Thanks to everyone who came out for the 2019 edition of the Aspen FIFTY! We’re grateful for everyone’s enthusiasm and want to send a special thanks to WEDU and to all of our volunteers who made this event possible! If you raced, check out this link for photographs taken by Liz Kreutz out on course. Congrats to 50 mile winners Dean Hill & Rachel Beck, and everyone else who enjoyed the long suffer while out on the course!
Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association issues statement on Electric Mountain Bikes in response to recent Dept. of Interior Secretarial Order 3376.
RFMBA’s Board of Directors has watched the evolution of E-Bikes, and specifically eMTB’s, over recent years. We’ve held off on stating anything more detailed than support for IMBA’s policy on this topic as the technology itself, and attitudes towards the technology, has been evolving rapidly.
As of September 2019, RFMBA supports IMBA’s policy on this topic which can be summarized as follows:
- eMTB’s should be managed as distinct from traditional bikes.
- eMTB’s are available in three distinct classes, and should be managed as such when deciding which class of eMTB can or can’t access particular trails.
- Access to trails for traditional mountain bikes is critical to our sport; management of eMTB’s on these same trails must not lead to threats to traditional mountain bike access.
- Each public land manager should undertake an open public process to decide where eMTB access should be allowed (on a trail by trail or area by area basis). Local mountain bike advocacy groups’ views should be taken into consideration in those public processes.
- Trail access for Class 1 eMTB’s, which provide unique characteristics, can be supported on shared use trails as long as access is not lost or impeded for traditional mountain bikes. Class 1 technology is pedal assist only, up to 20mph, no push button throttle.
The local impact of DOI Secretarial Order 3376 is not yet known, but RFMBA awaits a response from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) about what public process may be required to legally implement the Secretary’s desired policy. We recognize that many non-motorized trail advocates and land conservation organizations may take a hardline stance and will seek to fight this policy in its entirety, possibly in the federal courts. While acknowledging the (1) ongoing and seemingly inevitable growth in eMTB sales worldwide, the (2) positive benefits for certain users and for the health and wellness of our communities, the (3) limited impacts of Class 1 technology by enthusiastic users who respect traditional trail etiquette rules, and the (4) difficulty in enforcing ongoing eMTB prohibitions, RFMBA seeks a middle ground solution between full prohibition and full access for all classes of eMTB’s on all trails currently open to mountain bikes in our region.
In the Roaring Fork Valley, our most popular BLM trails include the Red Hill Special Recreation Management Area, the Crown Special Recreation Management Area (aka Prince Creek), the New Castle Extensive Recreation Management Area, and the Lorax Trail, among others. In contrast to Order 3376, RFMBA does not support Class 2 (propelled by a throttle button) or Class 3 (maximum pedal assist speed of 28mph, a sliver below an electric motorcycle’s rating) on any BLM trails that are currently managed for traditional mountain bike use. We recognize that Class 2 and Class 3 E-Bikes have positive use cases for transportation and recreation on roads and trails open to motor vehicles and on specific paved bike paths.
RFMBA acknowledges that Class 1 eMTB’s (with pedal assist technology limited to 20 mph) can have positive benefits for certain users. When following traditional trail etiquette, Class 1 eMTB users can coexist on shared use trails with limited additional impact compared to traditional mountain bikes. RFMBA recommends judicious use of this technology; in particular, we encourage younger riders to enjoy the life long benefits and joys of traditional mountain bikes before seeking out Class 1 eMTB experiences. We understand the benefits that Class 1 eMTB’s can provide for those who are seeking improved health and exercise through pedal assist technology. At the same time, we believe that it is OK to have mountain bike trails where Class 1 eMTB access remains prohibited. For example, a directional trail that is primarily used by mountain bikers would be a better location for public land managers to allow Class 1 eMTB access, compared to a high-use two-way trail where a majority of users are hikers, runners, and dog walkers.
In the coming weeks, RFMBA will publish a list of BLM trails that we could support for shared use Class 1 eMTB access, on the assumption this support would not threaten or impede current traditional mountain bike access.
In the coming months RFMBA will study a similar question for other area trails. Which, if any, trails currently open to mountain bikes on White River National Forest, Town of Snowmass Village, City of Aspen, Pitkin County Open Space & Trails, and other land managers might be appropriate for future Class 1 eMTB access? Many trails in our region include easements across private property that will not allow for electric pedal assist motors in the future. Current prohibitions on eMTB’s are likely to remain place for a long time, if not permanently, as public processes have not been scheduled by most of these public land managers. Regardless, we welcome feedback from our current members and partners on this complex topic.
Article courtesy of Kate Miyamoto at BLM.gov
If time is money, volunteers are priceless.
Adam Cornely is a prime example of the value of volunteers. This year, BLM Colorado selected Cornely as the 2018 Colorado Volunteer of the Year. Cornely received the award on February 15, 2019 at the New Castle Trails Winter Conference Movie Night.
