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  1. #1
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    Access advocacy in Montana

    https://freehubmag.com/articles/shou...ePnlH1fnFV9wqs

    Tucked in the western flank of the Henrys Lake Mountain Range, near the border of Montana and Idaho, the Mile Creek Trail threads enticingly up a narrow, densely timbered drainage.

    In 8.5 miles, the beautiful ribbon of soil and stone ascends 3,300 feet, zigzagging through 53 well-crafted switchbacks toward the alpine terrain above. Known locally as “the Lionhead” for the range’s feline-esque profile, the Henrys are big country. Grizzly bears and fickle mountain weather are constant worries, and travel requires top-notch backcountry skills.

    Climbing to nearly 10,000 feet, the views from the top of Mile Creek are incredible. West Yellowstone is 25 miles to the east, and the Gallatin, Teton and Centennial ranges fill the horizon. From the ridge, trails take off in every direction, all with sustained climbs and technical descents through spectacular and remote backcountry.

    Yet on this July weekend, riders will most likely pass bikers and horse-packers loaded with tools, stopping to clear brush, cut fallen trees and dig the occasional drainage dip. These 49 individuals, who have journeyed from different parts of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, are here to make a high-profile, heavy-sweat-equity statement. Their efforts are centered on a nearly 20-year-old conflict, a bittersweet story that delves into what types of recreation are appropriate on our public lands, and the value of bicyclists as conservation partners in defending these wild places.

    To appreciate the significance of this year’s gathering at Mile Creek, we must step back a few decades to the Montana of the 1980s. In those days, virtually every bit of public land, unless a designated Wilderness area or National Park, was open to our quiet, human-powered exploration. Guidebooks and bike-specific maps did not exist, and the rare bit of trail beta was shared exclusively via word-of-mouth, requiring a metaphorical (and sometimes literal) secret handshake, instilling a spirit of exploration, camaraderie and respect in locals and visitors alike.
    WRITING ON THE WALL

    As the 2009 Beaverhead-Deerlodge RWA closures approached, the bicycling community headed into the Henrys for a trail-stewardship program to support sustainable mountain biking. It wasn’t a choice made randomly. The mountain range straddles the border between Montana and Idaho, putting it into two USFS Regions: 1 and 4, respectively. Both sides are Recommended Wilderness Areas, and both sides currently allow bicycles.

    That’s where the problems begin. While both sides of the border are currently open to bicycles, Region 1 seeks to ban them, while Region 4 allows them. It’s a management clash that will be revised when Custer-Gallatin National Forest revisits its 1983 Forest Plan. After a multiyear public process, the CGNF is scheduled to release its new plan in 2019. Their decision will determine the fate of this already non-motorized landscape.

    In the meantime, the local riding community hasn’t been idle. Every July for the past decade, cyclists and equestrians have gathered to spend a weekend maintaining the trails in the Henrys. This includes Mile Creek, another Terry Johnson creation, as well as the monster route from Mile Creek to Sheep Creek, a 35-mile trip that ascends 7,000 feet through some of the wildest country in the lower 48. For 2017, the stewardship goal is to clear approximately 60 miles of trail, a hefty spider web stretching across a half-dozen drainages. Which brings us to the 49 individuals toiling in the hot summer sun.
    Very good read.

  2. #2
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    Submit comments to the USFS here before 6/5/2019.

    https://www.mtbcgnf.org/

  3. #3
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    The annual work parties are a great "excuse" to ride the area, give back and drink good beer.

    I think this year's Lionhead weekend is 12th+ of July due to decent snowpack.

  4. #4
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  5. #5
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    We have a month left to comment. So far, there are about 20 comments in support of mountain biking in the forest, backcountry etc. Over 1000 comments have been submitted asking for alternative D, the one that kicks bikes off 400+ miles of trail. Most of them are copied and pasted and don't show any knowledge or skin in the game. Still, we need to do better or prepare to get our asses kicked off the best parts of the forest!

