Tom Stienstra a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, wrote the following story based the press
release sent out by the "Mountain Bikers for Wilderness". In it he
writes about the support of mountain bikers for wilderness. This is a blatant attempt by Senator Boxer
and her supporters to put out spin that mountain biker's support wilderness.
The story is below followed by:
1. Three letters to the columnist and editor sent by real mountain bikers exposing Mountain Bikers For Wilderness
2. A background on Mountain Bikers for wilderness
I think it's time for IMBA, as well as the IMBA "Chapters" that are mentioned, to issue a clarification of their position. This is an attempt to lead the public into believing that this group represents the majority of mountain bikers and that IMBA is supporting the bill. I've posted the email addresses needed to respond to the columnist and editor after the article.
MOUNTAIN BIKING GROUP WINS COUP
Thursday, August 22, 2002
A mountain biking group has won a coup by convincing Sen. Barbara Boxer to remove 300,000 acres from her landmark bill that proposes to add 2 million acres of wilderness in California.
In exchange, Mountain Bikers For Wilderness and other bike organizations will support the California Wild Heritage act of 2002.
"With Wilderness designation, we can preserve some of our remaining wild places, and I can still enjoy mountain biking on my favorite trails (with the new version of the bill),'' said Don Mass Jr., the Chico area representative for Mountain Bikers For Wilderness.
No form of mechanization, in clouding mountain bikes, is al lowed in federal-designated wil derness areas. The popularity of bikes on trails in national forests in the Sierra Nevada (outside wilderness borders) led to a statewide revolt by bikers who feared being shut down when Boxer's bill was first introduced.
In the past six weeks, fine-tuning has led to hundreds of small changes in the bill that will keep many of the most popular areas accessible for bikes, including in the Tahoe and Eldora do National Forest on the flank of the Sierra west of Tahoe.
In turn, several chapters of the International Mountain Biking Association have also announced support for the bill, including chapters in Placer and Nevada counties in Northern California, and Santa Barbara and San Diego counties in southern California.
This new effort could have other major impacts. The last major agency to address mountain bikes is the Forest Service, which man ages 20 million acres in California. No money is allocated in most district budgets to resolve policy over mountain bikes or apprehend law-breaking bikers on the Pacific Crest Trail and the few other trails closed to them.
At hundreds of parks in California, resolution has been reached in the past few years over trail conflicts between mountain bikes and hikers, as well identifying and closing fragile areas and trails that are subject to erosion from biking. Conflicts are down and the mood on the trail seems much improved.
Post a comment about this article on the columnist's web site
Send email the columnist
Send email letters to the editor
CLARIFICATIONS SENT TO THE COLUMNIST AND LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
This article is nothing short of typical misreporting with an article fed to the reporter who was too lazy to check the facts.
First off, there are NO IMBA "Chapters", only affiliated local clubs. As far as I can tell by IMBA's website, they still strongly disagree with the Boxer bill as it stands. This falsity was obviously fed to the reporter by an organization that isn't affiliated with cycling or IMBA.
Secondly, Mountain Bikers for Wilderness is nothing short of a sham. They are rafters and kayakers that want the Wild and Scenic Rivers bill passed and are not an IMBA affiliated club, as they lead the reader in believing. We, as true mountain bike activists, haven't stooped to the level of starting a sham club of kayakers to get press and sway those that aren't in the know. Instead, we chose to fight our battles on the merit of a bill that eliminates miles of mountain bike trails and is bad for cycling as a whole.
As a mountain bike activist, I cannot and will not support a bill that eliminates cycling opportunities. The current Boxer Wilderness bill does exactly that and is one that true mountain bikers will work to defeat.
Grant Curtis SHARE Mountain Bike Club Orange County, CA An IMBA affiliated organization that DOESN'T support Wilderness
Thursday, 22 august, 2002
This email is directed mostly to Tom Stienstra and the SF chronicle (email@example.com), although in the interest of openness, you all are included. Regarding Tom's article in the SF chronicle entitled, "Mountain Biking Group Wins a Coup", dated 22 August, 2002.
I first heard/read about the Mountain Bikers for Wilderness about 6 weeks or so ago, via the email medium. Not wanting to jump to any conclusions, I reserved judgment and let the group's actions speak as to their true intentions. Well, their actions are speaking for themselves, aren't they? Grant Curtis writes eloquently and directly to the point: Mountain Bikers for Wilderness seem to be not in the best interest of our sport. Frankly, I have many better things to do than to try and guess their reasons for doing what they do.
As for the SF chronicle, I can only hope that in the future, Tom, and ultimately the newspaper, which is/are responsible for the article be more thorough and complete in actually verifying the facts before committing them to print. Unfortunately, this is not the first time falsehoods of this nature have been printed under the banner of truth.
The two bike clubs that I am involved with, SHARE and The Warrior's Society has as their main goal the protection of the public's right to responsibly recreate on our open spaces. We do this via a variety of means, i.e. being proactive and working with the land managers on the county, state and federal levels, helping address their concerns, needs with regards to recreation. This involves conducting trail maintenance work days, installing trail signs, doing trail assessments, conducting mountain bike patrols and just generally helping out wherever is needed. It's all about good stewardship and giving something back to the resource in/on which we recreate. The rewards for all involved are self-evident and undeniable.
