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IMBA is asking all mountain bikers to contact their U.S. Representatives and ask them to reject a request from U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva (Chairman of the Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands) to sign his "Dear Colleague" letter. The letter calls for the Forest Service to manage Recommended Wilderness like Wilderness, including a blanket ban on mountain biking.

While the intention of the Grijalva letter is to halt uses that damage national forests -- such as logging, mining, road building and motorized vehicle traffic -- it needlessly includes mountain biking in an accompanying list of incompatible uses. Forest Service regulations are very clear, existing uses may continue as long as they don't impair the land for future designation.

Rather than the current language, which was originally suggested by the Wilderness Society, IMBA urges the Chairman to create a new letter that explicitly states:

"Mountain bicycling may continue where currently permitted, pending a Wilderness designation. Such a designation can only be made by the Congress."

Take Action!

1.Phone Calls Are Best!​
Tell your Representative not to sign the letter from U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva in its current form. Ask for the letter to be amended with the following language:
"Mountain bicycling may continue where currently permitted, pending a Wilderness designation. Such a designation can only be made by the Congress."​
2.Send an Email​
Use IMBA's Action Alert to send a fast e-mail to your representative in the House.​
3.Stay Informed.​
Stay informed about this important issue. Look for news on IMBA's website, and if you are not already a member please join today!​
Contact the House Natural Resource Committee

If you live in a state with a member of the House Natural Resources Committee, your call is even more important. Please take the time to send the email to every mountain biker you know in that member of Congress' district and ask them to make one short phone call or send an email.

Key states include: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virgin Islands, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.

"This petition would encourage the Forest Service to eliminate mountain biking in millions of acres, whether or not Congress ever decides to make them Wilderness," said IMBA Government Affairs Director Jenn Dice. "That's why IMBA is asking mountain bikers across the country to make sure they call their member of Congress and bring the issue to their attention, so they don't inadvertently sign something that targets our quiet, low-impact activity."

Dice added, "The Forest Service wants to create future generations of stewards, and make their forests more relevant to today's youth. Closing these areas to biking will detract from these goals. IMBA agrees that these lands should be protected from mining and extractive uses, but not from bicycles."

Additional Talking Points to Use In Your Calls and Letters

The most important request to make is that the Grijalva letter be amended to permit mountain biking in Recommended Wilderness. Additional points to make include:

•Bicyclists value these special lands for the same reasons as hikers and equestrians -- the opportunity for a healthy, low-impact recreational experience. We seek the freedom, solitude, clean air, clean water and healthy forests that bring us closer to nature.​
•At a time when obesity, especially among youth, is climbing to epidemic levels, it would be good public policy to encourage activities like mountain bicycling on Forest Service lands.​
•IMBA supports the permanent protection of natural areas, including (but not limited to) the use of Wilderness designations. Bicycles do not inordinately reduce the possibility of other users having a primitive experience, nor do they alter the land for the next user any more than do hikers.​
•Rather than a one-size-fits-all proposal that would eliminate bicycling, IMBA urges public officials to speak out in favor of maintaining the established process for deciding which trails should be left open to bicycling. The Forest Service should not start creating de facto Wilderness.​
•Mountain bikers, who number in the millions in the U.S., want to see the land preserved and protected. IMBA's 700 clubs work in partnership with federal, state and local land managers to perform more than one million hours of volunteer service on public lands annually. An ill-considered ban on bicycling would strain the productive relationships our clubs have worked hard to establish with Forest Service staff and other land managers.​
•Numerous scientific studies have shown the impacts of bicycles are similar to hiking and far less than horses and off-highway vehicles. The Forest Service has not documented problems with mountain bicycling that would warrant a wide sweeping prohibition.​

See the following for more details.

http://www.imba.com/news/news_releases/01_10/01_15_Grijalva_letter_action.html

The short and sweet is: Send letter to Crapo, Minnick, Tester, whoever, so we have options and get to keep those options.
 

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jalepenio jimenez
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Recreat'n on our public lands, especially twinkie and budweiser powered recreat'n, as in hiking, swimming, running, climbing, skiing, biking, wind surfing, and even flying, needs to be emphasised, as they all stand to loose a little 'portance if just one of 'em looses....don't ya think?

Why ain't everybody up in arms?

Egads, have you ever seen the aftermath of a good ol' diesel powered logging operation or a nice little D9 Cat strip-mine op?...

and they want to lock bicycles out of the woods....???

Are they afraid we might have some major impact on the land?

Sheeeeit! I just don't get it.

I'm writing somebody an' giving 'em a piece of my mind!

