THE BLC’S INVESTMENT IN IMBA SAVING TRAILS AND REACHING HIDDEN MARKETS
few years ago, bicyclists faced a grim reality: Hundreds of trails could have been closed by Wilderness proposals and other access threats. Fortunately, IMBA has been able to ward off many of those challenges. Today, IMBA’s Public Lands Initiative — an advocacy platform that was born at the 2010 Bicycle Leadership Conference — represents our interests in every major land protection campaign in the country. Several hidden markets have emerged from IMBA’s advocacy work. Our work in the political realm has yielded new opportunities to place bike facilities at ski resorts, increased opportunities for purpose-built bike trails on federal lands and opened doors for collaborative projects with conservation-minded organizations. The work has just begun. Thanks to BLC’s support of IMBA’s advocacy platform, we now have a seat at the negotiating table in 36 prominent trail access campaigns. To be successful, IMBA must continue building the resources that allow us to counter the large and well-organized groups that want to restrict bicycling on public lands. A profound thank you to Bikes Belong, Trek, Specialized and SRAM — along with the 36 other companies that helped launch IMBA’s Public Lands Initiative. We will continue pushing for better bike access and seizing opportunities that enhance our sport. All of us at IMBA deeply appreciate your commitment!
— Mike Van Abel, Executive Director
BIKE ADVOCACY LEADS TO HIDDEN MARKETS IMBA’s Public Lands Initiative (PLI) campaign has created an impressive track record. Beyond protecting bike access, several new opportunities for mountain bicycling have emerged. Ski Resorts: IMBA signed a partnership agreement to work with the U.S. Ski Areas Association to get more people mountain biking at our nation’s 325 ski resorts. IMBA also lobbied on behalf of Colorado U.S. Senator Mark Udall’s ski resort act — bringing new opportunities for mountain biking at ski areas. Purpose-built Trails: The BLC’s investment in IMBA’s advocacy work has dramatically enhanced our position at the negotiation table. Before, we were pleading just to hold access to trails. Today, we lead training sessions and public/private partnership efforts that result in purpose-built mountain biking facilities like community bike parks and IMBA flow trails. Conservation Movement: IMBA clubs and chapters are proactively introducing and endorsing new, bike-friendly land conservation measures. We are actively partnering with environmental-minded groups that embrace the idea that recreation and conservation can go hand in hand.
THANK YOU PLI SUPPORTERS Thanks for backing IMBA’s Public Lands Initiative! • Advanced Sports International/Fuji • Aero Tech Designs Cyclewear • B & L Bikeshop • Bicycle Dealer magazine • Bicycle Retailer and Industry News magazine • Bicycle Sport Shop • Bikes Belong Coalition • CamelBak • Campagnolo/Fulcrum • CatEye • DeFeet • Feedback Sports • FOX Racing Shox • GORE Bike Wear/GORE RideOn Cable Systems • Haro Bikes • Hayes Disc Brake • Hydrapak • Interbike • Palo Alto Bicycles • Park Tool • Performance Bicycle • Polar Bottle • Primal Wear • Purely Custom Cycling • Quality Bicycle Products (QBP) • Raleigh/Diamondback • Shimano • Sidi America • Skip Hess • SOAR Communications • Specialized • SRAM • The Hawley Company • The Wellness Agency • Thule • Trek Bicycle • Vitesse Cycle Shop • Wheel and Sprocket • Wilderness Trail Bikes (WTB)
PLI BY THE NUMBERS
f there’s one statistic that embodies the success of IMBA’s Public Lands Initiative, it has to be this: The PLI has protected or expanded at least 2,762 miles of trail for mountain bikers to enjoy.
