Media contact: Eleanor Blick
IMBA Senior Communications & Advocacy Manager
(BOULDER, Colo., May 21, 2021) — The National Forest System Trail Stewardship (NFSTS) Funding Program has partnered with the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) and other trail groups to award $547,000 to 48 projects in nine U.S. Forest Service (USFS) regions. In-kind matching will bring the total to over $2.5 million dedicated to trails. Of those awardees, 24 include trails that are open to mountain bikes. A total of $289,125 will be used to maintain and repair over 1200 miles of mountain bike and multi-use trails with the aid of 2691 volunteers. The number of grants has increased since last year, rising to meet growing demand for trails and outdoor recreation.
“Trails are busier than ever, and we are excited that we can increase trail access for so many users through our partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and other dedicated outdoor stewards,” said Dave Wiens, IMBA executive director. “We educate our IMBA Local chapters and affiliates around the country about these grant opportunities to help them access funding for their community trail projects.”
The NFSTS partnership grant supports organizations leading trail maintenance efforts in National Forests. The program was made possible through the National Forest Trail Stewardship Act of 2016, which IMBA, alongside several partners, helped to pass. The Act significantly increases the role of volunteers and partners in trail maintenance to aid in addressing backlogged projects such as signage upgrades, trail clearing, reroutes, bridge and structure repair, and improvements to drainage. The funding comes from dedicated USFS funds, demonstrating the significance the agency gives to the program.
The Enchanted Circle Trails Association in the Taos, New Mexico area was awarded an $8000 grant to improve 39 miles of trail with 40 volunteers. Access to the Lost Lake trail, once closed to mountain bikers, was recovered with help from IMBA and the local mountain bike community who supported the Wheeler Peak Wilderness boundary adjustment that was part of the 2014 Columbine Hondo Wilderness Act. Enchanted Circle Trails plans to connect this stunning, high alpine trail with the Middle Fork trail, up to Bull of the Woods meadow, and then back down to the village of Taos, creating a route of more than 22 miles.
“Connecting the Lost Lake trail up and over the ridgeline and back into the valley will create an epic backcountry trail experience through remote alpine landscapes with scree fields, exposure, and incredible views,” says Carl Colonius, director of Enchanted Circle Trails. “We are grateful for the NFSTS grant, which gives us the opportunity to build and maintain sustainable trails in this beautiful environment for our community to enjoy.”
In Eastern Idaho, the National Forest Foundation, the Wood River Trails Coalition, and Higher Ground are joining forces to expand trail opportunities for adaptive cyclists on The Adams Gulch Adaptive Sports Trail Enhancement Project. Crews will improve 6 miles of trail by widening existing bridges that are too narrow for adaptive cyclists and constructing a new section of purpose-built trail. The upgrades will ensure a safe and fun experience for adaptive athletes while minimizing user conflict and improving overall conditions across the entire Adam’s Gulch trail system.
“The WRTC is excited to support this project, as it addresses a need in our area for more accessible trails for adaptive mountain bikers,” said Sara Gress, executive director of WRTC. “We have a fantastic trail system and with some work, we can make it even better for more people. Diversifying the trail offerings in our area is important to us, and we are thankful for the support provided by the NFSTS grant to make this a reality!"
Three of the largest wildfires on record in the state tore through Colorado in 2020, burning 20% of lands in Grand County where the Headwaters Trails Alliance is based. The Alliance secured $20,000 in NFSTS funds and plans to work with volunteers and youth corps to assess and maintain 250 miles of USFS and BLM system trails along with assisting in fire recovery work. Tasks include removing 30,000 downed or hazardous trees, mitigating more than 25 miles of trail, and creating burn piles over a 7-mile stretch. Miles of fire-ravaged trails will be reopened to the community as soon as approved by land managers.
IMBA congratulates the local stewardship groups and mountain bike organizations that received grants:
Arnold Rim Trail project for Arnold Rim Trail
BCHA San Joaquin-Sierra for reopening 100 miles of trails around the Fresno County area closed to the public after the Creek wildfires
BCHA Virginia Highlands for trails in the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area
Continental Divide Trail Coalition for the Lehmi Pass section
Cottonwood Foundation for Wasatch Front trails
Durango Trails for the Colorado Trail in the Columbine Ranger District
Enchanted Circle Trails for Lost Lake and other area trails
Friends of Panthertown for trails in Natahala National Forest
Friends of Pathways for trails in the Bridger-Teton National Forest
Headwaters Trail Alliance for trails in the Sulphur Ranger District
Mammoth Lake Recreation for trails in Mammoth Lakes
Mountain Bike the Tetons for trails in the Teton Basin & Palisades Ranger Districts
National Forest Foundation--Gunnison for the Kannah Creek trail system and other trails in the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests
National Forest Foundation--Sawtooth for the Adams Gulch Adaptive Sports Trail
Overland Mountain Bike for trails in the Canyon Lakes Ranger District
Routt County Riders for trails in the Hahn’s Peak- Bears Ears Ranger District
Santa Fe Fat Tire Society for trails in the Espanola and Pecos Ranger Districts
Sonoran Desert Mountain Bicyclists for Pinaleno Mountain trails
Toulomne River Trust for trails in the Groveland Ranger District
Tucson Off-Road Cyclists to restore fire-damaged trails in the Coronado National Forest
Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado for trails in the Arapaho-Roosevelt and Pike-San Isabel National Forests and Cimarron-Comanche National Grasslands
Yavapai Trails for Groom Creek Loop Trail #307 in the Prescott National Forest
Yosemite South Gate Trails for trails near the southern entry to Yosemite National Park
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 2021 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 great places to ride. 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.