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Congressman Denny Rehberg is taking a poll of people who are either for or against the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act. This is a mega-wilderness bill and it has made it to the house for debate. He needs the survey results before Thursday the 18th. Idaho and Montana take the biggest hit from this proposal. It makes the Boulder/White Clouds look pretty tiny. We can't just sit back and let our representatives flounder without ammunition. Here is the link to Denny's website, the survey is near the bottom of the page. Please take a minute or less to check the box and write your name. thanks.http://www.house.gov/rehberg/
 

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I voted NO (duh)

smilycook said:
Wouldn't be much riding left if this bill passed forget about
fischer creek
loon lake
bull trout
danskins
and more....
NO, I do not support this bill. I agree with Congressman Denny Rehberg that this legislation would be bad for Montana.

A bit confused - Chris, where did you get that map and legend? The bill specifically indicates it just covers state of MT?
 

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Wandervans
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NREPA is not just a montana bill, it designates lands in idaho, wy, or, wa, and montana. You can just search for nrepa in google and find all sorts of info. They claim the bill would bring economic prosperity, but I think the only thing it will do is turn some idaho towns into ghost towns...

This is a bad bill for idaho and is not supported by any of our congressional reps.

In the end the wilderness people want to see us banned from every scenic place to ride.
 

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smilycook said:
In the end the wilderness people want to see us banned from every scenic place to ride.
That's just not true, Chris, and you know it. But keep up the alarmist rhetoric. It's been effective for Bush and Cheney.
 

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Wandervans
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boisematt said:
That's just not true, Chris, and you know it. But keep up the alarmist rhetoric. It's been effective for Bush and Cheney.
NREPA is being pushed by the enviromentalist, closing all of the great trails in Idaho. Doesn't get more factual than that...
 

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Yeah, and "the environmentalist" is doing it to spite mountain bikers. You're giving yourself WAY too much credit. It is laughable that you think NREPA has anything to do with mountain biking. FWIW, I don't support NREPA as legislation, though I think the concepts it tries to address (large scale land preservation, wildlife migration corridors, etc) are worth supporting. I'm not going to vote on that online pole, though...
 

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smilycook said:
NREPA is being pushed by the enviromentalist...
Um... Which environmentalist are you talking about? What's he name?

smilycook said:
...closing all of the great trails in Idaho.
All of them? Every single one of them What a shame.

smilycook said:
In the end the wilderness people...
The wilderness people? The hairy ones? The one carrying the clubs and stone axes?

smilycook said:
...see us banned from every scenic place to ride.
Thank goodness they are not trying to keep us off of the butt ugly trails. At least there will still be butt ugly trails that aren't great to ride.


You obviously are generalizing excessively. Hence your argument is poor and position is weak. Consider yourself warned.

Get a clue Chris. God forbid you stumble over your own rhetoric (again) and spoil the whole gig for the rest of us.

You do know what rhetoric is don't you? Here's a clue.
 

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Wandervans
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TwistedCrank said:
Um... Which environmentalist are you talking about? What's he name?


All of them? Every single one of them What a shame.


The wilderness people? The hairy ones? The one carrying the clubs and stone axes?


Thank goodness they are not trying to keep us off of the butt ugly trails. At least there will still be butt ugly trails that aren't great to ride.


You obviously are generalizing excessively. Hence your argument is poor and position is weak. Consider yourself warned.

Get a clue Chris. God forbid you stumble over your own rhetoric (again) and spoil the whole gig for the rest of us.

You do know what rhetoric is don't you? Here's a clue.
Warned by who? You must be the forum authority since you appear to be all knowing when it comes to every topic.

What is your veiw on nrepa? Do you support or oppose the bill.

Why don't you stay on task for once...
 

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Wandervans
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boisematt said:
Yeah, and "the environmentalist" is doing it to spite mountain bikers. You're giving yourself WAY too much credit. It is laughable that you think NREPA has anything to do with mountain biking. FWIW, I don't support NREPA as legislation, though I think the concepts it tries to address (large scale land preservation, wildlife migration corridors, etc) are worth supporting. I'm not going to vote on that online pole, though...
I would agree that large scale land preservation, wildlife migration corridors, etc. are worth supporting. Then it would not be a big deal to allow me to continue to ride my bike in those areas.
 

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smilycook said:
Warned by who? You must be the forum authority since you appear to be all knowing when it comes to every topic.

What is your veiw on nrepa? Do you support or oppose the bill.

Why don't you stay on task for once...
Take a chill pill, Scooter. I criticized your delivery, not your passion.
 

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This whole thing is so wrong on so many levels . . .

