Posted by: syncro
For now, I think the rationale that ebikes are going to shut down trail systems access to all mountain bikes is being VASTLY overstated. If anything, we'd first see a clarification on the regs from the LM's and then a ban on ebikes well before we'd see any sort of ban on mountain biking altogether.
I am somewhat in agreement here.
Current LMs have the advantage of hindsight, having dealt with the growth of mountain bikes over the years...something that the original onslaught did not get a chance to defend (refer to the early 80's Sierra Club ban of all mechanical transportation in designated wilderness areas that is in effect to this day and it includes wheelchairs in US National Parks). I would give them the benefit of the doubt that they may differentiate between assisted/motorised and non-assisted mountain bikes.
However, enforcing the issue will be the crux. As someone else had mentioned, it will be increasingly difficult and somewhat costly to verify compliance. Who will do it? Who will pay for enforcing compliance? User fees? My bet is that it will be easier for LMs (specially the smaller independent types) to shut it all down. Thinking of Elfin Lakes as a prime example of a scenic non-technical ride with some great views and a bit of a climb that would be a logical draw for the electro-tourist...BC Parks are already stretched. What are there? something like 4 rangers total for the entire Sea to Sky to Valley area? What about absentee land owners, right-of-ways, etc...?
Considering everything, the easiest thing to do for an LM to do would be to throw the baby out with the bathwater and ban the whole lot. Granted, it's a worst case scenario, but if you;re not prepared for worst-case, you are not prepared.
What's my personal concern (aside from potential trail closures)?
Back to my Chilcotins concern from a few posts ago. It's gaining popularity among the back country bike tour set and it would seem like electro-tourism would provide a larger following. I'm sure a lot of people would enjoy a low-key tour of a spectacular part of the province, but would not look forward to the commitment of all that vertical. With growth comes "crowds" and the loss of remoteness. That could be remedied by a user limit somewhat like Bowron Lakes or West Coast Trail.... but some wilderness experiences should remain somewhat challenging...or the reward is devalued. Imagine Bowron Lakes with E-Paddles, or West Coast Trail with off-road Heelies.
A bit far-fetched, maybe...but I think you get my point.