Friday, January 19, 2007

Advocacy, not just for mountain bikers

The Pike San Isable National Forest, which includes Pikes Peak, the Wet Mountains, and areas of the Sangre de Cristo and Sawatch ranges, is going through an extreme makeover this spring.
The forest is revising its management plan, which will determine how forest lands and trails will be managed for the next 15-20 years. The PSI is also undergoing separate planning to determine which trails will be open to OHV use.
Lots of special interest groups are dialed in and ready to comment, to make sure their favorite trails aren't closed or mixed with the wrong company, but the one I'm hearing the most from is the mountain bikers.
They've sent out a slew of concise e-mails to constituents (Full disclosure: me) stating what's going on, why it matters, and what citizens can do. To read one, which includes dates of public comment meetings in the area and more details, click here.
I haven't seen this from hikers or off-roaders, though maybe I'm not on the right rock-crawler e-mail list (full disclosure: I'm not.)
It's not a big surprise, though, that bikers have their act together. The 1980s and 1990s saw a slew of trails closed to bikes. It forced the bikers to organize and advocate for their rights. Plus, many avid bikers on the Front Range moved from California, where it's more common to have "pedestrian only" trails. When they got here, it probably seemed like the promised land, and they don't want to lose it. So, they're getting the word out.
But whether you're a biker or not, you may want to speak up in this process. Oh, and by the way. Going to a meeting counts several times more in the feds' eyes than sending a form e-mail.
Look for more coverage on the process in the Gazette.

No comments: