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Mountain Bike Australia

Trails

The way forward for MTBA Trails and Advocacy Development after IMBA-AU

MTBA has announced that it is redefining the operations and delivery of its previous trails and advocacy program, known as IMBA-AU. The core objectives and ethos of the program will remain, but after operating for a few years, it was evident that the program required some attention and changes. The changes to the program’s past operations will not be major, but certainly some refocusing of attention to advocacy and development areas will be instigated.

The core function of MTBA’s trails and advocacy program was and is to provide advocacy, leadership, advice, support and liaison for the development and access of MTB trails throughout Australia for our members and member clubs.  We will be spending more time building relationships with our member clubs – developing tools and services that assist them better with access to land for trails, trails management and maintenance and the promotion of trails via an online National trails network.

We will spend less time designing master plans and being involved in direct trail construction and instead work with those professionals who are in this industry to promote their services and skills to the MTBA community.

MTBA will take a lead role in the establishment of a nationally accepted Australian set of guidelines for trail development, maintenance, sustainability and management. It is anticipated that this program will involve a wide range of varying stakeholders and we have had preliminary discussions about potentially including New Zealand in the process as a combined project. From this document, we will be able to then develop what we hope to be a recognised and certified training curriculum for workshops and education for people wishing to enter the MTB trails industry professionally in the future.

Just as trail advocacy, development and maintenance forms a significant part of a MTB Club; it plays a key role in the services and operations of MTBA. However, it is not something we believe to be separate to the operations our organisation and subsequently, the previous program has now been taken back in under the umbrella of MTBA. This program will service all MTBA members and a separate membership will no longer be required for Clubs or members. This consolidation will ensure improved interactions between MTBA office staff and subsequent service delivery to members.

MTBA has retained its affiliation with IMBA and will continue many of the specifications and principles including aspects such as trail markings. All members will be automatically considered as an IMBA Affiliate in accordance with our IMBA affiliation agreement.

Our program will be rebranded as MTBA Trails Advocacy and Development to better represent an Australian-based approach towards works, activities and initiatives within this area of service.

During this restructuring, we have identified and believe that into the future with some changes, MTBA will be much better placed to offer better support to all key parties involved in the development of mountain bike trails. We are realigning the program to work more closely with Local Councils, the various State Governments, the landowners and to support all MTB Clubs with their liaison and lobbying of these various groups.

The sport of mountain biking in Australia, and the associated programs of Trail Advocacy and Development has successfully grown through the assistance of international programs. However, it is now time that MTBA provides a more co-operative and focused approach from a single National perspective. We recognise that in the past, it was confusing for MTBA to have a separately branded program and it was diluting the overall potential that a uniformed organisation can bring to future development possibilities.

It has taken time, to review and redevelop the basic framework for the program, and whilst, there is still significant work to be done, we do appreciate the patience and support of members during this transition phase.

In the next week or so, we will be advertising for a new Manager for the program, who will take an active role in building out the future framework of the program in their first few months.

To end some rumours that may be circulating, I wish to confirm that the MTBA Trails advocacy and development program has in no way been “shutdown” or “cancelled”. It remains very much alive and of high importance to MTBA and was simply at a point where a significant review of the program was required for the future.

As part of this review, changes will be made to membership categories in early November 2015. We will be introducing a new level of membership that is Club optional and will cater directly for both recreational, social and non-competitive MTB riders and enthusiasts (it is a non-racing membership). Coupled with these changes we will be introducing family discounts on MTBA membership and a non-riding membership category.

So, I’m still a financial IMBA Club or Member, what happens next for me?

You will no longer be able to purchase individual or Club IMBA-AU memberships, as these will be incorporated into all MTBA membership categories. MTBA remains an IMBA affiliate and subsequently all MTBA members will automatically be affiliates of IMBA.

The MTBA membership department is in the process of contacting both currently paid up IMBA-AU Clubs and individual members. They will be offering Clubs an extension towards existing registered MTBA Club terms on a pro-rata basis or a refund of fees on a pro-rata basis from the 30th June, 2014.

Individual IMBA-AU members will be provided with a voucher for membership fees paid, that can then be used when registering or renewing as an MTBA member. Any individual member wishing not to receive the voucher offer, may request cancellation of their membership and a refund of fees on a pro-rata basis from the 30th June 2014. (In some cases, members may hold a multi-year membership and options for these members will be individually discussed).

You should receive contact from our memberships department in the next couple of weeks, but, if not please do not hesitate to contact them on  02 9339 5800 to discuss your options.

Shane Coppin
MTBA CEO

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Changing Role of IMBA Australia

MTBA wishes to announce that, following the changing role of IMBA in Australia, MTBA will be taking over the programs of MTB Advocacy and mountain biking Trail Development throughout Australia.

The sport of mountain biking in Australia, and the associated programs of Trail Advocacy and Development have successfully grown through the assistance of international programs. However, it is now time that MTBA provides a more co-operative and focused approach from a single National perspective. We recognise that in the past, it was confusing for MTBA to have a separately branded program and it was diluting the overall potential that a uniformed organisation can bring to future development possibilities.

This transition of roles from IMBA to MTBA is a fantastic opportunity to offer better support to all key parties involved in the development of mountain bike trails. We are realigning the program to work more closely with Local Councils, the various State Governments, the landowners and to support all MTB Clubs with their liaison and lobbying of these various groups.

MTBA’s focus will reduce significantly in the actual construction elements of trails that it had been involved in the past few years. A number of new strategic initiatives are planned including a nationally based trail network, including phone app and GPS locator and development of a National Standards/Guidelines for Trail Development, Maintenance, Sustainability and recognised Training Certification within Australia. We will be advertising shortly for a new Program Manager.

You will no longer be able to purchase individual IMBA memberships as these will streamline into the MTBA Membership categories. While MTBA remains an IMBA affiliate, MTBA members will be affiliates of IMBA.

Updates on activities in Advocacy and Development have been mentioned in our regular e-newsletters, we will however, provide further updates in upcoming newsletters.

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