Date: Tue, 04 Sep 2001

From: Frank Lurz <>

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.


Frank Lurz