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NPS Bike Ban Lifted - Local Officials Can Consider Allowing Bikes on Trails

July 12, 2012 5:58 PM
NPS Bike Ban Lifted - Local Officials Can Consider Allowing Bikes on Trails
NPS Bike Ban Lifted - Local Officials Can Consider Allowing Bikes on Trails


Anti-recreation groups and NPS advocacy groups go ballistic in opposition

POCATELLO, ID (July 12)--The BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC), a national trail-based recreation group, applauded a move by the National Park Service (NPS) early this month that could allow additional mountain bike recreation in National Parks across the U.S.

On July 5, 2012, the NPS released revised regulations (known as a "rule") giving park superintendents the ability to allow bicycles on roads that exist on the ground but have been closed to motorized vehicles. The rule could, if approved via planning and environmental analysis, also allow mountain bike use on some existing trails.

Brian Hawthorne, BRC's Public Lands Policy Director, praised the decision saying that the NPS needs to recognize that its dual mission requires it to fully consider meaningful and diverse recreation activities. "When creating the National Park System, Congress mandated that the Park Service 'promote' and 'provide for the use and enjoyment' of park resources and 'leave [the park resources] unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.'" Hawthorne noted that these coequal mandates require the NPS to balance both interests when making management decisions for national parks. "Allowing Park Superintendents to allow mountain bikes is the right thing to do," he said.

Environmental groups and NPS advocacy organizations howled in opposition, saying the agency "slithered" the new policy in on Independence Day, insinuating mountain biking in National Parks is somehow unpatriotic. The Center for Biological Diversity joined the National Parks Conservation Association and the Association of National Park Rangers expressing grave concerns the rule would circumvent public involvement and environmental analysis.

In reality, the new rule will open nothing.  It simply eliminates a blanket prohibition on bikes and adds possible bike use to the list of topics local officials are empowered to address through local planning.  The new rule requires rigorous environmental compliance requirements and mandatory public comment on proposals to open existing or new trails to bikes. In addition, new trails outside of developed areas will continue to require a park-specific special regulation, and the NPS will continue to  prohibit bicycle use in eligible, study, proposed, recommended and designated Wilderness areas.

Greg Mumm, BRC's Executive Director was not surprised these groups oppose the new rule. "That is why we call them anti-recreation groups," he said.  Mumm stressed the National Park System was never meant to be managed as Wilderness. "Through lawsuits and high-dollar political lobbying environmentalists are tilting the balance. This new rule is entirely appropriate. The National Park System needs to be willing to provide Americans with recreational access," he added.

The final rule, 36 CFR  4.30, was published in the Federal Register on July 6 and will go into effect 30 days later.

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The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national recreation group that champions responsible recreation, and encourages individual environmental stewardship. With members in all 50 states, BRC is focused on building enthusiast involvement with organizational efforts through membership, outreach, education, and collaboration among recreationists. 1-800-BlueRib -

May 31, 2016 3:24 PM
Some of the many historic OHV routes in the Pine Nut Mountains

BOISE, ID (May 31, 2016) -- Coalition (BRC), a national trail-based recreation group, today slammed recent decisions that would severely restrict off-highway vehicle (OHV) events and trail improvements in many areas in eastern California and Nevada.  The changes, in the name of sage grouse management, were demanded by a handful of preservationist special interest groups.

November 23, 2015 3:16 PM
Associated Image

MISSOULA, MT (November 23, 2015) --Various organizations, led by the Ten Lakes Snowmobile Club, have filed a lawsuit challenging U.S. Forest Service planning efforts on the Kootenai and Idaho Panhandle National Forests.  The complaint, filed on November 12, 2015, in federal court for the U.S.

November 23, 2015 10:38 AM

POCATELLO, ID (November 23, 2015) – Early last week, the BlueRibbon Coalition/ joined with other recreation groups in a letter sent to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in support of a balanced approach to managing public lands as part of the Moab Master Leasing Plan.

The letter addressed to BLM serves as formal comments from OHV stakeholders.  It also represents an effort between motorized and non-motorized recreation groups working together for the protection of outdoor recreation resources on public lands.

[Press Room Archive]