I recently had a surreal conversation with the Chief Ranger of Canyonlands.
eBikes are not allowed on White Rim. You read that correctly. A road where you can ride a 40 HP dirt bike or drive a lifted Jeep with 37" inch tires bans 200W electric bicycles.
The explanation? Well, kiddies, it is a Catch-22 as stupid as any in the annals of Federal Bureaucracy. You see, a 200W eBike is a motorcycle according to the NPS. And you can't ride a motorcycle on White Rim unless it has a license plate on it. And you can't get a license plate on an eBike, so there you go. According to Mr. Chief, even if you *could* get a license plate eBikes would be banned, because they also require that a vehicle be "interstate legal" (his words). When I pointed out that bicycles were allowed on I-70 just 25 miles north of Canyonlands, he hemmed and hawed and gave me a line of bullshit fifty yards long.
I then contacted BLM to see what their rules were, and they tripped all over themselves giving me great information and encouraging eBike use where allowed. They agreed with me that NPS is f**cked.
I then called Rocky Mountain National Park and asked about Fall River road, which is also a dirt road through a National Park. They said eBikes were fine as long as it was open to motor vehicles. After it was closed to motor vehicles for the season, they were not allowed. Makes perfect sense to me.
BTW, the fact that eBikes are closed to White Rim also means they are closed to Elephant Hill, Confluence Overlook, the Maze, or any other road in Canyonlands. When I asked the Chief about the paved road past the Visitor Center he again hemmed and hawed, and said he would get back to me. He never did.
I'd venture that chief Ranger is confused. I've never heard if that interpretation before. Nor is it logical in any way, not that that means much in government.
As an aside, regarding ownership of roads on federal land, I had an interesting conversation with a Colorado dot employee who explained the convoluted ownership agreements they have with the USFS/BLM, sometimes they own only the road surface, and not the land underneath, sometimes they own it and an easement, sometimes no easement. Which often makes maintenance incredibly complicated.
Most people who ride White Rim take two or three days and have a follow vehicle. I'd venture to guess that out of most groups there are people who don't ride the entire loop. An eBike would be a great way to get more people out riding the Rim rather than just sitting in a follow vehicle. A simple inverter would allow a spare battery to be charged along the way.