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This just published on the web from the NM Wilderness Alliance:

"Within the Sangre de Cristo Mountains is an extremely wild area that all New Mexicans have a stake in preserving. This area, the Columbine Hondo Wilderness Study Area, sustains surrounding communities with clean drinking water, recreation and tourism jobs. Yet, it is still in need of permanent protection. Through our work with the Columbine Hondo Wilderness Coalition we have been working hard for the permanent protection of this wild area and we are making tremendous progress.

This week, The Columbine Hondo Wilderness Coalition went live. This site is a clearinghouse for information about this important area as well as the campaign to see it permanently protected. Please take a look around and be sure to sign the petition and get on the mailing list so you can get updates directly from the campaign.

Also, and perhaps most importantly, please contact New Mexico’s Congressional delegation and urge them introduce legislation that would designate Columbine Hondo as a wilderness area. You can do that from here.

Contact Your Elected Officials | The Columbine Hondo Wilderness Coalition "

:eekster:

So Instead: contact them and ask for "bicycle friendly conservation measures", such as bicycle easements and companion designations, NOT wholesale exclusion of a harmless, healthy activity.....

Make that call or email.
 

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In their own words:

Found this at that site. This same logic will be used all over the state, so we all need to pay attention:

Cyclists Seek to Remove Protected Lands from Columbine Hondo Wilderness

Some local cyclists, who have been riding illegally in the Columbine Hondo, are seeking to weaken protections for nearly 20% of the WSA (approximately 8,300 acres), for access to 16 miles of trail. Not only could this threaten the Columbine Hondo WSA, but this would set a very dangerous precedent, that could threaten hundreds of Wilderness Study Areas across the country, by removing lands from existing wilderness protections.

The Issues
Local mountain bikers are claiming that they will "lose access" to certain trails within the Columbine Hondo. This is misleading, because the Carson National Forest is mandated to manage the area as designated wilderness, where motorized and mechanized use is prohibited where it didn't exist before WSA designation. The Carson has stated that mountain biking in the Columbine Hondo has never been allowed, and is an illegal use of a mechanized vehicle in the WSA. Carson National Forest administrators admitted difficulties in enforcing mechanized restrictions, which some local cyclists took as a "green light" to ride their mountain bikes in the WSA. The cyclists also claim that the way the area will be managed will change if the area is designated as Wilderness. This is untrue, as the Columbine Hondo is currently managed as Wilderness, and nothing will change in the transition from a WSA to Wilderness.

Early Wilderness Advocates Knew About Bicycles
Some cyclists argue that the framers of the Wilderness Act didn't foresee that people would want to ride bicycles in the wilderness. This is simply untrue. The founders of the Wilderness Society (Aldo Leopold, Bob Marshall, etc...) saw mechanization as the "antithesis of wilderness", a reminder of the encroach of civilization and all its trappings. They defined wilderness as, ""...a region which possesses no possibility of conveyance by any mechanical means." Benton MacKaye, the father of the Appalachian Trail and an early TWS board member wrote in his 1897 journal, "...we said goodbye to the bicycles and civilization, and will now pursue our way on foot..." This was, he wrote, his first encounter with "...true wilderness."

Ninth Circuit Court Ruling 12/1/2011
Some mountain bikers argue that they can ride in WSA's because it's a "grey area", and it's tied up in Federal Court. The Ninth Circuit Court recently ruled that the Forest Service failed to protect the wilderness character of Montana WSA's, by allowing increased motorized/mechanized use. The Court also ruled the Forest Service failed to protect the quality of a "solitude experience", by allowing for increased motorized/mechanized use. In addition, the Court ruled that the Forest Service impaired Congress' future ability to designate these areas as Wilderness. As no mountain biking existed in 1980 when the Columbine Hondo WSA, was designated, any use would be an increase and out of line with the 1980 New Mexico Wilderness Act and the Ninth Circuit Court Ruling. Read the Ninth Circuit Ruling here.

