Moving Mountain Biking Forward in Caliente
Photo by Ed Kessler
Alaska Region Director Patrick Kell recently had his first conference call with advocates from Alaska, primarily from Juneau and Anchorage. IMBA is venturing into a vast landscape, lots of which could be ideal terrain for mountain bike access in both the summer and winter months. There are already many well-organized volunteer groups in Alaska that have been doing a lot of great work and IMBA looks forward to getting involved.
The conference call focused on potential access in the Tongass National Forest, which surrounds Juneau and at 17 million acres is the largest National Forest in the USA, complete with coastal rainforest environs, fjords and glaciers. We also discussed Chugach National Forest and Chugach State Park which are in the Anchorage area and are 7 million and 500,000 acres, respectively. Chugach National Forest is currently undergoing a Forest Plan Revision, which is an ideal opportunity for IMBA to give comments on mountain bike access. Comments will focus on opportunities for long-distance backcountry riding, hut-to-hut opportunities and winter fat bike access.
A staff person from IMBA's Boulder office will be in Alaska in March to represent IMBA at the Chugach Fat Bike Bash and meet with our Anchorage-based chapter, Levitation 49. Alaska Region Director Patrick Kell will spend some time in Alaska in May meeting with United States Forest Service staff, Alaska State Parks staff and municipal officials in Juneau and Anchorage to further discuss the opportunities for more and better mountain bike access.
What are your thoughts on mountain biking in Alaska? Have you been? Please share your stories, photos and MTBProject information on our IMBA Alaska Facebook Page.