Some people have been claiming that mountain bikers are valuable "allies" of the Club, who mustn't be "alienated", in spite of their opposing Wilderness designation wherever they want to ride their bikes. This ignores several realities:
1. Mountain bikers, if successful, will succeed in preventing many areas from acquiring the protections afforded by Wilderness designation, and making other Wilderness areas smaller than they would otherwise be.
2. Caving in to Mountain biker demands alienates the much more NUMEROUS, REAL allies who SUPPORT our Wilderness goals. People who really care about the environment are repelled by what they see as Club hypocrisy: supporting conservation only where it doesn't interfere with our favorite forms of recreation. Many people have left the Club because of its support for mountain biking.
3. Mountain bikers are a small minority, not worth compromising our most important goals and standards. They CLAIM to be environmentalists. So let them prove it, by supporting Wilderness fully.
4. Supporting mountain biking divides the recreational community. Parks that allow mountain biking tend to turn into biker-only parks, as hikers, equestrians, and other park users flee to quieter, safer areas. I and most of the hikers I know refuse to use trails that allow bikes. Banning bikes and other vehicles on the trails ensure that EVERYONE can enjoy those areas equally. Contrary to the mountain bikers' claims, this is the only democratic policy.
5. Trails designed and built for mountain biking are much different from hiking trails, since they are build to provide thrills to the biker.
6. Trails open to bikes are much more heavily trafficked, and so tend to be much more devoid of the wildlife that hikers look for. They also tend to turn into narrow V-shaped ruts that are difficult or impossible to walk on.
7. Most mountain bikers seem to prefer biking to hiking, so are not very good advocates for Wilderness. In fact, IMBA and most mountain bikers continually argue for opening up Wilderness to bikes. That strikes at the heart of the Sierra Club.
8. Mountain bikers claim to be environmentalists who care about nature. I think that is correct. They simply subscribe to a brand of environmentalism that overlooks the damage done by mountain biking, just as Sierra Clubbers generally overlook the damage done by hiking, cross-country skiing, kayaking, rock climbing, etc. So are we saying that if they aren't allowed to bike in a given area, they will suddenly vote to let the bulldozers in? That defies belief! I think it is high time we called their bluff, which is exactly what it is.