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Tag: Baileys Trails

Action Alert: Comment on Proposed U.S. Forest Service e-MTB Rule

The following is an Action Alert from the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) regarding  a rule change that could impact the Baileys Trail System. The policy experts at IMBA are concerned that the rule could change the designation of trail systems like the Baileys from non-motorized to motorized, thus impacting the ability to receive grant funding to complete the trail system.

The deadline for comments is Monday, October 26, 2020. Please take a few minutes to read the details about the proposed rule from IMBA, and submit a comment to the US Forest Service about the e-mountain bike  (e-MTB) rule.

  • Rob Delach, Athens Bicycle Club Communications Officer

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IMBA Action Alert!

The U.S. Forest Service released proposed revised directives on eMTB management on September 24th. The release coincided with a public comment period which is open through Monday, October 26th. The Forest Service needs to hear from mountain bikers and eMTB riders alike: these proposed directives could have problematic unintended consequences for trails. Positives of the proposed directives: –Requires a local public process before allowing any eMTB access, through NEPA and Travel Management planning. –Distinguishes between class 1, class 2 and class 3 eMTBs. –Manages eMTBs as a new category, separate from traditional mountain bikes. Challenges with the proposed directives: –Continues to categorize all classes of eMTBs as motorized. –If the Forest Service continues to classify e-bikes as motorized, these directives have the potential to reclassify non-motorized trails as motorized trails to allow eMTB access. This could jeopardize trail funding and lead to increased user conflicts. Instead, the final directive must reconsider how to allow class 1 eMTBs on select non-motorized trails while retaining a trail’s non-motorized status, similar to the recent Bureau of Land Management final rule that mountain bikers liked you helped shape. For more information on the potential consequences with the Forest Service proposed directives, read the IMBA blog. For more details on the directives, take a look at IMBA’s summary guidance. For more information on eMTBs, visit IMBA’s eMTB education page and IMBA’s eMTB FAQs.

Ready to submit a comment?

This comment period is being conducted through a U.S. Forest Service portal. The sample comment below is in line with IMBA’s eMTB position, which supports class 1 eMTB access on non-motorized trails, as long as access for traditional mountain bikes is not lost or impeded. We always advocate for these decisions to be made via public process alongside local mountain bikers and all stakeholders. Customize the comment below to suit your perspective and submit by October 26th.

Submit your comment

Sample Comment:

Thank you for the opportunity for the public to engage on FSM 7700 and 7710, which would revise Forest Service directives to update and clarify guidance on management of electric bicycle (e-bike) use on National Forest System lands. Hundreds of organized mountain bike clubs around the country manage thousands of volunteers who work closely with land managers on trail development, trail maintenance, and trail education for all users. Much of this work relies on funding sources specific to non-motorized trail projects. The proposed directives could jeopardize this funding and increase user conflict if non-motorized trails were to become reclassified as motorized to allow for eMTBs. Instead, the final directive must reconsider how to allow class 1 eMTBs on select non-motorized trails while retaining a trail’s non-motorized status, similar to the recent Department of Interior final rule. The final directive can be further improved by following the International Mountain Bicycling Association’s (IMBA) management recommendations: managing the three classes of e-bikes separately from one another, and prohibiting class 2 and class 3 eMTBs on natural surface, non-motorized trails. Mountain bikers appreciate the leap in technology presented by eMTBs is a unique management challenge. These proposed directives rightfully plan separate management for bicycles and electric bicycles. It is critical that land managers and local mountain bikers work together to determine where eMTBs are and are not appropriate on current and future mountain bike trails. Thank you for the willingness to engage with the mountain bike community. Sincerely, [name, location, contact information]

Thank you for taking action!

Contact IMBA Advocacy

A Baileys Trails Call-to-Action from Danny Twilley

The Baileys needs your help now! Athens County Commissioners need to fund the best bet we have for a stronger economic future for Athens County, the Baileys Trail System.