I extend a personal invitation to all of you at the SF chronicle to check out the websites for both of these bike clubs, see below.
SHARE Mtb Club The Warrior's Society www.sharemtb.com www.warriorssociety.org
It's easy to talk the talk, yet so few of us actually walk the walk. Speaking from first hand, personal experience, the members of these two clubs do both admirably. Like the milk commercial, ask yourselves, "Got Integrity?"
Ya ta hey, Keith Eckstein, Vice President SHARE Mountain Bike Club firstname.lastname@example.org www.sharemtb.com
Tribal Elder and Executive Director of Public Outreach The Warrior's Society email@example.com www.warriorsociety.org
This organization is a hoax.
The Mountain Bikers For Wilderness organization was set up by Senator Boxer and her supporters to make it seem to the public that the group has the support of the majority of mountain bikers. It also implies that IMBA supports the wilderness bill.
By the way, this statement in their press release shows they don't even know how IMBA is structured:
"... local International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) chapters in San Diego, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Placer and Nevada counties support proposals to protect potential Wilderness in their backyard.)
For one thing, IMBA does not have "chapters" they have affiliated clubs. There's no such thing as an IMBA "chapter." The clubs don't support the wilderness bill. How do I know? The presidents of these "IMBA chapters," I mean clubs, are members of the Warrior's Society.
The only reason they went along with the Sierra Club and the Wild Heritage Campaign was because they felt they had to in order to protect their riding areas.
Why don't you at least make them prove that the San Diego and Santa Barbara "chapters" of IMBA support the wilderness bill by sending out a statement from the two presidents of these clubs, Andy Darragh (San Diego Mountain Bike Association) and Chuck Anderson (Santa Barbara Mountain Bike Trail Volunteers)?
Their "press release" sounded like it was written by Boxer's campaign. I guess she needed something to refute the wide spread opposition of mountain bikers to her bill. But I don't think this "manufactured" press release will do the trick.
The domain of "MB4W is registered to Don Massie of Chico who is involved in river rafting more than mountain biking.
I respectfully ask that this group comes up with statements from the presidents of all these clubs expressing their support of the wilderness bill.
Chris Vargas Executive Director The Warrior's Society www.warriorssociety.org a IMBA "affiliated" club that does not support the wilderness bill
BACKGROUND ON MOUNTAIN BIKERS FOR WILDERNESS
This Don Massie guy just registered the mb4w.org domain a week before the press release. He and is some kind of doctor or researcher. He is also a member of the Chico Paddleheads, presumably a kayaking organization as was suggested earlier.
His wife is the director of Corning Medical Associates. Corning is a town of 6,000 people about 30 miles northwest of Chico.
If mb4w is supposed to be "a statewide group", then how come they just opened their website a week before the mb4w press release? I think the guys listed on the mb4w press release are the entire student body of mb4w.
A couple of the people mentioned in the mb4w press release seem to be kayakers or rafters, and are advocates who go to meetings to voice their opinions. Here are links to google searches. Check out the google cached versions of the calfed.water.ca.gov meeting minutes.
Mike Weintraub is a bio sci guy from UCSB (environmentalist perhaps?)
Chris Wilcox, conspiracy theory falls apart here. Looks like he works for Light and Motion, and definitely rides. Maybe he could shed some light (pun intended) on the controversy.
Milan Cole is listed on the "friends of the river" page as an "activist".
Mackenzi Keliher shows up in epaddler.com, but not on any mtb sites.
Jake Early is a graphics designer at a hospital in Chico (what does a 'spital need a graphics designer for?). There apparently was a baseball player by the same name, so ignore those links.
Exactly one of their phone numbers reverse matches to their names. I'll bet if you try calling them, they won't be home, or something.
Their website is linked from themselves, and exactly one other website. Guess who? I'm surprised they don't name her as a member.
To read Tom Stienstra story in which he writes a clarification on this article and exposes the Mountain Biker's For Wilderness click here
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In November vote for candidates that support rational management policies
Oppose the Wilderness bill
Vote Senator Boxer out of office in two years
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.
The wilderness bill is part of a bigger plan called the Wildlands Project, which seeks to put 50 percent of the United States under the same restrictions or more severe restriction than the Wilderness Act. We will have more information on the Wildlands project in the second part of our two part commentary "Do The Mainstream Environmental Organizations Deserve Your Blind Support?" We also have other examples of the corruption used to fool the public into adopting the more extreme policies of the environmental movement.
There are many other actions attempted to be taken that will affect our access and support the Wildlands Project. AB1130 - The Sierra Nevada Conservancy Bill also being pushed by Senator Shelia Kuehl (D-Los Angeles) will also have an effect if it is enacted. This is part of the California Legacy campaign, also part of the Wildlands Project, being supported by the Wilderness supporters and their allies in State Government. The Sierra Nevada Conservancy will result in more closures for mountain bikers.
While held up last week from moving out of the Senate Resource & Wildlife Committee, it has been shoved into AB997, a bill dealing with stream bed alteration also authored by Dickerson.
IF YOU HAVEN'T ALREADY, TAKE ACTION NOW!
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