BOLT Act Aims to Fund Long Distance Bike Trails in the US

File Photo / Maah Daah Hey trail by Kristen Bonkoski.

The BOLT (Biking on Long-Distance Trails) Act has been introduced into the Senate and intends to promote biking on federal lands across the US. The BOLT Act was introduced by Senators Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND) on November 18. Joe Manchin (D-WV), John Barrasso (R-WY), and Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) are co-sponsors.

The BOLT Act will identify at least 10 existing long-distance bike trails and 10 areas where there are opportunities to develop long-distance trails, or a continuous route made up of one or more trails and is at least 80 miles long and can be used for mountain, gravel, touring, or road biking.

“In New Mexico and across America, there are millions of acres of federal lands that have gone untapped for responsible outdoor recreation use. This bipartisan legislation will make bike trails more accessible and safer across America and will provide a much-needed boost to the growing outdoor recreation economy,” said Lujan in an IMBA press release.

Trails like the Maah Daah Hey trail in North Dakota and other IMBA Epics could benefit from the BOLT Act.

With the booming outdoor recreation economy accounting for 2% of the country’s GDP in 2020 and over 4 million jobs, according to IMBA, the BOLT Act is more relevant than ever.

“IMBA programs support a variety of trail experiences, from trails close to home to backcountry riding,” said IMBA Executive Director Dave Weins. “The BOLT Act will be instrumental in creating those iconic backcountry experiences and making them more accessible to people across the country.”

The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held a hearing on December 2nd to hear about the BOLT Act and other IMBA bills which would benefit mountain biking and outdoor recreation. IMBA plans to build support around the bill and work toward full passage. A report on the findings is due no later than two years after the enactment of the Act. For more information on the BOLT Act, click here.