IMBA and mountain bikers continue decade-long involvement with America's Red Rocks Wilderness Act
The following is a press release sent to us by the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) in regards to America's Red Rocks Wilderness Act, a bill that Black Diamond also strongly supports.
For Immediate Release 10-01-09
Earlier today, the congressional subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands reviewed America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act. The bill would designate more than 9 million acres of Utah public lands as Wilderness.
Jenn Dice, IMBA’s government affairs director, says that it is unlikely the bill will be approved in the near term, as it lacks congressional supporters in the House and Senate who hail from Utah. “This legislation has been in development for more than two decades, and likely will not be signed into law anytime soon. But IMBA remains committed to protecting the best interests of riders and protecting public lands in one of the most iconic states for mountain biking,” says Dice.
Although Utah Congressman Wayne Owens originally introduced the bill 20 years ago, this was its first congressional hearing. IMBA has been at the table with the Utah Wilderness Coalition (UWC) and Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) for more that 12 years, working to shape the bill with mountain bikers’ interests in mind. During that time IMBA has conducted three statewide inventories of current and potential mountain bike trails in the Wilderness Units associated with the proposal. IMBA can support many of the Wilderness areas as proposed, but is in ongoing negotiations on areas important to cyclists.
Throughout these comprehensive negotiations, IMBA has worked with Wilderness advocates to preserve bicycle access to trails by adjusting boundaries. One example is the Porcupine Rim Trail. The trail now serves as the boundary between two Wilderness units — an arrangement that will protect the trail and the incredible scenery around it.
To complement boundary adjustments, IMBA recommends non-motorized corridors and the creation of National Conservation Areas to add lasting protection to Utah’s public lands without jeopardizing bicycle access. IMBA is continuing to work with the UWC to protect bike access for important trails, including Lower Porcupine, Bar M and Goldbar Rim. “Wilderness advocates have been willing to work with us in dozens of places through out the state and we look forward to resolving our remaining issues,” says Ashley Korenblat, an IMBA representative from Moab.
• IMBA has been negotiating the Red Rock Wilderness proposal with SUWA and UWA for more than a decade.
• IMBA’s affiliated clubs in Utah have done three statewide inventories assessing trail opportunities and threats.
• IMBA believes that land protection doesn't have to be at the expense of bicycle access — we can protect the land and allow our continued use.
• IMBA is in negotiations with the bill's sponsors to suggest a National Conservation Area for several key trails important to the Moab mountain bike community.
• We are asking for additional areas to set aside for continued mountain bike use.
• IMBA has already successfully negotiated for continued access to Porcupine Rim, Amasaback, Slickrock and dozens of other cherished Moab rides.
• IMBA supports responsible Wilderness designations and suggests complementing these areas with other land designations that allow for bicycling.
• To learn more about IMBA’s position on protecting public lands without eliminating bicycle access, please visit our online resources.