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Mountain Bikers Speak at America’s Great Outdoors Initiative Listening Sessions

For Immediate Release 9-1-10
Contact: Mark Eller
IMBA Communications Director
markeller [at] imba [dot] com
303-545-9011 ext. 115

After a busy summer tour, the final listening sessions for the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative (AGO) will be conducted in upcoming days. Next, four principal agencies—Departments of the Interior (DOI) and Agriculture (USDA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ)—will begin the process of organizing the findings (as well as ideas generated from AGO's online polling) to create a report for President Obama this November.

IMBA has encouraged mountain bike advocates to attend the summer sessions. Meanwhile, IMBA's professional staff has met regularly with AGO leaders in Washington, D.C. this summer to ensure mountain bikers' interests are represented. Some of the key points raised by both our volunteers and full-time advocates include:

• Bicycling draws young people to outdoor activities and improves their stewardship of public lands as adults.
• Bicycling on trails is a sustainable, low-impact activity and a viable economic redevelopment option for many communities.
• Mountain bikers want to see the forests and mountains where we ride protected in their natural state, with clean air and clean water.

IMBA Executive Director Mike Van Abel has been tracking the AGO effort since it was announced at an invite-only presentation at the White House this spring. "IMBA has long held formal agreements with all of the federal agencies that oversee public lands — partnerships that have greatly benefitted mountain bikers. Also, our network of IMBA-affiliated chapters and clubs maintains similar agreements with hundreds of  land managers working at the state, county and other levels," says Van Abel. "The emphasis that mountain bikers place on building productive partnerships with land managers will continues to serve us well as the White House evaluates the findings from the AGO sessions."

IMBA also participated in an AGO-related "Home Grown" listening sessions sponsored by the Outdoor Industry Association and the Outdoor Alliance.

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