In response to threats to trail access across the state, Montana mountain bikers united to form a group called the Montana Mountain Bike Alliance (MMBA) to represent their interests. The group, formed in November, is now working directly with the Forest Service and other user groups as it revises forest plans.
"There's been a real hard push in the last little while to remove bicyclists from a lot of trails," said one of the group's founders Corey Biggers to the Billings Gazette. "We're trying to have a voice for the whole state." Several areas have been proposed for future Wilderness Study Areas, and because trails in Wilderness Areas are not open to bicycle use, Montana riders would lose access to existing riding trails in any newly designated Wilderness Areas.
Biggers commented that mountain bikers had not previously been well organized in Montana. "Our goal is to get bikers politically motivated and off the proverbial couch," added Bob Allen, another founder. The group aims to balance land preservation with continued recreational trail access for cyclists and other users.
Trails under threat of closure to mountain bike are in the Beaverhead-Deer Lodge National Forest and the Gallatin National Forest and form part of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail.
For more information, visit www.montanamountainbikealliance.com.