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The Biking on Long-Distance Trails (BOLT) Act will identify at least 10 existing long-distance bike trails and identify at least 10 areas where there is opportunity to develop or complete such trails. The bill will also allow the Department of Interior to publish and distribute maps, install signage, and distribute promotional materials.

A long-distance bike trail means a continuous route, made up of one or more trails, that is 80 miles or longer and may be used for mountain biking, gravel riding, touring, or road cycling.

Support the BOLT Act

IMBA's Dave Wiens riding on the Bonneville Shoreline Trails with two mountain bikers behind him. Greenish-brown brush on edges of dirt single track.

“IMBA programs support a variety of trail experiences, from trails close to home to backcountry riding. The BOLT Act will be instrumental in creating those iconic backcountry experiences and making them more accessible to people across the country.” — IMBA Executive Director David Wiens

Going the Distance

Bill Background

The BOLT Act will direct federal land management agencies under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Interior and the United States Forest Service to identify existing and potential long distance biking trails. The bipartisan legislation has been championed in the Senate by Senator Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) and Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND), and in the House of Representatives by Joe Neguse (D-CO), Susie Lee (D-NV) and John Curtis (R-UT). 

IMBA has been working with its IMBA Local partners, Corporate partners and other like-minded organizations to get the BOLT Act passed since it's ideation in 2018 and original introduction in 2021. 

The Bill's Legislative History

Bob Larsen, a white, middle aged man in a red hat, pointing off into the distance in Utah at green hued mountains.

“In New Mexico and across America, there are millions of acres of federal lands that have gone untapped for responsible outdoor recreation use. This bipartisan legislation will make bike trails more accessible and safer across America and will provide a much-needed boost to the growing outdoor recreation economy.” — Senator Ben Ray Lujan

A Bipartisan & Bicameral Bill


What the bill does

  • Creates a catalog of a minimum of 10 existing long distance bike trails no less than 80 miles in length

  • Develops an inventory where opportunities may exist to develop or complete long distance trails of no less than 80 miles in length

  • Directs federal land management agencies to coordinate with stakeholders to develop resources to complete long distance trails

  • Identifies the needs for signage, maps, and use of promotional materials

  • Creates a Report to Congress with a detailed description of the above factors.

The Ouachita National Recreation Trail in Arkansas, High Country Pathway in Michigan, Maah Daah Hey in North Dakota, the Great Divide Mountain Bike Trail running from the Canada to Mexico border, and, when completed, the Bonneville Shoreline Trail in Utah are all mountain bike trails that could benefit from the BOLT Act.

Read the Bill



Mountain biker riding on single track in desert environment.

“ [BOLT Act] would diversify the economy, improve the physical and mental health of the community, and help attract much needed skilled workers looking for recreation close to home. I am sure there are many communities across the country who would see similar benefits.” — Jen Hanks, Southern Nevada Mountain Bike Association

Economic Impact of Long Distance Trails


Non-profit partners Adventure Cycling Association, Bikepacking Roots, and PeopleforBikes have expressed support for the BOLT Act and continually partner with IMBA on advocacy efforts for the bill. IMBA Local Member Organizations and corporate partners have also expressed support via letter-writing initiatives.

Bike packers on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route
Photo courtesy of: Pak/ Adventure Cycling Association

“The pace of bike travel allows us to better connect with the landscapes through which we ride. With more long-distance trails on federal lands, riders will develop a love for, and a commitment to take care of, the incredible public lands of our country.” — Adventure Cycling Association

Adventure Cycling Association Routes
Green grass and winding trail of Skyline Drive, Utah.
Photo courtesy of: Bikepacking Roots

“Bikepacking Roots is committed to providing opportunities and access to multi-day dirt-focused bikepacking routes. The BOLT Act is exciting legislation that supports our mission and will increase opportunities for developing long-distance bikepacking routes, particularly singletrack routes that require considerable support from land managers.” — Bikepacking Roots

Bikepacking Roots Routes

The Bill's Legislative History

Now a part of the anticipated EXPLORE Act, the BOLT Act has come a long way thanks to IMBA, mountain bike and outdoor recreation advocates across the country, and Outdoor Alliance partners


January  2018: Long Distance Bike Trail concept is proposed

  • IMBA hand-delivers an "administrative action concepts memo" to the Department of the Interior’s Senior National Advisor to the Secretary for Recreation. The memo identifies the concept of designating a legacy system of long distance bike trails. This sets the stage early for the eventual introduction of the BOLT Act.

2018-2020: IMBA’s concept memo makes its rounds in Congress

  • The concept memo makes its way around congress while IMBA targets specific long distance trails with the Bonneville Shoreline Trail Advancement Act.



November 18, 2021: BOLT Act is introduced

  • The BOLT Act is introduced by Senators Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND). The bill is co-sponsored by Chairman Joe Manchin (D-WV), Ranking Member John Barrasso (R-WY), and Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM). It was included in the America’s Outdoor Recreation Act (AORA) package later that year. 

“This bill would allow the Department of Interior to pinpoint opportunities to develop or complete long distance bike trails as well as allow the Department to promote these exciting opportunities to the American people. As mountain biking’s popularity continues to increase, this legislation will make outdoor spaces more accessible to Americans and bolster outdoor economies nationwide.” - Senator Ben Ray Lujan

December 2, 2021: The bill is added to the hearing schedule by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

  • The Energy & Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on the BOLT Act. The bill is heard alongside several of IMBA’s priority bills to benefit mountain biking and outdoor recreation, including the Parks, Jobs and Equity Act; the Recreation Not Red Tape Act; and the Simplifying Outdoor Access for Recreation Act, among others that were all candidates for AORA, the Senate Recreation Package. Passage of AORA, including the BOLT Act, fell apart in negotiations at the 11th hour with the close of the second session of the 117th Congress. 


