At first glance, an Op-Ed piece at PennLive published on January 3, 2017, written by Edward Zahniser, appeared to be bogus to my eye. Mr. Zahniser was concerned that the 1964 Wilderness Act — that prohibits the use of “mechanical transport” — might be circumvented by new legislation. Mountain bikes in Wilderness areas, now expressly forbidden, would be permissible.
In Edward Zahniser’s words:
A new bill in the U.S. Congress, would radically alter this primary intent of the Wilderness Act by directing the U.S. Forest Service, which administers wilderness areas, to identify trails to be opened for mountain biking.
Local rangers would have just two years to identify trails that might be opened to bikes. That is an impossible task if the public is to be heard in the usual open process. If the deadline is not met, the trail will simply be opened to bikes.
The clear language of the 1964 Wilderness Act itself prohibits mountain bikes, as a form of “mechanical transport.”