Questions and Answers
What is the National Mountain Bicycle Strategic Action Plan?
The National Mountain Bicycle Strategic Action Plan will provide guidance for the management of mountain bicycling on BLM-managed public lands. The plan will suggest ways to effectively manage a form of recreation that is growing in popularity, while also protecting natural resources on public lands.
The strategic action plan is neither a decision document nor a new regulation; rather, it provides general, national guidance to BLM land managers on possible ways to deal with mountain bicycle management issues. Site-specific activity plans will continue to address local issues.
What is the purpose of the National Mountain Bicycle Strategic Action Plan?
The purpose of the action plan is to ensure that mountain bicycle use on public lands is managed in an environmentally responsible way in regards to ethics, conflicts and impacts, and that opportunities for this activity are not only recognized, but provided, on public lands where appropriate.
Why does the BLM need an Action Plan for managing mountain bicycles?
This Action Plan will provide guidance to the BLM field offices, interest groups, and individuals to implement on-the-ground actions and resource protection measures.
Reasons for developing this Action Plan include:
- fulfilling BLM's need to update its 1992 Mountain Bicycle Strategy;
- recognizing the changing demographics, increasing populations in formerly sparsely settled rural areas, dramatic increase in mountain bicycling use, emerging technologies, and issues unique to mountain bicycling;
- providing consistent management approaches for BLM state and field offices;
- using existing staff, resources, volunteers and partnerships more effectively;
- assessing planning, environmental and regulatory needs; and
- fulfilling the recommendation by BLM's National OHV Strategy to develop a plan focused on mountain bicycling use.
How are mountain bicycles currently managed on public lands?
There are no national policies that relate specifically to the management of mountain bicycle use on public lands. As a result, land use plans throughout states with BLM-managed public land have not consistently addressed mountain bicycle issues and opportunities.
What is the scope of the strategic action plan?
This Action Plan focuses on guidance and actions for BLM field offices, interest groups and individuals. The Action Plan lists innovative and proactive ways to provide for high-quality, environmentally responsible mountain bicycling opportunities on public lands while protecting natural resources and historic/cultural resources. The implementation of this Action Plan will be an on-going, adaptive approach to activity management that will require the continued cooperation and participation of the public. As a guiding document, the Action Plan will be refined and implemented as opportunities arise and funding allows.
Will strategies be developed for other trail-related activities on public land?
This action plan is the second of three action plans focusing on recreational uses of the public lands and comprehensive travel management planning. The first was the National Management Strategy for Motorized Off-Highway Vehicle Use on Public Lands, completed in January 2001. A third plan addressing nonmotorized, nonmechanized recreational use will be developed to meet the needs of visitors such as hikers and equestrians.
What are the main issues/topics the Action Plan will cover?
The following thematic issues were derived from public comments that were received during the development of the National OHV Strategy. The public commented on these themes during the public comment period, August 19 through September 25, 2002, as well as contributing new ideas or proposals they thought important.
- Coordination - Coordinate with both internal and external groups, and stakeholders.
- Education/Interpretation/Information - Develop and implement a consistent mountain bicycle ethics message and incorporate it into interpretive efforts and informational materials.
- Planning and Environmental Considerations - Consider all aspects of on-the-ground mountain bicycle and trail management issues, relating both to resource and social conditions. Provide guidance for mountain bicycle use in special management areas.
- Funding - Identify the immediate and future funding needs and opportunities for BLM's efforts to manage mountain bicycle use. Explore innovative funding sources and encourage partnerships to aid in mountain bicycle management efforts.
- Emerging Issues - Recognize the evolving nature of the sport of mountain bicycling and associated "hot spots." Adequately prepare for new technologies and uses that may change the capabilities of nonmotorized, mechanized travel in the future.
- Regulations - Recommend criteria that would allow for clear and consistent management of mountain bicycles and other mechanized vehicles on public lands. Development of any regulations would follow the formal rule-making process.
Members of the public submitted 387 comments during the draft Action Plan public comment period, and substantive comments were addressed in the final Action Plan. Suggestions for solving environmental problems or user conflicts were incorporated into a toolbox list of ideas in the Appendix that can be used by land managers where appropriate.
Why are regulations needed for mountain bicycles and other nonmotorized, mechanized forms of transportation?
The BLM currently has no regulations governing mountain bicycles. Such regulations would recognize that mountain bicycles have potential impacts that merit regulatory attention.
The BLM vehicle-related regulations (43 CFR part 8340) were issued over 20 years ago. The arrival of the mountain bicycle in the land management setting is far more recent than this set of regulations. Had the resource impacts and user conflicts related to mountain bicycle use been apparent when these regulations were issued, bicycles would probably have been included.
After completion of the third action plan (nonmotorized/nonmechanized transportation), the BLM will review 43 CFR 8340-8344 (OHVs), 8364 (closures and restrictions), 8365 (rules of conduct), and 8370  (special recreation permits); then modify and propose new regulations applying to the use of mountain bicycles and other modes of transportation, as appropriate.
How will this effort affect mountain bicycling on public lands?
This effort will:
- help ensure that new land-use plans and revisions to existing land use plans consider mountain bicycling, along with other recreational uses, in the development of long-term management strategies;
- provide a framework for day-to-day management;
- provide a tool box of best-management practices for field offices; and
- provide a starting point for developing regulations governing mountain bicycle use on public lands.
Does the BLM plan to make mountain bicycling illegal on the public lands?
No. The BLM continues to recognize mountain bicycling as an appropriate use on public lands. Local land use plans and federal laws (such as wilderness legislation) will identify public lands where the use may be restricted or prohibited.
Will the Action Plan change the way mountain bicycles are managed in special areas such as wilderness areas, wilderness study areas and within other components of the National Landscape Conservation System?
No, the management of mountain bicycle use in special management areas will still be managed by the applicable law or policy-such as the Wilderness Act of 1964 and the BLM Wilderness Study Area Interim Management Policy-as specified in the National Landscape Conservation System proclamation and through existing BLM policy. The Action Plan may provide additional guidance for appropriate management of mountain bicycle use and related issues.
Where can I get a copy of this National Mountain Bicycling Strategic Action Plan?
The final Action Plan may be viewed at any BLM office or online at www.blm.gov. A copy may be requested by mail from Margy Tidemann, BLM-Worland Field Office, P.O. Box 119, Worland, WY 82401-0119.
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