home

Advocates hope for reversal of Pacific Crest Trail bike ban – UPDATED

Posted by on November 7th, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Home page of Sharing the PCT.

The 2,663 mile Pacific Crest Trail is a hiking paradise that stretches from Canada to Mexico and winds through Washington, Oregon, and California. Up until 1988, people were allowed to ride bicycles on the trail; but then the U.S. Forest Service decided to ban bikes completely. Now, a new campaign dubbed Sharing the PCT has formed to re-assess that decision and mountain bike advocates in Oregon will likely play a role.

Bike advocates say the 1988 ban was done too abruptly, without public comment or opportunity to appeal. The Oregon-based group, Disciples of Dirt, who fully supports the mission of Sharing the PCT, wrote on their website that the ban was “just fear and misunderstanding, mixed with a lot of well funded ignorance.”

In 2010, a group of citizen activists decided to probe further into the 1988 decision. They wrote a letter to the USFS on November 12, 2010 asking them to “put in place a process to examine the continuing usefulness of the 1988 closure order.” Here’s an excerpt from that letter:

“The closure order may have been intended to be only temporary. In 1988 mountain bicycles were newly popular and there was little understanding of how to manage them. Twenty-two years later the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and National Park Service know how to manage multiuse trails. It is time to reassess the usefulness of the closure order.”

Sharing the PCT wants the USFS to use the Continental Divide Trail as a model for managing the PCT. That trail, which runs over 3,000 miles from Montana to New Mexico, is open to bicycles. “If the use is consistent with the applicable land and resource management plan and will not substantially interfere with the nature and purposes [of the trail],” reads the existing law.

The group also pointed out that the USFS’s own policy dictates an annual review of the closure order, yet such a review has never been done. “We wish to be part of a public process to reevaluate the closure order comprehensively,” they wrote in their 2010 request.

They followed up that request in May of 2011 and earlier this year they finally got a response. “We received word that the USFS could be initiating a formal review process as early as sometime in 2013.”

Portland resident Daniel Greenstadt is one of about a “dozen or so” citizens who are behind the Sharing the PCT initiative. He’s a former rep of the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), but made it clear in a phone call with me this morning that he is not acting on behalf of IMBA. (IMBA, he says, has no position on the issue yet.)

Greenstadt says at this point, Sharing the PCT just wants to raise awareness that the issue is “coming down the pike.” The USFS has said they’ll look into it, but what exactly their review will entail remains to be seen. “The outcome could be a re-affirmation of the closure of the trail to bicycles; but our goal is to simply get some process and some daylight on the issue.”

It’s likely, Greenstadt says, that the USFS will open up the issue to a formal public process. When it does, groups like his and mountain bike and trail organizations from all over the West Coast will weigh in. Imagine a process like the grueling one we had for Forest Park singletrack access, but for a trail that crosses three states. And the debate is sure to be heated. When ORBike wrote about this last week, they got a record number of comments.

It’s important to note, that any consideration of bicycling on the PCT would only impact portions of the trail that are not designated as federal wilderness, since that designation is governed by a whole different set of rules.

Stay tuned, as this story is still developing. For now, you can learn more at SharingthePCT.org or on Facebook.

UPDATE 2/8/13: We have just heard from Daniel Greenstadt that the US Forest Service has denied their request.

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.

Legislative direction for considering additional uses beyond the primary uses of foot and horse travel is found in NTSA Sec. 7(c): “Other uses along the trail, which will not substantially interfere with the nature and purposes of the trail, may be permitted by the Secretary charged with the administration of the trails.” The requirement to determine an identified carrying capacity of the trail and a plan for its implementation (Section 5(e)) would also need to be met. At this time, the Forest Service will not be pursuing a Comprehensive Management Plan Amendment and the rulemaking that would be required solely to consider adding “other uses” to the PCT. We will not be pursing “termination” of the bicycle closure order either for similar concerns. Our focus for management of the PCT continues to be ecological restoration and the backlog of maintenance resulting from wildfires, the Sierra Wind Event of 2011, and the flood events of 2006 and 2009 in Washington State.

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.

More on reaction from activists at the Sharing the PCT Facebook page.

Email This Post Email This Post


Gravatars make better comments... Get yours here.
Please notify the publisher about offensive comments.
Comments
  • Chris I November 7, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    Since so much of the PCT travels through wilderness areas, exactly how useful would lifting this ban even be? The sections outside of wilderness areas already have a number of problems (excessive usage, proximity to private land, etc). The presence of recreational mountain bikers would seem to be yet another deterrent to through-hikers.

    Recommended Thumb up 17

    • Psyfalcon November 7, 2012 at 12:26 pm

      How many people through hike per year? Who has three (or 6) months to do it? A through bike would be much more accessible time wise.

      The wilderness bike ban also needs to be scrapped.

      Recommended Thumb up 11

      • dan November 7, 2012 at 2:36 pm

        Yes! I’ll never have the time to through hike, but could probably find the time to through bike the trail. That would be awesome.

        Recommended Thumb up 5

        • Bike-Max-Bike November 8, 2012 at 7:20 am

          The PCT is designed as a hiker/equestrian only trail. It was never meant for/not designed for bikes.

          How would mtn bikers like it if motor cyclists and ATV’ers dedicated themselves to opening mtn bike only trails to motorized use? Sandy Ridge, vroom vroom! Each group uses their trails for separate experiences: generally mtb’ers want to bomb hills at speed to find enjoyment, hikers/backpackers want something else, and equestrians don’t want their animals spooked.

          The real challenge is for mtn bikers to take up the cause of building their own Mexico to Canada route. There’s already the PCT, the Desert Trail, a 99% unpaved road route. I would support this cause. However, there is no great movement to create a generation of bike-packers riding heroically from border to boarder. The general desire of these mtb’ers is to use the PCT locally and where accessible by car as downhill speedway and local connector/loop . This would be detrimental to the experience of the intended users.

          There is a movement underway to open the wilderness to bikes as well. I’m sure you’ll all enjoy a slice of that with your tranquility. I know I won’t.

          Recommended Thumb up 11

          • TrailLover November 8, 2012 at 11:38 am

            Bike-Max-Bike,

            Your sweeping and negative generalizations about mountain bikers are unfair and inflammatory. Maybe we should ask the mountain bikers themselves what they’re interested in instead of relying on you for that information.

            You may be right that the trail wasn’t designed for bicycles. The bicycles were designed for the trail.

            Recommended Thumb up 4

          • davemess November 8, 2012 at 12:07 pm

            How would mtn bikers like it if motor cyclists and ATV’ers dedicated themselves to opening mtn bike only trails to motorized use? Sandy Ridge, vroom vroom!

            Ha ha. That was the ONLY place you could think of, because that is the only option around Portland.

            I think you are forgetting about the scientific studies that have demonstrated that Mtn. Bikes do equivalent trail damage compared to hikers, and that horses do more damage than both!

            Recommended Thumb up 3

          • Fischman December 22, 2012 at 3:51 pm

            The statement about the PCT being designed as a hiker/equestrian trial was written before mountain biking became a sport–the original writing was MTB neutral because it wasn’t an issue. That alone means this should be open to discussion. Add to that the fact that studies have shown time and time again that mountain biking is equal to hiking and far less than equestrian use–that further expands the argument in favor of allowing biking.

            The motos on bike trails analogy is also bogus. Motos are noisy, burn fossil fuels and have by far the greatest impact on trails.

            Nice of you to want to share unpaved roads–NOT! Mountain biking is about riding trails. Roads, paved or unpaved, are for motor vehicles.

            Recommended Thumb up 1

    • fischman October 15, 2013 at 10:18 am

      Some sections outside wilderness areas suffer from overuse, not all. I hiked one of the busiest sections (from I-80 North) on a perfect weather weekend in August and after getting about a mile from the trailhead, crowds completely disappeared. What’s the problem with allowing bikes on underutilized portions of the trail? In some areas, including outside wilderness areas, portions of the trail have overgrown to to lack of use. Where’s the harm in letting bikes through here?

      Also, those sections most used are the ones most in need of maintenance. Bikers have proven to be a very active trail maintenance user group where allowed. Adding them to assist in badly needed trails support will be net gain. Oh, and again, this can help address those underutilized areas noted above.

      Even if overutilization is a problem, why should the allowed usage be granted 100% to one user group and 0% to another? Shared use systems have proven very successful in other trails where this, or user conflict is a concern.

      Lastly, thru-hikers are a tiny fraction of trail users or potential trail users. Why should they dominate the agenda for how the trail is used? Especially because the presence of bicycles would only be a detriment if they choose to see it as a detriment. There is nothing inherently detrimental about a bicycle.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Patrick November 7, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    It appears you mean to reference the Great Divide Mountain Bike Trail (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Divide_Mountain_Bike_Route) as opposed to the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continental_Divide_Trail) a non-contiguous hiking trail not intended for bicycling.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • GlowBoy November 7, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    Actually, many of the long sections outside wilderness areas see extremely low usage, not excessive usage. One of the arguments in favor of rescinding the blanket bike ban on the PCT is that some of these low-usage areas would get better maintenance.

    Recommended Thumb up 10

  • rain bike November 7, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    When/If the formal public process is initiated, I’ll be registering my opposition to opening the PCT to bikes. And to counter the opinion expressed above, I also support the wilderness ban on bikes.

    Recommended Thumb up 36

  • Andrew K November 7, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    I’m sorry to say, but this is not something I would personally support. As someone who has hiked most sections of the PCT (though never through hiked it) contending with mountain bikers is not something I would want to deal with while on that trail.

    Is that selfish of me? maybe… But there you have it.

    Recommended Thumb up 35

    • Jay November 7, 2012 at 1:09 pm

      How would you have to “contend” with mountain bikers, other than a very breif encounter.

      Recommended Thumb up 10

  • Paul November 7, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    In the PCT’s current state, Liz Bergeron (Executive Director of the PCTA) has stated that apprx. 50% of the PCT in not maintained and that there is the real possibility that many places will become impassable.

    Opening up the PCT outside of designated wilderness (about 60%) to mountain bikes will insure the PCT does not fall into disuse. To add, youth of today are the Conservationists of the future, and kids prefer to ride bikes.

    Mountain biking is no longer the Mountain Dew swilling bonzai screaming rebellious sport portrayed from the past – the common XC rider (and/or bikepacker) average speed is around 5 mph, and the impact of soft rubber rolling on dirt is equal to that of a hiker boots.

    I am for mountain bikers gaining access to the PCT.

    - Paul

    Recommended Thumb up 15

    • Bjorn November 7, 2012 at 3:18 pm

      I saw photos from a friend who almost made it all the way this summer and for sure there are some very difficult to pass places at this point.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • rwl1776 November 9, 2012 at 2:33 pm

      Paul,…..and we all know why the PCT is not maintained in Wilderness areas, because it is unbearably hard for anyone to get to the downed trees, and using ONLY a human powered saw, cut it and move it out of the way. Jim Thornton of the Mt Hood Forest Service can tell us all about it.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Dan November 7, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    This would be a big mistake. Hiking the PCT is a special experience that would be radically diminished if mountain bikes were allowed on the trail. I will definitely oppose this proposal if it comes up for public comment.

    Recommended Thumb up 30

  • Dan November 7, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    Great idea. Looking forward to giving it my full support. Bike packing the PCT would be amazing!

