Help! Mountain Biking Is Wrecking All of Our Parks and Wildlife Preserves!
I listened to the above meeting of Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance tonight. It was scary! (Above is the recording.) It was two hours, but very revealing. I can't imagine what is so interesting about mountain biking, that one can talk about it for over a minute, much less two hours! The mountain bikers are utterly obsessed with building new trails and bike parks, destroying and fragmenting wildlife habitat wherever they can get away with it, and as fast as possible. And these are just the projects approved by land managers, such as the U. S. Forest Service and Washington State's Department of Natural Resources. Illegal trails, of course, are also being built. Evergreen doesn't lift a finger to stop that from happening.
The latest craze is building trails closer to where people live, so they won't have to drive far. Every park or other natural area is becoming a spider web of trails. That is the essence of habitat fragmentation. In other words, it will all be virtually unusable as habitat by the animals that live there. They will leave. But they will also have nowhere safe to go!
The land managers who are supposed to be safeguarding that habitat are in bed with the mountain bikers, often helping them build these totally unnecessary trails. Have you noticed that we never hear hikers or equestrians begging for more trails? That's because they aren't there for high speed and cheap thrills, but for enjoying nature and the wildlife that live there!
The bike parks are especially dangerous. They will be used to addict the younger generation to mountain biking, teaching them the worst possible habits, which don't belong in our parks and wildlife preserves: speeding, skidding, jumping, etc. If you think that that will teach them to love and protect nature, I have a bridge I'd like to sell you! ;)
Mountain biking is the latest "slippery slope". First there were 26" wheels, then 29" wheels. First, there were "hard tails", then bikes with suspension, for smoothing out the bumps. First, all trails were built illegally, by hand; now they are built with bulldozers, with money from the mountain bike industry and even government. First, all bikes had to be actually pedalled; now there are e-bikes almost indistinguishable from regular mountain bikes. First, mountain bikers had to be hardened athletes; now mountain biking is being promoted among the disabled, who wouldn't be able to walk out, if they had any mechanical problem! First, all mountain biking was done during daylight; now they carry bright lights to disturb and terrorize the wildlife 24x7!
What can we do about this madness? Here are my suggestions:
1. Read a textbook on conservation biology. Science is our most reliable tool.
2. Inform yourself of all the harm that mountain biking does - especially to our wildlife, but also to other trail users and even the mountain bikers themselves. Start with https://mjvande.info/mtbfaq.htm.
3. Write or call all of your elected representatives, at all levels - muicipal, county, state, and federal, and ask them to help stop mountain biking: ban all bikes and other machines from all unpaved trails.
4. Write to all the land managers you can think of (especially the U. S. Forest Service and the BLM), and do the same.
5. Write to all Native American organizations, and ask them to help.
6. Write to all your friends and relatives, and ask them to help.
7. Ask the IRS to remove the tax exemption from all mountain biking organizations (fill out Form 13909 on the irs.gov web site). Habitat destruction is not a charitable activity!
8. Write to all the news media asking them to help spread the word about the harm that mountain biking does.
9. Ask all your local bike retailers and repairers not to support mountain biking.
10. Write to all junior high and high schools and school boards to discourage them from sponsoring mountain biking clubs, which compete to see who can "shred" (their own word!) the most habitat and injure or kill themselves the most (see National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) - note that they aren't honest enough to admit that they only do mountain biking!).
11. Write to all environmental groups (e.g. the Sierra Club, which is afraid to "irritate" their mountain biking members by telling them the truth about the harm that mountain biking does) to prevent them from supporting mountain biking.
12. Convince all rescuers to charge practitioners of extreme sports like mountain biking for their rescue.
13. Convince biologists, environmental educators, and journal editors to tell the truth about mountain biking and trail-building.
Have I missed anything?