Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Let mountain bikers into wilderness areas

    In response to the “Mountain-bike agenda doesn’t fit with wilderness” opinion, I find it hypocritical that the writer views mountain biking as a completely inappropriate activity for the wilderness while viewing hiking activity as completely appropriate for the wilderness.
    I’m not certain why the writer takes this stance other than his opinion that mountain bikers have a negative impact on the wilderness experience and hiking does not. Any human-powered activity has an impact on the wilderness experience. Runners (a form of hiking) running down a trail, horses galloping along a meadow or hikers walking very much impacts the wilderness experience. Some people may like horses running by them, but some may be frightened. Some people may not want a large group of hikers passing closely on the trail. Maybe they should restrict horses from galloping or group hikes.
    If wilderness advocates were truly for protecting the wilderness experience, then they should be advocating total human activity closure in wilderness areas. Let’s make the wilderness truly wilderness—no human activity. However, this is not what the wilderness advocates want, they just want to restrict activity to all except a few user groups they deem acceptable, which, according to the editorial, is “quiet, muscle-powered activity.” So, no talking while you’re hiking and definitely stop using those hiking canes.
    It’s time to designate mountain biking as an acceptable form of wilderness activity.
Matt Shelton
Mill Valley, Calif.

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