This is a really exciting time for mountain biking.
For decades mountain bikers have worked hard to maintain and build the trails we love in the places we love. We’ve seen that access isn’t free, and risen to the challenge of maintaining the trails we cherish when public support falls short. In spite of good intentions, that hasn’t always happened with the full endorsement of agencies like the Forest Service.
But in the last ten years, riders have gotten better organized and land managers have realized that the most passionate users on the landscape have a lot to offer. More and more, riders are being offered a seat at the table from square one, and there’s a real feeling that mountain biking has grown up.
Mountain Bike Advocates & Sustainable Trail Stewardship
This is clear in Western Montana. In less than ten years MTB Missoula, the regional trail work and advocacy group based out of Missoula, MT, has grown from a roomful of volunteers dedicated to filling a maintenance gap caused by waning Forest Service budgets to a staffed non-profit organization that is changing the tide for mountain biking in Montana.
By 2016 they’ve demonstrated that they’re an essential part of the management landscape when they’ve maintained 80 miles of singletrack in the Missoula area and volunteered more than 1,200 hours to trail maintenance and improvement. In 2017 they’re nearly doubling our maintenance capacity, building Missoula’s first legal, bike-specific trail, and helping to fundamentally change the way land is managed in the west.
They’re teaming up with The Nature Conservancy and Five Valleys Land Trust to play an active role in developing a new model for public land. MTB Missoula envisions a future where some lands are stewarded by the communities that embrace them and sustainable management promises robust recreation opportunities for generations to come. They’re testing this model on more than 100,000 acres in the heart of the Rocky Mountains.
MTB Missoula has emerged as an expert in sustainable trail design, stewardship, and event promotion. They’re a community-focused, community-funded organization that’s committed to protecting and improving the things that make Western Montana such a magical place, whether it’s right out the back door or your favorite spot to visit.
Our team at the Cycling House is proud to be involved with the great work that the guys and gals at MTB Missoula are doing. Not only is this where many of our guides and staff grew up riding, it’s also our headquarters and the heart and soul of the Cycling House.
We’ll be sharing more news very soon with what we plan on doing to better support MTB Missoula, but in the meantime you can help: