Environment and Etiquette

Most of the rides in this guide are on public land; however, a few cross private property. It is imperative that you respect the rights of these property owners. The single track trails in this guide are all on Forest Service land and are open to hikers, equestrians, and motorcycles as well as mountain bikes. Be prepared at all times to encounter other users. The trails in the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness are closed to mountain bikes. Entry by any person by any means of transportation into the Mill Creek Watershed is prohibited except by special permit. The lower South Fork Walla Walla River Trail is presently suffering from over-use and user conflicts. You are encouraged to explore other mountain biking opportunities. The following guidelines were formulated by the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) to promote environmentally sound and socially responsible off-road cycling.

IMBA Rules of the Trail

1. Ride on open trails only. Respect trail and road closures (ask if not sure), avoid possible trespass on private land, obtain permits and authorization as may be required. Federal and state wilderness areas are closed to cycling. The way you ride will influence trail management decisions and policies.

2. Leave no trace. Be sensitive to the dirt beneath you. Even on open (legal) trails, you should not ride under conditions where you will leave evidence of your passing, such as on certain soils after a rain. Recognize different types of soils and trail construction; practice low-impact cycling. This also means staying on existing trails and not creating new ones. Be sure to pack out at least as much as you pack in.

3. Control your bicycle! Inattention for even a second can cause problems. Obey all bicycle speed regulations and recommendations.

4. Always yield the trail. Make known your approach well in advance. A friendly greeting (or bell) is considerate and works well; don't startle others. Show your respect when passing by slowing to a walking pace or even stopping. Anticipate other trail users around corners or in blind spots.

5. Never spook animals. All animals are startled by an unannounced approach, a sudden movement, or a loud noise. This can be dangerous for you, others, and the animals. Give animals extra room and time to adjust to you. When passing horses use special care and follow directions from the horseback riders (ask if uncertain). Running cattle and disturbing wildlife is a serious offense. Leave gates as you found them, or as marked.

6. Plan ahead. Know your equipment, your ability, and the area in which you are riding - and prepare accordingly. Be self-sufficient at all times, keep your equipment in good repair, and carry necessary supplies for changes in weather or other conditions. A well-executed trip is a satisfaction to you and not a burden or offense to others. Always wear a helmet.

For more information on the IMBA:
IMBA, PO Box 7578, Boulder, CO 80306, (303) 545-9011