While I respect the efforts of wilderness groups to preserve nature, I find their arguments regarding the dangers of electric mountain bikes to be somewhat alarmist and incomplete. I have been hiking and mountain biking and motorcycling for over forty years, and invariably I have found all the different groups to be respectful of one another. When walking the local mountain bike and ATV trails the approaching riders have slowed down to safely pass me and I respectfully have moved off the trail to let them pass. In no case have I felt threatened or in danger.
If erosion is a concern, I suggest that the low-powered motors of electric bikes — governed to not exceed 20 mph — will have minimal effect.
Certainly much less than the oil and logging companies that regularly bulldoze new roads through the forest.
Even then, nature is extremely resilient, as pictures of the denuded mountainsides of a hundred years ago and of the polluted Oil creek, which is now a prime trout stream, can attest to.
Of more concern to me than electric bikes are pollutants such as plastic and the unseen chemicals affecting the health of both humans and other species.
Hopefully, electric bikes will allow less fit riders and the elderly to access the trails and the benefits of nature and exercise, which I optimistically expect will encourage them to preserve the woods for many diverse uses.