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IMBA Southwest January News

Mountain bike advocacy in the southwest is off to a busy start for 2014. Here’s a summary of what’s going on around the region.

Instructor Certification Program (ICP) Coming to Arizona

There will be an Instructor Certification Program (ICP) in Fountain Hills, AZ, (northeast of Phoenix), Feb. 21-23. This a great program for folks who wish to learn the skills to guide group rides and teach MTB skills clinics to other riders. If you’re interested in hosting an ICP course where you live, contact tammy [dot] donahugh [at] imba [dot] com (Tammy Donahugh), ICP Program Manager.

+ Check out the schedule and register if you’d like to attend.

Adding MTB Access in California State Parks

Tom Ward, IMBA Central California Region Director, has written up a blog post explaining California State Park's new process for adding mountain bikes to trails in a manner that will limit the posibility of legal action. IMBA chapters in the area are encouraged to submit requests for access to existing trails.

+ Read Tom's blog for all of the details

Advocacy and Potential for New Trail Systems in New Mexico

Over the next several weeks, I’ll be making a couple of trips to New Mexico to meet with IMBA’s current chapters to discuss projects including the Grand Unified Trail System, as being developed by our chapter in Santa Fe, the Santa Fe Fat Tire Society. I’ll also meet with community groups, land managers and city officials in Alamogordo, Las Cruces, and Truth or Consequences to discuss the processes and potential for developing mountain bike trail systems in those communities. I hope to see some progress in these areas later in 2014.

Bike Park Proposals and Trail Extensions Region-Wide

Elsewhere in the region, there are lots of projects in the works such as bike park proposals in Flagstaff, AZ; Orange County, CA; and Ventura County, CA; an extension of the Prescott Circle Trail in Arizona, a large-scale conceptual trail planning process in Caliente, NV; and hopefully our work in Idyllwild, CA, will start up again soon.

I also have presentations scheduled with community groups in Sierra Vista, AZ, and Kanab, UT, where we will discuss the community health and economic benefits of mountain bike trail networks.  The local IMBA chapters will also attend these public presentations to show their support and discuss their ongoing work in the areas.

+ Keep an eye on the IMBA Southwest Facebook page for regular updates on these and other projects.

Get Help for Your Bell Built Grant Application

The 2014 Bell Built-IMBA grant program is now accepting applications. Check it out for information on how to apply for this grant, which could see a new pumptrack, dirt jump line or flow trail built by the IMBA Trail Solutions program in your community. Please patrick [dot] kell [at] imba [dot] com (contact me) if you wish to discuss a project in the southwest.

IMBA Presence at Regional Races

I will have the IMBA booth set up at the 12 Hours of Old El Paso in Texas on Feb. 1 with the local IMBA chapter:  The Borderland Mountain Bike Association. I will also be at the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo near Tucson, AZ, with the local chapter in that area: Sonoran Desert Mountain Bicyclists. Stop by the booth to say hello, grab some information and score an IMBA beer koozie or sticker, while supplies last!

Props!

A BIG thanks to Absolute Bikes in Sedona, AZ, for providing bikes for the leadership of the Mid-Atlantic Off Road Enthusiasts (MORE), an IMBA chapter covering the greater Washington, D.C. area. MORE’s board of directors was recently in town for its winter strategic planning retreat, and everyone was stoked to ride in Sedona and Cottonwood. Thanks to Absolute Bikes for making their stay in Arizona all the better.

Stay Safe Around Sheepdogs While Riding

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is seeking to educate western riders and ranchers alike on keeping trail users safe from guard dogs protecting sheep herds. More trails are cutting through public grazing lands, and encounters have grown more frequent. If you have encountered, or think you might encounter, sheepdogs while riding (or hiking or trail running), please read a brief brochure put out by the USDA.

+ Livestock protection dogs on public lands (PDF)

Ride on, everyone. I hope to see you on the trail sometime soon! -- Patrick

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