The Bridger Teton National Forest is currently accepting comments on a proposal to allow class 1 e-bikes on 27.5 miles of existing non-motorized trails at Teton Pass, Munger Mountain, and Hosetail Creek. Below I will summarize the proposal and the Alliance’s position and give you information about how to make your own public comment.
For those wanting more details, you will find them at the Bridger Teton National Forest project document page here.
Proposed action (from scoping document):
In response to the growing local interest for e-bike trails, the Teton E- Mountain Bike (EMBT) Coalition formed during the winter of 2022 to develop a local proposal for e-bikes on non-motorized trails. The Jackson Ranger District then worked with the Teton EMBT Coalition to help develop a feasible proposal, which is what we are seeing now.
The Jackson Ranger District proposes to allow summer use of Class 1 e-bikes (*below for explanation of types of e-bikes) on 27.5 miles of existing non-motorized trails in the Teton Pass area and extend the season when e-bikes would be allowed on Horsetail Creek Trail and trails in the Munger Mountain area. Class 2 and 3 e-bikes would continue to be prohibited. The table below displays the proposed trails for Class 1 e-bike inclusion.
Here is a map of the proposed trails on which to allow class 1 e-bikes.
Forest Process and Stakeholder Outreach: The Alliance was pleased to have been consulted by the Forest Service prior to the release of these scoping documents. They explained the history of this project, their research around e-bikes, and their rationale for choosing the trails they did. Overall, the Forest worked to engage stakeholders and it appears that this proposal is a good compromise of stakeholder interests.
The Alliance’s position: The Alliance is not going to oppose this proposal. We see the merit of limited expanded access to e-bikes, with the appropriate side rails, monitoring, and enforcement. We also believe that we can use this as a test case to examine first-hand the impacts of class 1 e-bikes in an adaptive management context.
The Alliance’s concerns: This proposal make us nervous due to the “slippery slope” argument that this allowance may open the flood gates for e-bike use more broadly on the Forest or for class 2 and 3 e-bikes to be allowed shortly around the corner. We want to make it clear that our support is for this proposal only and nothing more. We implore the Forest Service to make clear the boundaries of these allowances and to spend sufficient resources educating users and enforcing regulations. We also want to reiterate our position that mechanical recreation should never be allowed in wilderness areas (e-bikes or conventional bikes).
The alliance wants to make the following concerns clear:
- Unmitigated access / lack of enforcement leads to resource and/or experience degradation.
- Biker safety – will the addition of e-bikers make the trails more dangerous? Preliminary research shows e-bikes do not move faster than conventional bikes downhill. We need to monitor and find out the trends here locally.
- Risk to trail surface or vegetation – we need to understand if e-bikes may present different impacts to the trail or vegetation.
- Fire danger from e-bike batteries – what is the risk that a crash or malfunction could start a wildfire?
- Chemical pollution from leaking or damaged batteries
What do you think about BTNF’s e-bike proposal? Let us know and make your own comment to the Bridger Teton National Forest.
Reach out to email@example.com with your thoughts.
To make an official public comment:
Comments on the proposal are welcomed and must be received by 11 :59 pm Mountain Time on
October 30, 2023. They may be submitted in the following ways:
ONLINE at: https://cara.fs2c.usda.gov/Public//Commentlnput?Project=64890
MAIL to the responsible official: Todd Stiles, District Ranger, Attn: “E-bike Use Designation on
Select Jackson Area Trails”, Bridger-Teton National Forest, Jackson Ranger District, PO Box
1689 Jackson WY 8300
HAND DELIVERY to the Jackson Ranger District at 340 N Cache St Jackson WY 83001. For
hand delivery, please note that normal business hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through
Friday, excluding holidays.
FAX to 307-739-5450, Attn: “E-bike Use Designation on Select Jackson Area Trails.”
*Types of ebikes (from scoping letter)
- Class 1 e-bike – An e-bike equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider
is pedaling and that ceases to provide assistance when the e-bike reaches the speed of 20 miles
- Class 2 e-bike – An e-bike equipped with a motor that may be used exclusively to propel the e-
bike and that ceases to provide assistance when the e-bike reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour.
- Class 3 e-bike- An e-bike equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is
pedaling and that ceases to provide assistance when the e-bike reaches the speed of 28 miles per