On Wednesday, June 12th, 2013 the United States Forest Service made a major announcement in favor of mountain biking on the Continental Divide Trail (CDNST), which is a National Scenic Trail subject to the same administrative and legal oversight as the PCT. Revising a previous decision, the USFS in Colorado has reversed course about mountain biking on a 31-mile planned CDNST reroute and will allow bicycles. The public statements can be found here and here and include discussion of social impacts, through-hikers, economic effects, trail maintenance by volunteer organizations, the role of the Colorado Trail Foundation, and so forth.
The USFS recognizes that the CDNST’s primary use is for hiking and horseback riding, and yet mountain biking should be allowed where it will not interfere with those primary uses. The documents conclude that in low-visitation areas no meaningful interference is likely and multiuse is beneficial.
This is a monumental decision by the USFS and is of direct relevance to the issues we face on the PCT. We applaud the USFS for its efforts and hope that similar steps will be taken along the PCT.