U.S. Forest Service has signed a five-year agreement with the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) encouraging Forest Service staff at all levels to work with IMBA to advance low-impact mountain biking. This marks the first widespread official sign that mountain biking is being embraced as a healthy, non motorised and non damaging recreation, rather than a menace.
Forestry officials are being encouraged to use IMBA’s trail building and bike management expertise and is aiming to have IMBA’s trail etiquette guides distributed at car parks, visitor centres and campsites.
Over this side of the pond years of hard work by forest creatures such as Dafydd Davies and Mike Innerdale have already created a very pro mountain bike policy. Including dedicated trails in several forest areas – particularly Coed Y Brenin and other Welsh forests and Dalby forest in Yorkshire. These are all drawing in support from various mountain bike related companies such as Red Bull, Karrimor, 9Feet.com, MBR and Pace. They are also attracting huge visitor numbers to often previously deserted areas, with an overwhelmingly positive effect on the local economy. This “pro” attitude is gradually percolating upwards to the top branches of the Forest Enterprise tree and hopefully we’ll be seeing a similar announcement to the American one shortly.
In the meantime, check out the IMBA site to learn more about their pioneering trailbuilding and advocacy acivities, and get working on the pro message in your own area.