Few things in life can rejuvenate body and spirit like backpacking. Backpackers return repeatedly to the backcountry because there they feel at home, where they should be. They do, however, pay a strenuous price in the effort of hauling heavy gear over rough terrain. Backpacking requires strength, stamina, and endurance for reasonable comfort that can make it a painfully exhausting ordeal for most people. And for many an impossibility. It's time for the hiking cart to enter the wilderness.
For centuries backpackers carried all their gear on their backs or used pack animals that needed food, water, and care to remain useful. Now they have a third, easier option, the Honey Badger Wheel hiking cart or big game cart.
The Honey Badger Wheel hiking cart is a multi-purpose conveyance for all backpacking equipment and provisions. The frame offers various alternative ways to transport gear on the trail. Heavily loaded with much more weight than the strongest back could handle, it rolls easily over all surfaces while sparing the backpacker enormous stress and strain. With the Honey Badger Wheel, the backpacker has five ways to transport all gear and supplies:
The Honey Badger Wheel load rests directly over the axle to eliminates load arm distance to the fulcrum. The long distance of the arm from the fulcrum minimizes user effort or force required to control or lift the load. Add the use of highly efficient bicycle wheels that reduce off-road resistance, and the Honey Badger Wheel becomes an all-terrain super performer.
Most big game carts and almost all hiking carts demand two users for adequate control, one in front and one in back. Both must support and steady the cart to balance a load. Most big game carts are bulky, heavy, unwieldy, and challenging in operation. The Honey Badger Wheel design applies principles of simple physics to overcome these difficulties.
The sturdy, versatile Honey Badger Wheel is a boon to all backpackers; unfortunately, overzealous, runaway federal regulators, who control land use in national parks, forests, monuments, and wildlife refuges that comprise most of the backcountry favored by backpackers, have restricted its market by banishing it from their domains.
In 1984, with minimal public notice and input, the United States Forest Service banned bicycles from its wilderness areas. Other federal land administration agencies did the same. This policy is inconsistent with the intent of Congress expressed in the Wilderness Act of 1964.
The Sustainable Trails Coalition (STC) observes that federal wilderness areas now extend over an aggregate area 10 times larger than it was when the Wilderness Act became law in 1964. The STC contends that the bicycle ban, unsupported by scientific or environmental research, is a regulatory overreach that Congress should overrule and set aside.
Now Senators Mike Lee and Orrin Hatch from Utah, a state of spectacular backcountry, have sponsored a bill (S 3205) that would restore to local federal land managers the authority they had before 1984 to decide whether to permit backcountry travel and transport on wheels driven by human power. This would allow the hiking cart to enter the wilderness.
S 3205, the Human-Powered Travel in Wilderness Areas Act, requires the Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Interior to authorize their local officials to determine all permissible transport methods over routes and trails under their purviews. The bill identifies "local officials" as the heads of units of the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, the Forest Service, and the Fish and Wildlife Service. If local agency officials fail to make such determinations for more than two years after the bill's enactment, by default any form of transport other than motorized shall be permissible.
The International Mountain Bicycle Association (IMBA) and the STC create, enhance, and preserve opportunities for wonderful mountain cycling. Since 1988, The IMBA has encouraged environmentally low-impact riding, has supported volunteer trail maintenance, and promoted cooperative interaction among trail users.
STC works to remove restrictions where bicycles are prohibited and to reaffirm the use of low-impact modern tools to maintain trails. These efforts serve mountain cyclists and all non-motorized backcountry visitors. Both organizations support and seek to include backcountry cyclists into the conversation and to allow entry into wilderness designated lands.
Great mutual respect between IMBA and STC members helps each organization's advocacy. IMBA and STC recognize that advocacy power is in the collective voice of all mountain cyclists. IMBA supports STC in its legislative efforts on wilderness-access issues. Differences between IMBA and STC in tactics are not differences in principles.
IMBA and STC appeal to everyone in trail stewardship and mountain cycling to maintain a concerted, united front. Both groups discourage denunciatory or defamatory statements in social media as generally unhelpful and often inaccurate.
STC's goal is to improve access to wilderness areas for human-powered visitors only. STC pursues this goal in two ways.
First, STC asks Congress to require flexibility in permitting bicycles, hand-walked game carriers, and baby strollers on backcountry trails where their use conforms to the original congressional vision of backcountry recreation. Second, STC asks Congress to bring back authority already in the Wilderness Act of 1964 for the use of wheeled equipment other than motorized for trail maintenance and human-powered visits.
"Our national wilderness preservation system was created so that the American people could enjoy the solitude and recreational opportunities of this continent's priceless natural areas. This bill would enrich American enjoyment of the outdoors by making it easier to mountain-bike in wilderness areas."