Environews: Bicycles in wilderness?

By Amy Brunvand

Utah Senator Mike Lee has re-introduced a bill to allow “local federal officials” to determine whether or not to allow mountain bikes in wilderness areas, a transparent effort to transfer federal public lands to local control.

The 1964 Wilderness Act specifically forbids “mechanical transport’ in order to preserve natural conditions. While bicycles are not motorized, they do increase the speed and range that human beings can travel.

Wilderness area stakeholders can already negotiate boundaries. What’s more, federal lands can be managed as primitive areas, recreation areas and conservation areas that do allow bicycles. There is no reason to undermine wilderness protections in order to support biking.

This article was originally published on July 2, 2019.