Bicycles still not OHVs

  Dear HCN,

In his Bulletin Board story on the BLM's OHV Strategy (HCN, 1/29/01: Agency will try to track trails), Matt Jenkins wrote that the Strategy "will now include ... possibly even human-powered vehicles like mountain bikes." It's important to note that BLM chose to not include bicycling in its OHV Strategy. BLM's decision came after thousands of people wrote the agency to protest that proposal.

The Code of Federal Regulations defines off-road vehicles as motorized. We bicyclists are not and don't want to be OHVs.

Among the opponents of calling bicycles OHVs were some conservation groups, notably The Wilderness Society. We welcome this support and we want the conservation movement to include us. Too often, environmentalists push mountain bikers away, while OHV proponents continuously court us. Cyclists support open space, land preservation, and good recreation management. International Mountain Bicycling Association strongly supported the Forest Service Roadless Initiative. A designation of bicycles as OHVs would not assist those conservation projects.

Mountain bicycling, like all forms of recreation, has its share of problems. We agree that BLM needs to do a better job of managing bicycling, and we think BLM needs to look at its management of hiking and equestrian uses, too. It's time for BLM to develop a non-motorized recreation strategy to complement the OHV strategy.

We want to be managed. Let's work together to do that wisely.

Gary Sprung
Boulder, Colorado

The author iss a consultant for the International Mountain Bicycling Association.

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