    Recommended Thumb up 8

  • Granpa November 7, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    I did not see any elaboration as to why the ban was initiated in the first place. I suspect that Banzai adrenaline junkie riders were incompatible with traditional trail users. To claim that Mt. bikers no longer ride for the thrill of it is an unsubstantiated guess that I doubt is true. Also to claim that foot prints and bike prints have equal impact on trails is wrong. Footprints do not erode into channels, but bike tracks with their linear character do develop into channels that either require maintenance or cause damage.

    There are reasons that Mt. bikes are not allowed in some places, and the arguments that they deserve access everywhere is the same noise made by motorized trail users. Neither deserve universal access.

    Recommended Thumb up 21

    • TrailLover November 7, 2012 at 3:28 pm

      It’s likely that the reasons for the initial closure order in 1988 had little…probably nothing…to do with any kind of thoughtful assessment of impacts – environmental, safety or social. Modern mountain bikes were a fairly new phenomenon and cyclists had virtually no voice at the time. It’s not at all clear how much, if any, conflict was actually occurring on the PCT but somebody inside and/or outside USFS figured that simply closing the trail to bikes was the easiest course of action. A lot has changed since then so it’s time to re-evaluate the closure.

      Recommended Thumb up 9

    • Ron G. November 8, 2012 at 9:23 am

      No, Granpa, rational arguments made by citizens about why they should be able to access public land are not noise. However, the sound produced by an internal combustion engine certainly is.

      That’s just one of the reasons the analogy that hikers are to mountain bikers what mountain bikers are to motorcycle riders doesn’t work. Mountain bikers are more like fast hikers, and our impacts to the environment are similar to hikers, which is nowhere near as dramatic as motor vehicle users.

      And I don’t see how being a banzai adrenaline junkie has anything to do with it. Are you just upset that I have more fun on the trail than you do? So long as I’m respectful of your right of way, I don’t see how that should have any bearing on your experience.

      Would you also shut out backcountry skiers, just because the goal of their uphill suffering is often a giddy, delirious–dare I say banzai?–trip back down the mountain?

      Recommended Thumb up 6

      • Granpa November 8, 2012 at 9:53 am

        The argument that motorized trail users employ is that they have a right to the use of public lands just as you claim cyclists have that right. Your assumption that I am upset or that I have less fun than you is baseless supposition.

        Your claim that you can respect my Right-of-Way while bombing down a trail with adrenaline fueled zeal sounds like wishful thinking. Consider that the reputation Mt. Bikers have among pedestrian trail users may be earned. Consider also that a cyclist bombing down a trail startling a horse into bolting can result in serious injury.

        Recommended Thumb up 3

        • Brian November 8, 2012 at 9:58 am

          I would argue that cyclists do not see it as a “right,” but rather a privilege that we are willing to work for. Can you say the same for hikers/equestrians?

          Recommended Thumb up 4

          • Aimless December 5, 2012 at 4:31 pm

            You seem to be ill-informed. Hikers and equestrians built many sections of the PCT. Equestrians and hikers alike volunteer in large numbers to maintain the PCT. So, yes, emphatically I can say they are willing to work at it. Because they always have and still do.

            Recommended Thumb up 1

    • davemess November 8, 2012 at 12:14 pm

      Who is Wrong? Care to back up your claims?
      http://www.imba.com/resources/research/trail-science/environmental-impacts-mountain-biking-science-review-and-best-practices

      Since I”m sure you won’t go to that link and will insist on living in your own “educated” bubble:

      “Wilson and Seney (1994) evaluated tread erosion from horses, hikers, mountain bikes, and motorcycles on two trails in the Gallatin National Forest, Montana. They applied one hundred passes of each use-type on four sets of 12 trail segments, followed by simulated rainfalls and collection of water runoff to assess sediment yield at the base of each segment. Control sites that received no passes were also assessed for comparison. Results indicated that horses made significantly more sediment available for erosion than the other uses, which did not significantly vary from the control sites. Traffic on pre-wetted soils generated significantly greater amounts of soil runoff than on dry soils for all uses.”

      “This study also provided an opportunity to examine the relative contribution of different use types, including horse, hiking, mountain biking, and ATV. Trails predominantly used for mountain biking had the least erosion of the use types investigated. Computed estimates of soil loss per mile of trail also revealed the mountain biking trails to have the lowest soil loss.”

      Recommended Thumb up 5

  • Brian November 7, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    When I am riding a bike on trails I find it disheartening to encounter so many people in boots, since they tend to outnumber me on many backcountry experiences. Seeing other humans in boots ruins the spiritual experience for me. When I see switchbacks and widened trails caused by those who wear boots my experience is also diminished, and then I have to stop and do impromptu trail work to blockade the additional, unauthorized trails. Those who wear boots should not be given unfettered access to wilderness for these reasons.

    Recommended Thumb up 20

    • rain bike November 7, 2012 at 2:00 pm

      Don’t make me start hiking in yer fancy green-painted bike lanes.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

      • Alex M November 9, 2012 at 11:30 am

        You might as well, we already have enough people running upstream on them.

        Recommended Thumb up 2

    • Chris I November 7, 2012 at 3:09 pm

      Nice try, but none of that makes any sense when you flip it. Hikers can climb steeper trails than cyclists, so your switchback comment is just silly.

      Recommended Thumb up 5

      • Brian November 7, 2012 at 3:14 pm

        Thanks for the clarification on my wording. I meant “short-cuts” at switchbacks. I have seen them all over the country while hiking and biking. Cyclists don’t make them, they can’t ride them!

        Recommended Thumb up 6

  • JR November 7, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    DEAR GOD NO. i’m a cycle commuter, and a thru hiker… they just don’t belong together!

    Recommended Thumb up 29

    • Chris November 7, 2012 at 2:57 pm

      Why wouldn’t they belong together. Riding trails is awesome.

      Recommended Thumb up 11

      • Max D November 7, 2012 at 4:03 pm

        riding trails is awesome for the rider, but not pleasant for hikers. I have many unpleasant encounters of high-speed cyclists on trails forcing me to jump off the trail to get out of their way. I see this as a parallel to jet skiers on lakes: having some non-motorized lakes is valuable, and hiking-only trails are similarly valuable.

        Recommended Thumb up 14

        • Ron G. November 8, 2012 at 8:40 am

          I’ve never forced a hiker to jump off a trail to get out of my way–and yet they do it all the time. Sometimes they’re smiling and happy, and we exchange pleasant hellos. Other times they’re glaring at me, as though they blame me for an accident that was never going to happen, but which they feel they’ve just averted, or perhaps to let me know that they have the right-of-way, even though they just gave it up for no reason. I always yield to hikers who haven’t already taken the martyr’s position on the side of the trail.

          Recommended Thumb up 7

          • wsbob November 8, 2012 at 12:16 pm

            “I’ve never forced a hiker to jump off a trail to get out of my way–and yet they do it all the time. …” Ron G.

            I suppose you mean, while on your bike, you’ve never forced a hiker to jump off a trail to get out of my way. People on foot often tend to react that way when approached by vehicles, which is what bikes are. I think the reaction is probably a kind of conditioned, self preservation measure driven by the hope to avoid being rolled over by someone cruising down the trail on a bike.

            Recommended Thumb up 3

    • Fischman December 22, 2012 at 4:20 pm

      You’re right. Cycle commuting is an urban experience which is nothing like hiking. However, mountain biking is a backcountry experience, just like biking. Thanks for furthering the pro MTB cause!

      Recommended Thumb up 2

  • HorsesRule November 7, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    If excessive trail damage is the argument supporting a bike ban in Wilderness areas; it seems to be a weak one. Last time I checked, Horses were still allowed to travel wilderness areas…In my own experience it seems that horses do a lot more damage to trails than bikes do, and bikes don’t produce poo.

    Recommended Thumb up 16

    • itm November 7, 2012 at 3:00 pm

      Horses shouldn’t be allowed, except for those working for the disabled. Only America’s arcane love of “the west” let them in there in the first place.

      I have been a passionate supporter of the PDX biking community and a bike commuter for many years in PDX, but It would be a tragedy to see bikers on the PCT. They simply don’t belong there. Choose another fight elsewhere.

      Recommended Thumb up 20

  • Zaphod November 7, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    I am 100% for allowing mountain bikes on PCT and wilderness trails. The stereotypes are false and impact would be rather low and likely positive in the under-utilized sections of trail. This is not an uneducated person waxing randomly and guessing about this topic but instead from a position of understanding these issues through IMBA, similar battles happening in Marin California and having ridden on trails adjacent to the PCT along in the Lake Tahoe area.

    Anyone who has ever gone any distance from any Trailhead {ahem}… knows that density of use plummets rather rapidly after the first few miles, regardless of mode.

    And as it relates to erosion, the incremental difference between feet and tire tracks is really pretty small when compared to any large picture issue. A properly drained/engineered trail has no issues with either. If that dialog is coming into play then we wouldn’t want to discuss the impact of equestrians whose hooves apply far greater forces than either. I’m happy with equestrians and pack animals to continue to enjoy the PCT & wilderness areas, they too belong. Put in larger perspective, all the erosion and damage caused by bikes, hikers and equestrians put together will never amount to more than a single section of clear-cut forest. So to sweat this tiny tiny hair splitting while other groups are doing real damage is a mistake. It would be far better to create a coalition of those who wish to protect these areas. That unambiguously includes cyclists. We care very much about the environment.

    The reasonable line of demarcation is between motorized and non-motorized.

    Recommended Thumb up 16

    • Bjorn November 7, 2012 at 3:08 pm

      Enjoy away equestrians, but please put a diaper on that thing.
      In the immortal words of the dude, “at least I’m housebroken.”

      http://www.bunbag.com/

      Recommended Thumb up 3

    • Brian November 7, 2012 at 3:16 pm

      What he, or she, said!

      Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Granpa November 8, 2012 at 8:14 am

      And as it relates to erosion,…
      Horse’s hoof prints create indents, not runnels which erode into channels….

      … hikers and equestrians put together will never amount to more than a single section of clear-cut forest…

      This is a red herring and not the issue at hand, The Iraq war is worse than a box of puppies, but the issue is bicycles on a pedestrian trail. Sure well engineered and constructed trails can accommodate bicycles, but this trail is already built and 1500 miles long through rough terrain. I don’t see Mt. bikers coming forward with the serious money to retrofit the trail to properly serve bicycles. .

      Recommended Thumb up 3

      • Brian November 8, 2012 at 10:21 am

        Your argument is also a red herring, sir. The entire 1500 mile trail would not need adapted to avoid erosion issues. It could also be open to cyclists only when trail conditions are conducive to riding it, making $$ a non-issue altogether. Lastly, hikers do cause damage to trails. They routinely walk around mud and create shortcuts near switchbacks. If you have walked the Wildwood Trail, you will see ample evidence of this impact.

        Recommended Thumb up 1

      • Alex M November 9, 2012 at 11:24 am

        I take it you haven’t been on too many trails that get a lot of equestrian traffic. The ones I have been on are more rutted out than any mountain bike trails I have been on.

        Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Bjorn November 7, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    I would just like to point out to anyone who is very worried about this that people started looking into opening up the PCT around the same time that hundreds of miles of trails were swallowed up in the new wilderness area and suddenly made off limits to biking. Coincidence? I think not.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Fred Lifton November 7, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    I hiked most of the PCT from California through Oregon. I’m perfectly fine with allowing bikes. There’s no argument against bikes that doesn’t apply at least equally to horses and other stock, who have complete access to ALL of the trail (and bikes don’t crap in the trail and streams, moreover). Those who oppose bikes need to oppose stock as well or else they are just hypocrites with a personal axe to grind.

