At the annual expo this past January, the board arrived at a goal of making the MMBA relevant to individual mountain bikers statewide. The MMBA is the umbrella organization which can be the central repository for documentation, presentations, etc., for lessons learned within each chapter. The MMBA can pass on the information to other chapters so they can learn from success of various activities whether trail design, how to approach land managers, information on preparing presentations. Additionally, set-backs or losses can be learning experiences and should be retained for future reference. The MMBA is the tool to do that. In this regard, I would ask the chapters that if they have trail proposals or success and failure stories, to document these in some sort of presentation and the MMBA can upload it to the online library which is accessible to other chapters for reference.
Other actions in process to facilite relevance and function
1. Two new persons will appointed to the Advocacy team as associate directors to assist Advocacy Director Ted Welsh. (More on this in subsequent news releases).
2. The board is reviewing some changes to the MMBA forum. The changes may be minor but ADVOCACY is moving to the top as the first section of the forum. The forum is still a valuable communication tool.
3. Michigan Mountain Bike Hall of Fame. This will be added to the MMBA website. The plan is to present the Hall of Fame awards at the annual expo in 2014.
4. Finally, and most importantly, there continue to be threats to our trails and access at the state level. Most recently was the equestrian bill which died in legislature in Dec 2013. Without a concerted and allied effort by all mountain bikers statewide to fight issues that affect our sport on state lands, such bills could be enacted. The MMBA is the mechanism for every chapter to join forces for statewide issues affecting us. Even as we advance trail access locally, we still want to protect the state land trails from damage or elimination. In this regard, we are working to gain access to the Trails Advisory committee.
Finally, one major concern some mountain bikers had (one I shared) was the relationship to IMBA. IMBA was active internationally and nationally with regards to federal issues, but it didn’t appear that they did much to assist with local advocacy. This appears to be changing. Under the new “IMBA Chapter” programs, the regional representatives are getting more involved in the hard legislative advocacy efforts. This appears to be a natural evolution of the IMBA chapter programs and one which I applaud. IMBA (Andy) was key in leading the charge to add mountain bike information to that recent draft of the trails commission. If another piece of legislation arises that threatens access or damage to trails, IMBA, partnering with the state level MMBA, will work together to fight for our sport.