In recent months there has been an upsurge of organized mountain biking groups attempting to gain access to sections of National Scenic Trails where mountain bikes are currently prohibited. These trails – or in some cases, sections of these trails – were neither designed nor built for mountain bike use. Due to concerns about safety, sustainability, and the displacement of hikers on trails with heavy bike usage, AHS believes that the sections of National Scenic Trails, where mountain bikes are currently prohibited, should remain closed to bikes. We are not trying to remove any current mountain biking activities, but rather are working to insure that a few select, iconic long-distance hiking trails remain bike-free, as they are currently mandated by Congress.
American Hiking Society is working with federal agencies, hiking clubs, and others in the outdoor recreation community to understand and address this issue as it affects the hiking experience on National Scenic Trails. American Hiking Society is devoted to the interests of hikers and to the creation and protection of trails that serve hikers. While AHS is not opposed to mountain biking and, in fact, has worked alongside the mountain biking community to promote and protect trails, including multi-use trails, there are times we must speak out on behalf of the hiking community.
As hikers, we believe that mountain bikers should have plenty of places where they may enjoy their sport (many of us mountain bike too), but it’s also important to preserve the National Scenic Trails where we can still enjoy a hike without the fear of a high speed bicycle coming around a corner. For countless hikers these bike-free trail sections are an oasis – a place where as a hiker you can connect with nature at a slower pace. American Hiking believes there must continue to be room in the national trails system for trails where hikers can enjoy just such an experience and we believe it is critical to protect this for you and for future generations.
For more information:
Read the American Hiking Society Mountain Bike Policy.