Local Cyclists' NRA Proposal
Some local mountain bikers are proposing to remove almost 20% of the Columbine Hondo WSA, and create a National Recreation Area, which would offer less protection than a wilderness designation. National Recreation Areas are usually centered around large bodies of water (like Lake Mead), and include motorized recreation for large numbers of people. The cyclists' proposal for a National Recreation Area is a bad idea for a number of reasons:

No Guarantees
The establishment of a National Recreation Area would could mean "going back to the drawing board", involving a new and lengthy public process, that could result in the Columbine Hondo being opened up not only to mechanized use (mountain bikes) but also to motorized vehicles (ATV's/ORV's), regardless of what the cyclists may want. Wilderness designation would guarantee the permanent protection of the Columbine Hondo WSA.

Does Not Meet NRA Criteria
The mountain biker's proposal for a National Recreation Area (NRA) does not meet the Mandatory Federal Criteria for the establishment of a National Recreation Area on several counts:

Expert Terrain
The trails in question (Long Canyon, Gold Hill, and Goose Creek) are steep, expert trails that only appeal to a small percentage of the cycling community. This does not fulfill a need for a large enough number of people to warrant consideration for NRA status.

Existing Opportunities Abound
Taos County does not have a deficiency of mountain biking opportunities. There are currently over 250 miles of forest trails in the Carson National Forest, that are open to mountain biking, as well as over 3,000 miles of Forest roads. In addition, Congress just passed the Ski Area Recreation Opportunity Enhancement Act of 2011, which now allows for mountain biking at places like nearby Taos Ski Valley and Red River Ski Area. Additionally, numerous BLM trails, and trails at Northside at TSV, located between the Columbine Hondo and Wheeler Peak Wilderness are available for cycling. Northside hosts the annual Taos Ski Valley Mountain Bike Race, Frazer Mountain Madness.

"Companion Legislation"
***(they got this wrong it is companion DESIGNATION, duh)***
Local cyclists use the term, "companion legislation", and refer to the Rattlesnake NRA in Montana, as a model for what could be done with the Columbine Hondo. This is a poor comparison, because the Rattlesnake Wilderness and NRA were created at the same time, and no lands were removed from wilderness protections in the creation of the NRA, unlike the cyclist's proposal to remove lands from existing protections. The lands that became the Rattlesnake NRA "did not have predominant wilderness values", and were acquired from private land that was heavily logged and cut with roads, and had 10 dams on 8 lakes that were owned by a private water company that requires motorized access.

The Danger
If the area entire area is not designated as wilderness, lands excluded could revert back to regular Forest management, opening the area to motorized use, timber sales, mining, and other forms of development.

In Comparsion
New Mexico has the lowest percentage of Wilderness (2%), of all the Western States. Of the nearly 1.5 million acres of the Carson National Forest, only 6% is managed/protected as Wilderness. Meaning almost 95% of the Carson National Forest is open to mountain biking.
In Support of Mountain Biking
Mountain Biking is a great sport and recreational activity, contributes to the local economy, and is a major component of outdoor recreation in Taos. The economic impact of keeping these 3 trails under current wilderness protections, in an area where there are existing opportunities (both at Taos Ski Valley and at Northside), would not make or break mountain biking in Taos or at TSV. We strongly support and encourage the promotion of mountain biking on existing Taos area mountain biking trails. We would also support a special area or trail system for Taos mountain biking, as long it does not remove lands from current wilderness protections.

The Only Way
It's clear that the only way to ensure permanent protection for the entire Columbine Hondo WSA, is through Wilderness Designation for the entire 46,000 acres set aside by Congress in 1980. Any other designation or classification opens the door for motorized use.

