Buffalo National River has opened park roads, including park administrative roads, to electric bikes (e-bikes). E-bikes are bikes equipped with a small electric motor and there are three classes with differing power/speed ratings. While bicycles have always been allowed on park roads, they are now also allowed on administrative roads. Bicycles and e-bikes are still prohibited from being used on trails in the park.
More specifically, the park has opened administrative roads allowing bicycles and e-bikes access to the following areas:
(1) Park roads and other locations within Buffalo National River where the use of motor vehicles by the public is allowed.
(2) Administrative roads- administrative roads are those that are closed to motor vehicle use by the public, but open to motor vehicle use for administrative purposes. Examples of administrative roads in the park include fire roads, roads to hayfields, and roads the park staff use to get to some park facilities. These roads are typically rough, two-track dirt roads.
Administratively closed roads posted as “Do Not Enter” may not be used by bicycles or e-bikes.
The operator of an e-bike may only use the motor to assist pedal propulsion. The motor may not be used to propel an e-bike without the rider also pedaling, except in locations open to public motor vehicle traffic. Class 3 e-bikes are not allowed on administrative roads.
Buffalo National River superintendent, Mark Foust said “Buffalo National River is excited to enhance recreational access for bicyclists at the Buffalo. This is a very tough time for everyone as we all adjust our lives to the response to Covid-19. With that in mind, we have looked for ways to give park visitors more access opportunities in time for the summer. We evaluated bicycle and e-bike use on roads and administrative roads and determined the use is consistent with protection of the park’s natural, scenic and aesthetic values, safety considerations and management objectives, and will not disturb wildlife or park resources. This change should provide options for folks to spread out in their public lands, while still abiding by the CDC’s current guidelines, and expand public recreational access for people to enjoy far into the future.”
This change in park rules regarding e-bikes is in response to Secretary’s Order 3376, a policy signed by Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt on August 29th, 2019. This new policy aims to create a clear and consistent e-bike policy on all federal lands managed by the Department.
For more information on specific park rules at Buffalo National River, please review the superintendent’s compendium located on the park website https://www.nps.gov/buff/