IMBA Helps Diversify Colorado's Central Mountains Proposal, Expects Rep. Polis and Sen. Udall to Introduce Bills in 2014/2015
There is a new era in public land conservation efforts. Colorado mountain bikers have been working effectively with conservation advocates on a new Central Mountains Land Protection proposal, and this has resulted a more localy crafted and broadly supported proposal. The resulting Wilderness and Special Management Area campaign includes three counties: Eagle, Pitkin and Summit.
In 2011, after months of work with IMBA clubs U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (CO-D) introduced a bill (H.R. 1701, The Eagle and Summit County Wilderness Preservation Act) that would preserve the most important trails in this area. Rep Polis has used boundary adjustments, corridors, and companion designations to produce model legislation that accommodates mountain biking. IMBA is a champion of companion designations, such as Special Management Areas, National Protection Areas, National Scenic Areas, National Conservation Areas or Wild and Scenic River designations. Companion designations offer a compliment to Wilderness to protect our public lands and do not restrict bicycle access. IMBA is proud of the hard work by our clubs and was happy to support Rep. Polis bill. However, the bill was unsucessful in the 112th Congress.
Since then, mountain bike advocates have been working to help further diversify the proposal by expanding Special Management Areas to include bike-friendly protections to more recreational landscapes and assets and identifying additional locations ideal for specific trail expansions. We expect Rep. Polis to reintroduce his modified bill in 2014.
Senator Udall (CO-D) is currently developing a companion bill to The Eagle and Summit County Wilderness Preservation Act to also be introduced in the Senate as early as 2015. IMBA is working with Udall’s staff to insure his bill reflects and expands upon the bike-friendly land protections in the Polis’ bill. In Pitkin County, IMBA along with the Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association, are reviewing maps and meeting with Wilderness advocates to insure continued access to iconic cycling trails. Sen. Udall is considering the addition of federal lands within Pitkin County to his prospective bill as well.
“We are committed to protecting these lands for their ecological values while maintaining important bicycle trail access that drives the recreation economy. People from around the world come to Colorado's Central Mountains to hike, bike, ski, and fish and hunt. Businesses open or relocate here based on that quality life. The recreation economy depends on land protection and continued quality trail access. Therefore, we want to use the resources and energy generated by those interests to help create permanent land protection legislation,” says Aaron Clark, Director of IMBA’s Public Lands Initiative.
Call to Action!
IMBA urges you to weigh in! Help support the passage of this important precedent setting Colorado legislation. Please send a letter to your congressman asking for their support of this precedent setting bike friendly land protection legislation.
IMBA is working closely with Rep. Polis and Sen. Udall to develop a diverse land protection bill that mountain bikers can support. We would expect bill to be introduced by both members of congress as early as 2014/2015, but this is a long process and delays are inevitable.
Contact aaron [dot] clark [at] imba [dot] com for more information on the Central Mountains campaign.
IMBA Clubs Active in this Campaign:
Email jason [dot] bertolacci [at] imba [dot] com to add your club to this list.
What Others are Saying:
Read the latest NY Times article on public lands protection, specifically mentioning Hidden Gems.
Send any articles, blogs or quotes to aimee [dot] ross [at] imba [dot] com to post here.
About IMBA's Public Lands Initiative:
The Public Lands Initiative is IMBA's effort to better organize local cycling communities and the bike industy to rally around bike friendly policies and public lands protection. Read more about the PLI.
Please consider contributing to our important campaign efforts.
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