Time is Running Out
Senator Jeff Bingaman, who has a been a champion for the Columbine Hondo WSA, is retiring this year. We only have a brief window of time to see wilderness legislation introduced. Please call, write or email Senator Bingaman today, and urge him to introduce wilderness legislation to permanently protect the entire 46,000 acres of the Columbine Hondo WSA, as a designated Wilderness Area.
 

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Did I ever let it be known how much I hate the NM Wilderness Alliance?
I'll get some emails out today, even though I know Bingaman is a friend of the NM Wilderness Alliance.
This is some beautiful, high alpine singetrack on the line, here. Probably some of the best that I've seen in NM.
Please write today, people. It only has to be a paragraph.
 

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Int'l Man of Leisure
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I hate all the tiny minded, single issue people of NM Wilderness Society's ilk.
 

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Below is a copy of the letter that they are sending. I'll try to post up my own letter for anyone whom wants to use it to copy and send. Remember, the congressmen only COUNT these letters, they don't actually read and respond (unless it's a standard drafted response) to them.
I'll post a letter soon. Here's theirs:
Dear Senator Bingaman, Senator Udall, Congressman Luján, and Congressman Heinrich:
I am writing to ask you to please support legislation to permanently protect the 46,000 acre Columbine Hondo Wilderness Study Area as a designated Wilderness. By designating these special lands as a part of the National Wilderness Preservation System, we can protect their economic, environmental, and scenic values for all time.
This treasured public wild land is an important natural resource for local residents, ranchers, sportsmen, and outdoor enthusiasts. The area is an important watershed that provides critical surface water to local agricultural communities. The Columbine Hondo contains headwaters of the Rio Hondo and Red River, both major tributaries of the upper Rio Grande.
Set aside as a WSA by Congress in 1980, the Columbine Hondo has been managed as Wilderness by the Carson National Forest to protect its unique wilderness characteristics. More than thirty years has now passed, and the Columbine Hondo WSA needs to be designated as a Wilderness Area to ensure its permanent protection for the benefit of future generations of New Mexicans and visitors to the Land of Enchantment.
Thank you for your support.
Respectfully,
Name:
Address:
 

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Below is the response I got to an email I sent asking about the Wilderness group's apparently hostility to MTB use.

Mr. Halliburton,

My name is John Olivas and I am part of the Columbine Hondo Coalition working to protect Columbine Hondo under the Wilderness Preservation System. I am responding to your email mentioning your disappointment in our efforts to protect this landscape (See email below). We have reached out to many entities and organizations over the last 2 years and there have been discussion by some groups to change our direction from total land protection to something that is less protective. This is something our coalition is not interested in pursueing. Columbine Hondo has been managed as a Wilderness Study Area since the 1980's and anything less than that type of designtion is something our group has not considered. There are many opportunities for mtn biking in the Carson and we are willing to assist with that effort when the time comes. Our coalition is not anti-mtn biking by any means as many of our coalition are mtn bikers themselves. They understand that there is a place within our National Public Lands System for this activity and Columbine Hondo is not one of them.

On another note, we have 100+ letters if support from mtn bikers in Taos County that supports full Wilderness designation for Columbine Hondo.

Thanks,

John Olivas
New Mexico Wilderness Alliance
[email protected]

<>

David Halliburton sent a message using the contact form at
Contact | The Columbine Hondo Wilderness Coalition.

I am extremely disappointed to see the hostility you display to mountain
bicycling on public lands. Why would you burn bridges with an active group
with common interests for preserving the character and opportunities for
this area?

David Halliburton
Las Cruces, New Mexico
 

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Copy - Paste - Send

Everybody copy & paste this letter & send it to the 4 emails at the bottom.
See if you can get any friends to do the same. Feel free to edit as you see fit:


Dear Senator Bingaman, Senator Udall, Congressman Luján, and Congressman Heinrich:

I am writing to ask you to please STOP legislation to establish Columbine Hondo Wilderness Study Area as a designated Wilderness. By designating these special lands as a part of the National Wilderness Preservation System, we deny bicyclists of free public lands to enjoy.

