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  1. #1
    YRG
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    Betterride drops IMBA

    Check out the article at betterride.net! Gene starts a discussion about how IMBA has lost it's soul and no longer benefits mountain bikers. Lot's of great discussion and ideas.

    Some questions asked are:
    1) Is imba using not for profit status to under bid legit trail builders?
    2) Do they kinda suck at building trails?
    And many more interesting thoughts
    Check it out and start a dialog.

  2. #2
    Cleavage Of The Tetons
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    Link?
    "We LOVE cows! They make trails for us.....

    And then we eat them."

  3. #3
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    Pretty weak if you ask me.

    Come on...they are cutting back the cactus too far...really?
    "The rides to short to not kick against the pricks" M.F.

  4. #4
    YRG
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob W View Post
    Pretty weak if you ask me.

    Come on...they are cutting back the cactus too far...really?
    Yeah, I thought that was weak also
    Rideit, the website doesn't have good link, go to betterride.net and click articles. It is the second one

  5. #5
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    IMBA definitely helped build the trails that Betterride will be using for their camp that utilizes our local trails! We wouldn't be where we are at today without IMBA, the local land manager requires affiliation with a national organization.

  6. #6
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    Locals' Guide to North Shore Rides http://mtbtrails.ca/

  7. #7
    YRG
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    Quote Originally Posted by airwreck View Post
    IMBA definitely helped build the trails that Betterride will be using for their camp that utilizes our local trails! We wouldn't be where we are at today without IMBA, the local land manager requires affiliation with a national organization.
    Could be why Gene was an imba supporter for so many years. The questions being raised concern what they are doing now. But if you have to affiliate with a national organization and there is no one better, then you really have no choice except to maybe help imba get back on track.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by YRG View Post
    Could be why Gene was an imba supporter for so many years. The questions being raised concern what they are doing now. But if you have to affiliate with a national organization and there is no one better, then you really have no choice except to maybe help imba get back on track.
    What they are doing now? They are providing legitimacy to satisfy the land managers. Our new trail built this summer and other skills areas under construction now would not have been built without IMBA and Trail Solutions assistance. I'm sure Betterrides customers will enjoy them. Unfortunately commercial activities are prohibited on these trails. See what I'm getting at? IMBA has been on track for our situation, we are trying to manage growth of the activity, unsuccessfully until we solidified the relationship with IMBA. Not much to complain about...

  9. #9
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    The trails we've had IMBA's help with.. are tame and boring and I believe we could have done better without them. All they really seem to be interested in doing is putting their logo on everything and taking credit for they mostly didn't do (when the local club brings a 5-6 hundred volunteer man-hours, and they bring a so/so "crew leader" (who was in no way essential), it's not "an IMBA project" no matter how much they want to claim it is.
    And the details of IMBA's first proposal for us as a chapter make me so angry I can't even talk about them. The gist was IMBA gets 60% of our membership dues and all decision-making for our club (there was even a clause that we couldn't use our logo or name without an imba logo or "an imba chapter" attached), and in return we got... nothing at all.

    Now some of Gene's complaints like IMBA web site offering info for free that one used to have to buy from a shop, are so weak that they detract from his valid point: that, at least from where I'm sitting, these days IMBA is more about egos and power than access or trails. I'm well aware they've done important work in the past, but I don't see them having done much lately.
    And the IMBA-built trails I've seen do kind of suck, in the sense that they aren't innovative or challenging, but pure lowest common denominator stuff that a first timer could ride on a hybrid wearing flip flops.

  10. #10
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    Our local chapters experience has been the complete opposite of what I am reading here. I would like to hear what some of these locations are with all these "problems" and hear what the land managers have to say about it.

  11. #11
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    Great thought provoking article Gene. All mountain bike advocates should read this because for the most part, WE are IMBA, and IMBA is US. Most if not all IMBA employees are just local advocates who decided to take their skills(or lack there of!) to a national level. If we don’t like it ….we should change it.

    They’ve done a lot of good in our state, though they’re not perfect. I hate saying “they!” (See above)

  12. #12
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    I don't agree that IMBA is "us." They have taken dues from the SF Bay Area for 25 years and done precious little here. I'm a mountain biker of nearly 30 years, an advocate of 15, a leader of riding programs of all this time and and substantial advocacy leader for 5 and IMBA certainly is not me.

    Maybe they used our dues in your neighborhood but not in ours. How nice for you.
    I don't rattle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob W View Post
    Pretty weak if you ask me.

    Come on...they are cutting back the cactus too far...really?
    When cactus is the only thing that keeps singletrack narrow in the desert, this is a BIG deal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Berkeley Mike View Post
    Maybe they used our dues in your neighborhood but not in ours. How nice for you.
    Lots of people from your neighborhood ride in ours. How nice for them. Sorry about your attitude, maybe that is part of your problem.

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    Calling my opinion "attitude", arrived at through years of working this equation, is pretty dismissive. As one of the 3 founding organizations of IMBA and the Northern California nexus of advocacy which IMBA took over, this opinion is shared by a very large group of advocates around here.

    Where is your neighborhood?
    I don't rattle.

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    You said it Mike. Biggest mistake was letting NorCamba die on the vine. Regional organizations with paid staff are going to give the most bang for the buck. I moved from the Bay Area up to Seattle four years ago and we've been able to build an organization with paid staff that is able to get things done...meet with land managers, we have our own project manager and trail builder, and we've built an amazing Mtn bike park, Duthie Hill, and are adding miles of local trails in the hardest terrain to build in. IMBA wants in in a desperate way, but they would give us nothing! And the local land managers agree. Of course you won't read anything about what we are doing in the IMBA newsletters...

  17. #17
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    Glad we have helped get this discussion started. In each of the past few years, Gene wrote blog articles about why he was donating so much money to IMBA (and other trail orgs). This year, he wrote and article about why he is donating to other groups instead of IMBA. Not meant to attack, but rather to question a group that has done lots of good, but may be straying from it's mission.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berkeley Mike View Post
    I don't agree that IMBA is "us." They have taken dues from the SF Bay Area for 25 years and done precious little here. I'm a mountain biker of nearly 30 years, an advocate of 15, a leader of riding programs of all this time and and substantial advocacy leader for 5 and IMBA certainly is not me.

    Maybe they used our dues in your neighborhood but not in ours. How nice for you.
    Why haven't you used IMBA for your local initiatives? Has IMBA been an enemy to your local advocacy efforts?

    They've been helpful to us in educating our membership with regards to trailbuilding, advocacy, growing our group, etc. We partner with them when we can and it makes sense, but we've done a lot on our own too. We have strengths, they have strengths. And we've built ALL kinds of trails, all of them to the specs WE CHOSE and all of them contour and obeying the rules of good trailbuilding, sustainability whatever you wanna call it. Anybody who says you can't build a techy trail to "IMBA" standards is just plain wrong and isnt looking hard enough. There's plenty of sustainable trails that are bulletproof. ie. Squirrel Gap, Laurel in Pisgah, Schooner at Brown Co, Jekyll and Hyde at Oak Mtn, Sinkhole at Santos.

    Don't get me wrong, we've had a few disagreements with IMBA thru the years too, but the overall picture has been good. Heck, we have disagreements within our own local group(roughly 400 paid members)too, but what dynamic group of individuals don't have a few rough patches that an epic ride and few beers can't solve!?!

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    Maybe our club (Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew) has been gifted a smooth ride by the mountain biking gods, but we have not had any of the issues mentioned above.

    Also, in Minnesota at least, Trail Solutions has never undercut a bid, so I can't speak to that.

    Look, IMBA is an organization made up of people like you and me. Because of that, they are imperfect and make mistakes. On top of that, you can never please all the people all of the time. So no matter what they do, someone is going to complain.

    A few things to keep in mind though:

    1. The IMBA Chapter program has been a raging success here in the upper Midwest. Maybe its because we don't have a lot older clubs that are set in thier ways, but everyone seems happy with the process and program so far.You don't get "nothing" for the 60% of dues your members pay. You get IMBA taking care of all the membership paperwork and a LOT of the back end stuff. That costs money. Either money your club would have to pay or tons of volunteer hours from your club members. Also, its nice if you have questions and need help on some matter to have a direct personal contact with IMBA be a phone call away.

    2. I've heard the complaint about "sanitized" trails and I'm not sure how much IMBA itself has to do with that. The Trail Solutions guidebook and standards allow for lots of diversity. But what gets flagged and built often is more about time and budgets than diversity. Then you get "I don't want to be sued" land managers. Work with your land manager and use club build days to personalize the trail some.

    3. One more thing about "sanitized" trails: it seems the people that complain about this most are bike jocks with some serious skills. But not everyone is that. Having trails that only appeal to that segment loses people that aren't that or will never be that. I've seen that when I visit Indiana. The trail builders down there do love their log crossings (even in supposed "everybody" trails) and aren't too forgiving about doing run-arounds or helper ramps off to the side. The result? Every trail I've been to down there seems to used by mostly bike jocks, and mostly male ones at that. (Or at least that is who is on the trails and in parking lots when I'm there.) Contrast that with trails in MN. We do our technical stuff mostly as b-lines or dedicated XX trails with the main trail fairly rollable. The result is that all riders can feel comfortable and progress skill wise. I think it shows in who uses our trails: on the weekends it is nearly 50/50 male/female and lots of families. In the long run, which rider group will foster good growth for our sport?

    4. If you want IMBA to change its direction, more will get accomplished from inside the system then outside. We here in the Midwest have some frustration will IMBA's focus on the West for trails. It would nice to see more of our dues go to a new trail system in MN,WI, or MI than yet another trail expansion in Park City, UT. But taking our ball and going home isn't going to help that happen. Working with your IMBA Regional Director will, however. (Shout our to our Regional Director, Hansi Johnson, who has been amazing.)

    5. Help yourself if you expect IMBA to help you. There is no nice way to put this: sometimes mountain bikers hurt IMBA's cause and then expect lots of help from IMBA. A lot of illegal riding happens in certain localities and it has soured many a city, county, or state park and lands department on mountain biking. Then many of the same jackwagons that ride trails illegally complain about a lack of mountain bike trails in an area. Take responsibility for your area, stop hurting the cause, and work with local authorities and land managers. IMBA will take notice then, trust me.

    Rideon makes a good point: people disagree. There is nothing wrong with that. What's wrong is when people won't try to work on fixing it.

  20. #20
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    I love it when people feel it's better to neg rep than actual contribute to a discussion...

    Got this one from "sambs827", berkely mike's "attitude" can be chalked up to the absurd amount of heart and soul he's poured into SFBA biking. dig around a bit and you'll see what i mean.

    Well sambs827, Mike's attitude I'm referring to is in regards to his forgetting that IMBA isn't here only for the bay area or Sedona.

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    funny to see this- COPMOBA was thinking this as well.

    From what I recall 2 years ago, my gf was interviewing a staff at COPMOBA for her rec management term paper. The staffer mentioned COPMOBA were thinking of dropping COPMOBA because they felt the IMBA were straying from its mission as well. Don't know ended up with that.


    Quote Originally Posted by BetterRide View Post
    Glad we have helped get this discussion started. In each of the past few years, Gene wrote blog articles about why he was donating so much money to IMBA (and other trail orgs). This year, he wrote and article about why he is donating to other groups instead of IMBA. Not meant to attack, but rather to question a group that has done lots of good, but may be straying from it's mission.

  22. #22
    YRG
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowboy76 View Post
    Maybe our club (Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew) has been gifted a smooth ride by the mountain biking gods, but we have not had any of the issues mentioned above.



    2. I've heard the complaint about "sanitized" trails and I'm not sure how much IMBA itself has to do with that. The Trail Solutions guidebook and standards allow for lots of diversity. But what gets flagged and built often is more about time and budgets than diversity. Then you get "I don't want to be sued" land managers. Work with your land manager and use club build days to personalize the trail some.

    3. One more thing about "sanitized" trails: it seems the people that complain about this most are bike jocks with some serious skills. But not everyone is that. Having trails that only appeal to that segment loses people that aren't that or will never be that. I've seen that when I visit Indiana. The trail builders down there do love their log crossings (even in supposed "everybody" trails) and aren't too forgiving about doing run-arounds or helper ramps off to the side. The result? Every trail I've been to down there seems to used by mostly bike jocks, and mostly male ones at that. (Or at least that is who is on the trails and in parking lots when I'm there.) Contrast that with trails in MN. We do our technical stuff mostly as b-lines or dedicated XX trails with the main trail fairly rollable. The result is that all riders can feel comfortable and progress skill wise. I think it shows in who uses our trails: on the weekends it is nearly 50/50 male/female and lots of families. In the long run, which rider group will foster good growth for our sport?



