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IMBA to pursue wilderness areas for increased mountain biking opportunities

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IMBA

Wonder where those membership fees are going? IMBA recently announced their 2016 goals, and here’s what they’re working on to make mountain biking better for all of us:

FROM IMBA: On February 18, 2016, the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) announced its 2016 advocacy position during a press conference call. The press gathering followed a meeting of IMBA’s governing board of directors on February 6, in which IMBA’s strategies regarding bike access and federally managed Wilderness were discussed in detail.

Mike Van Abel, IMBA’s President and Executive Director stated, “After thoughtful deliberation and careful consideration, including conversations with many partners and stakeholders, IMBA’s board reasserted its longstanding commitment and approach to enhancing trail access for mountain bikers.”

The organization’s 2016 advocacy position is based on three key points:

  • Regarding future Wilderness proposals, IMBA believes it is unacceptable to lose access to trails currently enjoyed by people riding mountain bikes
  • IMBA will investigate and pursue legislation that realigns existing Wilderness boundaries to re-open trails to people riding mountain bikes
  • IMBA will not seek to amend the Wilderness Act of 1964

As an example of the organization’s strong commitment to increasing bike access, Van Abel pointed out that IMBA is actively considering the possibility of taking legal action in the Bitterroot National Forest in Montana and Idaho. Should IMBA determine there is precedence for legal action, it will ask the court whether the U.S. Forest Service properly applied the National Environmental Policy Act in its determination that bikes would diminish the wilderness character of a landscape.

“IMBA will not accept loss of access to trails on public lands where we have an organized local chapter and where other sustainable forms of recreation are permitted,” said Van Abel.

In regards to existing Wilderness, IMBA will pursue legislation to redraw Wilderness boundaries that would open access to select trails and trail connections for mountain biking. This includes trails that government agencies have closed to bicycles without sufficient analysis and empirical evidence of adverse impacts. This legislative effort will be pursued where IMBA has strong grassroots chapters that represent local constituents.

“IMBA will be strategic in directing resources toward land challenges that have the opportunity to be the most successful,” said Van Abel.

“The recent level of dialogue from mountain bikers about bike access and Wilderness speaks to the high level of engagement our community has with public lands,” said Van Abel. “We look forward to the IMBA network learning from one another’s local experiences regarding access issues at the 2016 World Summit.”

IMBA.com

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Tom
Tom
6 years ago

Great news, IMO. I wonder if this means they will be working directly with the Sustainable Trails Coalition (STC)?

I’ve been a member of IMBA for a LONG time. This will keep me there.

Longbeard
Longbeard
6 years ago

I let my membership lapse when they allowed a larger chapter to take over ours. We were near, but not at, the threshold for membership but were supposedly grandfathered in. Not convinced any money goes to our trails any more but instead goes to the larger chapter’s trails. I won’t be rejoining anytime soon…

will
will
6 years ago

I’m all for allowing bikes in certain wilderness areas. Maybe not ALL of them. I’ve never understood why they allow horses, but ban bikes on the grounds of trail erosion. If you’ve ever hiked anywhere where horses are allowed (e.g. a wilderness area), you’ve seen the damage a 1,000+ pound animal with metal shoes and small feet can do. It can be like hiking in a ditch. I’ve never seen bikes do anywhere near as much damage, even in the age of roosting and skidding. Which by the way, how come that seems to be totally OK these days?

Mr. P
6 years ago
Reply to  will

Yes! The trails that the mule trains use in Yosemite are disgusting and horrible, and makes you feel anywhere but wilderness.

Frank
Frank
6 years ago

No. Wilderness is a valuable conservation tool. We should no. “realigns existing Wilderness boundaries to re-open trails.” We should not be cutting back wilderness areas and fighting with conservation groups We should be working to repeal the blanket ban on mountain bikes in Wilderness areas and work for access on a case-by-case basis in line with the original intent of the Wilderness Act.

Also. F@#K E-MTB’s! I need to see that in writing from IMBA, in big, bold letters.

WTF IMBA?! I will not be renewing my membership.

Flatbiller
Flatbiller
6 years ago

I’ll reboot my IMBA membership the second a single centimeter of new trail is created as a result of this endeavor. Until then, the STC gets all my money.

i
i
6 years ago

“IMBA will not seek to amend the Wilderness Act of 1964”

So the title of this post is a blatant lie and IMBA is not going to pursue wilderness areas.
All they’re going to do is try to re-draw boundaries. An effort that we all know is doomed to fail, and even if it did succeed would only open about 10 feet of trail.

I was an IMBA member from its inception till 2013. I’ll not coming back this year. I’m also lobbying my club to sever its chapter status.

ryan
ryan
6 years ago

I recently joined IMBA, but what I’m reading here makes me question whether that was money well spent, or just money well….spent. 🙁

David
David
6 years ago

IMBA is not supporting the STC so they will not be getting anymore of my money. They are siding with the Sierra Club.

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