    Recommended Thumb up 15

  • wsbob November 7, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    “…a new campaign dubbed Sharing the PCT …” maus/bikeportland

    The ‘open to walking by any able bodied person’ PCT, is already shared.

    The so called ‘through hiking’ some have referred to is by no means essential or necessary to experience the PCT.

    Possible impassibility of parts of the PCT due to lack of use will be reversed as people feel the need to make those sections again passable. Trail impassible to people, probably won’t be a hardship for wildlife.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • JM November 7, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    Versions of all these comments, and then some, are available for debate on http://www.facebook.com/SharingThePct. Dive in and share your POV!

    I like this comment on the linked OR Bike article:

    “If we let the PCT [be] as it was intended to be, it would be open to bikes, since that’s the way it started”

    YUUUUP!

    Recommended Thumb up 4

  • Dave Thomson November 7, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    One of the things about hiking in areas far from a trail head is your mindset is totally different – your mental clock slows down to match your progress. Anyone you meet has spent the same time and energy to get there, and because of that they appreciate it more. Mountain biking makes much more of the trail system accessible to day trippers who are still mentally on city time. We need to preserve that slower experience. I am against opening up this trail, and certainly against opening up wilderness areas, to mountain biking.

    Recommended Thumb up 18

    • WheelTalk November 7, 2012 at 7:11 pm

      Thanks for this really useful bit of information. It is good to know that the process of mental clock slowing down is a quantifable anatomical feat only attainable by hikers. Your argument makes it clear that people who push self-righteous inequitable trail access policies have also suffered from mental capacity slow down from hiking. The only cure is a mountain bike.

      Recommended Thumb up 5

      • Chris I November 8, 2012 at 7:22 am

        Go out and do a 4-6 day backpacking trip on the PCT. On day 4, as you walk down the trail, think about what it would be like to get buzzed by day-tripping mountain bikers. You can’t really understand it until you experience it.

        Recommended Thumb up 4

      • fischman October 15, 2013 at 10:31 am

        Pure elitist crap. “My way of enjoying the trail is the only way of enjoying the trail.” Prejudicial and unfair, plain and simple.

        I was an avid backpacker for over 2 decades before I got my first bike. I enjoy the backcountry equally either way. Either mod of transportation is equally meditative and rejuvenating to me. I was a hiker first and a biker second, but with an open mind, can do either with great results! I can even do either, in the presence of the other, with great results!

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • itm November 7, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    There are simply much better causes for mountain bikers to focus on than this, with much greater rewards. This looks like a cause that will have little return on investment and will definitely tick off a LOT of people, at least in OR/WA. Why not focus on a mtn biking loop that involves a valuable part of the PCT that would be fun to bike on, rather than a full-length opening to bikes?

    Recommended Thumb up 2

    • TrailLover November 7, 2012 at 6:58 pm

      itm makes an important point. It may very well be the case that not every inch of the PCT outside of federal Wilderness is suitable or desirable for shared use. But the current ban stands in the way of any sharing discussion whatsoever. First, the blanket closure has to go. Then we can all talk about proper management of the trail depending on local conditions. There are certain to be many places where the PCT is a critical connector to complete other loops.

      Recommended Thumb up 6

    • fischman October 15, 2013 at 10:33 am

      Noone has advocated a full length opening to bikes. In fact, your suggestion is exactly what most bikes would like to see–so many potentially great local loops are impossible because some portion of that loop would share a portion of the PCT–which remains forbidden. Starting to see the problem here?

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Bobthebiker November 7, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    Sorry folks. I think the Forst Service made the correct call on this one. There may be a few sections in the extreme south of California where it wouldn’t matter but I think it best for the rest of the PCT to be bike-free.
    Just sayin’

    Recommended Thumb up 6

    • TrailLover November 7, 2012 at 7:24 pm

      It’s hard to argue that USFS “made the correct call” in 1988 when it appears that “the call” was not based on any thoughtful consideration of any science or public input. Also, in 1988, land agencies like USFS had very limited experience managing mountain bikes. Today, we have a wealth of experience and management tools at our disposal. It’s time to apply them.

      Recommended Thumb up 5

  • Chris Sanderson November 7, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    I have hiked all three National Scenic Trails, and did the PCT in 2003 – I am now a section hiker on the PCT, doing about 200-miles a year. I am a trail maintainer with the Mount Hood Chapter of the Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA), and a Lifetime Member of the PCTA. Finally, I am on the Board of Directors of the Annual Day Zero Pacific Crest Trail Kick Off (ADZPCTKO). Needless to say, I am quite involved.

    I strongly oppose mountain bikes on the PCT for several reasons. First and foremost, nearly all mountain bikers that I have run into on the PCT have been completely inconsiderate of their speed on the trail. I have seen bikers tearing around a corner in my direction, never slowing down, and passing by me as if I never existed! I have also have mountain bikers come up from behind me (often times scaring the crap out of me!), and not kindly ask me to move aside. I have had them ride around me on narrow stretches of the trail.

    Second, I oppose mountain bikes on the trail because of safety. Bear in mind the trail is also open to equestrians, and with bikers tearing down the trail, horses are susceptible to unpredictable actions, like tearing down the mountain with their rider on it. Trust me, horses get freaked out easily, even by hikers sometimes (horses don’t know what to think of a backpack on a person). I can’t imagine what they would do with a mountain biker tearing down a trail.

    Third, as a trail maintainer (I have adopted 8-miles of the PCT in Washington), I am not equipped with the time to repair damage that mountain bikes might do on the trail. Bikes do damage to the trails tread, furthering erosion, sometimes in places that are already fragile. I know other trail maintainers, folks who have given so much of their time and resources to the PCT, will bitterly oppose bikes on the PCT for the same reason I mentioned above.

    Fourth, there are many other trails out there for mountain bikers to use (go to http://www.singletracks.com to see the many trails listed for Oregon). Why the PCT? This campaign called “Sharing the PCT” makes it sound like existing trail users are uncooperative, selfish elites, who want the trail for themselves. That’s not the case. I think those of us who have so much vested interest in the trail, do not want to see the trail get turned into a weekend warrior highway, and degraded so that the trail falls into disrepair. Many of us volunteers are stretched thin as it is, and if bikes were to start using the PCT, I can see only more work that would have to be done on it.

    I am keeping a close watch on this issue, and if it were to come to a public hearing, I would take the necessary time and money to travel to a USFS hearing, and oppose the idea. Furthermore, the PCTA is against the idea of mountain bikes on the trail, and would use their resources to fight this battle. I have not heard the opinion of the Back Country Horsemen Association, but I would imagine that they would lobby against the use of mountain bikes on the PCT. For mountain bikes to be allowed on the PCT, it would be a huge uphill battle, and one which I think is not even worth the fight.

    Finally, I am a cyclist. I ride my bike everyday for work. I used to mountain bike when I lived in the Bay Area, and even I concede that I have a few close calls in Marin County on trails that are wide enough to be considered jeep trails. Bikes have their place, but not on the PCT.

    Recommended Thumb up 13

    • Marco November 7, 2012 at 9:10 pm

      Chris – your generalizations about the MTB community have been debunked concerning trail erosion and ‘safety’ with recent reports. And are really quite shallow.

      Your experience on a public trail give you more ‘voice’ than any other user.

      Uphill battle…yes.

      Worth it…YES

      Game on homeslice…game on.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

      • Chris Sanderson November 8, 2012 at 6:53 am

        Bring it!

        Recommended Thumb up 4

    • Brian November 7, 2012 at 9:23 pm

      Thanks for your volunteer efforts, Chris. I have a lot of respect for all who give time back to the trails they love. I am curious, where is this happening: “nearly all mountain bikers that I have run into on the PCT have been completely inconsiderate of their speed on the trail. I have seen bikers tearing around a corner in my direction, never slowing down, and passing by me as if I never existed.”

      Recommended Thumb up 2

      • Chris Sanderson November 7, 2012 at 10:05 pm

        Brian,
        My thru-hike and section hike experiences in southern and northern California have been the most contentious. Interestingly, I’ve never had an incident in the PNW! Twice, I’ve had mountain bikers tear around me in the Big Bear Lake area. Once I had a mountain biker “sneak up” from behind, and ride around me south of Sierra City, and the same in the Tahoe area. I remember those incidents, and I remember feeling very upset from those experiences.

        Chris

        Recommended Thumb up 2

        • Ron G. November 8, 2012 at 9:07 am

          So, you were startled three times, and this has left emotional scars? Is someone passing you safely from behind, though without negotiating first, really such a transgression?

          These encounters are often perplexing to me, and I remember one in particular which exemplifies the often irrational contention. It was a narrow desert singletrack, bordered by fragile soils which can be permanently damaged by foot or tire tracks, so I couldn’t go around. I followed slowly, not wanting to startle anybody (most mountain biker really are sensitive to such things, though they do happen), figuring the last hiker would hear my freewheel ratcheting or my brake levers clicking.

          That didn’t work, so I said, “Good morning”.

          The hiker in front of me didn’t return the greeting. She jumped off the trail and spun around to face me. “I didn’t know you were back there! You need a bell!” Then she repeatedly shouted “Biker!” to the rest of the group, as though she was being accosted by a Hell’s Angel.

          The other half-dozen or so hikers cleared the trail, and I tried again to engage them with greetings and thank-yous, but all I got in return was a steady drumbeat of “Get a bell” and “You need to warn people you’re coming.”

          Had I been jogging, I wouldn’t have been berated like that. It was as though I’d accidentally wandered into a twelve-step meeting instead of homebrew club and offered everyone a beer. I really don’t understand the animosity.

          Recommended Thumb up 6

          • davemess November 8, 2012 at 12:35 pm

            So “Good Morning” was not sufficient warning? Apparently you need to be angrier and more aggressive!

            Recommended Thumb up 0

    • TrailLover November 7, 2012 at 9:38 pm

      Chris,

      You raise reasonable and legitimate concerns. But there are reasonable and legitimate remedies as well.

      I’m often perplexed when I hear reports about “nearly all” mountain bikers being inconsiderate and irresponsible. That characterization is totally at odds with my own experience of cyclists on trails. While I’ve run into the occasional bad apple – including hikers and equestrians – my overwhelming experience of trail users of all types, especially in the backcountry, is quite positive. One reason your experience on the PCT may be different is that anybody cycling on the PCT is already breaking the rules, so that essentially guarantees that you’re getting a very skewed sample of riders. I’m also suspicious of reports of “nearly all” cyclists being inconsiderate and irresponsible because I know from personal experience that reality and perception diverge very quickly out there on the trail depending on people’s experience and expectations. I can’t say how this phenomenon may or may not apply to you (you sound rather competent) but while on my bike I have had perfectly civil and safe encounters with other trail users who then somehow convince themselves that I was unsafe or out of control. I have been literally stopped and standing motionless with my bicycle on the side of the trail when both hikers and equestrians have come around a corner only to be plainly startled by the mountain biker “suddenly bearing down on them.” All perception, no reality.

      Equestrian safety is a serious potential issue. I say “potential” because actual incidents of injury or fatality involving horses and bicycles are so exceedingly rare that I think you are unlikely to find more than a handful in the entire country. And even in those incidents that are recorded, it may be very unclear if we can point to user incompatibility as the real cause of the incident. As you noted, horses are very volatile and there’s no guarantee that their riders are any better prepared to meet a bicycle – or even a sudden breeze – on the trail. But few cyclists argue for kicking horses off the trail because we know from many years of shared trail management that we can design trails and educate trail users in a way that – in reality – has reduced (or kept) – actual horse/bike incidents to a level very close to zero.

