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Should SDMBA Remain in IMBA??? What are your thoughts?

$35,000 could leave San Diego from your “SDMBA Membership Dues” this year.

When I took over as President of the SDMBA (San Diego Mountain Biking Association) 2 ½ years ago, we already were an IMBA Chapter (International Mountain Biking Association).  To entice clubs to join, IMBA promised many benefits for their 60-40% IMBA/SDMBA membership dues split.  Clubs could fall under IMBA’s 501c3 (non-profit) status – important for smaller clubs.  IMBA also took over membership management and became a hub for advocacy and created resources and professional development opportunities for Chapters to grow.  They had a national Trail Care Crew to train land managers on building sustainable trails and were our voice nationally.  To remain locally relevant, IMBA hired Regional Directors representing local MTB interests.

IMBA’s goals were/are noble.  They united Chapters – collectively making our mountain bike voice stronger resulting in many national wins.  SDMBA benefited from multiple Trail Care Crew Visits building out SDMBA’s expert team of trail builders.  IMBA also helped us with the hiring, training and oversight of our Executive Director, Susie Murphy.  They also hired a California Regional Director, Laurel Harkness, who is deeply involved in the political arena to push back Wilderness Designations on National Forests and State Parks.

Looking at all this, $35,000 going to IMBA sounds almost OK, but is it?

That is the question we’ll be asking SDMBA members in the next few weeks.  While times looked good, for years IMBA had been in an unsustainable position.  The previous Executive Director – Mike Van Abel – ignored calls to shore up finances and stiff armed Chapters growing concern with trails being lost to Wilderness.  Furthermore, the IMBA board charged with overseeing the executive team failed to establish processes to oversee IMBA’s finances and strategic plans.  Until recently, they did not even have committees or metrics in place – resulting in a net loss in the Chapter Program for 2015 of $500,000!  Facing serious concerns to remain an organization the IMBA board belatedly started developing a plan.   

Mike Van Abel for years relied primarily on a single donor – Subaru.  When the Chapter program was established, it was to be self-sustainable – it was not.  Ignoring red ink and calls for a more sustainable plan, Mike downplayed the tenuous financial health of IMBA.  Even though the board was also alerted – they too ignored calls to shore up finances while backing Mike as the IMBA Executive Director.  Once Subaru left, IMBA had no plan.  They immediately reduced personnel by a third, eliminated the Trail Care Crew and fired most Regional Directors (local IMBA reps).  IMBA released some proposals to chapters in order to rectify their situation. They are considering raising membership dues 40% to $49.  For Chapters, services currently offered for free would become ‘pay-per-use.’ To add insult to injury, the new Executive Director, Dave Wiens, publicly stated IMBA cannot support any organization which promotes a change in the Wilderness Designation – allowing bikes in Wilderness.  For many Chapters (SDMBA included) which support a change in the Wilderness Act, this major policy difference could potentially force Chapters to leave IMBA.

Over a year ago, SDMBA had increasing concerns with IMBA.  After creating a SDMBA committee to review the issues, we pushed for the firing of Mike Van Abel along with the unification of California into one region headed by a California Regional Director.  SDMBA also pushed IMBA to conduct a member survey which they did.  IMBA shifted Laurel Harkness to represent the entire state.  Due to this progress, the committee advised the SDMBA board to remain a Chapter – conditionally.  The committee also identified weaknesses SDMBA needed to address if we decided to leave.  Since then we’ve migrated to a new website and software platform allowing us to fully run our organization.  Many IMBA back office benefits can now be done locally.

However, splitting from IMBA also has consequences.  Leaving will require SDMBA to become self sufficient.  Marketing, membership and payroll will need to be brought in-house.  Furthermore, members will no longer have a joint SDMBA/IMBA subscription –  both organizations will vie for your membership.  If too many California Chapters leave, we’d lose our state representation.   To remain relevant, CA MTB groups would need to create a stand alone State CA MTB organization – outside of IMBA.   While the benefits are obvious, we’d also be pulling resources from IMBA.  This would hurt IMBA when they need our support.  IMBA is a critical international advocacy organization for mountain biking which has done amazing work.  I’ve spoken with Dave Wiens, Bruce Alt, Dan Brillion along with others at IMBA to discuss potential solutions.  While we do not know what IMBA’s ultimate solution will be, we have suggestions:

