The Forest Service is advocating a new directive that would limit or even prohibit bike access on the Continental Divide Trail (CDT), which runs the length of the US, from Montana to New Mexico. Some anti-bike groups have embraced the move.
A statement from IMBA explains the Forest Service's actions, "The CDT is currently managed under guidelines from an outdated 1985 Comprehensive Plan and the agency believes it's time to update that document by clearing up any ambiguity regarding the purpose of the trail and its allowed uses. As part of this effort, the Forest Service is focusing on a hiking and horse-centric vision."
The CDT includes the famous Monarch Crest, many sections of the Colorado Trail, well-known Steamboat Springs singletrack, trails around Butte and Helena and much more.
It is a 3,100-mile shared-use route from Canada to Mexico, traversing scenic high-elevation terrain. Unlike other long distance trails such as the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail, mountain biking is currently permitted on the CDT in most non-Wilderness areas and has occurred on some sections for 25 years. About 70% of the route is completed.
IMBA has called concerned mountain bikers to action by filing comments with the Forest Service, spreading the word, and encouraging riders local to the trail to become involved in caring for it. For more information, visit www.imba.com.