Archive for the ‘National’ Category

NPS Announces Expanded Opportunities for Mountain Biking

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

The National Park Service recently announced changes designed to expand opportunities for mountain biking in parks nationwide. “Bikes are a great way to exercise, get healthy and experience the great outdoors,” said NPS Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “This new rule gives park superintendents greater flexibility to determine where bikes can be allowed in a park and additional authority to shut areas where cycling is jeopardizing visitors or park resources.”

IMBA and the NPS have held a formal partnership agreement since 2005. The new rule is another step forward in that relationship, providing park staff with a more streamlined administrative process and localized decision making about where the best opportunities for mountain biking exist.

“IMBA’s policy is to work with parks that express an interest in developing opportunities for mountain biking,” says Mike Van Abel, the group’s executive director. “We are not interested in trying to insert mountain biking into all national parks or putting bikes on every NPS trail. But we know from experience that well-designed,sustainable trails can be successfully shared by different types of users.”

There are already more than 40 NPS properties that allow mountain biking on dirt roads and trails. Research from the Outdoor Industry Association shows that bicycling is one of the most popular forms of recreation — especially among young people. “At a time when park visitation is declining, and America’s youth is becoming more sedentary, it’s good to see the NPS taking this positive step,” said Van Abel.

Some groups have questioned whether mountain biking is compatible with the NPS’ conservation values, but current research shows that the impacts of mountain biking are similar to those caused by hiking. Studies indicate that when it comes to trails, the major issue is not the type of user but the way the trail is designed and built.

Copied from IMBA Trail News, Summer 2012

Federal Trails Funding Secured for Two Years

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

The Recreational Trails Program (RTP), the federal funding program that supports natural surface trails, has been reauthorized for two years in a bill that the U.S. Congress approved this July. An $85 million program, RTP strongly benefits mountain bikers and funds the development and maintenance of thousands of trail miles.

“We are very grateful to our grassroots advocates whose relentless calls and letters elevated the importance of RTP. This has been an extremely long reauthorization process — time and time again, mountain bikers rallied to save RTP,” says Jenn Dice, IMBA Government Affairs Director. “We also would like to thank U.S. Sen. Klobuchar and U.S. Rep. Petri for their commitment to the program and seeing it through this difficult process.”

RTP has funded iconic mountain bike trail projects across the country, including two IMBA Epics: FATS in North Carolina and Brown County State Park in Indiana. RTP funds were also used in the construction of the just-opened Rockburn Skills Park in Maryland and the Highbridge Bike Park in New York City. IMBA chapters and clubs have become experts in securing RTP grants for trail construction and maintenance.

In a new development, governors and state-level department of transportation offices have the opportunity to opt out of the entire program and return funds collected on behalf of RTP back to other uses (such as roads). For example, a state like Colorado could lose more than $2 million that would have otherwise gone to singletrack, trailheads and other expenditures that benefit mountain bikers. IMBA urges its members to contact their Governors about the importance of RTP funding for trails. Governors must decide by mid-September, so do not delay.

Groups interested in taking advantage of RTP funding to further trail projects should visit imba. com/resources to learn more.

Copied from IMBA Trail News, Summer 2012

IMBA Trail Care Crew Report from California

Sunday, July 1st, 2012

Most applications requesting Trail Care Crew visits originate from mountain bike advocacy organizations. In the 23 visits we have made, this stop in central California was only the second time that a land management agency — the Georgetown District of the U.S. Forest Service — made the request. It’s something we think the Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crews will start seeing more of as federal, state and local land management agencies learn how much there is to gain from working with outside partners.

Limited budgets and ongoing funding cuts are a grim reality for many Forest Service districts. Partnerships between land managers and local mountain biking advocacy organizations offer much-needed relief — bike clubs can supply knowledge, experience, volunteer labor and more to help fill the gaps between the vision for new trails and the reality of getting them built.

The Georgetown District staff we met with are excited about what they can accomplish by working with local mountain bike advocacy organizations, including the Folsom-Auburn Trail Riders Action Coalition and the Forest Trails Alliance. The Eldorado has great potential, with good existing trails and the potential to develop some great ones. The nearby trails in Auburn are popular and sometimes a bit overcrowded, so developing the Eldorado’s trail network holds the potential to benefit riders and lessen their impacts by spreading them out over a greater area.
The name “Eldorado” conjures an imaginary place of great treasure and opportunity. Will California’s Eldorado National Forest live up to such a grand definition? We think they are on their way.

— Jake and Jenny

From the International Mountain Bicycling Association‘s quarterly publication Trail News, Spring 2012

Save the date!  CORBA will be hosting the IMBA Trail Care Crew October 18 – 21 later this year.

