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  1. #1
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    Exclamation Tahoesers: DEADLINE Sunday 3/28/21! USFS about to ban ebikes and close Chimney Beach

    tl;dr Read my summaries in the next couple messages, use anything you agree with, and submit a comment online before the weekend is over!

    The new USFS Tahoe “Trails Plan” is a disaster. It doesn’t just ban ebikes from all but a few tiny, disconnected fragments of trail – it closes the Chimney Beach trail completely, to everyone!

    (Of course, this happened because the USFS rightly concluded that ebikes have no significant impact – and a few equestrians sued. Just like the past 30 years of bicycle access fights, public lands are being held hostage by a tiny minority of rich people who want to keep everyone else out.)

    This is worth fighting, even if you don’t think you care about ebike access! The reason mountain bike “activism” is so ineffective is because we compromise away most of our position before we even start – unlike the Sierra Club, equestrians, and HOHAs, who start with the position that bicycles should be banned everywhere, and stick to it. That’s why they win and we lose. If you’re on the fence about ebikes, or you think they’re “cheating”, please read my summary of why they absolutely belong, below – and remember, you’ll be old and broken someday, too. Remember how everyone dismissed dropper posts as a gimmick in the 2000s, and now everyone has one? Same thing.

    In the “Basin Wide Trails Analysis Project #54566”, ebikes are banned from every trail you’d ever want to ride – including every trail that even TOUCHES the TRT at one end. There’s no way to legally ride on trails for an hour at a time. (Ebikes are even banned from Armstrong Connector, a trail which is car-shuttled hundreds of times each weekend, for the stated reason that "We think ebikes will ride up it and cause conflict." Obviously they think ebikes are really just motorcycles that can BRAAAP up unrideable uphills, instead of pedal-assist bicycles with less than half the power of the hair dryer you used this morning.)

    If you wonder “So what do you think we should do about this besides complain, Mr. Smarty Pants?” I’ve proposed a great solution, which I’ve also summarized below. I hope some of you will add it to your comments!

    It’s easy to comment, and it only takes a few minutes. Just read the summaries I’ve posted below, take the points that are most meaningful to you, and write your own comment based on them. You don’t have to live in the Basin to comment!

    The deadline for comments is this Sunday, March 28.
    Here is the link to “Basin Wide Trails Analysis Project #54566”, including maps:
    https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=54566
    Here is the link to the online comment form:
    https://cara.ecosystem-management.or...?Project=54566

    My full evaluation of “Basin Wide Trails Analysis Project #54566” is linked below (follow the link and hit the "Download This File" button). If the summaries below intrigue you and you want to know more, or you want to write a detailed comment, please read it!
    http://www.filedropper.com/trailsplanproposal

  2. #2
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    Ebikes Belong

    Class 1 ebikes have the same impact on trails as regular bicycles, according to the USFS itself – who reiterated this twice during the Open House. This fact alone is sufficient to open ALL bicycle-legal trails to Class 1 ebikes. (Class 1 = pedal assist only, up to 20 MPH.)
    Ebikes are already everywhere in the Tahoe basin, and have been for years. Roughly one out of every ten bicycles I see on the trail is an ebike (I’ve been keeping track), and this number increases every year. Whatever impacts exist are already felt, and are thus proven to be of no consequence. This fact alone is sufficient to open ALL bicycle-legal trails to Class 1 ebikes.
    Ebikes are defined as bicycles by law, in both California and Nevada. Banning them from bicycle trails is legally unjustifiable. This fact alone is sufficient to open ALL bicycle-legal trails to Class 1 ebikes.
    • Instead of reflexively banning the newest user group, we should be solving the problem of overcrowded trails so that everyone can enjoy them more. Bypass Trails, not ebike bans!

    Ebikes cannot do anything a bicycle and rider cannot do. They are not motorcycles. The hair dryer in your bathroom (1500-2000 watts) is, quite literally, over twice as powerful as any class of ebike! (750 watts)
    Ebikes cannot be magically “derestricted” or “hacked” to become motorcycles. This is a myth.

    Ebikes help save our planet by substituting a few cents of electricity for car shuttles. Banning ebikes from trails is an environmental disaster.
    Ebikes decrease shuttle traffic on Forest Service roads not designed to handle it, such as Fountain Place and Genoa Peak.
    Ebikes have far less environmental impact, carbon impact, and trail impact than horses – which are legal everywhere, even in wilderness. Unlike horses, ebikes actually decrease infrastructure expense.