New Mexico has been growing as a destination for mountain bikers nationwide. Traveling mountain bikers are important to many businesses here in NM. They stay in hotels, buy food from restaurants & stores, purchase gasoline, and patronize bike shops in towns such as Taos and Santa Fe, where jobs are hard to create. These businesses contribute to the local economy and population while keeping more NM residents employed.

Mountain bikers also have the ability to travel deep into remote areas and report on any conditions that need attention in the . Cyclists have also historically organized and contributed to wild lands and trail work on a higher level than any other outdoor group. These attributes are reasonable considerations, during a time where government funds are limited in terms of monitoring and caring for our wild lands. Mountain biking is a sustainable form of recreation, and has been unfairly excluded in the plan to protect this and other wild areas.

It's a shame that organizations such as the NM Wilderness Alliance are so narrow minded about "wilderness" designation that they fail to look at the entire picture. Of course, we need to protect New Mexico’s wild areas, however, please don't do it at the cost of sustainable user groups whom also enjoy those areas for recreation. It is also somewhat disturbing that they have submitted materials to our government that specifically address and support the exclusion of mountain bikers, a sustainable user group that pumps money into rural economies. I love to hike, however, am limited to short distances. I can't afford a horse nor would I have any place to keep one. So my choice of transportation into those far reaching wild areas of NM is via bicycle, yet the wilderness designation language prohibits bicycle "mechanical devices", so why can't the state work to create something similar to "wilderness designation" without forbidding my family and friends from enjoying those beautiful areas from the seat of our bicycles and contributing to local economies? I love this state and our forests and would love to protect them for our future generations, but please, don't fence cyclists out of these areas.

Please stop this legislation and find another way to ensure its permanent protection for the benefit of future generations of New Mexicans (including cyclists) and visitors to the Land of Enchantment. A designation other than the current Wilderness designation, that will allow economically stimulating cyclists (NM residents & tourists alike) to support business and economic vitality in our rural northern NM communities.
Thank you for your support.

Respectfully,
Name:
Address:


Senator Jeff Bingaman
703 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Phone: (202) 224-5521 or (800) 443-8658 / Fax: (202) 224-2852
Email: Senator Jeff Bingaman: Legislative Issues E-Mail Form

Congressman Ben Ray Lujan
330 Cannon House Office Building,
Washington DC 20515-3103
Phone: (202) 225-6190 / Fax: (202) 226-1528
Email: Contact

Senator Tom Udall
110 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-3101
Phone – (202) 224-6621
Email: Tom Udall | Senator for New Mexico

Congressman Martin Heinrich
336 Cannon House Office Building,
District of Columbia 20515-3101
Phone: (202) 225-6316 / Fax: (202) 225-4975
Email: Representative Martin Heinrich : E-mail Martin Heinrich
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Federal Regulations on Bicycling for National Forests

Sorry if this is overkill. But for those who want to challenge the arbitrary exclusion of bicycles from Wilderness, this is good information to have. For those who don't have the time, please just make that phone call or email.

;)

The Wilderness Act itself does not ban bicycling in Wilderness. Congress, when it stated "no other means of mechanical transport," meant no other motors. In 1966, two years after the Act's passage, the U.S. Forest Service issued the first regulations regarding Wilderness and they did not include a ban on bicycling. In fact, the 1966 regulations defined mechanical transport as "propelled by a non-living power source." This provision remains on the books.

Reproduced below are the current, relevant regulations for National Forest Wilderness. The clause just quoted is in Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations (aka "CFR"), in section 293. What bans bicycling is a simple prohibition, listed among other prohibitions, in another section of Title 36, number 261. Here are the relevant excerpts:

[Code of Federal Regulations]
[Title 36, Volume 2, Parts 200 to 299]
[Revised as of July 1, 1999]
From the U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access [CITE: 36CFR261.16]
[Page 364]

TITLE 36--PARKS, FORESTS, AND PUBLIC PROPERTY

PART 261--PROHIBITIONS

Subpart A-General Prohibitions
Sec. 261.16 National Forest Wilderness.
The following are prohibited in a National Forest Wilderness:

(a) Possessing or using a motor vehicle, motorboat or motorized equipment except as authorized by Federal Law or regulation.

b) Possessing or using a hang glider or bicycle.

