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Boost Bike Safety in our National Parks
We are pleased to have the following guest blog post from our friend Tim Young -- Wyoming Pathways Executive Director and former League board member -- and urge you to submit comments to make Grand Teton National Park better for bicycling.
Bicycling is a great way to experience our country’s excellent national parks, but it requires good planning and good investments. It also requires good policies. The recent moratorium on bicycle and running event permits in Death Valley National Park is a step in the wrong direction. For details on how to take action on the Death Valley policy, click here. We urge all National Parks to embrace bicycling as an exceptional way to experience nature and the beauty of our park system. Read our comment leader to NPS here. Now, here's Tim:
America's National Parks are special places set aside for the enjoyment of the American people and to preserve them unimpaired for future generations. Every year, millions of visitors, including many bicyclists, travel from all states and from around the world to visit these iconic landscapes such as Grand Teton, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Acadia.
While visiting our national parks can be the experience of a lifetime, finding safe bicycle access can be challenging when proper facilities are lacking. As a League member and park supporter, I'm asking for your help to improve cycling in our National Parks.
Right now, there is an important opportunity to speak up for safe bicycle access in Grand Teton National Park. The Park Service is accepting public comments on the Moose-Wilson Road project, a precedent-setting project that has the potential to improve safe access throughout the park system.
As a brief background, following two tragic vehicle-cyclist fatalities, the National Park Service studied and approved a GTNP transportation plan in 2007 that included 42 miles of pathways. The 20 miles completed so far have been wildly popular with park visitors, and are one of the reasons Jackson Hole was selected as a Gold-level Bicycle Friendly Community. Visitors have embraced bicycling as a new way to visit Grand Teton without the use of motor vehicles.
Regrettably, the Park Service seems to be backing away from a key part of its 2007 decision to complete the pathway system. The NPS has started a new plan to restudy one of the key park access corridors where pathways were approved, but not yet built. The existing and planned park and community pathways create a world-class 30-mile loop of key destinations - except for a 3.5 miles gap along the Moose-Wilson Road. This gap without a pathway is dangerous and would force cyclists, families with children, residents and visitors into close proximity to vehicles whose drivers are often distracted by the scenery and wildlife.
Public comments are due by February 6, 2014. Please help support a complete and safe pathway system for Grand Teton National Park.
Thoughtful, insightful comments from your unique perspective carry much emphasis in processes like these. Please use these thoughts as suggestions for developing your own personal comments:
- I support a complete pathway along the Moose-Wilson Road corridor. The slow, rural, country-road character of the existing road should be preserved while providing safe access for bicyclists and pedestrians with a complete pathway. A 3.5-mile gap within a larger 30-mile loop would be dangerous for children, families, visitors, and residents who are biking or walking.
- Please consider public safety and add a complete pathway from the Granite Entrance to Moose. Please provide safe access for bicyclists and pedestrians with a complete pathway from the Granite Entrance to Moose, and connecting to the wonderful and successful Grand Teton National Park and Jackson Hole Community pathway systems.
Two options to comment:
- You may submit a comment through this community developed website that makes it easy to comment. All comments will be automatically forwarded to the National Park Service; go to: http://www.safeaccessgtnp.org/submit-a-comment/
- Or you may also submit a written comment directly to the NPS, using this link: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/commentForm.cfm?documentID=56561
Let's plan for a safe and smart future that includes safe bicycling in our National Parks. Please send a comment today.