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Old 03-21-11, 12:06 PM   #1
mtbGSMNP
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National Park Access

To support mtb access within the Great Smoky Mountain Nation Park please add your name to the petition at the following link. Thank you.
http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions/mtbGSMNP
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Old 03-21-11, 11:38 PM   #2
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First i would like you to explain why they should be allowed.

I have never been to a GSMNP, but if it's anything like the two closest ones out here (Yellowstone and Glacier) most trails are far too crowded with tourists to make mountain biking a great idea.

Furthermore, is this really politically feasible?
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Old 03-22-11, 07:11 AM   #3
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Yes, it is politically feasible. Former President Bush, and avid mt biker himself, opened the door for this dialogue in 2008. Google his name along the words "bike" and "national park" and you can read for yourself.

Second, designating trails as either hiking, mtb or horses alleviates congestion and many safety issues. Tsali uses this system, allowing each user group access to its trail system on a rotating basis-- mtb can use specific trails on specific days of the week.

Lastly, why shouldn't mtb be permitted to enjoy the NP just as hikers, fishermen, horseback riders, etc..? It belongs to us too?
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Old 03-22-11, 09:28 AM   #4
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Wow, the former ultra-conservative president mountain bikes. That's pretty cool.
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Old 03-22-11, 10:03 AM   #5
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I'm well aware of the Bush policy. It didn't go anywhere while he was president: how much influence do you think that decision has now that he's been out of office over two years?

There are two ways to implement the solution you mention, and both have serious problems. You can either build new trails and open them to only one user group, or you can close existing trails to current users. Building more crap in national parks will always meet at least skepticism, as it should in my opinion. And national parks attract a very different kind of visitor than do state or local parks. They are the "big deal" destination vacations, not where people just spend an afternoon. Are you willing to tell the couple from New York that even though they just drove over a thousand miles and planned their trip for a year, they can't hike the trail they've always wanted because they happen to be there on a Tuesday?

As to your final point, you will meet with two arguments, the first (in my opinion) more valid than they second. Firstly, mountain bikers are not a class of citizen, we are people who engage in the voluntary recreational activity of mountain biking. We as people are not excluded from our national parks, mountain biking itself is. So playing the victim isn't going to get you jack. And the activities you mentioned aren't allowed everywhere or even most places in many National Parks. Secondly, you will encounter the argument that mountain biking opens the gate for ORVs, and that association is the last thing this sport needs. The problem is that your argument does nothing to head this line of reasoning off. It is, after all, just as much the ATVer's park as it is the hiker or mountain biker, right?
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Old 03-22-11, 11:59 AM   #6
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At different points in my life I have needed different things fixed, bad disc in lower back, hips replaced things like that. Those injuries made it where hiking and even walking a long distance was painful and to an extent debilitating. BUT I could bike for hours on end. Mountain biking has to be respectful of horse and foot traffic and visa versa. MTN BKG offer mobility while remaining quiet and low impact to the environment. Its a good thing for tax paying citizens to enjoy National Parks.
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Old 03-22-11, 01:15 PM   #7
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Those are reasonable arguments, but how much should parks accommodate people who cannot hike? Should all trails be paved for wheelchair access?

Look, I'm all for more trail access, and certainly against a lot of the closures we've experienced out here in Montana. But there is an appropriate place for everything. In my experience most National Parks would be a terrible match for mountain biking. If GSMNP is an exception, proponents of allowing mountain bikes need to make the case for why mountain biking is an appropriate use in that specific location.
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Old 03-22-11, 02:09 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by M_S View Post
Those are reasonable arguments, but how much should parks accommodate people who cannot hike? Should all trails be paved for wheelchair access?
It would be nice to build an escalator of sorts for them. However, I think mountain bike trails have better bang-for-your-buck as far as public access.

You do make some good points though. The avid mountain bikers view is going to be far different from the view of the general public.
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