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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    5,911

    Wink West Coasters: Do this TODAY (Monday 9/29) or lose your right to even CROSS the PCT

    This has been buried on page 8-10 of the NorCal PCT sticky on MTBR, but it deserves greater exposure because it sets a terrible precedent that will screw cyclists for decades...perhaps forever. I apologize for the late notice, but even the PCTRI didn't hear about this until a couple weeks ago.

    National Forest bureaucracies periodically revise their Land Management Plans. Buried in the current plan for the Inyo, Sierra, and Sequoia National Forests is language that would give the Pacific Crest Trail Association (the people who have worked tirelessly for decades to ban bicycles from the PCT) the right to decide whether bicycles can even CROSS the PCT.

    Yes, this is just as bad as it sounds.

    Furthermore, it would enshrine the expired temporary ruling banning bikes on the PCT (that the PCTA and USFS pretend is permanent) into official USFS policy.[/i] And if three major National Forests do this, others are sure to fall in line.

    Here is the link to comment on this disaster. You can do it online. DO IT NOW. THIS IS THE LAST DAY. The HOHAs tried to sneak this one in under the radar and we can't let this happen.

    Inyo, Sierra, and Sequoia National Forests Land Management Plans Revision #3375
    https://cara.ecosystem-management.or...t?Project=3375

    I know you "don't have time", so here is a sample letter for you to cut, paste, and revise according to your own ideas and desires. Please make as many changes to it as you have time for, and make sure to replace the parts in **** with your own text.

    9/29/2014

    Dear Sirs and/or Madams:

    **** Introduce yourself here, where you're from, how often you visit the High Sierra, other backcountry or conservation activities you do besides ride, and so on. ****

    I offer the following comments about the current Management Area Proposal ("Plan 3375"), specifically the section about the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail Corridor.

    1. Guideline 1 gives a private special interest group (the PCTA) special veto power over not just who may access the PCT -- it gives them special veto power over who may cross the PCT!
    This is very likely illegal. Additionally, the PCTA is a tiny special interest group that does not represent me or my interests. Nor does it represent the interests of the overwhelming majority of backcountry users. In support of this contention, I note the following article:
    "When You Throw A PCT Party And No One Comes"
    When you throw a PCT party and nobody comes - Pacific Crest Trail Association
    "It may surprise you to know that, through the Goat Rocks and William O. Douglas wildernesses, the PCT is perpetually in bad shape because it has no regular volunteer maintainers. Sure, the PCTA holds a few work parties, but largely by begging, borrowing and stealing volunteers who normally work other regions of the trail. [...] At the same time, Goat Rocks remains wildly popular for backpacking. Over Labor Day weekend last summer, I passed a group almost every two minutes near Snowgrass Flats."
    In contrast, there are over 49 million residents of California, Oregon, and Washington. Nearly half of them are hikers (46%, or 22.5 million), nearly a third are mountain bikers (29%, or 14.2 million), and ten percent (4.9 million) are backpackers. (Source: Outdoor Industry Foundation Participation Survey, 2006)
    How, then, can the PCTA be given the power to decide who may use, let alone cross, over 2,600 miles of trail they did not create -- many of which are disappearing altogether due to underuse and lack of maintenance?

    Guideline 1 should be deleted entirely.

    2. The language of Desired Condition 1 ("to provide outstanding primitive hiking and horseback experiences"), Guideline 1 ("To maintain the outstanding primitive hiking and horseback experiences") and Guideline 3 ("To provide outstanding opportunities for primitive hiking and equestrians...") allows the exclusion of all other human-powered methods of travel.
    This is in direct contrast to the original wording of the 1978 Act that created the PCT: "shall be administered primarily as a footpath and horseback riding trail."
    This wording does not exclude other human-powered methods of travel, and has never been legally interpreted in this way: such other uses are enumerated specifically in the 1983 National Trails System Act, which includes the PCT. "Uses allowed on designated components of the national trails system may include, but are not limited to, the following: bicycling, cross-country skiing, day hiking, equestrian activities, jogging or similar fitness activities, trail biking, overnight and long-distance backpacking, snowmobiling, and surface water and underwater activities."
    I oppose any wording that allows the exclusion of safe, sustainable, human-powered modes of travel such as "bicycling, cross-country skiing, day hiking, equestrian activities, jogging or similar fitness activities, trail biking, overnight and long-distance backpacking..."

