From: Brian Horejsi <email@example.com>
Subject: Fwd: mtn biking in BWC
Date: Fri, 20 Feb 2015 10:53:13 -0800
I like donuts and coffee too, and I enjoy planning another day in some special landscape, but
There was a time when wilderness may have been only about protecting landscapes for the vast majority of people who enjoy commiserating with the natural world free of motorized and mechanized vehicles, like mtn bikes, and free of the aggressive and threatening presence of people who view the privileged use of mtn bikes as superceding the interests of society at large.
But today wilderness designation is ever more critical to the present and future well being of North America; Wilderness now stands to play an ever greater ecological role, one that can work at slowing green house gas emission rates, slowing the crisis of biological diversity, and providing refuge for humans and wildlife from the escalating human population, industrialization, and special interest demands to satisfy every corporate scheme and agenda, such as that promoted by dealers and manufacturers, and their paid promoters, of mountain biking.
Equally critically, wilderness represents Americas greatest democratic achievement; protection of lands, water, plants and wildlife for all American citizens regardless of where they live, what they do, and who they are. And protection for, and honest consideration, of those who cant speak for themselves today - our young people and all future Americans.
The strategies of hypocrisy and distortion are evident amongst those opposing wilderness designation, and those favoring the destruction and disintegration of existing wilderness. Like shoddy reality TV, the opponents of wilderness and advocates of mechanization (like mtn bike vehicle use) abide by no standards and respect no traditions or definitions.
I too favor equal access and human powered recreation. Even mtn bikers, I suspect, can walk, so they're welcome to walk and hike into wilderness, but they seem not to be honest enough to admit the only thing important to them is wanting to take their machines with them. Walking and hiking is the most efficient, enjoyable, respectful and least destructive form of human power known, and it always will be. Application of mechanical advantage to power mtn biking is a distortion of human power, although it is a rare mtn biker who has the courage to admit it.
One thing mtn bikers are very good at is blatant promotion of selfish interests. "Share the trails", ladies, gents, kids, with a hurtling chunk of metal and flesh on wheels at 35 km per hour, they bleat. They also excel in denial that their actions and presence threaten physical harm to, and foster conflicts with peaceful nature respecting walkers and hikers, and they are dogmatic in their ignorance of the environmental impacts of biking. In this regard they equal the climate change denialists, and behind the scene, they are fueled and funded by the same kinds of corporations and narrow minded commercial interests.
Anti wilderness groups have intimidated many agencies and their personnel, including the Forest Service and some of their staff. If environmental , landscape protection standards are low, and poorly enforced, agencies are inclined to accept, in the name of "managed" use, environmentally destructive activities. They did it with the grazing industry in the mid 1900s and the timber industry in the 60's-80's; they caved before the motorized off road onslaught in the 90's, and they've folded before the oil and gas industry in many parts of the west. On some public lands they've allowed the kitchen sink to be thrown into the mix, with mtn bikers routinely invading National Forest lands. Bikers and bikes now contribute substantially to the degradation of wildlife habitat effectiveness, characterized by wildlife displacement and harassment. America is not just suffering from a biodiversity viability crisis, but in many cases its leading the assault, and much of that attack now stems from extreme activities like fracking and mountain biking, both of which have loaded on to long standing cumulative degradation of landscape integrity.
Wilderness and roadless lands stand as a bulwark, as a safety network, as a scientifically and socially honest line of defense, against the complete collapse of ecosystem and land protection standards. The Boulder White Cloud ecosystem has a chance to be something special, but mountain bikers may steal that rare chance away from America.
Dr. Brian L. Horejsi
Ecologist / wildlife scientist,
And frequent user of western public lands
19 February 2015