped.

“It’s ridiculous,” Gallagher said of applying policies from other states to the Cody area for what he calls no purpose. “The only reason we’ve been given is they are trying to get ahead of a non-existent problem. That doesn’t happen here. If there’s problems, close them (trails). But

they’ve not pointing to that. There is really no good reason.”

Kristie Salzmann, a Shoshone National Forest spokeswoman, said officials promised Gov. Matt Mead they would look at overall mountain bike use in the Forest and also was undertaking examination of trail use in light of “growing (mountain bike) use in the United States. It is changing in many national forests around the country.”

At issue may be whether or not mountain bikers can ride off-trail, or cross-country, anywhere in the Forest. That would include eliminating legal use of riding where it has been allowed in years past.

Some of the trails would be closed only to mountain bikers, but would remain open to hikers or horseback riders.

“We are a very big horse Forest,” Salzmann said.

Salzmann said compromises on trail use in the Shoshone National Forest may be necessary for the common good, restricting certain user groups to some areas and different kinds of trail users to other ones.

“It is a change,” she said. “There are always going to be questions. Our goal is to make it fair for all user groups. We all have to compromise with give and take.”

(Lew Freedman can be reached at lew@codyenterprise.com.)

(5) comments

SYC79

The commenter Mike Vandeman is an anti-mountain biking extremist from California. He has been incarcerated for attacking mountain bikers with a saw. He has a long history of physically attacking bikers.

Cody Enterprise, please delete his comments - don't let this internet troll disparage Maddox's incredible accomplishments! The Cody community supports mountain bikers!

Here is a link to an old story about this guy:
http://reviews.mtbr.com/anti-mountain-biking-fanatic-mike-vandeman-arrested-for-assault-with-a-deadly-weapon-against-two-bikers

John G

Please send the Shoshone National Forest a comment about this by using the form http://www.wyopath.org/our-work/pathways-projects/shoshone-non-motorized-trail-system-planning/#comment-form. That page has all the background and information about this proposed action.

It is important to note that the Shoshone Forest Plan directs the Forest Supervisor to look for new opportunities to enhance mountain bike trails in the forest, in part to address trails that were closed in the Dunoir Special Management Area, and in part because mountain biking is an accepted recreational use that should be enhanced. Also, the Forest Plan specifically includes a goal to enhance mountain bike trails, and states “New non-motorized trail opportunities focus on providing experiences that are under-represented, such as mountain biking.” How does proposing for wholesale trail closures, that far exceed any new proposed trails that may never get built, meet the Shoshone National Forest's obligations as directed in their land management plan?

Petro

Perhaps Mr. Gallagher could have his Pappy in-law write a letter on behalf of the bicycle riders? Around here it's not what you know it's who you know

John G

Actually, it is who is willing to get off the couch and get involved.

mjvande

Bicycles should not be allowed in any natural area. They are inanimate objects and have no rights. There is also no right to mountain bike. That was settled in federal court in 1996: http://mjvande.info/mtb10.htm . It's dishonest of mountain bikers to say that they don't have access to trails closed to bikes. They have EXACTLY the same access as everyone else -- ON FOOT! Why isn't that good enough for mountain bikers? They are all capable of walking....

A favorite myth of mountain bikers is that mountain biking is no more harmful to wildlife, people, and the environment than hiking, and that science supports that view. Of course, it's not true. To settle the matter once and for all, I read all of the research they cited, and wrote a review of the research on mountain biking impacts (see http://mjvande.info/scb7.htm ). I found that of the seven studies they cited, (1) all were written by mountain bikers, and (2) in every case, the authors misinterpreted their own data, in order to come to the conclusion that they favored. They also studiously avoided mentioning another scientific study (Wisdom et al) which did not favor mountain biking, and came to the opposite conclusions.

Those were all experimental studies. Two other studies (by White et al and by Jeff Marion) used a survey design, which is inherently incapable of answering that question (comparing hiking with mountain biking). I only mention them because mountain bikers often cite them, but scientifically, they are worthless.

Mountain biking accelerates erosion, creates V-shaped ruts, kills small animals and plants on and next to the trail, drives wildlife and other trail users out of the area, and, worst of all, teaches kids that the rough treatment of nature is okay (it's NOT!). What's good about THAT?

To see exactly what harm mountain biking does to the land, watch this 5-minute video: http://vimeo.com/48784297.

In addition to all of this, it is extremely dangerous: http://mjvande.info/mtb_dangerous.htm .

For more information: http://mjvande.info/mtbfaq.htm .

The common thread among those who want more recreation in our parks is total ignorance about and disinterest in the wildlife whose homes these parks are. Yes, if humans are the only beings that matter, it is simply a conflict among humans (but even then, allowing bikes on trails harms the MAJORITY of park users -- hikers and equestrians -- who can no longer safely and peacefully enjoy their parks).

The parks aren't gymnasiums or racetracks or even human playgrounds. They are WILDLIFE HABITAT, which is precisely why they are attractive to humans. Activities such as mountain biking, that destroy habitat, violate the charter of the parks.

Even kayaking and rafting, which give humans access to the entirety of a water body, prevent the wildlife that live there from making full use of their habitat, and should not be allowed. Of course those who think that only humans matter won't understand what I am talking about -- an indication of the sad state of our culture and educational system.

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