    Ebikes allow trail access for the handicapped and aged who can’t afford to own and keep a horse.
    Ebikes encourage road climbs and one-way downhill trail travel, decreasing trail conflicts.
    Restricting ebikes primarily to motorcycle trails is unsafe. It encourages trail conflict, and endangers both motorcyclists and pedal cyclists. This is because motorcyclists prefer to ride singletrack uphill, while bicyclists prefer to ride singletrack downhill.

    Banning ebikes from existing bicycle trails makes a mockery of all the people who purchased restricted, Class 1 ebikes in good faith – and the major manufacturers, who have all voluntarily complied with Class 1 restrictions – with the expectation that complying with Class 1 restrictions would retain access to bicycle trails.
    Banning ebikes from all but a tiny minority of disconnected trail systems, almost all too short to ride for even an hour at a time, is the same as banning them completely.

    “But ebikes are cheating!” So is a horse. End of discussion.

    Conclusion: There is no valid reason to ban Class 1 ebikes from any trail accessible to regular bicycles. All such arguments are based on unfounded fears, incorrect assumptions about ebikes from people who don’t ride them, or fear of lawsuits by the rich and entitled.
    Accordingly, Class 1 ebikes should have full access to all Tahoe-area trails currently legal for bicycles. No exceptions.

    Class 2 and Class 3 ebikes should be allowed on USFS land, but they should be limited to roads and paths that have enough room for two-way traffic without anyone having to stop and make way: in other words, roads and paths, but not singletrack. Giving “cyclists” a throttle, and letting them not pedal at all, turns the cycling experience into a (very slow) motorcycling experience – and while Class 2 and 3 ebikes make sense on paths designed and built for two-way bicycle traffic, I don’t believe they fit within the context of human-powered backcountry recreation.

    Let’s do a sanity check. The USFS is proposing to ban clean, green, silent, pedal-assist ebikes – already legally classified as bicycles by both CA and NV, and which the USFS already admits have no additional impact on trails or trail users – from the overwhelming majority of existing bicycle trails? (Including all of the best ones.) Leaving us with a few disconnected scraps that don’t even merit traveling across town to ride them?

    This is madness. What in the world is going on here? And why, decades later, are we still fighting over who gets to enjoy public trails on public lands – instead of solving the problem with a few miles of Bicycle Bypass Trails?

  3. #3
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    Chimney Beach

    The USFS is proposing to close Chimney Beach completely, to all riders and hikers. The stated reasons: they’re concerned about parking impact on Highway 28, and because the bottom is too steep and not constructed to modern standards.

    * Cyclists are perhaps a couple dozen of the hundreds and hundreds of cars on the highway. Closing the trail won’t have significant impact.
    * If the bottom needs re-routing and rebuilding, let’s re-route and rebuild it!

    Armstrong Connector

    The USFS is proposing to close Armstrong Connector to ebikes, despite it being literally the most-shuttled trail in the Basin, because they think ebikes will be riding UP it too often. I’m not kidding! This shows that the USFS thinks ebikes are really just motorcycles that can BRAAAAAAP up unrideable sections of trail – which, as we all know, isn’t true. No one is ever going to do this.

    Other Crazy Closures

    Believe it or not, the USFS is also proposing to close the 15th Street (Highway 89, past the Y) paved bike path to ebikes. Yes, a paved bike path. I suppose we’re supposed to risk death on the highway for...reasons? Other crazy closures include the Rabe Meadow paved bike path to the beach (which is part of the Stateline to Stateline bike path, already ebike-legal), Hawley Grade (which literally connects to nothing, and is accessed via a road climb), and several others: you can read the maps for yourself.

  4. #4
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    Bicycle Bypass Trails

    We can dramatically reduce trail conflict by building a few “Bicycle Bypass Trails.” These trails are cycling-only trails that bypass the main trail from popular trailheads, and rejoin it after the region of greatest use. (Yes, “cycling only” includes ebikes.)
    The original trail becomes “hikers and horses only” – no bikes.
    The bicycle trails don’t have to be very far from the existing trail, since bicycles (including ebikes) don’t make loud noises like motorcycles do. Nor do we have to build an entire alternative trail system! All we have to do is separate the cyclists from the hikers on the most-used trail segments.

    A small number of strategically placed Bicycle Bypass Trails, totaling perhaps a dozen miles around the entire lake, won’t just decrease trail conflicts: they’ll dramatically increase trail enjoyment, and improve the backcountry experience for all user groups. This will allow the USFS to spend less time managing trail conflicts, and more time managing forest health and improving sustainable backcountry access.