    5. Help yourself if you expect IMBA to help you. There is no nice way to put this: sometimes mountain bikers hurt IMBA's cause and then expect lots of help from IMBA. A lot of illegal riding happens in certain localities and it has soured many a city, county, or state park and lands department on mountain biking. Then many of the same jackwagons that ride trails illegally complain about a lack of mountain bike trails in an area. Take responsibility for your area, stop hurting the cause, and work with local authorities and land managers. IMBA will take notice then, trust me.

    Rideon makes a good point: people disagree. There is nothing wrong with that. What's wrong is when people won't try to work on fixing it.
    Very nice contribution to the discussion, Thanks
    Like to comment
    2) Sanitized trails. I like BC's response to IMBA's trail theory (specifically about safety) , which essentially said: "yeah that's nice, but we don't need to do that because our environment is unique" Sounded like they were saying: yeah, that may be good, but we can do better. Which of course they do, by a lot. I believe there is a way to balance the idea of fun with the idea of "I live in america and whatever I do is not my fault". Meaning we can have fun trails and protect ourselves from stupid people trying to say their stupidity is the trailbuilder's fault.

    3) Sanitized trails vs. ability. I live in a town with poor riding skills (Park City, Utah). Since most of our riders are unskilled, we think we have a great trail system. Mostly because we have so many trails. I believe any rider can develop skills. I believe average people can be expert riders. So I believe there should be beginner trails up to extremely difficult trails and everything inbetween. I also believe that every trail should be fun. I know beginner trails that are a total blast to ride. Trails can also accommodate a wide range of ability. Things like alternate lines and different take offs.
    Mostly, I don't like the conversation of sanitized trails. I do like the conversation of fun trails with defined ability ranges. There should be trails I can't ride until I can ride at a certain level. This is where the frustration comes. Take a trail that people can ride. Say 5% of the people can ride all of it. 95% have to walk some. Perfect! There is no better way to remind a person that skills can be improved than by walking something other people ride. I hate it when we try to take an existing trail and make it so an average rider can ride everything. That lowers the bar. Let's train the rider.
    5) Illegal riding has been a driving force for advancement and problems. I think it has done more good than harm. Moab's best trails were illegal. Pirate builders cooperating with land managers has been a great evolution to mountain biking. I think this conversation is to ask IMBA to stop it's new practice of hurting mountain biking. Maybe this is only growing pains but I see them as:
    Bad for my community, by reinforcing the idea that our poorly built trails are epic.
    Bad for riders, there idea of a certified instructor is seriously lacking
    Bad for fun, THEY just don't build great trails. We have a company here in Park City who build most of our trails and they kinda suck. They say they are giving the people what they want. (unimaginative trails, bull dozed in straight lines with switchbacks) But that is like saying, bad riders should stay bad and not learn to be good riders.
    Let's be better riders and let's have great trails. IMBA should want that! If they have to get out of the way to do it, so be it

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    Quote Originally Posted by YRG View Post
    Illegal riding has been a driving force for advancement and problems. I think it has done more good than harm. Moab's best trails were illegal. Pirate builders cooperating with land managers has been a great evolution to mountain biking.
    Clearly, you have never had to deal with not getting/loosing trail access over the issue of illegal trails. Its happened before and its happening currently. Our club gets a lot "how did you guys do it" calls and we occasionally get some groups that have awesome terrain, awesome clubs, but are having a hard time getting expansions going due a culture of illegal riding. It becomes this sort of thing: "Why should we approve new trail? You guys are adding your own without our permission anyway."

    Quote Originally Posted by YRG View Post
    I think this conversation is to ask IMBA to stop it's new practice of hurting mountain biking. Maybe this is only growing pains but I see them as:
    Bad for my community, by reinforcing the idea that our poorly built trails are epic.
    Bad for riders, there idea of a certified instructor is seriously lacking
    Bad for fun, THEY just don't build great trails. We have a company here in Park City who build most of our trails and they kinda suck. They say they are giving the people what they want. (unimaginative trails, bull dozed in straight lines with switchbacks) But that is like saying, bad riders should stay bad and not learn to be good riders.
    Let's be better riders and let's have great trails. IMBA should want that! If they have to get out of the way to do it, so be it
    I get what your are saying, but its not exactly 100% IMBA. If the trail builder is building bad trails, the first question I have ask is "why"? Is it a failure of IMBA standards? Is it a failure of plans and specs? Is it failure of flagging/inspection? Of those three, only one is IMBA's baby unless they are designing the plans and specs or flagging it (which they do very little of). Cuyuna was built to IMBA standards and its usually praised for its flow and fun. Copper Harbor is too. As a Dirt Boss I don't believe its the trail standards. That means the onus is on the plan and specs person and the flaggers/inspectors, not IMBA.

    To be honest, that is my only issue with Gene Hamiliton's article. He suggests every bad trail builder is somehow IMBA. Unless he lives in a part of the country where every mile of trail is built by Trail Solutions, his beef isn't with IMBA. He mentions that Trail Solutions underbids other trail builders. That may happen in his neck of the woods, but its not happening here. As someone that does engineering/survey/planning work for a living and has for years, I can tell you that for any trail on a non-private (i.e. municipal, state, federal) land, a bidding process is REQUIRED by law. So if the builders he likes aren't winning the bids, that's not IMBA's fault.

    I agree with you about IMBA needs to be more rigid on the standards as to what is a "Epic Ride". Mileage just isn't enough. Its got to be quality vs. quantity.

    On sanitized trails - Cuyuna has about no where near the amount of b-lines and technical features it was supposed to. Some might complain its "sanitized". That actually happens a lot, technical features dropped to ensure the project is completed. But this is where locals, working with the land manager, can come in and add some real personality.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by slop View Post
    You said it Mike. Biggest mistake was letting NorCamba die on the vine. Regional organizations with paid staff are going to give the most bang for the buck. I moved from the Bay Area up to Seattle four years ago and we've been able to build an organization with paid staff that is able to get things done...meet with land managers, we have our own project manager and trail builder, and we've built an amazing Mtn bike park, Duthie Hill, and are adding miles of local trails in the hardest terrain to build in. IMBA wants in in a desperate way, but they would give us nothing! And the local land managers agree. Of course you won't read anything about what we are doing in the IMBA newsletters...
    Isn't your "organization" an IMBA affiliate?

    I'd say sanitized trails v. techy trails and trails with more challenging features are more due to the local biking culture, terrain, local building partners, land manager requirements, etc. than the IMBA trail building guide book. Just ride Sandy Ridge in Oregon, a partnership between IMBA, the local affiliate NWTA and BLM. The trails there can challenge riders of any skill level.
    Sometimes, you need to go fast enough that the trail is a blur to find clarity. -- Wild Bill

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    Affiliate yes, chapter no. The only real benefit we get is membership insurance.

    Here is my point: We are getting a whole more done with local paid leadership. This did not happen overnight, but the results speak for themselves. And if Seattle can support a paid local organization to get new trails built, why can't the Bay Area. You get a full time local person who can meet with politicians and meet with land managers, and you can get results.
    Your other point is valid. Local this and that should have more say in what gets built. I just think money is better spent if it stays local.

  26. #26
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    Keep it going

    Quote Originally Posted by snowboy76 View Post
    Clearly, you have never had to deal with not getting/loosing trail access over the issue of illegal trails.
    Very true, we have had the opposite. Our trail growth was rooted in illegal trail building. One guy got busted building on mine property. The company looked into more closely and hired him to build more trails. Unfortunately, the company that builds our crappy trails, put him out of business.

    Quote Originally Posted by snowboy76 View Post
    Cuyuna was built to IMBA standards and its usually praised for its flow and fun. Copper Harbor is too. As a Dirt Boss I don't believe its the trail standards. That means the onus is on the plan and specs person and the flaggers/inspectors, not IMBA.
    Very nice to hear success stories. Congrats! And I like your point about responsibility. It really does come down to the designers and builders.

    Quote Originally Posted by snowboy76 View Post
    To be honest, that is my only issue with Gene Hamiliton's article. He suggests every bad trail builder is somehow IMBA. Unless he lives in a part of the country where every mile of trail is built by Trail Solutions, his beef isn't with IMBA. He mentions that Trail Solutions underbids other trail builders. That may happen in his neck of the woods, but its not happening here. As someone that does engineering/survey/planning work for a living and has for years, I can tell you that for any trail on a non-private (i.e. municipal, state, federal) land, a bidding process is REQUIRED by law. So if the builders he likes aren't winning the bids, that's not IMBA's fault.
    I didn't get the feeling that Gene was suggesting every bad trail is IMBA's fault. His point about the underbidding is based on an unfair advantage IMBA holds when bidding against professional builders. So even though municipal, state, and federal projects require bids, other companies don't have the tax status that imba has and can't compete.

    Quote Originally Posted by snowboy76 View Post
    I agree with you about IMBA needs to be more rigid on the standards as to what is a "Epic Ride". Mileage just isn't enough. Its got to be quality vs. quantity.
    Agreed, this is the one that really pisses me off!
    Park City's gold award legitimizes some really poorly built trails and it's embarrassing when some of us are actually thinking we are at the top of the heap. If you were to take every foot of high quality trail in PC, it would fit inside of two or three trails at whistler. (All of Canyons fits in one)

    Quote Originally Posted by snowboy76 View Post
    But this is where locals, working with the land manager, can come in and add some real personality.
    Quoted for truth

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rideon View Post
    Why haven't you used IMBA for your local initiatives? Has IMBA been an enemy to your local advocacy efforts?

    They've been helpful to us in educating our membership with regards to trailbuilding, advocacy, growing our group, etc. We partner with them when we can and it makes sense, but we've done a lot on our own too. We have strengths, they have strengths. And we've built ALL kinds of trails, all of them to the specs WE CHOSE and all of them contour and obeying the rules of good trailbuilding, sustainability whatever you wanna call it. Anybody who says you can't build a techy trail to "IMBA" standards is just plain wrong and isnt looking hard enough. There's plenty of sustainable trails that are bulletproof. ie. Squirrel Gap, Laurel in Pisgah, Schooner at Brown Co, Jekyll and Hyde at Oak Mtn, Sinkhole at Santos.

    Don't get me wrong, we've had a few disagreements with IMBA thru the years too, but the overall picture has been good. Heck, we have disagreements within our own local group(roughly 400 paid members)too, but what dynamic group of individuals don't have a few rough patches that an epic ride and few beers can't solve!?!
    Rideon, they've been everywhere but here, on our dime, because it was low hanging fruit; the only way anyone seems to be able to explain they saw what we had to face. Just too hard. And now they've come back here because it us important to have a piece of the one of the largest Mtb markets in the world. And do you know what they want? Half of everything.

    Dude, we know how to build trails.
    I don't rattle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by snowboy76 View Post
    He mentions that Trail Solutions underbids other trail builders. That may happen in his neck of the woods, but its not happening here. As someone that does engineering/survey/planning work for a living and has for years, I can tell you that for any trail on a non-private (i.e. municipal, state, federal) land, a bidding process is REQUIRED by law. So if the builders he likes aren't winning the bids, that's not IMBA's fault.
    To clarify on this, some pro builders claims that Trails Solutions use the IMBA non-profit status as a way to reduce their price, which underbid the rest of the industry. To some, this is considered unethical. This was addressed at the last PTBA conference with IMBA-TS boss.
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  29. #29
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    I think IMBA is a great resource but should not be put on a pedestal. It provides great insurance, federal level advocacy and a focal point for industry to plug into a comparable corporate beast. For clearly... based on their annual gross revenue... they are a beast.

    Our glassy eyed admiration for IMBA faded when we got our first big shot at building a 18 mile trail into the Downieville Ca area. Although we had the resources (equipment and skills) to build the trail, we really needed coaching on working with the agencies and preparing grants. The response was a $$$ price tag that blew my mind. Since then, we have built around 60 miles of trail without their help. Other than our insurance (which will not cover any compensated staff) there is no direct benefit.

    Building trail is mostly labor after you have equipment. Developing your own skill sets and investing in equipment is definitely a best option if you are so inspired. This and managing your own membership is a no brainer if you have the support, but the reality is that for every 100 riders... you have one person willing to contribute. Finding competent individuals and developing the infrastructure to manage especially larger communities of people can be difficult and that is where the chapter program could possibly help.

    This is the same for building trail, if you have more $ than initiative, hire Trail Solutions or a competent trail contractor. My experience is IMBA TS is very competent and competitive in their contracting capacity. 95% of the trail design and standards are set by the land manager. PTBA is a great starting place to find other trail builders to compare.

