Alaska’s Denali National Park allows e-bikes on road, trails

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A Denali National Park and Reserve rule change allows electronically assisted bikes anywhere that traditional bicycles are permitted in, officials said.

The National Park Service issued the e-bike directive at the end of August, The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported Monday.

The policy expanding recreational opportunities and accessibility allows the motorized vehicles on the entire length of the Denali Park Road, the park service said.

“They make bicycle travel easier and more efficient, and they provide an option for people who want to ride a bicycle but might not otherwise do so because of physical fitness, age, disability or convenience, especially at high altitudes or in hilly or strenuous terrain,” National Park Service Deputy Director P. Daniel Smith said in a statement.

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Beyond the 92 miles (148 kilometers) of the Denali Park Road, e-bikes can travel on a single trail of Denali’s front country and into the backcountry via a limited number of access points, park public information officer G.W. Hitchcock said.

The park service maintains a strict definition of an e-bike as a “a low-speed electric bicycle” with a motor under 750 watts, which is 1 horsepower, Hitchcock said.

“E-bikes are really just an assisted technology,” Hitchcock said. “We don’t think there are a lot of people hankering to go all 92 miles of the road.”

The park does not anticipate an immediate increase in the number of e-bike riders.

“Not a lot of people are going to be e-biking in the winter. There’s a lot of snow now, so if you’re biking, you’re going to be on a fat-tire bike,” Hitchcock said. “We expect this will be more of an issue in spring.”

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Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com

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