Forest Service Statement on Electronic Bicycle Use:
Emerging technologies such as e-bikes are changing the way people enjoy their visits to national forests and grasslands. Today, more than 60,000 miles of trails and roads on national forests and grasslands are currently open to e-bike use. As use trends change with time and new technologies, the way we manage lands to ensure their long-term health and resilience must change as well. This is why we are closely examining our policy to identify ways to expand access for American’s to enjoy these recreation opportunities on our forests and grasslands in ways that meet user needs while continuing to protect forest resources.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the Forest Service planning to change its policy related to e-bikes?
The Forest Service is actively exploring how to incorporate new trends in recreation use on national forests and grasslands and to expand e-bike use in areas other than those currently open to it. The agency is using best-available science, public input, use trends, and other information in assessing how to proceed. As part of this process, the Forest Service is reviewing the Department of the Interior’s newly announced direction and will monitor how they implement this direction.
In the meantime, the Forest Service is managing e-bikes with the goal of allowing recreation opportunities while protecting natural resources and other forest uses. We understand the challenging management situation this can pose in areas of adjoining/shared boundaries. The Forest Service is committed to listening to the people we serve to better understand their needs as well as providing them seamless experiences across boundaries as allowed by law.
Where are e-bikes currently allowed on national forests and grasslands?
Class 1, 2, and 3 e-bikes and electric mountain bicycles (eMTBs) are allowed on approximately 60,000 miles or nearly 40 percent of trails on national forests and grasslands. These vehicles are also allowed on thousands of miles of roads on national forests and grasslands at maintenance level 2, 3, or 4.
Several year-round resorts operating under a special use permit have established e-bike and eMTB use within their permit boundary.