Honoring Local Leaders
Contact Eleanor Blick
IMBA Communications Manager
(Montrose, Colo. August 24, 2018) – The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) was at Colorado’s Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park today for two reasons: to help the National Park Service and the Conservation Fund celebrate the addition to the park of 2,494 acres purchased with funding from the imperiled Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF); and to highlight and emphasize the importance of Congress—and the Colorado delegation in particular—doing whatever it takes to pass permanent reauthorization of this important legislation by the September 30 deadline.
The LWCF is America’s most important program to conserve irreplaceable lands and to improve outdoor recreation opportunities throughout the nation. It benefits people of all ages and from all walks of life.
“I’m here representing mountain bikers from Colorado and across America who value access to high-quality outdoor recreation on public lands,” said David Wiens, IMBA Executive Director. “This acquisition using LWCF funding is representative of how valuable the program is to all outdoor recreational users. There are numerous examples around Colorado of LWCF-funded projects that benefit mountain bikers, hikers, trail runners, anglers, hunters, climbers, paddlers and other outdoor enthusiasts. That this program may expire at the end of September is simply unacceptable for trails close to home and around the country.”
Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) spoke at today’s event and called the LWCF, “the crown jewel of our countries’ conservation programs.” Senator Gardner highlighted the public benefits of the bipartisan program and has co-sponsored legislation for its permanent reauthorization.
Established in 1964, the LWCF was a bipartisan commitment by Congress to the American people to use royalties, not taxpayer dollars, from offshore oil and gas extraction to protect natural areas and resources and to provide for outdoor recreation and access. The LWCF has invested more than $260 million to protect Colorado’s unparalleled outdoors and provide recreation opportunities that help fuel our state’s $28 billion outdoor recreation industry.
Eight IMBA EPIC trails in five states have been made possible through LWCF funding, including Upper Buffalo Headwaters in Arkansas, Bangtail Divide in Montana and Rock Lake in Wisconsin. In Colorado, trails in seven national forests have received more than $70 million in LWCF funding, along with the Continental Divide Trail, which has benefited from LWCF support in Colorado and other states.
“We believe that for Colorado, as the home of untold stunning natural landscapes and opportunities for outdoor recreation, permanent reauthorization of LWCF is imperative. The responsibility for this rests clearly on our elected officials in Washington DC,” Wiens said. “We are requesting strong leadership on LWCF from Senator Gardner, Senator Bennet, Representative Tipton and the rest of the Colorado delegation to drive permanent reauthorization across the finish line before September 30. Mountain bikers across the nation benefit from this funding and we look forward to the program’s continued success.”
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.