To preserve, protect, and promote mountain bike access and diverse
riding opportunities on Montana's public lands through education,
communication, and unified action.
Welcome To MMBAThe Montana Mountain Bike Alliance will keep this website updated with current information, specific deadlines and suggested responses to Montana's public land opportunies and challenges as it relates to bicycle access. Join MMBA for the latest updates. Help spread the word - be part of the solution!
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Listening Session for Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act Representative Daines will be in Choteau next Wednesday for a listening session concerning the RMFHA that was reintroduced by Senator Baucus in February. MMBA, IMBA and the Great Falls Bicycle Club were instrumental in getting bicycle friendly language inserted into the bill that will permanently protect 275,000 acres through Wilderness and a game changing CMA companion designation. Please consider writing a letter of support or attend the meeting. Learn More!
Public Supported needed for New Trails. Outdoor enthusiasts in Southwest Montana have an opportunity to develop a new shared-use trail system near Whitehall that will provide an outstanding singletrack experience for hiking, biking and equestrian use. The Butte Office of the BLM is conducting an Environmental Assessment in Jefferson County. As a component of this assessment, scoping comments are being solicited from the public for the proposal known as the Doherty Mountain Trails. Please review the proposal and comment!
Bicycle access brings financial benefits to the communities that support us. Here's a 2003 BIKE Magazine article on Northern Wales where a singletrack driven revival sustains rural lifestyles through bicycle economics. Lessons learned over a decade ago can help Montana towns like Ovando. It's a timely read. Bicycle Dollar$ are Forest Job$. Enjoy!
It's been a big year of advocacy in 2012 for MMBA - from getting bicycle specific language inserted in Senator Baucus' Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act to securing needed adjustments in Senator Tester's Forest Jobs and Recreation Act in the Centennial Mountains that keeps a 50-mile section of the CDT open to bikes! Learn More!
A Big Shout-Out to our volunteers that contributed to the health and safety of our trails this year! A special acknowledgement goes to the teamwork between the Backcountry Horsemen and MMBA who has developed a butt-kicking trail work partnership where the horsemen haul the tools and the mountain bikers supply the labor. Check out the CDT work day!
Horse - Bike Clinic Scheduled - MMBA and the Gallatin Chapter of the Backcountry Horsemen are pleased to announce a bike - horse clininc on May 12th to promote a better understanding and improved trail safety between our two compatible groups. MMBA and GCBH will be partnering in at least 2 trail clearing projects this summer. Be part of the Trail Sharing solution! DETAILS
CDT Work Day at Homestake Pass - Come give the CDT some much needed love this coming Sunday, May 6th! In both directions from Homestake Pass the CDT is covered with blow down from this winter and needs clearing for the spring riding season. DETAILS
9th Circuit Court rules on Gallatin Crest - upholds 2009 decision. The Forest Service is directed to better protect 'wilderness character' of area but with no specific direction on how to do so. This highlights the need to start a public Gallatin collaborative process to do what neither the agency or courts can do - bring resolution and permanent protection to this spectacular and deserving area. Read Article
MMBA and IMBA support Rocky Mtn Heritage Act for its proposed protection of 275,000 acres including 5 new Wilderness additions of 67,000 acres. The Conservation Management Area to be created by the Act is a MWA & TWS approved bicycle friendly companion designation that will be a useful new tool in any collaborative effort to permanently protect Montana’s world-class resources in the future. Press Release CMA Language
MMBA and the International Mountain Bike Association lend support to Senator Jon Tester's Forest Jobs and Recreation Act. Read IMBA Press Release. For more details - read testimony submitted on June 8th to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. By supporting 97% of the Wilderness acerage IMBA & MMBA make a pro-conservation statement - by identifying the remaining 3% as important bicycle routes needing protection IMBA & MMBA also take a sustainable, pro-business position!
MMBA and IMBA support Rocky Mtn Heritage Act for its proposed protection of 275,000 acres including 5 new Wilderness additions of 67,000 acres. The Conservation Management Area to be created by the Act is a MWA & TWS approved bicycle friendly companion designation that will be a useful new tool in any collaborative effort to permanently protect Montana’s world-class resources in the future. Press Release
Pedal Driven is a 60 minute documentary released in Spring 2011 that queries: where do bicycles belong on our public lands and what is the responsibility of the bicycling community? It asks hard questions and presents pro-active solutions. Watch the trailer. Better yet - order a copy to view the full length feature.
