IMBA’s 2016 Access and Advocacy Work
This week, IMBA received huge news that will impact everyone who loves getting outside, especially mountain bikers!
The Land and Water Conservation Fund, hailed as America’s best conservation program, will be reauthorized after expiring at the end of September. In its 50-year history, LWCF has helped build trails, parks, river put-ins, trailheads and access to climbing areas in 50 states. If you love to mountain bike, ski, hike, climb, picnic, camp or paddle, you have probably benefitted from LWCF. Since its expiration in September, the outdoor recreation community and the larger conservation community have been raising a ruckus with policymakers in Congress about reauthorizing the fund.
IMBA members were a critical part of our advocacy coalition! You responded in an energetic way to our Action Alerts by emailing your Congresspersons. We joined fellow coalition partners from the environmental, conservation and outdoor recreation communities to advocate, helping our Representatives and Senators understand why LWCF was so important to all of us in our favorite outdoor playgrounds.
Thanks to the outpouring from our mountain biking community and others, Congress included reauthorization of the program in its year end omnibus spending bill. In an incredibly tough political environment, we can count this as a huge success!
The LWCF was reauthorized for at $450 million next year, and is likely to be renewed at that amount for two additional years. The good news is that $450 million is 50 percent more than the Fund has received in the last few years. The bummer here is that we had hoped for, and worked very hard for, permanent reauthorization at $900 million. This means that there will be more work to do to get the fund permanently reauthorized, so don’t be surprised when we call on our IMBA Advocacy and Trail Love Team again next year!
Every letter, email, phone call, tweet and office visit in Washington, DC, ensured that the LWCF stayed on Congress’ radar, and we are stoked to thank you for that! Without your help educating your Congresspersons and making your local priorities known, LWCF never would have made it through the gauntlet of many competing spending issues. There were an incredible number of other issues vying for a spot in the omnibus bill, so it’s a huge win that LWCF made it to the end of the trail.
So, what's the political reason behind this win? A huge coalition of like-minded organizations in the environmental, conservation and outdoor recreation community was aligned, determined and persistent. IMBA, our chapters and members were very proud to work with all our coalition partners!
— Bruce C. Alt is IMBA's Vice President of Government Relations