BYU Law Review


The Wilderness Act of 1964 protects certain federal lands in the United States, called “wilderness areas,” from human habitation and development. When the Wilderness Act was first passed, nonmotorized bicycle travel was allowed in wilderness areas. However, in 1984, the United States Forest Service altered its interpretation of the statutory text of the Wilderness Act and banned nonmotorized bicycle travel in wilderness areas. Seeking to reverse the Forest Service’s blanket-ban on bicycles in wilderness areas, bicycle activists sought a legislative remedy. In March of 2017, House Federal Lands Subcommittee Chairman Tom McClintock introduced House Bill 1349 to the United States House of Representatives. H.R. 1349 proposes to amend the Wilderness Act by allowing the use of nonmotorized bicycles, among other forms of nonmotorized transport, in wilderness areas. On December 13, 2017, the House Committee on Natural Resources passed H.R. 1349 and reported the bill to the House floor for consideration. This Note argues that federal agencies have misinterpreted the text of the Wilderness Act and urges members of Congress to vote in favor of H.R. 1349.


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