    I think the biggest disappointment is that I think IMBAs main push should be providing education and resources. Based on what they build and do through Trail Solutions, they provide around 3% of the available wisdom to help people build their own trail. My suggestions to IMBA to boost their web support to builders... forums..., resources...(affordable) workshops, equipment discounts and training etc... all are absent in lieu of TS, the biggest trail contracting corporation in the world.

    I think there is a bit of a conflict of interest.

  30. #30
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    Interesting discussion.

    NEMBA has been a good partner for Fairfield County riding. We're close to NYC and probably could go or have gone IMBA with our chapter, but having a regional organization who builds in the same terrain and knows what we're dealing with is awesome. We thought about it, but having the contacts regionally and infrastructure locally (or closely) available is huge.

    Do we have our gripes? Yes, but we're empowered and know we can call in regional support if we need it for advocacy.

    Regarding sanitization: Funny how when you're cranking out new trail and your techy lines get built last people complain about sanitized trail, then when you deliver the techy lines, no one wants to ride them? Whenever we build "biker jock" trails from the start folks don't ride them and then volunteers don't want to come out again cause they can't ride what's been built... so its all a balance.

  31. #31
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    Here is an x-post from AZ Forum, where IMBA has in my opinion totally effed things up and sold out the locals. Form your own opinions, but please read this and other similar threads over in AZ. I will not ever join IMBA, I have little use for a National org that wants to control local issues. I think they should stick to high-level advocacy and being a resource for local orgs needing help with specific expertise.

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  32. #32
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    IMBA offers the best and worst of a figurehead advocacy support group. Our LM is happy to turn to them on reputation. Using IMBA trail building standards allows us leeway to work in our national park, which is good. However, when IMBA recommended to the LM that our entire trail system be made unidirectional, without any consultation with local volunteers or their local club chapter, they illustrated an arrogance that is disrespectful to locals and poorly thought out. This is an established (if mostly illegal) trail system of about 60km. It is not a design plan that can be constructed unidirectional from scratch. It is an unenforcible recommendation and one that increases liability and risk in our opinion. More to the point it halves the available trail and and immediately creates a point of conflict that is not constructive.

    Advocacy is not a one way street. If IMBA is to be an umbrella advocacy group, it has to advocate in both directions via consultation. A lot of the angst in this thread is due to the perception IMBA makes decisions without due respect to local issues.

    "Regarding sanitization: Funny how when you're cranking out new trail and your techy lines get built last people complain about sanitized trail, then when you deliver the techy lines, no one wants to ride them? Whenever we build "biker jock" trails from the start folks don't ride them and then volunteers don't want to come out again cause they can't ride what's been built... so its all a balance."

    Totally agree about optional and harder trail sections being ignored by riders. Further, tech sections that are put in to fuel the need often get taken apart to make riding easier. However, there are 2 main sanitisers that are not being mentioned. The first is machine construction where the line has to be made generic, rather than finessed by hand. Second is 29er bikes - the ultimate trail sanitizer. You can never get it right and people forget that time changes trails. They do toughen up with use and erosion.

  33. #33
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    I'm IMBA's communication director, so some may dismiss this as shilling. But I wanted to offer a few recent news items for your consideration.

    IMBA engaging in advocacy: Remember IMBA's "Long live long rides" campaign? We are bringing it back, with a new purpose — to create better mountain bike access to long-distance trails across the U.S. Long Live Long Rides! | International Mountain Bicycling Association

    IMBA building trails for advanced riders: Just another double-black diamond MTB trail on public land, thanks to the 2013 Bell Bike Helmets "Bell Built" grants. 2013 Bell Built Grants: Copper Harbor, Michigan on Vimeo

    IMBA building trails for beginner riders: IMBA and the Boise Area Mountain Bike Association are teaming up to build a bike park designed especially for kids on no-pedal bikes. North Boise park to get new bike trail for kids » Idaho Statesman Blogs

    IMBA creating opportunities for trail development where none exists currently: A new bike park and singletrack trails network is on tap for a 100-acre parcel of wooded land in Cleveland, OH. Check out the initial project details for Kerrush Park: New Project on the Radar for Cleveland | International Mountain Bicycling Association

    IMBA raising money and distributing it to regional programs across the U.S. IMBA and its chapters are improving riding opportunities near you. Learn about current and upcoming projects in your region and how you can help. Support the Annual Fund | International Mountain Bicycling Association

    IMBA supporting a fundraiser for a local chapter: Bikes, BBQ and Bluegrass! Join Richmond (VA) MORE at Pocahontas State Park THIS Saturday, Oct. 26. The event is a fundraiser for the Richmond Region Ride Center. $25 gets you food, entertainment, guided rides and, more importantly, you will move the future IMBA Ride Center forward.

    IMBA Trail Care Crew helping a local group build sustainable trail that they are stoked about: Jesse and Lori of the Subaru-IMBA Trail Care Crew had a great visit last weekend in Jamestown, NY. They re-routed a section of unsustainable trail, adding almost 1,000 feet of distance. They did it with members of the Northern Allegheny Mou...See More Long Day, Amazing Results. | International Mountain Bicycling Association

    All of these efforts have soul, at least if you ask this corporate shill. And this is just a sample of stories from the past few weeks.

    -- Mark

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    Appreciate the discussion in here. Our local IMBA affiliated club is contemplating making the jump to chapter status. We've had some moderate success getting approval for trail work, but it's clear that the land managers would appreciate the clout that would come with IMBA affiliation.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by zachi View Post
    I think there is a bit of a conflict of interest.
    I used to be a provincial rep for IMBA for 5 years before starting my own trailbuilding company. I had to leave IMBA for obvious conflict of interest reasons.

    TS in Canada is only doing design/consultation work, not actual trailbuilding. Can't tell for the States.
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  36. #36
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    Mark E, you are just tooting the IMBA horn, posting press releases, but it has no relevancy to this discussion of us local trail builders and personal experience with IMBA. Put the pom-poms down.
    "The physician heals, Nature makes well" - real fortune cookie

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  37. #37
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    Read the stories and tell me if you think they don't reflect a lot of people's positive "personal experiences" with IMBA's work. And guess what -- plenty of local builders are involved in these projects. Rah-rah-sish-boom-bah!

  38. #38
    Cleavage Of The Tetons
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    Mark, thanks for chiming in on this thread, clearly there is a discussion occurring that IMBA shouldn't ignore.
    Can I ask you to be candid, and possibly review what IMBA could do, (or plans on doing) better in the future?
    "We LOVE cows! They make trails for us.....

    And then we eat them."

  39. #39
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    Here are some thoughts along those lines -- I started this essay in reply to Gene H's "has IMBA Lost Its Soul" blog. I decided not to publish my piece because others were defending IMBA, and the discussion was doing fine without me. I'll post it here in hopes of adding something useful to this discussion, though I'll admit that some posters seem to have their minds made up that IMBA is doing things wrong.

    Anyway, here's what I drafted:

    Mountain bikers have every right to have high expectations for IMBA, and to call us out if they think we're coming up short. As Gene Hamilton points out in his recent blog, he has been a supporter of IMBA in the past, including making donations both as an individual supporter and through his mountain bike skills instruction company, Better Ride. He writes that if IMBA addresss his concerns he will consider supporting us again.

    Fair enough. I'll try to address some of the concerns Gene raises:

    The first point he makes is that IMBA no longer focuses on mountain bike advocacy. This concern is easily addressed: In the eight years I've worked for IMBA we have steadily increased to number of staff members who focus on advocacy efforts. IMBA has expanded its reach in Washington D.C. by working with top-notch strategic advisors and lobbyists, resulting in significant advances for mountain bikers. On the state and local level, our Public Lands Initiative campaign imba.com/pli supports mountain bike groups in multiple states with more and better advocacy resources than ever before. And, IMBA's network of region directors devote much of their time and energy to advocacy work, again on the regional, state and local levels.

    Gene also asserts that IMBA's Trail Solutions arm acts too much like a for-profit business. It's true that Trail Solutions usually charges fees for their trail building services, which sometimes leads people to believe that it's a "for-profit" effort. In fact, many nonprofits collect fees and offer revenue-generating activities. So long as those activities fit with the nonprofit's mission, there is no problem with collecting fees. IMBA's mission is to create, enhance and protect great mountain bike experiences. If you read the Trail Solutions blog for even a few minutes you will find dozens of examples that show that their work fits perfectly with IMBA's mission. imba.com/blog

    Much of Gene's blog focuses on the allegation that IMBA dumbs down trails, detracting from their appeal to advanced riders. It's the old "trail sanitizers" label that IMBA critics have invoked over the years. It's frustratingly difficult to defend IMBA from this criticism. On one hand, there are groups that accuse IMBA of building "high speed, high thrill" trails that cater the mountain bikers but disappoint other types of trail users. On the other hand, there are mountain bikers who crave challenge and are dissapointed with any trail that they deem too beginner-friendly.

    There's also the IMBA tenant of building sustainable trails, which Gene recognizes as a positive thing, but describes in his next breath as "being done to feed someone's ego as the great 'Trail Dictator.'"

    I know that IMBA's Trail Solutions team jumps at every chance they get to build trails like Oregon's Sandy Ridge — trails that are both sustainable and challenging.

    But not every land manager is ready to approve trails designed for advanced skill sets and optimized for bikes. Many times IMBA's name is invoked (whether we built them or not) when tamer trails designed for shared use are built. Yes, trails in this mode are often too tame for an intermediate or advanced rider — IMBA will continue advocating for the idea that mountain bikers need a diversity of trails, including ones for experts to test themselvs on. Because we have built a 25-year legacy of trust with land managers, we're getting more opportunities, but they will are not coming fast enough to please everyone. Unfortunately, we don't get to dictate what kinds of trails get built as much as we'd like.

    As for IMBA's role in the professional trail building world, here are a few points to consider:

    - IMBA's books, Trail Solutions and Managing Mountain Biking, have a huge influence of land managers, helping them see the value of bike-friendly trail designs and construction carried out by trained volunteers and professional builders.
    - Our in-development book about bike parks strongly emphasizes the value of hiring professional bike park designers and builders.
    - Trail Solutions has built excellent examples of shared-use and bike-specific singletrack trails all over the nation, and indeed the world, providing land managers and the public with real-world examples of trails that enhance public lands. This has encouraged land managers to hire professional trail builders instead of relying on their in-house resources.
    - IMBA has successfully lobbied for legislation that enhances the professional trail building community, most notably the federal Recreational Trails Program which provides millions of dollars of funding for trails in all 50 U.S. states. The Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Act is another example of a bill that IMBA lobbied for successfully and has had a positive impact on the trail building industry.

    If IMBA didn't do these things, who would? There are many more examples of IMBA's work that benefits professional trail builders.

    IMBA isn't perfect, and Gene or anyone else who wants to point out our flaws has every right to do so. At the end of the day, IMBA is nothing more than a community of mountain bikers. We argue and squabble amongst ourselves all the time. Sometimes the arguments stem from a lack of information, or a rush to judgement. My role is to fill in the gaps of information so mountain bikers can decide for themselves whether to support us or not.

  40. #40
    zrm
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    Quote Originally Posted by thefriar View Post

    Regarding sanitization: Funny how when you're cranking out new trail and your techy lines get built last people complain about sanitized trail, then when you deliver the techy lines, no one wants to ride them? Whenever we build "biker jock" trails from the start folks don't ride them and then volunteers don't want to come out again cause they can't ride what's been built... so its all a balance.
    I'd say that 80% of the riders out there are still what these days what is categorized as "XC" or XC oriented "AM". Some people talk loudly about how trails are too "boring" and aren't "techy" enough for them but 1) people with those "mad skilz" are relatively few in numbers and 2) a lot of those guys who talk loudly go around rocks and roots, skid, etc just like the "noobs" do.
    .

  41. #41
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    Regarding IMBA... I am a dual IMBA & NEMBA member. They are, and (I hope), will continue to be separate entities that share common goals using similar methods.

    I expect IMBA to lead the charge on the National Advocacy level; taking the stand against anti-MTB sentimented groups; investing in getting the word out about responsible trail use; spending time to research trail design and sustainability (and getting the word out about user impact); and to generally support the rest of us out there as an aggregator of information on advocacy lessons learned. And where there is no advocacy base and needs to be, to help out the locals to get organized, etc.

    I think on this they do a great job!

    I expect NEMBA to provide the State relationships, club/admin support, and have the track record that when our local chapters go to local gov't or Land Managers, the NEMBA reputation opens the door. I expect that I and my fellow Chapter board members develop OUR LOCAL relationships and that we stay ALIGNED to the principles of shared-use, fun sustainable trail building and maintenance from IMBA and NEMBA.

