Oregon and Scotland earn top marks on IMBA report card

According to the eighth edition of the 2006 IMBA report card, Oregon and Scotland are the top places to mountain bike while Montana and British Columbia need some remediation. The annual report card "gauges the riding opportunities and advocacy strength in the United States, Canadian Provinces and nations with significant IMBA activities." Unlike other report card editions, IMBA no longer assigns letter grades to each state, province, or country.

Oregon earned the Top Dog award for the US with grade of "A". Besides its well-known trails, Oregon can boast a state-wide recreation trail development plan and strong advocacy clubs like the Columbia Area Mountain Bike Advocates (CAMBA), Central Oregon Trail Alliance (COTA), Oregon Mountain Bike Alliance (ORMBA), and Portland United Mountain Pedalers (PUMP). Two other recent accomplishments include a bike-friendly land management plan for Mount Hood and the establishment of freeriding resources by the Black Rock Mountain Bike Association (BRMBA) working with the Oregon Department of Forestry. Last year, Virginia took top honors among the states.

Internationally, Scotland was labelled "Global Superstar" with an "A+" grade. Scotland is the first nation to win top honors in two consecutive years, largely do to its efforts to promote the sport in many ways including a nationwide plan for a network of bike parks on Forestry Commission lands. The Scots have it covered from cross-country to downhill riding, and their mountain bike centers are sometimes cited as models of successful adventure tourism.

Montana was designated the "most endangered" mountain biking place with "C-". Riding opportunities there are now in jeopardy due to a Forest Service proposal to ban bikes from many roadless areas across the state. The forest service is planning to treat bicycle travel like motor vehicle traffic despite the fact bicycles are human powered and quiet compared to motorized vehicles. 700 miles of singletrack are at risk, and the state has few mountain bike advocates.

Despite its reputation as a mountain bike wonderland, British Columbia was given "alert" status. A new plan could affect the way mountain bike trails on Crown lands in British Columbia are managed. If the plan is adopted, individual trailbuilders and mountain bike clubs will carry the burden of maintaining trails to the government's standards, including providing liability insurance for trails with technical features. If the plan is adopted, it will put the onus on individual trailbuilders and mountain bike clubs to maintain trails to the government's standards - and possibly to provide liability insurance for trails with technical features. Yet issues of where to acquire such insurance coverage and how to pay for it have yet to be resolved. Because most trails in the province are technical, the alert poses a risk to mountain biking across British Columbia.

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