IMBA has built a great relationship with the National Park Service over the past few years and we’re finally starting to see singletrack open to mountain bikes in a select number of national parks. Here’s another opportunity for mountain bikers to advocate for new dirt (received via IMBA email):
IMBA urges mountain bikers nationwide to support new singletrack in Texas’ Big Bend National Park. The park is requesting initial public comments — your input is crucial to the project’s success.
Take Action! Tell the National Park Service you support construction of this new shared-use trail.
This opportunity is the culmination of several years of hard work and collaboration between local mountain bike advocates and NPS staff. The Big Bend Trails Alliance has been vigilant in working with park staff to develop an appropriate proposal for new singletrack. Currently, only dirt roads are open to mountain bikers in Big Bend National Park.
The proposed trail would provide visitors with an exemplary park experience, easily accessed from the main visitor center and suitable for hikers, bicyclists and equestrians of all ability levels. The proposed corridor has been designed to encourage positive user interactions, control speed and provide good sight lines.
Big Bend is one of three pilot project parks identified by IMBA and the NPS to develop long-term partnerships and provide new opportunities for mountain bicycling. While many parks allow bicycling on some dirt roads or trails, the Big Bend project represents one of the most promising opportunities for construction of a new, shared-use trail. This trail will be a model of sustainable construction and exemplify best practices for shared-use singletrack.
Increasing the opportunities for mountain biking in national parks offers solutions to many of the challenges the NPS faces. Bicycling draws people out of their cars; away from congested roads, parking lots and trailheads; and out into the fresh air. Mountain biking appeals to young people and encourages their active involvement in national parks.
Mountain bikers perform nearly a million hours of volunteer trail stewardship annually — our contributions can bring new resources to Big Bend and other national parks.
IMBA and the NPS signed a formal partnership agreement in 2005. The document laid the groundwork for cooperation between mountain bicyclists and the agency and formally recognized mountain biking as a positive activity, compatible with the values of the park system.
[…] On a more positive note, IMBA has been making serious progress on the mountain bike trail access front. Do you ever wonder what happens with all those petitions and donations IMBA is always asking for (like these: 1 2 3)? Well this week we got to see that the letters and dollars are working: The U.S. Forest Service notified all employees that mountain biking will be managed the same as hiking and equestrian usage on USFS land. This means some forest areas that had been regulating mountain biking in the same way as motorized usage could be opening more trails to bikes in the future. Sweet! From the SportsOneSource article: Bedwell’s announcement comes at a time when some national forests have applied similar restrictions to bicycles and motor vehicles. IMBA believes most Forest Service staff understand bicycling is a quiet, non-motorized, low-impact activity, and hopes the letter provides the guidance necessary for consistent treatment of mountain biking on every national forest. […]