Forest Supervisor Eli Llano Tahoe National Forest
631 Coyote Street
Nevada City, California 95959
Eli.Llano @ usda.gov
USFS office telephone 530-265-4531
Dear Supervisor Llano:
The American Endurance Ride Conference consists of about 4,500 equestrians (nationally) who ride long-distances (50 and 100 miles) on mountain trails in organized rides under state and federal written permits with licensed equine Veterinarians. AERC is headquartered here in Auburn, California. www.aerc.org AERC has a long-standing written Memorandum of Understanding with the U.S. Forest Service (at the national level in Washington, D.C.). I serve on the national Trails Committee for AERC, and serve as the California State Trails Advocate for the 50,000 miles trails.
AERC has several long-distance all-day rides within Tahoe National Forest. Foremost among these is the 100-mile Tevis Cup on the historic Western States Trail, from the Lake Tahoe area to Auburn. For example, on August 17, 2019, AERC had 184 riders on this 24-hour ride, with 1,200 volunteer crew members. The 100-mile Tevis Cup has been held annually on a Saturday in August during the full moonlight since 1955, with over 6,000 completions.
We are in close partnership with the Truckee Ranger District and the American River Ranger District, and our historic ride always has a written permit from Tahoe National Forest. AERC, Western States Trail Foundation, Backcountry Horsemen of California, Western States 100-mile Run, and Gold Country Trails Council have worked as professionally-trained crews and volunteer licensed sawyers together with Tahoe National Forest trail crews for many decades with joint trail- crews performing trail maintenance. This annually saves Tahoe National Forest a large sum of money.
For safety reasons and for legal reasons, the American Endurance Ride Conference is opposed to motorized e-Bikes on equestrian and hiking trails (= non-motorized trails). Many of our horse trails are single-track with blind corners. Horses do not want to meet a high-speed 20 m.p.h. electric bike on a blind corner on a single-track mountain trail (only 2 to 3 feet wide) with no space for lateral escape. This is a clear safety hazard, with high potential for injury and death to the rider and the horse.
On a related issue, it is against long-standing Federal Law for bicycles and motorcycles to ride on the Pacific Crest Trail. For Tahoe National Forest, this particularly includes the Granite Chief Wilderness area. Brazen intrusion of e-Bikes within Tahoe National Forest will simply disregard federal laws and create a new safety hazard for everyone, plus e-Bikes create a new problem for legal enforcement by U.S. Rangers and the Placer County Sheriff.
USFS Regional Forester Randy Moore, and his USDA General Counsel Jeffery Moulton in San Francisco, can reliably inform you that it is not legal for one Forest (out of eighteen Forests in the Pacific Southwest Region) to suddenly and abruptly allow e-Bikes on non-motorized trails, when it is clearly unsafe. On a legal basis, the USFS national headquarters in Washington, D.C., promulgates uniform rules for USFS trail usage that is in conformance with federal laws that have been passed by Congress.
Please confer with the USFS Regional Forester Randy Moore in Vallejo on the topic of the safety and legality of e-Bikes on non-motorized trails.
On a personal note, please understand that I am a former uniformed U.S.F.S. Ranger, and Trail Crew Chief. As a young man, I started on a Hot Shot Crew in the U.S. Forest Service from Region One in Missoula, Montana.
We are pro-government citizens, and vigilant proponents of safe trails for horses, hikers, and runners. Public safety is of paramount importance.
Region Five Supervisor Randy Moore USFS Pacific Southwest Region
1323 Club Drive
Vallejo, California 94592-1110
Jeffrey Moulton, Esquire;
USFS Region 5 Attorney Office of the General Counsel
33 New Montgomery Street, 17th Floor
San Francisco, California 94105-4511
Jeffrey.Moulton@usda.gov telephone 415-744-3166
Robert Hadley Sydnor
AERC California State Trails Advocate
Life Member, California Academy of Sciences Fellow, Geological Society of America
A.E.R.C. Trail Master (licensed trail maintenance)
U.S.F.S. Certified Sawyer (current as of April 2019)
CLICK HERE TO SEE ORIGINAL LETTER