(c) Landing of aircraft, or dropping or picking up of any material, supplies, or person by means of aircraft, including a helicopter.

[42 FR 2957, Jan. 14, 1977, as amended at 42 FR 35959, July 13, 1977; 50 FR 16231, Apr. 25, 1985]

regarding "mechanical transport":

PART 293--WILDERNESS-PRIMITIVE AREAS

Sec. 293.6 Commercial enterprises, roads, motor vehicles, motorized
equipment, motorboats, aircraft, aircraft landing facilities, airdrops, structures, and cutting of trees.
Except as provided in the Wilderness Act, subsequent legislation establishing a particular Wilderness unit, or Secs. 294.2(b), 294.2(c), and 294.2(e), paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section, and Secs. 293.7, 293.8, and 293.12 through 293.16, inclusive, and subject to existing rights, there shall be in National Forest Wilderness no commercial enterprises; no temporary or permanent roads; no aircraft landing strips; no heliports or helispots, no use of motor vehicles, motorized equipment, motorboats, or other forms of mechanical transport; no landing of aircraft; no dropping of materials, supplies, or persons from aircraft; no structures or installations; and no cutting of trees for nonwilderness purposes.
(36CFR Sec. 293.6)

(a) Mechanical transport, as herein used, shall include any contrivance which travels over ground, snow, or water on wheels, tracks, skids, or by floatation and is propelled by a nonliving power source contained or carried on or within the device.


Rules for the National Park Service

When the National Park Service created rules banning bicycling in NPS Wilderness in the mid-1980s, they partially followed the pattern of the U.S. Forest Service. They issued a simple prohibition, displayed below. We cannot find any reference to "mechanical transport" for the National Park Service.

The prohibition:

TITLE 36--PARKS, FORESTS, AND PUBLIC PROPERTY
CHAPTER I--NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
PART 4_VEHICLES AND TRAFFIC SAFETY--Table of Contents

Sec. 4.30 Bicycles....
(d) The following are prohibited:
(1) Possessing a bicycle in a wilderness area established by Federal
statute.

Note that this does not prohibit bicycling in National Parks, nor in recommended wilderness within NPS units. The NPS policy on bicycling in non-Wilderness is a different topic, but it's ideological roots are very similar to the Wilderness issue.


This means it was not Congress' intent and will not take an act of Congress to change. But it will take some political will to get the Regulations changed.
 

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Int'l Man of Leisure
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Where is IMBA when their needed?
 

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High Alpine Adventure
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Where is IMBA when their needed?
What? You folks only want them when you need them and then dis them when you don't? Pretty pathetic if you ask me!

Don't you worry Nate! SFFTS is an IMBA Chapter and Sage Cat is part of the solution!

If you REALLY want to get involved, you can contact Ashley directly and offer your services!

Ashley Korenblat
President, Western Spirit Cycling, 478 Millcreek Drive, Moab, UT 84532
Director, IMBA Public Lands Initiative
International Mountain Bicycling Association, PO Box 7578, Boulder, CO 80306 USA
 

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Your zip code indicates that you are outside of the 3rd District of New Mexico.

Regrettably, I am unable to reply to any email from constituents outside of the 3rd District of New Mexico.

Click Here to return to my home page.
Congressman Luján won't take emails from ABQ so the Taos zip code is 87571
 

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Sorry Doug. My post was merely based on my personal experience.

