Mountain bikers dislike recommended wilderness

Brief by Allen Best

Recreation – February 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

Mountain bikers are disturbed by a recommendation from the U.S. Forest Service to create a new wilderness area between Durango and Silverton that would close 20 miles of the Colorado Trail to wheels.

The recommendation, if adopted by Congress, would also make at least six other trails off-limits to biking, reports the Durango Telegraph.

“It’s definitely a conundrum for mountain bikers,” said Mark Richey, a mountain biking advocate. “We all love wilderness areas, but we feel like we’re excluded by their [recommended] designation. It’s not a comfortable place to be in.”

While the Forest Service cites comparatively little use by mountain bikers in the area in question, mountain bikers disagree. Bill Manning, director of the Colorado Trail Foundation, also noted that the wilderness designated would eliminate the ride from Molas Divide to Durango, a 75-mile grunt considered one of the nation’s epic rides.