This fall the International Mountain Biking Association and the U.S. Forest Service will host the Tahoe Trails Conference in South Lake Tahoe.
The Oct. 1-3 event, which is open to all members of the mountain bike community, will create an opportunity for collaboration between riders, land managers and the bike industry. The goal is to ensure the future of sustainable and epic trails, like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride and sections of the Tahoe Rim Trail, in the Lake Tahoe Basin. Because of Lake Tahoe’s famed water clarity, activities in the Tahoe Basin — from boating, building and trail construction — are heavily regulated by the U.S. Forest Service, the states of California and Nevada and local governments.
In recent conversations with Forest service officials, IMBA’s California Policy Advisor Tom Ward learned that several conservation groups are currently more organized than mountain bikers with their responses to the Tahoe Basin planning.
“These groups have already created detailed proposals that could drastically change mountain bike access,” said Ward. “For example, some groups are calling for new wilderness near South Lake Tahoe that would permanently close trails like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.”
The Tahoe Trails Conference will give concerned mountain bikers all the tools they need to formulate an effective response to the Forest Service’s draft plans, Ward said.
“This is a great opportunity for riders to work together and make sure that the entire mountain bike community can stand behind our requests,” Ward said. “IMBA will provide workshops and expert advice on how to present our ideas in a manner that the foresters can understand and utilize in their final plans.”
Registration for the Tahoe Trails Conference is open on IMBA’s Web site. Registration costs will be kept to a minimum for this no-frills gathering. A limited number of scholarships will be made available, with the goal of attracting as many leaders from the local mountain bike community as possible.
Specific conference goals include:
- Create a sense of environmental stewardship and ownership for the trails in the Lake Tahoe Basin.
- Enhance riders’ awareness of Lake Tahoe’s sensitive environment.
- Develop understanding of design and engineering elements that go into creating enjoyable and sustainable trails.
- Create understanding of what is needed to develop a strong and effective mountain bike community.
- Facilitate networking among land managers and activists in the mountain bike community.
- The creation of an informed mountain bike community that takes pride and ownership of the trails in the Lake Tahoe Basin.
- Encourage trailbuilders to partner with land managers on the planning, construction and maintenance of trails.
- Promote better understanding of the trail experiences riders desire.
- Foster long-term protection of the environment in the Lake Tahoe Basin.
- Ensure long-term protection and expansion of mountain biking opportunities.
In addition to informational sessions and presentations the conference will feature group rides, networking opportunities and planned social gatherings.