Time to take action, mountain bikers | AspenTimes.com

Time to take action, mountain bikers

Dear Editor:

Local mountain bikers, listen up – you need to get informed about the Hidden Gems Wilderness proposal.

I like to use the analogy that mountain biking is the summertime equivalent of skiing, a true “skill” sport. I am part of a large local community of like-minded people who are passionate about it. We support Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers, work on crews to maintain trails, and spend money on it in local shops.

And like with skiing, we are blessed with the finest biking trails in the state, some close to towns, some more remote and adventurous. The Hidden Gems Wilderness proposal threatens to take away our access to numerous trails and diverse areas in which to ride. I urge everyone to go to the Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association’s website, http://www.rfmba.org, and read their Aug. 4, 2009 letter to Congressman Polis and Pitkin County commissioners, which details RFMBA’s position and alternate designation proposals. I believe RFMBA’s position is well researched, fair and considerate.

I support the designation of certain areas within the Hidden Gems proposal as National Conservation Areas or National Recreation Areas as a way to allow access to low-impact vehicles such as mountain bikes, something Congress has been doing effectively for 20 years. If you agree, now is the time to take a few minutes to call or write to your county commissioners, congressman, and senator to voice your opinion. With the Hidden Gems proposal a number of communities are facing a major decision with long-term consequences. This is an opportunity to create several new wilderness areas, but careful modifications and alternate designations are needed or our communities will be negatively impacted forever.

Andre Schwegler

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