Rerouting of Continental Divide Trail could ban bikes

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Opposition is mounting to a proposed plan to ban bikes from a new rerouting of the Colorado Trail and the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail — or the CDNST — in southern Colorado’s Cochetopa Hills area of the Rio Grande National Forest.

For the past two years, the Forest Service has studied the development of a new, 31.2-mile trail in the area to pull CDNST hikers off a hard-to-navigate maze of gravel roads used by cars, motorcycles, horseback riders, hikers and cyclists.

After studying four alternatives in an environmental assessment, the Forest Service has identified a proposed action that would keep bikes off the new trail from Lujan Pass to the La Garita Wilderness. The agency cited trail erosion by bikes as well as the “social effects” of mountain bike use when it suggested its preferred alternative.

“A biker coming around a corner at high speed can come upon a hiker before either party is aware of the other,” reads the Forest Service’s review of each alternative. “In general terms, bicycle use on the CDNST is not consistent with the overall objectives” of the trail.

Read more at DenverPost.com.

Comments

Eric Meyer 1 year, 10 months ago

If bikes are banned from the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) down there it could happen up here near Steamboat too. That means no more Dumont lake to the ski area rides. Please take the time to submit your comments to help convince the USFS that bikes should not be banned from single track on the CDT. It only takes a minute. Please do it now, the deadline is soon.

http://www.imba.com/form/submit-your-cdt-comments

Proper trail design can reduce or eliminate "erosion by bikes". There have been scientific studies that show bikes cause no more erosion than hikers and less than horses (http://www.imba.com/resources/research/trail-science/environmental-impacts-mountain-biking-science-review-and-best-practices).

I am less clear on what they mean by "social effects". I admit there are differences in speeds between hikers and bikers, but that can be managed with trail design.

If there is a need to get hikers off the gravel roads that currently make up the route, the same should apply to mountain bikers. Playing off the Forest Service's review quoted above: A CAR coming around a corner at high speed can come upon a BIKER before either party is aware of the other.

The consequences of the car/bike collision are far greater than a biker/hiker collision. We recently had a cyclist die just north of Steamboat while riding a gravel road (http://louroy.blogspot.com/2010/06/great-divide-race.html). I have personally slid under the front bumper of a Ford F350 on a USFS road in Idaho that was too narrow to pass.

It is sad to hear some USFS personal are so misinformed when it comes to bikes on trails.

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mark hartless 1 year, 10 months ago

Ban the bikes! That would be excellent. Everyone, especially non-motorized users, should get a little taste of how it feels to lose recreational space. Learn what snowmobilers and other motorized users have had to deal with for decades.

The overriding theme that so many completely fail to grasp is that, in a "sacred" earth where the environment is worshiped, EVERYONE'S activity is in the crosshairs. Sooner or later YOUR favorite activity will be deemed too great an "impact" to be continued. Do you guys realize that UN guidelines list stuff like skiing as "unsustainable"??? Keep cheering for more... you'll get it.

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