Mountain Biking in Our Parks

Mountain biking and trail-building destroy wildlife habitat! Mountain
biking is environmentally, socially, and medically destructive! There
is no good reason to allow bicycles on any unpaved trail!

Bicycles should not be allowed in any natural area. They are
inanimate objects and have no rights. There is also no right to
mountain bike. That was settled in federal court in 1996: . It’s dishonest of mountain bikers to
say that they don’t have access to trails closed to bikes. They have
EXACTLY the same access as everyone else — ON FOOT! Why isn’t that
good enough for mountain bikers? They are all capable of walking….

A favorite myth of mountain bikers is that mountain biking is no more
harmful to wildlife, people, and the environment than hiking, and
that science supports that view. Of course, it’s not true. To settle
the matter once and for all, I read all of the research they cited,
and wrote a review of the research on mountain biking impacts (see ). I found that of the seven studies
they cited, (1) all were written by mountain bikers, and (2) in every
case, the authors misinterpreted their own data, in order to come to
the conclusion that they favored. They also studiously avoided
mentioning another scientific study (Wisdom et al) which did not
favor mountain biking, and came to the opposite conclusions.

Mountain bikers also love to build new trails – legally or illegally.
Of course, trail-building destroys wildlife habitat – not just in the
trail bed, but in a wide swath to both sides of the trail! E.g.
grizzlies can hear a human from one mile away, and smell us from 5
miles away. Thus, a 10-mile trail represents 100 square miles of
destroyed or degraded habitat, that animals are inhibited from using.
Mountain biking, trail building, and trail maintenance all increase
the number of people in the park, thereby preventing the animals’
full use of their habitat. See for details.

Mountain biking accelerates erosion, creates V-shaped ruts, kills
small animals and plants on and next to the trail, drives wildlife
and other trail users out of the area, and, worst of all, teaches
kids that the rough treatment of nature is okay (it’s NOT!). What’s
good about THAT?

To see exactly what harm mountain biking does to the land, watch this
5-minute video:

In addition to all of this, it is extremely dangerous: .

For more information: .

The common thread among those who want more recreation in our parks
is total ignorance about and disinterest in the wildlife whose homes
these parks are. Yes, if humans are the only beings that matter, it
is simply a conflict among humans (but even then, allowing bikes on
trails harms the MAJORITY of park users — hikers and equestrians —
who can no longer safely and peacefully enjoy their parks).

The parks aren’t gymnasiums or racetracks or even human playgrounds.
They are WILDLIFE HABITAT, which is precisely why they are attractive
to humans. Activities such as mountain biking, that destroy habitat,
violate the charter of the parks.

Even kayaking and rafting, which give humans access to the entirety
of a water body, prevent the wildlife that live there from making
full use of their habitat, and should not be allowed. Of course those
who think that only humans matter won’t understand what I am talking
about — an indication of the sad state of our culture and educational system.

I am working on creating wildlife habitat that is off-limits to
humans (“pure habitat”). Want to help?
(I spent the previous 8 years fighting auto dependence and road construction.)

Wildlife must be given top priority, because they can’t protect
themselves from us.

Please don’t put a cell phone next to any part of your body that you
are fond of!
Thank you,

Mike Vandeman

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