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-- Public Comment Ends Feb. 29, 2004

IMBA Action Alert

California mountain bicyclists need to write the Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission (FERC) immediately to save mountain bike trail access at Lake
Oroville. Public comment ends Feb. 29.

In spring 2002, California State Parks opened 17 miles of trail at Lake
Oroville to mountain bicycling. Lake Oroville is located about 80 miles north
of Sacramento in the Sierra foothills. Since then, hikers, cyclists and
equestrians have shared the trail system with no significant user conflicts.

Unfortunately, a few vocal equestrians have petitioned the Federal Energy
Regulatory Commission (FERC) to overrule California State Parks' shared-use
trail management policy at Lake Oroville. The power-producing dam and the
land at Lake Oroville are under FERC's jurisdiction, giving them authority on
trail regulation.

Despite a clear, two-year record of successful shared-use, FERC has
recommended that bicycles be banned. The reasoning behind the recommendation
is flawed, and reflects little understanding of the needs or impacts of
cyclists. If it is accepted, the trails will be closed to bicycle use and a
bad precedent will be set, encouraging agencies to respond to individual
complaints, rather than adhere to sound management principles.

It is critical that California mountain bicyclists write letters to challenge
FERC's recommendation and support the efforts of California State Parks to
provide great riding opportunities. A proper trail management decision at
Oroville will protect trail access in other California state parks. This is
an issue that affects everyone who rides in California.

Please write to:
Magalie R. Salas, Secretary
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
888 First Street, NE
Washington, D.C. 20426

You're letter should reference:
"Feather River Project, FERC Project No. 2100-119"

Points to make in your letter:
* There is solid science, recreation and management literature to justify
shared-use trails at Lake Oroville.
* California State Parks has a long, successful history of managing trail
recreation (including mountain biking).
* California State Parks uses well-crafted policies and guidelines to help
them make decisions regarding trail use. State Parks followed these policies
and guidelines to determine that trails should be multiple use.
* At Lake Oroville, State Parks initiated a public process where hikers,
equestrians, bicyclists and other stakeholders could participate in
* The vocal objections of a few critics do not justify rejecting the
decisions that were made.
* The California Recreational Trails Committee (comprising of various trail
leaders appointed by the governor and representing the California trails
community) unanimously supported the decision to make trails at Lake Oroville
* FERC's Draft Environmental Assessment (DEA) revealed few instances of
actual trail conflict. Other than some vague complaints from one disgruntled
equestrian, the EA relied upon a general statement in a bicycle guidebook
that many hikers and equestrians "assert" that bikes speed and that riders
can't share trails. That statement had no relevance to the trails in question.
* Professional agencies favor shared use. Supporting letters were provided by
the California Department of Parks and Recreation, the California Department
of Water Resources, the National Park Service and the California Recreational
Trails Committee. The process involved substantial involvement of stakeholders
* Neither trail impact nor water quality is at issue. FERC's assessment
itself states there would be "little or no environmental effects on geology
and soils, terrestrial, or cultural resources" caused by bicycle use.
* The trails in question have been open to bikes without incident for more
than two years. This was the result of an extensive public review process.
* There is no evidence of safety problems. There were no accidents involving
bicycles on the trails during the relevant period of time.

Public comment ends Feb. 29, 2004. For more background information on the
history of the decision visit:

Please send your letter today!
Long live long rides. Are YOU an IMBA member?

For Immediate Release
Jenn Dice, IMBA government affairs director
[email protected]
Jim Haagen-Smit, IMBA CA representative
[email protected]
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