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Judge clarifies: no mountain bikes on Bitterroot for now

Order reasserts restrictions for bikes in Wilderness Study Areas on forest

August 15, 2018

A Federal District Court Judge has issued an order reasserting restrictions for mountain bikes in Wilderness Study Areas on the Bitterroot National Forest. The order upholds Guardians’ longstanding work protecting imperiled wildlife and preventing environmental degradation on the Bitterroot.

For years, Guardians has been fighting for quiet areas for wildlife and non-motorized users on the Bitterroot National Forest. In 2016, the Forest Service adopted a travel plan that closed all Recommended Wilderness Areas and certain Wilderness Study Areas on the Bitterroot to off-highway vehicle (OHV) and bicycle use. OHV and mountain bike organizations weren’t particularly pleased with this outcome and filed a lawsuit to overturn the prohibitions. On June 29, 2018, a judge issued an order rejecting their challenge in large part and directing the Forest Service to provide an objection opportunity regarding the closure of trails on WSAs to bikes. Bizarrely, the Forest Service then announced that trails in WSAs were open to mountain bikes during the response period—subverting the very values for which Guardians fought. Thankfully, the judge has now clarified that the June 29 order does not lift restrictions on bikes.

Read the press release.


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