WASHINGTON – Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced the Human-Powered Travel in Wilderness Areas Act Thursday, a bill that would empower local managers of wilderness areas to decide whether to allow and how to regulate non-motorized travel in wilderness areas.
“The National Wilderness Preservation System was created so that the American people could enjoy our country’s priceless natural areas,” Sen. Lee said. “This bill would enrich Americans’ enjoyment of the outdoors by expanding recreational opportunities in wilderness areas.”
The Wilderness Act of 1964 prohibits the use of motor vehicles, motorized equipment, motorboats, and other forms of mechanical transport. Current Department of Interior policy considers non-motorized mountain bikes to be “mechanical transport.”
This bill would insert language to the Wilderness Act to ensure that the rules restricting “mechanical transport” do not include forms of nonmotorized travel in which the sole propulsive power is one or more persons.
Additionally, the bill would grant local officials the authority to determine whether, where, and when to allow permissible forms of nonmotorized travel over particular trails.