A coalition of 133 conservation and wilderness organizations from across America, including Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve, has asked Congress “to reject an unprecedented call to amend the Wilderness Act to allow for the use of mountain bikes in designated Wilderness.”
The sign-on letter from the 133 organizations was prepared ahead of a December 7th hearing in the U.S. House’s Subcommittee on Federal Lands on a Republican-sponsored bill (H.R. 1349), which would open America’s 110-million acres of Wilderness to mountain bikes and wheeled contraptions.
Designated wilderness comprises 17% of all federal lands.
Bicycles have been banned in Wilderness areas since the 1964 Wilderness Act (36 U.S.C. 1131-1136) declared: “[T]here shall be…no use of motor vehicles, motorized equipment or motorboats, no landing of aircraft, no other form of mechanical transport, and no structure or installation within any such area.”
1990 amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) allowed wheelchairs in designated Wilderness.
Both the Adirondack Park and Catskill Park State Land Master Plans define Wilderness like the federal Wilderness Act and prohibit bicycling there.
The letter can be found here.
Photo courtesy DEC.