Thursday, January 24, 2008

WV Problems - HELP!

WV Wilderness Bill Takes Bicycle Advocates by Surprise

January 24, 2008

The West Virginia Wilderness Bill that is slated to be introduced to both houses of the U.S. Congress next week was written without the knowledge or cooperation of the West Virginia Mountain Bike Association (WVMBA) or the International Mountain Bicycle Association (IMBA). The Senate and the House versions have both been written with identical language to put them on the fast track to passage by Congress.

If this bill passes it would close down over 50 miles of high quality backcountry trails to bicycles in the Monongahela National Forest and end special events like the Highland Sky 40 mile running race and the Odyssey Adrenaline Fix adventure race. All of these activities are important to tourism based economies in West Virginia counties like Tucker, Randolph and Pocahontas.

“All of the offices of the West Virginia Congressional delegation, both Senators and the three House members, had assured WVMBA and IMBA representatives that we would be ‘at the table’ when the specifics of boundaries and designations were negotiated and this did not happen”, said WVMBA vice-president Matt Marcus.

“The Ridge and Valley Wilderness Act in Virginia was worked out in advance by mountain bike and Wilderness advocates and now enjoys a broad base of support by a variety of users. We have been using this as a model of what can happen when we have talked to the WV delegation but they apparently haven’t heard that message yet.”

WVMBA and IMBA did not receive the Wilderness maps until January 11th, 2008 while Wilderness advocates had knowledge of the designated areas as early as October or November, 2007. Bicycle advocates found out about the Wilderness Bill from a Charleston Gazette article dated January 20, 2008.

“We have visited all of the WV members of Congress every year for the last five years and have been willing to come to the table with Wilderness advocates to compromise but the WV Wilderness Coalition formulated their position in February, 2004 and have not been willing to compromise one word since they introduced it,” said Marcus.

“The WV Wilderness Coalition has used deliberately misleading information and spin to convey the message that they have reached a compromise with the mountain bike community, but all we ever got was an ultimatum. People who are concerned about bicycling or special events in Dolly Sods North, Roaring Plains West and the Cranberry Expansion need to contact the WV members of Congress immediately and ask for WVMBA and IMBA to be included and changes to be made. Thanks for your support!”


At 2:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To help out, you need to call these offices and let them know that the "WV Wilderness Bill" theatens mountain bike trail closures, it is not well received by affected parties. Even if you aren't a resident-mention that you (and your friends) go to WV to ride the trails!
"Keep mountain bikes in the Mountain State."

The Honorable Robert C. Byrd:

The Honorable John D. Rockefeller IV: (202) 224-6472

The Honorable Nick J. Rahall II:
(202) 225-3452

The Honorable Alan Mollohan:
(202) 225-4172

The Honorable Shelley Moore Capito: (202) 225-2711


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