America's Outdoor Recreation Act Gains Momentum in Congress
Media contact: Eleanor Blick
IMBA Senior Communications & Advocacy Manager
(BOULDER, Colo., June 18, 2020) — The National Forest System Trail Stewardship Partnership Funding program, in collaboration with the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) and other partners has selected its 2020 grant awardees. Through the program, more than $110,000 and countless hours of volunteer work will be dedicated to 15 projects that will improve mountain bike trails in National Forests across the country.
“We thank the U.S. Forest Service for continuing to fund this partnership, one that acknowledges and appreciates mountain bikers and other trail volunteers as dedicated and exemplary stewards of our public lands,” said Dave Wiens, IMBA Executive Director. “Innovative opportunities like these, alongside IMBA’s Trail Accelerator grants and Dig In program, will mean more and better riding in communities across the country this year.”
The National Forest System Trail Stewardship Partnership grant program supports organizations leading volunteer and stewardship efforts for trail maintenance on National Forest trails. The program was made possible through the National Forest Trail Stewardship Act of 2016, which helped IMBA pass alongside several partners. The Act significantly increases the role of volunteers and partners in trail maintenance to help address backlogged maintenance projects on National Forest System trails. The funding comes from dedicated U.S. Forest Service funds, which demonstrates the significance the agency gives to the program.
A total of 39 projects were funded out of 65 proposals, and more than $500,000 in funding requests were made while $301,000 were funded, with in-kind matching bringing the total to over $1 million that will be dedicated to trails. Nine out of the 10 U.S. Forest Service Regions will receive funding. The return on investment (from cash and in-kind contributions) from the selected projects is roughly 5:1. Of the 3,500 trail stewards expected to participate in the funded trail projects, about 2,000 volunteers and staff will be working on projects with mountain bike components. These projects account for 641 of the 1,326 miles of trail that will be maintained through these grants. Work will include additional signing, trail clearing, reroutes, bridge and structure repair, and improvements to drainage.
IMBA congratulates the local stewardship groups and mountain bike organizations that received grant awards, including:
- Sedona Red Rock Trail Fund for Sedona area trails
- Mountain Bike the Tetons for Teton Basin Ranger District trails
- Upper Merced River Watershed Council for Bass Lake Ranger District trails
- Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association for Aspen Sopris Ranger District
- Friends of Panthertown for Panthertown Valley trails
- Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association for Namakagon Trails
- Friends of Blackwater for Blackwater Canyon trails
- Northwoods Volunteer Connection for Cook County trails
- Yavapai Trails Association for Prescott area trails
- Watershed Center for Weaver Basin trails
- Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado for Arapaho-Roosevelt Pike-San Isabel National Forest trails
- Ojai Valley Land Conservancy for three Ojai area trails
- Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship for Middle Fork Feather River trails
- Volunteers of Lewis Trails for Dark Meadows Trail
- Arizona Trail Association for Santa Catalina National Forest, Arizona Trail
The program is a joint partnership between the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance and the U.S. Forest Service, in collaboration with IMBA and a diverse array of trail partners, including: American Trails, the American Hiking Society, Back Country Horsemen of America, the American Motorcyclist Association, and the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council. Further information on the National Forest System Trail Stewardship Partnership Funding program and the 2020 awards can be found at wildernessalliance.org/trail_funding.
The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) creates, enhances and protects great places to ride mountain bikes. It is focused on creating more trails close to home to grow the quantity and quality of mountain bike trail communities across the U.S., so everyone has access to close-to-home rides and iconic backcountry experiences. Since 1988, IMBA has been the worldwide leader in mountain bike advocacy and the only organization focused entirely on trails and access for all types of mountain bikers in all parts of the U.S. IMBA teaches and encourages low-impact riding, grassroots advocacy, sustainable trail design, innovative land management practices and cooperation among trail user groups. IMBA U.S. is a national network of local groups, individual riders and passionate volunteers working together for the benefit of the entire community.