IMBA and the National Park Service
In 2015, IMBA signed a Master Challenge Cost Share Agreement with the USDA Forest Service. The agreement allowed IMBA and IMBA Chapters to cooperate with the Forest Service to develop, plan and implement mountain bike and trail projects that are mutually beneficial and enhance Forest Service activities. This serves as a mechanism for financing projects with matching funds from cooperators.
"With national forest funding levels stagnant and diminishing, this is an essential means to leverage volunteerism among our mountain biking community so we can make a dent in the backlog of trail maintenance needs." said IMBA's executive director at that time, Mike Van Abel. "This is smart management by the Forest Service where a little bit of public money can unleash equal or greater amounts of private investment for the benefit of the health and vitality of our nation's national forests and their trails."
This is not a procurement agreement: The partner organization must fund at least half the total cost of selected projects. The partner organization can meet its share through cash, services, and/or other in-kind contributions. The agreement is not exclusive to IMBA and its chapters—the Forest Service may enter into other partnership or procurement agreements with other mountain bike and trail organizations.
This agreement works at all levels within the Forest Service. IMBA Chapters can leverage the partnership using Supplemental Project Agreements (SPA) for local efforts. Two projects were selected as pilots to demonstrate the effectiveness of the partnership, one in Georgia's Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest and the other in California's Stanislaus National Forest.
More About the Pilot Projects
The Aska Trails project is located on the Blue Ridge Ranger District of the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest. It includes the assessment and reconstruction of existing drainage structures to be more conducive to a quality mountain bike experience on Flat Creek (165B). So far, the project has funded a 1,250-foot trail relocation, decommissioned 800 feet of old trail and completed about 1/2 mile of drainage improvements, with more funds remaining. This effort is part of a larger trail plan with the Blue Ridge Ranger District and IMBA.
The project in the Groveland Ranger District of the Stanislaus National Forest includes a Trail Stewardship Summit. The gathering will include volunteer and agency training, partnership development, and stewardship events, including a trail volunteer day. The purpose of the Summit it to establish the vision, skills and relationships to launch a community-based trail system in Tuolumne County. Learn more about the project and its outcomes here.