Thursday, October 4, 2012

Please Take FIVE Minutes to Comment on the Yellowstone Winter Use Plan

Edit: The Yellowstone Draft Winter Use Plan comment period ends 10/9/12

Fatbikes are not currently allowed on groomed Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Park roads in the winter. The National Park Service already grooms these roads for snow coach and snowmobile use. Why shouldn't cyclists be able to use an existing resource? Wouldn't it be cool to see Yellowstone in the winter from the saddle of your fatbike?

Yellowstone National Park has been trying to finalize its Winter Use Plan for what seems like forever. The upside to their inability to adopt a final plan is that we, the non-motorized user group, gets one more shot at voicing our desire to have increased access to the parks in the Winter.

Please click the link below and send in a short comment letter. Feel free to use the excellent letter written by Scott Fitzgerald as a template.

CLICK HERE to comment please.

Scott's comment letter:

To Whom it May Concern,

I am writing to express my desire to see Fat Bicycles, Bicycles specifically designed for travel on groomed Winter roads, allowed in Yellowstone National Park during the Winter months. Currently, there is a significant lack of Non-Motorized alternatives by which to visit the park in the Winter. "Fat Bikes" are one of the fastest growing segments of the bicycle industry with sales doubling every year - far outpacing any forecasts (approximately 5000 units sold nationally in 2011). Although these numbers are still a drop in the bucket compared to Winter motorized sales, the rate of growth is to be noticed.

Fat Bikes are growing in popularity for a number of reasons: 1. They are safe and stable so people of all ages feel comfortable on them 2. They are simple and easy to ride with a very small learning curve 3. They are affordable compared to other Winter transportation alternatives. 4. They are fun!

I strongly feel that our National Parks should be encouraging more non-motorized use - why wouldn't you? If the numbers are not there yet to justify the addition of a new user group does that mean that the mode of transportation should be totally ignored? Why wouldn't the park take the lead and encourage more non-motorized use to drive the user numbers?

In the past, issues of safety have been brought up in regards to Fat Bikes. This is completely unfounded. Fat Bikes are every bit as stable as cross county skis and take up less room on the roads. With 60 million cyclists in the Untied States, there is also a greater percentage of visitors to the Park who know how to ride a bike compared to using cross country skis.

To be clear, this is no longer a new user group. Land Managers around the Country have embraced Fat Bikes, developed standards of etiquette, and have successfully managed Fat Bikes along side Snowmobiles. It is time for Yellowstone National Park to take this issue seriously and open up the Park to Fat Bicycles in the Winter.

I also would like to submit support for expanded cross country skiing opportunities and the development of a yurt system to be used by non-motorized users.

Thank you for your consideration of my comments.

Scott Fitzgerald

Thanks in advance for your time.

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