It came to our attention that there has been some confusion surrounding the recent coverage of the Forest Plan in transitioning some trail networks to recommended wilderness areas -- it confused us at first, too. We'll provide some clarification on this:
You may have heard about a public comment period on the proposed action related to the transition of areas in the Flathead National Forest (FNF) to become recommended wilderness. Among other regulations, this prohibits mechanized transport (i.e. no bikes allowed). The confusion lies in the intention of this public comment period, further muddled by the timing of this recent announcement and the surrounding coverage of the matter. The recent FNF Proposed Action is merely the second-tiered environmental analysis and site-specific planning of the initial forest plan, approved and adopted in late 2018. At that time, the FNF was given three years to initiate this analysis plan, which brings us to the recent announcement earlier in 2022:
FAMB always stands behind advocacy for mountain biking, and when a matter comes to our attention affecting mountain bike access to public trails, we will spread the word and take action... this just wasn't one of those occasions. It may be a bummer when this sort of thing happens; however, it is our understanding that there is somewhat of a correlation between these changes and the decision to move forward with the upcoming increased recreational access in the Taylor-Hellroaring and Cedar Flats areas. More information on this project can be found at the Forest Service project website or by contacting Michele.Draggoo@usda.gov with additional questions.
Flathead Area Mountain Bikers, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is working to promote mountain biking and improve trail access in the Flathead Valley.