Coveted Spaces

This map shows a U.S. stripped of all state boundaries, cities, terrain, waterways.. all that remains is a geography defined by pavement.  The black areas are where most bicycles and vehicles coexist.  The other areas?  Most of it is off-limits to cyclists.  In my county alone there are 8 preserves and three state parks, one of which (Lowden Miller State Park) is 2,281 acres, and none of these are accessible by bike.

20 minutes North in Rockford, IL the lawmakers pushed through legislation making it illegal to ride your bike on the roads, instead of working for funding for bike lanes.

At national level there is a bill, H.R. 1349 heading to congress.  Its goal?  Attempt to reverse a misinterpreted 54 yr old bill that certain advocacy groups used to ban bicycles in “wilderness”, some 110 million acres currently off limits to cyclists.

The drivers don’t want to share the roads, the hikers don’t want to share the trails, and our legislators don’t want to upset the large political endorsing groups like The Sierra Club.  This selfish us vs. them mentality needs to stop, if not for our own sanity, for natures.  A cyclist viewpoint may come from a different side of the handlebars than a back country hiker, but without a doubt we are on the same side when looking at the big picture,  which is protecting our beautiful lands, saving lives, reducing the volume of vehicles on this planet, and improve the health of our culture and our environment.

“…..Consider the benefits of having all backcountry-loving constituencies united and highly motivated to meet any threat to our wild places.  How does alienating backcountry cyclists, who share the same basic conservation ethos as backcountry hikers, further that cause?  If the prime concern is the preservation and defense of our wild places, how does favoring one low-impact user group over another bring us together to pursue this worthy goal?  Wouldn’t we want all possible constituencies to be at the highest possible motivation to meet such a threat?  It seems self-evident that mountain bikers actually being able to enjoy their equally low-impact, human-powered form of travel in the lands in question would generate the greatest possible motivation to protect those lands from development.  This looks suspiciously like anti-bike forces being more concerned with protecting their elite status in the backcountry than actually protecting the backcountry itself.” (John Fisch- 5 arguments against the human-powered travel in wilderness areas act )

Sources-

http://www.sustainabletrailscoalition.org/

https://www.singletracks.com/blog/mtb-trails/responses-to-5-arguments-against-the-human-powered-travel-in-wilderness-areas-act/

Map courtesy of- https://fathom.info/ (I would like to say thank you to Fathom.info and clarify that this post in no way reflects their views or opinions) They have maps of each state available at  https://shop.fathom.info/ and all proceeds of these maps are donated to charity.

 

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