eBike use on US Forest Service trails – Public Input Requested

The U.S. Forest Service has released proposed revised directives on eMTB management on USFS land, and is accepting public input until Oct 26.

In summary, this document: 

  • re-iterates the existing USFS classification of e-bikes (including eMTB) as motorized vehicles. It now distinguishes between Class 1, 2, 3 categorization
  • Does not propose additional access to non-motorized trails for any class of eBikes
  • Requires a local public planning process for any non-motorized trails to be reclassified as motorized, including travel management plan, NEPA.
  • Provides a pathway for reclassification to motorized, allowing only certain types of motorized vehicles. This means a trail could be changed to motorized, and allow only eg class 1, or class 1 & 2  eBikes 

Medicine Wheel Trail Advocates create position statements by considering our Mission, Vision and Values: 

Mission:  We are mountain bikers who build, share and protect inspiring trail experiences.

Vision:  To create a world class network of mountain bike trails in the Pikes Peak Region

Values:  Recreation, Conservation, Collaboration, Inclusivity, Integrity, Bicycling

MWTA believes that this USFS clarification is a reasonable and careful step in addressing the increased desire for eBikes access on trails. It provides a pathway for expanded eMTBs access that requires substantial public process to make the change. This clarification means that more eMTB access is possible with some effort, and that changes in trail use won’t be rapid. This gives land managers and trail users the opportunity to evaluate and prioritize proposed trail changes as eBikes become more common and as the technology matures. 

We note that reclassification of a trail to motorized could change potential funding sources available for it.

We urge ALL TRAIL USERS to submit their own comments on this topic.  The US Forest service is accepting comments until Monday Oct 26.

For additional information, IMBAs statement on the issue can be found here.