“The PLI has protected or expanded at least 2,762 miles of trail for mountain bikers to enjoy.” Beyond that, take a glance at some of the other numbers we have notched: Before the PLI 8 loosely-organized campaigns 1 part-time staff 12 IMBA-trained volunteer advocates 2 Wilderness proposals featuring bike-friendly companion designations and boundary adjustments 16 states facing large losses of trails 15 engaged retailers 1,700 miles of trails facing imminent closure due to active Wilderness proposals
After the PLI 36 well-organized campaigns 2 full-time and 1 part-time staff 105 IMBA-trained volunteer advocates 14 Wilderness proposals featuring bike-friendly companion designations and boundary adjustments 2 states facing large losses of trails 137 engaged retailers 200 miles of trails facing imminent closure due to active Wilderness proposals
“It’s amazing to see the difference that the PLI has made,” says Jenn Dice, IMBA’s government affairs director. “Before this initiative we struggled to have an impact. Now we are an established stakeholder group in about two thirds of the nation’s active Wilderness bills, and in a third of them we are a leading force in the negotiations.” PLI CAMPAIGN UPDATES Nationwide: Protecting the Recreational Trails Program IMBA’s successful campaign for the Recreational Trails Program protected $85 million for trails in both the House and Senate versions of the transportation bill. Nationwide: Opening National Parks to Mountain Biking IMBA is working to improve the mechanisms that the NPS uses to open trails for mountain biking. Director Jarvis announced at the National Bike Summit that the rules will change within 90 days to be more mountain bike-friendly. Arizona: Arizona Scenic Trail Working with the Coronado National Forest to adjust Recommended Wilderness boundaries to accommodate bicycle use. Arizona: Saguaro National Park Partnering with the National Park Service to open a 3-mile section of trail in Saguaro National Park that would allow connectivity between the Arizona Trail and Tucson. California: Mount Tamalpais Years of effort — including a public awareness campaign that generated hundreds of comments — have set the stage for
legal mountain biking on Mt. Tam, and for expanded access across the entire state park system. California: Lake Tahoe Basin Forest Plan Helping mountain bikers take a leadership role in negotiations for new Wilderness in the South Tahoe Basin. California: Angeles and San Bernardino National Forest Protection Act Thanks to hard work by CORBA and IMBA we can rally behind this land protection bill. We gained a non-Wilderness corridor that will preserve riding in a serene, wild setting. California: Berryessa Snow Mountain National Conservation Area Actively supporting a National Conservation Area proposal that will protect approximately 500,000 acres and allows for significant development of shared-use trails. California: Los Padres National Forest Congressman Elton Gallegly (R-CA) is preparing to introduce a Wilderness bill for the Los Padres National Forest. IMBA and local advocates are working with stakeholders to insure that the interests of mountain bikers are recognized.
California: Sacramento River Bend National Recreation Area IMBA and local mountain bikers plan to support legislation from Senator Barbara Boxer, (D-CA) for Sacramento River Bend National Recreation Area because it has the potential to increase trail opportunities. Colorado: Rocky Mountain National Park Working with the National Park Service to fund the environmental assessments and guide the Special Regulations process required to open Rocky Mountain National Park’s North Shore Trail to mountain bicyclists. Colorado: Eagle and Summit County Wilderness Preservation Act Shaping a bill introduced by Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO), IMBA has requested an additional 20,000 acres be protected with bikefriendly designations. Colorado: Protecting Our Outdoor Heritage Proposal Working with Senator Mark Udall’s (D-CO) office to craft this land protection bill in a way that is favorable to mountain bikers. Colorado: San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act of 2011 IMBA supports this bill introduced by Senator Mark Udall (D-CO), which designates lands in the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests. Colorado: The Colorado Wilderness Act Rep. Diana Degette (D-CO) hopes to pass a statewide Wilderness bill, the Colorado Wilderness Act. IMBA has done an extensive trail inventory and only one contested area (Thompson Creek) remains, with negotiations ongoing. Idaho: Boulder-White Clouds/CIEDRA Negotiations with U.S. Congressman Mike Simpson (R- ID) and U.S. Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID) and James Risch (R-ID) persist as this bill could close many miles of important trails to bikes. Kentucky: Mammoth Cave National Park IMBA’s efforts set the stage for two new trails in Mammoth Cave National Park for bicycle use, plus mountain bikers will gain use of two existing trails. Montana: Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act IMBA supports Senator Max Baucus’ (D-MT) current Wilderness proposal. It includes a Rocky Mountain Front Conservation Management Area which will protect bike access, and it calls for a study of non-motorized trail opportunities. Montana: Forest Jobs and Recreation Act IMBA supports the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act sponsored by Montana Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), and greatly appreciated the inclusion of the bicycle-friendly 29,000-acre Tobacco Roots National Recreation Area. New Mexico: Pecos Wilderness Expansion Negotiating with the conservation community to craft a Wilderness bill that will not inhibit bicycle opportunities near Santa Fe. New Mexico: Columbine Hondo Wilderness Proposal Working to protect Columbine Hondo without closing the Long Canyon-Bull of the Woods Trail Loop. North Dakota: Oil and Gas Development and the Maah Daah Hey Trail In talks with the Dakota Prairie National Grasslands and regional and national energy companies on strategies to mitigate oil and gas exploration near the Maah Daah Hey Trail.
