August 20, 2015
On August 7, 2015, President Obama signed into law the creation of three new federally-designated Wilderness areas. One of these new Wilderness areas, the White Clouds Wilderness in the Boulder Mountains and White Cloud Mountains of Idaho, impacts the White Cloud Option found on the Singletrack Options Map of Adventure Cycling's Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route (IHSMBR) and closes two important sections of singletrack on that option, totaling 15.1 of 66.9 miles. See map.
This Wilderness designation has been years in the making with input from many sources including local, state, and federal conservation groups, International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA), and Adventure Cycling (albeit on a small scale). When we were in the planning phases of the IHSMBR in 2014, cartographer/senior graphic designer Casey Greene was aware of the situation, but hopeful the area would be designated a monument. Monuments have an expansive usage policy that would have allowed continued access for cyclists to trails within the area. We also met with congressional leaders to explain our situation and the impact the designation would have on the route and communities that support bicycle tourism.
The two closures are as follows:
Because bicycling is not allowed in any designated Wilderness area, this ends access for any bicycle traveler planning to ride the White Cloud Option, as it is currently routed. All other singletrack options are open, including the Willow Creek Option, the Eagles Nest Option, and the Secesh Option.
The closure is already in effect. The Forest Service WILL BE ENFORCING THE LAW BEGINNING IMMEDIATELY. If you are unclear about the boundaries or signage you may encounter, call the Sawtooth National Forest Public Affairs Officer Julie Thomas at 208-737-3262 for more information.
A potential reroute of the White Cloud Option that we will look at when the IHSMBR Single Track Options Map is reprinted might look something like this:
Ride the current route from Turn A to Turn I. At Turn I, ride southwest on FR 111 to FR 109. At FR 109, ride north and rejoin the current route at Turn M. Continue on Turn M to Turn O. At Turn O, ride west on FR 109 along Fourth of July Creek. FR 109 will become FR 209 and connect to the IHSMBR Main Route at SR 75 (Turn R on the Main Route). Due to the boundaries of the White Clouds Wilderness, cyclists can ride no further north to connect to the main route.
As with many cyclists, we understand and support the further protection of America’s scenic public lands. However, we are deeply disappointed to lose the opportunity to ride in some beautiful areas in the White Clouds, an opportunity that would have been afforded by monument designation.
GEOPOINTS BULLETIN is written by Jennifer ‘Jenn’ Hamelman, Routes & Mapping Assistant Director, and appears once a month, highlighting curious facts, figures, and persons from the Adventure Cycling Route Network with tips and hints for personal route creation thrown in for good measure. She also wants to remind you that map corrections and comments are always welcome via the online Map Correction Form.