133 Conservation Groups Tell Congress: Keep Bikes Out of Wilderness
U.S. House Hearing on GOP Bill Opening All Wilderness Areas to Bikes and Other Wheeled Contraptions is Thursday, December 7th
Mark Allison, Executive Director, New Mexico Wild, 505-239-0906
Albuquerque, New Mexico - A broad coalition of 133 conservation and Wilderness organizations from across America have asked Congress “to reject an unprecedented call to amend the Wilderness Act to allow for the use of mountain bikes in designated Wilderness.”
The sign-on letter from the organizations was prepared ahead of a December 7th hearing in the U.S. House’s Subcommittee on Federal Lands on a Republican-sponsored bill (H.R. 1349), which would open all of America’s 110 million acres of Wilderness to mountain bikes and other wheeled contraptions.
“For over a half century, the Wilderness Act has protected wilderness areas from mechanization and mechanical transport, even if no motors were involved with such activities. This has meant, as the law intended, that Wildernesses have been kept free from bicycles and other types of mechanization and mechanical transport,” the 133 organizations wrote Congress in a sign-on letter prepared for the December 7th hearing. A copy of the letter to Congress can be viewed here: http://bit.ly/2AU0ume
“Mountain biking is a wonderful activity, but it doesn’t belong in Wilderness. With roughly 2% of New Mexico permanently protected as Wilderness, mountain bikers have millions of other acres available for recreation. We owe it to future generations, wildlife, and the land itself to place certain areas off limits to motorized and mechanized uses,” said Mark Allison, executive director of New Mexico Wild.
“With all the threats we are facing to our public lands, from shrinking national monuments to calls for privatization, it is arrogant and cynical for the small group of proponents of this bill to try to undermine the Wilderness Act. Rather than promoting their narrow, selfish agenda, they should stand with us to fight off the unprecedented attacks from the Trump administration and the 115th Congress,” said Allison.
“We believe that this protection has served our nation well, and that the ‘benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness’ would be forever lost by allowing mechanized transport in these areas,” the 133 conservation and Wilderness protection organizations wrote Congress.