      Regarding the additional work that may be needed to maintain trails that would see additional use if bicycles were allowed to share the trail, I think you can count on cyclists to step up and help out just as they do on thousands of miles of shared use trail elsewhere. As you must recognize as an experienced PCT volunteer, virtually all the maintenance you do on the PCT is to repair damage from feet and hooves (never mind mother nature for the moment). So here’s a question for you: if some kind of wonderful outdoor education/awareness campaign got throngs of new people excited about hiking the PCT, would you vote to somehow ban them from the trail because of the impacts they would bring? Or would you instead welcome and encourage the public (after all, it is their trail in the first place) and try to educate and enlist them as supporters and volunteers?

      Lastly, you argue that mountain bikers should be happy just sticking to the other trails where they have legal access. All I can say is that if mountain bikers felt the same, then they wouldn’t be asking for access to the PCT. Right? At some point, we have to accept on face value that people really do want to ride their bicycles on the PCT despite anybody else insisting that they should be satisfied with the status quo.

      Recommended Thumb up 6

      • Chris Sanderson November 7, 2012 at 10:30 pm

        I am sorry, but I have had few good encounters with mountain bikers on the trail. I think you have a point about a frame of mind when I run into them on the trail, since those riding on the PCT are doing so illegally. Yes, it gets me a bit steamed when someone has a blatant disregard for posted signs that clearly prohibit bikes on the trail. Likewise, those that ride on the PCT, knowing that they are breaking the law, likely have an axe to grind as well. Perhaps a reason why encounters on both ends have not gone well.

        Trail maintenance goes beyond fixing tread from horse hooves and footprints. Installing armored drain dips, removing downed trees and branches, building cribs, and re-benching trail due to erosion occupies most of my time when I volunteer. What is interesting to see on the trail is how mountain bike tire marks will avoid armored drain dips and waters bars by going off to the sides of them, thus causing more wear to the trail. The damage from a mountain bike tire (even one that skids!) cannot be ignored, and does far more damage than a human shoe print. Granted, I will concede that horse hooves also do a lot of damage on the trail too.

        Recommended Thumb up 4

        • Brian November 8, 2012 at 5:52 am

          Thanks for the reply, Chris. It sounds like your experiences with mountain bikes has been pretty minimal, given the number of hours you have spent on the trail. It is unfortunate that you have had these few experiences, as every single rider I know avoids the PCT like the plague due to its illegal status. For example, a trail we ride in the Gorge ends at the PCT and that is our turn-around point. Hands down. I also did some camping this Summer in Ashland and the ONLY trails in the area were the PCT. When I asked about trails to ride, the locals pointed me to them. When I arrived at the trailhead and saw the sign, I ended up riding gravel roads instead. Lastly, thanks again for your volunteer efforts. I know that it is a lot of work, and all I can say is many hands make light work. It looks like the PCT, like many trails around the country, is in need of more hands and mountain bikers are notorious for great trail stewards. I would argue, the best user group when it comes to trailwork.

          Recommended Thumb up 2

          • Chris Sanderson November 8, 2012 at 6:51 am

            Thanks Brian. As you point out, the encounters with mountain bikers has been minimal, due to the current ban on bikes on the PCT. I know that the Northwest Trail Alliance here is a very active group, and had some interaction with the Mount Hood Chapter of the PCTA at our Trail Skills College Event in 2011. They are good peeps, no doubt.

            Recommended Thumb up 1

    • davemess November 8, 2012 at 12:25 pm

      So Chris what is your argument for Horses? You admit yourself that they are skiddish and can be uncontrollable, as well as the clearly large impact they have on trails. How can you justify allowing horses and not bikes?

      Recommended Thumb up 1

    • f5 November 8, 2012 at 1:07 pm

      You’re repeating false information about bike trail impacts, and it’s really not appreciated.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

    • fischman October 15, 2013 at 11:09 am

      “First and foremost, nearly all mountain bikers that I have run into on the PCT have been completely inconsiderate of their speed on the trail.”
      This argument fails on three counts:
      1. Any bikers you have encountered on the PCT have been riding illegally, which means they have already shown disdain for rules and regulations. It naturally follows that these are not model citizens, so it would be reasonable to assume poor behavior on their part. You have a bike ban, and yet the bike ban does nothing to deter the bad guys. However, those of us who choose to obey the laws of the land are restraining ourselves despite this prejudicial and unfair ban. It naturally follows that if we were given legal access to ride the PCT, we would restrain our riding in a way that would be respectful of other trail users. Your ban only punishes the good and does nothing to deter the bad. As a corollary, those of us who ride with respect will share our ethos with the rest of the riders. You remind me of the teacher who makes everyone stay after school because two kids in the back corner were talking during class.
      2. Some hikers cut switchbacks, start fires, excrete waste within 100 ft of streams and lakes, grow and stash ganja along the trail, smoke on the trail, etc. If you’re going to advocate banning one user group because of a few bad apples, you must advocate that for all.
      3. There are many trails where multiple user groups coexist without incident. There’s no reason to believe that the PCT would be any different if biking was allowed.

      “Bear in mind the trail is also open to equestrians, and with bikers tearing down the trail, horses are susceptible to unpredictable actions,”
      Now that’s a very good point. Horses can be completely unpredictable. However, when ridden by a competent rider, a bicycle is 100% predictable as it has no mind of its own. Since it is actually possible to do one safely and you, yourself state that the other can not be done without significant risk, do tell why the one where safety is at least possible should be the one that is banned?

      “Third, as a trail maintainer (I have adopted 8-miles of the PCT in Washington), I am not equipped with the time to repair damage that mountain bikes might do on the trail. Bikes do damage to the trails tread, furthering erosion, sometimes in places that are already fragile.”
      This has already been debunked on this page as well as others. Links have been posted that show bicycle damage to be comparable to boot damage and far less than horse damage. If you were truly concerned with trail erosion, you’d focus on horses as well as hikers who illegally cut switchbacks. I applaud your trail efforts – I do much the same in my area (and even sometimes when I travel when I’d rather be hiking or biking). In all my years as a hiker before I took up cycling, not one hiking organization I was in adopted a trail or performed any trail maintenance. Immediately upon my joining a mountain bike org after 25 years exclusively as a hiker, I was invited to reroute an unsustainable portion of trail in a high traffic area (high hiker traffic as well as bike). I have seen far more cyclists wielding tools in the woods than hikers. Allowing bikes will be a net gain for trail maintenance and sustainable trail conditions. Remember, also, that nobody is advocating 100% access to the PCT, only those sections that can be managed and sustained with bicycle traffic.

      You say you’re stretched thin? Let us help! Refusing this offer is just more proof that your real motivation is selfishness.

      “Fourth, there are many other trails out there for mountain bikers to use (go to http://www.singletracks.com to see the many trails listed for Oregon). Why the PCT?”
      Why the PCT? Because the PCT is unique. Substituting another trail does not make up for not having access to the PCT. To fully understand the self-serving, elitist nature of this argument, one need only put the shoe on the other foot. Mountain bikes are already excluded from 40-80% of roadless areas in our western states due to Wilderness designation alone. Then add in National Parks and other local closures and restrictions by the various land management agencies. Then consider how many trails may start and finish in a bike-legal area, but some small portion passes through a forbidden zone. Ultimately, mountain bikes are excluded from a vast majority of their intended use areas, including the most desirable areas. Now, how many hikers, if suddenly excluded from 80% of their most desired areas, would simply accept that with a “that’s okay, we’ve still got all those other trails we can hike”?

      “Bikes have their place, but not on the PCT.”
      Bikes have their place anyplace they can be ridden safely and sustainably. Portions of the PCT fully meet this criteria and are in no way different from other trails where bikes are allowed.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Chris Sanderson November 7, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    I will say that watching videos like this freak me out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTHUQlZrxBI

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • LESTER November 8, 2012 at 12:30 am

      Yeah, that kind of MTBing should be kept to MTB parks and private property, IMO. The kind of trail riding I would like to do on the PCT would be multi-day trips on a fully rigid MTB with about 30 lbs of gear strapped to it. Catching air would not be on my mind.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

      • wsbob November 8, 2012 at 12:46 pm

        “… The kind of trail riding I would like to do on the PCT would be multi-day trips on a fully rigid MTB with about 30 lbs of gear strapped to it. …” LESTER

        LESTER, you’re one of the very, very few people I can think of, speaking of and apparently doing off-road biking, that’s volunteered some description of a type of off-road biking on hiking width trail, that you as an off-road biker, have in mind for trail where people on foot would be present, and that with some added conditions, could offer some compatibility with foot travel.

        Whether, to possibly achieve access for off-road biking to the PCT and other trail in natural areas, you and other off-road bikers would be willing to propose specific limits on speed traveled, passing procedures, particularly with regards to people on foot, is a key question.

        In comments to bikeportland over a period of years, expressing their objectives and expectations, off-road bikers have consistently resisted any such restrictions on off-road bikes use.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • davemess November 8, 2012 at 4:38 pm

          Because those restrictions are not there for any other users.
          One could make the same argument about trailrunners, since they travel at faster than hiking speed and could have “bad interactions” with other foot travelers.
          Are there speed limits for trailrunners?

          Recommended Thumb up 5

          • wsbob November 9, 2012 at 1:36 pm

            Bikes are vehicles, making restrictions on their maximum speed traveled, and passing procedures with respect to people on foot, important to consider.

            “…trailrunners, since they travel at faster than hiking speed and could have “bad interactions” with other foot travelers.
            Are there speed limits for trailrunners? …” davemess

            Trail runners can and do travel faster than people walking, but they aren’t vehicles upon which people ride, relying merely on hands on brake levers and a few square inches of tire on contact surface to stop the bike. Runners use most of the area of their feet, and the shifting of weight of their entire bodies to bring themselves to a stop.

            A bicycle enables a person on a bike, a much higher mph than a person running. While runners neglecting to offer due consideration for people walking can and do cause bad interactions with people walking, the potential hazard they pose, is less than that potentially posed by people traveling by bike on trail where people are present and walking.

            Recommended Thumb up 1

            • davemess November 9, 2012 at 4:02 pm

              Except that many runners can travel faster uphill than cyclists. Again you’re just splitting hairs.
              The bottom line is that people move at different speeds and whether they are using a “vehicle” or not, they still can coexist with each other.
              You seem to be beating to death the definition of vehicle but not really adding any real debate about the issue at hand.

              It’s really amazing, I lived in the mountain states (with an even higher percentage of mountain bikers) and these debates about trail usage RARELY come up. People manage to get along, they coexist. Only in the NW does this seem to be such a major problem.

              Recommended Thumb up 3

              • Alex M November 9, 2012 at 4:17 pm

                It is so sickening to see this argument over and over again here. People share trails all over the world and there is very little debate. For some reason the hikers in the PacNW think they own the trails or are more in touch with nature or have some special bond with the wilderness that you only people on foot can have and that the damage they do isn’t “ruts” like mtb’s can make so it isn’t as bad. These are all arguments that ignore the real issue – they simply don’t enjoy mountain biking and don’t enjoy having mountain bikes on trails, which is a fine argument but no reason to keep bikes off of trails.