It has been a long time since I have seen or talked with many of you, but I hope you are all well, especially during these unique times. I am writing to you as a supporter, advocate, and user of the Baileys Trail System. Many people have worked tirelessly out of sheer passion and love for making a difference in SE Ohio to bring the first 14 miles of trails to fruition. If you have been on the trails or followed social media, one thing is very clear, both locals and visitors LOVE the Baileys. The first 14 miles were designed to lower the barrier of entry by providing multiple user groups with a positive trail experience. For proof, see the latest post by Penny Shelton on Facebook. Last week when I was out there I saw a grandfather with his 13 year old grandson riding together having so much fun. On recent weekends, there have consistently been over 40 cars in the parking lot by 10am. All this excitement and joy from just 14 miles! Just imagine what will happen when we get to 88 miles, but in order to get there we need your help. And we need it now! We need to reignite the show of support for the trails to the Athens County Commissioners, much in the same manner we did with City Council; however, it will need to look a little different because of COVID-19.

More kids on bikes!

The Baileys Trails have helped to get more kids on bikes!

What we know?

The Athens County Commissioners set aside $90,000 in the budget for Baileys construction this year; however, funds were not released once the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Athens County Commissioners have recently updated their budget expectations, showing a 2% reduction in expected revenue. The budget line item for Baileys construction remains.

What we need from the Commissioners?

We need the Athens County Commissioners to match the annual $90K commitment to the Baileys Trails that the City of Athens made in December 2019. They can start the commitment by providing the $90,000 that they already set aside this year. The City of Athens has also committed $35,000 toward local match for the State funding to build the next 11 miles of the Baileys Trails, which is already under construction.

How can you help?

There are several options for you to help. Please feel free to do one, all  of them, or anything in between)

  1. Email the commissioners expressing your support for the Baileys Trail System.  Tell them how important the trail system is to you and Please include all three commissioners on the email.
  2. If you live in or near Athens County, then write a letter to the editor of either the Athens News (news@athensnews.com) or the Athens Messenger (info@athensmessenger.com) that expresses why you support the county helping fund the Baileys Trail System.
  3. Show your support for funding for the Baileys Trails project by tuning in to the County Commissioners weekly Zoom meetings (link: https://zoom.us/j/358908636 ). The Athens Bicycle Club will work on getting the word out on the scheduled time that the Baileys is on the agenda each week. The meetings start at 9:30 am every Tuesday, so I know not everyone can take time to do this during the work day, but the more presence we have on the meetings the more impact our message will have. Tune in to the Commissioners Meeting tomorrow, July 21 at 10:30 am  for the next discussion on the Baileys Trails funding with the County Commissioners.

    Downhill section of Lost Marbles Trail.

    Downhill section of Lost Marbles Trail, with 2 riders.

Important Considerations

Here are a few points that could help you get started with any of the above. This is not exhaustive but a start.

  •  The county is last to the table to fund and support, when they should have been first
    • At the November 18th, 2019 City Council Meeting- Chris Chmiel started speaking at 1:59 (https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=2364184343703818&ref=watch_permalink ) and said several things so watch it, specifically he said, “… The commissioners we’re waiting for you to take action, but I believe we are supportive. The fact that the Wayne came to us with this innovative idea is I believe is a god sent I think”
    • We are still waiting for the County Commissioners to make a positive move
  • Local advocates helped bring the city to the table along with so many community advocates and various groups. We have helped to creat support across Federal, State, and Local jurisdictions.
  • The County Commissioners wanted ORCA to be created so they have a say in the project and what happens on Wayne NF land that they do not own. Done. The Wayne National Forest agreed and ORCA was created.
  • Our partner, Quantified Ventures is losing steam and the ability to stay involved in the project. Their involvement brought State and the Federal support the project, but the county needs to act.
  • Many entities have already invested or committed almost $8M into the Baileys project:
    • The U.S. Forest Service has contributed: $1,200,000
    • National Forest Foundation/REI $150,000
    • Transportation Alternatives Funds: $1,500,000
    • Clean Ohio Trail Fund: $224,780
    • Recreational Trails Program: $300,000
    • Abandoned Mine Land Funds: $1,900,000
    • Appalachian Regional Commission POWER Grant: $1,235,727
    • Community Development Block Grant neighborhood Revitalization Grant: $515,000
    • Other partners have contributed: $885,000

Thanks again for your time in helping us get the Baileys across the finish line.

Cheers,

Danny Twilley

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