For Immediate Release 3-2-2011
Contact Mark Eller
IMBA Communications Director
markeller [at] imba [dot] com
303-545-9011 ext. 115

Hundreds of bicyclists from around the nation are preparing to visit Washington, D.C. next week for the National Bike Summit (March 8-10). Couldn’t make the trip this year? Fear not, you can still support our efforts by becoming a virtual delegate.

Here are three easy steps to follow:

  1. Contact your legislators in Washington and express your support for maintaining the Recreational Trails Program — RTP is IMBA’s top-level “ask”
  2. Follow our progress all week by monitoring IMBA’s Facebook page and Twitter posts (use #NBS11)
  3. Stay tuned to IMBA’s website and social media outlets for post-summit reports, and register for free eNewsletters delivered to your inbox each month

The League of American Bicyclists hosts National Bike Summit, with IMBA providing major sponsorship. Our presence during the summit week includes sessions and workshops designed to help the mountain bike advocate lobby for public lands funding, protection and access.

Public Lands Initiative Campaigns Featured at Bike Summit

IMBA’s Public Lands Initiative team is working with summit delegates to continue pushing for improved bicycle access in two dozen hotspots around the nation. With all of the new congressional leaders in Washington this session the timing is good to ensure that they are aware of mountain bikers concerns and that the lines of communication are open.

“The IMBA delegation will be on the lookout for new land protection bills that could shape bike access,” says Government Affairs Director Jenn Dice. “We will also be scouting for partnerships that could lead to major new riding areas — opportunities to recreate successes like the ones that IMBA has spearheaded in California’s King Range, Minnesota’s Cuyuna Lakes and Pennsylvania’s Raystown Lake.”

More About the Recreational Trails Program (RTP)

There’s good reason to put RTP funding at the top of IMBA’s “asks” list for the 2011 summit. No federal funding program does more for natural-surface trails — since 1993, RTP has funded almost 14,000 individual projects and helped communities in all 50 states build and repair thousands of miles of trail. Nearly $780 million has been made available to states for recreational trails over the last 19 years.

When contacting legislators about supporting the RTP, consider raising these points:

  • The economic impacts of RTP projects are vast. The trails and other facilities that RTP creates strongly benefit tourism and recreation businesses, as well as supporting healthy lifestyles. Work for these projects is primarily done by youth corps, volunteer and small businesses, providing employment opportunities across the economic spectrum.
  • Fifty percent of this formula-based program is apportioned to states equally. The remaining 50 percent is apportioned among eligible states based upon non-highway recreational fuel use in each of those states during the preceding year. The legislation applies the “users pay/users benefit” philosophy of the Highway Trust Fund, returning a small portion of the federal tax on fuel used for non-highway recreation to the states for trail projects.
  • RTP provides funds to states to develop and maintain recreational trails, trail education and training programs, trail patrols and trail-related facilities for both non-motorized and motorized recreational trail uses.
  • The Coalition for Recreational Trails maintains an online database of all RTP projects. We encourage you to search for projects in your state or district so that you can provide real-world examples in your meetings about RTP successes in your backyard.