  1. Board Representation – the IMBA board for years has operated anonymously lacking Chapter or Executive Director representation.  This needs to change with forward thinking, successful Chapter Presidents and  Executive Directors being added.
  2. Board Terminations – any IMBA board member serving over three years needs to resign.  Their leadership failure helped foster IMBA’s financial demise.  IMBA needs true leaders with real vision for IMBA’s rebirth.
  3. Wilderness – IMBA needs to drop their opposition to organizations promoting a change in the Wilderness Act.  Their current stance could require Chapters to drop their opposition or be forced to leave IMBA.  Ironically, IMBA is out of touch with their own membership based on their survey.  Roughly 48% of IMBA national members and close to 70% of western members want the 1964 Wilderness Act restored.  SDMBA wants the Wilderness Blanket Ban on Bikes lifted.  
  4. Revenue Share – the split of membership dues needs to be adjusted.  IMBA cannot expect Chapters to pay the same while reducing services.  
  5. Membership Rate – IMBA needs to drop the proposed 40% membership dues increase.  Roughly 40% of SDMBA members pay $35 in dues – we desire to increase memberships not decrease them.  Furthermore, IMBA’s model showed little additional revenue being created by the increase.
  6. Transparency – IMBA has been notorious for their lack of transparency.  IMBA needs to  publicly release on their website all IMBA board minutes.  In addition, IMBA needs to fully and publicly open their books.  Had these simple actions taken place, Chapters would have seen these problems years ago.  

Circling back, what are your thoughts?  There are no easy decisions here.  Until we know what IMBA decides, we are in a holding pattern.  Between now and then – get vocal, ask questions and demand change!  We suggest you start at the top.  Please email:

As things transpire, we’ll keep you informed.  Please forward this to everyone along with every group you know.    

Kevin Loomis – President – San Diego Mountain Biking Association

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Mountain Bikers Need to Attend: MTRP CAC Meeting tonight 3/7

We need as many mountain bikers and other trail users as possible to attend the Mission Trails Regional Park CAC Meeting!!!  Tonight starting at 6:30 p.m.  the public will have ‘final comments’ for the Master Plan Update. 

This plan includes roughly 20 miles of new trail at Mission Trails (including East Elliot)!  We need to show support for the proposed plan.   We are not looking for changes, just strong support from the community!

 

Mission Trails Visitors Center at 6:30PM – Auditorium.

1 Father Junipero Serra Trail.

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IBMA announces Dave Wiens as new Executive Director

Mountain Bike Icon Moves from Board Chair into Leadership Role to Advance Organization into New Era

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Boulder, CO—The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) is pleased to announce it has completed its Executive Director search. In what marks the shortest Board Chairmanship in IMBA’s history, Dave Wiens will be stepping down from the Board of Directors to join IMBA staff as Executive Director, effective immediately.

A legendary racer, revered local advocate and an inspiring leader in the mountain bike world, Wiens joined IMBA’s Board of Directors in January 2016 and was elected Chairman in November 2016. His vision and commitment to the non-profit quickly stood out to the Board of Directors and management team. It became clear Wiens is who IMBA needs to lead the organization into its next era. Wiens raced mountain bikes professionally from 1988 to 2004 and has raced on trails all over the world. He is the founder and executive director of Gunnison Trails, a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing singletrack bike trails on public lands adjacent to Gunnison, Colorado. A member of the mountain bike hall of fame, Wiens also works in the bicycle industry for Ergon.

“As a mountain biker I share a passion for trails and riding with this entire community. IMBA has been an important part of mountain biking getting better and better over the past 30 years and I’m looking forward to working with mountain bikers from all over, as well as other stakeholders, while IMBA continues to help provide great places to ride,” said Wiens.

Dan Brillon, IMBA Vice President of Finance and Operations, became Interim President and Executive Director in August 2016 when Mike Van Abel resigned after 12 years of service. Since that time IMBA’s senior management team and Board of Directors have been working closely to execute on key initiatives before turning attention to filling the Executive Director role. In the near-term IMBA will separate the duties of President and Executive Director, and Brillon will remain President of the organization to oversee internal operations and business structure.

Chris Conroy, President of Yeti Cycles, has been elected to serve as Chairman of the Board. Taldi Walter, Government and Community Affairs Manager of REI, serves as Vice Chair.

