Land managers and mountain bikers meet in California

Public land managers are scheduled to meet with mountain bikers throughout California, to get ideas on how to accommodate mountain bikers in the state's 18 national forests. Forums from Redding to San Diego will be jointly sponsored by the US Forest Service and the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA). The goal is to help rangers manage and plan for mountain biking, which is booming state-wide.

"We’re seeing more and more use of [mountain biking] and so we’re trying to stay ahead of the game," said Matt Mathes, a spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest region to the Sierra Sun. He named two common concerns about mountain bike use: trail erosion and compatibility with other trail users.

Mountain bikers in California have faced various access issues lately, but local IMBA representative and Bicyclists of Nevada County president John Gardiner sees the meetings as a positive. "I think it is an opportunity to partner,” John Gardiner told the Sierra Sun. "The Forest Service is so short on staff." A partnership could lead to new and improved trails and may help California rangers adopt a uniform policy on mountain biking.

The land managers are using the forums as a chance to hear from mountain bikers and other trail users. Although not part of a formal comment process, the forest service will use input to develop a “mountain bicycle management strategy” for each California national forest to use to in managing increased mountain bike use.

The first session was held November 30th in the Sacramento area. Others are coming to the San Diego area (December 5th), the Los Angeles area (December 6th), the Redding area (December 12th), and the Bay area (December 14th)

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