Protect America's wildlands through diverse designations.

Okay, the Wilderness movement refuses to accept any bicycling in any Wilderness anywhere, and they are way older and more powerful than us, so we have not come close to winning this battle. We cyclists are practical people and we do care about protecting as much wild land as possible. Can we and the wilderness advocates find ways to work together through compromise?

Is Wilderness the be-all and only possible way to protect the lands? Clearly not. America already has a big system of national parks. We have national monuments, national seashores, national scenic areas, national conservation areas, and more. The diversity of preservation options is already quite significant. Only the Wilderness designation absolutely prohibits bicycling.

When bicyclists are able to mount significant political challenge, Wilderness activists will compromise, too. This has already occured in a number of places, such as in a bill for lands of the Jefferson National Forest in Virginia that we hope will pass Congress soon. In Colorado, we have the James Peak Protection Area, which preserves both high country landscape and a nice bike ride up to the Continental Divide. The Fossil Ridge Recreation Management Area protects about 25 percent more land than Wilderness advocates sought, and it allows bikes. The list goes quite further.

Maybe we can't get what we want here, but we'll work to get what we need.