1. First is the whole wilderness debate. My experience is that MTBers are among the most conservation-minded folks around. I admit "my experience" is purely anecdotal and not a statistically significant sample, but I suspect most of us would claim similar experience. Rather than seeking us as an ally, the environmental groups pushing this and similar legislation mark us for exclusion as well. There is nothing alarmist about stating this; the official position of the Sierra Club et.al. is well documented. What annoys me most is the hypocracy of wilderness designation itself, which says it's unnatural for me to bring my two-wheeled aluminum toy into the wilderness, but it's perfectly natural for a backpacker to wear his space-age gore-tex and velcro, sleep in his hollofill sleeping bag in a tent with ultra-lightweight titanium poles and rip-stop nylon rain fly while eating freeze-dried foods prepared over a flame from a white gas stove whilst being able to pinpoint his position on the globe within two feet by receiving a GPS signal from a satellite constellation. Until Mr/Ms Backpacker hand carve an arrowhead out of a piece of rock, lash it to an arrow, sling it from their handmade bow, kill thier own buffalo, and use it to provide them with food, whelter, and clothing, I can't buy into saying a bike doesn't belong in the wilderness. Furthermore, anybody who has followed a horse on the trail, knows just who causes the most damage. (the preceeding paragraph admittedly has some hyperbole, but the logic is sound)

2. I can imagine nothing more disingenuous than claiming the creation of so much wilderness will boost the economy! First of all, establishing wilderness has nothing to do with economic growth--it's about preservation. Second, claiming economic growth in conjunction with wilderness establisnment is talking out of both sides of the mouth at once trying to please the environmentalists and the capitalists at the same time. Third, the creation of wilderness excludes a multitude of user groups, many of whom have deep pockets, so whatever you encourage by bringing in a few hikers that would have otherwise not come will be more than offset by the loss of bikers, snowmobilers, ATVers, 4X4ers, etc. Finally, economic growth has generally proven to be the enemy of preservation as the more folks move in with cash, the more development takes place, and the more pressure is placed on all public lands, wilderness or not. (the preceeding paragraph takes no position, but rather attempts to point out inconsistencies that need to be rectified before anyone taking such a position can be taken seriously)

3. Having little experience in Idaho, I can't say whether "all of the great trails in Idaho" is an excessive generalization or not. I know the names given on the list above the map are names I see regularly on this forum. I will take for granted that the map is accurate--if it isn't then what follows is invalid. While not an Idaho expert, I have become very familiar with Central Montana. The map indicates new wilderness areas that would totally encompass the Highwood Mountains, Big Snowy Mountains, the Castle Mountains, the overwhelming majority of the Little Belt Mountains, and virtually all of the Rocky Mountain Front not already claimed by the Bob Marshall, Scapegoat, and Great Bear Wilderness Areas. So I can safely say this would wipe out all the good trails in Central Montana. It looks like other parts of Montana would be equally hard hit.

4. I'm not impressed with Rep Renberg's survey. It's clear he has his opinion, and it's one I agree with, but his presentation is somewhat offensive as the site portends to present an unbiased survey, but the wording of the question clearly steers the participant in a particular direction. Furthermore, the average respondee will have even less knowledge of the issue than the politicians. Again, I agree with the desired outcome, but have a problem with a lack of intellectual honesty.

5. I generally have problems with Eastern politicians using their position to drive changes 2,000 miles from their homes when they probably have never stepped foot in most of the affected areas. I don't care what "data" they have, until the walk a mile in our moccasins, they should stick to sponsoring legislation they know something about. (disclaimer: I apologize in advance to Reps Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Christopher Shays (R-CT) if they have spent time in the affected areas)

6. Just as claiming that "In the end the wilderness people want to see us banned from every scenic place to ride" may be counterproductive to our cause, neither does another gratuitous Bush/Cheney slam. It is good to stay on point.

The single most frustrating thing about this whole debate is its binary nature: wilderness/not wilderness. It's clear that we need some way other than wilderness designation to preserve land. As long as the groups that push wilderness designation get their way, there will never be any incentive for them to partner with the larger conservation-minded community for the good of all.
 

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Fischman said:
The single most frustrating thing about this whole debate is its binary nature: wilderness/not wilderness. It's clear that we need some way other than wilderness designation to preserve land. As long as the groups that push wilderness designation get their way, there will never be any incentive for them to partner with the larger conservation-minded community for the good of all.
I agree - the frustrating bit is the binary nature of the argument, but it doesn't need to be that way. Open discussion with a willingness to compromise on both sides is the way policy is or should be made, but taking Wilderness off the table is certainly NOT a way to endear yourself to Wilderness advocates. I can just as easily say that as long as mountain bike groups are not willing to discuss wilderness, there is no incentive for them to partner with the larger, conservation-minded community for the good of all. So it goes both ways. The trick is getting everyone to the table (who is truly willing to talk and to compromise). I think if mountain bike groups would come willing to discuss Wilderness, just as if environmental groups come willing to discuss accommodating mountain bike interests, we would get a lot farther and it would end the zero sum nature of this argument, all the wile using existing tools (land management designations) to the benefit of everyone...
 

