The US Forest Service is soliciting public comment on proposed changes to management of e-bikes on Forest Service lands to bring these policies in line with guidance already in effect for the Department of Interior, BLM and National Parks:
"The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Forest Service, is proposing to revise its directives to update and clarify guidance on management of electric bicycle (e-bike) use on National Forest System (NFS) lands. E-bikes have become increasingly popular nationwide among outdoor recreationists on NFS and other federal lands. E-bikes expand recreational opportunities for many people, particularly the elderly and disabled, enabling them to enjoy the outdoors and associated health benefits. Currently e-bike use is not allowed on NFS roads, on NFS trails, and in areas on NFS lands that are not designated for motor vehicle use. To promote designation of NFS roads, NFS trails, and areas on NFS lands for e-bike use, the proposed revisions include new definitions for an e-bike and a Class 1, Class 2, and Class 3 e-bike, as well as guidance and criteria for designating e-bike use on NFS roads, on NFS trails, and in areas on NFS lands...Over 27 States have adopted a standard definition for an e-bike and a three-tiered classification system for e-bikes. Additionally, the United States Department of the Interior (DOI) recently issued proposed e-bike rules for the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Reclamation, and the National Park Service pursuant to a Secretarial Order that promotes e-bike use on DOI-managed federal lands. The Forest Service’s proposed directive revisions align with the 27 States and DOI’s proposed e-bike rules in adopting a standard definition for an e-bike and a three-tiered classification for e-bikes and align with DOI’s proposed e-bike rules in requiring site specific decision-making and environmental analysis at the local level to allow e-bike use"
FAMB has carefully considered this issue, and will be submitting the following comments to the US Forest Service:
Here are some helpful resources on e-bikes if you're looking to educate yourself on the topic:
Different classes of e-bikes:
Proposed changes to USFS Regs:
We recognize that this can be a controversial and emotionally charged issue for many. FAMB's mission is the preservation and advancement of mountain biking in the Flathead, and we have crafted these comments in keeping with this mission. Stay tuned for our developing stance on this and many other mountain biking-related issues - FAMB's Position Statements are listed on our website, and we're always happy to hear from you on these issues.
Wherever you fall on the e-bikes issue, you can submit comments to the US Forest Service regarding their proposed changes through October 26:
Flathead Area Mountain Bikers, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is working to promote mountain biking and improve trail access in the Flathead Valley.