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International Mountain Bicycling Association

IMBA Supports Bicycle-Friendly Virginia Wilderness Bill

02.28.2007
Boulder, CO

Representatives of the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) and the Virginia Wilderness Committee (VWC) strongly support legislation introduced in Congress to protect parts of the Jefferson National Forest in southern Virginia as Wilderness and National Scenic Area. The legislation preserves important natural resources while allowing bicyclists to continue enjoying these valuable places.

The Virginia Ridge and Valley Wilderness and National Scenic Areas Act of 2007, introduced on Feb. 13 by U.S. Representative Rick Boucher (D-VA) and U.S. Senator John Warner (R-VA), would designate six new Wilderness areas, additions to six existing Wilderness areas, and create two National Scenic Areas. More than 54,000 acres would be preserved.

IMBA, VWC and other stakeholders collaborated on a strong, innovative land preservation bill acceptable to all parties. "We are pleased the bill includes boundary adjustments and National Scenic Area designations that allow mountain bicycling in preserved lands without compromising environmental protection," said IMBA Virginia Representative Chris Scott.

"IMBA has long supported land preservation and believes mountain biking is an appropriate activity in most protected areas," said Jenn Dice, IMBA government affairs director. "Because Wilderness regulations categorically ban bicycling, the VWC worked hard to understand and accommodate our existing use. They made many boundary adjustments and supported National Scenic Areas for the two areas with significant bicycling trails," Dice said.

"This Wilderness legislation is the product of years of work," said Mark Miller with the VWC and the Southern Appalachian Forest Coalition. "We are happy and excited that the mountain bicycling community has joined us in what has been a two-year effort. The agreement between IMBA and VWC provides a framework for future cooperative efforts in Virginia. We must all now work together to help the Virginia delegation get this bill passed."

Both National Scenic Areas are located in Smyth County. The Seng Mountain tract, 6,455 acres, is within Mount Rogers National Recreation Area and the nearby Bear Creek National Scenic Area totals 5,128 acres. Both include valuable trail systems that will remain open to mountain biking.

IMBA is pleased to help create this bicycle-friendly land preservation bill. It is endorsed by more than 100 organizations, including dozens of businesses, local government officials, Virginia Wilderness Committee, Virginia Audubon Council, the Virginia Tourism Corporation and local mountain biking clubs. Mountain bicyclists can be a positive component of the preservation movement and IMBA looks forward to collaborating with other citizen-led initiatives to protect more land and trails across the country.

Additional Wilderness resources, including Frequently Asked Questions, are available online at IMBA.com.

###

Contacts
International Mountain Bicycling Association
1-888-442-4622
info@imba.com
www.imba.com

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