Action Alert! Trails at risk!|
Thursday, December 14, 2000
December 11, 2000
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has released a draft plan that will govern how off-highway vehicles (OHVs) can be used on BLM-managed public land. The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) and DirtWorld.com are concerned that the plan groups mountain bikes with motorized vehicles despite the different impacts of the activities.
IMBA is against grouping mountain bikes with motorized vehicles because it could lead to severe and unwarranted restriction of bicycle access. The physical and social impacts of bicycle use are clearly less than that of motorized use and IMBA believes bicycles should be managed separately.
"We're disappointed the BLM has chosen this route," said IMBA executive director Tim Blumenthal. "We have worked as partners with the BLM for a decade to carefully manage mountain biking. This plan is not consistent with that partnership."
The Draft National Off-Highway Vehicle Management Strategy was released Dec. 4 for public comment.
IMBA is encouraging mountain bikers to submit comments on the plan before the Jan. 3, 2001 deadline. The BLM has said it will finalize the strategy by Jan. 19, 2001 - the last day of the Clinton Administration.
IMBA suggests the following points be included in comment letters:
- Bicycling should be managed separately from motorized recreation. Explain from your personal experience the fundamental differences between bicycling and motorized recreation.
- IMBA believes that bicycling should be grouped with other nonmotorized recreation forms, such as hiking and horseback riding, in the management guidelines for public lands. We agree that bicycling and all forms of recreation need management. We will be happy to work with BLM to improve the management of bicycling on the public lands, and we encourage the agency to develop a bicycling strategy, or a nonmotorized recreation strategy, to complement its OHV strategy.
- The BLM did not sufficiently inform the public that bicycles would be included in the plan during the initial comment period. Because of this, many bicyclists did not comment. The deadline for additional public comment, Jan. 3, 2001, is too soon for cyclists to adequately review the plan and submit comments.
- More than 10 million Americans enjoy mountain biking. BLM decisions made today about mountain biking will impact our activity for years to come. Our sport is big enough to warrant its own management plan.
- The BLM, mountain bikers and the International Mountain Bicycling Association have a long, positive history of cooperation that began in the late 1980s and includes several formal agreements and joint projects. This controversial plan to group mountain bikes with motorized vehicles could harm this relationship.
- The BLM plan fundamentally differs from a recently signed Memorandum of Understanding between the U.S. Forest Service and IMBA, the Forest Service pledged that it shall "Encourage the management of mountain bike use as distinct from motorized activities when developing agency policy, forest management plans, and travel management rules."
Send your letter by mail, email, or fax to:
BLM OHV Strategy Comments
U.S. Department of the Interior - BLM
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20240.
Fax: (202) 452-5124
View the BLM Draft National Off-Highway Vehicle Management Strategy at http://www.blm.gov/ohv.
More on IMBA's relationship with the BLM can be seen in the Resources Section