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Tester opposes proposal; Daines still reviewing legislation as debate resurfaces
By Dillon Tabish // Jul 25, 2016
Two Utah senators have introduced legislation that would allow federal officials, such as U.S. Forest Service supervisors, to decide whether mountain bikes could be used on sections of trail in designated wilderness areas.
U.S. Sens. Mike Lee, R-UT, and Orrin Hatch, R-UT, are proposing the Human-Powered Travel in Wilderness Act, a bill that would change the rule banning bikes in protected wilderness, such as the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex.
The bill would allow local land managers to decide whether to permit mountain bikes in wilderness areas, for both recreational and management purposes, as well as allow federal employees or designees to use non-invasive, minimal technology to maintain wilderness trails.
“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 stated after introducing the bill on July 13. “This bill would enrich Americans’ enjoyment of the outdoors by making it easier for them to mountain bike in wilderness areas.”
The debate over bikes in protected wilderness has intensified in the decades since 1984, when the Forest Service explicitly outlawed “mechanized transport” in those areas...
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