The Sedona 's 5's Excellent Adventure

Five joy riders mountain-biked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon; five federal prisoners rode back up in shackles

Wheeze says that philosophy is obsolete. "There are too many mountain bikers now," he says. "We are citizens of this country, too. We represent a massive user group, and we should be allowed to enjoy the national parks our way." Convincing the government of that, he says, is a matter of enough bikers taking to the streets.

Or, as it were, the trails.
The Sedona 5 Web site includes an "MTB Recon" page with advisory bulletins on riding illegally in national parks across the country--from Lava Beds National Monument in Hawaii to the Presidio in San Francisco. The page requests a donation to help defray the cost of the Sedona 5's restitution and start a legal fund for future civil disobedience rides. So far, Wheeze says, they've gotten a few bike parts, a case of salsa, and enough money to print up a batch of commemorative Sedona 5 tee shirts.

Over the past two months, Wheeze also has compiled a list of mountain bikers who e-mailed requests to be notified in time to join the next canyon ride. At last count, he had just more than 1,000 names, including one each from Germany and Australia.

Neither Rama nor Wheeze will say exactly when the next canyon ride is supposed to happen. "Before the holiday season" is their only hint. In the meantime, Wheeze is talking with ex-Park Service rangers about what radio frequencies and code words the agency uses, looking for a pro bono lawyer, and putting together a list of media organizations to alert just after the ride is under way (the basic plan is to ride slowly down a major trail with a couple of scouts out front to warn hikers and radio trail recon back to the main group).

And both are stockpiling junk bikes. "This time, everyone's going in on wally-world bikes," says Wheeze. "We're going to bury the Park Service in Huffys.

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1 comments
mike.vandeman
mike.vandeman

Mountain bikers' middle name is "Scofflaw".


Bicycles should not be allowed in any natural area. They are inanimate objects and have no rights. There is also no right to mountain bike. That was settled in federal court in 1996: http://mjvande.nfshost.com/mtb10.htm . It's dishonest of mountain bikers to say that they don't have access to trails closed to bikes. They have EXACTLY the same access as everyone else -- ON FOOT! Why isn't that good enough for mountain bikers? They are all capable of walking....

A favorite myth of mountain bikers is that mountain biking is no more harmful to wildlife, people, and the environment than hiking, and that science supports that view. Of course, it's not true. To settle the matter once and for all, I read all of the research they cited, and wrote a review of the research on mountain biking impacts (see http://mjvande.nfshost.com/scb7.htm ). I found that of the seven studies they cited, (1) all were written by mountain bikers, and (2) in every case, the authors misinterpreted their own data, in order to come to the conclusion that they favored. They also studiously avoided mentioning another scientific study (Wisdom et al) which did not favor mountain biking, and came to the opposite conclusions.

Those were all experimental studies. Two other studies (by White et al and by Jeff Marion) used a survey design, which is inherently incapable of answering that question (comparing hiking with mountain biking). I only mention them because mountain bikers often cite them, but scientifically, they are worthless.

Mountain biking accelerates erosion, creates V-shaped ruts, kills small animals and plants on and next to the trail, drives wildlife and other trail users out of the area, and, worst of all, teaches kids that the rough treatment of nature is okay (it's NOT!). What's good about THAT?

To see exactly what harm mountain biking does to the land, watch this 5-minute video: http://vimeo.com/48784297.

In addition to all of this, it is extremely dangerous: http://mjvande.nfshost.com/mtb_dangerous.htm .

For more information: http://mjvande.nfshost.com/mtbfaq.htm .

The common thread among those who want more recreation in our parks is total ignorance about and disinterest in the wildlife whose homes these parks are. Yes, if humans are the only beings that matter, it is simply a conflict among humans (but even then, allowing bikes on trails harms the MAJORITY of park users -- hikers and equestrians -- who can no longer safely and peacefully enjoy their parks).

The parks aren't gymnasiums or racetracks or even human playgrounds. They are WILDLIFE HABITAT, which is precisely why they are attractive to humans. Activities such as mountain biking, that destroy habitat, violate the charter of the parks.

Even kayaking and rafting, which give humans access to the entirety of a water body, prevent the wildlife that live there from making full use of their habitat, and should not be allowed. Of course those who think that only humans matter won't understand what I am talking about -- an indication of the sad state of our culture and educational system.

 
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