"As you know, we participated in a lawsuit with The Wilderness Society and Back Country Horsemen opposing the reclassification of Class 1 E-bikes as non-motorized vehicles and allowing them on non-motorized trails in Tahoe National Forest.
The lawsuit was successful, and Tahoe National Forest currently does not allow E-bikes on non-motorized trails in Tahoe National Forest.
Due to COVID-19, press releases with the result of the lawsuit have been postponed. However, text has been placed on the Tahoe National Forest website stating that E-bikes are not legal on non-motorized trails. To access that text, CLICK HERE.
The full Tahoe National Forest statement is available at:
Text from the Tahoe National Forest website:
E-bike Use on the Tahoe NF
The Tahoe National Forest has removed its earlier statement, first published on this website July 9, 2019, which extended opportunities for class 1 e-bike riders to use recommended non-motorized trails in the Forest.
E-bike use on National Forest System (NFS) roads and trails is governed by existing Forest Service regulations, directives, and policies, as reflected on the website for the Pacific Southwest Region of the Forest Service, available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/r5/recreation/?cid=fseprd557285.
E-bike use is currently not allowed on National Forest Service (NFS) roads and trails unless they are designated for motor vehicle use. E-bike use in the Tahoe National Forest is currently allowed only on NFS roads, on NFS trails, and in areas on NFS lands that are designated for motor vehicle use, as reflected on a motor vehicle use map.
The Forest Service strives to provide a broad range of recreational experiences on NFS roads and trails, including hiking and horseback riding, mountain biking, and motor vehicle use.
The Forest Service is considering options that would expand e-bike access, including options for allowing e-bike use on NFS roads and trails where that use is not currently allowed. The Forest Service will continue to update the public on these efforts and any associated opportunities for public involvement.
Forest Service regulations, directives, and policies
Electric Bicycles (E-bikes)
E-bikes are classified as motorized bicycles under the TMR. E-bikes may be ridden on designated motorized routes shown on Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs), including on National Forest System (NFS) roads open to all vehicles; NFS trails open to all vehicles; NFS trails open to vehicles 50 inches or less; NFS trails open to motorcycles only; and NFS trails open to e-bikes as a special designation.
The Forest Service is monitoring new technologies, visitor access and safety, social and sustainability issues, and natural resource effects associated with e-bike use on NFS roads and NFS trails. We will use the information obtained from monitoring to reassess and, if needed, adjust guidance for designating the use of e-bikes on NFS roads and NFS trails.
Trails open to bicycles may be considered for e-bike use in the future. Those trails would be analyzed in a NEPA process with public comment to determine if specific trails would allow for e-bikes to be designated as a special vehicle class. If trails are selected to manage for e-bike use, those trails would be shown on the Forest's MVUM as designed for e-bike use.
Photo credits: Tahoe National Forest