Scratchgravel Hills will not allow e-bikes on new trails

HELENA – The local Butte office of the Bureau of Land Management recently finalized its Scratchgravel Hills Recreation Management Plan. The plan will make room for an all-new 35-mile trail system open to a plethora of non-motorized recreational uses.

The 5,500-acre area is popular for all kinds of non-motorized recreational activities, including biking, hiking, running, disc golf, and horseback riding. The management plan aims not only to create a more stable trail network, but also to improve recreational experiences and benefits, reduce conflict between users, identify specific trail use areas, improve signage and visitor information and to provide sustainable options for the continued use of the existing trail.

The plan includes calling for an increased law enforcement presence as well as a leash requirement for dogs within 100 yards of the trailheads.

Although this area will include several different recreational activities, e-bikes or e-bikes will not be permitted. This is a very controversial disagreement among mountain bikers. Jim Barnes, owner of Big Sky Cycling in Helena, and one of the citizens behind the idea of ​​updating Scratchgravel, says he hoped e-bikes would have been allowed.

“But really, people who ride e-mountain bikes have a lot of cycling experience. This is usually an older person who just doesn’t have the physical shape or the knees to be able to do long climbs any longer. And so, it’s just silent uphill assist, and really, the downhill speeds are limited by the terrain we’re on anyway,” says Barnes.

Construction will hopefully begin in the summer of 2023 and then should be completed within 4-5 years.

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