Mountain Bike Access in Wilderness

The issue of mountain bike access in Wilderness designated lands, based on the Wilderness Act of 1964, has become an emotional hot button topic.

In essence, the Wilderness Act of 1964 places a blanket ban on any bike use on about 108 million acres of public owned land.. an amount larger than the state of California. We now have two national major mtn bike advocacy groups: IMBA(International Mtn Biking Assn) and STC(Sustainable Trails Coalition). Upstate SORBA is currently a chapter of IMBA. STC does not have members/chapters but seeks support from individuals, chapters and IMBA itself. There is more than ample information, articles, social media, etc portraying the details and contentions held by both organizations and supporters. The following link is a good ongoing collection of such, as well as reference to the Wilderness Act itself. http://www.sustainabletrailscoalition.org/articles/

Many within the board at Upstate SORBA, and the mountain bike community at large, take the perspective that IMBA and STC do not contradict each others missions. STC has a single focus on returning the original intent of the Wilderness Act, which for about 20 years did not exclude bicycle use. They wish to return the access issue to a local land management discretionary process utilizing federal legislation via their proposal - Human-Powered Wildlands Travel Management Act of 2015.

IMBA prefers to partner with other user groups such as Sierra Club and Wilderness Society to negotiate with federal authorities like National Forest Service for mtn bike access. They prefer to focus on more imminent ongoing mtn biking concerns of a broader spectrum. While they support the premise of mtn bike use in wilderness, they have yet to support the STC lobbying efforts. There in lies the rub. STC and many mtn bike riders(96% by one survey) wish for the unified goal - to include IMBA's endorsement - of an overriding resolution(legislative action) to what most view as a long standing, singled out discrimination of one user group.
Below are links to recent statements of position by leadership of IMBA and an opinion by Singletracks regarding the STC and Wilderness..
https://www.imba.com/news/press-conference-wilderness-plan

http://www.singletracks.com/blog/trail-advocacy/opinion-opening-wilderness-to-mountain-bikes-is-the-most-important-advocacy-effort-in-history-and-we-need-your-help/