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IMBA Renews Partnership with U.S. National Parks Service

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Five years after its original agreement with the National Park Service, IMBA has renewed their partnership for another five years, giving all of us hope for improved access and trail riding opportunities in our U.S. landmarks.

PRESS RELEASE: IMBA has renewed its partnership agreement with the National Park Service (NPS), as announced during the National Bike Summit (March 9-11) in Washington, DC. The previous IMBA/NPS agreement, in place from 2005 to 2010, yielded countless hours of volunteerism, enhanced opportunities for youth involvement and new shared-use trails that seamlessly blend with the character of our nation’s parks. The renewed IMBA/NPS partnership will be in place until 2015 and establishes a formal framework for building on existing projects and seeking new opportunities to enhance mountain biking in some of America’s treasured national parks.

“Bicycling helps draw new visitors, especially younger people, and gives them fun, memorable experiences in the national parks,” said Jon Jarvis, Director of the National Park Service. “IMBA has shown through hard work and cooperative attitudes that they share our passion for protecting and enjoying our nation’s parks, and that they share our desire to cultivate that passion in a new generation.”

“The partnership we formally established with the NPS in 2005 has exceeded our expectations,” said IMBA Executive Director Mike Van Abel. “At first there was some uncertainty about mountain biking in national parks, but each success we have created through this partnership has improved the next. Today, IMBA staff meet regularly with NPS officials in Washington and at park units around the nation to consider opportunities for the next round of shared-use trails.”

Partnership Delivers Successful Youth Events

Childhood obesity is growing at an alarming rate, and some reports indicate that, on average, children are plugged into electronic media for more than 40 hours per week. The IMBA/NPS partnership is helping counteract this disturbing trend by restoring children’s exposure to the natural environment. For the sixth edition of IMBA’s Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day, a partnership between IMBA, Trips for Kids, and the National Park Service created 20 opportunities throughout the country for kids to experience nature on a bike and learn about their local parks.

IMBA and the NPS successfully teamed with Trips For Kids, a nonprofit organization that has been helping disadvantaged youth discover mountain biking since 1988. Five Trips for Kids chapters — Marin, Rio Grande, Southern Arizona, Metro D.C. and Twin Cities — each hosted a series of four rides during the fall of 2009 and into 2010. Trips For Kids riders learned about their local park with park rangers and completed several service projects. With administrative assistance from the Mississippi River Fund, the NPS granted $10,000 to support the series of events at five different locations.

California’s Trips for Kids Marin celebrated Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day with 19 participants from several Bay Area schools taking to the trails at Tennessee Valley Park. Interpretive Rangers educated participants about the park’s history and evolution, as well the native flora/fauna, the natural coastal environments and wetland habitats. During following events, participants helped with a habitat restoration project at Golden Gate National Recreation Area and went riding with a volunteer from the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council. The volunteer taught participants how to use designated trails to travel to the Tennessee Valley Park, where their first ride was held.

In the nation’s capital, the Metro D.C. chapter of Trips for Kids hosted an equally jubilant series of events. The IMBA Trail Care Crew helped kick off the festivities with a two-hour ride at Prince William Forest Park. Throughout the rest of October and early November, the Metro D.C. chapter organized three additional rides at the park, along with a trail ride and community service project where participants cleared the Laurel Loop trail of debris and leaves.

The remaining three Trips for Kids chapters, based out of Tucson, AZ, Albuquerque, NM, and Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN, all held successful rides on Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day, and are looking forward to completing their remaining rides in 2010.

Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew Visits Dozens of Parks

The Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew has been on the road for more than a decade, with two teams of trail experts that travel year-round throughout North America and beyond, leading trailwork sessions, meeting with land managers and working with IMBA-affiliated clubs and members to improve mountain biking opportunities. The Crews have visited national parks dozens of times in recent years, creating an impressive track record of success. Park Service sites they have visited include:

  • Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area
  • Big Bend National Park
  • Cuyahoga Valley National Park
  • Fort Dupont Park
  • Whiskeytown National Recreation Area
  • Saguaro National Park
  • Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park
  • Mississippi National River and Recreation Area
  • Homestead National Monument of America
  • Mammoth Cave National Park
  • Hawaii’i Volcanoes National Park
  • Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site
  • Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area
  • Golden Gate National Recreation Area
  • Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site
  • Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site
  • Glen Canyon National Recreation Are
  • New River Gorge National River
  • Point Reyes National Seashore
  • Petroglyph National Monument

Scroll to the bottom of this release for more information about the successes that the Subaru/IMBA Crews have racked up during NPS visits.

