National parks may open to cyclists
July 09, 2012 8:58 AM
Since the change targets largely fire and maintenance roads, it is likely the change will largely target cyclists on mountain bikes and hybrids.
The National Park Service announced it will expand bicycle access in parks nationwide while preserving its 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 in a news release. “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 www.ofr.gov/inspection.aspx#reg_N, 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.
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 final rule, 36 CFR § 4.30, was published in the Federal Register on July 6 and will go into effect 30 days later.