Great American Outdoors Act Passes Congress
Media contact: Eleanor Blick
IMBA Senior Communications & Advocacy Manager
(Boulder, Colo., June 10, 2020) — A vote on the Great American Outdoors Act is expected this week, and IMBA is asking mountain bikers to contact their elected officials and voice their support. This set of bills is a monumental opportunity to net more funding for trails, recreation projects and trail maintenance. It includes fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) as well as putting billions toward the staggering deferred maintenance backlog on federal public lands.
“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for trail funding. IMBA and our partners have been working on these issues for decades, and this is our moment,” said David Wiens, IMBA Executive Director.
Mountain bikers helped get the Great American Outdoors Act introduced in the Senate in March, after securing permanent reauthorization for LWCF earlier this year. Fully funding LWCF at $900 million is the next step. Since 1964, LWCF has helped create trailheads, parks, mountain bike trails and other great outdoor recreation opportunities all across the country. It is a popular, bipartisan program that reinvests royalties from offshore oil and gas drilling into recreation and conservation projects. 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.
The deferred maintenance backlog on public lands is upwards of tens of billions of dollars across agencies. IMBA worked hard to have the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management maintenance backlogs included in addition to the National Park Service, as these two agencies are vital to mountain biking. IMBA Local Partners are intimately familiar with these backlogs, and have long helped federal land managers evaluate mountain bike trails and address maintenance issues to ensure enjoyable riding. Local Partners contributed more than 54,000 hours of volunteer stewardship on public lands in 2019.
“The pandemic has revitalized the importance of the outdoors. At the same time, it has highlighted how we don’t have enough trails close to home, and how trail access isn’t always equitable. The Great American Outdoors Act will help meet demand for accessible outdoor spaces, put people to work building trails and parks, and help create trail systems that provide lasting economic benefits,” said Wiens.
IMBA is asking all mountain bikers to contact their elected officials in support of the Great American Outdoors Act. This could be the last best chance for more trail funding in this Congress.
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.