Despite a valiant effort by mountain bikers across the country, disappointment reigned as public lands came up short in an evening of drama on the floor of the U.S. Senate late Dec 19th.
Many senators and representatives worked tirelessly at this last opportunity to pass a bipartisan public lands package of common sense bills including permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). However, this package was never voted on due to the efforts of Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah), who is no friend of public lands.
Numerous western senators passionately decried the lack of a vote on the lands package and committed to bringing the issue back early in 2019. This included Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Cory Gardner (R-Colorado), Steve Daines (R-Montana) and Maria Cantwell (D-Washington). We applaud their efforts on behalf of LWCF and public lands. This only happened because they were hearing about it from you.
In recent months, Mountain bikers along with outdoor recreationists of all persuasions came together and amplified the message that LWCF and public lands are of critical importance in the lives of many Americans. Since September, mountain bikers have submitted over 3,200 letters to congress through our action alerts. Many other individuals and bike industry representatives have made calls or visited congressional offices demonstrating our support for these important measures.
Thank you for taking the time to contact your local elected officials.
IMBA will keep you posted on new opportunities for action in 2019 and you can always keep a steady drumbeat by consistently letting your elected officials know you expect them to permanently reauthorize LWCF, and work to respect and elevate mountain biking and conservation of our public lands.
Writing an opinion piece for your local newspaper or media outlet is also a powerful way to keep these topics front and center. IMBA’s board chair and president of Yeti Cycles, Chris Conroy, recently wrote this op-ed in the Denver Post.
Finally, the more cohesive and united we are as public lands advocates, the more influence we have in Congress. We must put aside differences and work hard to have a unified voice for mountain bikers, hunters, anglers, conservationists, motorized users, hikers, trail runners, paddlers, climbers, etc. in order to defend the greater good of our cherished, imperiled and finite public lands.
Perhaps there is a new year’s resolution in there.
Let’s enjoy the ride!