filed under: user management
Journal of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism publication
In the USA, sales and use of “fat bikes” (bicycles with 75–120 mm-wide tires) have increased dramatically in the past five years. These bikes are designed to open new terrain to cyclists, including snow-covered trails and softer ground surfaces impossible to ride with a standard mountain bike. In this paper, we discuss the extent and possible trends of fat bike use, potential impacts, conflicts and land management approaches.
Our preliminary information gathering suggests that fat bikes are used equally on footpaths and snow trails and that riders rarely stray from established trails. Because snow riding represents a new use for bikes we focus on that aspect. Fat biking on snow is likely to have limited environmental impacts due to use on typically frozen ground with the greatest ecological effects most likely to occur during ‘shoulder season’ use when riding may damage muddy trails. From a visitor experience perspective, conflicts among winter users appear to be common, with cyclists reporting issues with both cross country skiers and snowmobilers. One rapidly developing approach for mitigating these conflicts is the development of maintained winter trails specifically for fat bikes. In the USA, state managed lands are leading the way with trail designation and management while Federal lands remain more restrictive. With proper management, winter fat biking offers an opportunity to increase low-season use of public lands for a healthy pursuit with potentially low environmental impact and positive economic impacts.
Published February 2016
Off-road vehicles can have a substantial impact on the experience of other non-motorized visitors on trails that are shared or even on adjacent forest or park settings.
This research investigated the influence of several use-related, environmental, and managerial factors on soil loss on recreational trails and roads at Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, a unit of the U.S. National Park Service.
The sustainable management of ATV use is an expensive proposition requiring careful design, construction, and maintenance of ATV trails.
This research assessed the condition and sustainability of the trail system at Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, a National Park Service unit that partners with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in the management of this unit.