And thanks to Visi, we have some good leads and talking points for those communiques:

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ): Chairman of the Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands:

http://resourcescommittee.house.gov/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=58

House Natural Resource Committee website:

http://resourcescommittee.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=96&Itemid=27

and the,

U.S. House of Snakes/Cards: http://www.house.gov/house/MemberWWW_by_State.shtml
 

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I see this effort as bypassing the people, the Forest Service, Congressional process outlined in the Wilderness Act, the intent of the Forest Service Manual, NEPA.

It's a blatent take over of public land on a grand scale.
 

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What are the email's for our reps and anyone else it would benefit to address?
 

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Visicypher said:
The letter urges for a new policy on wilderness managment. See the letter being sent by the Wilderness Society in support of Raul's letter. See the following:

http://action.wilderness.org/campaign/helpprotectwilderness?src=hp
Let's be really clear about terminology. The letter urges for a new policy on RECOMMENDED wilderness mangment. This is what we have been dealing with here in Montana for 4 years. It is a divisive and repressive direction. Apparently some people want to take it nationwide.
 

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jalepenio jimenez
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Grijalva's letter from IMBA's website

The text of Chairman Grijalva's letter can be seen below. The language was revised on 1/19/2010 to focus on prohibiting activities that have a significant impact on the Wilderness qualities of the recommended areas.

Support America's Last Wilderness Lands

Dear Colleague,

America's wilderness quality land is a precious resource that continues to vanish at a rapid pace. I am writing to request your support for the attached letter to Chief Tidwell calling on him to administratively protect those lands that the Forest Service has recommended for wilderness designation until Congress can act.

The National Forest System contains over 60 million acres of wilderness quality land managed by the United States Forest Service. As a part of its regular planning process, the agency reviews these lands for their wilderness character and recommends to Congress some of these lands for wilderness designation.

To date, the agency has recommended that Congress designate over three million acres of national forest wilderness nationwide. Stretching from Alaska to Vermont, these lands are truly the crown jewels of the National Forest System and are pending Congressional action.

As Congress considers these areas, is imperative that the Forest Service refrain from taking actions that may undermine Congress from acting on the agency's recommendations. Unfortunately, agency guidelines currently allow for a wide array of non-conforming uses within their own recommended wilderness areas. These uses-which include widespread use of motorized vehicles-undermine the agency's recommendations, and may impede Congressional action.

A new direction is needed that ensures that wilderness caliber lands that have received an agency recommendation are properly managed to maintain their wilderness character and values until Congress can act. Please join me in urging Forest Service Chief Tidwell do adopt such a policy.

Sincerely,

Raúl M. Grijalva
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and from Arizona forum:

Adam Sarvana
mtbr member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 2 Full Letter Text:

All,

Just to make sure there's no confusion, here's the entirety of the letter:

The Honorable Tom Tidwell, Chief
United States Forest Service
1400 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, D.C. 20250

Dear Chief Tidwell:

We appreciate your leadership and commitment to the United States Forest Service wilderness program, and are writing to call your attention to a pressing issue regarding the management of areas the agency has recommended for wilderness designation.

As you know, currently pending before Congress are over three million acres of forest lands which the Forest Service has recommended as wilderness. As Congress deliberates on whether to enact these proposals, it is essential that the Forest Service refrain from taking actions that may undermine Congress from acting on the agency's recommendations.

We are concerned that the agency's management of some of these areas may be adversely impacting their wilderness character, while making wilderness designation more difficult. In particular, we are concerned about the agency's continued authorization of activities that are disallowed in wilderness areas, including the use of motorized vehicles.

The agency is currently undertaking an important nationwide effort to designate routes of travel for motorized vehicles. The scope of this effort underscores the need to apply consistent guidance in managing agency-recommended wilderness lands.

We ask that you take immediate steps to preserve the Congressional prerogative to designate wilderness by issuing national guidance on the management of agency-recommended wilderness. This guidance should prohibit the authorization of activities, such as use of motorized vehicles, that adversely affect the wilderness qualities of the recommended areas to a significant degree.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.

# # #

Just to be clear, these kinds of letters aren't available online before they're sent, so I have no link to provide at this point.
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looks like two very similar versions of the same letter
 

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Bicycles are not mentioned. While our activity is not targeted, it does fall into the description of "a wide array of non-conforming uses". We should still be vocal to get the wording changed. Jenn Dice has the right dialog to make our access secure, yet still conform to the forest service manual. This prohibition of bicycling in RWAs has been a failed policy in Montana, because of the ill will and anger it has caused.

The one point to understand with this whole scenario is not that we are intruding upon wilderness with bicycles, but that wilderness is intruding upon prime riding areas. In other words, because we can't go to wilderness to ride, we have gone to some of these areas. Most have been marked as Recommended Wilderness since the proliferation of mountain bicycling. Some of these RWAs have been riding areas for more than 30 years.
 
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