                Recommended Thumb up 4

            • Fischman December 22, 2012 at 4:18 pm

              “First and foremost, nearly all mountain bikers that I have run into on the PCT have been completely inconsiderate of their speed on the trail.”
              This argument fails on two accounts:
              1. If you have encountered bikers on the PCT, they were poaching as biking is currently prohibited. That means you have been encountering lawbreakers who you could assume would be reckless and inconsiderate. The folks who wait to ride the trail legally are folks who would use proper trail etiquette and even educate the others.
              2. Plenty of pedestrians/equestrians do inconsiderate things on the trail. I have seen no shortage of garbage in otherwise pristine trails where nary a biker has passed. What about all the damage done by a 1,200lb horse and rider on a sensitive trail, especially when wet and highly susceptible to damage? Bikers didn’t make all those fire rings and when was the last time you heard of a forest fire started by a biker. If you want to ban all bikers because of the actions of a few bad apples, you must also vote to ban all hikers for the evil deeds of the inconsiderate and dangerous ones.

              “Second, I oppose mountain bikes on the trail because of safety. Bear in mind the trail is also open to equestrians, and with bikers tearing down the trail, horses are susceptible to unpredictable actions, like tearing down the mountain with their rider on it. Trust me, horses get freaked out easily, even by hikers sometimes (horses don’t know what to think of a backpack on a person).”
              Why ban bikes because of equestrians? Why not the other way around? What makes one form of discrimination more legit than the other? The last time I encountered a horse on a trail, I dismounted and moved with my bike well off the trail. The horse still freaked out and, had I been any closer to the trail, would have likely lost my head. So who’s the “dangerous” one here and who, if anybody, should be banned? You said yourself “horses don’t know what to think of a backpack on a person” but again I don’t hear you advocating banning hikers despite the safety concern.

              “Third, as a trail maintainer (I have adopted 8-miles of the PCT in Washington), I am not equipped with the time to repair damage that mountain bikes might do on the trail.”
              1. Please see links in this thread regarding trail impact by various user groups.
              2. As a trail maintainer, I have spent many hours erasing switchback cuts made by hikers and deep gouges made by horses.
              3. You allow biking and you’ll get a fantastic resource in all the bikers who will come out to assist you in your trail maintenance. As a biker for the last 10 years, I have done far more trail maintenance than I did in the preceding 30 years of backcountry hiking. This has been my experience with other hikers and bikers as well.
              4. Some trails are inherently unsustainable due to soil composition or poor design. Bans should be evaluated on a case by case basis, not by a blanket ban on 2,600+ miles of trail encompassing a tremendous variety of geography.

              “Fourth, there are many other trails out there for mountain bikers to use”
              This is the weakest argument of all. Mountain bikes are already banned from anywhere from 40% to 86% of roadless areas in western states due to Wilderness designation alone. Add to that all the trails that start and end in unrestricted national forest or BLM but pass through a small portion of wilderness along the way and you can write them off for bikers as well. Then add in national parks and other local restrictions. If you were banned from over half of your desired public lands as a hiker, would you simply say “That’s okay, there’s plenty of other places I can hike?”

              Recommended Thumb up 0

            • fischman October 15, 2013 at 11:12 am

              I have been passed by trail runner while on my bike. They were indeed going faster than I.

              But again, I point to horses. Some equestrians love to trot or even gallop at some point during their ride. If you think 200lbs of bike and rider might be a problem, try running into 1400lbs of horse and rider!

              Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Brian November 8, 2012 at 5:56 am

      Using that video to “make your case” is intellectually dishonest. That was a 16 year old riding a downhill jumpline, running into a woman who had dismounted from her mountain bike. Nothing in that scenario applies to the topic. It would be akin to me using a video of people base jumping down a waterfall as evidence to ban people from walking into wilderness.

      Recommended Thumb up 6

    • f5 November 8, 2012 at 1:12 pm

      It may freak you out but it has nothing to do directly with the realities of backcountry trail riders sharing trail with backcountry hikers on the PCT. It has everything to do with you spreading misinformation to reinforce bad stereotypes. Kind of a jerk move if you ask me.

      Recommended Thumb up 4

  • Chris Sanderson November 7, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    Jonathan,

    Before jumping head first into this, I think you should mention opposing views to mountain bikes on the PCT. There’s a Facebook group called Save The PCT: https://www.facebook.com/groups/savethepct/?fref=ts

    You should also mention the Pacific Crest Trail Association’s stance on this issue: http://pcta.org/general/news/new.asp#mtn-bikes

    Finally, this effort is being pursued by an individual named Ted Stroll, a judicial staff attorney for the California Supreme Court, who argues for removing the ban on mountain bikes in wilderness areas: http://www.newwest.net/main/article/wilderenss_act_does_not_ban_mountain_biking/

    Chris

    Recommended Thumb up 3

    • TrailLover November 8, 2012 at 7:32 am

      As you’ll see, the Save The PCT site and facebook page do little more than state their opposition to sharing. Perhaps they’ll invite some discourse and sunlight in the future but right now there’s no discussion of issues there. Fortunately, the ShareThePCT.org site and facebook page invite all views.

      The PCTA has had a long standing opposition to sharing the trail. However, it remains to be seen exactly how the PCTA will deal with this issue now that it’s actually coming to the table. If USFS determines that some type of sharing plan can or should be implemented, will PCTA decide not to be a partner? Will it stick its head in the sand and leave it to others to work out the strategy and details? I hope not.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

    • TrailLover November 8, 2012 at 9:42 am

      By the way, Chris. What is the relevance of trying to “out” any particular individual who may be helping to support or lead the sharing initiative? Is there something incriminating about being an attorney or working for the judiciary? What’s your point there?

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Daniel R. Miller November 8, 2012 at 12:29 am

    As someone religious about both biking and hiking, I have to express my disapproval of the idea of allowing bicycles on the PCT. Someone in another comment ridiculed the idea (in another previous comment) that there is a different experience of time when hiking versus biking. But I will attest to that, and what can I say? It is the sort of spiritual value and experience that you can’t quantify, but which is deeply real and which is radically diminished by the presence of machines and people riding upon machines. The PCT is not for riding upon mechanical devices at 2x or more walking speed . Period. That’s pretty much my take on it. Again, as someone who has both ridden (bike toured and as a daily biker) and hiked (including thru-hiked the AT and long stretches in the Cascades and other ranges) literally thousands of miles .

    Recommended Thumb up 5

    • TrailLover November 8, 2012 at 7:50 am

      Daniel,

      While I think most people can respect the religious or spiritual nature of your experience on the trail, you seem to be saying that it’s exclusively yours. If the experience some people want is on their bicycle, shouldn’t we try to accommodate them too? Decrying “machines” as “radically diminishing” your experience seems a little over the top. The machines we’re talking about are no more technologically advanced than the other equipment people regularly bring into the backcountry. Bicycles are quiet, human-powered, they extend a few inches in front of and behind the rider and you only have to experience them for mere moments before everyone goes on their merry way enjoying their own individual experience of the trail. Is that really an impossibility?

      Recommended Thumb up 4

      • wsbob November 8, 2012 at 12:00 pm

        Bikes are vehicles. Bikes by nature are contrary to the purpose for which wilderness and natural areas are conserved.

        Natural and wilderness ares are made ‘vehicle free’ so that people may have opportunity on occasion, to get away from mechanized civilization and experience a natural setting removed from machines and vehicles.

        Recommended Thumb up 5

        • Brian November 8, 2012 at 1:31 pm

          Red Herring. No one is asking for access in officially designated “Wilderness.”

          Recommended Thumb up 2

        • dan November 9, 2012 at 11:18 am

          Yes, a natural setting, with my waterproof/breathable fabrics, space age boots, whisperlite stove, GPS, SPOT device, and titanium cook gear. I agree that this is not a trail for downhilling, but fail to see how long-distance bike touring on the PCT diminishes the experience for hikers in a way that horse packers do not.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • wsbob November 9, 2012 at 12:15 pm

            “…but fail to see how long-distance bike touring on the PCT …” dan

            Define long-distance bike touring: maximum bike mph speed traveled whether or not people or wildlife are present, and passing procedures with respect to people traveling trail on foot.

            Recommended Thumb up 3

        • Alex M November 9, 2012 at 11:34 am

          Are horses not vehicles in this case? They were never meant to be there and cause way more damage to the trails.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • wsbob November 9, 2012 at 12:19 pm

            “Are horses not vehicles in this case? …” Alex M

            Horses are biological life forms….equine beings. They are not mechanical vehicles people use to convey themselves over land.

            Recommended Thumb up 2

            • Alex November 9, 2012 at 12:54 pm

              Unfortunately, they are mechanical (albeit in a biological sense), as is the human body. They are also not native to the most of the wilderness areas and do tons of trail damage.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

              • wsbob November 10, 2012 at 11:06 pm

                “Unfortunately, they are mechanical (albeit in a biological sense), as is the human body. They are also not native to the most of the wilderness areas and do tons of trail damage.” Alex

                Horses aren’t mechanical in the sense that motor vehicles and bicycles are mechanical, any more than deer, bear, or human beings are.

                If you’re going somewhere with this, you’ve not said where. Because of the expense and work involved in buying, maintaining and transporting them, it’s very unlikely that use of horses on trail would ever approach or exceed that of off-road bikes, if use of this type of vehicle were allowed on wilderness and natural area trail.

                Recommended Thumb up 1

        • fischman October 15, 2013 at 11:22 am

          You need to study the original congressional testimony and language as it relates to both the Wilderness Act and National Scenic Trails. The intent was to get people out under their own power and prevent the kind of infrastructure development that comes with supporting automobiles. bikes are quiet and human powered. Furthermore, the passage of a bicycle through a backcountry area has no more impact on the area than the passage of a pair of boots–in many cases far less. Bikepacking is very rare while backpacking is quite common. It’s the person on foot who establishes a presence in the backcountry when building a campsite. It’s the person on foot who burns fossil fuels in the backcountry (that’s right, no matter how high-tech, small and light, that backpacking cookstove is releasing hydrocarbons into the atmosphere). Oh and speaking of high tech, a bicycle is a simple mechanical device, pretty low on the tech scale. However, a hiker who uses his GPS to pinpoint his location anywhere on the globe with astounding accuracy by triangulating signals off a constellation of space satellites is employing the height of technology. Again, this is all about appearances, not reality. The “old my way is better than yours.”

          Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Old Timer November 8, 2012 at 9:24 am

    I’m retired US Forest Service. Looking at the documentation, yes, there is cause to review the closure. From my Lazy-Boy recliner, I’d say the bicyclists shouldn’t have been excluded all these years, unless proper reviews of the closure were conducted and it was determined that bicycles were incompatible with the purpose of the trail. I have no dog in this fight.

    Recommended Thumb up 11

    • Nick November 8, 2012 at 12:59 pm

      Exactly.

      Thank you for illustrating that simple and accurate point.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

  • matt picio November 8, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    Bike-Max-Bike
    The PCT is designed as a hiker/equestrian only trail. It was never meant for/not designed for bikes.

    What are you using to justify that statement? The USFS has never done a comprehensive impact study on bike usage, bike effects, etc. One could easily argue it was never designed for equestrian use either.

    How would mtn bikers like it if motor cyclists and ATV’ers dedicated themselves to opening mtn bike only trails to motorized use? Sandy Ridge, vroom vroom! Each group uses their trails for separate experiences: generally mtb’ers want to bomb hills at speed to find enjoyment, hikers/backpackers want something else, and equestrians don’t want their animals spooked.

    Actually, they already did dedicated themselves to that, and in the Mount Hood National Forest there was a huge 2-year public comment process which resulted in an off-road travel management plan which clearly delineated the areas in which OHVs can be used. No equivalent process has been done regarding bicycle use in the MHNF, no the current set of trail restrictions in that forest, including the PCT.

    The general desire of these mtb’ers is to use the PCT locally and where accessible by car as downhill speedway and local connector/loop . This would be detrimental to the experience of the intended users.

