IMBA and STC have released a joint statement, “urging mountain bikers to work together to support trail stewardship and improved mountain bike access,” according to their press release. The two organizations wish to focus on the common goal of increasing mountain bike access, instead of pitting their causes and the members of their individual groups against each other. Simply put, IMBA and STC want to focus on what they have in common and working together to reach those goals, instead of focusing on their differences. However, neither group is changing their opinion of mountain biking in Wilderness areas or their respective Wilderness strategies.
“IMBA and the STC are working more closely and productively together now than we have in the past,” said IMBA Executive Director Mike Van Abel. “In truth, there has been a working relationship since the inception of the STC, but this joint statement confirms that we hold common values and a mutual desire for greater bicycle access.”
“It’s important for people to know that mountain biking advocacy groups agree about the need to address certain Wilderness-related issues, even if we may sometimes adopt different tactics,” said STC President Ted Stroll. “The joint statement is meant to demonstrate that.” (Source)
Much of the joint statement discussed the difference in the legal designations of the two organizations. IMBA, as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is legally limited in the amount of direct lobbying that they can do to elected government officials. While lobbying is a part of their strategy, it can only be a small part due to their tax designation. The STC, on the other hand, is a 501(c)(4), which allows them to dedicate all of their money to political lobbying efforts. However, as a result of that 501(c)(4) designation, donations to the STC aren’t considered donations to a non-profit, and as such aren’t tax-deductible–an important distinction for many companies and major donors.
The two organizations conclude their joint statement with this remark:
“IMBA and STC jointly ask everyone who participates in trail stewardship and the sport of mountain biking to please help maintain a positive, united front. IMBA and STC both believe that public or online denunciations or defamatory comments in public or social media of either organization are generally unhelpful and are often inaccurate and misinformed.”