    I made the website simpler and posed the big questions right on the first page that will make it easier to outline a comment.
    https://www.mtbcgnf.org/

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by livefreerdie View Post
    We have a month left to comment. So far, there are about 20 comments in support of mountain biking in the forest, backcountry etc. Over 1000 comments have been submitted asking for alternative D, the one that kicks bikes off 400+ miles of trail. Most of them are copied and pasted and don't show any knowledge or skin in the game. Still, we need to do better or prepare to get our asses kicked off the best parts of the forest!

    I made the website simpler and posed the big questions right on the first page that will make it easier to outline a comment.
    https://www.mtbcgnf.org/
    Comment submitted.

    Sent from my moto x4 using Tapatalk

  7. #7
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    Mar 2006
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    Missoula, MT
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    Can we still ride in, um, places? What's good on a hardtail? Fish Creek? Hoodoo? Rogers Pass?
    Yes, I'm aware it's not all completely ready to go yet. Weird spring.
    No longer stuck.

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

  8. #8
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    Mar 2010
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    There are no changes in access for now.
    -Helena Lewis and Clark NF releases its decision in September, then a specific closure order would have to be created if anything took effect. Of course there is the possibility that they will manage that forest to allow mtb in Recommended Wilderness, which would likely result in no changes to bike access.
    -Bitterroot. No changes yet, I'm guessing 2 years before we see anything different on the WSAs in that area.
    -Custer Gallatin. Final EIS winter 2020. Again, no changes happen until closure orders are created, so next summer at the earliest would be my guess.
    -NP Clearwater NF. Seems like they are behind Custer Gallatin by about a year.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by livefreerdie View Post
    There are no changes in access for now.
    -Helena Lewis and Clark NF releases its decision in September, then a specific closure order would have to be created if anything took effect. Of course there is the possibility that they will manage that forest to allow mtb in Recommended Wilderness, which would likely result in no changes to bike access.
    -Bitterroot. No changes yet, I'm guessing 2 years before we see anything different on the WSAs in that area.
    -Custer Gallatin. Final EIS winter 2020. Again, no changes happen until closure orders are created, so next summer at the earliest would be my guess.
    -NP Clearwater NF. Seems like they are behind Custer Gallatin by about a year.
    *The Flathead lost some access, but the trails in there weren't particularly noteworthy for bikes. Mostly hike-a-bike to overgrown stuff that didn't ride all that well.

  10. #10
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    Sep 2010
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    57
    Reminder: Lionhead SWMMBA camping / trail work weekend starts next week (Friday the 12th...)

    https://p-upload.facebook.com/events/1343890989082354/

    Join SWMMBA for a weekend-long trail-clearing effort. This is the highlight of the summer and promises to be the most fun you have all season. We'll be camping out at the Mile Creek trailhead for two nights, clearing trail and building community in the wild, backcountry setting of the Lionhead. If you've never ridden here before, this is a great introduction to the area and an awesome way to give back to trails!

    Schedule
    Friday, July 12, 2019
    5:00 PM - 7:00 AM (overnight)
    Arrival and Camping 1st Night
    Saturday, July 13, 2019
    7:00 AM - 7:30 AM
    Safety Briefing
    8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
    Trail Clearing
    5:00 PM - 8:00 PM
    Group Dinner
    8:00 PM - 9:00 AM (overnight)
    Camping 2nd Night
    Sunday, July 14, 2019
    9:00 AM - 1:00 PM
    Clean Up and Pack Up and Head Out

    http://www.outsidebozeman.com/magazi...r-2019/all-one
    (pictures don't paste, so look at the article online for biking / horse pixels...)

    All for One
    David Tucker
    Access to the Lionhead area is the result of a rock-solid partnership between cyclists, horsemen, and the Forest Service, a rare case of collaboration where the results speak for themselves. With the Custer-Gallatin undergoing its Forest Plan Revision, that could soon change.

