This week, the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) announced its 2016 advocacy position during a press conference call and this follow up press release. For an alternative point of view, read the latest rant from The Angry Singlespeeder. Not surprisingly, he takes issue with IMBA’s stance.
The IMBA press gathering followed a meeting of organization’s governing board of directors on February 6 in which IMBA’s strategies regarding bike access and federally managed Wilderness were discussed.
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 points, read the press release:
- 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, an approach being advocated by the upstart Sustainable Trails Coalition.
As an example of the organization’s 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.