    Thus, Desired Condition 1 should read "To provide outstanding human-powered outdoor experiences..." Guideline 3 should read "To provide outstanding opportunities for human-powered outdoor experiences..." And Guideline 1 should again be deleted.

    3. The language of Standard 3 ("The use of bicycles and other mechanized transport and motorized use is prohibited on the PCT tread and within the trail corridor...") would make permanent a temporary internal regulation by three regional foresters in 1988 -- one which has never been subject to public review as required by law for a permanent ban, and which the two still-living foresters agree should be lifted.

    From "Off-Road Impacts of Mountain Bikes: A Review and Discussion" (New Zealand Department of Conservation):
    "Although mountain bikes clearly do have physical impacts on tracks, these did not appear to be of any greater significance than those from other track users, despite the general perception to the contrary. And, although safety concerns were also commonly highlighted, the problem related more to apprehension about what might happen rather than concern based on any inherent danger, or an established record of incidents."

    In contrast, letters from anti-bicycle zealots are full of comically false statements like “Bicycles are mechanical devices that can have motors mounted on them. Therefore, they do fall into the category of being a motorized vehicle.” So can rowboats: is a rowboat, then, a motorized vehicle? (Source: [pct-l] New PCT Rules in Southern California Forest Lands)

    Thus, the bicycle ban has no legal, rational, or moral justification, and Standard 3 should be revised as follows: "Motorized use is prohibited on the PCT tread and within the trail corridor, except on trails designated crossings where such use is allowed."

    (Note that this proposal would not change the fact that bicycles are disallowed in Wilderness, which forms a substantial part of the PCT in the Inyo, Sequoia, and Sierra National Forests.)

    **** Delete these two paragraphs if you want, or add your own example: it's Tahoe-specific. ****
    Let me provide an example of the real-world impact of the bicycle ban. In the Lake Tahoe area, the PCT is the only connecting trail between Highways 50 and 88. There is no way to connect between the Caples Lake area and the Dardanelles Lake area -- or to cross Highway 88 and return to the Tahoe basin at all -- without traveling on the PCT for some distance. Thus, bicyclists are forced to ride on narrow, dangerous, twisting mountain highways with 45-55MPH speed limits and no shoulders, while a perfectly reasonable trail segment exists between the two. (One which, to add to the irony, is a doubletrack jeep trail for some distance around the Meiss Cabin.)
    Furthermore, there are dozens of trail systems in the Lake Tahoe area alone which either cross the PCT or abut it. Cyclists are already prohibited from traveling between them because a small segment of PCT is the only connecting trail: it is absurd to believe that a few hundred members of the PCTA are the only people who may decide whether anyone else can travel from one side of California, Oregon, or Washington to the other (which necessitates crossing the PCT) without using a paved highway.

    4. These sweeping changes have clearly been made by stealth, without adequate public notice or comment and without notifying the groups so affected. I strongly urge you to extend the public comment period so that the millions of people potentially affected by these major changes have the chance to comment on backcountry access they, as of today, do not know they are losing.

    In closing, the PCT belongs to everyone with the perseverance to traverse it sustainably and under their own power -- not just an entitled minority who wish to keep it for themselves, at the cost of letting the overwhelming majority of it disappear due to lack of use and maintenance.

    Thank you for your time.

    Sincerely,

    **** your name here ****

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Norcal
    Posts
    1,545
    Thanks for posting this up J!

    Got my letter in last week, this is incredibly important access issue. The PCT splits the entire west coast in half, it already makes linking up trail on both sides of the line very difficult. Now a private lobbing organization (PCTA) is basically trying to create a wilderness corridor along it's entire length and wants to have the final say on if a mutli-use trail can ever cross the PCT ever again! This was all trying to be done in secret, it did not even let it's members know about it in fear of the mountain bikers picking up on it. Now that it has been discovered by us they are pleading with there members to write in letters of support.

  3. #3
    spook Guest
    i'm no anti-bike zealot by any means and i've got zero problem keeping bikes off the pct.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Rasta Cruz
    Posts
    161
    It's not about keeping bikes off the PCT, it's about keeping bikes from CROSSING the PCT.

    Big difference, IMHO, but I'm a pro-bike zealot.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Posts
    7,594
    Thanks for the reminder. Done.
    Waste your time, read my crap, at:
    One Gear, Two Planks

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    The Pacific Northwet
    Posts
    225
    Done. Spook the issue is that near highways (I-80, 50, 88) there is only one trail in many cases it is the PCT. Since the trail network developed before the ban either bike specific trails need to be built or the PCT needs to allow a limited amount of bike traffic (at least bike crossing).

