Canadian Cyclist


December 21/06 5:43 am - 2006 IMBA Report Card Gives B.C. a 'C'

Posted by Editor on 12/21/06

2006 IMBA Report Card Gives B.C. a 'C'
Courtesy IMBA

The 2006 IMBA Report Card hails Oregon and Scotland, while handing demerits to British Columbia and Montana. The Report Card, now in its eighth edition, gauges the riding opportunities and advocacy strength in the United States, Canadian Provinces and nations with significant IMBA activities.

In 2006, IMBA has stepped away from assigning each state, province and nation individual grades. Instead, we're hoping to focus attention where it's most needed: the top of the class, and the problem students who will need extra attention to succeed in 2007.

Category: Top Dog in USA
State: Oregon
Grade: A

We've always said that there's more to the Top Dog award than offering world-class trails - entries like the North Umpqua and the Mackenzie River trail mean that Oregon stacks up with any place you could visit in that regard. Our reasons for making this selection go beyond outstanding riding. There's also a statewide plan for developing trail recreation that should be inspirational for the rest of the Union. On top of that, Oregon's standout bike clubs - like the Columbia Area Mountain Bike Advocates (CAMBA), Central Oregon Trail Alliance (COTA), Oregon Mountain Bike Alliance (ORMBA), Portland United Mountain Pedalers (PUMP) and others who are working diligently to protect trail access. They've even helped shape a bike-friendly land management plan for Mount Hood - no small trick. Meanwhile, the Black Rock Mountain Bike Association (BRMBA) has established outstanding freeriding resources by collaborating with the Oregon Department of Forestry. All that, plus there's a microbrewery on four out of five street corners. What more could a mountain biker want?

Category: Global Superstar
Nation: Scotland
Grade: A+

"The Scots have gone positively bonkers!" That was the comment that best summed up the way we've seen mountain biking progress in Scotland - the first nation to record back-to-back honors in this hotly contested category. By "bonkers," we mean they're promoting the sport on all fronts, including a nationwide strategic plan that lays the groundwork for a network of fantastic bike parks on Forestry Commission lands. The plan covers every aspect of the sport, from trail construction to management schemes to tourism promotion. Their biggest problem? Deciding how to best transport hoards of enthused riders to the top of popular gravity-fed trails (ski-lift service is a rarity). The "7Stanes" mountain bike centers are frequently cited as a success story for adventure tourism. From cross-country to downhill to bike parks, Scottish riders have access to every kind of knobby-wheel fun, and they're ready for more.

Category: Most Endangered
State: Montana
Grade: C-

It's not easy to "get away from it all" in the Lower 48 these days - unless you're riding in the Big Sky state. In Montana you can bike all day without seeing another person, and bask in magnificent mountain ranges, meadows and alpine lakes. Unfortunately, this kind of two-wheeled bliss will become a thing of the past if a new Forest Service proposal succeeds in banning bikes from many of the state's most beautiful roadless areas. The Forest Service seems to be operating under the misperception that bicycles are tantamount to motor vehicle traffic. Bicycles are quiet and human-powered, but if we get lumped with motorized users, mountain bikers risk losing access to more than 700 miles of amazing singletrack. Montana advocates are determined, but small in number. They need others to step up and help them protect the land in a way that allows bicycles. If mountain bikers don't make a stand for access in Montana, some of the nation's most scenic rides could be lost.

Category: 2007 Alert
Nation/Province: Canada/British Columbia
Grade: C

"It's a catch-22 situation. They say we need insurance, but they can't say where we might be able purchase it." That's how James Brown, an IMBA rep and the president of the South Island Mountain Bike Society views a new plan that could affect the way mountain bike trails on Crown lands in BC are managed. In the fall of 2006, the Ministry of Tourism, Sport and the Arts (MTSA) released its first draft of a management plan for mountain biking in British Columbia. If the plan is adopted, it will put the onus on individual trailbuilders and mountain bike clubs to maintain trails to the government's standards - and possibly to provide liability insurance for trails with technical features. In case you've never had the privilege of riding here, nearly all trails in BC are technical (wonderfully so). Many aspects of the MTSA's mountain biking plan are well thought-out. But not this aspect of it. As Grant Lamont, a former president of the Whistler Off-Road Cycling Association, recently told the Pique, "We have to look at the positives, that the province is recognizing mountain biking as a legitimate sport and that when trails are on Crown land they should meet certain standards for quality." That's good news, but if the kinks - including insurance and maintenance responsibilities - aren't worked out, the government might shut down some of the most iconic trails ever built. Stay tuned in 2007, as IMBA Canada works on the resolving this very concerning situation.


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