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Legislation Introduced to Allow Mountain Bikes into America’s National Wilderness

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Utah Republican Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee introduced the Human-Powered Travel in Wilderness Act the week of July 18.

The bill would allow mountain bikes and other machines into the National Wilderness Preservation System.

“Our National Wilderness Preservation System was created so that the American people could enjoy the solitude and recreational opportunities of this continent’s priceless natural areas,” Lee said. “This bill would enrich Americans enjoyment of the outdoors by making it easier for them to mountain bike in wilderness areas.”

Specifically, according to Lee’s website, the Human-Powered Travel in Wilderness Act would:

  1. Allow local land managers to decide whether to allow and how to manage mountain biking in wilderness areas; and
  2. Allow federal employees or designees to use non-invasive, minimal technology to maintain wilderness trails.

“This bill presents a reasonable approach to allowing the use of mountain bikes on trails and grant federal land managers the ability to do necessary maintenance,” says Hatch.

Some people are concerned that the bill, if passed, would weaken the 1964 Wilderness Act. The Act was passed to keep wilderness lands free from motorized or mechanized transport.

Other concerns cited include wheelbarrows and chainsaws being taken to these areas to maintain trails.

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Legislation Introduced to Allow Mountain Bikes into America’s National Wilderness