Oregon: Oakridge Ride Center Working with Oregon wilderness activists to craft a land protection bill that allows for Wilderness and companion designations to protect bicycle access. Oregon: Mount Hood Wilderness The Mount Hood mountain bike community lost 100 miles of trail to a Wilderness bill. However, the tide has turned and IMBA is now working with the Wilderness community on a new, more bikefriendly proposal. Oregon: The Devil’s Staircase Wilderness Act of 2011 U.S. Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) is sympathetic to the needs of mountain bicyclists and is a great friend to cyclists. The current bill has IMBA’s support as it will not close any bicycling routes. Oregon: Rogue Wilderness IMBA supports this important measure to protect beautiful Pacific Coast hardwood forests and preserve the vibrant recreation economy in this area. The proposal does not affect any local mountain bike access. Pennsylvania: Alleghany Wilderness Proposal An expansion of the Heart’s Content National Recreation Area would protect bike access. The conservation-minded Friends of Allegheny Wilderness now support the creation of a mountain bike trail system. Tennessee: Tanasi Trail System The Tanasi Trail System is an IMBA Epic, which is caught between a potential new road corridor and the Tennessee Wilderness Bill. IMBA is proposing boundary adjustments to protect riding. Texas: Big Bend National Park IMBA Trail Solutions is currently building a 3-mile multi-use trail in Big Bend National Park. Utah: Wasatch Watershed IMBA supports this bill and is working with Save Our Canyons to protect the Wasatch Crest Trail and the surrounding landscape. Virginia: George Washington National Forest Plan Partnering with the Friends of Shenandoah Mountain and the Forest Service to formulate a recreation-friendly plan. West Virginia: North Fork Trail The North Fork Trail is an IMBA Epic and is currently protected by a National Conservation Area. IMBA is asking for a non-motorized corridor in the proposed Monongahela Wilderness bill to allow continued mountain bike access. Washington: Alpine Lakes Wilderness Additions Supporting the Alpine Lakes Wilderness proposal as it protects oldgrowth forests in the backyard of the Seattle area and respects an important mountain bike trail. Washington: Colville National Forest Working with Wilderness advocates to draft a proposal that would preserve access to the Kettle Crest Trails. Washington: Olympic Peninsula Shaping a bike-friendly conservation proposal for the Olympic Peninsula. Washington: Okanogan-Wenatchee The Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest is home to over 100 miles of destination-quality mountain bike trails — IMBA and local advocates are providing input on forest planning efforts.
Oregon: Crater Lake Wilderness Proposal Partnering with the environmental community to change boundaries that will protect mountain bike access.
TURNING ADVOCACY INTO TRAILS
ountain bike advocacy involves long hours of negotiations, long lobby days and never-ending conference calls. But it all pays off when policy work gets transformed in new singletrack trails on public lands. That’s exactly what is happening at Coldwater Mountain (near Anniston, Alabama), where IMBA is currently building a 60-mile trail network. Much of the Coldwater Mountain funding comes from the federal Recreational Trails Program — an endangered source that IMBA’s advocacy team has fought hard to protect in recent months. Partnershipbuilding efforts with conservation groups like Forever Wild have also been a key component. When all is said and done, there will be a new, world-class trail system serving major population centers in Atlanta (GA), Birmingham (AL), Chattanooga (TN) and Montgomery (AL). That means a lot of mountain bikers will soon get to taste the success that strong advocacy can bring. 3 STEPS FOR SUPPORTING IMBA 1) Make sure your company’s membership with IMBA is current: imba.com/join 2) Go another step by contributing to the PLI campaign: imba.com/pli 3) Engage your dealer/retail network by featuring IMBA updates in your corporate communications imba.com/news
What’s the PLI? IMBA’s Public Lands Initiative (PLI) offers bike advocates a policy platform and staff support for efforts to protect and expand bike access. Goals include: • • • •
• • •
Identify high priority trails and keep them open to mountain bikes. Negotiate access and create new trails — including ones purpose-built for mountain biking. Promote mountain bike-friendly policies in land management planning. Provide professional training sessions and facilitated negotiations in the most controversial campaigns. Champion “companion designations” that compliment Wilderness but allow bicycles. Build and strengthen outdoor recreation coalitions. Unite the bike industry, retailers and IMBA clubs behind PLI campaigns.
An update in IMBA's Public Lands Initiative for the bicycle industry.