Mountain Bike Advocacy: Part 3
A bill to promote biking on federal lands across the United States and bolster the outdoor recreation industry is awaiting approval by Congress. If passed, the Biking on Long-Distance Trails (BOLT) Act will identify at least 10 existing long-distance bike trails and identify at least 10 areas where there is opportunity to develop or complete such trails.
IMBA has been working with its Local and industry partners and other like-minded organizations to get the BOLT Act passed. Read the full bill here.
Below is a timeline of the bill’s progress to date.
BOLT Act Timeline
January 2018: Long Distance Bike Trail concept is proposed
IMBA hand-delivers an administrative action concepts memo to the Department of the Interior’s Senior National Advisor to the Secretary for Recreation. The memo identifies the concept of designating a legacy system of long distance bike trails. This sets the stage early for the eventual introduction of the BOLT Act.
2018-2021: IMBA’s concept memo makes its rounds in Congress
The concept memo makes its way around congress while IMBA targets specific long distance trails with the Bonneville Shoreline Trail Advancement Act.
November 18, 2021: BOLT Act is introduced
The BOLT Act is introduced by Senators Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND). The bill is co-sponsored by Chairman Joe Manchin (D-WV), Ranking Member John Barrasso (R-WY), and Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM).
“This bill would allow the Department of Interior to pinpoint opportunities to develop or complete long distance bike trails as well as allow the Department to promote these exciting opportunities to the American people. As mountain biking’s popularity continues to increase, this legislation will make outdoor spaces more accessible to Americans and bolster outdoor economies nationwide.” - Senator Ben Ray Lujan
December 2, 2021: The bill is added to the hearing schedule by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
The Energy & Natural Resources Committee holds a hearing on the BOLT Act. The bill is heard alongside several of IMBA’s priority bills to benefit mountain biking and outdoor recreation, including the Parks, Jobs and Equity Act; the Recreation Not Red Tape Act; and the Simplifying Outdoor Access for Recreation Act, among others. These bills are all candidates for an expected Senate Recreation Package.
January 2022: IMBA mobilizes its network of Local partners to support the BOLT Act
IMBA Local partners support the BOLT Act by adding their organization as signatories to a letter to Senators Joe Manchin and John Barrasso urging lawmakers to pass the bill.
January 14, 2022: A letter with suggestions for refining BOLT Act language is submitted to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
Non-profit partners Bikepacking Roots and Adventure Cycling Association express their support for the BOLT Act. IMBA, along with the two organizations, submit a letter to the Energy & Natural Resources Committee. The letter contains suggestions for refining the language on the BOLT Act, including a clearer definition of a trail and a resource that contains examples of existing and potential trails that could benefit from the bill.
Bikepacking Roots and Adventure Cycling Association also encourage their members to write their representatives in support of the BOLT Act.
Some of Adventure Cycling's most iconic routes are the ones that showcase our public lands, and allow people to experience these amazing places in a sustainable way. We envision a future where long-distance trails enable more people to take advantage of the incredible assets of this nation. - Adventure Cycling Association
At Bikepacking Roots, we strive to connect bikepackers to landscapes through immersive, beautiful, and iconic routes on public lands. Routes that could be developed from the BOLT Act will further connect bikepackers to America's public lands. In connecting with landscape through the medium of bikepacking, cyclists have powerful experiences that lead to a stewardship ethic and advocacy. - Bikepacking Roots
January 30, 2022: The bill is heard by the House Committee on Natural Resources National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee
The BOLT Act is included in the hearing schedule by the National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee, with mountain bike advocate Jen Hanks testifying on the bill.
“The BOLT Act will make an investment in cycling infrastructure allowing more people the opportunity to experience the backcountry. The mental and physical benefits of being outdoors cannot be denied. Building cycling infrastructure is also good economic policy.” - Jen Hanks
May 3, 2022: The BOLT Act passes through the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
IMBA submits a letter of support on behalf of IMBA Local partners.
The bill is included in America’s Outdoor Recreation Act, passes through the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, and now awaits passage in the full Senate.
June 15, 2022: The BOLT Act passes through the House Committee on Natural Resources
The bill passes through the House Committee on Natural Resources and now awaits passage in the full House of Representatives.
July 20, 2022: The BOLT Act passes the full House
The bill passes the full House of Representatives under suspension of rules.