    Specifically, building Bicycle Bypass trails will make ebike access a non-issue, and allow everyone to enjoy public lands. The trailwork required falls well within the scope of the Trails Analysis Project, and is far less than the Project proposes to commit to other trails around the lake.

    (See my full evaluation, linked in the first message, for complete details. My three examples are: the TRT from Highway 50 south to Christmas Valley/Scotts Lake trails, the Van Sickle trail from the bottom to the waterfall, and Lower Cold Creek from lower Powerline to the road intersection/creek crossing.)

    Thank you for taking the time to read all this! Now scroll back up, open that comment form in a new tab, paste some parts you agree with, and start typing

  5. #5
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    So what you are saying is that folks who feared that E-bikes would lead to loss of access to trails for all bikes were right?

    Bring out the Gimp!
    I have been in this State for 30 years and I am willing to admit that I am part of the problem.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the heads up. I will review, and if this does in fact operate as a ban on e-bikes, I will support that ban.

    Signed, a mountain biker for 32 years.
    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.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Chupacabra View Post
    Thanks for the heads up. I will review, and if this does in fact operate as a ban on e-bikes, I will support that ban.

    Signed, a mountain biker for 32 years.
    Ditto. Thanks for the reminder to comment!

  8. #8
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    Actually, if you look at the maps USFS has provided, they will OPEN the majority of basin trails to mopeds. Despite what Spats appears to believe, they are currently non-motorized trails and thus closed to e-bikes.

    Tahoe NF tried to open a bunch of stuff to mopeds without proper review etc but was blocked by the courts, so status quo remains that all USFS non-motorized trails are closed to--you guessed it-- motorized vehicles. This proposed change would therefore actually OPEN a bunch of trails to mopeds.

    The proposed decommission of Marlette Creek (Chimney Beach) trail is a head scratcher and is being widely denounced by TAMBA et al.
    ride bikes, climb, ski, travel, cook, work to fund former, repeat.

  9. #9
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    If it has a motor, it is indeed a motorbike. But I do find it odd that just a couple weeks ago, the USFS decided electric motorbikes are ok on several non-motorized trails around Truckee, with some bigwig talking about the need to have motorbike access connecting to Tahoe. Personally, I have no problem with motorbikes on motorized trails, and think they can be a great tool for getting around town, but please keep them off non-motorized trails. If the motorbikers (dirt bikes and ebikes) want to band together to create some new motorized trails, have at it.
    “I really lack the words to compliment myself today.” - Alberto Tomba

  10. #10
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    As a further illustration of my point, here's a quick screenshot of one of USFS's documents. The trail codes reference their maps, and the full list is very long. You can clearly see that they are in fact planning to open a lot of trails to motorized use. I think Spats must have missed the memo that USFS's previous attempt to open tons of stuff to eebs was rejected by the court.

    If you value a non-motorized recreation experience, you really need to comment now to prevent the insipient spread of electric mopeds.

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    ride bikes, climb, ski, travel, cook, work to fund former, repeat.

  11. #11
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    Dude, what? This plan OPENS trails to e-bikes. ALL of the trails are now closed to e-bikes. But maybe you just pretended that wasn't the case. I don't have a dog in the e-bike fight, but your starting point is all wrong.

    Anyway, I give you 10,000 MAD RESPECT POINTS for encouraging people to comment on this plan.

    I like your "separate trails" idea, but LTBMU has basically mandated that all new trails (if bike legal) are multiple-use (i.e., hikers, bikers, wank-questrians, etc.). In other words, no separate trails. Great idea, but won't fly in the Basin.

    FYI, USFS is not going to close Chimney. They didn't even know it was popular. LOL. Oops. That will come out of the plan.

    Here are my "YAYs!"

    - new trail on West Shore from Emerald Bay to Meeks
    - new trail off Ellis Peak (Homewood) down to Quail Lake
    - new trails in Incline area
    - new connector from Stinger to Zephyr Cove

    Basically all of this really opens up connectivity for longer rides, and helps realize some of the Lake Trail dreams so ably supported and envisioned by Chris Mac. Amazing to see how much things have improved for MTBs over the last 10-15 years in Tahoe.
    sproing!