We had a problem back in La where IMBA could have helped, so we asked them (being an affiliate club and all). All I got from them was a sympathetic email after the fact. We did what we could, giving testimony/speaking to local gov, but lost our case since we didn't have any support outside the local mtb'ers.

Hopefully this isn't the case here.
 

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High Alpine Adventure
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NRA 4.3 million members
Sierra Club 1.4 million members
IMBA 80,000 members

..
Thanks Dave, that I think that says it all! And to further make the point....

"With over 5500 members across the state and country, the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance is the premier wilderness organization in New Mexico."

I wonder how many IMBA Members we have around here?
 

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Thank you to everyone who is making an effort, I, personally, feel a big debt of gratitude to all of you. These are the trails that I ride, that I love and have been the only one keeping up on for a number of years now. I hate the Wilderness alliance, and have lost more than a few friends because of them. I will continue to ride these trails and anyone who wants to fight with me can go right ahead, they are my trails and I use them far far more than anyone else.
That being said, can't wait for the spring and hopefully a big victory party when we win this issue.
And Doug....please shut up, this is not your fight, you do not help. With all the respect for you that I can muster, please please please shut up.
 

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High Alpine Adventure
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....they are my trails and I use them far far more than anyone else.

And Doug....please shut up, this is not your fight, you do not help. With all the respect for you that I can muster, please please please shut up.
And what? This board is YOUR board, just like those trails are YOUR trails? I don't think so and I surely don't think you have a right to tell ANYONE not to express their opinon! Or forgive me, maybe you think you do Greg! :rolleyes:

Now back to the subject at hand, the issue is the Columbine/Hondo is a Wilderness Study Area and if you read through this document you find some interesting points.

It looks like the C/H WSF was established in 1980 and was supposedly up for renewal in 1986. Did that ever take place! And regardless of what NM Wild says, it must be administered in such a way that "current levels of motorized and other uses and
improvements shall be permitted to continue subject to such reasonable
rules and regulations as the Secretary of Agriculture shall
prescribe." So has the USFS prescribed any additional rules and regulations, such as no Mt. Biking?

Here are the sections of interest! Cat, I'll send this to Ashley to chew on.

"SEC. 103. (a) The Secretary of Agriculture shall review the following
lands, in conjunction with the requirements of the National Forest
Management Act of 1976 and in furtherance of the purposes of the
Wilderness Act, as to their suitability or nonsuitability for preservation
as wilderness, and shall submit his report and findings to the
President, and the President shall submit his recommendations to
the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives
no later than January 1, 1986:"

(2) Certain lands in the Carson National Forest, New Mexico,
which comprise approximately forty-six thousand acres, as generally
depicted on a map entitled "Columbine Hondo Wilderness
Study Area-Proposed", dated November 1980, and which shall
be known as the Columbine Hondo Wilderness Study Area.

(b) Subject to valid existing rights, the wilderness study areas
designated by this section shall, until Congress determines otherwise,
be administered by the Secretary of Agriculture so as to maintain
their presently existing wilderness character and potential for inclusion
in the National Wilderness Preservation System: Provided, That
within the areas, current levels of motorized and other uses and
improvements shall be permitted to continue subject to such reasonable
rules and regulations as the Secretary of Agriculture shall
prescribe.
 

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Everybody copy & paste this letter & send it to the 4 emails at the bottom.
See if you can get any friends to do the same. Feel free to edit as you see fit:
OOPS!, almost left the copy, paste, send part on it... :) :) :)


edit/thanks for writing out the letter...

edit again/ so when is IMBA gonna just skip all these smaller skirmishes and get bikes allowed in Wilderness areas on trails that local authority gives the OK on?

Everyone knows they were talking about motors and not human powered machines when this legislation was passed. And even if they lost, at least a defacto decision on bicycles should be specifically made. Let them at least make the argument against bikes stand on it's own, instead of letting the argument against motorcycles, jeeps, etc. being used against bikes. Cause that's BS! :D
 
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