XMULE wrote:"You can't make more 'prestine' (sic) land; only reduce it."
Indeed. I don't have strong feelings either way on mtn bikes in wilderness areas. That said, it seems preferable to me to put irreplaceable pristine/wild/unpopulated lands beyond the reach of commercial developers now -- and then DO the hard work necessary (as opposed to simply bellyaching about it on 14ers.com) to craft reasonable compromises among all manner of non-commercial users (be they hikers, rafters, mountain bikers, hang gliders, nudists, climbers, Druids, kite flyers, etc) -- than trying to re-make those same areas into wilderness after they've been subjected to decades of commercial development/use.
Can anyone say "mountain top removal?" Visit those areas of WVA and Kentucky that have been subjected to mountain top removal (even or especially those that have been "rehabilitated") and then talk to me about your (ultimately) minor quibbles on which activities are and are not allowed in officially designated wilderness areas vs leaving them wide open to development . . . and which course is better, not just for our own selfish interests in the here and now, but for our kids, their kids and countless generations ahead.
Then read Encounters with the Arch Druid by John McPhee.
Thank you. I feel better now.
Where to start on this. I say leave it open to all use and stop designating land as wilderness here and in other places. Wilderness designation is outdated and just an easy way for the governing agencies to avoid appropriately managing public lands. Why not address individual issues as they present themselves and actually manage
public lands as individual user groups present themselves.
I'd also like to add a few things regarding the mining aspect of this. First off, mountain top removal isn't always the case and all to often people jump to this scenerio because it stirs people up. The layout of a mine has to be determined by the geology of the area, the mineral sought after and the process that allows that mineral to be economically obtained. Secondly, Mines don't just pop up. It takes several years for a mine to happen and a mining company isn't going to just sneak in there one night and start mining. Mining in the US is highly regulated and goes through a large number of permitting processes which allow for public scrutiny and environmental assessment. It is all to common that people look at the sins of the past and think those will still occur today. Mining in the US had very few regulations and reclamation requirements up until the late 1970's. This led to many mines being left open, unreclaimed, and without regard for long term effects on water quality, public safety, etc. Today the US has the most strict mining law and regulation in the world, closing off areas to mining in the US sends the mining industry to foreign countries where real environmental disasters are allowed to happen and still happening because people in the US want $200 hiking boots, fancy mtn bikes, and a GPS but have no clue where they came from beyond REI. It is a shame that we close our lands to mining in a country where we have the economic stability and the public voice to ensure it is done responsibly and instead push the industry to less developed countries where the people directly effected are unable to have their say in the outcome and lasting effects of a mine.
We all depend on mining, logging, ranching, etc to live our lives, get to the trailhead, ride our bikes, go to work, and bs on this forum. Rather than coming to reasonable compromise between only non-commercial users why not come to reasonable compromise between all users, commercial or not. Leave the land open to use and manage the land appropriately for any user group that is actually using the land, be it recreational, Ranching, forestry, or mining.