Lima Retrospective - A look back at the 2009 Backcountry Bicycle Festival used as an poignant economic example and reason to have a better trail-by-trail analysis process to address bicycle access to important routes in areas Recommended as Wilderness during forest planning.
University of Montana's Wilderness Institute is conducting an in depth assessment of the HPBH WSA landscape this summer to map and monitor weeds, inventory campsites, roads and trails, document wildlife and recreational use. When completed, this guided volunteer effort will offer a needed SCIENCE based snap-shot of this spectacular area. The resulting data will be invaluable to the public, collaborative process required to replace the WSA with permanent protection. Stay informed and engaged.
The Continental Divide Trail is a unique recreational and econimic resource for Southwest Montana that needs conservation, protection and promotion. One of the best backcountry trails in the country is the section of the CDT through the Henry Mountains via Mile Creek. While the alpine areas have yet to be clear of snow and ridable as of mid-July 2011 - here is a teaser of what to expect when it does. Montana's Best Singletrack?
Deja vu - how time flies! It has been two years since Bike Magazine published the extensive feature on Montana's bicycle access challenges. The article explores some of the background issues to the (then) impending trail closures in the Gallatin and Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forests. With the actual closure of 500 miles of loved alpine singletrack in June 2010, the piece is as relevant today as it was 2009. An Important Bicycle Perspective!
Gallatin National Forest Trail Share starts June 15th for the trails in the Bridger Mountains north of Bozeman with the Hyalite Trail Share starting July 16th. Dont be a dweeb - respect the closures. MMBA passionately advocated for YOUR continued access to these great trails. See Trail Descriptions & Schedule.
FJRA Update: After a long winter without much public movement, Senator Jon Tester's Forest Jobs and Recreation Act gets a Senate commitee hearing. An article in the Clark Fork Chronicle offers an update. Keep the process and progress of the FJRA on your radar. Read Article.
The Forest Service is in the process of updating Forest Planning rules that will determine how our National Forests are managed.
This dialog offers opportunities to address some of the most restrictive bicycle / conservation policies concerning bicycle access on our National Forest public lands. Open public meetings were held in Missoula and Billings on March 22nd. MMBA representatives were at both meetings representing your bicycle interests. Review link and plan to comment by the May 16th deadline. MMBA will provide revised talking points SOON! Stay involved!
Forest Planning Rule info
The Blackfoot Travel Planning comment period has been extended to January 7th. The Lincoln Ranger District is in the Helena National Forest surrounding the town of Lincoln. This travel plan has the possibility to be the most bicycle friendly Travel Plan in Montana. The Lincoln Chamber of Commerce hired IMBA to do an area trail assessment - see IMBA report HERE. Suggestions from this report have been incorporated into the Travel Plan options. To see proposed maps and make comments - go to Blackfoot Travel Planning.
Chestnut Mountain Trail just east of Bozeman was dedicated June 30th, 2011. KUDOS to Gallatin Valley Land Trust, Trust for Public Lands and the Gallatin National Forest for diligently working for ten years to arrange the easements and land swaps to make the trail possible. The trails at the Trail Creek I-90 exit and accesses Chestnut Mountain - the 'Climber's Spur' trail allows for new access to the Frog Rock climbing area too.
IMBA launches the Public Lands Initiative to save our singletrack - raises cash at Sea Otter!
This is a FEEL GOOD MUST READ!
On April 7th, 2010 the Gallatin National Forest released the interim summer use management strategy for the Hyalite Porcupine Buffalo Horn (HPBH) Wilderness Study Area (WSA) south of Bozeman and east of Big Sky. Prompted by a court ruling, the GNF was mandated to rework the management of the WSA under the 2006 Travel Plan.
The GNF has appealed the court decision but the appeals process can take 6 months to 2 years to be resolved with no guarantees of a different outcome. The interim stategy goes into affect May 1st and will be in place until it is replaced by Congressional action - which could take another 33 years.
