Went to Zion last June.. felt like I was at Disney World.. it was over-crowded with busses all over and more people than it could handle. I was there in 1998 and in march of 2010.. March is a good month if you go in early march.. I have now vowed to go off season from now on. Going to Yellowstone in Sept, after labor day. Hoping that will be late enough to avoid crowds.
By the way, Alf, I agree with your concerns about commercialization of the Wilderness. I would be happy to lobby for the exclusion of commercial operations and I'll bet most cyclists would agree.
Alf: Indeed the Wilderness Act (WA) is full of intent. It defines federally-designated Wilderness, in total, as follows:
"A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain. An area of wilderness is further defined to mean in this Act an area of undeveloped Federal land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation, which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions and which (1) generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man's work substantially unnoticeable; (2) has outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation; (3) has at least five thousand acres of land or is of sufficient size as to make practicable its preservation and use in an unimpaired condition; and (4) may also contain ecological, geological, or other features of scientific, educational, scenic, or historical value."
We can discuss the meaning of "primitive" with regard to recreation, but excluding a bicycle while allowing a host of other demonstrably non-primitive technologies is an immediate hypocrisy. Overall, the intent and aspirations of the WA are entirely consistent with the rugged, individual type of recreational endeavor that is represented perfectly by foot, horse or bicycle travel.
But then we arrive at the term "mechanical transport," and this is where the opposition to the bill generally tries to hang its hat. Thankfully, we have a definition of mechanical transport contained in the Code of Federal Regulations that was written to reflect and implement the intent of the WA. That definition is:
"Mechanical transport, as herein used, shall include any contrivance which travels over ground, snow, or water, on wheels, tracks, skids, or by floatation and is propelled by a nonliving power source contained or carried on or within the device."
- 36 CFR § 293.6(a) (1973), formerly 36 CFR § 251.75 (1966)
So, what's "abundantly clear" is that we do not have a cut and dry exclusion of bicycles, unless we are also prepared to exclude a lot of other currently allowed technologies. But we can certainly have a worthwhile debate about the risks and rewards of expanding the constituency of Wilderness advocates to include backcountry cyclists by allowing them at least some level of access to these public lands that were set aside for recreation as well as preservation.
Stoll and "out n'about" ought read the Wilderness Act. If they bother to. they'll see that although bicycles, wheelbarrows and chainsaws may not be specifically addressed, the intent that they not be allowed in designated Wilderness is abundantly clear.
In maintaining the status quo and pandering to commercial vested interests by allowing the continuation of domestic livestock grazing, aircraft landings, and commercial outfitters to maintain caches and semi-permanent camps in classified Wilderness, the intent of the Wilderness Act has already been over-compromised. We don't want or need it to be further eroded.
When someone, or some group of organizations, writes "an assault on the very idea of wilderness," they either haven't researched the Wilderness Act, or they haven't read the proposed legislation or they are trying to pull the wool over the eyes of their followers.
I encourage everyone to read the text of the bill at the link below and then you can begin asking why some opponents would use such hyperbole and misinformation to describe such a benign proposal. While I can understand the desire to incite their fans, generate membership revenue and defend their personally favored form of outdoor recreation, none of that is a very good basis for setting public policy. Of course, the backers of the bill are also selfish in the sense that they would like to visit at least some of the land in the manner they enjoy. But if that manner is as quiet, human-powered, sustainable and environmentally benign (or more so) as currently allowed uses (foot and hoof), then we should all endeavor to accommodate it on at least some of our publicly-owned Wilderness lands.
Randy F - thanks for your thoughts on this. Lots of differing opinions, I guess. I had been wondering what the actual LAW (if any) states about this issue. Years ago, when I distributed political flyers, we were told not to put them in mailboxes, but rather rubber band or tape them to the door knob, but even then we never learned whether this was LAW or just a "guide" from the post office. Using the USC you listed, it states a box erected for receiving official stamped mail from the post office cannot be used [in any way - in or on top of or taped to] for un-stamped items. However, the post [that the box sits on] is NOT considered part of the box. So, there we have it! Thanks!