“It’s an honor to serve with an organization that has done so much for trails,” said Conroy. “I look forward to fulfilling the Board’s commitment to IMBA’s vision by working more closely with IMBA’s talented staff.”

At its February 2017 meeting, IMBA’s Board formalized a committee structure for board members and staff to work more closely on finance and development goals. The Board and management team are continuing the process of restructuring IMBA’s Chapter Program along with refining the organization’s focus and vision.

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Temporary Trail Closures at Black Mountain Open Space Park

The City of San Diego has closed portions of trails at Black Mountain Open Space Park temporarily to test the soil for arsenic levels.

 Trail users still have access to most of the trails in the park including the western portion. The closed portions of the trail will be signed. Please obey the signage and use alternate routes. The rangers appreciate your cooperation.

SDMBA will keep updating as we receive more information.  

Read the press release from the City of San Diego.  

Map of Black Mountain with temporary closures – updated 1/5/2017

The map below shows an alternate route marked in green:  

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Call to Action: California State Parks Planning Comments Needed

Hello Fellow Mountain Bikers!

We have a quick CALL TO ACTION for you to make sure California State Parks LISTEN TO YOUR VOICE when they do their planning!!! The California State Parks “Transformation Team” will soon complete their current phase of planning for how to run YOUR State Parks. Please take a few minutes to send them a message at HERE reminding them how you want YOUR State Parks to be run. We have included a sample letter below…please CUSTOMIZE it as you see fit but PLEASE SEND YOUR COMMENTS. We need to ensure mountain bikers voices are heard during this critical juncture!!! Check HERE  for more info about the Transformation Project in general.

Our goal is to have 1,000 messages in the transformation team inbox by mid January so PLEASE speak up! Thanks for your time.  

Letter Template:

Dear Transformation Team:

I am frequent visitor to California State Parks, and I spend a lot of time riding my mountain bike on trails in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, Border Field State Park, Anza Borrego State Park and several other CA State Parks. Every year, the trails get degraded and less safe due to lack of maintenance coupled with an explosion in the number of people biking, hiking, running and horseback riding on them. Progress for increased access for mountain biking in particular, and getting State Park approvals for keeping the existing trails safe and sustainable takes an incredibility long time, if it even happens. The same can also be said for General Plans and Road and Trail Management Plans in nearly every part of the State Parks system. Nothing seems to get accomplished in our beloved State Parks when it comes to planning and maintaining trails for recreation.

As a member of the San Diego Mountain Biking Association (SDMBA),a chapter of the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), I am one of many enthusiastic and skilled volunteers who are helping to take care of the trails we have. If only we could get timely and regular permission/approvals from State Parks to work on opening more multi-use trails for everyone.  As mountain biking continues to grow locally, especially with the hugely popular youth mountain biking programs, it is painfully obvious that additional trails — which have been discussed by State Parks for years — need to be given the green light to open up or break ground. Instead, we are constantly met with bureaucratic hurdle after bureaucratic hurdle.

I ask the Transformation Team to really look at streamlining processes which help keep our State Park trails safe and enjoyable for all users, and start prioritizing RECREATION and education on OUR public lands as was originally intended.

Sincerely,  

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IMPORTANT – Please Share – Cameras at Fanita Ranch – Do not remove!

IMPORTANT!  Please share with your groups.  GAME Cameras at Fanita Ranch!  DO NOT REMOVE!
 
Riders recently noticed several cameras next to trail at Fanita Ranch.  This land is in Santee and owned by HomeFed.  We spoke to HomeFed and the cameras are being used for wildlife tracking – NOT riders!
 
I cannot state enough the importance our relationship with HomeFed is.  Currently HomeFed is in negotiations with the Marines and County for an easement over their land to legally access the Stowe trail.  We are also discussing parking on their land in Santee for trail head access.  Furthermore, if their community is built, it would feature a robust and interconnected trail network for the public and residents.  They are PRO-BIKE/HIKER!
 
Please tell everyone you know to leave these cameras alone.  If they are moved or taken, we could lose a major MTB ally.
 
Kevin Loomis – President.

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Cleveland National Forest – Update on Fees in amenity sites/Adventure Pass

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Please help spread the word about the new fee program in the Cleveland National Forest that helps support our public lands.  

