Wednesday, November 24, 2010

We need you to write your Congressional Representatives and tell them that you oppose Wilderness for the North Fork Mountain

Things you can do to help preserve bicycle access to on the North Fork Mountain Trail

1. Sign the Petition to Preserve Bicycle Access, we want 2,000 signatures:

2. Contact your Senators and Representatives and tell them that you oppose Wilderness designation for North Fork Mountain in West Virginia. Specifically, you oppose
House bill: H.R.5965 - Monongahela Conservation Legacy Act of 2010
Senate bill:S.3863
Talking points to bolster your email can be found here: North Fork Talking Points
Find your representative here: IMBA's latest North Fork Alert

3. Post pictures and anecdotes on IMBA's new Public Land's Campaign Web page for the North Fork by emailing them to Kristy at IMBA:

4. Please take time to complete the all new online Monongahela Trails Survey: and let them know which West Virginia Trails you ride on a regular basis. We specifically need you to comment on the North Fork Mountain Trail (Trail # 501) and show the Monongahela National Forest that bicycles use this trail on a regular basis. While you are on the site please also take the time to establish bicycle use on another area targeted for Wilderness by the West Virginia Wilderness Coalition, Seneca Creek Trail (Trail #515)

5. Keep posted on the latest North Fork Happenings by Checking out the Blog or joining theNorth Fork Mountain Facebook group

6. Plan a trip to ride the North Fork in the future!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Monongahela National Forest Trails Survey Needs your help to establish bicycle use on the North Fork Trail

If you are like many of us, a cyclists who frequently uses trails on public lands, then you are probably all too familiar with the public input meetings that public land managers often hold. These meetings work well for local parks where the vast majority of the trail users live within a relatively small radius. These meetings do not work nearly as well for remote, yet popular renowned back-country destinations where people will often drive several hours just to experience the magic of such places. The IMBA Epic North Fork Trail is a just such a place where many of the trail users would not be able to attend a public input session concerning trail use of this iconic ridge trail.

As such, the Monongahela National Forest has created an online trails survey where you can tell them which trails you use in the Forest (no matter where you live). Specifically we need you to tell them that you bike on the North Fork Mountain Trail. The process on their site is not as clean as one might hope but here is the quick and dirty:

1. Look at the Google Earth map of your Monongahela ranger district of interest. In this case it is the Potomac District

2. Take the FULL SURVEY and be sure to properly reference the North Fork Mountain Trail by name and trail number (501)

3. While taking the Survey make sure that you establish the use of bicycles on this shared use trail. We want the Forest Service to know that cyclists love this trail and want to maintain access.

4. If you are feeling frisky then please fill out the survey again but instead of the North Fork Mountain Trail please reference the Seneca Creek Trail (Trail # 515). This area is also targeted for future Wilderness designation

Sunday, November 21, 2010

West Virginia Mountain Bike Association Releases Public Statement Opposing Wilderness Designation for North Fork Mountain

Picture above: Brette Swarr of Walker, WV enjoying the North Fork Mountain Trail.

Press Release

The West Virginia Mountain Bike Association represents clubs and race promoters throughout the state, helping thousands of people every year to enjoy the beauty that is WV. We encourage responsible riding and conservation of the land, ensuring that we can enjoy our sport for years to come.

Mountain bicyclists are passionate about the outdoors. We believe in managing public lands as a public trust and a priceless national treasure. We cherish the places where we can still take epic forays into the backcountry. We love our trails and are often the first to volunteer to build and repair them. We share a concern with other trail users that the pressures of growth and industry threaten the qualities that make our favorite rides special.

Mountain bikers want to see the forests and mountains where we ride protected in their natural state, with clean air and clean water, so we welcome opportunities to join with others to protect America's shared public lands to ensure current and future generations can enjoy high-quality outdoor experiences away from development, noise and pollution.

That's why Wilderness is such a difficult issue for us. Existing Wilderness protections near some of our favorite trails contribute to the peace, quiet and solitude that make them special. At the same time, Wilderness expansions and new Wilderness designations can take away access to those same trails.

North Fork Mountain is already protected as a National Recreation Area, and as Deputy Chief of the Forest Service Joel Hotrop stated in his testimony before Congress on HR 5965, “ …the area is already managed under stringent guidelines. The major impacts would be to the mountain biking community who would no longer be able to ride in the area.” Close to 9 miles of trail would be lost to the creation of this Wilderness area, and those seven miles represent some of the most scenic and beautiful sections of the trail. Additionally, the southern access to the mountain is not guaranteed, as the North Fork Trail passes through private land at several points, which could create future closures.

The West Virginia Mountain Bicycling Association, along with the International Mountain Bicycling Association and other regional organizations, has been encouraging people to ride this trail to be better understand what is at stake. In the last 6 weeks alone, some 400 people have travelled to the area to ride. Losing such an iconic riding experience would surely impact local businesses dependant on mountain bikers traveling to the region.

It has been suggested that mountain bikers support this trail being designated as Wilderness. The West Virginia Mountain Biking Association does not support the designation in its current language, and feels that compromises or easements to the current proposal could be made that strengthens the protection of the area while keeping all current users’ access intact. We would love to sit down with representatives and wilderness advocates to work something out that works for all."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sign the Petition to Preserve Bicycle Access to the North Fork Mountain Trail