    If we need state wide firepower we use NEMBA to organize the state chapters and solidify a single voice. Also, expect NEMBA to step up and help local chapters or groups of riders get organized and established (similar to IMBA, but just for New England).

    If IMBA offered us more $ per member and XX hours of Trail Care Crew or TS consultation time per year, plus better marketing (member & shop) and club development resources, maybe we'd consider it. But that's tough cause they don't have the State and regional Fed resource access or recognition with local MTB bike businesses/DH hills/etc.

    If I were to see another mtb organization pop up advocating maintenance or building at parks our Chapter works with, I'd wonder what the heck NEMBA, and our Chapter is doing wrong. Would probably not happen because we try to be pragmatic and represent the community and are open to hear issues, sometimes we can help, other times it's not our call to make (i.e. Land Manager goals/guidance; trade off between losing access or whole trail and having access and a non-techy/less "fun" reroute).

    Advocacy isn't easy, and if you do have to pick your battles. But if you can establish the trust and make concessions and prove your method and commitment, we have found that we can build what we want. Takes time and patience, which some people don't have and a year or two is too long for them.

    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    1) people with those "mad skilz" are relatively few in numbers and 2) a lot of those guys who talk loudly go around rocks and roots, skid, etc just like the "noobs" do.
    .
    Truth. I have some awesome b-lines sighted for trail we built this year and its nearly getting to TTF build season (Nov/Dec), we'll see how much use they see by end of next summer, but guessing it'll be hit or miss and most will get modified for friendlier access at least once during the next year.

  42. #42
    parenting for gnarness
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark E View Post
    Read the stories and tell me if you think they don't reflect a lot of people's positive "personal experiences" with IMBA's work. And guess what -- plenty of local builders are involved in these projects. Rah-rah-sish-boom-bah!
    the SW regional director's actions -- and the consent and support he received from the national org -- toward locals, local problems, local history is what turned me against IMBA. how does your org respond to the BS that went on in Sedona? No one from IMBA has yet offered a mea culpa. This was one of those bells that for many of us can't be unrung. You are National, not local, #1 on your mission statement should be to take a secondary role to the locals. Offer support, expertise, help build consensus, but ultimately defer.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by chollaball View Post
    the SW regional director's actions -- and the consent and support he received from the national org -- toward locals, local problems, local history is what turned me against IMBA.
    Being in the (local) advocacy end of this whole thing I have a question: Is the basic issue you have with IMBA the fact that the Regional Director moofed the pooch or that IMBA took the Forest Service's side in this?

    Here is why I as ask: All my reading of the Sedona issue makes the situation look like this: there is illegal trail building; someone, either IMBA or the local club, makes a deal with the Forest Service to get illegals trail made legal and pinky swears to do things by the book after that; yet, the illegal trail building continues; the Forest Service gets a little annoyed at this given the aforementioned pinky swearing; IMBA throws the local chapter under the bus (without warning/explanation); tells the Forest Service they will be dealing with another bike group. Please correct me if I got the gist of what happened wrong.

    Because if that is the gist of the situation, I get your issue with the Regional Director, he should have had a 'Come to Jesus' moment with the local club before any other action was taken. But illegal trail building is still wrong. Period. And if the above description of what happened is even close to what happened I could see how IMBA would feel like they had to choose sides and chose access to the Forest Service lands over the local chapter.

    I get your annoyance with the Regional Director, but I wonder if putting yourself in IMBA's shoes might not change your viewpoint on this. The last thing they want is someone within the Forest Service firing off emails and letters to the effect of, "the mountain bikers lied to us about stopping illegal trail building".
    Last edited by snowboy76; 11-07-2013 at 11:36 AM.

  44. #44
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    A quick note. IMBA DOES NOT have STANDARDS of trail construction.

    IMBA is a clearing house of information on current best practices, not standards. If you claim standards, then things become measurable to the red tape and legal crowd. IMBA itself says they do NOT publish standards.

    [QUOTE Is it a failure of IMBA standards?. Cuyuna was built to IMBA standards and its usually praised for its flow and fun. Copper Harbor is too. As a Dirt Boss I don't believe its the trail standards.

    I agree with you about IMBA needs to be more rigid on the standards as to what is a "Epic Ride". .[/QUOTE]

  45. #45
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    Oh, this is Sedona. There have been personality stuff there over the years.

    There are sample links below.
    Sedona has a history or personality conflicts on mtbr.com. Lots of accusations. I recall there being contentious displays between a petition author and IMBA. I would like to know if all of the same people are involved in these issues.

    Cross Posting From Arizona Forum

    Further in this thread it is revealed IMBA does not support this petition.
    Pettition to keep mountain bikeing leagal in Sadona.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowboy76 View Post
    Being in the (local) advocacy end of this whole thing I have a question: Is the basic issue you have with IMBA the fact that the Regional Director moofed the pooch or that IMBA took the Forest Service's side in this?

    Here is why I as ask: All my reading of the Sedona issue makes the situation look like this: there is illegal trail building; someone, either IMBA or the local club, makes a deal with the Forest Service to get illegals trail made legal and pinky swears to do things by the book after that; yet, the illegal trail building continues; the Forest Service gets a little annoyed at this given the aforementioned pinky swearing; IMBA throws the local chapter under the bus (without warning/explanation); tells the Forest Service they will be dealing with another bike group. Please correct me if I got the gist of what happened wrong.

    Because if that is the gist of the situation, I get your issue with the Regional Director, he should have had a 'Come to Jesus' moment with the local club before any other action was taken. But illegal trail building is still wrong. Period. And if the above description of what happened is even close to what happened I could see how IMBA would feel like they had to choose sides and chose access to the Forest Service lands over the local chapter.

    I get your annoyance with the Regional Director, but I wonder if putting yourself in IMBA's shoes might not change your viewpoint on this. The last thing they want is someone within the Forest Service firing off emails and letters to the effect of, "the mountain bikers lied to us about stopping illegal trail building".
    I think you got most of it, there are some details that might sway your view somewhat, providing some context as to why what IMBA did was so shitty. Some I will relay below, some really i only have 2nd hand so will just misstate if I try. If you've read about it, you know who to talk to for first hand info.

    1. IMBA was invited by SMBC (the locals, renegade builders etc). This club is an mtb club, locals, largely responsible for a lot of the mtb efforts. IMBA then basically took over after not agreeing with SMBC, propped up what is by most account a predominantly roadie club (VVCC) as their local chapter, and gave the FS a deal -- a political out to a conflict 10 years in the making. They literally shut out SMBC, said everything was grand, all stakeholders were now in agreement. That did not need to happen. If you are finding yourself in conflict with the locals, GTF out! don't take sides, don't insert yourself. This was not just the Regional Director, he did not act alone. IMBA was the last one to the table, but took over when (some of) the locals decided they did not want IMBA.

    2. The FS was far-and-away behind the curve in development in Sedona. Very very little new was happening that was approved, for years. Then some of these trails became wildly popular, and were tacitly condoned, then the hammer came down on bikers. Yes the renegade builders had a hand in the conflict, but the FS really did mismanage its duty to the people.

    3. There are many questionable stories about the decisions made by the FS head, about how her significant other was a trail boss. I don't know the details, but it seems very sketchy.

    4. I don't agree with your blanket view on illegal building. Let's not get into it here, I'm sure we both have strong feelings on it. but based on reports it seems like the mtb builders were singled out vs. a lot of hikers, homeowners etc who had also built many social trails. Sedona is a very difficult piece of land because you have new development backing right up to the forest, lots of 'changes' and not equal enforcement.

    5. One of the most infamous builders was native american, and the FS could not touch him. There is the perception that others were punished to send a message. That is not justice.

    6. The FS then banned bikes-only on a lot of trails, with incredibly suspect reasons.

    So IMBA stepped into this ugly mess, and even though items 2-6 were not their making, they took sides against the very people who built most of these now-adopted trails and who transformed Sedona into a top destination. I've been in AZ 15 years, rode Sedona about 5 times in my first 10, then about 15 times in the last 5. There is a route known as 'The Triple H' in Sedona now, all are now system trails, and its an amazing epic experience about what is possible on a bike. All of the 3 H trails (Highline, Hangover, High on the Hog) were illegal a year ago. Meanwhile, it does appear that the conflict and pressure has somewhat resolved and there are good things ahead for Sedona. I think IMBA's role in this perhaps helped the FS pull their heads out of their asses, but if IMBA deserves credit i think its more by accident. It got worse, before it got better. They could have done this so much more diplomatically, inclusively. The Regional Director was new to the area, but he for sure did not act without support. Fact is that they put 'something' ahead of the local riders, and that simply does not fly for me. The FS are Federal employees, they are so much more disconnected to the people they serve than local land managers, but I dont think we citizens should live in fear from them. They are here to serve the people, not the other way around. Banning everyone cause of a few people they mismanaged and alienated or simply could not prosecute as individual wrong-doers? Talk about being on a power-trip. And, IMBA gave them the political escape from this instead of making them eat their own cooking. If anything, IMBA helped enable federal bureaucrats to continue being dumbasses instead of facing the consequences of their mismanagement.

  47. #47
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    It is frustrating that Sedona drama takes over every IMBA discussion on MTBR. The original discussion just dies, and we get the self righteous entitled renegades of Sedona trying to justify their actions.
    "The physician heals, Nature makes well" - real fortune cookie

    CCCMB trail work for trail access - SLO, CA

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    Quote Originally Posted by slocaus View Post
    It is frustrating that Sedona drama takes over every IMBA discussion on MTBR. The original discussion just dies, and we get the self righteous entitled renegades of Sedona trying to justify their actions.
    *rolleyes* the guy posted a polite and thoughtful post, I gave him a polite and thoughtful response to his question. Sorry if I didn't raise my hand first.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by slocaus View Post
    It is frustrating that Sedona drama takes over every IMBA discussion on MTBR. The original discussion just dies, and we get the self righteous entitled renegades of Sedona trying to justify their actions.
    Really? 47 posts of good discussion in this thread before Sedona. And really it's on-topic, no? Besides, the Sedona renegades don't post on mtbr much, especially the guy that got banned.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by slocaus View Post
    It is frustrating that Sedona drama takes over every IMBA discussion on MTBR. The original discussion just dies, and we get the self righteous entitled renegades of Sedona trying to justify their actions.
    I disagree. The point that many of us are trying to make is that IMBA does not listen. Look at Mark's posts. He posted a bunch of propaganda that he created to cheer on their own efforts and uses it to show how people are happy.

    The Sedona issue is the current crown jewel of how IMBA does not listen to local needs and wants. IMBA will never make everyone happy, but they have their heads so far down the ostrich hole it is not even funny anymore.

    Mark's comment about being a corporate shill hits the nail on the head. IMBA is no longer a non-profit. It is all about the money and forcing its will on its members. I want a member driven organization back!

    When was the last time you got a ballot to vote for the board of directors?

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by splitter_66 View Post
    I disagree. The point that many of us are trying to make is that IMBA does not listen. Look at Mark's posts. He posted a bunch of propaganda that he created to cheer on their own efforts and uses it to show how people are happy.

    The Sedona issue is the current crown jewel of how IMBA does not listen to local needs and wants. IMBA will never make everyone happy, but they have their heads so far down the ostrich hole it is not even funny anymore.

    Mark's comment about being a corporate shill hits the nail on the head. IMBA is no longer a non-profit. It is all about the money and forcing its will on its members. I want a member driven organization back!

    When was the last time you got a ballot to vote for the board of directors?
    And that is precisely why I want the discussion to continue and NOT get sidetracked by the Sedona renegades. IMBA cannot condone renegade building, period. Sedona builders stepped in the $#!& and forced IMBA to do the only thing they could do in that situation. But that is not what the other 99.9% of the IMBA Chapters are dealing with now.

    We are an IMBA Chapter, and have recently asked for help on a couple issues, and gotten very poor replies. One wonders if they read the emails, or just pasted some canned replies from the IMBA script.
    "The physician heals, Nature makes well" - real fortune cookie

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    Quote Originally Posted by slocaus View Post
    And that is precisely why I want the discussion to continue and NOT get sidetracked by the Sedona renegades. IMBA cannot condone renegade building, period. Sedona builders stepped in the $#!& and forced IMBA to do the only thing they could do in that situation. But that is not what the other 99.9% of the IMBA Chapters are dealing with now.

    We are an IMBA Chapter, and have recently asked for help on a couple issues, and gotten very poor replies. One wonders if they read the emails, or just pasted some canned replies from the IMBA script.
    i think you wanting to focus on broader themes is fair, so I'll try to respect that. I dont know what other chapters are or are not dealing with. I am not a renegade builder or from Sedona. I do however see some lessons to learn in Sedona about how growth comes out of conflict, rather than collaboration. A topic for another day...

