Date: Tue, 04 Sep 2001
From: Frank Lurz <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Letter to Sierra Club Board of Directors
As I'm sure you know, the International Mountain Biking
Association (IMBA) has recently taken a stand opposing
the further designation of public lands as wilderness areas.
On its web site IMBA states, "while new designated wilderness
preserves public land in a natural state, it also mandates a
complete ban on bicycle use." It has now become evident
that given a choice between preserving wilderness in its
natural state, and subjecting it to recreational development,
IMBA is steadfastly in favor of the latter.
I can imagine no greater calamity to our wilderness than
that which mountain biking has brought to my own home.
Here in Marin County, California, mountain bike enthusiasts'
aggressive campaign for unlimited access to our parks and
open spaces and their rapacious appetite for new trail construction
have been a painful reality for more than a decade. Throughout
that time cyclists have not only failed to show the genuine concern
for the environment which they have repeatedly claimed, but have
demonstrated an appalling disdain for it through countless acts of
vandalism: destruction of barriers meant to keep bikes off sensitive
areas, vandalism of trail signs, widespread off-trail riding, and worst
of all, illegal bicycle trail construction.
Despite the digging up of miles of terrain, the removal of
vegetation, and the wanton felling of countless trees, only
three cyclists have been caught and convicted to date because
of the difficulty in detecting these crimes while they are in
progress, and because of the ease with which cyclists escape
those who can only pursue them on foot. Nevertheless, the
extensive damage left behind and the trail erosion caused by
the wear and tear of increasingly heavy bicycle traffic offer
glaring proof of the destructive nature of this sport.
The problem is not unique to Marin County; it can be found
from coast to coast. Please look at the photos of massive trail
erosion caused by mountain bike traffic in the Middlesex Fells
Reservation outside Boston, on the web site hosted at:
IMBA's campaign to import these abuses into the wilderness
will be made all the easier through the Sierra Club support
implied by the Park City Agreement, brokered between the Club
and IMBA by mountain bike retailer, Recreational Equipment Inc.
As the damning evidence mounts the Sierra Club eventually will be
compelled to face the fact that these off-road machines are far more
destructive than anyone first realized, and that given IMBA's interests,
the Club's partnership with that organization is inimical to its own
purpose. I earnestly implore you to no longer postpone the inevitable;
enough harm has been done in the Club's name already. Please
support the growing movement to rescind the Park City Agreement.