New U.S. Forest Service Planning Rules Presents Opportunities for Mountain Bike Groups


For Immediate Release 1-27-2012

Contact: Mark Eller
IMBA Communications Director

The U.S Forest Service recently announced a new set of rules that will shape the way foresters oversee its lands, including planning for and implementing trails and other recreational facilities. The Department of Agriculture, which oversees the Forest Service, posted the new procedures online today.

“This is welcome news for IMBA and its affiliated chapters and clubs,” said Mike Van Abel, the executive director for the world’s largest association of mountain bike organizations. “IMBA’s outstanding relationship with the Forest Service sets the stage for our local affiliates to partner with individual forest units as they make plans for shared-use trails.”

IMBA sent dozens of representatives to the Forest Service’s national series of listening sessions as it was preparing for the just-announced rule change. “Those efforts proved to be really worthwhile,” says Jeremy Fancher, IMBA’s lead attorney. “It’s particularly encouraging to see a renewed emphasis on following best practices and considering scientific evidence. IMBA’s partnership agreement with the Forest Service will help us provide the right information for effective recreation planning.”

Fancher frequently advises IMBA-affiliated chapters and clubs on forest planning efforts. IMBA also offers scientific studies on the impacts of mountain biking and guidance on trail design on its website. Learn more about planning efforts in the forests near you by visiting the Forest Service’s Schedule of Proposed Actions (SOPA) website.

To raise public awareness about how mountain bikers and Forest Service staff interact, IMBA helped sponsor Pedal-Driven, an award-winning documentary. The Forest Service has officially endorsed the hour-long film, and IMBA’s local chapters and clubs are currently hosting dozens of screenings. “This production documents the great things we can accomplish when we work together to solve problems,” said Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest Supervisor Becki Heath, whose forest is featured prominently in the documentary.

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