Developing an Interdependent Relationship between Preservation and Recreation: Managing Mountain Bicycling in National Parks

Date of Award


Document Type

Capstone Project


Environmental Policy & Mgmt

Degree Name

Master of Applied Science


Environmental Policy & Mgmt


John Hill


Managing Mountain Bicycling; Managing Mountain Biking; Mountain Bicycling; Mountain Biking; National Park Service; Recreation vs Preservation


Increasing demand from mountain bikers for greater access to riding in National Park Service (NPS) units is driving the need for park managers to seriously look at the impacts from and feasibility of permitting this recreational use. Currently, NPS units that permit mountain bicycling do not have formal mountain bicycling management plans. An analysis of recreational policies and existing research was conducted to identify criteria for effective mountain bicycling management strategies. Criteria were developed for trail selection, establishment, use, closures and rehabilitation. Criteria were also developed for user education, participatory planning and monitoring. This study shows that the NPS needs formal mountain bicycling management plans that focus on the preservation of natural and cultural resources and consider the appropriateness of proposed recreational uses.

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