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[CDT-L] Mechanized Travel



Before I started long distance hiking in 95 I was an avid mountain biker. 
It's not that I gave it up, but spring, summer, and fall were occupied with 
hiking. When I used to bike I'd get annoyed with hikers, now that I hike 
more I get annoyed with bikers. It's a trade off, but I think hikers and 
bikers shouldn't occupy the same trails.

For one, outdoor ethics or right of ways or whatever you want to call it 
dictates bikers yield to hikers. Has anyone ever experienced a biker 
yielding to a hiker, esepcially on a downhill? Personally I never have, and 
while hiking the CDT south of Monarch Pass I was nearly run over and forced 
off the trail numerous times. That particular day I think about 40 mountain 
bikers came racing by. Despite the excellent weather and spectacular views, 
I was paranoid after the first encounter and increasingly so as they 
continued to whiz by me for hours. In fact I found myself watching my 
backside too often and unable to enjoy being there.

Regarding impact, I know that bikes impact the trail more than hikers. 
Depending on terrain, bikers often widen the trail in technical areas and 
definitely tear up waterbars and sometimes cut switchbacks. Bike impact is 
greatest when trails are wet - they leave ruts.

Mountain bikes are a definite reality and concern, especially since 
Adventure Cycle in Missoula MT is promoting a CDT bike route. In addition to 
providing a set of maps they also offer guided tours that are increasing in 
popularity.

Certainly the occasional cyclist isn't a threat or problem, but like ATV-ers 
they are extremely organized and I fear a take-over of the non-wilderness 
and NP areas. Based on the access status of the AT and PCT I think the CDT 
should remain a foot and stock accessible trail. Besides there are plenty of 
places that are open to bikes, ATV's, etc. As hikers, we need our places 
too, and exactly how many places are there that are exclusive to hikers 
other than wilderness and NP's?

(note: in the west hikers and horse packers share these areas. though not 
necessarilly the best, horses generally travel at the same speed as hikers 
and there are fewer conflicts...except for the dung in the water, 30 yard 
mud bogs in riparian areas, and overall impact of a thousand + pound metal 
shod animal.)


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