The International Mountain Bicycling Association is relaunching its Model Trails initiative after putting the program on hold in 2016 to reshape its process and offerings. For more than a decade, the Ride Centers and Epics designated through the Model Trails program have become iconic mountain bike destinations.
“It was time for IMBA to evolve its Model Trails program to mirror the evolution of our organization and our sport,” said Dave Wiens, IMBA’s new Executive Director. “We’re ready to roll out a program that continues elevating communities showing a commitment to mountain biking, from the essential backyard trails to those backcountry classics.”
The revised application process for 2017 designations will open in early May and close in late June. An in-person, in-depth review of each application by IMBA’s team of reviewers will take place over the summer and early fall, and designee announcements will be made in November.
Tiered fees will be associated with the application and review process, based on the length of review required and optional additional technical support requested by applicants. Exact dates and more information will be announced and listed at imba.com/model-trails as the 2017 timeline is finalized.
The review process is an opportunity for IMBA’s staff to be on the ground with local applicants. It will help IMBA chapters, community stakeholders and land managers understand the strengths of a trail system as well as identify areas for improvements.
“The Ride Center designation is as much about the process as it is the award, by helping community partners use the process as the blueprint for creating amazing places to ride,” said Andy Williamson, Program Director at IMBA.
The Model Trails program launched in the early 2000’s and recognizes outstanding mountain bike trails and locations through Epic designations and gold, silver and bronze-level Ride Center designations. These designations become an asset for communities looking to attract riders and build bike economy.
Ride Centers represent mountain bike friendly communities and destinations that offer something for every rider. Prime examples are Park City, Utah, and Oakridge, Oregon. For a complete list of current ride centers, visit imba.com. Epic designations recognize demanding and iconic backcountry singletrack rides in natural settings. From the 39-mile Womble Epic in Arkansas to Nevada’s leg-busting Tahoe Rim Trail, see the complete list of Epics at imba.com.