Well following on from the trail access issues discussed in this Singletrackworld forum thread, MBA has news of plans in the USA to bring in new legislation to tackle those trail users who abuse the system (the full original article is posted here):
Just three weeks after the bill was introduced in Congress, the House Resources Forests and Forest Health Subcommittee held a hearing on a proposal to crack down on people who willfully damage public land.
The bill, HR 3247, is called the Trail Responsibility and Accountability for the Improvement of lands (TRAIL) Act. It would create consistent standards for law enforcement on federal land and substantially increase the penalties on recreational users who willfully cause damage to public land. The fines would be used for rehabilitation, education, and awareness.
At the hearing, Mark Rey, U.S. Agriculture Department undersecretary for natural resources and the environment, and Larry Parkinson, U.S. Interior Department deputy secretary for law enforcement and security, offered support for the goals of the bill and offered to work with the subcommittee on the final language of the bill.
Present land access policies target political foes of the environmental movement, like mountain bikers and off road motorists, and most often result in sweeping land closures that punish all users for the isolated deeds of an outlaw minority. The HR 3247 bill, if used correctly, would penalize only those individuals or groups who choose to misuse public lands and not those who abide by land use regulations.
As fair as the billâ€™s intentions are worded, the reality is that it will be turned against mountain bikers to enforce the present wave of trail closures near US urban areas.