The National Park Service (NPS) announced today it will expand bicycle access in parks nationwide while preserving the Service’s responsibility to prohibit bikes in wilderness and other areas where they would have significant impact on the environment or visitor safety.
“Bikes are a great way to exercise, get healthy, and experience the great outdoors,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “This new rule gives park superintendents greater flexibility to determine where bikes can be allowed in a park and additional authority to shut areas where cycling is jeopardizing visitors or park resources.”
The rule, available online at: http://www.ofr.gov/inspection.aspx, gives park superintendents the authority to allow bicycles on roads that are closed to the motoring public – like fire roads and roads used by park maintenance vehicles. Bikes are already allowed on park roads that are open to vehicles.
This rule moves National Park Service decision making about where bike use is appropriate from a regulatory to a planning process, while retaining rigorous environmental compliance requirements and mandatory public comment on proposals to open existing or new trails to bikes.
New trails outside of developed areas will continue to require a park-specific special regulation approved by the director of the National Park Service.
The National Park Service will continue to prohibit bicycle use in eligible, study, proposed, recommended, and designated wilderness areas.
The final rule, 36 CFR § 4.30, will be published in the Federal Register on July 6 and will go into effect 30 days later.
Image courtesy Jeffery Beall