Mountain bike riders have long been barred from everything but the tarmac in most of the US' National Parks - even fire roads are generally off limits. However, according to MTB access body IMBA, that's about to change after the organisation signed a five-year agreement with the National Park Service in which the service recognizes mountain biking as a positive activity, compatible with the values of the National Park system.
The agreement has the potential to open hundreds of dirt roads in National Park areas that have been closed to cycling. While National Park Service rules require a lengthy process to open singletrack to bicycle use, appropriate dirt roads may be opened with a more straightforward administrative process.
"This agreement represents a true breakthrough for mountain biking," said IMBA Executive Director Mike Van Abel. "It opens the door for individual park units to partner with mountain bikers and investigate new riding opportunities on a case-by-case basis."
As part of the agreement, IMBA and the Park Service will initially partner on two pilot projects to be selected later this year. The projects will bring mountain bikers and park officials together for on-the-ground teamwork and serve as models for future collaboration.