Eagle Cap Wilderness hiker Leon WerdingerThe wilderness community has united to head off efforts by some mountain bikers to open Wilderness to their machines. In a March 2016 letter, 115 organizations from across the country urged Congress to oppose attempts to amend and weaken the Wilderness Act and wilderness protections by allowing bicycles in Wilderness. Wilderness Watch led the sign-on letter effort, and presented the letter to Congress with 114 other organizations.


The letter to Congress responds to an effort by some mountain bikers and a mountain biking organization—the Sustainable Trails Coalition—to have legislation introduced in Congress to allow mountain bikes in units of the National Wilderness Preservation System. For the last half century, the Wilderness Act has protected Wilderness from mechanization and mechanical transport. These mountain bikers erroneously claim that mountain bikes were allowed in Wilderness until 1984, but then banned administratively by the U.S. Forest Service.


Mountain bikes have their place, but that place is not inside Wilderness. At a time when wilderness and wildlife are under increasing pressures from increasing populations, growing mechanization, and a rapidly changing climate, the last thing Wilderness needs is to be invaded by mountain bikes and other machines.

“We believe that this protection has served our nation well, and that the ‘benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness’ would be forever lost by allowing mechanized transport in these areas,” the 115 organizations wrote Congress.

Read the letter.

Read a press release.


TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress to Keep Bikes Out of Wilderness!

Photo: Leon Werdinger Photography

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