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IMBA Suppports New BLM Mountain Biking Plan
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has released a final National Mountain Bicycling Strategic Action Plan for the management of mountain biking on the BLM's 262 million acres of public land. The 31-page document represents the most comprehensive mountain bike management plan created by any land management agency.

The plan was announced yesterday, November 12, at the National Trails Symposium in Orlando, Florida.

"This is a great plan," said IMBA's executive director Tim Blumenthal. "It addresses the current desires of mountain bikers, leaves most decision making to local managers, and is adaptable as the sport evolves."

The BLM decided to produce a mountain bike-specific plan last year following a flood of comments from IMBA leaders and members on the BLM's Off-Highway Vehicle Strategy. That plan originally proposed to group mountain bike management with that of motorized vehicles.

Mountain bikers played a key role in shaping the new plan. The BLM considered thousands of cyclists' comments, sent a team of leaders to the 2002 IMBA Mountain Bike Advocacy Summit, and included long-time IMBA advocate Mark Flint of Tucson, Arizona, as an advisor.

The BLM did not adopt suggestions from the American Hiking Society and others that recommended a "closed-unless-open" trail policy and a prohibition of bicycling from national conservation areas.

IMBA believes the 10-year plan sets a positive, proactive direction for the BLM. It offers constructive advice to local managers, clearly recognizes changing demographics, identifies emerging bicycle and trailbuilding technologies, and discusses other issues unique to mountain biking.

The BLM now faces the challenge of implementing the plan. IMBA will cooperate with the agency by providing volunteer resources and technical assistance. IMBA will also continue to seek adequate recreation management funding from Congress.

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