The US House of Representatives is set to vote on the Great American Outdoors Act soon, and it could be HUGE for mountain bike trails in the USA. The bill already passed the Senate and now it’s up to the House to approve it. In a recent action alert, the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) noted this amount of funding for outdoor recreation and trails is unprecedented in terms of its scope.
For decades, the recreation community has worked to protect programs with funding levels in the millions. Now, the Great American Outdoors Act would fund trails, parks and public lands to the tune of $2.8 billion per year. It fully funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and addresses the trail maintenance backlog for the National Park Service, the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. IMBA and our partners worked hard to include the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management in the bill, as those agencies are vital for mountain biking.
This bill will help meet the demand for accessible outdoor spaces, put people to work building trails and parks across the country, and help create trail systems that provide lasting economic benefits. The pandemic has revitalized the importance of the outdoors. At the same time, it has highlighted how we don’t have enough trails close to home, and how the trails that exist aren’t always equally distributed.
It’s incredibly easy to add your voice and to encourage your US representative to support this important bill. Just fill out this online form, which automatically drafts a letter to your congressperson. (If you’re not sure who your representative is, this is a great way to learn! Based on your address the form tells you who reps your district.) Modify the text if you like, then click send. The whole thing can be done in 2 minutes or less and it’s an effective way to give back to the trails we all enjoy.