    Two hours south of Bozeman, along the Idaho-Montana border, nearly 50 miles of pristine singletrack spread out across the high alpine of the Henry’s Lake Mountains. From Targhee Summit, at an elevation of over 10,000 feet, the Gallatins, Taylor-Hilgards, Spanish Peaks, and Tetons thrust upward toward an azure sky. Summer sunlight reflects off Hebgen Lake as wind rips across its surface, whitecaps visible even at this distance. The timber groans under the weight of the gusts, a reminder that fall is on its way.

    This is the Lionhead. Ryan and I rest atop a saddle after riding up from the Targhee Creek trailhead. We parked just off Hwy. 20 between West Yellowstone and Island Park, and now, from our elevated vantage point, we can see for miles in all directions—a welcome reward after a grueling climb. On this particular weekend, we’ve yet to pass another person, and there was no one at the trailhead. The only other sign of life is a set of bear tracks in the dirt....
    Last edited by Montana Rider; 07-01-2019 at 02:58 PM.

  11. #11
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by grinch View Post
    Summary for those in the know?
    Besides the comet that killed the dinosaurs nothing has destroyed a species faster than entitled white people.-ajp

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by kidwoo View Post
    Summary for those in the know?
    28 miles of trail approved. They didn't approve a few segments for various reasons, but for the most part, that was both expected and not a huge deal. Rumor has it that the wildernuts are going to sue and try to hold the whole project up, but we'll see.

    Thanks to everyone that submitted comments!

  14. #14
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    The ability to the Wildernuts to sue is being challenged.

    https://www.singletracks.com/blog/mt...sLj_9b75kRFu9o

  15. #15
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    Thx bunion for that article.

  16. #16
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    Ted Stroll knows what's up.

    “Their proposed changes would roll back the public process from about 93% of all Forest Service projects, and in some cases, eliminate public notice altogether,” wrote the Outdoor Alliance, a DC-based outdoor conservation non-profit.

    Heh......"outdoor alliance" is IMBA, Winter Wildlands and many of the groups that either directly or through partners sue the forest over stupid shit like clearing dead trees, or an agency recognizing historical use if it isn't wilderness compatible....like bikes. As far as mountainbikers go, you know how awesome IMBA is. Signing away access to wilderness designation all day long, while building a shitty flow trail next to town and wondering why people don't like them. Outdoor alliance is the problem, 100%

    Fuck all these groups whining about public input. They're the ones that perverted the process, through form letters, misinformation and a heavy distortion of facts to get support from donors. And then sue when they don't get their way and aren't able to solicit donations from people who don't even know the areas in question. Don't ever forget that.

    Thanks for the link guys.
    Besides the comet that killed the dinosaurs nothing has destroyed a species faster than entitled white people.-ajp

  17. #17
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    "Still, the proposed revisions can be hard to brush off. Democratic processes like public comment periods may convolute or lengthen government decisions, but is part of what makes public land our land."

    I guess it is Kidwoo's land mostly

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redsmurfer View Post
    "Still, the proposed revisions can be hard to brush off. Democratic processes like public comment periods may convolute or lengthen government decisions, but is part of what makes public land our land."

    I guess it is Kidwoo's land mostly
    Red, please have a look at the proposal with an open mind, do not fall prey to the fear based bullshit being pedaled().

    https://www.facebook.com/search/top/...epa=SEARCH_BOX

    The Senators proposing this are the anti-Christ to many including me based on many of their views.

    That said, the NEPA process has been perverted to the point that lawsuits challenging any projects hold those projects up until they die on the vine.

    There is room for a middle ground.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redsmurfer View Post
    "Still, the proposed revisions can be hard to brush off. Democratic processes like public comment periods may convolute or lengthen government decisions, but is part of what makes public land our land."

    I guess it is Kidwoo's land mostly

    You have no idea. I'm the last person trying to kick people off of it. Do your homework. When they say 'public input' they largely mean 'submitting our form letters' and establishing precedent to sue.


