IMBA Pleased With New BLM Mountain Biking Plan

Press release from the International Mountain Biking Association" (IMBA):

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has released a final National Mountain Bicycling Strategic Action Plan for the management of mountain biking on the BLM's 262 million acres of public land. The 31-page document represents the most comprehensive mountain bike management plan created by any land management agency.

The plan was announced yesterday, November 12, at the National Trails Symposium in Orlando, Florida."This is a great plan," said IMBA's executive director Tim Blumenthal. "It addresses the current desires of mountain bikers, leaves most decision making to local managers, and is adaptable as the sport evolves."

The BLM decided to produce a mountain bike-specific plan last year following a flood of comments from IMBA leaders and members on the BLM's Off-Highway Vehicle Strategy. That plan originally proposed to group mountain bike management with that of motorized vehicles. Mountain bikers played a key role in shaping the new plan. The BLM considered thousands of cyclists' comments, sent a team of leaders to the 2002 IMBA Mountain Bike Advocacy Summit, and included long-time IMBA advocate Mark Flint of Tucson, Arizona, as an advisor.The BLM did not adopt suggestions from the American Hiking Society and others that recommended a "closed-unless-open" trail policy and a prohibition of bicycling from national conservation areas.IMBA believes the 10-year plan sets a positive, proactive direction for the BLM. It offers constructive advice to local managers, clearly recognizes changing demographics, identifies emerging bicycle and trailbuilding technologies, and discusses other issues unique to mountain biking.The BLM now faces the challenge of implementing the plan. IMBA will cooperate with the agency by providing volunteer resources and technical assistance. IMBA will also continue to seek adequate recreation management funding from Congress.The plan is available at:

Missouri's Marvin Johnson adds: "[BLM has] adopted a mountain bike plan for its immense land holdings that could turn out to be the most positive turn for the sport in the past three years. Access to the back country for mountain biking has been under a high-pressure offensive from passive-use advocates such as the Sierra Club and various Wilderness-related organizations, who campaigned heavily to restrict us from BLM property as the legislation was making its way down the pipe.

"There is no way to stress the importance for all mountain bikers to keep the land access fires blazing by writing and e-mailing politicians, and local, state, and government officials any time an issue surfaces. The best way to celebrate our victory is to send IMBA ten bucks with your thank you note attached. Read the release."