Honoring Local Leaders
Contact Eleanor Blick
IMBA Communications Manager
(Washington D.C., November 28, 2018) On Thursday, November 29, 22 members of the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) will fly into Washington, D.C. to meet with Congressional leaders, to emphasize the critical importance of fully funding and permanently renewing the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The group includes IMBA Board members, leaders of IMBA Chapter Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts (MORE) and high school students from the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA). These mountain bikers will meet with the offices of 15 influential Congressional representatives from Colorado, Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, California, North Carolina and Washington State.
LWCF is the most successful conservation program in U.S. history. It is responsible for protecting public land and creating and enhancing opportunities for mountain bikers and other outdoor recreation enthusiasts to enjoy America’s national forests, state parks and other open spaces in every state in the nation. But after 53 years of outstanding service to the American public, Congress allowed the fund to expire on September 30.
“Now that Congress has reconvened after the midterms, permanently reauthorizing and fully funding LWCF must be a top priority,” said David Wiens, IMBA Executive Director. “We are in Washington to let key members of Congress know how important LWCF has been to mountain bikers and our fellow outdoor recreationists, from the trails close to home to the iconic backcountry rides LWCF has helped create. There is great urgency to take LWCF across the finish line as quickly as possible. Since Congress let LWCF lapse, the fund is losing nearly $2.5 million per day.”
Access to public lands is vital for mountain biking and public enjoyment of the outdoors, and LWCF has funded numerous projects that benefit mountain bikers, hikers, trail runners, anglers, hunters, climbers, paddlers and every other outdoor enthusiast. Eight IMBA EPIC trails, from Arkansas to Montana to Wisconsin, have been made possible through LWCF funding.
“As a mountain biker, I see firsthand LWCF’s impressive roster of trail enhancements and improvements to public lands across the country,” said Chris Conroy, IMBA Board Chair and President of Yeti Cycles in Golden, Colorado. “As a business owner, I appreciate LWCF’s efficient funding mechanism that uses royalties, not taxpayer dollars, from offshore oil and gas extraction to protect natural areas and provide superior outdoor recreation access. I am asking Congress to permanently renew LWCF and fully fund it at the authorized level of $900 million without further delay.”
“Despite overwhelming bipartisan support, LWCF is experiencing strong opposition from a small number of legislators who could potentially block the legislative process for any reauthorization,” Wiens said. “Mountain bikers and outdoor enthusiasts from all over the country would be grateful, and I believe all Americans will be pleased to see this 115th Congress united before the term ends on January 3rd, to permanently reinstate the best outdoor protection tool Americans have ever had.”
The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit educational association established in 1988. Its mission is to create, enhance and protect great places to ride mountain bikes. Learn more at imba.com.