Submit Comments on a Shared-Use Trail in Big Bend National Park

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The National Park Service (NPS) recently announced an Environmental Assessment (EA) for developing a shared-use trail — including opportunities for mountain biking — in Texas’ Big Bend National Park. The plan is now available for public review and comment.

The 30-day review and comment period started March 4, and will continue through April 2, 2011.

Submit comments online.

Comments can also be sent via postal mail: Superintendent, Attention Multi-Use Trail, P.O. Box 129, Big Bend National Park, Texas, 79834.

IMBA supports “Alternative B” in the EA. Under Alternative B, new trail would be constructed for use by hikers and bicyclists. The proposal includes creating a trailhead parking and picnic area near the Panther Junction Visitor Center, and a second trailhead along the Grapevine Hills road.

Please find below some suggested talking points to use in your commentary. Rather than repeat them verbatim, please state these principles in your own words.

  • Alternative B would create a great trail system for hikers, horse travel and mountain biking.
  • These activities are compatible uses, especially on well-designed trails.
  • The impacts of mountain biking on the natural landscape are about the same as those caused by hiking.
  • This is a non-Wilderness section of the park and mountain biking is appropriate here.
  • The expanded mountain biking opportunities created by Alternative B would enhance the park’s recreational opportunities for park visitors.
  • Mountain bikers will come to Big Bend National Park to ride these trails, heightening economic activity in the surrounding communities.
  • The new trail will compliment existing mountain biking near Big Bend, including an IMBA Epic ride.

Stay tuned to IMBA’s website for updates on the public process associated with creating this trail.