According to an article put out by IMBA, anti-cyclist will now have to find a different excuse to keep us off the trails. According to studies done, cycling affects natural resources no more then hiking. I guess now the anti-cycling crowd will have use the argument of user conflict and that will depend on demographics.
The article is below;
"New Science Review Indicates that Mountain Biking Impacts Resources No More than Hiking
For Immediate Release
Contact: Pete Webber, IMBA communications director
IMBA has released a comprehensive review of scientific studies that examine the impacts of mountain biking on trails, vegetation, and wildlife. The collection of scientific studies indicate that mountain biking is no more damaging than other forms of recreation, including hiking.
IMBA's review, titled "Natural Resource Impacts of Mountain Biking," looks at all the available studies that have measured the impacts of bicycling and other trail use. "Like all forms of recreation, bicycling does affect natural resources," said Gary Sprung, IMBA's senior national policy advisor and author of the document. "But since the birth of mountain biking, environmentalists and hikers have maintained that cycling causes more damage to trails, vegetation, and wildlife than hiking. The science performed to date does not support that notion. The more challenging issue for trail users is not their differing environmental impacts, but rather their social conflicts, which are quite real, thoroughly studied, and manageable."
Eight empirical studies are summarized in the report, which does not evaluate sociology studies.
The review is available on IMBA's website at http://www.imba.com/resources/science."