SAN LUIS VALLEY – An increase in the use of electric bicycles, or e-bikes, has prompted Rio Grande National Forest (RGNF) officials to remind visitors about appropriate e-bike use on the National Forest. Forest visitors are encouraged to “Know Before You Go” and determine where, when and how e-bikes may be used and when their use is appropriate.
Where to ride:
E-bikes may be ridden on designated motorized routes shown on Motor Vehicle Use Maps including on National Forest System (NFS) roads open to all vehicles; and National Forest System trails open to all vehicles. Please note that some roads and trails are only open during certain times of the year.
The best source of information for knowing when and where e-bikes are allowed on the Rio Grande National Forest can be found on the RGNF Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUM). Hard copies are available at all RGNF offices. MVUMs are also available online at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/riogrande/maps-pubs
Guidelines on how to ride responsibly:
Always stay on designated roads and trails.
Minimize wheel spin. On switchbacks, avoid roosting around the apex of the turn when climbing or brake-sliding during descent, both of which gouge the trail.
Drive over, not around obstacles to avoid widening the trail.
Slow down when sight lines are poor.
Cross streams only at designated fording points, where the trail crosses the stream.
Comply with all signs and respect barriers.
Forest Service specialists are monitoring new technologies, visitor access and safety, social and sustainability issues, and natural resource effects associated with e-bike use on national forest system roads and trails. The information obtained from monitoring will be used to reassess and, if needed, adjust guidance for designating the use of e-bikes on national forest system roads and trails.
A comment period is now open that allows public input on the potential revision of national e-bike policy and management directives.
While the Forest Service strives to keep up to date with technologies and provide opportunities for a diverse array of experiences, we also are deliberate and purposeful in our review of those technologies for potential impacts from new or additional uses of our nation’s public lands.