The new interim stategy drastically reduces the miles open to bicycles in the WSA. The coveted Gallatin Crest and most of the high country side trails are now closed to bicycles. Trails open to both bicycles and motorcycles were reduced from 70 miles to 40 and trails open to only mountain bicycles went from 170 miles to 20! This loss of alpine trail access is substantial and irresplaceable. Front country trails are not a substitute for the backcountry access just lost. Does the Gallatin Crest deserve permanent protection? Absolutely! But does it really all need to be protected from bicycles is the question?
We can thank the Wilderness plaintiffs, The Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Montana Wilderness Association and The Wilderness Society, for the initial lawsuit and subsequent testimony that threw bicycles under the motorized bus by repeatedly lumping bicycles in with motorized users for having the same impact on other users, wildlife and the landscape. They argued that mechanized is motorized to acheive their conservation goals. This anti-bicycle sentiment was mirrored in Judge Molloy’s ruling and the Forest Service had no choice but to manage bicycles as motorized or risk being in contempt of court.
The solution? A grass roots collaboration to develop a legislative replacement to the HPBH WSA - much like the Conservation Management Area widely promoted up on the Rocky Mountain Front. This conversation has already begun. Stay tuned.
Read Billings Gazette coverage.
Watch the hearing of Senator Tester's Forest Jobs and Recreation Act (S.-1470) online. Select the Energy and Natural Resources commitee, click on the Archived Webcasts link on the left navigation bar and search for December 17th and PUBLIC LANDS AND FORESTS SUBCOMMITTEE HEARING: to receive testimony on the following bills: S. 1470.
An article in the new Dirt Rag Magazine highlights Montana’s access challenges. It is a good read and an important reality check for all who ride in the Big Sky Country. Check it out here!
On November 13th, 2009 the Gallatin National Forest released the Winter Interim Management Strategy for Hyalite Porcupine Buffalo Horn Wilderness Study Area south of Bozeman and east of Big Sky and follows the directive from Judge Molloy's ruling concerning the WSA. The management strategy covers snowmobile use in the WSA which curtails use back to roughly the 1977 levels. This is a prelude to what will come next summer for mountain bike access to the great trails within the WSA . See directive.
A New York Times editorial article appearing in the 10/11/2009 print addition explores the Region 1 bike banning philosophy. Read NYT Article.
WSA LAWSUIT - Ruling on a lawsuit filed by the Montana Wilderness Assoiciation, The Greater Yellowstone Coalition and the Wilderness Society, U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy states the Gallatin National Forest travel plan did not do enough to ensure the Hyalite-Porcupine-Buffalo Horn Wilderness Study Area kept its wilderness characteristics. The ruling means that the Forest Service will have to revisit how the HPBH WSA is managed. Named as a threat to solitude in the lawsuit, mounain bicycle access to the 220 miles on 36 alpine trails south of Bozeman and east of Big Sky that fall into the 155,000 acre WSA will again be on the table for possible closure - including trails in upper Hyalite and Porcupine drainages. Read Chronicle Article See Lawsuit
New West article posted online states MMBA position on Senator Tester's Forest Jobs and Recreation Act. View Aritcle
The Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest draws economic development - Bicycle Style! World-class backcountry singletrack threatened for closure in both the Beaverhead-Deerlodge Forest Plan and Senator Tester’s Wilderness Bill inspired over 100 cyclists to make the drive to Lima, Montana to ride, camp, eat, drink, dance and make new friends in the name of mountain bike tourism and trail advocacy at the 2nd Annual Montana Backcountry Bicycle Festival on August 22nd & 23rd. Festival Report!
Senator Testor introduced a Wilderness Bill on Friday, July 17th. Named the 'The Forest Jobs and Recreation Act', the bill combines the Beaverhead-Deerlodge Partnership, Blackfoot-Clearwater Stewardship Project, and the Three Rivers Challenge that affects the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, the Blackfoot-Clearwater and the Yaak areas. The bill does potentially close many trails to bicycle access. The introduction of this bill is not the end of the process of advocating for our trails. The cycling community needs to stay involved as the bill works its way through Congress. View Maps and Draft Language.
