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New rule could give mountain bikers more access to National Parks, Rainier not likely to be impacted

Post by Craig Hill / The News Tribune on July 6, 2012 at 3:56 pm with 3 Comments »
July 6, 2012 4:08 pm
A mountain biker rides the Carbon River Road shortly after it was washed out by floods in 2006. Mountain biking is permitted on the road even though it is now closed to vehicle use. (Photo by Peter Haley)

A new plan that would give mountain bikers more access to national parks, will have almost no impact on Mount Rainier National Park, chief ranger Chuck Young said this afternoon.

“It’s not even on the table,” Young said, noting that 97 percent of the park is designated wilderness.

The National Park Service announced Thursday it will expand bicycle access but will continue to prohibit bikes in wilderness areas.

“Bikes are a great way to exercise, get healthy, and experience the great outdoors,” National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis said in a prepared statement. “This new rule gives park superintendents greater flexibility to determine where bikes can be allowed in a park and additional authority to shut areas where cycling is jeopardizing visitors or park resources.”

The rule gives park superintendents the authority to allow bicycles on roads were vehicle are not. Bikes are already allowed on park roads that are open to vehicles.

At Mount Rainier, bikes are allowed on unpaved service roads near Longmire, the Carbon River Road and the Westside Road. That’s likely to continue to be the case, Young said.

The Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility issued a statement Friday denouncing the new rule, which goes into effect Aug. 5.

“Make no mistake, this is a significant relaxation of national park resource protection.  It adds insult to injury that it slithered out with no warning on the day after the Fourth of July,” PEER executive director Jeff Ruch said in the statement.

Ruch added: “Nobody is against mountain biking. The issue is whether one form of recreation can shut out all others in national parks that are meant for and paid for by everybody.  That is why the old rules were put in place and their abrupt removal is cause for unease.”


Leave a comment Comments → 3
  1. elmerfudd says:

    It’s hard to see what the problem is with allowing bikes on the trails. They’re clean, they’re quiet and they’re low impact. The only real argument I can see against them is that they might injure themselves out in the wilderness and require rescue.

  2. Yes they’re quiet and fast. Ever been hit by a bike? They don’t belong out there with the hikers.

    Low impact? Ever go out to the bike trials on tiger mt? They have so many ramps, jumps and other ‘fun’ things built that it ruins the scenery.

    They would never be satisfied with just riding on the trails as they are. They would try to improve them to their liking.

  3. elmerfudd says:

    Obnoxious people tear things up, it has nothing to do with bikes. Who hasn’t seen litter left in campsites or on trails? Should we prohibit hikers because of their destructive habits?

    You just make and post rules for bicyclists and the overwhelming majority will follow them, just like the overwhelming majority of hikers do.

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