E-bikes are powered by both pedals and small battery-powered motors. Under a new Trump administration order they are being classified as non-motorized bikes. They now will be allowed on all trails …
E-bikes are powered by both pedals and small battery-powered motors. Under a new Trump administration order they are being classified as non-motorized bikes. They now will be allowed on all trails through national parks and other public lands where a normal bicycle can go—able to whir up and down hiking trails in the country’s some 400 national parks and other federally controlled back countries.
Outdoors groups and veteran hikers are seething. E-bike sales are soaring. So nature continues to come under attack by Donald Trump, while he panders to manufacturing. There’s a lot of smoke and mirrors about consideration for the elderly, physically unfit, disabled, with “convenience” also creeping into the conversation from a junior parks official handed the microphone to take the heat from the announcement.
But I guess what bothers me the most is the self-serving lack of foresight and vapid reasoning so common in human nature. As epitomized by one individual interviewed by the press.“There’s just too much traffic on the main park roads that you can’t enjoy them. It’ll be great to get in the park and enjoy nature and all that stuff.”
It seems to me that soon there will be, or already is, just “too much traffic” on what used to be just hiking trails. To me, regular bicycles already are a bit much. They just accommodate a quick hit-and-run look at what remains of the Great Outdoors.
Trump and his gang of “yes” men including the Interior Department continue to assault the environment from all directions, including reclassifying federal lands to allow drilling and mining. They, in this case, are fundamentally changing the nature of national parks with little or no public notice, study or input.
As the spokesperson for one outdoor groups put it: “If you’re hiking on a trail in Utah and you’re rounding a bend and something’s coming at you at 20 mph, that really changes the experience . . . it’s pretty jarring to those who take to public lands to escape city noise and stress . . .”
Our state has three national parks—Mount Rainier, North Cascades and Olympic—plus various reserves, trails, historic sites, etc. recognized by the Park Service.
E-bikes are the fastest growing segment of the bicycle industry. Sales in the U.S. jumped 72% to $144 million last year.
The Department of Interior’s order allows motorized bikes that go up to 28 miles per hour to be classified as regular bicycles. They also have supposed rules for driver conduct, including speed. But we all know what those rules are worth—about as unenforceable as those prohibiting the tossing of trash in Mother Nature’s front yard.
Meanwhile, there remain out there people, dedicated hikers, who get something special out of outdoor life the old-fashioned way. They earn it.
As for primal forests, the health of human kind and, in general, things of no particular urgent personal interest to the residents of Trump Tower and good ol’ boys at Mar-a-Lago . . .
The Brazilian rain forest, which supplies some 20% of Earth’s oxygen, has been burning with some intensity, to which what was Donald’s response? To propose opening up logging in the wilderness of Alaska’s Tongass National Forest. At 17 million acres (largely old-growth), it is the nation’s largest. “Old growth” refers to really old trees, up to perhaps 400 years in some cases.
Donald has set his flying monkeys to work stripping the forest’s protection against wide-scale logging. By 2020 election year he wants to cut back protections that block logging in this forest and on a total of nearly 60 million acres in 39 states.
So we’ll be building roads, muddying the headwaters of streams, destroying salmon habitat, which will in turn work its way up the food chain to bears, orcas and, of course, humans.
The Seattle Times editorialized recently: “In nearly two decades under the roadless rule, Tongass has partially recovered from the aggressive greed of the 20th-century logging industry. According to one estimate, half of the towering old-growth trees within Tongass were clear-cut before the ban. In 2013, when federal leadership (under Obama) conscientiously pursued preservation, nature advocates identified 77 key watersheds covering 2 million acres of Tongass as critical salmon- and trout-spawning grounds the development could threaten.”
Sept. 12—Trump’s EPA scrapped a regulation that shielded many U.S. wetlands and streams from pollution, still another rollback of environmental protections put in place under President Obama. Tear down Obama’s accomplishments all you want, Donald; he’s still the better man.