    IMBA just recently put on a skills park building clinic, and is giving my org (GROAZ) a grant for a park in Phoenix. AWESOME!!! Hopefully the strings attached are reasonable ones. My org is completely locally driven, all of our successes so far have been by local efforts. I welcome IMBA, if it defers to our leadership on policy. I am not a leader in the org, but the leaders in our org are very aware of the Sedrama.

    My point in Sedona which i repeated over and over in this thread, and which is 100% applicable to other chapters, is that IMBA doesn't *need* to do anything, ever. They can and should leave if they cant build consensus with locals, not alienate them and marginalize them. Those should be the mission. You don't have to condone illegal building, but you can walk away. Taking over where not wanted, feeling the need to act rather than withdraw, alienating the locals for some national agenda with the Forest Service -- those are hallmarks of organizational oligopoly taking over an org and causing it to think more about itself than about its membership. In that regard, Sedona is a very very revealing situation about IMBA.

  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by slocaus View Post
    And that is precisely why I want the discussion to continue and NOT get sidetracked by the Sedona renegades. IMBA cannot condone renegade building, period. Sedona builders stepped in the $#!& and forced IMBA to do the only thing they could do in that situation. But that is not what the other 99.9% of the IMBA Chapters are dealing with now.

    We are an IMBA Chapter, and have recently asked for help on a couple issues, and gotten very poor replies. One wonders if they read the emails, or just pasted some canned replies from the IMBA script.



    IMBA used an opportune moment in time to enter into a market they were not welcomed in by most, they were not "forced" to do anything but opted to do so anyway.

  54. #54
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    this thread made me realize IMBA is doing enough that i should throw down $30 to ***** at them, so i joined.

  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark E View Post
    I'm IMBA's communication director, so some may dismiss this as shilling. But I wanted to offer a few recent news items for your consideration.

    IMBA engaging in advocacy:

    IMBA building trails for advanced riders:

    IMBA building trails for beginner riders:

    IMBA creating opportunities for trail development where none exists

    IMBA raising money and distributing it to regional programs

    IMBA supporting a fundraiser for a local chapter:

    IMBA Trail Care Crew helping a local group build sustainable trail that they are stoked about:

    All of these efforts have soul, at least if you ask this corporate shill. And this is just a sample of stories from the past few weeks.

    -- Mark
    Mark,
    Welcome to the conversation. Please bring some substance and stop with the puffery. Perhaps you would like to address one of our concerns? In Park City, you set us back big time by telling the nation our poorly designed xc trail system is top notch. I can only think that you are selling out and considering anything but mountain biking. Which is strange for a mountain biking org.
    Or you could address Sedona's issues,
    Or the discussed problems with Trail Solutions
    Or the Map project
    Or how the North Shore and Whistler do such a better job all the while rejecting some of your main tenets
    Or anything with a little meat on it???????
    Please know this: you will never convince me that you are good for mountain biking when we (Park City) are ten plus years behind the curve and you are spouting BS about how we are kings of mountain biking.
    Since your blunder, PCMR has started building new and supremely crappy trails. DV is happy to be a xc ride center and doesn't want to change. It is very difficult to talk to managers and powers that be about directional access. And Canyons and Basin Rec are the only entities that are working to promote the sport to current standards.

  56. #56
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    Slocus -- what's the issue?

  57. #57
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    From what I understand Sedona was a case of a handful of self entitled people blatantly building illegal trails, then crying and stomping their feet when the FS didn't give them everything they wanted, when by law it could have shut down ALL said trials and fined or arrested the builders. IMBA tried to talk some adult sense into the builders, encouraging them to cool it on the illegal trail building and try to act with a little restraint and responsibility and explaining that no, you can't have everything you want. The builders however, kept on building.

    It seems some of folks out there think that the Red Bull Rampage and all those rad brah porn vids are the template for mtb use and they can't understand why "the man" won't let them go out and do whatever they please. To them IMBA, or any other organization that encourages a sense of restraint and working within the system, despite it's flaws, is doing nothing but standing in the way of their fun and their perceived rights to do whatever they want on on public land

    Is this off the mark?

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    YRG, I've been here for years.

    You can dismiss the stories I posted as puffery if you like, but in reality they show how IMBA is assisting local groups all over the country with projects that matter to them.

    For example, the story about our "Long Live Long Rides" advocacy work shows that IMBA is still very active in the trail access issues that many posters said they wanted IMBA to focus on. Maybe access to long-distance, backcountry trails isn't your concern, but for many of our members it's the exactly type of riding that they believe IMBA needs to protect.

    Did you read the story about Trail Solutions working with Boise Mountain Bike Alliance to build a bike park for kids? The people who are excited about that project -- hold on to your hat here -- don't see Sedona as the be-all end-all of mountain biking.

    I've answered many questions about Trail Solutions and IMBA's mapping project and will continue to do so, but at the end of the day, both programs are fully in-line with IMBA's mission, and neither of them conflicts with IMBA's nonprofit standing. The IRS makes that determination, by the way, not me.

    Regarding Park City, mountain bikers all over the nation (and the world) would be incredibly stoked to live in an area that offers two bike parks, multiple lift-served gravity trails and 400+ miles of trail riding options. Nonetheless, IMBA will soon reevaluate Park City in another year as part of the ongoing ride center evaluation process. In order to maintain their high ranking they will have to show that they are continuing to expand the opportunities for all types of riding, so if you find the gravity/freeride stuff needs improvement I'd suggest you provide that feedback in a constructive manner. I'd be happy to help relay your message to IMBA's partners in Park City, if we can engage in a productive exchange of ideas.

  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark E View Post
    YRG, I've been here for years.

    You can dismiss the stories I posted as puffery if you like, but in reality they show how IMBA is assisting local groups all over the country with projects that matter to them.

    For example, the story about our "Long Live Long Rides" advocacy work shows that IMBA is still very active in the trail access issues that many posters said they wanted IMBA to focus on. Maybe access to long-distance, backcountry trails isn't your concern, but for many of our members it's the exactly type of riding that they believe IMBA needs to protect.

    Did you read the story about Trail Solutions working with Boise Mountain Bike Alliance to build a bike park for kids? The people who are excited about that project -- hold on to your hat here -- don't see Sedona as the be-all end-all of mountain biking.

    I've answered many questions about Trail Solutions and IMBA's mapping project and will continue to do so, but at the end of the day, both programs are fully in-line with IMBA's mission, and neither of them conflicts with IMBA's nonprofit standing. The IRS makes that determination, by the way, not me.

    Regarding Park City, mountain bikers all over the nation (and the world) would be incredibly stoked to live in an area that offers two bike parks, multiple lift-served gravity trails and 400+ miles of trail riding options. Nonetheless, IMBA will soon reevaluate Park City in another year as part of the ongoing ride center evaluation process. In order to maintain their high ranking they will have to show that they are continuing to expand the opportunities for all types of riding, so if you find the gravity/freeride stuff needs improvement I'd suggest you provide that feedback in a constructive manner. I'd be happy to help relay your message to IMBA's partners in Park City, if we can engage in a productive exchange of ideas.
    OK Mark, maybe puffery was over the top. I was referring to you skirting the issues. Maybe you have answered questions, but I am not seeing answers here.
    Regards to PC: Maybe many would be stoked to live here. I am. But that in no way addresses your "gold level ride" destination catastrophe. We don't have 400 miles of trails. Our two gravity parks are either so far behind the curve of current biking (DV). Or limited to 300ft of vertical on two fixed line chairs that can handle about 50 riders. I am saying that everything needs improvement and I am one of the people working hard to make things better.
    You are correct in saying I need to be constructive (I'll add proactive, positive, and dedicated to that), So if you wish to get involved in fixing your mistake and help us move forward, AWESOME!

  60. #60
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    Like I said, I'm happy to help. One thing that might be useful would be a succinct, maybe one-page, statement outlining the improvements you envision for Park City, and how popular you thin they would be.

    Because IMBA doesn't come into a community and start giving orders -- contrary to what some posters have asserted -- our role would be to take your suggestions to our partners, like Mountain Trails Foundation and our contacts at the resorts.

    Typically in these situations, there will be voices saying, "This vision is too ambitious -- we can't do it" or others who say, "Things here are fine -- why are we listening to someone who wants to change our approach?" But there will be others that say, "We need to consider this -- there are things we can do better."

    Even though IMBA is incredibly enthusiastic about the great things that have been done in Park City, everyone here would agree that any riding area can get better. I can see the argument that Park City needs to expand and improve its gravity/freeride options.

    The next step is to build momentum for that notion in the community. It sounds like you're already hard at work on that. If you're willing to engage productively with IMBA to make that case I can assure you that you'll be taken seriously. Even more so if you demonstrate that your vision is something that a significant portion of the community wants.

    Consider this though: IMBA members get a longer listen than non-members do. We partner with people, groups and companies that want to partner with us. Anyone is welcome to voice their opinion, but our priority has to be with the people and organizations that want to associate with IMBA.

  61. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    Is this off the mark?
    I guess not, but its kinda Uncle Tommish imo. Guess it really depends on deeper questions of public land use and who its there for, who serves whom.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark E View Post
    But not every land manager is ready to approve trails designed for advanced skill sets and optimized for bikes. Many times IMBA's name is invoked (whether we built them or not) when tamer trails designed for shared use are built. Yes, trails in this mode are often too tame for an intermediate or advanced rider — IMBA will continue advocating for the idea that mountain bikers need a diversity of trails, including ones for experts to test themselvs on. Because we have built a 25-year legacy of trust with land managers, we're getting more opportunities, but they will are not coming fast enough to please everyone. Unfortunately, we don't get to dictate what kinds of trails get built as much as we'd like.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark E View Post
    Consider this though: IMBA members get a longer listen than non-members do. We partner with people, groups and companies that want to partner with us. Anyone is welcome to voice their opinion, but our priority has to be with the people and organizations that want to associate with IMBA.
    Mark,

    I’m an IMBA member and a member of the local IMBA affiliated club. We build and maintain our trails and I’m part of that effort several days a month. Honestly I don’t see the value that IMBA brings and maybe that is part of an image problem you have, but the bolded parts (my emphasis) of your comments above make IMBA sound like and arrogant outsider and not a partner with the locals. You announced yourself as an IMBA spokesperson earlier in this thread so I take this as IMBA communication. If IMBA’s stance is conveyed this way in other forms of official IMBA communication I think you can see why people have a hard time accepting that IMBA is there to help as a partner. I’m not trying to jump on the anti-IMBA pig pile but after reading your comments I now question why I’m a member. The “you're either with us or against us” approach is contrary to how much of the negotiations with land managers and other user groups happens around here. I’m really disappointed with IMBA’s approach here.

  63. #63
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    ctopher63: When I wrote that we don't get to "dictate what kind of trails get built as much as we'd like," the point was that IMBA doesn't get to tell land managers that they have to start building more trails for advanced riders. We don't dictate to land managers -- or to local riders for that matter. I hope that was clear from the context.

    As for who gets priority, would it be fair to IMBA's supporting members, clubs and chapters if we answered to every individual and gave them the same level of priority as we do to the people and groups who have chosen to associate with us and support our work? If someone who is not a member of your club sends an e-mail to your group and tells them that they need to do things differently, would you change course on that person's say so? Or would you invite them to get involved with your club and present their ideas in a constructive fashion?

  64. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by chollaball View Post
    I guess not, but its kinda Uncle Tommish imo. Guess it really depends on deeper questions of public land use and who its there for, who serves whom.
    Uncle Tomish? That's good. I like it.

    So what you're arguing is that all use on public land should be a free for all and anyone should be able to do whatever they want without restraint?

    If that's not the case please explain what is.

  65. #65
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    Does IMBA (the main organisation in the US) do anything to support it's international groups or are they just bearing the IMBA name and slogging it out on their own, like IMBA Au?

  66. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    Uncle Tomish? That's good. I like it.

    So what you're arguing is that all use on public land should be a free for all and anyone should be able to do whatever they want without restraint?

    If that's not the case please explain what is.
    you made a very drastic reduction of the Sedona issue into a tidy package. I similarly made a very drastic reduction of what I'm sure is a complex, deeply felt and deeply considered pov on your behalf. Doesnt really fit, does it?
    Last edited by chollaball; 11-08-2013 at 02:46 PM.

  67. #67
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    I've been holding off on this for a long time, because I have VERY mixed feelings about IMBA and "what it does for me" so to speak. So everyone needs to go get some salt before the read this.

