IMBA Helps Diversify Colorado's Central Mountains Proposal, Expects Rep. Polis and Sen. Bennet to Introduce new Bill in 2017
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 in a more locally crafted and broadly supported proposal. The resulting Wilderness and Recreation Management Area campaign includes Summit County and eastern portions of Eagle County only. The Original Hidden Gems bill was reworked, reduced, and is now bike-friendly.
In 2017, IMBA and Summit Fat Tire Society of worked to further refine the bill to address past edits that, while not harming mountain biking, didn't maximize mountain bikng benefits. In Jan, 2017, IMBA met with advocates and agency managers (USFS/CPW) to discuss a trail connectivity study, MOUs with CPW and expansion of the Tenmile Recreation Management Area. We expect these issues to be further addressed in the month leading up to introduction.
Watch our 2015 IMBA film "Crossing the Divide" about the Central Mountains project for a more entertaining view of the work.
BACKGROUND: In 2014, after months of work with IMBA clubs, U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (CO-D) introduced a bill 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, Recreation Areas, National Protection Areas, National Scenic Areas, National Conservation Areas or Wild and Scenic River designations. Companion designations offer a complement to Wilderness to protect our public lands and do not restrict bicycle access. IMBA is proud of the hard work by our chapters and clubs and was happy to support Rep. Polis bill. However, the bill was unsucessful in the 113th Congress.
Mountain bike advocates have been working to help the proposal by expanding the Recreation Management Area to include bike-friendly protections to more recreational landscapes and assets and identifying additional locations ideal for specific trail expansions. Rep. Polis reintroduced his latest bill in May 2015.
“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, fish and hunt. Businesses open or relocate here based on that quality of 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 Jason Bertolacci, IMBA's Colorado/Wyoming Regional Director.
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.
"Crossing the Divide"–IMBA short film examines land protection and recreation.
IMBA is working closely with Rep. Polis on this bill that mountain bikers can support. We expect the next iteration of bills to be introduced by Sen Bennet and Rep Polis in Congress in 2017.
Contact aaron [dot] clark [at] imba [dot] com for more information on the Central Mountains campaign.
IMBA Chapters Active in this Campaign:
Email jason [dot] bertolacci [at] imba [dot] com to add your club to this list.
What Others are Saying:
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.
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