Project selections for 2018 National Forest Trail Stewardship Grant Program have been announced, and the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) has recognized 23 of the 42 selections as trails that enhance places to ride mountain bikes in National Forests.
"We thank the U.S. Forest Service for our continued partnership, one that acknowledges and appreciates mountain bikers as dedicated and exemplary stewards of our public lands," said Dave Wiens, IMBA Executive Director. "Innovative opportunities like these grants, alongside IMBA's Trail Accelerator and Dig In Grants, will impact hundreds of mountain bike trails in communities across the country this year."
The National Forest System Trail Stewardship Partnership Grant Program supports organizations leading volunteer and stewardship efforts for trail maintenance and deferred trail maintenance backlog on National Forest trails. The program was made possible through the National Forest Trail Stewardship Act of 2016, which IMBA advanced and championed alongside several partners.
The Act significantly increases the role of volunteers and partners in trail maintenance to help address the deferred trail maintenance backlog on National Forest System trails. This is the second year of the program and funding for grants nearly doubled compared to 2017 awards. The funding comes from dedicated U.S. Forest Service funds, which demonstrates the significance the agency gives to the program.
A total of 42 projects were funded out of 114 proposals, totaling $402,000 in grants with $3 million in further grant-matching opportunities. The 23 projects with mountain bike components will receive $264,000 before grant matches. Of the 5,300 trail stewards expected to participate in the 42 funded trail projects, 3,706 volunteers and staff will be working on projects with mountain bike components. These projects account for 697 of the 1,700 miles of trail that will be maintained through these grants. Work will include additional signing, trail clearing, reroutes and bridge repair on trails across the country.
Mountain bike organizations that received grant awards include:
- Boulder Mountain Bike Alliance, for Magnolia Trails
- Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association, for Rock Lake Trail (IMBA EPIC)
- Mountain Bike the Tetons, for Phillips Ridge trails
- Northeast Georgia SORBA, for Bull and Jake Mountain trails (IMBA EPIC)
- Southwest Montana Mountain Bike Association, for multiple trails
- Tucson Off-Road Cyclists & Activists, for the Canada Del Oro trail in the Santa Cantalina District
The program is a joint partnership between the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance and the U.S. Forest Service, in collaboration with IMBA and other partners, including: American Trails, American Hiking Society, Back Country Horsemen of America, the Blue Ribbon Coalition and the American Motorcyclist Association.
Further information on the National Forest System Trail Stewardship Partnership Funding program and the 2018 awards can be found at www.wildernessalliance.org/trail_funding.