After a sometimes turbulent period of back and forth comments between supporters of IMBA and the Sustainable Trails Coalition (here and here), the two organizations have released a joint statement that seems to put at least some of their differences to rest.
Both parties are continuing with their current policy work, and there is no change in the approaches IMBA and the STC bring to their respective efforts to increase access for mountain bikers. The hope is that this collaborative statement helps supporters of both groups focus more on what unites you and less on the different tactics being employ. Here’s the statement:
After productive discussions, the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) and the Sustainable Trails Coalition (STC) have released a joint statement urging mountain bikers to work together to support trail stewardship and improved mountain bike access. While the two organizations remain distinct, with different approaches to bicycle access in federally managed Wilderness areas, the joint statement makes it clear that there is great respect between the two groups.
“IMBA and the STC are working more closely and productively together now than we have in the past,” said IMBA Executive Director Mike Van Abel. “In truth, there has been a working relationship since the inception of the STC, but this joint statement confirms that we hold common values and a mutual desire for greater bicycle access.”
“It’s important for people to know that mountain biking advocacy groups agree about the need to address certain Wilderness-related issues, even if we may sometimes adopt different tactics,” said STC President Ted Stroll. “The joint statement is meant to demonstrate that.”
Key elements from the partnership agreement include:
- Both IMBA and the STC value enhanced bike access and will encourage mountain bikers to get engaged in each organization’s separate missions and advocacy efforts.
- IMBA, STC and other mountain bike advocacy groups recognize that our power lies in the collective voice of all mountain bikers. Both parties wish for that voice to be united and stronger.
- IMBA and the STC jointly ask everyone who participates in trail stewardship and the sport of mountain biking to please help maintain a positive, united front.
The joint statement expresses respect between IMBA and STC for the courage of each entity’s convictions and for helping to get more mountain bikers engaged in mountain bike advocacy. As separate organizations, IMBA and STC do not share the same governance or mission strategies. IMBA, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, is legally limited in its ability to directly lobby elected officials. IMBA’s approach will continue to emphasize building partnerships and promoting bike-friendly management policies for all forms of land protection. The STC is organized as a 501(c)(4), which allows it to spend all of its money on directly lobbying for legislative remedies in Congress. The group will continue to focus on creating a political framework that will result in enhanced bike access and better trail maintenance measures in Wilderness and other natural areas.
Please consider donating to STC by visiting sustainabletrailscoalition.org
Please consider joining and supporting IMBA by visiting imba.com