Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Yellowstone Winter Use - Public Comment Period Open

I would like to encourage you to submit a public comment in support of cycling (snow biking) in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park during the winter season. Cycling is currently not allowed in either park during the winter because the current Winter Use Plan states “During the winter, all park roads are closed to wheeled vehicular traffic…” It appears that the National Park Service (NPS) treats bicycles the same as automobiles instead of treating bicycles the same as other non-motorized forms of travel such as cross-country skiing. I encourage you to request that cycling be included as an acceptable form of non-motorized winter travel.

Just like cross-country skiing, cycling is an appropriate, low-impact, muscle-powered activity that provides visitors a safe, healthy way to enjoy Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Winter cycling, or snow biking, is a rapidly growing aspect of cycling that is perfectly suited to groomed snow surfaces. Both parks have miles of roads currently groomed for snow coaches, snow mobiles, and skiers. It is appropriate to give cyclists the opportunity to share this existing resource in the wintertime as well.

Snow Biking Quick Facts
1) 4” wide snow bike tires provide float and result in less groomed trail impact than a skate skier
2) Snow bikes work great on any groomed/packed snow surface
3) Over 500 snow bikes have been sold nationally in the last two years
4) Snow bike use is limited to groomed surfaces or packed roads because they will sink in un-packed snow

Please use the links below to learn more about the proposed winter use plans and to submit your public comment electronically. I am rookie when it comes to cycling advocacy but I am passionate about snow biking and feel strongly that cycling should be allowed year-round in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park. Please forward this to anyone who might be inspired to submit a public comment in support of winter cycling in YNP and GTNP.

Winter Use Plans Draft Environmental Impact Statement (three large PDFs)

Electronic Public Comment Form - Public Comment Period Ends May 31, 2007


Tim said...

I've been curious about how many snow bikes are out there, and have heard similar numbers quoted by others. Can I ask where the 500 figure came from?

I'm not questioning its accuracy; I'm just curious about the expanding popularity of fat bikes. They certainly seem to be catching the eyes of more riders up here in Alaska.

And good luck with opening the parks to bikes. Sounds like another bureaucratic oversight lumping all "wheeled vehicles" together without any logical thought.

A few years ago, I was booking ferry passage from Ketchikan to Prince of Wales Island for me and a mountain bike with a BOB trailer. The ticket agent wanted to charge me the same rate as a car towing a trailer. I straightened it out with a call to the management office, but the initial response from the agent was, "Well, you have a vehicle and a trailer, so ..."

Dave said...

The 500 number came from Surly. That is the number of Pugsleys they have sold in the last two years. Our local shop sold 8 Pugsleys last year and I'll bet he doubles that next year.

Tim said...

Cool. Thanks. When you add in some Vicious Thunderwings, Mark Gronewald's Wildfire bikes, as well as a few old John Evingson frames, the number of fat bikes may be a hundred higher? Maybe more. Hard to say.