Cornely has donated thousands of hours to help transform recreation in his town of New Castle, Colorado – a small town on the Colorado River, a few miles west of Glenwood Springs. As chairman of New Castle Trails, a subcommittee of the Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association, Cornely led the development of more than 16 miles of trails in New Castle, open to mountain biking, horseback riding, and hiking. Twelve of the 16 miles of trails are on BLM lands in the New Castle Extensive Recreation Management Area
Cornely has been hard at work to improve recreation in New Castle since 2016—fundraising, coordinating volunteer work, working closely with the community and BLM, and improving the trail system for users. Cornely successfully worked with the BLM on Colorow Flow Trails, a new trails area that provides a skills-building trails progression for young and beginner riders.
“Adam has shown a firm commitment to improving his community through trail-based recreation and a remarkable energy in overcoming hurdles to make that happen. It is a pleasure to work with such passionate people,” says Miles Gurtler, Recreation Planner in the Colorado River Valley Field Office.
Volunteers are vital to the BLM and public lands. Every year, thousands of volunteers donate their time, skills, and services to help BLM Colorado sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of public lands. They keep campers safe, find homes for wild horses and burros, care for cultural artifacts, provide environmental education and interpretation, and perform countless other tasks.
We’ve had a truly exceptional year for trails and mountain biking in the Roaring Fork Valley! This wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of our volunteers, Annual Members, individual Donors, Business Partners, and granting foundations. As we look towards 2019, we need your help and creativity to continue our efforts to create and sustain the best possible mountain bike trail system and experiences in our region.
The Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association serves the communities from Aspen to Glenwood Springs, New Castle and beyond. Since forming as a non-profit in 2008, our volunteer efforts have been bolstered by support staff to greatly increase our impact and make significant progress on our mission’s work. With your annual support, we’ll continue our work and accomplish even more!
During 2018, our advocacy, design, and coordination efforts + our highly valued public land manager partnerships resulted in many trail projects including: the new South Canyon Trail System (Tramway, Lighting Bug, & Coal Camp),improvements to Prince Creek including an extension of the Father of Ginormous, the Next Jen trail, and the Dinkle Link. Our New Castle Trails committee completed the Colorow Flow Trails (Goose & Maverick), while Aspen area riders welcomed the Upper Hummingbird extension and the revamped Upper Plunge. Volunteer trail work hours continued to increase this year due to our volunteer incentive Bike Giveaway program. Our first year Trail Agent program (trained independent volunteers) logged over 600 hours, while our first year Seasonal Trail Crew tackled over 1,500 hours of maintenance on high use and remote trails. Looking towards next year, we will see more trail improvements throughout our region. Imagine what else we’ll accomplish with your support!
We believe that World Class Trails benefit our local communities. Modern trails lead to healthy and vibrant local residents while offering an economic boost to our tourism dependent region. Our work is a public benefit that effects economic development, encourages healthy lifestyles, and increases the environmental stewardship of public lands. By focusing on trail experiences for both new and younger riders we are increasing the number of people who will benefit from our shared public lands.
As our region’s population and visitation increase, while federal land manager’s budgets simultaneously decrease, the need for volunteer and professional stewardship of our public lands also continues to increase. Our advocacy outreach and education efforts lead to a greater understanding by land managers of the value provided by modern, high quality, bike-optimized trails. As most of our trails are multi-use, our work benefits all trail users by reducing conflicts and improving experiences on the land.
Our efforts to organize the mountain bike community have already resulted in increased stewardship of trails. Our planning work to set the stage and gain approvals for trail system improvements is now ongoing throughout the valley. We are leading the charge to design and implement trail systems that will cater to youth riders, visiting tourists, and long time enthusiasts.
In order to continue our advocacy and education work, and to complement our Annual Membership and Business Partnership Programs, we are seeking generous Direct Donations to support RFMBA’s ongoing and future work. Rise to our biggest challenge by sponsoring an additional 2019 Seasonal Trail Crew member today! Patrons at the highest level support training, equipment, and all costs for a seasonal trail crew member that will positively impact trail conditions throughout our region.
Significant support for programs that increase volunteer stewardship, like our Trail Agent Program, or generous gifts towards specific trail construction projects (please ask us about our RFMBA Trail Fund) will also directly impact our effect on our local communities.
We would love to share the specifics of our many trail planning and program initiatives with you. If you have any questions or ideas about local trails or our mission, please contact us. Thanks for your interest in providing better trails for everyone!
Thanks for your support in 2018! Now it’s time to focus on 2019!
RFMBA would like to thank all the riders who came out to the Snowmass MTB Fondo to ride the trails and enjoy the fall colors on Saturday. Also, thanks goes out to all the volunteers who helped mark the course, the Town of Snowmass Village, the Ranger Station and of course title sponsor Columbine Ford in Rifle.
Overall results of the 2018 Snowmass MTB Fondo held Saturday September 29 in Snowmass, Colorado. Continue reading Snowmass MTB Fondo Results