News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Considering e-bikes on local trails

Should e-bikes be allowed on certain local trails? The Deschutes National Forest is seeking input on that question, regarding the “E-bikes on Select Trails” project draft environmental assessment (EA). The proposed project would allow Class 1 pedal assist e-bikes on select, existing, natural surface trails and paved paths located near Sisters, Bend, and Sunriver.

According to the Forest Service, “there are multiple reasons to consider the need to allow the use of Class 1 pedal assist e-bikes on select trails. The first reason to consider e-bikes on select trails is to create equitable opportunities for use. Second, there is a need to reduce potential conflict between user groups. User conflict would be minimized by selecting trails that are designed for bike use and already have a high volume of mountain bike use. Trails that are designed for pedestrian or equestrian uses are not included in the proposal. Lastly, there is a need to respond to changing technology in outdoor recreation.”

Class 1 pedal assist e-bikes provide assistance only when the rider pedals. Assistance stops when the bike reaches 20 miles per hour. This proposal would not authorize e-bikes that are modified and no longer fit this criterion for use on trails.

The project includes 67 existing trails totaling 161.4 miles across the Bend-Fort Rock and Sisters Ranger Districts. Areas with proposed trails include Peterson Ridge, Phil’s, Sunriver, Wanoga, and paved paths. No new trail construction is being proposed. This project also proposes to update the Motor Vehicle Use Map to show where e-bikes would be allowed.

To view an online project map, visit: https://usfs.maps.arcgis.com/apps/mapviewer/index.html?webmap=5080ef7e7f2d45ac96788cf1a2447a86 .

The draft EA can be viewed on the Deschutes National Forest website at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/deschutes/?project=66475.

For more information about the project, contact Cristina Peterson, Environmental Coordinator, at [email protected].

The 30-day comment period began on Tuesday, July 2, and closes Wednesday, July 31. Comments received after the close of the comment period will be considered. However, late comments will not have standing for objection.

The Forest Service notes that comments may be submitted electronically using CARA (Comment Analysis and Response Application). CARA is the preferred method for receiving comments because it allows for efficient analysis. Submit electronic comments using CARA at: https://cara.fs2c.usda.gov/Public//CommentInput?Project=66475.

Comments may also be submitted by mail to Holly Jewkes, Forest Supervisor, c/o Cristina Peterson, Deschutes National Forest, 63095 Deschutes Market Road, Bend, OR 97701. Hand-delivered comments may be delivered to the above address during normal business hours: Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding holidays.

Those interested may subscribe to the Deschutes National Forest’s project mailing list. Visit: https://www.fs.usda.gov/projects/deschutes/landmanagement/projects and enter your email address in the “Email Updates” field under the “Current & Recent Forest NEPA Projects” header.

 

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