  12. #12
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    I don't have a dog in the ebike fight but can we all agree that the horse people need to accept that there are hundreds if not thousands of mountain bikers or people with dogs that would like to enjoy the public trails for every one equestrian user and its time for them to accept that their stranglehold on a not insignificant percentage of trails should end? I don't care if its how its always been or how much money they've donated to the right people, at a certain point the pubic good has to outweigh all the other factors and I think that tipping point was reached years ago.
    Three fundamentals of every extreme skier, total disregard for personal saftey, amphetamines, and lots and lots of malt liquor......-jack handy

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by soul_skier View Post
    I don't have a dog in the ebike fight but can we all agree that the horse people need to accept that there are hundreds if not thousands of mountain bikers or people with dogs that would like to enjoy the public trails for every one equestrian user and its time for them to accept that their stranglehold on a not insignificant percentage of trails should end? I don't care if its how its always been or how much money they've donated to the right people, at a certain point the pubic good has to outweigh all the other factors and I think that tipping point was reached years ago.
    I think we can all agree that horse people need to fuck right off.

    The only thing worse is the SXS / UTV / Razr phenomenon. Those things are turning all of the desert moto singletrack into roads.

    Sent from my SM-P610 using TGR Forums mobile app
    ride bikes, climb, ski, travel, cook, work to fund former, repeat.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by soul_skier View Post
    at a certain point the pubic good has to outweigh all the other factors
    Completely agree. x10,000.

    Also agree on the horsie people need to go back to their corrals and such. And pick up their damn horseshit!
    sproing!

  15. #15
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    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

    -Spock

  16. #16
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    I think we can all agree that horse people need to fuck right off.

    The only thing worse is the SXS / UTV / Razr phenomenon. Those things are turning all of the desert moto singletrack into roads.
    Can we amend that to just "All the close minded fuckhead Whorse-people?" Here in Montana we have our share of them as well as the Backcountry Horseman's groups that works with the local Mtn Bike groups to clear and maintain trails.

    As for the Razer/side by sides. Fuck them with a sharp stick.
    I have been in this State for 30 years and I am willing to admit that I am part of the problem.

  17. #17
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    Thanks to climbervan et al for correcting Spats’ misinformation.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by climberevan View Post
    Actually, if you look at the maps USFS has provided, they will OPEN the majority of basin trails to mopeds. Despite what Spats appears to believe, they are currently non-motorized trails and thus closed to e-bikes.

    Tahoe NF tried to open a bunch of stuff to mopeds without proper review etc but was blocked by the courts, so status quo remains that all USFS non-motorized trails are closed to--you guessed it-- motorized vehicles. This proposed change would therefore actually OPEN a bunch of trails to mopeds.

    The proposed decommission of Marlette Creek (Chimney Beach) trail is a head scratcher and is being widely denounced by TAMBA et al.
    A majority of trails would not open to ebikes, none of the crown jewels are included, trt, toads, Armstrong, Xmas, scotts, etc.

    The Tahoe national forest was not blocked by the courts, it never went to court. Horse group sued, and the lawyers in dc had no interest in trying to fight it, so they caved. FS has been studying ebikes in the basin for the last two years and have the data I believe to fight it in court now otherwise I doubt they would be proposing opening up a limited number of trails.

    Besides whichever way you comment on ebikes remember it’s important to comment on the other proposals as they are not ebike related

    - no on closing chimney one of the best trails in the basin
    - yes to the new proposed trails that will increase connectivity
    - yes to improved trailhead parking

  19. #19
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    Thanks TahoeBC for the clarification on the previous USFS action to open trails to mopeds. I misspoke when saying it had been blocked by the courts.

    I don't know the total mileage of trails within the basin, but they are going to open 87 miles of currently non-motorized trails to mopeds. Does anyone really think that the remaining non-motorized trails will be respected? What about enforcement--there is zero now, so why would that change? This whole thing is the definition of a slippery slope.

    I'm definitely in favor of building more trails and improving trailheads. Last year offered clear proof that we have more users than ever and that the existing infrastructure is insufficient to handle it.

    For your edification, here are all of the proposed changes. You can download the map to find the corresponding trails. It sure seems to me like a lot of trails are going to be opened to motor vehicles.

    Map: http://www.fs.usda.gov/nfs/11558/www...T3_5597412.pdf

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    ride bikes, climb, ski, travel, cook, work to fund former, repeat.

  20. #20
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    climberevan, thanks for taking the time to post this stuff.

    I think Spats' original post is evidence of what you say -- the eebers already think everything is open to eeb.

    Also...you can bet your bippy some HOHAs or horsie people will be suing the LTBMU on the 87 miles of newly motorized trail.
    sproing!

  21. #21
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    Tahoesers: DEADLINE Sunday 3/28/21! USFS about to ban ebikes and close Chimney Beach

    I’m pro horse, bike, hiker and embt.
    Get out more, bitch less.

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