Biking on Long-Distance Trails Act
STATEMENT OF HERBERT C. FROST, REGIONAL DIRECTOR FOR INTERIOR REGIONS 3, 4 & 5, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE HOUSE NATURAL RESOURCES SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS, FORESTS, AND PUBLIC LANDS CONCERNING H.R. 6337, A BILL TO REQUIRE THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR AND THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE TO DEVELOP LONG-DISTANCE BIKE TRAILS ON FEDERAL LAND, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.
February 3, 2022
Chairman Neguse, Ranking Member Fulcher, and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to present the Department of the Interior's views on H.R. 6337, a bill to require the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture to develop long-distance bike trails on Federal land, and for other purposes.
H.R. 6337 requires the Secretary of the Interior and Secretary of Agriculture to identify no less than 10 existing long-distance bike trails and 10 areas presenting an opportunity to develop or complete long-distance bike trails. The long-distance trails would cross no less than 80 miles of lands managed by the Department of the Interior and National Forest System Lands to provide opportunities for mountain biking, road biking, touring, and gravel biking. H.R. 6337 directs the long-distance trails to be consistent with the management requirements of the Federal lands crossed and requires coordination with stakeholders to evaluate resources and feasibility. Further, Federal agencies may publish maps, install signage, and issue promotional materials for any identified long-distance bike trails under the bill. Lastly, H.R. 6337 requires the Secretaries, in partnership with interested organizations, to prepare and publish a report listing the trails within two years.
The Department supports the goals of establishing additional opportunities for bicycling on Federal lands. The diverse lands managed by the various agencies of the Department provide tremendous opportunities for cycling. The BLM, for example, has a longstanding partnership with external organizations to provide information, GPS trail maps, and interactive virtual tours for mountain biking on public lands, and promotes the “Top 20 Mountain Biking Opportunities” on BLM-managed lands.
We would also welcome the opportunity to work with the sponsor and the Committee on some of the bill’s provisions. For example, we would like clarification regarding each Secretary’s responsibilities toward achieving the number of identified areas conducive to long-distance bike trails and opportunities for developing trails. Additionally, the Department notes that some of the best opportunities for developing long-distance bike trail routes could likely traverse non-Federal lands, and we would like to work with the sponsor to allow for the inclusion of non-Federal land segments in the trails. We would also like to ensure sufficient time and resources are provided in the bill for stakeholder outreach, coordination of public input on the feasibility of the trails, completing environmental analyses and any changes to local land use plans – as well as for managing and maintaining the trails upon their establishment. Finally, the Department would like to discuss further with the sponsor how to best define the intended use of these trail segments, including how uses such as electric bicycles would affect that use and the management of other uses, such as hiking, or off-highway vehicles, as appropriate.
Chairman Neguse, this concludes my statement. I would be pleased to answer any questions you or other members of the Subcommittee may have.