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Please Comment on Helena-Lewis & Clark Forest Plans

The U.S. Forest Service is seeking public comments to update an important forest plan in Montana. IMBA and our Montana chapters are urging all mountain bikers to contact the Forest Service and provide your input into this process by this Friday, March 11 (by 5 PM MST), regarding the Wilderness inventory and evaluation for the Helena-Lewis & Clark National Forest.

The Forest Service is mandated to inventory lands (view a map) suitable for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System and to determine whether or not to recommend any such lands for Wilderness designation. The first step in this process, and where your input is desired now, is evaluating the lands that meet the Wilderness character criteria. As the revision process moves forward, the USFS will again take public comments on which parcels to recommend as Wilderness. 

As you write your comments, keep in mind that bicycle access is prohibited in some areas where Recommended Wilderness is managed. There are a variety of non-Wilderness protection designations—from Special Management Areas, Heritage Areas, non-motorized backcountry (M7 designation) to National Recreation Areas and National Monuments—that may be suitable for the Helena-Lewis & Clark National Forest and would not prohibit existing uses on backcountry trails for bicycling. Please consider referring to the following areas in Montana national forests that have established and legal mountain bike use in your comments:

  • Big Belt Mountains
  • Castles Mountains
  • Crazy Mountains
  • Continental Divide
  • Elkhorn Mountains Highwood Mountains
  • Little Belt Mountains
  • Upper Blackfoot
  • Rocky Mountain Front 
  • Snowy Moutains

For expanded comments on which trails within the forest that will potentially be affected by Recommended Wilderness designations, and specific details for each trail's history of use, review this letter by the Montana Bicycle Guild, in conjunction with the Great Falls Bicycle Club and surrounding IMBA members and riders and use the text to guide your comments. It is important to personalize your comments so the Forest Service counts each submission as a unique comment.

You can submit comments via the by following the instructions on the Montana Bicycle Guild website, or the Helena Lewis-Clark Forest Planning webpage.

Please submit your comments by Friday, March 11, 2016 no later than 5 PM.

 

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