Randy F - thanks for your thoughts on this. Lots of differing opinions, I guess. I had been wondering what the actual LAW (if any) states about this issue. Years ago, when I distributed political flyers, we were told not to put them in mailboxes, but rather rubber band or tape them to the door knob, but even then we never learned whether this was LAW or just a "want" from the post office. Using the USC you listed, it states a box erected for receiving official stamped mail from the post office cannot be used [in any way - in or on top of or taped to] for un-stamped items. However, the post [that the box sits on] is NOT considered part of the box. So, there we have it! Thanks!
DMM 508.3.1.2 states;
Door slots and nonlockable bins or troughs used with apartment house mailboxes are not letterboxes within the meaning of 18 USC 1725 and are not private mail receptacles for the standards for mailable matter not bearing postage found in or on private mail receptacles. The post or other support is not part of the receptacle.
Also, I failed to find any reference to a 15 foot "zone" leading to and exiting from a mailbox. There is a section that states that the area around the delivery point should be such so that the carrier is not impeded from mak9ng the delivery, but there is no specific distance stated.
I've got 32 years of service with 20 in Business Mail Entry and Mail Classification. I am sure that you know that these activities involve a lot of DMM research and interpretation. Only mentioning it so that you don't think I am just some nut, shooting off my mputh without knowing what I am talking about.
ol az hippie chick, You erect a mail receptacle with the sole intention of receiving US Mail. The USPS retains exclusive right to access that mailbox and excludes any others from doing so. Yes, you bought the box, yes, you set it up and, yes it is on your property. However, it is for your convenience to have a mailbox at your residence so you do all of that to make it happen.
The simple act of erecting a mail receptacle constitutes your acceptance of USPS and USC rules and regulations regarding its use.
Also.....the law use to be the post office only owned the air space in the mailbox. However, somewhere around the late 80s to early 90's it was changed to include around the box, flag and post. Including 15 feet in front of and 15 feet past the mailbox for vehicle usage. It was when the first larger postal vehicles (LLV) were made to replace the old jeeps. Of course it isn't very specific since some mailboxes don't have 15 feet in front or after due to the location of the mailbox. It is rather vague but since most people understand mailboxes are for postal use, they abide. It's the few butt holes that always want to challenge it. If someone puts a flyer on my mailbox, I would be tempted to call the police to report a break in and take them to small claims court.....I could use a new wide screen tv.
Btw.....the box set postal property. Technically they own the airspace in and around the box, flag and post. I've been removing layers for thirty years. Everyone. At our station, we give three to the supervisor and trash the rest as non obvious value since there is no postage on them. The supervisor is suppose to send one to the local police to report temporary tampering of the mailbox. One to the EED department who Calls the vender to offer them a time saving cheaper alternative called every door direct where the post office will deliver the flyers for them without expensive adverstisement requirements or bulk rate permit expense.....and the third to the postal inspections department that is suppose to keep track on repeat offenders. We had two cases in our zone where a lawn care service and a local restaurant repetatly ignored postal inspections warnings about putting flyers on the mailbox. The lawn care service went to court and lost and had to pay a $5000 fine to the postal service. The restaurant stop and agreed not to do it again to avoid the $5000 fine.
Well....we had a lawyer go on vacation once. Had the postal service hold his mail. A lawn care service put a flyer on his mailbox that the carrier didn't remove. It was on his box for sometime while he was on vacation. Some high school kids saw the flyer on his box and determined since it was there for days, he was gone. So they broke into his home and had a school party. Broke the up stairs bathroom and flooded the place. Causing eighty thousand dollars in damages. When the lawyer got home. He called the police who did a search of the home and found a cell phone in the upstairs master bedroom along with some used condoms in the bed. They traced the phone back to the high school kid who told the cops what happen. So they found the flyer and sued the four kids that organized the party and the lawn care provider for placing the flyer in the mailbox. The lawyer sued The five of them and won. They had to pay for the $80,000 dollar repairs plus the room, board and travel expenses of the lawyer while his home was being repaired. The lawyer now sends letters to homes that are broken into telling the residents if there's a flyer on the mailbox, the vendor will have to pay for everything that was stolen.....and the lawyer is winning. So good luck to this guy.
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