Date: Thu, 10 May 2001
From: Larry Minikes <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Park City Agreement
May 10, 2001
Sierra Club Ex-Com Members:
When the Park City Agreement was drafted in 1994, most involved in the
process generally acknowledged that the basic tenet behind the agreement
was that by building a coalition with the mountain bike community, via
an association and mutual understanding with IMBA, it would benefit the
goals of the Sierra Club and would ultimately be good for the
In 1994 IMBA presented itself as a well-organized grassroots effort.
It's mission was to develop and promote trail riding opportunities for
their members. Today IMBA calls itself an "advocacy group."
The following is a quote from IMBA's web site under the Advocacy
"A significant portion of America's public lands have been designated
Wilderness. Current interpretation of the 1964 Wilderness Act says that
bikes are banned from Wilderness. IMBA members want to protect wild
lands, but sometimes Wilderness designation eliminates great riding.
IMBA works to modify proposals for new Wilderness to protect biking,
while IMBA also supports designation of additional Wilderness, where
appropriate. IMBA is proposing alternatives to Wilderness, such as
National Conservation Areas and National Monuments, which can protect
lands and allow bicycling."
They finish by stating:
"IMBA does not have a position on whether bikes should be allowed in
This last statement is, at the very least, curious since they state in
the previous paragraph that they are working to "modify" proposals for
new Wilderness designations because it "eliminates great riding." This
appears to clearly state their position.
IMBA states its goal is not to protect Wilderness but to protect biking
opportunities into proposed Wilderness areas. It proposes "alternatives
to Wilderness.which can protect lands and allow bicycling." The
operative phrase is "can protect," which does not mean "will" protect
Should the statement: "IMBA works to modify proposals of new Wilderness
to protect biking" be of concern to the Sierra Club?
How would the Sierra Club feel about these statements if they were
coming from the ATV/off-road industry, oil or the mining industry?
The mountain bike industry is multi-billion dollar, multi-national
industry. It has no industry trade group in Washington. IMBA is the one
"advocacy group" in Washington. As of today, IMBA has over 100 corporate
sponsors listed on their web site. The question the Sierra Club should
answer is who exactly are they advocating for?
Recently Michael More, a prominent member of the IMBA organization
through their affiliate, the Marin Bicycle Trails Council, and a former
member of the Marin County Parks, Open Space and Trails Committee was
indicted by a federal grand jury on two counts of felony damage to
federal property. He was allegedly caught in the act of building illegal
trails through protected spotted owl, steelhead and coho salmon habitat.
The following IMBA's official response to the act:
"IMBA categorically opposes all illegal or unsanctioned trail
construction, including More's alleged action. Illegal trail
construction, which generally is unsupervised and not part of a trails
master plan, may damage the environment. IMBA is committed to working
with government agencies to carefully develop, maintain and manage
trails. The future of our sport will be influenced by the spirit of
trust and cooperation we maintain with land managers. Mountain bike
advocates have to be credible and above reproach at all times."
It is not what IMBA says but what IMBA does not say here on their
website or in other public statements that is key. It is the total
absence of the word "protection" as in the phrase "committed to
protection of the environment."
They are committed to "managing" trails, which has a widely different
meaning from "protection." They only talk about "protecting biking."
What does it mean when an industry or special interest group talks about
"managing" natural resources? Does this mean to "make better?"
They do not even state that illegal trail construction "will" damage the
environment. They only say it "may" damage it. Does the Sierra Club
believe this kind of activity damages the environment?
The above statements were left in context as to not distort viewpoints.
Should the Sierra Club investigate and decide if IMBA addresses
protection of natural resources as a secondary concern? If it is true,
by continuing its current relationship with IMBA does the Sierra Club,
in effect, underwrite such a philosophy ?
Please carefully reconsider who IMBA is today, who they speak for and
what the Park City Agreement has produced in terms of tangible results.
Please consider the implications it presents as you approach your goals,
mission and vision in the 21st century. Ultimately consider whether it
helps or hinders in the protection of our natural resources.
Thank you for your consideration.
Member of the Board
Bay Area Trails Preservation Council
Tamalpais Conservation Club