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Here are some additional facts in this issue (Readers should feel free to copy/paste just as often as Mr. McMahon has copy/pasted his rant in every internet forum he can find.)

Visitors to federally-designated Wilderness are less than 3% of the population. 100% of US Forest Service Trails already allow foot travel. By Mr. McMahons’s logic, Wilderness makes an even smaller dent in hiker demand for access than it does for bicycle access, so we might as well exclude hikers from Wilderness and, while we’re at it, just stop supporting Wilderness entirely. Mr. McMahon has never shown any data suggesting hikers need Wilderness.

Mr. McMahon, the Sustainable Trails Coalition’s chief opponent and internet troll, has never released his financial statements or taxes showing exactly how his money is being spent. And we have no idea how much money Mr. McMahon may be collecting – or from whom – for his anti-bicycle crusade. Mr. McMahon’s finances are even more opaque than STC’s. Also interesting is the fact that Mr. McMahon is apparently employed by an outdoor retailer that derives the vast majority of its income from non-cycling products. One wonders.

The congressional sponsors of various recent Wilderness proposals have even worse environmental voting records and ratings than the sponsors of bicycle-friendly bills that Mr. McMahon is railing against. Yet Mr. McMahon has been thrilled to support those other bills. That’s a pretty good definition of hypocrisy. And now Mr. McMahon wants to tell people who to vote for.

Having hiking trails out in the middle of nowhere isn’t going to help the sport of hiking grow. Right now, skateboarding is vastly more popular than Wilderness hiking in the 6 to 17 year old age group (and any other age group you care to mention). That's because there are more skateboard parks near where the youth live. See how that works?

Mr. McMahon writes that bicycles are “mechanical transport,” and therefor banned by the Wilderness Act while skis, snowshoes, oar locks, etc. are not banned in Wilderness even though they too are mechanical and transport humans. All the transport-related items banned in the Wilderness Act are either motorized or require permanent changes to the land, such as roads, railways, landing strips, etc. Bicycles require nothing more – and sometimes less – than foot and horse travel. Mr. McMahon will assure you that bicycles are mechanical while other mechanical items like skis, etc. are not mechanical because they may have origins that pre-date the modern bicycle, or even the wheel perhaps. That argument is enough to numb the mind of any mechanical engineer.

Mr.McMahon will now tell you that cyclists are perfectly welcome on Wilderness trails, just as long as they leave their bicycles at home. Just imagine how quickly Mr. McMahon would become an “extreme” boot and pants activist if he were suddenly told that only moccasins and loin cloths are allowed in Wilderness.

Mr. McMahon believes that backcountry bicyclists – people who ride safely and peacefully alongside other non-motorized uses on trails all over the country – should be banned from 110 million acres (and growing) of federal Wilderness. Despite having less impact than horse travel, and similar impact to foot travel, Mr. McMahon believes that cyclists deserve zero access to our most cherished outdoor adventures. Meanwhile, Mr. McMahon insists that he be allowed to roam anywhere he likes.

If you want to honor the spirit of the 1964 Wilderness Act, and avoid being a hypocrite, reversing the 1984 blanket ban on mountain bikes is the way to do it.

Now that we’ve shed additional light on some of Mr. McMahon’s mostly irrelevant facts, maybe we can focus on the fundamental question of whether it is reasonable to allow federal land managers simply to consider potential bicycle use when they make Wilderness trail access decisions, because that is virtually ALL the proposed legislation actually does.

Readers can decide for themselves which side of this debate represents views that are extreme, exclusionary, dogmatic, elitist, and out of step with the intent of the Wilderness Act. Is it the side that thinks backcountry cyclists are legitimate members of the outdoor community who might deserve to resume access to some Wilderness trails on a case-by-case basis? Or is it the side that can’t bear the thought of sharing even one inch of Wilderness with other conservation-minded visitors who happen to choose equipment that looks different than Mr. McMahon’s equipment?