The Gunnison National Forest (GMUG) is proposing to manage mountain bikes as motorized vehicles as part of their implementation of the National Travel Management Rule. This decision is counter to an International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the USDA Forest Service that agrees that mountain bikes shoud be managed similarly to equestrians and hikers. This Proposed Action would also close several trails to mountain bike use. None of this affects mountain bike restrictions from Wilderness.
Please write a letter in support of the Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association’s efforts to have bicycles removed from the language of this decision. Email it to r2_gmug_gunnison_travel@fs.fed.us

see http://www.visitcrestedbutte.com/businesspage.cfm?businessid=2126&page=1

Here’s the letter we wrote. Feel free to paraphrase at will.

Dear Forest Supervisor, Gunnison Travel Planning Team, et al-

I am writing on behalf of the Flagstaff Biking Organization. We are a bicycle advocacy and outreach group in Flagstaff, Arizona. We have a cooperative agreement with our local Forest, the Coconino, to construct and maintain trails.

It has come to our attention that your Forest intends to limit bicycle use to designated system trails as part of the Proposed Action for the implementation of the National Travel Management Rule. It is also our understanding that you intend to reduce the number of open-to-bicycle trails on the system.

We would like the following comments submitted for the record.

We see that there is significant inconsistency in your administration of access for non-motorized conveyances. Your policies for access for bicyclists should be the same as you policies for access for equestrians and hikers. This would then accurately reflect the Memorandum of Understanding that was agreed upon by the International Mountain Bicycling Association and the USDA Forest Service which states that the Forest Service should, “encourage the management of mountain bike use as distinct from motorized activities when developing agency policy, forest management plans, and travel management rules.” Your Proposed Action suggests managing mountain bike use similarly to motorized, which goes counter to this MOU. Disallowing the restrictions in this Proposed Action would in no way change the prohibition of mountain bikes in Wilderness or any other currently unauthorized uses.

Crested Butte is one of the most well known and oldest mountain biking destinations in the world. The impacts to the local and regional tourism economy cannot be underestimated. The fact that you are receiving this letter from us, in Flagstaff, reflects that interest. This demand for mountain biking should be responsibly addressed in any Forest decisions, as this use is growing yearly. Limiting this use will lead to higher impacts on the remaining trails and higher trail maintenance budgets as well.

The Crested Butte Mountain Biking Association has one of the longest ongoing trail maintenance arrangements of any bicycling group with any National Forest. The Executive Order for Facilitation of Cooperative Conservation, issued August of 2004 calls for the USDA to participate in “cooperative conservation” or “actions that relate to use, enhancement, and enjoyment of natural resources, protection of the environment, or both, and that involve collaborative activity among Federal, State, local, and tribal governments, private for-profit and nonprofit institutions, other nongovernmental entities and individuals.” It is important that the Gunnison National Forest continue to foster this relationship, as a hugely significant source of trail maintenance volunteers comes through this group’s participation in this cooperative arrangement. Closing opportunities for this user group runs counter to fostering a healthy relationship with these volunteers.

We ask that any planning for the management of bicycle use be removed from the language contained in your Travel Management implementation Alternatives. We also ask that in any planning going forward, the Gunnison National Forest administrate all non-motorized uses equally as is legal.

Sincerely-

Anthony Quintile
Flagstaff Biking Organization
P.O. Box 23851
Flagstaff, AZ 86002