Electric-powered bikes are now allowed on BLM and National Park trails — and not everyone is happy about it | VailDaily.com

Electric-powered bikes are now allowed on BLM and National Park trails — and not everyone is happy about it

Jason Blevins, Colorado Sun
Peter Thomas, of Golden, rides his mountain bike at the Lunch Loops recreation area near Grand Junction, on Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 18, 2019. The Department on Interior recently changed regulations to allow electric bikes to be ridden in areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service. Thomas said that he has not seen any negative impacts from E-bikes being used on the Front Range and is not concerned about their use on public land. (Barton Glasser, Special to The Colorado Sun)

The cyclist climbing Boneyard zoomed up the steepest section of the singletrack trail with an effortless ease, passing a panting pedaler in a blink. 

Here they come. 

Electric bikes, propelled by both pedal and throttle, will be more common on Colorado’s Bureau of Land Management trails after an order issued by Interior Secretary David Bernhardt. The game-changing order issued Aug. 29 gave BLM and National Park Service managers 30 days to craft new trail rules that no longer classify e-bikes as motorized and eliminate rules that ban them from nonmotorized trails. 

“Reducing the physical demand to operate a bicycle has expanded access to recreational opportunities,” Bernhardt wrote, ruling that “e-bikes shall be allowed where other types of bicycles are allowed” on the Interior Department’s BLM and Park Service lands. 

Wilderness groups are worried about the experiential impact from the sudden introduction of motors to the backcountry, and trailbuilders on the Western Slope who have spent decades carving trails for human-powered travel lament the lack of public involvement in the decision.

Read more via The Colorado Sun.

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