MMBA has a FACEBOOK page. Become a FAN!
MMBA supports the continued efforts to build a aerial tram to Our Lady of the Rockies on Butte's east ridge. Tram access to OLR would provide sight seeing pedestrians and bicycle enthusiasts a unique opportunity to enjoy the view and access the network of trails that radiate in all directions from the top. With Butte being at the intersection of two interstate highways, the tram accessed mountain bike trails would draw cyclists from across the region. The OLR tram has the potential of turning Butte into a world-class mountain bike destination. Dream Big!
MMBA - Montana Standard newspaper full page ad, Sunday 6-21-09. See Ad
With a pending Wilderness bill here in Montana, the topic of mountain bike tourism and the importance of protecting and promoting economically and historically important trail systems couldn't be a hotter issue. Here's a BIKE magazine article from 2002 that features how promoting sustainable mountain bike trails in Wales saved economically depressed small villages across the country. Read it and imagine how Montana town's like Philipsburg, Lima, Dillon, Hamilton, Thompson Falls, Anaconda and a dozen others can benefit from the same mindset.
A three part article was posted on NewWest.net which tackles the issue of bicyle access, Wilderness and the future of roadless lands. A must read for all mountain bikers. READ IT and be part of the dialog! Part Two is out. Part Three too!
In its May 2009 issue BIKE Magazine published a HUGE feature on Montana's land access challenges to mountain bicycling. Go out and find a copy, or use the link below. All cyclists and recreationalists need to be part of the land conservation dialog and contribute to a solution for continued bicycle access combined with permanent Congressional protection of great trails on Montana's public lands. Read Article!
A new website devoted to bicycling and wilderness issues has been launched that contains great information on land conservation and bicycle access. Learn More!
An online Montana Mountain Bike network has been formed to serve as a place to forum, blog, post events, videos and photos of all things mountain biking in Montana. Check it out
A National Protection Area proposed for the Lionhead area near West Yellowstone would offer permanent protection for this spectacular area while allowing continued quiet trails for bicycles including the iconic Continental Divide Trail. Outside Bozeman Article Chronicle Article See Map
A comparison chart of permament Congression land protection options can be found HERE!
A National Park Service (NPS) regulation change will benefit Americans by improving mountain biking experiences in national parks. The new policy would empower park superintendents to manage trails for bicycles, without sacrificing environmental review or public comment opportunities. Learn More
Working Together to Protect Wild Lands
Local Montana mountain bike advocates, working with the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), have been busy in recent months, meeting with Forest Service staff, elected officials and other stakeholder groups. The goal is to protect Montana's wild lands, and to preserve sustainable backcountry recreation experiences.
News Flash: Cyclists explore the mountains of Montana in 1896 establishing ‘mountain’ biking as an integral piece of the Treasure State’s backcountry heritage and history. Explore Montana Bicycle History
Economic Impacts of Mountain Biking
Montana, rich in great trails, beautiful scenery and down-home hospitality, is ripe to profit from mountain bike tourism. Two recent studies reveal information that mountain bike recreation provides a green and sustainable economy for rural communities surrounded by public lands. The findings document the economic power of mountain biking and verify the potential benefits for towns like Butte, Dillon, Philipsburg, Hamilton, West Yellowstone and scores of others across the State.
$$$ MTB Economics $$$
Lawsuit threatens alpine riding and summer revenues for communities near Bozeman, Big Sky and West Yellowstone
In April 2007, Montana Wilderness Assoiciation, The Greater Yellowstone Coalition, and subsequently, the Wilderness Society filed a lawsuit against the Forest Service that could negatively impact mountain biking opportunities in the Hyalite Porcupine Buffalo Horn Wilderness Study Area (HPBH WSA) south of Bozeman and east of Big Sky. With over 220 miles on 36 alpine trails and 155,000 acres, a blanket closure of the Gallatin Crest Trail system would be tragic.
Find out more.
Recent magazine article explores riding, hunting and land access issues in Montana.
A hunting by mountain bike article in the Fall issue of Outside Bozeman magazine describes riding in the HPBH WSA and the tradition of bike hunting up there. It contains great insights to the land access challenges on the horizon.
Read about MTB & backcountry hunting