Speak up for wildlife in e-bike policy for nonmotorized trails and roads on WDFW and DNR public lands
Conservation Northwest / Jul 13, 2022 / Action Alert, DNR, Recreation, WDFW
Join Conservation Northwest in urging a case-by-case approach to determine e-bikes access that emphasizes protecting critical habitat areas, wildlife habitat connectivity, and monitoring impacts associated with higher recreation intensity.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) are in the process of determining e-bike access on nonmotorized roads and trails within their managed lands. Now, they are asking for your input!
The surging popularity of e-bikes prompted Washington state lawmakers in 2021 to call on the WDFW and DNR to produce a well-defined policy for e-bike access across state lands by the end September 2022. More background is available in this article in The Spokesman Review.
CNW will continue to advocate for wildlife in the face of growing recreation and rapidly advancing forms of mechanized and motorized travel. Through the work of the Wildlife-Recreation Coexistence program, we support sustainable recreation that is careful to avoid negative impacts on natural resources. We express concern over potential wildlife implications from expected increases in ridership and biking range on public lands.
While we’re champions for wildlife and habitat, we also recognize that conservation must go hand-in-hand with healthy and equitable communities. We recognize that e-bikes offer a way for many people to enjoy the our state’s public lands.
Rather than a blanket state-wide policy, we urge agencies to take a location-specific, “look-before-we-leap” approach to e-bike access that is careful to:
- Minimize recreation overlap with important habitat and species range, especially for those that are sensitive to human disturbance.
- Maintain and protect existing large unfragmented landscapes. These connected, disturbance-free habitats help wildlife persist, especially when displaced from recreation use in a nearby area.
- Protect connectivity between quality wildlife habitat.
- Collaborate with Tribes and other land managers to improve and adapt policy to better protect natural, cultural, and Tribal resources. This includes upholding Tribal treaty rights and interests.
- Study increasing recreation use and intensity and monitor for any environmental impacts. This information can help land managers find wildlife and landscape thresholds of tolerance and can lead to finer scale management strategies.
Feel free to copy and paste our talking points while taking this 5-10 minute DNR and WDFW survey on e-bike use. You can submit your responses through Friday, July 15.
E-bikes are electric-assisted bicycles that offer a range of pedal assist and speed capabilities. E-bikes offer riders the ability to bike longer and further by helping stave off leg fatigue on the uphill. They are also fantastic for urban and commuter biking and can offer a sustainable way to travel.
There are three classifications of e-bikes that currently exist:
- Class 1: Electric battery powered assistance only when a biker is pedaling and ceases to assist once a speed of 20 mph is reached.
- Class 2: Electronic battery powered assistance may be used regardless of pedaling but ceases to assist once a speed of 20 mph is reached.
- Class 3: Electric battery powered assistance only when a biker is pedaling and ceases to assist once a speed of 28 mph is reached
Class 1 eMTBs are becoming more popular on trails and forest roads and are the most common. Other classifications are not common on soft surface trails or are simply not built for single-track trail use. Learn more about e-bikes from a previous blog post from last year.
Speak up for wildlife and fill out the DNR and WDFW e-bike survey through July 15.
This survey is part of the information-gathering process to help agencies form an e-bike policy, which is due in September. Stay tuned for more information as DNR and WDFW e-bike policy continues to progress.