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Opinion

Opinion: No, mountain bikers are not about to take over the Pacific Crest Trail

Close up of Caucasian man’s muddy foot on mountain bike ** OUTS - ELSENT, FPG - OUTS * NM, PH, VA if
H.R. 1349 would update the Wilderness Act to allow land managers to open trail access in wilderness areas to mountain bikers.
(Getty Images)

To the editor: This article hyperbolically implies that H.R. 1349 would open all wilderness to mountain bikes, even the Pacific Crest Trail. This is misleading. (“GOP lures some mountain bike groups in its push to roll back protections for public land,” Dec. 19)

The bill restores the original intent of the Wilderness Act by eliminating its blanket ban on bicycles as well as wheelchairs, wheelbarrows and strollers in wilderness areas. The update does not turn wilderness areas into a free-for-all for wheeled users, nor does it impact the Pacific Crest Trail, which has been under a U.S. Forest Service general closure order to bikes since 1988.

The key caveat is that local land managers would now have the option of working with their user base to decide whether access for those forms of human-powered transportation is appropriate.

With half of San Diego County in public hands, and half of those public lands bearing some wilderness designation, reasonable options for access and connections between non-wilderness area trails is an appropriate update to this legislation.

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We believe non-motorized bicycles — as well as wheelchairs, wheelbarrows and strollers — have their place in some wilderness areas, and we will continue to work with land managers and elected officials toward common-sense solutions for trail access. This legislation should be judged by its merits, not what political party sponsors it.

Susie Murphy, Chula Vista

The writer is executive director of the San Diego Mountain Biking Assn.

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