About these ads

Mountain bikers dispute charges against national park trail

Big Bend National Park. MAP COURTESY NATIONAL PARK SERVICE.

IMBA says trail planning process was started under a national partnership to promote mountain bike opportunities in parks

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A Boulder-based bicycling group is defending its advocacy for a mountain bike trail in Big Bend National Park. Conservation and watchdog groups charge that the National Park Service erred by starting construction of the trail before giving the public a chance to comment on the final decision — as required by federal law.

The International Mountain Biking Association doesn’t dispute what it calls a procedural error on the part of the agency, but says it’s been partnering with the park service since 2005 to expand cycling opportunities in national parks.

The bike group is also challenging other statements made by critics of the trail in a statement on its website. Some of the critics have said the Big Bend trail would be the first in a national park, while IMBA points out that there are trails on other lands administered by the agency, including Golden Gate National Recreation Area, north of San Francisco, seen by some as the birthplace of mountain biking. See a full list of authorized mountain roads and trails in national park units here. Continue reading

About these ads

Park Service slammed for new bike trail at Big Bend NP

The Chisos Mountains in Big Bend National Park. PHOTO COURTESY NATIONAL PARK SERVICE.

Watchdog groups raise conflict of interest issues and fault the park planning process

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A simmering controversy over a new mountain bike trail in Big Bend National Park boiled over again earlier this month, as the park service started work on the trail before publishing a formal Finding of No Significant Impact or issuing required  rule-making.

Conservation groups are stewing over the project, which will create a trail in an area previously identified as potential wilderness. They also see a potential conflict of interest on the part of a former park service official now involved with a local mountain bike advocacy group. Continue reading

Ski resorts, mountain bikers form new partnership

Mountain biking at Colorado ski areas could benefit from a new partnership between the National Ski Areas Association and the International Mountain Biking Association.

Formal cooperation could lead to expanded cycling opportunities at ski areas the next few years

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Developed mountain bike activities at ski resorts around the country could get a boost from a new partnership between the National Ski Areas Association and the International Mountain Bicycling Association aiming to increase visitation and improve summer mountain biking experiences at U.S. ski areas.

The two organizations signed a memorandum of understanding about the same time Congress passed a ski area summer use bill that could ease permitting for more extensive mountain bike facilities than currently exist. The mountain bike organization helped the ski industry lobby for passage of the summer use bill.

“Formalizing our partnership with IMBA is a logical progression, and we look forward to strengthening our symbiotic relationship further and leveraging the resources of both of our organizations toward the end benefit of our valued members,”  NSAA president Michael Berry said in a press release. Continue reading

Mountain bike trail planned in Big Bend National Park

Hiking in Big Bend National Park. PHOTO COURTESY THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE.

Backers and critics are rallying their troops for public comment

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — In a potentially precedent-setting move, Big Bend National Park is pushing to build a single-track trail designed for mountain bikes in its undeveloped backcountry.

The project is a collaboration between the south Texas national park and a private mountain biking group, raising disturbing “pay-to-play” questions about user groups carving out park lands for special purposes, according to comments filed today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.

The environmental assessment for the 10-mile trail and associated parking lot is open for public comment through April 2, 2011. Most of the backcountry trail would be single-track — about the width of a bike, with one-way traffic moving counter clockwise. Horses would be barred from the trail. Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,523 other followers