IMBA announces new plan for Wilderness

Advocacy organization will not seek to amend the Wilderness Act of 1964

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IMBA plans investigate and pursue legislation that realigns existing Wilderness boundaries to re-open trails to people riding mountain bikes, but will not seek to amend the Wilderness Act of 1964.

IMBA plans investigate and pursue legislation that realigns existing Wilderness boundaries to re-open trails to people riding mountain bikes, but will not seek to amend the Wilderness Act of 1964 (click to enlarge).

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:

  1. Regarding future Wilderness proposals, IMBA believes it is unacceptable to lose access to trails currently enjoyed by people riding mountain bikes.
  2. IMBA will investigate and pursue legislation that realigns existing Wilderness boundaries to re-open trails to people riding mountain bikes.
  3. 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.


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  • Brian says:

    Where is the “new” part?

  • Real mountain biker says:

    A swing and a miss

  • AC says:

    Headline is incorrect. Should be “IMBA issues new announcement for old plan”.

    They will issue press releases for each trail losing ‘victory’ until we have nothing but bike parks and front range flow trails.

  • RD says:

    If I could find a way to support and belong my local club without supporting IMBA (club is affiliated) I would. If not for the boots on the ground here, our trails would be worthless. I hope they see that aligning themselves with groups that would lose no sleep if MTB disappeared is bad policy. Forgoing my club membership does not stop me from volunteering and riding so that will likely be my stance. I cannot give to a group who no longer supports my interests and supports those who I commonly find differences with.

    • AC says:

      I believe you can support your local affiliate by giving them donations rather than joining as a member. IIRC, donations to an affiliate are retained by the affiliate, whereas membership fees are split between the chapter and IMBA.

  • Scott says:

    My money will go to the Sustainable Trails Coalition

  • JP says:

    To see a REAL mountain association look at http://evergreenmtb.org

  • xoxo says:

    Yeah right! IMBA supported the Columbine Hondo Wilderness expansion in New Mexico which eliminated mountain biking there. IMBA is not helping. In fact, they are part of the danger along with other so-called conservation trusts working to limit or eliminated mountain biking on all intermountain west single track.

  • Structure says:

    Did IMBA really call SCT an “upstart” I don’t see that in IMBA’s 2016 advocacy position. In fact, I don’t see that they mention STC at all.

    https://www.imba.com/news/press-conference-wilderness-plan

    I happen to disagree with IMBA on this, but it’s fine to have two organizations going at the same problem. Just so long as they don’t tear each other down.

  • ANT says:

    Easy fix, send money to STC, and send your volunteer hours to IMBA(or any local group). Keep local trails good and get money to the peeps that need it to fix the “laws”.

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