    This is not about bikes on remote stretches of the PCT, this is mostly about riding or crossing the PCT within earshot of semi's going over the pass.
    Quote Originally Posted by hortence View Post
    When I did twice the work for half the control, I was a whiny little bitch

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    LV-426
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    Thanks for the heads-up. Done.
    Quote Originally Posted by powder11 View Post
    if you have to resort to taking advice from the nitwits on this forum, then you're doomed.

  8. #8
    spook Guest
    yeah, i understand what it's about. but bikers crossing frequently leads to bikes on the trail, because dang it! they just can't help it. nobody HAS to build anything for bikers. they can if they decide to. look at this way, maybe they'll allow you to build some cool bike bridges OVER the pct.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    2,833
    There's only one thing in life anyone has to do and that's die; but some things are pretty predictable. Government agencies don't have to co-opt public property for private use, but it's a likely prediction. I don't have to use that handy reusable KMC link to change my bike into a velocipede without mechanical advantage, push it up the hills in the Wilderness (sic) and let it carry me down, but it really is pretty easy. Hikers don't have to continue to let themselves be used in obvious shows of bad faith, but considering how blatant this is I almost hope they do.

    Thanks for posting this!
    Last edited by jono; 09-29-2014 at 10:34 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    san diego
    Posts
    1,531
    Done.

    I also emailed the project and comment link to a bunch of local trail runner groups and event managers. A lot of them use the PCT down here in san diego for their events, which will be on the chopping block as well once this thing rolls around to Socal.

    I have no problem if the Forest Service decides to keep the PCT closed to bikes based on proper public input, sound scientific reasoning and due process. But I object to giving management control of a swath of public land to an entity which has no public accountability and which openly opposes multi-use. Unless of course I can sign up for this program too - I've got a trail or two I would like to ban enduro brah's and anyone using strava from...they ruin my feeling of solitude and remoteness by acting like total douchebags on the trail.

    Most stretches of the PCT outside Wilderness see little traffic once the thu-hikers pass. The PCTA cannot keep up with maintenance on the trail as it is. If the trail runners are kicked off, and bikes lose access within the corridor who is going to step up and maintain all that trail? The Forest Service budget is not getting any bigger. Fail.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Tahoe
    Posts
    858
    website unavailable/crashed. can't even get to the project overview.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    2,833
    Try try again? Looks up now, but slow.
    Quote Originally Posted by old goat View Post
    this is an internet forum, it is assumed no one actually knows what they're talking about, and nothing anyone says here makes any difference. If you came here seeking an informed opinion on the subject, I'm sorry you were disappointed. If you came here knowing it would all be BS and you just wanted to spout about it being BS, go crawl back under a rock.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    san diego
    Posts
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    The scoping letter says comments can be emailed to r5planrevision@fs.fed.us with Subject: Forest Plan Revision in addition to using their submission page. A post on MTBR says if the website is still down, you can email you comments to: Mike Dietl, Plan Revision Team Leader, michaeldietl@fs.fed.us.

    I would send them in anyways even beyond the deadline.

    They have been less than open about this whole process. I

    Also, did anyone notice the Wilderness Inventory page linked off the project page? Take a look at the maps here http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/r5/lan...STELPRD3803608. If you like biking in the Sierras this is scary. Not that they have left us anything more than scraps, but looks like we are at risk of losing those too.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Paper St. Soap Co.
    Posts
    2,316
    done, thanks for posting.

    Seems like we are in the "PCTA Strikes Back" chapter of the saga.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Missoula, MT
    Posts
    19,974
    Ugh. Just like around here, when they can't get a new/expanded wilderness area because it takes an act of congress, they get it declared a wilderness study area.
    Just rode in Helena and it was awesome to see a real mtn bike community actually embraced by public land officials and land trusts and have real trails that are narrow and windy and rocky. Miles upon miles of them.
    No longer stuck.

    Quote Originally Posted by stuckathuntermtn View Post
    Just an uneducated guess.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    san diego
    Posts
    1,531
    Deadline has been extended to tomorrow, Oct 3.

    If the website crashes you can email comments to Mike Dietl, Plan Revision Team Leader, michaeldietl@fs.fed.us and CC: r5planrevision@fs.fed.us with the subject header Forest Plan Revision and which forest your comments relate to (might as well make it all of them - Sequoia, Inyo, Sierra).

    IMBA also sent out an action alert about this and CDT: https://www.imba.com/alert/national-scenic-trails

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