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Utah Senators Want to Open Wilderness to Mountain Bikes

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Two Utah senators want to open the gate to mountain-biking in wilderness areas. The Associated Press reports that Republican senators Mike Lee and Orrin Hatch have introduced legislation that would let local officials with federal public-lands agencies decide whether bikes should be allowed in individual wilderness areas. If officials made no decision either way within two years, biking would be allowed. The 1964 Wilderness Act prohibits motor vehicles, motor boats, motorized equipment and mechanical transport in wilderness area, though it does allow wheelchairs. Proponents of lifting the biking ban say it would give cyclists access to miles of pristine single-track. Opponents believe it would erode trails and change the character of wilderness, and could lead to additional uses, such as the increasingly popular electric bikes.

Gail Binkly is a career journalist who has worked for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Cortez Journal. She is currently a freelance writer as well as the editor of the Four Corners Free Press, based in Cortez.
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