January 2022: IMBA mobilizes its network of Local partners to support the BOLT Act

  • IMBA Local partners support the BOLT Act by adding their organization as signatories to a letter to Senators Joe Manchin and John Barrasso urging lawmakers to pass the bill.

January 14, 2022: A letter with suggestions for refining BOLT Act language is submitted to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

  • Non-profit partners Bikepacking Roots and Adventure Cycling Association express their support for the BOLT Act. IMBA, along with the two organizations, submit a letter to the Energy & Natural Resources Committee. The letter contains suggestions for refining the language on the BOLT Act, including a clearer definition of a trail and a resource that contains examples of existing and potential trails that could benefit from the bill. Bikepacking Roots and Adventure Cycling Association also encourage their members to write their representatives in support of the BOLT Act.

January 30, 2022: The bill is heard by the House Committee on Natural Resources National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee

  • The BOLT Act is included in the hearing schedule by the National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee, with mountain bike advocate Jen Hanks testifying on the bill.

May 3, 2022: The BOLT Act passes through the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
IMBA submits a letter of support on behalf of IMBA Local partners.

  • The bill is included in America’s Outdoor Recreation Act, passes through the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, and now awaits passage in the full Senate. 

June 15, 2022: The BOLT Act passes through the House Committee on Natural Resources

  • The bill passes through the House Committee on Natural Resources and now awaits passage in the full House of Representatives.

July 20, 2022: The BOLT Act passes the full House

  • The bill passes the full House of Representatives under suspension of rules. 


March 3, 2023: The BOLT Act is reintroduced in the 118th Congress 

  • The bill was reintroduced by the U.S. Senators Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.). In the House of Representatives the bill is reintroduced by Joe Neguse (D-CO) and cosponsored by John Curtis (R-UT) and Susie Lee (D-NV). 

March 16, 2023: America’s Outdoor Recreation Act is reintroduced in the Senate

  • America’s Outdoor Recreation Act (AORA) was reintroduced by Senator Manchin (D-WV) and Senator Barrasso (R-WY). AORA included outdoor recreation bills that IMBA and its Outdoor Alliance Partners worked to develop over the decade prior. In addition to the BOLT Act, AORA included components of the Recreation-Not-Red-Tape Act, the Simplifying Outdoor Acces for Recreation Act (SOAR), and several additional bills that support development of more recreational amenities for mountain bikers and myriad outdoor recreation groups. 

March 28, 2023: IMBA Testifies on the BOLT Act 

  • The House Subcommittee on Federal Lands held a hearing for several recreation bills Outdoor Alliance partners have helped craft. IMBA Director of Government Affairs Todd Keller provided oral testimony on the BOLT Act. 

April 28, 2023: BOLT Act Passes House Committee

  • The bipartisan House Subcommittee on Federal Lands passed the BOLT Act with a unanimous vote. This primes the BOLT Act for a House floor vote, or, it is likely to be compiled into a recreation package similar to America’s Outdoor Recreation Act, which has already been reintroduced in the Senate and includes the BOLT Act. The vote stalled out before a vote on the House floor at this time.

May 17, 2023: BOLT Act Passes Senate Committee

  • The Senate Energy and Natural Resources passed the BOLT Act as part of America’s Outdoor Recreation Act (AORA) by voice vote with no opposition. With bipartisan support by both Chairman Manchin (D-WV) and Ranking Member Barrasso (R-WY), the bill will now be recommended to the full Senate for consideration.

November 29th, 2023: EXPLORE Act is introduced in the House

  • The Expanding Public Lands Outdoor Recreation Experiences (EXPLORE) Act was introduced by Congressman Westerman (R-AR) and Congressman Grijalva (D-AZ). EXPLORE, a bipartisan package of outdoor recreation policy that could serve as a companion to AORA in the Senate, included the BOLT Act. 

November 30th, 2023: EXPLORE Act has first Committee hearing

  • IMBA continued to provide outreach and support for the EXPLORE Act and the BOLT Act within. Read IMBA’s written testimony.


January 17th, 2024: EXPLORE Act, containing the BOLT Act, passes markup in the House Natural Resources committee unanimously.

  • After passing the House Natural Resources committee, the EXPLORE Act (H.R. 6492) was included on the Legislation Considered Under Suspension of the Rules schedule in the House. 

April 9th, 2024: EXPLORE Act passed on the House floor amidst flourishing bipartisan support. 


What needs to happen next? 

The EXPLORE Act now moves to the Senate for debate and voting. When passed by the Senate, it will go to the President for final signature and will be written into law. IMBA is hopeful for the passing of the EXPLORE Act in 2024.

What Can You Do to Help Advance the BOLT Act?

IMBA is following the progress of the BOLT Act, the EXPLORE Act, and AORA into 2024. Even though the 118th Congress is threatened by government shutdown and another round of spending cuts, a bipartisan, bicameral recreation package (AORA in the Senate and EXPLORE in the House, which both include the BOLT Act) still has a solid chance of passing this spring or early summer. 


Remind your lawmakers you care about the BOLT and EXPLORE Acts today. 

Take Action

IMBA Local Letters of Support Template


Be ready for timely action alerts from IMBA as EXPLORE/AORA and the BOLT Act continue in the 118th Congress!

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