    I've been riding for 25 years. I remember when there weren't trails. Now there are trails. Did IMBA do all of that? Nope. Does that make IMBA bad? Nope. Did IMBA do some of it? I have to believe they did. In fact, I KNOW they did, in places. And that makes IMBA good. But it's not a blanket thing.

    Do a lot of people look at IMBA's trail "guidelines and best practices" and then build crappy trails because they don't know how to do anything else "within the bounds of those recommendations?" Yes. Is that IMBA's fault? Nope. I've also personally been involved in the building of quite a bit of trail that is very entertaining to ride, is sustainable, and really, it's enjoyed by the majority of people that use it.

    Lets get down to local. Local for me is Middle Tennessee. Yes, I'm an IMBA member. I have been for some time. I go to work days for the local chapter when I can. Most of the time, that involves quite a drive. The local chapter, named MidTN IMBA/SORBA covers from Murfreesboro to Clarksville. Sadly, Clarksville, where I am, doesn't get much love. The flip side of that is that the local chapter does have their hands full with projects in Nashville. Now, that's an hour away from me, but hey, trail is trail. And a lot of it is good trail too. We really do have great things happening within the chapter. However, as I mentioned, it's all an hour away, when we have things in Clarksville that get no love at all.

    So I get the what have you done for me lately thing, on a local level. Except that when Clarksville wanted trails built, they contacted MidTN IMBA/SORBA. While the chapter couldn't do anything (they REALLY do have their hands full of projects....) they did refer the city to me. I'm now handling that for the city with a small group of local volunteers. No pun intended. But some of these guys want to help, and have no experience. I know what I'm doing, but I'm not the greatest teacher in the world. I've been working patiently with them, but I can't teach all of them everything fast enough for everyone to keep up. I've tried sending them to chapter work days, but they don't see the chapter here, so they wonder, why spend time there? Frustrating, because they could learn a lot from those guys who are better teachers than me, but understandable - why drive all that way to help someone who won't help us in return? Ack. Yes, they have their hands full. Seriously. I'm not kidding. Still, we'd be no where on the new Clarksville project if they hadn't been pointed to me, and at least we had a chapter that a municipal government could look to for that sort of advice.

    So we're back to why they looked to them. Well, locally, they (we? I? Us?) are the face of IMBA, and IMBA is a strong lobbying organization that promotes responsible access for mountain bikers, and frankly, other recreational trail users as well. And that....is good. So for me, I'll keep plugging along, supporting IMBA with my membership, my two hands, and the tools I make to build trails in my garage, and the trails I build, and by telling the people I talk to where they can find information how to approach other trail users so as not to cause problems - stuff like that. All the while, I'll be hoping for more support at a local level, but thankful for the little I get, because even that little bit has been very important - it's gotten us from one park with 7 miles of trail, to another park with 9 miles of trail under construction, and another park in the immediate future.

    I'm going to say this publicly: Mark, thank you for taking part in this conversation. It's just this sort of individual interaction that I think people miss with larger organizations like IMBA (wait, we have a large mountain biking organization? How'd that happen!?!). I appreciate that you are willing to stick out the conversation even though everyone wants to attack the biggest guy in room. Do I see things that need improvement? Yes. Do these things outweigh the benefits I've seen since IMBA organized and stepped up to the plate? No, they don't.

    There are three kinds of mountain bikers. Those who remember when we didn't have any place to ride, and had to build everything we have, those who don't remember not having anyplace to ride, and take what was built for granted, and those who don't care because "it's a free country." To those last two groups...I'd say: Open your eyes.

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    @Mark E -

    Thank you for engaging directly with MTBers on this forum.

    Looking thru the thread, there seems some common themes you might want to mention to others within IMBA.

    * "IMBA seems distant" - Is IMBA being as personal with its chapters as could be? If a chapter isn't getting its emails and phone calls returned, how excited are they going to be about IMBA?

    * "IMBA takes our money but I don't see advocacy" - Is there a way IMBA could break down what was done in chapter's city, state, region in the advocacy department? Maybe a 'here is how spent your money within 200 miles of you' letter to the chapter at the end of the year?

    * "Trails are sanitzed/don't contain enough advanced features" - Could IMBA do what they did for sustainable trail? Something like 'Techinical Features Solutions'. Show contractor/land managers/club builders that IMBA sustainable trails and gonad shriveling features can live side by side.

    * "IMBA is haughty" - Saying 'sorry' or 'we were wrong' doesn't make you weaker, it makes you stronger. The Sedona situation sounds mismanaged, badly. You can at least acknowledge that. People from the Midwest are still a little sore about the Bell/IMBA grants. Maybe ask members what they want from IMBA more often. Good ideas can come from many places. I think the dialog in this thread has been (mostly) consturctive. IMBA could pull some real gems from this.

    * "IMBA just doesn't listen" - When a member asks why something has been done or isn't being done in thier area, the last thing they want is a link to 'success' story half way across the country. They want an answer. Extra bonus points if its personal to that person.

    Our club (Cuyuna) has had a pretty good interface with IMBA. I hope that continues. But that comes down to the people who talk to (and listen to) people and how they handle stuff. IMBA can't forget that is really where the rubber meets the road. A lot the things people are mentioning here are about that 'people talking and listening' area. Even a lot of Gene of BetterRide's post seems to be a lot about he felt that part was getting forgotten at IMBA.

    Please Mark E, take what frustrations Gene and the other posters here are mentioning and do something about it before IMBA becomes perceived as the enemy.

    If you are ever near Minnesota, come visit Cuyuna and the Crew. (Registration for the Cuyuna Lakes Whiteout just opened up, hint, hint...)

  69. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by crank1979 View Post
    Does IMBA (the main organisation in the US) do anything to support it's international groups or are they just bearing the IMBA name and slogging it out on their own, like IMBA Au?
    IMBA recently got good news from SRAM about their impressive and continued support for IMBA Europe, including $25K of new money for those efforts. Look for more news on this soon. IMBA Australia has received numerous visits from Trail Solutions staff, producing excellent results. The relationship with Mountain Bike Australia keeps evolving. Truthfully, it's not easy to figure out the best way to handle IMBA's international role, as the vast majority of supporters are in the U.S. and many of them want IMBA to put its resources into their local areas. It's only because of generous industry support -- SRAM and many other companies -- that we can keep the I in IMBA.

    I'm not sure about the rules of MTBR forums anymore -- it it okay to write two posts in a row without mentioning Sedona?

  70. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowboy76 View Post
    @Mark E -

    Thank you for engaging directly with MTBers on this forum.

    Looking thru the thread, there seems some common themes you might want to mention to others within IMBA.

    * "IMBA seems distant" - Is IMBA being as personal with its chapters as could be? If a chapter isn't getting its emails and phone calls returned, how excited are they going to be about IMBA?

    * "IMBA takes our money but I don't see advocacy" - Is there a way IMBA could break down what was done in chapter's city, state, region in the advocacy department? Maybe a 'here is how spent your money within 200 miles of you' letter to the chapter at the end of the year?

    * "Trails are sanitzed/don't contain enough advanced features" - Could IMBA do what they did for sustainable trail? Something like 'Techinical Features Solutions'. Show contractor/land managers/club builders that IMBA sustainable trails and gonad shriveling features can live side by side.

    * "IMBA is haughty" - Saying 'sorry' or 'we were wrong' doesn't make you weaker, it makes you stronger. The Sedona situation sounds mismanaged, badly. You can at least acknowledge that. People from the Midwest are still a little sore about the Bell/IMBA grants. Maybe ask members what they want from IMBA more often. Good ideas can come from many places. I think the dialog in this thread has been (mostly) consturctive. IMBA could pull some real gems from this.

    * "IMBA just doesn't listen" - When a member asks why something has been done or isn't being done in thier area, the last thing they want is a link to 'success' story half way across the country. They want an answer. Extra bonus points if its personal to that person.

    Our club (Cuyuna) has had a pretty good interface with IMBA. I hope that continues. But that comes down to the people who talk to (and listen to) people and how they handle stuff. IMBA can't forget that is really where the rubber meets the road. A lot the things people are mentioning here are about that 'people talking and listening' area. Even a lot of Gene of BetterRide's post seems to be a lot about he felt that part was getting forgotten at IMBA.

    Please Mark E, take what frustrations Gene and the other posters here are mentioning and do something about it before IMBA becomes perceived as the enemy.

    If you are ever near Minnesota, come visit Cuyuna and the Crew. (Registration for the Cuyuna Lakes Whiteout just opened up, hint, hint...)
    Thanks for the notes -- I have to be brief right now as I'm trying to finish an edit of our handbook for new chapters.

    Trying all the time to find ways to stay better engaged with chapters and other supporters. Having region directors -- a program that's just a few years old -- has made a big difference here.

    Reporting progress back to chapters is very important to us. Have you read the region reports here? imba.com/af As for "taking our money" know that IMBA spends more on regional development programs than it takes in through the chapter revenue share.

    I like the Technical Features Solutions name! Have you seen the recent videos about advanced/expert trails Sandy Ridge and Copper Harbor? We are definitely trying to spread the word that sustainable does not have to mean easy.

    Sedona has certainly been filled with drama, but I don't think you can put all of that on IMBA. The Bell grants were awarded purely on the popular vote, and the Midwest got one of them (Copper Harbor), but there are some things we are going to do to improve the Bell Built effort in 2014.

    I'm listening. So are lots of other people at IMBA. I write back to dozens of personal messages sent to info AT imba DOT com every week.

    Gotta finish that edit!

  71. #71
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    As someone who's day job involves concensus building with diverse stakeholders. I get where IMBA is coming from.

    I also know, at the end of the day, the most successful people & organizations are those who can approach an issue from multiple points of view, and figure out the solution that delivers the best outcome for the most people. And that delivers a bit more for you & yours than everyone else though.

    Otherwise you get into game theory and zero sum games and absolutes. No fun.

    It ain't easy being an advocate. In most cases, we are volunteers, we make decisions based on time we have to make them. At work, I can analyse the hairs off a gnat and figure out how to mitigate most risks [pretty sharp people can come up with. When building and advocating, I try to involve as many other volunteers & stakeholders (both MTB and LMs) because I know I don't have the full luxury of time or resources I do at work to consider all the angles. This helps so much, running a decision by the community (or board, who's usually made of people who stepped up) and the LM you get perspective and depth. Most of the time its a win for everyone, every now and then you get a big win or lose a bit (but never big when working together)...

    Its Friday and I'm OUT! Blue Mt in Peekskill NY tomorrow at 9am, 3-4 hour tour with rollers and flow and tech.

    EDIT, then I'm out: Where we are only so many people are willing to commit time and effort to planning, advocating, and working. Those who show up and contribute end up making decisions, thankfully we've been good about being open to new ideas and people and it keeps things fresh, I've seen when they get stale and hope to never get there....

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    Leadership like IMBA has to deal with other people who are leaders like me. Leaders are not always consensus builders, but lead by attrition, default, allowing others to really drive things while they organize, benevolent dictatorship, barely holding things together; many styles. And lands in which we lead are nearly impossible to open up or fairly straightforward with the right model, then right politcal setting, and the right amount of open space.

    Those of you who are leaders out there know that people take potshots at you all the time. IMBA got its share here but right or wrong they signal modalities and issues wanting attention. One of the curious challenges I see here is that because Mark's responses come from IMBA formatting and frequent language usage they seem to have more strength and the folks who have benefitted from IMBA can stand behind such clarity.

    But there is also clarity that some folks have not benefitted and, even absent the packaging, they still bear attention. We are all mountain bikers but some are being left out like an inconvenient brother-in-law who uses double negatives and says ain't.
    Last edited by Berkeley Mike; 11-08-2013 at 07:11 PM.
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  73. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark E View Post
    Like I said, I'm happy to help. One thing that might be useful would be a succinct, maybe one-page, statement outlining the improvements you envision for Park City, and how popular you thin they would be.

    Consider this though: IMBA members get a longer listen than non-members do. We partner with people, groups and companies that want to partner with us. Anyone is welcome to voice their opinion, but our priority has to be with the people and organizations that want to associate with IMBA.
    I appreciate your offer of help. What I would really like you to do is to admit your mistake and clean up your mess. IMBA is the one that has stepped in and made things worse here. We have been having an uphill battle for years trying to make improvements in the riding scene. You have come in with your huge international presence and told all the powers that be: "you are the best" "Your riding is the best" "your scene is the best". That is so far from reality it's not even funny. We have been trying to tell them that mountain biking has evolved. We have been trying to show them how we can build better trails. We want them to know we can build safer trails. We want them to see that a better user experience is within reach. We want to show them how to reduce conflict and injury. I am not talking Gravity only. I am talking beginner through pro lines. Take a close look here please. You guys certainly did not do it when deciding on your gold award. Look now. 90% of all the new trail work has some serious design and implementation flaws. I can only speculate as to why you awarded us your first ever mountain bike heaven designation.
    1) Threw darts at a dartboard and hit pc
    2) No one else wanted it
    3) You were going for the money
    4) None of you guys can ride and your award is based on mountain bikers without skill
    5) You were going for the money

    You guys are supposed to speak with the authority of a large powerful group. The very least you could do is know what you are talking about.
    Mark, please consider this: you have set up back significantly. You have slowed our progress and made it more difficult to move forward. Please make yourselves worth partnering with and we will welcome you with open arms.

