Congressional Hearing Dec. 7 to Allow Bikes in Wilderness

Email Your Member of Congress by Dec. 6 to Oppose H.R. 1349

Once again, we need your help to beat back this bill. Please contact your member of Congress to explain why amending the Wilderness Act to allow mountain bikes is a bad idea.

The House Natural Resources Federal Lands Subcommittee will hold a hearing next week in Washington, DC, on H.R. 1349 the “Bikes in Wilderness” bill. H.R. 1349 would serve to undermine the 1964 Wilderness Act, which has stood firm for over a half-century, by stripping its prohibition against mechanical forms of travel in Wilderness.
H.R. 1349, if passed, would serve to open America’s 110 million acres of wilderness areas to mountain bikes and various wheeled devices. As such, it represents an unprecedented assault on wilderness areas across the country, and a danger to users of pack and saddle stock.

The text of H.R. 1349 can be found here. A previous alert by BCHA regarding the bill can be found here. Recommended talking points for your letter are found at the end of this alert.

Please join us in opposing this unprecedented assault on the Wilderness Act. Given the short timeframe, BCHA members should send letters via email directly to their representative. As a result of Capitol Hill security measures, U.S. Mail will not arrive in time for the hearing.

Details of the hearing:

Who: Federal Lands Subcommittee of House Natural Resources

What: Legislative Hearing on 4 Bills including H.R. 1349 “Bikes in Wilderness” bill

https://naturalresources.house.gov/calendar/eventsingle.aspx?EventID=403471

Where: 1324 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, DC

When: Thursday, December 7th, 2017 at 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

A list of members of the Federal Lands Subcommittee is here. If your representative is not on the subcommittee, please write to them to express your opposition to H.R. 1349.

A live stream of the hearing should be made available the day of the hesring here.
This issue is among the highest priorities for BCHA. Please write/email your representative today! Unfortunately, a list or directory of congressional email addresses is not available for publication.

Don’t know your Representative? You can locate a phone number for your representative in Washington DC by entering your zip code here Call their DC office, tell the staff person you oppose H.R. 1349, and ask for an email address to which you might send your letter.

So please first call your representative and ask for an email address for the member’s Legislative Assistant who deals with natural resource issues.

Recommended Talking Points:

Bikes in Wilderness would forever alter a key aspect of what Congress intended to be the wilderness experience—the relatively slow, contemplative mode of travel that can be provided on foot, on horseback or via canoe.

Please use your own words or story in your email to your member of Congress. Additional talking points for why bike use in Wilderness would be problematic include:

· Wilderness trails were not designed for mountain bikes, which are capable of rapid speeds. Combined with their often silent approach, bikes would create significant safety hazards for horsemen especially on steep, narrow or winding trails.
· Bikes in Wilderness would represent a serious safety hazard for persons on horseback or leading a pack string, when a bike startling the least-trained horse or mule among the pack string could bolt and/or endanger the entire party.
· The Wilderness Act’s promise of solitude or a primitive and unconfined recreational experience would be lost if horsemen were forced to constantly scan the trail ahead and over their shoulder for rapidly approaching bikes.

Please join BCHA in voicing opposition to H.R. 1349 today!

Sincerely,
Freddy Dunn
BCHA Chairman

ArkansasBCH

The Buffalo River Chapter Back Country Horsemen (BRCBCH), a local chapter unit of the Back Country Horsemen of America (BCHA), is a non-profit service organization dedicated to keeping trails open to everyone on our public lands and to protecting our heritage of responsible equine use in the back country.

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