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IMBA Regional Coalitions 

For nearly a decade, IMBA has worked to deepen our understanding and support for grassroots organizations through local support programs in order to create cultural changes within communities based on the positive economic and social impacts of well-planned and developed trail systems.

While each of these efforts has had its successes and challenges, the most notable gap in advocacy and capacity lies at the state level. Much of the funding and prioritization for trails is determined and managed by some state agencies through State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Planning (SCORP). Each state must have a governing plan that determines funding, trail development, and other outdoor recreation priorities. Oftentimes, the mountain biking voice is not present within these committees.

Impacts

Communication: Early Impact

  • Targeted communications among organizations with a state or region can deliver early wins that build public support for more complex policy and systems changes.
  • Consistent communication results in stronger relationships between Local organizations, motivating and mobilizing them to work for more trails.
  • Local leaders and coalitions will also have a better understanding of the greater trail community, more experience setting priorities, new leadership opportunities, and more success in leveraging resources.

Investment: Intermediate Impact

  • Successful pilot projects of policies and built environments build credibility and capacity, allowing more meaningful work in a community.
  • When policies and environmental changes that support trails are maintained, they not only create improved conditions but can also outlast shifting budgets or turnover in organizations.
  • Other impacts can include new investments; re-directed budget priorities to support more community trail projects; stronger relationships and collaboration between organizations and decision makers; and new staff in various organizations and agencies for ongoing work.

Leadership: Sustainable Impact

  • Mountain biking becomes embedded into institutional processes. For example, local government departments may change the way they operate by prioritizing spending, new development, and building projects in order to maximize services and policies and provide equitable, affordable access to trails for all residents.
  • Community norms begin to shift toward patterns that provide trail infrastructure through a mutually-reinforcing increase in support for public demand for trails.

Culture Change: Sustainable Impact

  • As the integrated web of trail support deepens and matures in communities, residents become healthier. Partnerships and relationships also continue to evolve with intention and increasing capacity, enabling coalitions to address other important quality-of-life issues.
  • Residents have more equitable outcomes and maintain influence in decisions that affect them and their community. Businesses, governments, nonprofits, and coalitions understand their role in reinforcing residents’ expectations and priorities. Communities experience a host of benefits from their long-standing priority on trails, including increased civic engagement, employment, economic and environmental impacts, and quality of life.
  • Successful and sustainable change will ultimately create a culture of trail use in communities that are embedded in the community’s identity.

 

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