  74. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark E View Post
    IMBA recently got good news from SRAM about their impressive and continued support for IMBA Europe, including $25K of new money for those efforts. Look for more news on this soon. IMBA Australia has received numerous visits from Trail Solutions staff, producing excellent results. The relationship with Mountain Bike Australia keeps evolving. Truthfully, it's not easy to figure out the best way to handle IMBA's international role, as the vast majority of supporters are in the U.S. and many of them want IMBA to put its resources into their local areas. It's only because of generous industry support -- SRAM and many other companies -- that we can keep the I in IMBA.
    I guess it comes down to the idea of 'supporting locally'. IMBA Au does seem to have done some good work in some states. The influence and impact of IMBA Au in the most populated state seems to have been a dumbing down of trails by people interpreting the guidelines in different ways, and very little advocacy or building action by IMBA Au itself. I understand that it is a very small organisation at the moment, but we currently don't even have state representatives. There is nothing like the chapter set up in the US.

  75. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post

    Is this off the mark?
    It seems a bit off the mark. I wrote this after talking to IMBA, the VVCC and the SMBC (USFS declined comment). Sedrama - Growing Pains in Sedona - Pinkbike. Since then the SMBC has been de-registered as an IMBA club. As an outsider the Sedona situation is interesting in that it seems to be situation where IMBA is forced to pick between two disparate viewpoints. For reasons that appear to related to organizational philosophy (ie work with the land manager rather than point out the unfairness and advocate to cure the unfairness) IMBA aligned with one local group over the other.
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  76. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by YRG View Post
    Mark,

    Or how the North Shore and Whistler do such a better job all the while rejecting some of your main tenets
    I can't speak for Park City but The Shore, Whistler, Squamish and pretty much the rest of BC grew its very strong trail building culture organically. It's extremely cringeworthy reading others deride renegade unsanctioned trails because approx 95% of British Columbia trails were built unsanctioned by renegades (including me).

    IMBA helped a ton in North Van when we were starting up. They had a presence at a big trail day we organized in 1998 (one of the first). They helped a lot with the World MTB Conference in 2002 (approx dates from memory). When we were a bunch of ragtag volunteers having their name there helped us a lot for PR and legitimacy.

    While its true that IMBA doesn't have a huge presence in BC its definitely the case that a lot of the fall-line shitshows we built back-in-the-day don't ride all that great and that many of the things that is presented as good trail building philosophy not just by IMBA but by many others, are finding their way into BC trailwork, whether its new or old trails. So even busting chops over "IMBA Trails" (whatever that is) seems maybe a bit oversimplified.

    Dare I say that not everything is black and white and maybe there is gray?
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeL View Post
    in BC its definitely the case that a lot of the fall-line shitshows we built back-in-the-day don't ride all that great and that many of the things that is presented as good trail building philosophy not just by IMBA but by many others, are finding their way into BC trailwork, whether its new or old trails.

    With due respect to the post I think that this is the most powerful statement. My comment is a bit off target re IMBA but discussion reveals interesting ideas.

    Early mtb exploited what they had access to, legal or not; that was half the fun after all. Over time the building philosophy evolved and trail building craft emerged. That transition doesn't happen without friction.
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  78. #78
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    Very astute points, Lee and Mike. Well put.
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    And then we eat them."

  79. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeL View Post
    I can't speak for Park City but The Shore, Whistler, Squamish and pretty much the rest of BC grew its very strong trail building culture organically. It's extremely cringeworthy reading others deride renegade unsanctioned trails because approx 95% of British Columbia trails were built unsanctioned by renegades (including me).
    Thanks for saying that. I am a big fan of what illegal trail building has accomplished.

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    Quote Originally Posted by YRG View Post
    Thanks for saying that. I am a big fan of what illegal trail building has accomplished.
    Me too, but with the realization that that era has come to an end. With regard to Sedona, the land manager was asleep at the wheel. They have now regained control of their backyard while still adopting illegal trails that make sense. Not everyone is happy but that's impossible and we are now legally riding trails that would never have been envisioned, planned or built by the land manager. Maybe in the future. Time will tell. Hopefully, IMBA will play a part in that but yanking an advocacy club's charter and siding with another club (an IMBA affiliate) while maintaining relative silence about the whole affair is not the way to win over the locals. Certainly not the ones that built the trails in the first place.

  81. #81
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    So many well articulated, civil, and constructive criticisms of IMBA's recent conduct here and on Gene's site...

    IMBA's response, send in Mark E, communications green beret to deflect and propagandise:

    If someone who is not a member of your club sends an e-mail to your group and tells them that they need to do things differently, would you change course on that person's say so? Or would you invite them to get involved with your club and present their ideas in a constructive fashion?
    Seems great in theory: You can't listen to everyone. IMBA membership gets you a seat at the table, and your voice is heard... That is, unless your point of view is different than IMBA's and your voice is silenced when they... TERMINATE YOUR LOCAL CHAPTER'S CHARTER!

    Maybe IMBA would like to have their green beret comment on the "violations" that the Sedona Chapter was terminated for?

    Evidence indicates a lack of accountability to communites of local mountain bikers is now business as usual at IMBA.

    Ah, no worries... message received lout and clear...IMBA is perfect, it's all the dissenting voices here and on betterride.net who don't get it.

    I don't know how others feel but, I think this situation is heartbreaking as IMBA wasn't always so broken and pompus.

    CB

  82. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeL View Post
    It seems a bit off the mark. I wrote this after talking to IMBA, the VVCC and the SMBC (USFS declined comment). Sedrama - Growing Pains in Sedona - Pinkbike. Since then the SMBC has been de-registered as an IMBA club. As an outsider the Sedona situation is interesting in that it seems to be situation where IMBA is forced to pick between two disparate viewpoints. For reasons that appear to related to organizational philosophy (ie work with the land manager rather than point out the unfairness and advocate to cure the unfairness) IMBA aligned with one local group over the other.
    What is so unfair?

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    Quote Originally Posted by CANADIANBACON View Post
    Maybe IMBA would like to have their green beret comment on the "violations" that the Sedona Chapter was terminated for?
    As the PinkBike article by Lee Lau and posters in this forum have acknowledged, the violation of the Sedona Chapter was to passively or actively encourage illegal trail building and riding. That fact coupled with the fact that when the trail closures happened because of said illegal activity, the Sedona Chapter shot off an tactless petition without IMBA's permission. These two actions caused IMBA to revoke their chapter charter.

    IMBA is not perfect and the Sedona situation is proof of that. IMBA moofed the pooch in how to handle this. That said, they have to show that mountain biking is credible recreational activity and is a law abiding one also. Illegal trail building and riding are neither of those things.

    Rant about illegal trail building/riding:

    Property law, in one form or another, is some of the oldest codified laws among humans. Even large sections of various religious texts are also devoted to concept that things that belong to you are yours to do with as you please. And others can not interfere with that without your permission. Whether you like it or not an owner of property has the right to determine what happens on their land. Failing to respect these rights are violations of local, city, state, and federal law. Period.

    Many parts so the United States, especially the south and east, have structures built with slave labor (who where considered property, mind you). But because that is the way it was done long ago does not mean we should build with slave labor today. We have moved on.

    Regardless of what trails are here today because of illegal trail building, times have changed. And its time mountain bikers attitude about illegal trail building and riding change too.

  84. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowboy76 View Post

    IMBA is not perfect and the Sedona situation is proof of that. IMBA moofed the pooch in how to handle this. That said, they have to show that mountain biking is credible recreational activity and is a law abiding one also. Illegal trail building and riding are neither of those things.

    Rant about illegal trail building/riding:

    Property law, in one form or another, is some of the oldest codified laws among humans. Even large sections of various religious texts are also devoted to concept that things that belong to you are yours to do with as you please. And others can not interfere with that without your permission. Whether you like it or not an owner of property has the right to determine what happens on their land. Failing to respect these rights are violations of local, city, state, and federal law. Period.

    Many parts so the United States, especially the south and east, have structures built with slave labor (who where considered property, mind you). But because that is the way it was done long ago does not mean we should build with slave labor today. We have moved on.

    Regardless of what trails are here today because of illegal trail building, times have changed. And its time mountain bikers attitude about illegal trail building and riding change too.
    Opinion noted. Slave labor analogy seems over the top but whatever. I would say that times are changing rather than times have changed. We have illegal trails. They get maintenance, updates, and we have illegal projects getting designed and built. Our history is rooted in illegal trails. Our biggest conflicts are centered in our legal trails. Bikes have gotten so much better that an xc bike today rides better than some dh bikes of not too long ago. So in theory, everyone is riding faster than they should. So we need to start providing directional trails and hiking only trails to reduce our injury potential. The reality is that non-directional trails are not safe unless they have great lines of sight. Our trails are littered with blind corners. With the increase in users, biking and hiking are more dangerous.

  85. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowboy76 View Post
    the violation of the Sedona Chapter was to passively or actively encourage illegal trail building and riding. .
    You make good points but this isn't even close to the truth.

    Rather, the FS chose to discriminate against mtn bikers by closing a number of trails to only mtn bikers. At least one of those trails was built by a hiker who was subsequently banned fined and banned from the Coconino National Forest for 2 years. Was the petition ill-advised? Maybe so but at least they were standing up for the rights of the mtn bike community.

    I live 30 miles away but my impression is that Sedona has more of a hiker problem than biking. With the building of easy access trailheads and adoption of trails (mostly built by bikers but not all) the word is out and on a Sat the hiker:biker ratio is easily 30:1 or even 50:1.

    What they need are new trails that push further away from the urban center and tralheads with similar user experience that can ease up the congestion. Hopefully, IMBA can help the affiliate club achieve that goal. I don't even bother with popular trails like Chuckwagon, Hangover, or HiLine on a weekend anymore. It's too crowded.

  86. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    You make good points but this isn't even close to the truth.

    Rather, the FS chose to discriminate against mtn bikers by closing a number of trails to only mtn bikers. At least one of those trails was built by a hiker who was subsequently banned fined and banned from the Coconino National Forest for 2 years. Was the petition ill-advised? Maybe so but at least they were standing up for the rights of the mtn bike community.

    I live 30 miles away but my impression is that Sedona has more of a hiker problem than biking. With the building of easy access trailheads and adoption of trails (mostly built by bikers but not all) the word is out and on a Sat the hiker:biker ratio is easily 30:1 or even 50:1.

    What they need are new trails that push further away from the urban center and tralheads with similar user experience that can ease up the congestion. Hopefully, IMBA can help the affiliate club achieve that goal. I don't even bother with popular trails like Chuckwagon, Hangover, or HiLine on a weekend anymore. It's too crowded.
    Discriminate? Do you know what that work really means?

  87. #87
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    The USFS is a difficult partner in many ways and depending on the district and forest you are working with, vastly different experiences could occur.

    It is a Bureaucratic System (BS) that is built on the extraction needs of industry and then heavily influenced by heritage users and politics. Range cattle hammer trails, artisan springs and other obvious damage but cannot be dislodged from their grazing permits which in our region represent $127 per year permit.

    Logging operations on adjacent private land strip clear 1 square mile areas and then are burned prior to replanting... but our adjacent proposed dirt path may impact sensitive plants or nesting birds 300ft away. Contracted logging on public land often has resulted in complete destruction of legal trails or flagrant disrespect for recreation (bulldozers parked on trails, contractor signs with Trail Closed and 'Nig... Obama' quotes on it. And USFS officials slow to do anything.)

    The bottom line is the same drama and retardation you see in normal life happens in the USFS but with a gun and badge.

    That said, if you can police your group, and create positive experiences and benefits to the fed employees who put their neck out to work with your group... wham... their could be potential for good stuff to happen.

    I and others have made the mistake of reacting to what they see as UNFAIR. This challenge often (when made against a gun and badge) results in digging in deeper and creating a void difficult to get positive efforts across. Government can only be successfully labeled wrong after the revolution.

    Creating results with the USFS or any bureaucratic agency is like building a stone wall. The pile of stones are examined and sorted. Sweet face stones to the front, rubble to the back. Identify who the players are and their issues. Find common ground and understand what motivates them and figure out how you can have 'yes' conversations. Adapt. Get beyond history.

