Colorado Editorials

Durango Herald: Legislation in Congress presses for a fundamental change in the rules

Author: The Durango Herald Editorial Board - January 20, 2018 - Updated: January 20, 2018

Should bicycles be allowed in wilderness areas?

The question tends to provoke an immediate answer – thumbs up or thumbs down – and it is at the heart of the Human-Powered Travel in Wilderness Areas Act.

The legislation is not written in terms so starkly black and white. If passed, the proposals would not lift the ban of bicycles or other human-powered wheeled conveyances from federally-designated wilderness areas. The measures would, however, give local land managers the discretion to open certain trails to wheels.

There are some intriguing possibilities:

A family, with a robust stroller, could take a toddler or two a few miles into the Weminuche Wilderness to camp in the spectacular valley of the Los Piños River. Hunters, knowing they could pull a game cart to retrieve big game, could venture deeper into the backcountry of the South San Juans or the Flat Tops in search of elk. And mountain bikers eager to ride the entire Colorado Trail could do so, not obligated to detour around the six wilderness areas the trail traverses on its route from Durango to Denver.

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The Durango Herald Editorial Board