Date: Thu, 10 May 2001

From: Larry Minikes <>

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

designated Wilderness."

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.

Sincerely yours,

Larry Minikes

Member of the Board

Bay Area Trails Preservation Council

Tamalpais Conservation Club