Letter to the editor: Mountain biking destroys habitat for area wildlife | SummitDaily.com
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Letter to the editor: Mountain biking destroys habitat for area wildlife

Mike Vandeman
San Ramon, California

Written in response to the story, “Summit County Mountain Bike Alliance evolves out of old Fat Tire Society with renewed mission.”

What were you thinking? Mountain biking and trail building destroy wildlife habitat! Mountain biking is environmentally, socially and medically destructive. There is no good reason to allow bicycles on any unpaved trail.

Bicycles should not be allowed in any natural area. They are inanimate objects and have no rights. There is also no right to mountain bike. That was settled in federal court in 1996. It’s dishonest of mountain bikers to say that they don’t have access to trails closed to bikes. They have exactly the same access as everyone else: on foot! Why isn’t that good enough for mountain bikers? They are all capable of walking.

A favorite myth of mountain bikers is that mountain biking is no more harmful to wildlife, people and the environment than hiking and that science supports that view. Of course, it’s not true.

Mountain bikers also love to build new trails — legally or illegally. Of course, trail building destroys wildlife habitat, not just in the trail bed, but in a wide swath to both sides of the trail. E.g., grizzlies can hear a human from 1 mile away and smell us from 5 miles away. Thus, a 10-mile trail represents 100 square miles of destroyed or degraded habitat that animals are inhibited from using. Mountain biking, trail building and trail maintenance all increase the number of people in the park, thereby preventing the animals’ full use of their habitat.


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