Youth-Oriented Publication Available Soon, Take A Kid Celebration Slated for Oct. 6

Sunday, July 1st, 2012

With major support from Shimano, IMBA will publish two special editions of IMBA Trail News in 2012. Copies of ITN Youth Edition will be available on IMBA’s online store, free of cost except for shipping fees. These full-color, print magazines will focus on providing resources for adult leaders of youth-oriented mountain bike programs, plus stories, photos and tips that young riders aged 12 to 18 will enjoy reading.
This October, in support of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” initiative, IMBA has pledged to get 30,000 children participating in 300 cycling events for the annual Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day celebration. We could use your help in reaching this goal on Oct. 6. Broadcast Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day to your chapter/club networks, host a ride or sponsor the IMBA outreach program.
Since we believe that kids should be on bikes everyday, we’re encouraging all participants to sign up for the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA), whereby you pledge to be active at least 5 days a week for 6 weeks. Youth (6-17 years) should get moving for at least 60 minutes per day, and adults (18 years or older) should be active for 30 minutes per day. What better way to get active than to be out riding a bike?

From the International Mountain Bicycling Association‘s quarterly publication Trail News, Spring 2012

New IMBA Mapping Program Underway

Sunday, July 1st, 2012

IMBA is proud to launch its long-anticipated mapping project and the IMBA National Trails Database (INTD). The database will offer a GIS-based online resource that documents natural surface, bike-friendly trails. It will also display information related to IMBA programs from the local to the federal level.
The mapping work has only just begun — the ultimate goals include providing dynamic trail maps, trail descriptions, reviews and information about IMBA’s work in map form. The INTD resource will answer questions about where to ride and what trails might be affected by access threats and travel management plans. It will showcase and describe the work being done in the U.S. and around the world by IMBA and its partners, chapters, affiliated clubs and individual supporters.
“Since almost everything we do is location-based, IMBA has a great opportunity to connect people to the world of mountain bike advocacy in a way that’s both graphically informative and visually exciting,” says Leslie Kehmeier, IMBA’s full-time mapping specialist. “From the regions we cover to the members we serve, right down to the trails we ride, the mapping program will further IMBA’s mission to protect, create, and enhance great trails experiences for mountain bikers worldwide.” Pilot projects will include a map of Santa Fe (NM) mountain biking trails prior to the IMBA World Summit there, and maps for each IMBA Epic ride.

From the International Mountain Bicycling Association‘s quarterly publication Trail News, Spring 2012

9th District Court Rules against the Forest Adventure Pass

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, in a published opinion on February 9th reversed and remanded a lower court ruling that had dismissed a case against the U.S. Forest Service.  They found in Adams v. USFS that the Recreational Enhancement Act “unambiguously prohibits the Forest Service from charging fees in the Mount Lemmon HIRA for recreational visitors who park a car, then camp at undeveloped sites, picnic along roads or trailsides, or hike through the area without using the facilities and services.”

Excerpted from the published opinion:

“The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (“REA”) prohibits the United States Forest Service from charging fees “[s]olely for parking, undesignated parking, or picnicking along roads or trailsides,” for “hiking through . . . without using the facilities and services,” and “[f]or camping at undeveloped sites . . . .” 16 U.S.C. § 6802(d)(1)(A), (D) & (E).

“Despite these clear prohibitions, the Forest Service collects fees from all drivers who park their vehicles in a mile-wide piece of the Coronado National Forest running along the 28–mile Catalina Highway, the only paved road to the summit of Mount Lemmon, a heavily used recreational area an hour’s drive from downtown Tucson, Arizona.

“Four recreational visitors sued, seeking a declaration that  the Forest Service was exceeding the scope of its authority under the REA by charging fees to those who drive to Mount Lemmon, park their cars, then picnic, hike, or camp in nearby undeveloped areas. Plaintiffs also sought to enjoin the Forest Service from collecting such fees. The district court granted defendants’ Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. Plaintiffs appealed. Because plaintiffs are correct that the Forest Service’s fee structure contravenes the plain language of the REA, we reverse the district court’s dismissal of Count I and remand to allow plaintiffs to pursue that claim.”

In CORBA’s ongoing relationship with the Forest Service, we understand that locally the Adventure Pass is a major source of their funding for on-the-ground projects, maintenance and services. Even with Adventure Pass fees, they are grossly under-funded.

It is unclear at this point how the ruling will affect Southern California’s Angeles, Cleveland, Los Padres and San Bernadino National Forests, where the adventure pass program has been in place for more than a decade. Currently, fees are required for all vehicles that park within the forest boundary, even if, as in the plaintiff’s case, no facilities are used. Many eyes will be watching when Adams v. USFS returns to the lower court.

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

Friday, January 27th, 2012

Via IMBA

For Immediate Release 1-27-2012

Contact: Mark Eller
IMBA Communications Director
markeller@imba.com
303-545-9011

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.

