In addition to the existing rancor between environmentalists and those who want more access to the current Wilderness Study Areas, there’s another wrinkle.

A federal judge has ruled that there will still be no mountain biking allowed in the WSA’s.

Bitterroot National Forest spokesman Tod McKay said the decision came down in late June.

“Following its release in 2016, our travel plan has been litigated by several groups, and in June, Judge Christensen upheld every aspect of our travel plan except one, and that dealt with mountain bike use within our two Wilderness Study Areas on the Bitterroot National Forest,” said McKay. “Our attorney’s felt that they should remain open, however, another group of defendants, the interveners, read the decision differently, so they filed a motion for clarification and last week Judge Christensen came back and said until the ‘objection response period’ has been completed, there will be no mountain biking in these Wilderness Study Areas.”

Now, here’s where the story gets a little weird.

McKay explained why mountain bikes, of all things, would be excluded. Mountain bikes, non-motorized, non-polluting, quiet, mountain bikes.

Because the Wilderness Study Areas were established in 1977, mountain bikes did not yet exist, so keeping true to the letter of the statute, only those activities originally listed in the WSA’s would be allowed.

No mountain bikes existed in 1977, so no mountain bikes will be allowed until the comment period has been completed.

So…if you’re headed to the two Wilderness Study Areas in the Bitterroot National Forest, leave your mountain bike at home.

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