It would be easy for us to continue to appease the mainstream environmental groups who are supporting this bill,
and ignore the tactics they have used, as some other mountain bike organizations have done. The groups that are
pushing this bill believe that cooperation with the mountain bike community amounts to "stop us if you can".
After years of appeasement the net result has been the non-compliance with the Park City agreement. If they
cared about the mountain bike community they would have worked with us prior to attempting designating our
riding areas as wilderness. Appeasement does not work, it only defers defeat.
The only way to get their respect and support for alternative designations is to defeat this bill. The Warrior's Society supports areas that truly qualify for wilderness but feel that until the anti-mountain bike policies of the mainstream environmental organizations change we will continue to be locked out by the "wilderness only" attitude of these organizations. We must stop the banning of mountain bikes under the guise of "stopping development."
Randall Danta is a mountain biker and progressive within the Sierra Club (he's a great guy who has also climbed Everest). He is doing everything he can to make them embrace mountain biking. We are happy that he was able to get the Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club to acknowledge our existence. I suggest mountain bikers email Randall and Gordon Labedz and request that the new mountain bike committee take up as its goals the following:
1. Push the National Sierra Club to honor the Park City Agreement signed with IMBA
2. Push the Wild Heritage Campaign, which the Sierra Club is a major participant, to drop roughly half of the areas that IMBA opposes in the wilderness bill that have historically allowed access to the trails and roads within them
While this is a great first step, more actions must be taken by the National Sierra Club, not just a single
chapter, if they are to be taken serious on their commitment to support mountain biking. They have recognized
that we are a politically powerful group that can no longer be ignored, but it will take much more than the
establishment of a Mountain Bike Committee to garner our support. Concrete actions must be taken to support our
access. Actions speak louder than Committees.
The attitude of the mainstream environmental groups is opposite of that of the Nature Conservancy, which does not look for ways to lock people out, but get then into our natural areas in a responsible manner. They carry on the legacy of John Muir. If you are a mountain biker and member of the Sierra Club, your money would be better spent supporting the Nature Conservancy
In about half of the areas in the bill Wilderness designation would eliminate significant bicycling opportunities. The bill would prohibit bicycling in important riding areas near Lake Tahoe and Donner Pass, around Mammoth Mountain, in the northern Coast Range and southern Sierras, and north and east of Los Angeles.
WRITE U.S. SENATOR DIANNE FEINSTEIN
Senator Feinstein has not yet endorsed the bill and is concerned about not only our access but also the economic effects this bill would have. The first action you can take is to contact U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein. Senator Feinstein's support is crucial to the advancement of Senator Boxer's bill. Senator Feinstein is carefully examining the proposal and is listening to her constituency. The time to influence her is now!
Due to security concerns, mailed letters are not the best way to convey your concerns. It takes as much as a month between mailing and the opening of a letter by congressional staff. Please send a fax or place a telephone call, then follow with a mailed letter.
PLEASE FAX YOUR LETTERS with the subject line: Oppose Wilderness Bill
Honorable Senator Feinstein
One Post St., #2450
San Francisco, CA 94104
Phone: (415) 393-0707
Fax: (619) 231-1108
Fax: (310) 914-7318
Fax: (415) 989-3242
Fax: (202) 228-3954
Fax: (559) 485-9689
Fax a copy of your message to Senator Boxer.
Honorable Senator Boxer
1700 Montgomery St., #240
San Francisco, CA 94111
Phone: (415) 403-0100
Fax: (213) 894-5012
Fax: (909) 888-8613
Fax: (619) 239-5719
Fax: (559) 497-5111
Fax: (415) 956-6701
Fax: (916) 448-2563
If You Can Do More...
WRITE A HOUSE SPONSOR OF THE BILL -- U.S. Representative Mike Thompson (D-CA) will introduce companion bills in the House for northern California and U.S. Representative Hilda Solis (D-CA) will do the same for southern California. They, too, are examining the details of Senator Boxer's proposal. Fax your letter to:
Honorable Mike Thompson
119 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-0501
Fax: (202) 225-4335
Phone: (202) 225-3311
Honorable Hilda Solis
1641 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-0531
Fax: (202) 225-5467
Phone: (202) 225-5464
WRITE YOUR CONGRESSPERSON -- Find the name and address of your member of Congress. Ask your member to speak to Representatives Thompson and Solis about bicycling and the Wilderness bill.
WRITE YOUR LOCAL NEWSPAPER -- Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. Learn the address of your local paper.
Messages to television and radio stations, web news sources and discussion groups are also appropriate. Letters to media should be
short -- around 200 words. Reasoned discussion is always preferable to inflamed rhetoric. The goal is to persuade others, not to yell.
POINTS TO MAKE IN YOUR LETTER
* State your concern that some of California's best trails will be closed to bikes through Wilderness designations. If you have specific knowledge of areas in Senator Boxer's proposal that overlap great riding, provide that information.
* Mountain bikers support conservation and would support alternative designations such as the Backcountry Designation
* California is the birthplace of mountain biking and home to 2.5 million off-road cycling enthusiasts. We are an important constituency that generates millions of tourism dollars for the state of California. Bicycling adds more than $2 billion annually to the state's economy.
* Citizens need detailed maps of all proposed Wilderness areas to carefully examine this geographically based proposal.
LONG PROCESS AHEAD -- STAY TUNED
To pass, this bill must go through a committee process in the Senate, then a vote of the full Senate. The bill must go through a similar process in the House of Representatives. Once both bills make it through their respective chambers, they must then go to a conference committee to iron out the differences. If the bill doesn't, pass by November, the entire process must start again next year.
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