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R-E-S-P-E-C-T in Idaho

Respecting the natural world is one of IMBA's core values. From building sustainable trails to encouraging volunteer stewardship, we have a proud record of protecting the places we play. In the past — luckily a past that is quickly becoming a tiny speck in the rearview mirror — mountain bikers saw only conflicts with groups that favored Wilderness designations. Today, we have a comprehensive set of strategies that allow us to work with Wilderness advocates, based on a common dedication to protecting natural landscapes.

This week brought another example of conservation and recreation partnerships doing great things, this time in the small town of Ketchum, Idaho. The trails in this high alpine landscapes are challenging, inspiring and unforgettably beautiful. Bike access to these Idaho lands is extremely important to both the local community and to mountain bikers around the world who relish the chance for adventerous high country treks. Surprisingly, not everything here is expert-only terrain — the trails in and around Ketchum include options for riders of all abilities.

IMBA and its local chapter, the Wood River Bicycle Coalition, are working with the Idaho Conservation League and The Wilderness Society to craft an agreement between the organizations that would build the foundation for a bike-friendly National Monument designation and management plan in the Boulder White Clouds. The conservation community has been working for many years to protect this area and, while our advocacy is not yet finished, we are pleased to be working towards supporting our conservation partners while maintaining bike access to this unique landscape.

One of the first collaborative meetings in that process took place this week. We discussed conservation concerns, trail details and interests from all parties in an attempt to create Idaho’s first land protection effort crafted with mountain bikers’ participation and support. This would not be possible without our local chapter leading the way in a professional manner — kudos to WRBC for engaging in a challenging dialogue with a strong, yet respectful, bike advocacy message.

Read more about the Boulder-White Clouds Ntl Mon project.

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