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IMBA Presses Mountain Bike Access, Funding Issues at National Bike Summit

For Immediate Release 03-14-2013
Contact kristy [at] imba [dot] com (Kristy Kibler)
IMBA Government Affairs Coordinator
303-545-9011 ext. 108

The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) recently returned from another successful trip to the National Bike Summit, the nation's premier cycling advocacy gathering. IMBA was again a carbon-level supporter of the annual event, which is hosted by the League of American Bicyclists and takes place in Washington, D.C. IMBA attends to represent mountain biking interests in the halls of Congress and to educate its members on how to be successful, politically-savvy advocates.

In various meetings around the capitol, IMBA targeted lawmakers, their staffs and federal agencies to advance the messages that recreation compliments conservation and that trails with bike access are good for the economic wellbeing of communities. IMBA focused on advancing relationships with federal land agencies—including meeting with the National Park Service to discuss current and future projects—pushing for the confirmation of REI CEO Sally Jewell as the next Secretary of the Interior, advocating for the preservation of the $85-million Recreational Trails Program that benefits trail systems in all 50 states.

IMBA staff also took part in 15 strategic meetings with Senators, Representatives and their staff regarding various Public Lands Initiative (PLI) campaigns. Through the PLI, IMBA maintains a national-level seat at the table on active land protection proposals in Colorado, New Mexico, Montana, Oregon, Idaho and Washington, showing support for legislation that preserves public land in a bike-friendly manner and targeting legislation that could potentially close mountain bike trail access.

This year, 50 leading mountain bike advocates attended IMBA-specific sessions, learning how to tell their stories and get money and support for their trails. IMBA "dirt track" sessions included: Green Wheels: Making the Connection Between Conservation and Recreation, Bringing Trail Stories to Life Through Mapping, and the Dollars and Sense of Mountain Biking.

"The political side of things can't be left out, as much as we all wish we could leave it out," said Mountain Bike Hall of Fame inductee, Hans Rey. Rey is on IMBA's honorary board and attended the National Bike Summit for the first time this year. "Having a presence and voice in politics regarding bicycles—whether it's on a local or national level—is like the difference between starting a race in the front row and having to catch up from behind. My respect and gratitude goes to all the dedicated advocates who contribute to making a difference, one pedal stroke at a time."