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  1. #1
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    penality for riding on prohibited trails on federal land ?

    As many of you know, here in America there are wide areas of land on federal property that are off limits for mountain bikers.

    Does anyone know what the penalty is or can cite the relevant federal codes that apply ?

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    good question. I have ridden on many trails that end at a sign that say "no bicycles." Always thought that those signs should be on both ends of the trails, but what do I know?

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    Senior Member howsteepisit's Avatar
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    If its a designated wilderness area: 43 CFR Parts 6300 and 8560. Not too big on following laws are you?
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    Randomhead
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    designated wilderness areas are one thing, but many trails that aren't in wilderness areas don't allow cyclists either.

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    Senior Member howsteepisit's Avatar
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    Yes then it would depend on the specific regulation that apply to the specific locations and land management agency. I do not believe that there is a standard penalty that applies to all situations. Google makes it really easy to do this type of research.
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    Senior Member kmv2's Avatar
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    Here in Canada crown lands (our version of federal land, basically the queen's "back yard") are pretty vast yet easy to access. We (the more adventurous of us) head out of our igloo cities to camp, mountain bike, etc. on crown land all the time.

    The chance of getting caught or charged is next to minimal.

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    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kmv2 View Post
    Here in Canada crown lands (our version of federal land, basically the queen's "back yard") are pretty vast yet easy to access. We (the more adventurous of us) head out of our igloo cities to camp, mountain bike, etc. on crown land all the time.

    The chance of getting caught or charged is next to minimal.
    In the U.S. there are probably over a dozen different possible designations. Some are endangered species habitat, no people at all allowed, others may just have a vehicle prohibition. It can make a huge difference which of those yuo are in.

    Or for that matter a lot can change depending on actions taken. Go screaming down a trail where someone was killed because of a Mtn. biker screaming down it last year and you can bet you are in trouble if caught. Just taking a shortcut through a flat no bikes trail at a reasonable speed and you would be unlucky to get worse than a warning.
    Perish any man who suspects that these men either did or suffered anything unseemly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by howsteepisit View Post
    If its a designated wilderness area: 43 CFR Parts 6300 and 8560. Not too big on following laws are you?
    Correct, I am not too big on following laws.

    I didnt read through the entire link you send me.

    Do you have a cliff notes version ? All I want to know if what the penalties are.

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    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    As to the penalty, a ticket with some nominal fine and walking the bike out.

    Alternate penalty is running into neck high fishing line or barbed wire that some nut case extreme environmentalist bubby trapped the trail with.
    Land of the Free, Because of the Brave.

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    Senior Member howsteepisit's Avatar
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    Seems like if you are willing to risk violating the law, you would be willing to invest the time to determine your exposure. By the way, if you get caught in a wilderness area you can be fined up to $100K, and be sentenced to to 1 year in jail, if my speed reading is correct.
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    Quote Originally Posted by howsteepisit View Post
    Seems like if you are willing to risk violating the law, you would be willing to invest the time to determine your exposure.


    umm...thats what i am trying to do in this thread.

    so far no one has been able to help and my google skills cant find relevant codes and penalties.

    i will call various federal agencies tomorrow and ask them
    Last edited by Angio Graham; 02-13-13 at 06:47 PM.

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    Senior Member howsteepisit's Avatar
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    As I said, here is the official text relating to illegal activites in wildeerness areas. took 5 minutes:

    (a) If you commit a prohibited act
    listed in § 6302.20 in a BLM wilderness
    area, you are subject to criminal prosecution
    on each offense. If convicted,
    you may be fined not more than
    $100,000 under 18 U.S.C. 3571. In addition,
    you may be imprisoned for not
    more than 12 months, as provided for
    by 43 U.S.C. 1733(a

    )
    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-200...sec6302-30.pdf
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    Randomhead
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    mountain bikers have gotten a lot better about not rutting up trails through self-enforcement. Horse riders, OTOH, are allowed to destroy trails with impunity for some reason. This is not to say that I favor cyclists violating bans on trail use.


    I recognize that the OP is a bit provocative, but the forum rules forbid insulting other bikeforums members even if you think they deserve it. Please consider this when drafting any future posts

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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    As to the penalty, a ticket with some nominal fine and walking the bike out.

    .
    Here in NY some tears ago there was a state park that had problems with mountain bikers riding where they weren't allowed. For a season the park rangers tried talking nicely, then it progressed to fines, but it was difficult to catch riders, and the odds of getting fined were low as were the fines themselves.

    Next year the rangers came up with a new approach. They bought XC motorbikes and chased riders down. Then took the front wheel which they carried with an improvised sling on their backs. When the violating cyclist walked back to park headquarters he was given his wheel back and asked not to repeat, no ticket was issued for a first offense. Within a month -- problem solved.
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    Quote Originally Posted by howsteepisit View Post
    As I said, here is the official text relating to illegal activites in wildeerness areas. took 5 minutes:

    (a) If you commit a prohibited act
    listed in § 6302.20 in a BLM wilderness
    area, you are subject to criminal prosecution
    on each offense. If convicted,
    you may be fined not more than
    $100,000 under 18 U.S.C. 3571. In addition,
    you may be imprisoned for not
    more than 12 months, as provided for
    by 43 U.S.C. 1733(a

    )
    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-200...sec6302-30.pdf

    Thanks for the link. I read the list of prohibited things and I didnt see mountain biking on it.

    However, that link dealt with BLM land I was thinking more of National Forest land and more specifically the areas in Montana like the Gallatin NF where the feds recently banned mtb on over 150 miles of trails that were previously open to riding.

