Bridger-Teton National Forest Press Release

JACKSON, Wyo. — Bridger-Teton National Forest (BTNF) is requesting public input on the proposed designation of e-bikes on certain trails within the Jackson Ranger District, BTNF announced Thursday.

The proposal would allow Class 1 e-bike use on 27.5 miles of existing trail in the Teton Pass area and extend the season when e-bikes would be permitted on Horsetail Creek Trail in the Gros Ventre, and trails in the Munger Mountain area.

Class 1 e-bikes are defined as “an e-bike equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling and ceases to provide assistance when the e-bike reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour.” Class 2 and 3 e-bikes would not be permitted on proposed trails.  All proposed trails are currently open to mountain bikes during the summer season.

A permit system is also proposed to assist with education and enforcement.

“For decades, the Bridger-Teton Forest has sought to provide a variety of high-quality experiences and work with the community to create a friendly and respectful environment on the trail system,” BTNF’s press release said. “In keeping with this goal, the Forest recognizes the growing interest in e-bikes on trails and is seeking to offer this opportunity while also minimizing the effect on other recreationists and natural resources.”

According to BTNF, the three key reasons this proposal is being considered include:  

  1. E-bike use has increased tremendously nationally and locally. All National Forests classify e-bikes as a type of motorized use and thus, they are currently permitted only on routes designated for motorized use. However, e-bike riders typically seek experiences that align more with traditional mountain bike use and opportunities for such experiences are currently not provided.  
  2. As our population becomes older, e-bikes can provide extra assistance for those who can no longer use traditional mountain bikes due to physical limitations but might not fall under the designation of adaptive. Additionally, more people want to enjoy outdoor experiences with family or friends and view e-bikes as an opportunity to equalize the ability to ride together. 
  3. The Washington Office of the Forest Service recently updated policy to define different classes of e-bikes and established a process that allows individual Forests to designate trails for e-bike use. With this new direction in place, Forests are encouraged to develop proposals, work with interested publics and complete the required environmental analysis.

District Ranger Todd Stiles said he recognizes that e-bikes elicit strong opinions.

“This is a complex topic and we welcome everyone’s thoughts on where and how to potentially provide for this use in a safe and respectful manner,” Stiles said. “We are purposely starting small with an interest in learning and adapting over time.”

The full proposal is available on the Bridger-Teton website. There will be a public open house about the project at the Jackson Ranger District on Thursday, Oct. 12, from 5 to 7:30 p.m.

Marianne is a Community News Reporter interested in community, entertainment and eccentric locals. She hails from California and loves podcast recommendations.