    We often make more noise about what does not work than building momentum on what does. If you do need a hammer to chip bad edges off a potentially good stone.... don't use your native organization to do this... it is hard to get the blood off the hammer. I once pointed out the unfairness of a USFS action against another person publicly, I ended up having to remove my (legal) house from public land. An obvious tit for tat that arrived in a sealed certified letter.

    Public comments and petitions can occur from any source, even one custom tailored for this purpose. All mid level and above USFS management follows predictable upward career paths. Right or wrong, bad press, or issues brought up their chain of command pisses off their superiors and damages their future. Notes in a file.

    We have lots of opportunity for legitimate trail in our area. We have paved the techniques for getting it done so we have at least some decent trail that is legal. Private land is a better place for edgy trail illegal or not.

  88. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    Discriminate? Do you know what that work really means?
    Call it something else if you like. Certainly we're not talking the civil rights movement or changing the name of the Washington Redskins. But surely you can see the irony of hikers, runners, and equestrians recreating in the national forest on trails built by mtn bikers from which they are now excluded from. The main explanation from the FS that it's time to get a handle on the excessive erosion mtn bikers are creating, siltation in the Oak Creek watershed, and archeological concerns. Interestingly enough, after a Freedom of Information Act was filed to get the archeological studies pertaining to the trails in question there were no concerns noted. What the Sedona Mountain Bike Club really wanted was some transparency. And help from IMBA. Instead, they got shut and out and marginalized. Perhaps it was all a just a big personality conflict and there is certainly no lack of that in Sedona. Anyway, that's my take on the situation. It seems to me IMBA could have done more to defuse the situation. And maybe the folks that have been marginalized just need to accept it and move on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    What is so unfair?
    "Fairness" is perhaps not the modality at issue here. It is too primitive. I think what happened is that IMBA demonstrated the limit of its abilities to bring people together. They bring together who they can and then make the deal they think they can. That can leave some people out in the cold.
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  90. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    Call it something else if you like. Certainly we're not talking the civil rights movement or changing the name of the Washington Redskins. But surely you can see the irony of hikers, runners, and equestrians recreating in the national forest on trails built by mtn bikers from which they are now excluded from. The main explanation from the FS that it's time to get a handle on the excessive erosion mtn bikers are creating, siltation in the Oak Creek watershed, and archeological concerns. Interestingly enough, after a Freedom of Information Act was filed to get the archeological studies pertaining to the trails in question there were no concerns noted. What the Sedona Mountain Bike Club really wanted was some transparency. And help from IMBA. Instead, they got shut and out and marginalized. Perhaps it was all a just a big personality conflict and there is certainly no lack of that in Sedona. Anyway, that's my take on the situation. It seems to me IMBA could have done more to defuse the situation. And maybe the folks that have been marginalized just need to accept it and move on.

    Well, according to the way federal lands are managed, the said user created trials, social trails, illegal trails, whatever you want to call them do not exist. They are not "closed" because they were never "open". Foot travel is generally permitted off trail - you can walk, or run where ever you like on Forest land unless noted otherwise. Wheeled traffic such as bicycles are restricted to designated trails. (I suppose there are some special management areas where off trail travel is allowed although I don't know where) People using the trail on foot (or equestrians) are considered to be traveling off trail - which is perfectly legal - because in the eyes if the law the trail does not exist. This is not the fault of the FS, it's the fault of the people who illegally built the trail.

    Those designated trails are trails that are part of a system and to be in the system they have to have gone through some sort of process, either through NEPA or permitted under a CE determination by a forest supervisor (Not sure if district rangers have that authority or not) or it's possible a trail was built before land use laws of the 60s and 70s came into being and are :grandfathered in" without any kind of analysis. Illegal trails are not system trails simply because a handful of people decided to build a trail outside of the above mentioned process and some people are using them. (From the FS perspective, ideally they'd have the resources to obliterate and reclaim the trail fairly quickly, and in many areas they do that (a lot of user created trails have been reclaimed around here) but many ranger districts don't have those resources.

    So I read some people here throwing around terms like "discrimination" and "unfair" but IMO, that is ludicrous. Our group here in Summit CO has had a lot of success working with the FS, we have a great relationship with the folks at the local and regional level because we've acted as partners - partners that understands the process, and the point of view of not only the FS, but of the other groups we share the public resource with. We've found that when we work with the folks at the FS responsibly and show a good sense of stewardship we have a pretty good chance of getting a lot of things that we like which includes a variety of types of trail experiences. We've found them open to steeper or more technical trails as long as they can be sustainable and IMBA, has been at the forefront on showing how those types of trail can, given careful attention to certain parameters, be successful.

    IMO there's way too much sense of entitlement in the MTB community. Part of this is just current trend in culture in general and part of it comes from how Bike porn and some aspects of the bike industry portray mountain biking. Certainly what some people call "progressive" trails that are patterned off that media image can have their place in the spectrum of trail opportunities, but they need to fit within use prescriptions and be appropriately planned and managed.

  91. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berkeley Mike View Post
    "Fairness" is perhaps not the modality at issue here. It is too primitive. I think what happened is that IMBA demonstrated the limit of its abilities to bring people together. They bring together who they can and then make the deal they think they can. That can leave some people out in the cold.
    What if for whatever reason one group or another refuses to be brought together?

    There are people in the MTB community, some of whom are posting here who it seems to me feel that any restriction on their idea of what land use should be is some sort of an affront to their sense of freedom. There are a few people here that do illegal trails that I've tried to bring into the process - a process that we've done fairly well with BTW, who won't have anything to do with anything that would force any sort of compromise on their activity.

    We've taken a no support, no sympathy position on those folks if/when their trails get shut down or if they were to get busted and fined. You can only put so much effort into trying to work with someone who doesn't want to work with you.

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    That is one sort of group that they cannot bring on board the chapter boat. At the same time there can be a multitude of reasons for it. Some groups are too sophisticated. A variety of local groups my not fit in the limited view or limited techniques IMBA has at hand.

    Group management skills can be extremely sophisticated and applying them can be time consuming. IMBA may not have the skills.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post

    There are people in the MTB community, some of whom are posting here who it seems to me feel that any restriction on their idea of what land use should be is some sort of an affront to their sense of freedom.
    I haven't been reading that in any of the posts here. What are you referring to specifically?

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    I think that is a pretty good read on a theme that runs under some of these perspectives. It directly impacts issues of "authority" or leadership in the Mtb community, which is made up of a wide variety of styles and motivations.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berkeley Mike View Post
    I think that is a pretty good read on a theme that runs under some of these perspectives. It directly impacts issues of "authority" or leadership in the Mtb community, which is made up of a wide variety of styles and motivations.
    You can see under perspectives? F#ckin A!

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    Quote Originally Posted by snowboy76 View Post
    As the PinkBike article by Lee Lau and posters in this forum have acknowledged, the violation of the Sedona Chapter was to passively or actively encourage illegal trail building and riding. That fact coupled with the fact that when the trail closures happened because of said illegal activity, the Sedona Chapter shot off an tactless petition without IMBA's permission. These two actions caused IMBA to revoke their chapter charter.
    All of your claims are evidence that you do not have the facts and are simply drinking the koolaid because it was conveniently placed for you to drink. Maybe you ought to have a closer look at who's slinging that koolaid?

    Why do you suppose I invited Mark E. to illuminate the public as to the actual “violations” as they are written that resulted in the termination of the SMBC?

    For the record I am certain that before the SMBC there had never been an IMBA Chapter with member(s) that had illegally built trails... and I am also certain that no IMBA representative ever rode any of those illegally built unofficial trails.

    I'm puzzled about your intent behind this statement. Can you please clarify?:
    Quote Originally Posted by snowboy76 View Post
    That said, they have to show that mountain biking is credible recreational activity and is a law abiding one also.
    CB

  97. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by CANADIANBACON View Post
    For the record I am certain that before the SMBC there had never been an IMBA Chapter with member(s) that had illegally built trails... and I am also certain that no IMBA representative ever rode any of those illegally built unofficial trails.
    Stowe Mountain Bike Club (Stowe, VT) was founded by members who had illegally built on Perry Hill in Waterbury (among other places) and were able to work together with IMBA and the State of Vermont to legalize the trails that already existed. My guess would have been that that is a very common scenario.

  98. #98
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    I'll address two things I see mentioned here and elsewhere: Sanitizing and non-profit status

    Trail "sanitizing"
    The general sanitizing of many new and old trails is something I find frustrating, but to blame IMBA is completely missing the mark. The fact is, these are the trails that most riders WANT. Looking at the trails in our area, the ones that are flowing and beginner/intermediate friendly (by most definitions "sanitized") are the ones that get most of the traffic (I would guess 90% or more), despite being only about one quarter or maybe a third of the mileage.

    Also, there is nothing in IMBA's trail-building guidelines that dictate a trail being "sanitized". That just happens to be what many builders are look for, and in many cases when a machine is involved this is how they come out because it is easier to build. The guidelines also introduce concepts like "filters" to deter people from getting on trails above their ability level, tips on avoiding blind corners, etc.

    Non-profit status
    There is a LOT of misunderstanding out there about what being a non-profit means. It simply means that the organization does not pay out dividends or profits to owners or investors. Any budget surplus goes back into the organization to further it's cause. The fact that they have a branch that charges for services is in NO WAY counter to this in either definition or principle. Plenty of non-profits have a product or service they sell. If they are doing so at a financial loss, it is their way of giving to the community they are trying to serve. If they are making money on it, then the money goes towards the larger mission they are trying to accomplish.

    IF Trail Solutions is indeed underbidding for-profit companies, then they are either
    • a) making money by being a more efficient trail building outfit or
      b) losing money by essentially donating a part of their service (which is basically fulfilling IMBA's mission of creating more trails).


    Regarding IMBA working with and supporting MTB Project, a for-profit company: again, non-profits work with for-profits all the time if they feel that doing so furthers the goals of the group. Having worked with MTB Project as a contributor and seeing what they have to offer, I think that IMBA made a good decision, there.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  99. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by YRG View Post
    You can see under perspectives? F#ckin A!

    Well, yeah. Points of view have their foundations unless there is some bizarre disconnect. The dynamic of freedom/restriction is pretty basic.
    I don't rattle.

  100. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    Well, according to the way federal lands are managed, the said user created trials, social trails, illegal trails, whatever you want to call them do not exist.

    People using the trail on foot (or equestrians) are considered to be traveling off trail - which is perfectly legal - because in the eyes if the law the trail does not exist.

    So I read some people here throwing around terms like "discrimination" and "unfair" but IMO, that is ludicrous.

    IMO there's way too much sense of entitlement in the MTB community.

    but they need to fit within use prescriptions and be appropriately planned and managed.
    I live next to a huge trail system, that closes at sundown. In AZ in summer, you can ride from 5-8am, or at night. Many of the parks and preserves around Phx allow night-riding, but not the one near me. In winter, its dark by 5:30, so again no riding in daylight.

    If I go out to ride whenever I want, is it entitlement or standing up for fair access to a public resource? Before you answer, consider:

    --lots of other trails all over Phx allow this, so any argument that its overly dangerous or impactful stands in opposition to many other local Land Managers' policies

    --spreading riders out over more hours relieves congestion

    --these rules were crafted before night riding became popular, before there were a lot of bikers in the system, before 1000s of houses were built bordering the system, before more people with kids moved to the area. They were largely designed by a hiker-dominated body, years ago, by old people. These are facts.

    --same org spent $4M on a trailhead, largely catering to tourists.

    --i am a resident and pay the taxes that fund this land and this org

    --parts of the same trails that are not in the Preserve have no rules governing them

    That does not make my night riding legal, but it certainly makes the issue more complex, and certainly there are some valid points to consider. If someone were to still say 'you cant do this, because its a rule', it makes me think they are not diving deep enough into the issue and responding to a user's specific complaints. They are not a very good land manager, serving their constituency, if they don't respond to valid questions. So, isnt riding at night as much a form of social protest? If cops have to come out and do expensive operations in the area (yes, the city cops respond to these calls), isnt that a way to foment unrest and make this a more visible issue? If the FS has to spend part of its budget undoing work, isn't that creating influence? If you are shut out of the legal process, creating civil unrest and costs around it are a very rational way of exerting political influence. There is a role for conflict and illegal activity in gaining access. Obviously we'd all rather work collaboratively, but if you don't push for what you want and hope some lazy bureaucrats or anti-bike skittish hikers (i've got audio from Commission meetings for that one...) are going to look out for your interests, you are playing a loser's game.

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