The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Forest Service, is proposing to revise its directives to update and clarify guidance on the management of e-bike use on National Forest System lands. These lands locally are the Bridger-Teton National Forest and the Caribou-Targhee National Forest.
Click HERE to visit the full text on the Federal Register.
Click HERE to submit your comments by October 24th.
E-bikes have become increasingly popular nationwide among outdoor recreationists on all federal lands. They expand recreational opportunities for many people, particularly the elderly and disabled, enabling them to enjoy the outdoors and associated health benefits.
Currently, e-bike use is not allowed on trails and areas on USFS lands that are NOT designated for motor vehicle use. This means designated Wilderness trails and any system trails that are designated “non-motorized.” Think Southern Valley/Mike Harris, Horseshoe Canyon Trails and Cache Creek Trails.
E-bikes encompass a broad spectrum of categories, from urban pavement-based commuters (we love seeing them on Jackson and Teton Valley pathways), gear haulers (our MBT trail crew utilizes them to transport tools), fat-tire bikes, to full suspension eMTBs. Numerous states (including Idaho and Wyoming) have adopted specific guidance and laws surrounding e-bikes. We believe they get more people of all ages, shapes, sizes, and physical abilities on bikes, reduce our reliance on automobiles and ultimately, that they have a sustainable, thoughtful place on our trails.
Currently, the states of Wyoming and Idaho have their own laws regarding e-bike use. Click the flags below to see what your state mandates:
Here are what MBT believes are the three main points in the Forest Service’s proposed Directive:
The Directive will provide standard definitions of e-bikes differentiating between the 3 classes. Check out the graphic above for clarification on “classes.”
The Directive establishes guidance and criteria for designating routes for e-bike use through site-specific decision making (i.e. travel planning) including consideration of trail management objectives. This means that decisions on e-bike access are local decisions. We know our trails and areas best right here in the backyard, so decision-making on these areas should take place here.
The Directive establishes a new category for Motor Vehicle Use Maps (those folding black and white maps you can get online or at District offices) to display e-bike routes. Trailforks has gone this route and MBT, FoP and other local groups have updated all area trails to include this information on the platform.