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Certainly, being a reasonable, open-minded collaborator is prefereable . ..

. . . but I fear the only way to "endear yourself to wilderness advoacates" is to simply acquiesce to all their demands. If wilderness advocates were willing to share, the wouldn't, by definition, be wilderness advocates. There are plenty of conservation-minded organizations/platforms that don't focus on the creation of new wilderness.

I agree that willingness to work together and being willing to sacrifice something in the name of reasonable compromise is the best way to optimize for everyone's needs, but the creation of designated wilderness is all give and no take--there is no compromise involved--MTBs lose. Period. We have already lost far too much. As of July, 2004, there were over 105 MILLION acres of designated wilderness areas in the United States, and more has been added since. To be honest, much of this area is not suitable to biking (i.e., there are over 12 million acres in the Gates of the Arctic alone--not exactly high on every MTBers wish list).

Before I'm branded as an unreasonable MTB zealot, I have to share the following: I was a backcountry hiker for decades before purchasing my first bike. I started hitting the backcountry in my boots at age 12 but didn't purchase my first bike until I was 35. In the intervening years, I never really thought about biking. Even as a hiker (and longtime equestrian), I never minded when I encountered a bike on the trail. Rather than being disturbed by their presence, I tended to think "those guys look like they're having fun." Still years before thinking about buying a bike, I was disappointed every time I saw a sign indicating a particular trail was closed to bikes. Rather than taking a selfish joy in not having to share the trail, I lamented the fact that people who would enjoy the trail weren't allowed to do so. BTW, passing, or being passed by a horse is more dangerous than a MTB and any noise caused by a MTB that may detract from the "wilderness experience" is miniscule compared to hiking in the vicinity of sombody with a "bear bell" attached to their walking stick. Bottom line--my desire to keep trail access far predates my interest in biking.

Also, to show a willingess to compromise and, dare I say it, think "out of the box," I offer three alternatives (I'm sure other folks can think of more):
1. As previously discussed, some new land designation that effectively preserves while not precluding this harmless (if practiced with proper etiquette) activity.
2. Since simple generation of new wilderness is NOT a compromise but a simple sacrifice without a corresponding gain, I offer the following: appropriate land swap with existing wilderness. If new wilderness is to be created, it shoul be offset by the opening of certain trails in existing wilderness to bikes. Maybe by means of placing that land in the intermediate status indicated above. As an example, there are many trails that start and end in non-wilderness areas, but have some portion pass through a corner of wilderness. Thus, rather than having a killer loop, you're left with two relatively short, weak out-and-backs. You would not have an appreciable effecton the "wilderness experience" as the hikers have to cross all that non-wilderness to get there in the first place. Bottom line--new wilderness should focus on those areas less suitable for MTBs and be offset by the opening of existing wilderness more suitable for MTBs.
3. This one does fall in the category of sacrifice without compensation, but it's a more reasonable sacrifice in some cases. Some trails in the Wasatch adjacent to Salt Lake City are only open to MTBs every other day. The popular Centennial Cone in the Colorado Front Range close to Denver has an even better approach by going evens/odds only on weekends, thus limiting the restriction to peak times. Although not technically a compromise, this could be a method of communicating our willingness to compromise as well as our concern for other user groups. Even better, to make it a true compromise, we could expect equestrians to give up every other day as well to completely eliminate potential conflicts on the trail.
 

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Wandervans
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Some good thoughts Fischman. I like the miles exchange idea. I can think of one exchange I would want and that is to pull the wilderness boundry back a little so that bikes can ride the entire elkhorn crest trail. People already poach it now since it is right on the edge of the boundry and for a very short distance of the whole trail, but there is a good example...

Chris
 

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smilycook said:
sorry rought day... someone hit the girlfriends car and drove off and vandalized my yard...

It must have been the environmentalist!!!:eek:
 

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Fischman said:
I agree that willingness to work together and being willing to sacrifice something in the name of reasonable compromise is the best way to optimize for everyone's needs, but the creation of designated wilderness is all give and no take--there is no compromise involved--MTBs lose. Period.
Consider that, to Wilderness advocates, giving up certain areas that would ensure continued use of mountain bikes IS a loss - that is the very nature of give and take. But by your statements, you have perpetuated the binary nature of the debate when it need not be that way if both groups can consider concessions to the other as a loss of that group's interest. If you don't recognize a concession by a Wilderness advocate as a gain for your interests because there is still <X-minus-the-area-conceded> acres of Wilderness in which you cannot ride, then there's not much room for actual good faith discussion.
 
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