Starting on September 10, 2016, valid recreation passes will be required at all designated fee sites (shown on the interactive website map below).The starting date for enforcement is Saturday, September 10th

Adventure Pass or America the Beautiful pass (National Parks Pass) are required in these amenity fee sites. 

The Adventure Pass is offered in annual, secondary and daily passes. The annual pass is $30 and good for 12 consecutive months. It covers one car with up to 4 individuals. The secondary pass is to be used in conjunction with the Adventure Pass and covers a second vehicle. This pass is $5 and also good for the duration of the Adventure Pass. The daily pass is a self scratcher good for 24 hours and costs $5. These passes can be purchased at many local vendors (see link searchable list below), the Forest district offices, or the main Cleveland National Forest office at 10845 Rancho Bernardo Rd in San Diego. 

Where can I buy an Adventure Pass?  Searchable vendor list that includes REI, BIG 5, Mount Laguna Store.    

Region 5 Fee Information:

http://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/r5/passes-permits/recreation/?cid=stelprdb5208699&width=full

Interactive Map:

http://www.fs.fed.us/portaldata/r5/ap/map/

Cleveland National Forest Fee Webpage:

http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/cleveland/passes-permits/?cid=fseprd515760

Thank you for helping spread the word! These fees will help support and improve our great public lands!

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Temporary Road Closures at Laguna Recreation Area due to construction

There will be  temporary road closures for the next few weeks up at Laguna Recreation Area due to pipeline work.  Refer to this MAP.  

Espinosa Road will be closed through Mid-October.  

ROAD CLOSED AHEAD

CONSTRUCTION IN PROGRESS

Road Closed to Public Recreation

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Attention: Aqua Dulce Road between Escondido Ravine Rd. and Old County Rd. is currently closed due to the construction. Construction work has made it impassable for all recreation. There is no connection from the Red Tail Loop Spur Trails to Gatos Ravine and Chico Ravine Trails while construction is in progress.

To access Gatos Ravine & Chico Ravine Trails,

  • Park at the Aqua Dulce Trailhead off of Old County Road, past Wooded Hill Group Campground

To access the Big Laguna Trail System from the Red Tailed Roost Trailhead:

  • Travel from Redtail Roost Loop Spur (4) to Escondido Ravine Road, connect to Escondido Spur (9) to the Big Laguna Trail

OR

  • Travel from Redtail Roost Loop Spur (4) to Escondido Ravine Road, head east Escondido Ravine Road, head north on Aqua Dulce Road to the Big Laguna Trail

 

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Volunteers needed for Bike Valet at Kaaboo Music Festival in Del Mar

Volunteers needed at Bike Valet to assist the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition at the KAABOO Music Festival in Del Mar on Friday 9/16, Saturday 9/17 and Sunday 9/18. 

The San Diego County Bicycle Coalition will be providing a donation to SDMBA in exchange for volunteer efforts.  

Volunteers get food and a tshirt!   Sorry, no tickets to the concerts.  

 4 volunteers are needed for each shift as they are staffing two corrals at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar, CA 92014.
One corral by the Race Place, and another at the Solana Gate.
 
Any help is appreciated!
Please email Corey Hart (SDCBC Bike Valet) directly to sign up at corey.h@gaglionebros.com.
 
Shifts: 
Friday, 9/16:
 
11:30am – 4:30pm 
4:30pm – 9:30pm
9:30pm – 2:30am
 
Saturday 9/17:
 
11:30am – 4:30pm 
4:30pm – 9:30pm
9:30pm – 2:30am
 
Sunday 9/18:
 
11:30am – 3:30pm
3:30pm – 7:30pm 
7:30pm – 11pm
 

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Access to the Historic Stowe Trail in Santee……COMING!!!!

After nearly two decades, trail users will SOON be allowed access to MCAS via the Historic Stowe Trail in Santee.  While this does not affect Mission Trails and East Elliot, new legal trail is currently under review via the Mission Trails Regional Park Master Plan Update!    There are many logistical details to be determined here,  so please be patient while plans are finalized.  

During this period, it is critical everyone remains off all land north of the 52 and south of Goodan Ranch.  

It is due to remaining off their land, MCAS became convinced a partnership could be formed with the community.  Thank you for respecting the closures – it worked!

Check out the VLOG for more information and stay tuned!

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