Bill would end longstanding ban on bikes in US wilderness


SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — More than 100 million acres of America’s most rugged landscapes designated as wilderness are off-limits to mountain bikers, but two Utah senators have introduced legislation that would allow bikers to join hikers and horse riders in those scenic, undisturbed areas.

The bill from U.S. Sens. Mike Lee and Orrin Hatch would give local officials in 44 states with the federal land management agencies two years to decide in each wilderness area if bikes will be allowed. If no decision is made within two years, the bike ban would be lifted in that area.

The proposal is controversial within the biking community and opposed by conservationists who say bikes would erode trails and upset the five-decade notion of wilderness as primitive spaces.

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