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    Senior Member howsteepisit's Avatar
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    That link applies to all wilderness areas. The prohibition is on mechanized transport, which bicycles are considered a subset . Individual penalties for trespass in national forest ?? Contact the national forest in question. In Montana, I think there are parts of the Gallatin NF that are wilderness, so those penalties would apply in the wilderness areas.
    Oh Yea, BLM is the management agency for a lot of national forrest land.
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    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    They bought XC motorbikes and chased riders down.
    Causing far more damage than 100 mountain bikers would.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    Causing far more damage than 100 mountain bikers would.
    Actually not. They patrolled on MCs anyway, and knew how to ride. Much of the problems caused by mtn bikers are due to poor riding habits, such as tearing grooves straight up the fall line, which leads to erosion. It's often also a question of numbers. In many parks here mtn biking was tolerated (actually ignored) when the numbers were small. Then word would get out and too many people would be using the same trails without regard to the damage.

    In many areas in the east, park staff and mtn biking groups form partnerships, trading volunteer help maintaining the trails, setting erosion stops on some of the steeper climbs, agreeing to stay off trails after hard rains, etc. and these alliances have worked well for everybody.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angio Graham View Post
    Thanks for the link. I read the list of prohibited things and I didnt see mountain biking on it.

    However, that link dealt with BLM land I was thinking more of National Forest land and more specifically the areas in Montana like the Gallatin NF where the feds recently banned mtb on over 150 miles of trails that were previously open to riding.
    Around here, our trails are volunteer built and volunteer maintained. The USFS does little to nothing to maintain them. Many of our trails travel through sensitive habitat that gets torn up quite a bit just by hikers. I have no idea how your trails are in MT, but mountain bikes are banned from certain trails for a reason. I would imagine that MT has a lot of fragile alpine environments that could be easily damaged by mountain bikes.

    I'm a hiker first and a cyclist second. I like riding my bike, but few things bother me more than going on a hike in the woods and nearly getting hit by a MTBer bombing down a trail.

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    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DirtRoadRunner View Post
    Around here, our trails are volunteer built and volunteer maintained. The USFS does little to nothing to maintain them. Many of our trails travel through sensitive habitat that gets torn up quite a bit just by hikers. I have no idea how your trails are in MT, but mountain bikes are banned from certain trails for a reason. I would imagine that MT has a lot of fragile alpine environments that could be easily damaged by mountain bikes.

    I'm a hiker first and a cyclist second. I like riding my bike, but few things bother me more than going on a hike in the woods and nearly getting hit by a MTBer bombing down a trail.
    I'm manily a road biker. But when I climb I expect a decent in return. Not unreasonable to expect the same feelings for Mtn. Bikers. That can in effect severly limit the number of trails that it makes sense to be open for biking.
    Perish any man who suspects that these men either did or suffered anything unseemly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DirtRoadRunner View Post
    Around here, our trails are volunteer built and volunteer maintained. The USFS does little to nothing to maintain them. Many of our trails travel through sensitive habitat that gets torn up quite a bit just by hikers. I have no idea how your trails are in MT, but mountain bikes are banned from certain trails for a reason. I would imagine that MT has a lot of fragile alpine environments that could be easily damaged by mountain bikes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith99 View Post
    I'm manily a road biker. But when I climb I expect a decent in return. Not unreasonable to expect the same feelings for Mtn. Bikers. That can in effect severly limit the number of trails that it makes sense to be open for biking.
    Agreed. On those descents, just make sure that 1) you have a clear line of sight and 2) there is no one in front of you. Riding on a shared hiking/MTB/horse trail is a lot like riding on the road - the faster road users (mountain bikes -> cars) need to exercise care in not running the slower road users (hikers/horses -> bicycles) over.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DirtRoadRunner View Post
    Around here, our trails are volunteer built and volunteer maintained. The USFS does little to nothing to maintain them. Many of our trails travel through sensitive habitat that gets torn up quite a bit just by hikers. I have no idea how your trails are in MT, but mountain bikes are banned from certain trails for a reason. I would imagine that MT has a lot of fragile alpine environments that could be easily damaged by mountain bikes.
    Mountain biking on trails isnt harmful to the environment. Thats a myth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angio Graham View Post
    Mountain biking on trails isnt harmful to the environment. Thats a myth.
    Mountain biking over fragile terrain, like alpine zones (thin soil, minimal vegetation), glades (very similar), fens/wetlands (fragile plant life, soft conditions) can easily damage the ecosystem and create erosion and scarring of the landscape. Many trails over such fragile terrain are off-limits to bicycles for that exact reason. Having hiked extensively, in many different regions, my experience is that trails frequented by MTBs are in worse condition with more erosion, washouts, and mudpits than those not. Horses and excessive foot traffic are just as bad.

    Since volunteers go out of the way to maintain many trails like that, you are doing them a disservice by riding on them. Stick to local multi-use trails or trails geared to MTBs instead. Or gather up a bunch of your MTBing friends to build and maintain your own MTB trail (local public landowners, like the USFS, often support that) rather than tearing up a trail that is not meant for bikes.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angio Graham View Post
    Mountain biking on trails isnt harmful to the environment. Thats a myth.
    The trails themselves are harmful.

    Even hiking has a detrimental impact on fragile habitats.

    All human use is burdensome to wilderness areas.

    Suggesting otherwise is just a non-starter.

    Now, the NFS, NPS, BLM, and so on make a great many mistakes. At the same time, trails do get closed for a reason. I understand that you want to ride your bike on the trails. But the question isn't, what's the most fun for you? It's, what's best for the bears, owls, skunks, and so on, which inhabit that particular bit of land? And it's probably best for them if humans stay out of their faces, especially humans aboard rad machinery. Just a thought.
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