Wild Olympics Campaign

Updated: 07/10/12

Senator Murray and Representative Dicks recently introduced the Wild Olympics Wilderness & Wild and Scenic Rivers Act which would permanently protect more than 126,000 acres of new Wilderness on Olympic National Forest plus 19 Wild and Scenic Rivers and their major tributaries.

Over the last four years leading up to this legislative proposal, Evergreen has worked hard to identify and protect access to trails in the proposed protected area that are currently open to mountain bikes.

According to Evergreen Executive Director Glenn Glover, "I give the Wild Olympics Campaign groups a lot of credit for seeing the importance of working with the mountain bike community and doing so in good faith. They saw us as potential partners in this process and across the country this level of collaboration is not common."

It took a long time and a fair amount of back and forth but the most important MTB trails are now outside of Wilderness and still open to our form of low-impact recreation. Trails negotiated to remain open to bikes include Lower South Fork Skokomish, West Fork Humptulips the Lower Big Quilcene and many others. Scroll down for a complete list .

A Wild or Scenic Riverdesignation does NOT close trails to bikes!  As Wild and Scenic Rivers these will never get logged or dammed and will stay open for mountain biking. This designation is an important tool both sides were able to use to protect the land and free flowing rivers while allowing us to keep quietly enjoying this spectacular area.

The Church Creek Trail is within Wilderness area in the legislation. As mitigation for the loss of biking access to this trail the individual groups of the Wild Olympics Campaign have agreed to consider supporting a future proposal by Evergreen to the Olympic NF for mountain bike access to an appropriate trail outside current or proposed Wilderness.

This support could help encourage the Forest to consider our proposal and during a NEPA process the public support could help to reduce potential opposition. A specific trail has not yet been identified by Evergreen but we look forward to beginning that process and appreciate in advance the good faith efforts by the members of the campaign.

Evergreen now supports this legislative proposal and is proud to have helped protect access to this much high-quality mountain biking in the Olympic National Forest. For more information on the Wild Olympics legislation and the development of the proposal visit http://www.wildolympics.org

Trails excluded from the proposed wilderness and remaining open to biking:

  • Mt. Muller Loop Trail #882
  • Kloshe Nanitch Trail #
  • Lower Dungeness Trail #833.3
  • Gold Creek Trail #830
  • Lower S. Fk Skokomish Trail #873
  • Mt. Zion Trail #836
  • West Fork Humptulips Trail #806
  • Deadfall Trail Trail

Updated: 10/31/10
Over the past year Evergreen and representative mountain bikers from the Olympic Peninsula have been involved in a process that showcases how mountain bikers and wilderness supporters can work together collaboratively.  Our goal is the protection of mountain bike access through the adjustment of Wilderness boundaries and the use of alternative designations for land protection.  Working closely with Washington Wilderness Coalition, a member of the Wild Olympics Coalition, we identified mountain bike trails that were put at risk by the originally proposed wilderness boundaries. Then we jointly sought solutions that met their requirements of clearly defined land protection while also achieving our requirement of preserving bike access.

Why would a mountain bike organization be involved in a process that will result in reducing the potential for new access in the future, even if all current trail access is protected?  One reason is because the alternative is to not be involved in the process at all and to simply take the position of opposing wilderness protection.  This is simpler but less likely to be successful in preserving even the existing access.  Another reason is that most mountain bikers are as interested in ensuring the protection of land from development as the environmental community.  We ride in beautiful, wild areas for the same reasons that hikers go there - to experience and connect with nature but we do it on two wheels.  The final reason for involving ourselves in Wilderness discussions is because of the credibility that comes from that willingness to negotiate.  That credibility has helped open doors for us with legislators and environmentalists alike.  That means that if we believe our concerns are being ignored we have the ability to reach and be heard by decision makers. 

In the case of the Wild Olympics this process is definitely not over yet.  Although a draft proposal has been released, one which has preserved access for about 85% of the trails, this is still a draft and open to additional refinement.  Please review the map to the right and then view a detailed trails analysis here.  For clarity I've been asked to provide a simpler and updated trails analysis, that is available here. If you have knowledge of trails that would be impacted, either as important trails to save or not, please let us know.  We've received mountain biker input on all of the trails but we don't have first-hand knowledge of most of the impacted trails and more importantly we want to know what the larger community of bikers thinks about them. 

We are also going to have a roundtable meeting in early December or early January (to be determined) in Port Townsend to discuss the proposal and hear whether it is one that you can support.  We'd like as many bikers as possible at the roundtable so please call or send an email to the address above and let us know if you can attend. 

Thanks,

Glenn Glover
Executive Director
 

 

Last modified on 2012-07-10 16:57:34 by Stacy Karacostas.


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