View from Indiana
Yes, Indiana is keeping an eye on what happens with Michigan and I would like to see a regional IMBA chapter. HMBA has talked about the IMBA Program and is on board, if we can get other States to go in and work towards having an IMBA staff person in the region. We have a more centralized organization and can move pretty easily if Michigan figures out a frame work that will work.
I try to keep an eye on what is going on in Michigan, but am just and outsider looking in. So I am impartial to some of the discussions on this thread.
One of the challenges I see is that local issues are typically the most important to riders. They want to know that their membership dollars are going to mean more trails in there local area....Until there is a State or National issue that impacts them locally. Then they expect the State or National group to be there. But, the State and National groups struggle because the locals didn't provide funding to support them until they are needed.
I don't think that a basic membership is enough to support the local, state, and national issues that must be addressed to advance and protect our access to mountain bike trails. To start off with, $10 to $15 per membership go to insurance and processing costs. For those who only contribute the basic membership fee, that leaves $10 to build and maintain local trails, and to advocate at the state and national level.
I have always made a point to Indiana mountain bikers that the basic membership fee just pays for the basic operation costs. Insurance, website, accounting fees, audit costs, mail box fees, etc..... Basic membership doesn't build trails, advocate for trails, fight for trails, etc.....
If riders want more, then they need to find additional ways to contribute. For some, that is a financial donation, for some time swinging tools in the woods, and for others its volunteering to run the organization. Keep in mind that it is important to respect everyone who contributes.
Often I see a lot of effort wasted in fighting over who gets the basic membership fee. This leads to fighting that really discourages those who have stepped up as leaders. I suggest we stop worrying about who gets the $25. Take that energy and fund raise, advocate, build trails, or maybe even ride our bikes.
If people think having a lobbyist is important, then they need to contribute to a state advocacy fund and not expect just their basic membership fee to cover it.
This isn't selling out to IMBA, this is letting IMBA take on one of the painful parts of running a state or local group and freeing up resources to work on local and state wide issues. And it is a step forward to the long term need to have strong local, state, and national organizations their to promote and defend mountain biking.