(Rob Stull is the Outreach Coordinator for the Outdoor Education Center.)
Are bicycles appropriate in wild places? According to The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), the answer is yes. IMBA is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit educational association whose mission is to create, enhance and preserve great trail experiences for mountain bikers worldwide. “Bicycling is a human-powered, low-impact, quiet form of travel compatible with wild places and the intent of the Wilderness Act.” 1
Beginning in 1988, IMBA started promoting mountain biking on public lands by supporting low impact riding, volunteerism, grassroots advocacy and innovative trail management solutions. One of IMBA’s programs is their Trail Building School, offering a comprehensive look at how to build and maintain sustainable trails. This class is geared toward all types of trail users, local volunteers, and land mangers.
The Outdoor Education Center has a member on staff who attended this training. All new and current trails on the OEC property (as well as Rolling Ridge Foundation Lands, RRF) are maintained to IMBA standards using the same sustainability practices taught in the Trail Building School.
There are more than 100 acres of biking and hiking trails throughout the OEC property, as FLOC has done a wonderful job maintaining a multi-use trail system. Whether one wants to visit the property for bird watching or adrenaline-pumping bike rides, the OEC provides a trail network that can be enjoyed by a diverse group of users, all at the same time.
In addition, the OEC offers a quality Introduction to Mountain Biking program for scouts, community groups, and summer campers. This program focuses on basic biking skills, equipment, trail etiquette, and sustainability practices. The OEC feels mountain biking is a wonderful way to enjoy and explore the wild places on the property. If done responsibly, one can traverse the land by bike without leaving any trace.
If you would like to find out more about our bike program or to come out and enjoy our network of trails, please contact us at 304.725.0409 or visit http://www.flocoutdoors.org.