This is from Rich Cook, IMBA Development Director. As long-time IMBA supporters, we urge all cyclists to do their part. If you’re not an IMBA member, this might be reason for you to join.
I urge you to read this article from last Sunday’s edition of the New York Times.
I suspect you will agree that the anti-bike tone and flawed logic in this story represent a serious threat to the cycling industry. Even the title, “Growth in Mountain Biking May Put Western Trails Off Limits,” implies that the success of our industry threatens continued bike access to scenic areas.
The piece also sympathetically describes a U.S. Forest Service policy taking shape in Region 5 (Montana and Idaho) to ban bicycles from landscapes that might be considered for Wilderness designations — someday.
IMBA does not share the view that people exploring natural areas on bicycles is a bad thing. We are working hard in Montana, and around the nation, to challenge evolving anti-bike policies. Our affiliated club, the Montana Mountain Bike Alliance (MMBA), has helped us increase our membership from under 50 statewide contacts a few years ago to more than 600 today. We are deeply involved in shaping nine current USFS travel and trail management plans in Region 5. We have also formally appealed a Forest Plan (see the NY Times article) and negotiated for continued bicycle access to a variety of back-country areas.
Make no mistake — the policies being formulated in Montana could have nationwide implications for all types of forest managers. As I’m sure you know, IMBA’s work — especially the legal components — are expensive and time-consuming. But we will press forward in Montana and elsewhere because no other pro-bicycle organization works to address these threats in the way IMBA does.
To become an IMBA member go here.