    And they’ve told you this specifically?

    First off, every downhill has a corresponding uphill. Second, there is no “local” to the PCT – at least not in Oregon. Nearly the entire PCT has steep grades up *and* down, and is remote from any facilities or roads. There are a few exceptions, like near Government Camp, but those areas are still subject to Wilderness restrictions.\

    There is a movement underway to open the wilderness to bikes as well. I’m sure you’ll all enjoy a slice of that with your tranquility. I know I won’t.

    If so, they have a long, uphill battle. It takes an act of Congress to amend the WIlderness Act, with years of public process. Even if they succeed, it won’t flood the Wilderness with bicycles – most trails have large trees fallen over them, and since power saws are illegal in the Wilderness, most of those trees are never cleared.

    The real answer to those trying to allow bikes in the Wilderness isn’t to change the Act, but instead to create a new designation for human-powered recreation which provides areas open to bikes (and hikers and horses) but closed to cars.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

    • wsbob November 9, 2012 at 1:10 pm

      “…Second, there is no “local” to the PCT – at least not in Oregon. …” matt picio

      Depends upon what context ‘local’ is being used. The PCT can be accessed just down the Columbia Gorge, 30-40 minutes or so from Portland, near Cascade Locks. Because it’s relatively local to Portland, people commonly drive from the city into the gorge for hiking, all days of the week.

      “… There is a movement underway to open the wilderness to bikes as well. I’m sure you’ll all enjoy a slice of that with your tranquility. I know I won’t. …” Bike-Max-Bike

      “…If so, they have a long, uphill battle. It takes an act of Congress to amend the WIlderness Act, with years of public process. Even if they succeed, it won’t flood the Wilderness with bicycles – most trails have large trees fallen over them, and since power saws are illegal in the Wilderness, most of those trees are never cleared.

      The real answer to those trying to allow bikes in the Wilderness isn’t to change the Act, but instead to create a new designation for human-powered recreation which provides areas open to bikes (and hikers and horses) but closed to cars. …” matt picio

      Trees fallen over trail are not an insurmountable problem to remove without chainsaws, as history and aged loggers will readily attest. Well maintained and skillfully used double edged axes and buck saws can make short work of big trees, as centuries of clear cut forests before the advent of the chainsaw bear evidence to. Civilization has misused chainsaws, allowing them to be the bane of people’s existence, just as it has motor vehicles and other machines, including to some extent already, the off-road bicycle.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

      • alex m November 9, 2012 at 1:19 pm

        Or the on-road bicycle. I suppose it all depends on your point-of-view, which you seem to miss in every post you make.

        Recommended Thumb up 1

        • wsbob November 10, 2012 at 10:27 pm

          “Or the on-road bicycle. …” alex m

          In an oversimplified way, it would seem you’re trying to claim that the effect of on-road bikes, more commonly known as road bikes, on road users and the road environment, is somehow equal to the effect off-road bikes have on wilderness and natural settings, wildlife and people that travel trail in wilderness and natural settings.

          Or, maybe, in your apparently offhand retort, you were implying some other idea, not willing to say what it was.

          Recommended Thumb up 1

  • JM November 8, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    wsbob
    Bikes are vehicles. Bikes by nature are contrary to the purpose for which wilderness and natural areas are conserved.
    Natural and wilderness ares are made ‘vehicle free’ so that people may have opportunity on occasion, to get away from mechanized civilization and experience a natural setting removed from machines and vehicles.
    Recommended 1

    Vehicles require a license to operate, no? Wouldn’t a horse be considered a mode of transportation… a “vehicle” to move about? It does all the work while the human just sits there, kicking and whipping it.
    If you need 1,600 miles of trail to get away from civilization, machines and vehicles, you haven’t done much exploring! And if getting away from it all is so important, why do thru hikers stop in the various towns, accept rides, blog, rock out to ipods, etc.?

    Recommended Thumb up 4

    • wsbob November 9, 2012 at 12:45 pm

      Here’s a link to my earlier comment about this, in which I neglected to add something I should have:

      http://bikeportland.org/2012/11/07/advocates-hope-for-reversal-of-pacific-crest-trail-bike-ban-79736#comment-3374593

      I should have added to what I did in the previous comment, that horses are beasts of burden. While certainly not ruling out instances of animal abuse, I think it’s fair to say horse owners generally love their steeds and give them the best care possible. Horses are a mode of transportation, but they’re not vehicles. They’re very expensive to buy, maintain and transport to trail head, which is likely to always confine their use on trail to small numbers.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

      • davemess November 9, 2012 at 3:57 pm

        You’re splitting hairs. They create more trail damage than bikes do. Period.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Ben November 8, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    Bikes were never intended to be used on the PCT. Mountain bikers couldn’t even access a vast majority if the PCT even if they wanted too. Go out to Coyote Wall, across from Hood River, in Washington. It is a shared hiker biker area and the mountain bikers have totally defaced all of the trails. The trails wind everywhere like a network of scars on the hillside Bike tires leave a continuous tread/trough through the wilderness and this groove then acts as an aqueduct. When it rains water travels down these grooves and contributes to erosion. Boot prints, by comparison, are far less destructive and don’t channel water down the trail and facilitate erosion. It really doesn’t take a great deal of thought to see that giant knobby tires would cause significant wear to any trail. There are so many places to mountain bike. The PCT is sacred to hikers, and was meant for hikers. Bikes on the PCT is a bad idea.

    Recommended Thumb up 5

    • TrailLover November 9, 2012 at 9:57 am

      Ben,

      I think you are confusing several issues. First, traveling off trail and other bad behavior by trail users (hikers, equestrians and bicycles) has been a trail and land management headache since way before bikes came along. When you increase the volume of users, you increase impacts. Much of what you assert is disproportionate soil impact from bicycle tires (relative to boots) may have more to do with the volume of bicycles rather than the impact of a single set of tires vs. a single set of boots. As you’ve probably heard or read already, studies that compare the two show boots and tires to have similar impacts (with horses having considerably more impact). I’ve never seen the Coyote Wall area you mentioned, but pointing to a place where there is apparently unchecked, unmanaged and lawless abuse going on may not be a relevant test for whether or not the PCT could support shared use. There’s an empty lot not far from my house where foot traffic has trampled virtually every living thing to death as people use the area as a short-cut in various directions. Does that mean feet shouldn’t be allowed on the PCT?

      Your final point about the PCT being “sacred” to some hikers is an important one. But should hiking be the only way to worship on the PCT? Do a few bicycles in the backcountry really threaten the core values of other PCT enthusiasts? Are we talking about an apocalypse, or just a reasonable adjustment to invite and include a whole new group of PCT supporters who’s backcountry values are essentially indistinguishable from those of existing users of the trail.

      Recommended Thumb up 4

    • davemess November 9, 2012 at 10:19 am

      There are so many places to mountain bike.

      You clearly do not live in Portland and Mountain bike.

      Recommended Thumb up 4

      • fischman October 15, 2013 at 11:27 am

        Actually the use of the word “sacred” is quite telling. Just as one religion believes theirs is the only way to worship, the only way to heaven, etc, the non-sharing hikers believe theirs is the only way to appreciate the backcountry. Furthermore, like religion, they expect us to accept this on faith, as they can produce no evidence or rational analysis to support this claim.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Brian November 9, 2012 at 12:17 pm

      The trails you are referring to were started as unauthorized trails by hikers. Mountain bikers then mistook them for authorized trails, and began riding them. The combination of foot and bike traffic in areas that were not conducive to either led to the current situation. The Hood River Area Trail Stewards (a local mtb group) have work parties planned to decommission and improve the problems caused by all user groups. For more info see their website: http://hrats.org/
      Yet another example of mountain bikers putting shovels to the ground to demonstrate good stewardship and preservation. Will you be there?

      Recommended Thumb up 4

    • fischman October 15, 2013 at 12:09 pm

      You need to study the original congressional testimony and language as it relates to the establishment National Scenic Trails. The intent was to get people out under their own power and prevent the kind of infrastructure development that comes with supporting automobiles. The whole intent was to provide an area for nonmotorized recreation. Bicycles were indeed an original intended use during the creation of the National Scenic Trails. The phrase “hiking, horseback riding, and cycling” or a variation thereof shows up in the testimony multiple times. Clearly the intent was inclusive of all nonmotorized modes of transport.

      If so much of the PCT is inaccessible to bikes anyway, what do you possibly have to fear?

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • El Jefe November 9, 2012 at 1:43 am

    Ben
    Bikes were never intended to be used on the PCT. Mountain bikers couldn’t even access a vast majority if the PCT even if they wanted too. ….blah blah blah blah… read the impact studies… blah blah blah…. The PCT is sacred to hikers, and was meant for hikers. Bikes on the PCT is a bad idea.
    Recommended 1

    Regarding “intended”, says who? Bikes were allowed pre-1988… was that “un-intended”? Did you know that thru-hiking was never intended on the PCT? Your opinion is fine, your facts are wrong. Is the PCT sacred, or are you just scared to share? P.S. Bikes are already on the PCT, albeit not legally. If riding the PCT was de-criminalized, I think the hikers wouldn’t get their panties in such a bunch upon seeing one… you people get so worked up over “rule breakers”, you can’t see it’s another human being out enjoying nature, just like you.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

  • rwl1776 November 9, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    If you cannot get Oregon Wild to agree with this change, it will never happen. Erik Fernandez and Oregon Wild have Earl Blumenauer on their side. How do we know that? It was Oregon Wild that convinced Earl to CLOSE 110+ miles of Singletrack to bicycles in the Mt Hood area. We lost that battle because Oregon Wild was able to convince Earl that closing 55% of the singletrack that mountainbikers had ridden and maintained for two decades was a GOOD idea. Good luck going up against the well oiled and well funded machine that is Oregon Wild. Long Live PUMP!

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • TrailLover November 9, 2012 at 6:02 pm

      Fortunately, OregonWild’s mission is totally consistent with the idea that the PCT could be shared with those Oregonians who would like to experience wild places by bicycle: “Our Mission: Oregon Wild works to protect and restore Oregon’s wildlands, wildlife and waters as an enduring legacy for all Oregonians.”

      Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Hoper November 9, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    “Advocates hope for reversal of Pacific Crest Trail bike ban”

    Hope. Hope as needed mountain bikers. I will be working to properly codify a permanent ban on vehicles on the PCT. At the same time I will support and dontate to any mountain bikers effort to build a Mex-Can single track as long as same folks support no bikes on PCT or in wilderness. There is an opportunity to raise money here: big visions of 3000 miles of new single track will raise money and volunteers. One persons problem is anothers opportunity.

    Der Hoper

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Ben Foote November 10, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    I thru hiked the PCT in 2000, and before and since then I have spent many days hiking on many trails.

    I ride my bike all over town, and advocate for better infrastructure and practices. But backpacking is how I would choose to spend my time.

    In my opinion trails which are used for mountain biking have a different quality to them and are not as pleasant to hike on as trails which are restricted from travel by bike. They are often in my experience rutted down the center by tire tread, and deeply so at switch backs.

    Certainly horses have impact on trails (as do boots), but the wear on trails of quadrupeds does not make it much more difficult for travel by bipeds.

    And, in mind, body and spirit, I concur with the sentiment that Dan Miller expresses above about the pace and texture of extended travel in the back country. Being away is a rare privilege. Sanctuary is a precious state of grace.

    That we should set aside places in our world that allow us to observe the land from a particular state of grace is a testament to the impacts of technology on our world. I posit that the decision of appropriate technologies that facilitate travel in the back country should seek to protect that sanctuary for some places.

