IMBA WORKS TO OPEN UP MORE PUBLIC LANDS TO MOUNTAIN BIKING

Local and national advocates have worked with land managers to bring mountain biking to some surprising places

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Since 1989, IMBA has been working with federal land management agencies and local mountain bike advocates to navigate and help shape the land management planning processes that create, enhance, and protect great places to ride. Through the years, we’ve honed in on the types of federal land designations that can enact strong environmental protections while being mountain-bike friendly.

(Photo courtesy of IMBA)

National Monuments, National Recreation Areas, and a companion designation called a Recreation Emphasis Area have evolved through engagement between the IMBA team, local leaders and federal land managers. We spoke with locals involved in these efforts to share their advocacy approach. Read on to to learn how you might engage with your local partners to identify opportunities in your community, join the long-game of trail advocacy, and add some tools to your advocacy toolbox for protecting great trails.

RIDING IN NATIONAL MONUMENTS
First established in 1906 through the Antiquities Act, National Monuments present opportunities to conserve historical relics, which the public may access and admire through outdoor recreation. In recent years, land management plans and proclamation language for national monuments like Colorado’s Camp Hale-Continental Divide and California’s San Gabriel Mountains and Berryessa Snow Mountain have carved out space for mountain bike-friendly riding and protection for trails.

[Here’s a great article about the topic:

https://www.imba.com/blog/mountain-bike-friendly-land-designations-advocates-0

Here’s a great quotation from that article:

“National Monuments that don’t explicitly restrict or outlaw mountain biking inexplicitly allow it.”

RECREATION EMPHASIS AREAS
Mountain bike advocates in Montana, alongside federal land managers and other stakeholder groups, partnered to create this new designation as a way to protect trails in the Custer-Gallatin National Forest. A Recreation Emphasis Area is is established to benefit human health and well-being for multiple user groups, with a focus on access to public outdoor space for people close to where they live.

OPPORTUNITIES IN NATIONAL RECREATION AREAS
National Recreation Areas were first established in the 1960s and peaked in the latter half of the 20th century. Ensuring mountain bikes retain access requires mountain bike advocates to stay abreast of proposed legislation and land management plans, because boundaries and land use can change. Oregon advocates did just that, and developed a strong advocacy strategy through statewide organizing.

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