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National Forest System Trail Stewardship Grants Awarded for 2023

National Forest System Trail Stewardship Grants Awarded for 2023

Funding for seven projects open to mountain bikes in National Forests

Media contact: Eleanor Blick
IMBA Director of Communications
(720) 900-4622

BOULDER, Colo. (May 25, 2023) – The National Forest System Trail Stewardship (NFSTS) Funding Program awarded a total of $262,000 to 17 trail projects in US Forest Service regions across the nation. Seven of the awards will benefit projects on trails open to mountain biking this field season. These projects received $72,839 for maintenance and repair of trails and facilities over roughly 260 miles of trails open to mountain bikers. Each of these projects support trail maintenance that is led by dedicated volunteers.

The NFSTS partnership grant is a joint partnership between the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance and the US Forest Service, in collaboration with the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), American Trails, American Hiking Society, Back Country Horsemen of America, the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council, and the American Motorcyclist Association. The grants support organizations leading trail maintenance efforts in National Forests. 

“IMBA values the opportunity to work with the National Forest System and to strengthen connections among national trail organizations,” said IMBA Executive Director David Wiens.” Trails are truly common ground for environmental stewardship and outdoor recreation. We will continue to engage and educate our IMBA Local partners on funding and advocacy opportunities that bring more trails close to home.”

This field season, IMBA Chapter Tuff Riders Los Alamos, NM was awarded $3,645 to clear and improve narrow portions of the Water Canyon trail. This investment improves 1.6 miles of trails, representing one percent of the trails maintained by the organization. For our clubs, support for even 1% of the trails they ride, love, and maintain is a big deal. 

The largest award this year was received by Friend of Panthertown, protecting and maintaining trails in the Panthertown Valley of North Carolina. $26,752 was awarded to the Friends of Panthertown’s stewardship project activating 250 volunteers to protect and maintain trails. The funds will be used for conservation and trail maintenance efforts across all 30 miles of Panthertown Valley trails.

“American Hiking Society is proud to join the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance and the USDA Forest Service, in collaboration with the broader trails community, in support of funding for these projects” said Tyler Ray, Senior Director of Programs and Advocacy, American Hiking Society.” The National Forest System Trail Stewardship Partner Funding Program is a critical way to address trail maintenance by leveraging non-profit partnerships that improve access for hikers and all types of trail users across the Forest Service.”

IMBA congratulates the local stewardship groups and mountain bike organizations that received grants: 

Ascend Wilderness Experience

Backcountry Horsemen of California, Mother Lode Unit

Backcountry Horsemen of Oregon, Sourdough Unit

Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation

Continental Divide Trail Coalition

Friends of Panthertown

Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness

Hungerford Trail Riders Association

Tuff Riders Los Alamos, NM

Munising Bay Trail Network

New Mexico Volunteers for the Outdoors

Post Wildfire OHV Recovery Alliance

Southwest Montana Mountain Bike Association

Vail Valley Mountain Trails Alliance

Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado

Washington Trails Association

Wildlands Restoration Volunteers

The NFSTS Funding Program is made possible through the National Forest System Trail Stewardship Act of 2016 which IMBA and partnering outdoor recreation and trails organizations 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. 


About IMBA
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. Learn more at

Kate Noelke, IMBA's Communications & Advocacy Specialist

Kate grew up on the backwaters of the Mississippi River biking, paddling, and wandering through the beauty of the Driftless Region of SW Wisconsin. She loves to make and share food she's grown or foraged, and believes all bodies belong on bikes (and wandering trails via whichever mode of…

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