Help Preserve Trails and Parks Funding in 60 Seconds

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Open space. City parks. Thousands of miles of singletrack across all 50 states. If you value those things, you will take just 60 seconds to help IMBA support the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). All you have to do is sign a petition.

The petition asks the Obama Administration to fully and permanently fund the LWCF and its work buying open space and helping cities and counties build parks, many of which contain mountain bike trails and are in your own backyard.

TAKE ACTION! If we reach 25,000 individual signers by Dec. 16, the Obama Administration will look at the issue and give an official response. Please sign today!

LWCF funds are being diverted from their intended use. Of the $900 million authorized this year, very little of that is actually going toward America’s parks and outdoor recreation areas. Be part of a united voice. Help us urge the White House to restore full, dedicated and permanent funding for the LWCF.

It only takes a minute. Sign the petition today!

Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act of 2011 Signed by Obama

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

On November 7, 2011, President Obama signed into law the Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act of 2011 (S. 382/H.R. 765). A version of this legislation was first introduced by Senator Mark Udall (D-Colorado) in 2008, and again in 2010. The bill was re-introduced in February 2011, and this year passed both the House and Senate. It has strong support from both the mountain bike community and the Ski industry. IMBA testified in favor of the act earlier this year and has signed a formal Memorandum of Understanding with the National Ski Area Association to help increase visitation and improve summer mountain bike experiences at U.S. ski areas.

The Act amends the National Forest Ski Area Permit Act of 1986 and clarifies the authority of the Secretary of Agriculture to “permit appropriate additional seasonal or year-round recreational activities and facilities on National Forest System land subject to Ski Area permits.”  The act goes on to specifically mention mountain bike terrain parks and trails, zip lines, frisbee golf courses and ropes courses as acceptable additional recreational activities for ski areas. It excludes activities such as tennis courts, water slides, swimming pools and golf courses.

This should make it easier for ski areas to get the required permits to operate mountain bike parks during their summer off-season. Year-round recreation at ski resorts is expected to create additional jobs and increase local commerce. Ski areas must still comply with environmental regulations when operating year-round, and their primary function has to remain snow sports.

In the Angeles National Forest there are four ski areas: Mountain High (East, West & North), Mt. Waterman, Ski Sunrise and Mt. Baldy. For a few short weeks in 2009 Mt. Waterman opened to bicycles in the summer, but was forced to abandon its mountain bike park plans because of the limitations of their ski area permit. The passage of HR 765 now allows the Secretary of Agriculture to issue permits for mountain bike parks to existing ski area permit holders.

This is a great step forward and one that will hopefully increase our opportunities for lift-access trails and bike parks in the years to come.

We are People for Bikes, and You Should Be Too!

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

People for Bikes

People for Bikes is a movement to unite cyclists from all aspects of cycling. Whether you ride road, mountain, street, bmx, DJ, DH, cross country, touring, or commuting, you’re a cyclist, and should sign the “People for Bikes Pledge.”

All of the CORBA board members and advisors have personally signed the pledge, and we encourage you to do so too. By raising awareness of the sheer numbers of cyclists from all disciplines that are here in this country, the People for Bikes movement aims to ensure that cyclists get noticed and included when it comes to legislation, funding, resource allocation, and other considerations that have a direct impact on our ability to ride our bikes safely, freely, and with the infrastructure that will help encourage more to join our ranks. This is the pledge:

The Pledge

I am for bikes. I’m for long rides and short rides. I’m for commuting to work, weekend rides, racing, riding to school, or just a quick spin around the block. I believe that no matter how I ride, biking makes me happy and is great for my health, my community and the environment we all share. That is why I am pledging my name in support of a better future for bicycling — one that is safe and fun for everyone. By uniting my voice with a million others, I believe that we can make our world a better place to ride.

The following is adapted from a letter from Tim Blumenthal, director of the People For Bikes movement:

If you’ve already signed the pledge, thank you! But we have one simple request: ask a friend to sign the PFB pledge today. If each one of us recruits just one friend, we will instantly double the size of our movement from nearly 200,000 to 400,000. With twice as many supporters, we will double our clout and dramatically enhance our capability to make bicycling in America safer and more appealing for everyone who rides.

Win a People For Bikes Timbuktu Messenger Bag for signing the Pledge in February

As some extra motivation, anyone who signs the pledge during the month of February will instantly be entered to win one of five Timbuk2 custom peopleforbikes.org messenger bags stuffed with other awesome PFB swag. (Don’t worry; you can still enter the giveaway even though you’ve already signed the pledge. Just fill out this form).

Signing the pledge is easy and only takes a few seconds. You can check out the latest blog entries at PeopleForBikes.org to learn more about why it’s so important to get all riders to raise their hands in support of better biking now by signing the pledge.

Happy trails!