    As we do with roads and the Right Of Way, in this arena I’d prefer a separate facility for different modes.

    And for that, this arbitrary line down the spine of the Pacific Crest, between two other arbitrary lines which divide land among peoples should be held as a treasured sanctuary to be preserved. We should work together to extend the wilderness to encompass the entire trail.

    Amen.

    As an aside, I’ve just come from spending seven days in the Oakridge Oregon area, and while I didn’t do any mountain biking myself I did get to see mountain bikers out on trail and talk with a GOATS trail advocate for a time at a local pub, and more generally see their literature and messages displayed throughout the town and online. It seems like some really great community building and advocacy around Mountain Biking is going on in Oakridge. It may just save that town.

    (Chris thanks so much for your support of the PCT.)

    Recommended Thumb up 3

    • alex November 12, 2012 at 11:06 am

      Have you ever gone mountain biking?

      Recommended Thumb up 3

    • fischman October 15, 2013 at 11:33 am

      I recently completed a 3-day, 18 mile backpack in the Holy Cross Wilderness in Colorado. The trails I covered have never seen a knobby. Yet these were the most rutted, difficult to hike trails I have ever seen. Similarly when I took the west route up Pikes Peak, another trail completely free of bike travel, the v-ruts were horrendous.

      Conversely, I have hiked and ridden trails with heavy bike traffic and nary a rut in sight.

      Trail construction and maintenance are far bigger variables than they type of transport on them. Those portions which are sustainable for bikes should be regulated as such.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Blackrock November 11, 2012 at 10:44 am

    No Bikes, I hike to get away from the modern world, I dont want it following me into the wilderness as well. I will have a talk with my local congressmen, whom my family knows very well and see if we can put a stop to this.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

    • alex November 12, 2012 at 11:05 am

      It wouldn’t follow you into the wilderness, just the PCT. There are still thousands of miles of trails where bikes will be banned…

      Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Hoper November 12, 2012 at 11:21 am

    As someone pointed out on an email list the fact that this effort exists at all is a net loss for hikers. How can hikers possible get more solitude, more peace, more quiet, more tranqulity and an enhanced expectation of those things via mtb intrusion and advocacy efforts? They cannot.

    One of the best things to do, to turn the tide and make this into a win for hikers and other lovers of slow, quiet recreation, would be to make sure the guides for maintaining the PCT are updated: survey the trail for bike tracks; where observed begin installation of anti-bike trail features. Such is already done to prevent and discourage ATV and motorcycle use of foot trails. But to codify this would be a big improvement.

    Again, mtb’ers, build your own trails. Or take over some motorcycle trails demanding equal access. “Occupy ATV Trails Day” comes to mind. Then complain about all the damage done to the trails that ought to be shared. Irony, it’s not on your side.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

    • alex November 12, 2012 at 11:49 am

      Mtb’ers were allowed on the PCT for quite some time and we already share plenty of trail with ATVs. I think you equating mountain biking to ATVs is a false idea, though. Mountain biking is a pretty quiet endeavor and also does not impact nature like ATVs.

      Many hikers assume mountain biking is all about red bull type events, when really, biking on a trail like the PCT is anything but that. It involves a lot of slow climbing and very quiet. I believe hiking to be more intrusive to the wildlife in the are as well as they get scared of hikers and usually just casually observe cyclists (this has happened to me many times on both sides).

      One last note, I am sure many mountain bikers have helped build the PCT, don’t cast the argument into the “build your own trails”. Adding more trails can do more damage than just retrofitting existing trails to handle other use cases. You don’t own this public property, please don’t act like you do.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

    • fischman October 15, 2013 at 11:38 am

      “As someone pointed out on an email list the fact that this effort exists at all is a net loss for hikers.”

      Another vote for selfishness and “I got mine, the rest of y’all don’t merit . . .”
      Hikers have access to 100% of roadless areas. Bikers sometimes less than 20%.

      Now, tell me if things are in balance at all by any reasonable or rational definition. Where’s the justice in one user group having exclusive access to 80% of the most desired area 100% of the time while denying another user group that 80%, 100% of the time? Would you consider a shared use schedule? (i.e. bikers may access the trails every other day)

      Your answer will be very telling

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Hoper November 12, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    The fact that ANY mtb biking activity on the PCT would be a “Red Bull” event is a loss to hikers and lovers of slow, quiet, recreation.

    Again, do not fear to build your own trail. It’s a big country with plenty of room for new trails. Properly built trails will not only handle bike traffic but will not degrade the environment. Go ahead, get out there ahead of the curve: build it yourself with the expectation that it’s for bikes, get that notion put into law, and it will be for bikes.

    Hikers will not come knocking to make your Red Bull trail into a multi-use trail.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

    • alex November 12, 2012 at 2:12 pm

      You completely missed the point.

      Again, do not act like you own any part of the PCT. You do not.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

    • fischman October 15, 2013 at 12:11 pm

      “ANY mtb biking activity on the PCT would be a “Red Bull” event”

      A perfect display of your prejudicial attitude and willingness to flat out lie to try to make your indefensible point.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Hoper November 12, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    Come on, poach your own movenment and turn it into a win for hikers, equestrians, the PCT, bikes and the wilderness: Swear off the PCT and the wilderness, and build your own fantabulous 3000 mile trail.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

    • alex November 12, 2012 at 2:38 pm

      This whole thing is about the PCT, not the wilderness – you keep conflating the two and acting like there will be no hiking only trails.

      Again, don’t act like the only people who built the trail and use it are only pro-hiker/equestrian and anti-mtb, such as yourself.

      Have you ever gone on a real mtb ride on a trail like the PCT? It isn’t what you are imagining, I don’t think.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

    • fischman October 15, 2013 at 11:46 am

      Impossible in this day in age. First, no such trail could be constructed given the preponderance of Wilderness between point a and point b without incorporating roads, urban areas, and would quite often be relegated to far less desirable areas. Second, the regulations, environmental reviews and red tape that exist today are far in excess of that which existed when the NSTs were originally constructed. Third, any new trail will be assaulted by anti bike groups–to wit the bike trails recently constructed within the boundaries of the Mt Hood ski areas have been opposed successfully by hiking organizations. This is within the boundaries of a downhill ski area with all the infrastructure that supports it (lifts and lodges, etc). If we can’t even get a few miles of new trail in a highly developed area, what makes you think we can get 3,000 continuous miles through pristine backcountry?

      Also, why put another scar on the land (new trail) when a perfectly good one (existing trail) already exists. Another indication that not wanting to share is a larger driver than the supposed motive of conservation.

      I have built many miles of trail. I never once advocated restricting the fruits of my labor to a privileged user group. Inclusiveness beats diviceveness.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Hoper November 12, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    This “whole thing” is about bike is the wilderness, or ending wilderness as we know it, as well. Unless you can show that all the people involved in your movement openly oppose this:

    http://www.facebook.com/WildernessB

    So either one hand does not know what the other is doing, or this is part of a multi-point effort to destroy protection for wilderness and quiet, slow recreation at the same time. Is this ignorance or collusion?

    Either way, you’d get little resistance and much support if you had what it took to build your own trail. Many other individuals and organizations are working diligently to create epic new trails in America. With an organization like yours, I’m sure you can make it happen. It just takes a decades-long commitment to build something you value, instead of taking something of value from others.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

    • alex November 12, 2012 at 3:25 pm

      First, you should read the title of the blog post – “Advocates hope for reversal of Pacific Crest Trail bike ban”.

      Second, you should click on the links in the blog article – http://www.sharingthepct.org/

      I think it is you who is incorrect. I can’t speak for anyone on that facebook link (I don’t even use that site), their opinions, nor their association with what this blog post is actually about.

      Again, please quit conflating the issues, they are not at all the same thing.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

    • fischman October 15, 2013 at 12:18 pm

      “. . . or ending wilderness as we know it, as well.”
      More false hyperbole designed to deceive. Returning to the pre-bike ban would only return the laws and subsequent regulations to where they were originally intended to be. Furthermore, all current Wilderness protection would continue. Also, nobody is advocating for the inclusion of bikes on all trails–just a lifting of the universal ban. Let each trail stand on its own merit or suitability for cycling.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Hoper November 12, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    You’re not the first industry-funded, vehicle-focused organization to try to put a tire mark on someone elses hard work.

    Pushing back against the foes of quiet, slow recreation, wilderness and tranquility necessary to an enjoyable experience on the PCT is a lot of work. With the hard work of the Pacific Crest Trail Assoication, hikers, backpackers, thru-hikers and equestrians I hope that wilderness protection can be extended to the entire trail corridor.

    Turning a quiet trail into a thrill-ride is not heroic act of so-called conservationists. It is a small-minded act of piracy.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

    • alex November 12, 2012 at 3:46 pm

      What the hell are you even talking about? I am not an organization. I am a human, with no ties to any bicycle related organization. I just enjoy solitude and usually quiet times on my bicycle riding through nature. I completely fail to see the great impact it is going to have on your life, other than the completely made-up dialog you seem to have going in your head.

      The nerve you have to think you own public land and that it is an “act of piracy” goes to show just how crazy you are. Your facts are obviously not reality.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

  • JM November 12, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    alex- you’ve gotten sucked into an endlessly confusing argument with a member of the “HOHA”. (See http://world.std.com/~Jimf/biking/slang.html#H for definition). An udder complete waste of your time. Neither fact nor level headed discourse will ever change his/her mind a millimeter. If the USFS changes the policy next year, the HOHA’s will sue until they day they die.. the good ‘ol American way. Pathetic buggers didn’t learn how to share back in kindergarten.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • alex November 12, 2012 at 4:59 pm

      I didn’t get suckered into anything. I knowingly went in to it with my expectations properly set. He definitely showed his true colors and the psychoses he suffers from in the end. Sometimes it just feels good to push back a little, even though it is a waste of time.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Hoper November 13, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Alex,

    Many others have done the heavy lifting when it comes to building and maintaining the PCT as a hiker/equestrian only trail. Who are you to take away from them?

    When you carry water for an organized advocacy effort you should not be surprised if you’re labeled as one of them: carry their water, you might get wet.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • alex November 13, 2012 at 1:53 pm

      Your arguments assume that none of these people support mountain biking or access to the trail for mtb’s. Who are you to deny the use for other groups that want to help support the trail and ecosystem around it? Who are you to take away that opportunity and benefit to the trail? Who said that no mtbers have done the heavylifting? Do you have any numbers to support that no mountain bikers have helped?

      Your arguments are tired. You are selfish. That’s fine, but don’t expect other people in the public realm to not demand access to a public trail on public land. The trail isn’t yours. You don’t own it. Go ahead and fight it, there will be others on my side pushing against your goal of exclusion. As far as I am concerned, this conversation is done. Good luck and I hope to see you on the PCT some day either doing work or on my bike.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

      • wsbob November 14, 2012 at 11:12 am

        “… Who are you to deny the use for other groups that want to help support the trail and ecosystem around it? …” alex

        There’s not much stopping anyone that wishes to help support trail and ecosystem in wilderness and natural areas. Food, water, clothes as needed, a few tools and muscles to wield them is about it. Aside from traveling to and from trail-heads, bikes and other vehicles and machinery aren’t really needed to do this work. Many hundreds of thousands of people have not worked over decades, continuing to this day, securing and conserving wilderness and natural areas, to have vehicle use recreation, introduced into those secured and conserved lands.

        Vehicles, which is what bicycles are, are contrary to the fundamental concept of wilderness and natural areas and the reason they’ve been set aside to provide opportunity for people to experience these areas.

