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Mountain Bikers Coming Together and More Trails of All Kinds

Leading IMBA, the national trail advocacy organization for mountain biking, requires a diverse skillset, as the relevant topics are as varied as the trails we ride: trails, access, local, regional and national advocacy, policy, volunteers, grassroots programs, membership, donors, partners, sponsors...the list goes on. Having been in the local advocacy trenches for years as the founder and leader of Gunnison Trails helps, but the national level landscape is much more complex. While I’ll never claim to have all the answers, I am working hard for trails and the places we ride. Luckily, I don’t have to do it alone as I’m surrounded by diverse talent and experience, including our staff, the Board of Directors, our chapter resources and the greater mountain biking community. But it is a bit of a climb.

Over the past year, IMBA has faced tough challenges that have sparked the need to examine many areas of the organization’s focus. I have been working through this process, first as a member of the IMBA Board, and then as the Board Chair before moving into the Executive Director role a few weeks ago.

What I know:

  • No other users are connected to the trail and value the trail itself like mountain bikers.

  • Mountain biking has gone off in many different directions, all of them awesome. Our staff at IMBA and many of you love to ride trails I couldn’t have imagined a decade ago. The art and science of trail building continues to advance through the evolution of IMBA Trail Solutions and the MTB-specific trail building industry it helped spawn many years ago.

  • Local advocacy led by IMBA chapters, clubs and other mountain biking organizations is as strong and effective as ever.

  • The national movement to privatize our public lands received a morale boost recently and will require mountain bikers and the greater outdoor recreation community to unite and stand up for our access to our public lands.

What we’re working on:

  • Bringing us together as MOUNTAIN BIKERS. Once we do, we will become a more powerful and influential voice than ever before. And while we’re not all going to agree on everything, nor should we, why we ride won’t change. We’re all MOUNTAIN BIKERS, in this together and stronger when we stand as one.

  • Raising our game in the government relations world so that our national voice, influence and strong partnerships can help defend against the privatization of public lands. Many of our great places to ride are on federally owned and managed public lands and now more than ever, having access to these lands is under threat. It’s that simple.

  • Helping to get killer trails on the ground all across the country by supporting local advocacy in new and different ways. Changes in corporate sponsorship have required us to reevaluate our Chapter program. It’s very difficult for one program model to effectively serve the needs of many diverse groups all across the country but local advocacy and local trails are the backbone of our sport, and we’re committed to working hard to assist local organizations, communities and mountain bikers.

  • Expanding our reach so we’re engaging and reaching more diverse riders—women, kids and young adults—all currently underrepresented in our supporter base. We want IMBA to see one million engaged mountain bikers standing up for trails and we’re branching out. We’re looking forward to the IMBA National Enduro Series, an event unlike IMBA has ever partnered with before.

There have never been more great places to ride mountain bikes and IMBA has been a part of this progress for nearly 30 years. We’re working hard to position IMBA to continue to move our diverse sport forward and serve passionate riders everywhere.

IMBA is the only organization working nationally for great places to ride mountain bikes. Our effort is only as powerful as our numbers, and in my new role I want to see our numbers soar. To continue our work to create, enhance and protect the great places we ride, we need the support of mountain bikers everywhere. Support your local chapter today.

Dave Wiens was selected as IMBA’s Executive Director in February 2017.

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Chapter Program

Dave, please don't let IMBA back away from the importance of the chapter program. IMBA chapters are the faces of the organization and field staff are the conduits for national advocacy. When people here in Johnson City, TN think of IMBA/SORBA, they see the faces of our local members who fight for local trail access and build and maintain the trails we love. As chapter President, I need my supporting RD. He is my connection to you and those in Boulder. The Regional Director is our guidance when we have questions and need help, they are our knowledge base. Maybe IMBA's leadership should get out and meet the people on the ground making it all happen. Come for a visit to Johnson City, TN and we'll show you our newest Tannery Knobs Mountain Bike Park that is in the design phase now by Trail Solutions, or Winged Deer Mountain Bike Park that is presently under construction, or our oldest trail system, Warriors Path State Park. On the way make sure to stop by and visit Knoxville, TN, meet the incredible folks of the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club and visit their Urban Wilderness. While you’re there, go ahead and drive about an hour south and meet the great people at SORBA Chattanooga and ride the trails they’ve built.

Should the program go away, would we survive? Yes. However, others may not. We, along with many other local orgs, can attribute much of our success in recent years to the assistance we receive from the chapter program and Tom Sauret. Without the chapter program, IMBA will become just another one-trick pony organization like the STC and seriously, do we really need another STC?