The Forest Service has responded to the "Sharing the PCT" crowd which wants Mountain Biking to be allowed on the Pacific Crest Trail. Here it is
This letter is in response to your October 22, 2012, email. I appreciate your interest in finding solutions that minimize conflict and the offer to work collaboratively on resolving and improving trail stewardship. My staff and I have a keen interest in improving mountain bicycle recreation experiences and increasing opportunities in appropriate places where shared use with bicycles already exists or is not prohibited. Both here and nationally, the Forest Service has partnered through a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) and other organizations to collaborate on the development and maintenance of shared use trails that meet agency goals for resource protection while providing and improving high quality mountain biking experiences.
Nation-wide the Forest Service provides the largest trail system in the nation with over 157,000 miles within the system. Outside of designated wilderness there are 125,962 miles of trail, of which 123,739 miles are open to mountain bicycling (98%) and 12,389 miles of trail managed specifically for mountain bicycling. We agree that there is much to be gained by selecting focal areas to work with communities and non-profits to improve mountain bicycling opportunities.
National Scenic and Historic Trails are to be managed for the activities and uses for which they were established by Congress as set forth by law. The primary uses for the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) were determined by the Comprehensive Management Plan and are also found in 36 C.F.R. § 212.21 as “primarily a footpath and horseback riding trail.” The Comprehensive Plan is explicit in its “Criteria for Location, Design, Signing and User Facilities” that the trail should “provide opportunities for hikers, horseman, and other non-mechanized travelers.” The bicycle closure for the PCT (1988) was developed with the unanimous support of the PCT Advisory Council after the Comprehensive Management Planning effort was completed. As you are likely aware, the Advisory Council, required by the National Trails System Act (NTSA) (Sec.5(d)), contained members from each state at the recommendation of the Governors, representatives from each federal or independent agency that the trail passes through, and members appointed to represent private organizations, including corporate and individual landowners and land users.
There are many places where shared use with bicycles already exists or is not prohibited, and we support working together to improve mountain bicycle access and opportunities to connect local communities to National Forest System lands. Our region is currently working with the IMBA to identify where these opportunities exist and we welcome your assistance to identify sites and work to leverage resources for planning and implementation. . . .
/s/ [employee] (for) RANDY MOORE Regional Forester
Interesting, horse poop has never bothered me, and I've never met an un-courteous horse rider in the backcountry.
OTOH, my experience is, at a bare minimum, half the bikers go too fast and are discourteous. IMO, bikes are harder on the trails than horses.
I think part of it is the mindset... bikers "use" the trail as a platform to exercise their gear. Horse people love their animals, but also travel at a pace to take in the backcountry for its own sake on a much loved companion.
Horses "feel" natural to Western trails... bikes don't.
My rather biased take on the issue...
-------------- Contentment is natural wealth, luxury is artificial poverty. – Socrates
The tone of the letter is much better than that of this post.
Having a "great day for hiking" does not require gloating or rubbing someone elses nose in this decision.
It is in our best interest to band toegther with mountain bikers, equestrians, hunters, and (gasp) yes, even four wheelers and ATV users in order to preserve our wild areas. There are issues where compromises need to be made to prevent over-use, but we're all on the same side, and there are enough wild areas for all to enjoy.
At least on the SoCal sections of the PCT, my observation was that MB'ers largely ignored the ban in the past, I expect they will continue to do so in the future.
Maybe the Forest Service will step up their enforcement now that the ban has been reaffirmed. They could also make it illegal to possess a bicycle on roads near the PCT. That would make it easier for the Forest Service to enforce the ban. They did a similar ban on ORVs in Minnesota with the NCT.
For the record, horse riders have not uniformly been decent people to me.
Just because you can carry a boombox and a cooler of beer doesn't mean you should utilize said gear all night long.
And its cool that you can ride into deeper streams and hang out, but some of us like our water a little less brown and with a lot less hay.
+10, saw that on a trail on Hunter Mtn in the Catskills plus a lot of horse crap.. Horse trails should be a separate area as well.
Well as Brad noted/implied below you Burner you sure would have few trails to hike if you got your way, and that holds true for much of Appalachia as well.
The sheer numbers of Mt. Bikers out there make them an exponentially greater threat than horse riders to almost every trail they use. Anyone that doesn't "think" that please go to Crested Butte, CO, hike extensively, and get back to us.
-------------- We have nothing to fear but an industry of fear...and man skirts.
Most Western US trails were built for horses, not for hikers.
Well aware of that and I don't mind stepping over poop or holding my breath through a cloud of flies on hot days. I am keenly aware that horseback riders contribute a great deal to trail maintenance as well.
Luckily those inconsiderate riders and hikers seem to disappear after about 15 miles into the backcountry.