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[CDT-L] Mountain biking

> From: 	CDNST
> Sent: 	Tuesday, May 26, 1998 
> I am curious about how folks on this list feel about mountain biking on
> sections of the CDT outside of wilderness areas and national parks. Bruce
> with
> the CDTA 
Trail use is a complex issue.  While the question is about mountain biking
in particular, I can't separate that use from other non-hiking uses.  In my
opinion, the primary criterion for making use decisions should be impact on
the natural state of the land.  

The decision to build a trail is a decision to impact the land, so all
choices thereafter are matters of degree.  In legally designated wilderness,
no motorized or wheels vehicles are allowed.  This makes some sense, but
does the average mountain biker really do more damage to the wilderness than
the average horse or pack animal?  Not in my experience.  My point is not to
disparage animals per se, but to point out that anywhere horses are allowed,
mountain bikers should be also.  They both require high quality, well graded
trail and bikers do less damage to that trail than do the animals.

But you asked what I prefer.   I'm neither a horseman, nor a biker.  As a
hiker, I don't particularly like to see either on "my" trail. ;-)  Animals
leave manure that I walk in, and require me to step off the trail and remain
motionless while they pass.  Some bikers' high rate of speed can be a safety
issue in high-traffic areas.  And just imagine how scared a pack animal
would be of a biker!  Different uses don't mix well.  

As a hiker, I'd like to see the CDT follow the crest as closely as possible,
but a multi-use trail could not be properly graded in some of the best
hiking areas.  The PCT solves this well by having parallel routes in some
areas, one for hikers, and one for stock.  But the CDT does not have even
ONE route complete yet.  I'd rather see one complete route in my lifetime
than hold out for the best possible hiker route.

If the CDTA has as large an equestrian contingent as I suspect it does,
there's no point arguing for a hiker-only trail.  And so be it.  The horse
users are a great asset getting the trail built and keeping it maintained.
But I believe it's hypocritical for horsemen to exclude mountain bikers from
"their" trails.  Every argument they use against mountain bikers can be used
more effectively, in my opinion, against the horsemen themselves.

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