IMBA Trail Solutions Assists With Major Trail Projects

As IMBA’s professional trailbuilding service, Trail Solutions excels at careful and diligent planning and collaboration to create trail systems that provide high-quality experiences for diverse visitors, minimize environmental impact and user conflict, and require less maintenance over time. IMBA’s staff is experienced with trail master planning, risk management planning, community collaboration, GPS/GIS mapping and more. Trail Solutions is currently working on several long-term projects with the NPS to ensure high-quality user experiences and the preservation of natural resource for generations to come.

Highlights from Trail Solutions projects at national parks include:

Fort Dupont Park (District of Columbia, 2005-07)

  • Prepared trail assessment and recommendations for Fort Circle hiker-biker and other attached trails
  • Prince William Forest Park (Virginia, 2007 and ’09)
  • Designed a 2,600-foot connector trail (2007)
  • Led NPS staff on tour of other sustainable trails in DC metro-area, including Rosaryville
  • Led NPS staff, SCA crew and volunteers on build of relocation (2009)

Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado, 2009)

  • Examined the East Shore Trail with land managers from RMNP and USFS, along with officials from Granby, Winter Park, Grand Lake and Headwaters Trail Alliance
  • Provided close to 110 hours of donated professional trail layout services, funded by IMBA’s Trailbuilding Fund
  • Assessed 11 miles of middle and northern segments of the East Shore Trail, including adjacent links
  • Flagged 12 miles of trail options for NPS to choose from for reroutes of the East Shore Trail
  • Reroutes will move existing trail away from osprey nests, moose habitat, will mitigate shoreline/stream crossing erosion and minimize damage to riparian areas

Shenandoah National Park (Virginia, 2009)

  • Hosted Trailbuilding School and walking assessment for Virginia Tech Recreation Ecology class

New River Gorge National River (West Virginia, 2001, ’09, ’10)

  • Hosted Trailbuilding School in conjunction with Trail Care Crew visit (2001)
  • Hosted Trailbuilding School in conjunction with Trail Care Crew visit (2009)
  • Currently developing trails plan for a 20-mile stacked loop system (2009-2010)
  • Trail Care Crew visit planned for May 2010

Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (Georgia, 2008-10)

  • Built 4-mile trail in cooperation with Long Cane Trails and the IMBA-affiliates Southern Off Road Bicycling Association
  • Organizing an IMBA Trail Ambassador program

Big Bend National Park (Texas, 2006, ’08, ’09)

  • Presented to park officials, including trail specialists, park archeologist, the superintendent and other interested staff
  • Donated more than 100 hours for trail assessment
  • Designed a potential trail system, including shared-use loops totaling 12 miles

Additional Information on Select Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew Visits to NPS Sites

Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Ohio, 2006)

  • Consulted with staff on a pending trail management plan
  • 250 volunteers attended IMBA’s Trailbuilding School
  • 2,150 volunteer hours of work
  • 1,500 feet of new trail constructed
  • 3 bridges built

Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (Mississippi, 2006)

  • 60 volunteers attended IMBA’s Trailbuilding School
  • 272 volunteer hours contributed
  • 1,100 feet of trail built
  • 4,500 feet of trail designed

Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site (Pennsylvania, 2007)

  • 50 volunteers attended IMBA’s Trailbuilding School
  • Rerouted 250 feet of trail
  • Built and designed 500 feet of trail
  • Constructed multiple rock drainages

Big Bend National Park (Texas, 2008)

  • Worked collaboratively with NPS Trail Crew
  • 250 hours of trailwork contributed
  • Provided layout and construction training to NPS staff

Whiskeytown National Recreation Area (California, 2009)

  • 40 volunteers attended IMBA’s Trailbuilding School
  • 48 hours of trailwork donated
  • 1,000 feet of trail assessed and maintained

Point Reyes National Seashore (California, 2009)

  • 45 volunteers attended IMBA’s Trailbuilding School
  • 120 hours of volunteer trailwork donated
  • 5,280 feet of trail evaluated and maintained
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