    California is a tinderbox. The fire in Paradise last year killed people, quickly, mercilessly and unnecessarily.

    Yet the conservation industry needs to send out mailers saying they conserved something. So their usually very wealthy board who thinks they're saving the world can say they protected something, in this case dead trees.

    example
    http://amforest.org/wp-content/uploa...th-Opinion.pdf

    Thankfully even the 9th circuit is getting tired of this shit, but there are hundreds more.

    Look at their staff. Count the lawyers.
    https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/about/staff/

    The guy who started that group has been arrested for shoplifting, and publicizing the private lives of gov't employees when he didn't get his way. Pure nutjob.

    Curbing public input sucks. I don't blame the FS, I blame the assholes who made it necessary for the organization to consider so that they can even function. This isn't the end of public input on everything. It's mostly just the smaller projects. They already do tons of smaller projects with no public input anyway. This just slightly expands what they can do without triggering NEPA. How many times do you think the forest needs to count the same frog population or study the same geology next to a trail? Right now they have to do it for anything that happens in an area. It's redundant.
    Last edited by kidwoo; 08-10-2019 at 05:41 PM.
    Besides the comet that killed the dinosaurs nothing has destroyed a species faster than entitled white people.-ajp

  20. #20
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    ^^^ Yup.

    One of the best things I have read is that an envio-group submitted 30,000 comments that were exactly the same and the evaluation board considered them as 1 comment.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Not bunion View Post
    ^^^ Yup.

    One of the best things I have read is that an envio-group submitted 30,000 comments that were exactly the same and the evaluation board considered them as 1 comment.
    Although a lot of times that 1 comment is a 400 page treatise that the f.s. has to respond to. Of course, those 400 pages are mostly generic shit that the enviros submit on every project. But still, the f.s. is legally required to consider it every time it gets submitted.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Not bunion View Post
    ^^^ Yup.

    One of the best things I have read is that an envio-group submitted 30,000 comments that were exactly the same and the evaluation board considered them as 1 comment.
    The funniest thing is that most of these groups are doing the same thing right now. Sending out mailers with links to more form letters, to reject the changes considered in order to get away from this system of form letters.

    They really only know how to do one thing apparently. Actually educating people to get substantive comments is too much like work I guess.
    Besides the comet that killed the dinosaurs nothing has destroyed a species faster than entitled white people.-ajp

  23. #23
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    Helena Open Lands Management Advisory Committee meeting Tuesday. Agenda includes a discussion about banning mountain bikes on Mount Helena. Oh, and mountain bikers "build illegal trails." I don't know if they are considering these options seriously, but they are reacting to comments from Helena Hikes, hence the discussion.

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  24. #24
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    You guys need some mountainbikers in the face of that comittee

    what's that 4-5 closures and one addition?

    I rode my bike down mt helena in 2000 and was just out there this spring. The hiker body count didn't seem like it had increased at all.
    Besides the comet that killed the dinosaurs nothing has destroyed a species faster than entitled white people.-ajp

  25. #25
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    I can honestly say that in 15 years of hiking and biking in the Helena hills I have never witnessed, been a part of, or even heard of a specific incident that created conflict. But something must have happened to this lady leading Helena Hikes because she is the one driving all this.

    That said, locals don't really ride on the front side of Mount Helena because it is so thick with hikers, so it doesn't represent much of a loss.

    And the new flow trails on the backside of Mt. Ascension do need a dedicated uphill route for lappers. If that gets built, losing Eddye Mclure West is not a big deal.

    In the late 80s my friends and I used to ride down the face of Mt. Sentinel in Missoula to the U, menacing the M hikers of course. Eventually that got banned. I am frankly surprised it has taken this long for Helena to consider this ban. I've always thought it was inevitable, even if there is not much conflict.

    But in any case I plan to show up for the meeting and see what goes down.

    Sent from my SM-A205U using Tapatalk

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