Are bikes in wilderness areas a good idea? Utah Senator Mike Lee seems to think so. | Max Ritter photo.
Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) reintroduced the Human-Powered Travel in Wilderness Areas Act last week, a bill that would empower local managers of wilderness areas to decide whether to allow and how to regulate non-motorized travel in wilderness areas. In other words, this is a big step in the direction of potentially letting mountain bikers ride in wilderness areas. Currently, The Wilderness Act of 1964 prohibits the use of motor vehicles, motorized equipment, motorboats, and other forms of mechanical transport on federally designated Wilderness areas. Current Department of Interior policy considers non-motorized mountain bikes, strollers, and game carts to be mechanical transport, and thus banned. The new bill plans to insert language into the Wilderness Act ensuring that updated rules restricting “mechanical transport” do not include forms of nonmotorized travel in which the sole propulsive power is one or more persons. From a management standpoint, the bill would grant local officials the authority to determine whether, where, and when to allow permissible forms of nonmotorized travel over particular trails. Senator Lee first introduced the bill in 2019, but it never came to a vote. This is a re-introduction of the same bill, now referred to as S.B. 1686.
Historically, many outdoor recreation groups, including mountain-bike advocacy groups like IMBA, have actually opposed such legislation. Their argument has lain in the fact that while on the surface these bills might seem to expand access, they often come with a hidden agenda that benefits resource extraction industries. Read more about that debate from this 2018 TGR story here.
Deadly flash flood swept through the Grand Canyon last week, leaving many injured and one dead. | Benji Xie photo. After an exceptionally dry summer, the Grand Canyon received a heavy amount of rain this past week...enough rain to cause a flash flood. During the hot and dry summer period, the region’s ground is unable to absorb large amounts of water, causing runoff that ultimately floods canyons. Last Wednesday evening, a flood hit the Tatahatso camp on the Colorado River where 30
The ongoing drought throughout the Western US has caused officials to set fire bans, prohibiting the use of fireworks for this weekend's festivities. | SweetwaterNOW photo. Here are two things that don’t couple well for this weekend's holiday celebrations: fire hazards and fourth of July fireworks. We’ve seen the news about the concerning heat waves throughout the PNW and ongoing drought problems in the West, so there’s no turning a blind eye when it comes to lighting up some roman
Nestled up in the headwaters of the Fairy Creek Valley on Vancouver Island are yellow cedars older than the Notre Dame Cathedral. Some are even expected to be around 2000 years old, making them Canada’s oldest living lifeforms. Only three percent of Canada's ancient rainforests remain, and their future is only becoming more uncertain due to old-growth logging projects. With public outcry mounting, Reel Water Productions decided to take a closer look at what's at stake if we continue to lose