        Off-road bike enthusiasts genuinely interested in siting trail for off-road bike use in a natural setting may have a worthy objective. While conversion at a rapid rate has transformed many thousands of acres of wilderness and natural lands into housing, industry, business, roads, dumps, and so on, relatively undeveloped land still exists, not already designated to be conserved as wilderness and natural area. Off-road bike enthusiasts could be directing their efforts towards securing and conserving these lands for off-road bike recreation, before their character and function as natural area land is effectively lost forever.

        Lands not already designated for wilderness and natural area service, is where off-road bike enthusiasts are likely to have their best success in siting trail for off-road bike use.

        Recommended Thumb up 3

        • alex November 14, 2012 at 5:09 pm

          Again, this is all about the PCT, not wilderness. Why do you keep bringing up wilderness? Did you not read the blog post or the links in the post?

          Recommended Thumb up 1

          • wsbob November 15, 2012 at 12:23 am

            alex
            Again, this is all about the PCT, not wilderness. Why do you keep bringing up wilderness? Did you not read the blog post or the links in the post?
            Recommended 1

            The PCT is wilderness in that it travels through wilderness. The word ‘wilderness’ is a descriptive term as well as the name used for federally designated ‘wilderness’ areas, and aptly describes character of lands the PCT passes through.

            At some points along its route, the trail passes through officially designated wilderness area; for example, the Mt Hood Wilderness Area.

            Describing exactly what constitutes ‘wilderness’ can be involved, but I think it’s fair to say that natural areas and wilderness have many things in common.

            Recommended Thumb up 3

            • alex November 15, 2012 at 7:38 am

              Except that you are also referencing rules that apply to Federal wilderness areas and then using wilderness in a very generic way.

              Recommended Thumb up 2

    • fischman October 15, 2013 at 12:24 pm

      Hoper
      The PCT was built and is maintained by:
      1. Hikers
      2. Equestrians
      3. Cyclists
      4. Hired Help
      5. Wildlife
      Bottom line, the PCT was built by trail users for trail users–the only thing they all have in common is non-motorized. Portions were built before mountain cycling existed. You have no idea whether those builders would have accepted cycling–some of them may have even become cyclists themselves had the opportunity existed. As for the hired hands who turned spades, they likely didn’t care who used the trail so long as thy got paid. As the 2,600 miles were pieced together, portions of the trail coopted existing game trails out of convenience. Did you get Bambi’s permission to take his trail?

      As for anybody taking anything from anyone else, that is not the case in any way, shape or form. Hikers and equestrians would still enjoy the same level of access they enjoy today. Your misleading hyperbole again exposes your irrational nature or your willingness to lie and deceive.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Kasey November 13, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    When you take emotion out of the discussion, the results are predictable. I’ve explained this issue to 10 friends that are neither “serious” mt bikers, hikers or equestrians… but they enjoy the great outdoors in various ways. 9 of them supported sharing the trail as long as everyone respected each other. 1 opposed sharing (suggesting a trail for each type of user). 2 had never heard of the PCT. 6 of them essentially said “what’s the big deal?”

    Recommended Thumb up 3

    • Hoper November 14, 2012 at 4:33 pm

      “I’ve explained this issue to 10 friends that are neither “serious” mt bikers, hikers or equestrians…”

      Such limited experience, knowlegde and commitment to the PCT hardly makes for an informed opinion. I am greatful the decison to keep bikes off the trail, protect hikers and equestrians from the proven hazards of mixing modes was made by wiser folks that the “ten friends.”

      Recommended Thumb up 1

      • alex November 14, 2012 at 5:01 pm

        What it is, is a good representation of how the general public feels about it. After all, it is a public land and not yours, regardless of your emotional attachments.

        Recommended Thumb up 2

      • TrailLover November 14, 2012 at 6:56 pm

        You mention the “proven hazards of mixing modes.” Are you unaware that it’s the opposite that has been demonstrated every time user conflict has been studied? That’s not to say there aren’t anecdotes floating around and perhaps that’s what you’re hanging your hat on here, but please share any data you may have that amounts to a basis for forming public policy and excluding a user group from the PCT.

        Recommended Thumb up 4

  • TrailLover November 14, 2012 at 8:36 am

    Alex and Hoper certainly went a few good rounds here. Maybe it’s time for a break…or a hike…or a ride. The funny/sad thing is that if you interviewed Alex or Hoper individually about their values and perspectives regarding conservation, outdoor recreation, open space, etc., you’d probably find that they are indistinguishable from one another. So how can they seem so far apart on the idea of sharing the PCT?

    Alex’s comments make it clear that he is simply perplexed by how Hoper can be so opposed to something that Alex sees as an essentially benign – if not beneficial – idea: simply adding a few cyclists to the PCT community. Everyone will simply wave hello, talk about what a nice day it is and then just carry on down the trail.

    Hoper’s comments tell us a lot too. His sense of ownership of the trail might easily be dismissed as “selfish,” as Alex says, but what Hoper is really saying is that he feels deeply about the trail, it’s legacy and how important it is to him personally. That’s the kind of enthusiasm that the trails community wants to encourage. But can Hoper be convinced that a bicycle on the PCT does not necessarily threaten the core of his experience of the trail? Hoper says no. If Hoper sets out on the trail convinced that any encounter with a bicycle is going to ruin his day, well, that’s probably exactly what’s going to happen. And while it may seem that Hoper is repeatedly confusing the PCT access issue with the separate issue of Wilderness, in Hoper’s mind there’s no difference between the two. An intrusion on one is an intrusion on the other.

    I’m a conservationist who believes in sacred places and spiritual outdoor experiences too, and I’m ok with the basic idea that I might encounter a bicycle in the backcountry. For me, it’s not a machine that ruins my experience but just another way for people to enjoy and cherish the same wild places that I already appreciate by foot. I know from experience that I and others can also appreciate and value those places by bike.

    One thing worth straightening out is Hoper’s assertion that Alex is some kind of shill for an “industry-funded, vehicle-focused organization.” Apparently he is referring to the Pacific Crest Trail Reassessment Initiative (PCTRI). I can assure you we are an unfunded, conservation and trail-focused group consisting of outdoor enthusiasts just like Hoper and Alex. It’s almost a certainty that Hoper has enjoyed hiking on trails that we as individuals have helped to build or maintain in the past. In all sincerity, you’re welcome! We’d like to feel the same.

    Recommended Thumb up 5

  • Hoper November 14, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    All are welcome to the PCT, just leave your bikes at the trailhead and enjoy it on foot. You can even volunteer to work on the trail, I have, and not need your vehicle to do it. Don’t fear to give back just because you cannot take what you want.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

    • TrailLover November 14, 2012 at 6:49 pm

      Don’t fear sharing the trail just because people just like you would like to bring their bicycle.

      Recommended Thumb up 4

  • Hike It or leave it November 15, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    What a great waste of time! If it’s not the Wildwood, or the PCTit will be some other trail designed for hikers, ATV’ers, or equestrians that mtb’ers try and glom onto. All mtb’er efforts should go build their own trails; you’d have something to show for all your efforts by now instead you’ve just managed to po a lot of good people.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • TrailLover November 16, 2012 at 8:31 am

      The public trails ARE our own trails. You didn’t build them any more than we did. We are you. Your tax dollars don’t support those trails any more than our tax dollars do. You say they were not designed for bikes? That’s ok – the bikes were designed for them. We don’t need to rip up the environment to build an entire new trails system when it’s clear that we can successfully and sustainably share at least some of what we’ve already got. Fighting your fellow trail users – now THAT’s a waste of time.

      Recommended Thumb up 4

  • Hoper November 17, 2012 at 9:12 am

    You are not my fellow trail user. It is illegal to ride the PCT, but not illegal for you to leave your bike beind and become my “fellow trail user” in the full enjoyment of tranqulity, and slow, quiet recreation. It’s what the PCT was made for and no amount of online posting will change that fact.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • alex November 17, 2012 at 9:46 am

      That doesn’t mean we don’t use the trails for hiking and haven’t been on them or haven’t helped build them. You are certainly a hostile person seeking to divide people instead of bringing them together. I just wish you could focus your energy on something that would make a deeper impact on society and quit being so selfish.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • TrailLover November 17, 2012 at 10:03 am

      Hoper,

      I was responding to Hike It or Leave It (who’s name says it all) who seemed to be applying his exclusionary view to any trail at all. So, much to your chagrin, I’m afraid we are indeed fellow trail users.

      As for the intentions surrounding the PCT, in calling for the establishment of what became the National Trails System Act, Lyndon Johnson in 1965 said, “The forgotten outdoorsmen of today are those who like to walk, hike, ride, horseback, or bicycle. For them, we must have trails as well as highways. Nor should motor vehicles be permitted to tyrannize the more leisurely human traffic.” You’re welcome to spend all day digging up historical details that might imply that bicycles were not “intended” on the PCT. Or maybe you can discover President Johnson’s spirit of sharing and inclusion and join those of us who would like to grow and strengthen the trails and conservation community.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

    • TrailLover November 17, 2012 at 10:31 am

      By the way, Hoper, I am plenty slow, tranquil and quiet on my bicycle. If the 5 to 15 seconds and the pleasant “have a nice day” that comprise my encounter with you on the trail are simply too much for your sensibilities to handle, maybe THAT’s what no amount of online posting can fix. Maybe it’s something you can work on in private.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Fischman December 22, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    Granpa
    The argument that motorized trail users employ is that they have a right to the use of public lands just as you claim cyclists have that right. Your assumption that I am upset or that I have less fun than you is baseless supposition.
    Your claim that you can respect my Right-of-Way while bombing down a trail with adrenaline fueled zeal sounds like wishful thinking. Consider that the reputation Mt. Bikers have among pedestrian trail users may be earned. Consider also that a cyclist bombing down a trail startling a horse into bolting can result in serious injury.
    Recommended 3

    The claim is not the same. The claim is that any equally low impact activity deserves equal access.
    How can you say someone you’ve only met on the internet will or won’t respect your right of way? The reputation you speak of is not so much earned as it is exaggerated. I was a backcountry hiker for 3 decades before I bought my first bike in 2000. In all that time, I never had my backpacking experience degraded by a biker, despite having encountered many. However, on many recent occasion on my bike, while passing slowly on a wide trail, Hikers have deliberately walked down the middle or even on the side I was occupying just to assert their “right of way” and force a dismount (this is not what bikers yield to hikers means). I have seen far more of this passive aggressive or overtly aggressive behavior from hikers than I have reckless behavior by bikers.I have also been an equestrian and would never take a skittish horse out on a public trail.

    Bottom line, no one user group has a monopoly on pure-hearted virtue just as no one user group is inherently evil.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • NW Hiker February 8, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    Best. News. Ever. Here’s to many more years of a bike free PCT. Mostly bike free anyway as riders are still challenged to follow the existing rules.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • alex February 8, 2013 at 3:16 pm

      Worst. News. Ever. Here’s to many more years of poaching the PCT. See you on the trail!

      Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Scott October 15, 2013 at 9:26 am

    I would love to hike the PCT but simply can not afford to take the time. Like most of the people out there I need to keep working. Opening up the PCT for mountain bikes makes it realistic for more people to go out and enjoy the trail.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

- Daily bike news since 2005 -
BikePortland.org is a production of
PedalTown Media Inc.
321 SW 4th Ave, Ste. 401
Portland, OR 97204

Powered by WordPress. Theme by Clemens Orth.
Subscribe to RSS feed


Original images and content owned by Pedaltown Media, Inc. - Not to be used without permission.