Don’t forget mountain bikers |

Don’t forget mountain bikers

Dear Editor:

In Monday’s Aspen Times article “Uncovering ‘Gems’ in the backcountry,” the Hidden Gems Wilderness Campaign and the Wilderness Workshop portray their wilderness expansion proposal as a harmless public benefit. In reality a “wilderness designation” has many serious and permanent intended and unintended consequences, and the public needs to be informed on what those are before supporting such a dramatic act. Many of our valley’s best trails stand to be affected by this proposal, and unless you utilize these trails via your feet or a horse, you risk being shut out of them.

Mountain bikers stand to be particularly affected by this proposal. Though our valley has a plethora of wonderful trails and all of these being accessible to hikers, mountain bikers can be somewhat limited to a select few trails that offer quality single-track.

This proposal has the potential to affect nearly all of the major biking trails of the midvalley and Fryingpan areas, including the “Smuggler of Basalt” – Basalt Mountain. Containing some of the best single-track trails in the valley, Basalt Mountain is crucial terrain for area mountain bikers. The Hidden Gems proposal currently stands to include much of Basalt Mountain’s trails into its designated wilderness, which would ban anything other than foot and horse traffic.

Mountain bikers are nearly all courteous, and quietly move through the trail without disturbing other humans, wildlife or the trail itself, under their own power. Please educate yourself on what is at stake with this wilderness proposal, and encourage the Hidden Gems Wilderness Campaign and the Wilderness Workshop to work with area mountain bikers and other groups to formulate a proposal which benefits us all.

Zach Lentz


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