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State Recreational Trails Advisory Committees Comments on Mountain Bicycle Representation

The original question which generated these responses was from Erika Jaques (MO) -- erika.jaques@dnr.mo.gov:

"I'd like to know if other States have a Mountain Bicycling representative on their State Trail Advisory Boards? We have always had just a general "Bicycling" rep, but I'm considering breaking it into two separate categories—one for mountain biking, and the other for more greenway-type biking."

SUMMARY

Number of States responding: 33
States are about evenly split between those including BOTH a mountain bike rep and a road / greenway rep, and those with just a single representative for general bicycling. Some States do not require specific trail use representation, and others include bike representation by agency or community reps.

COMMENTS FROM STATES

Alabama - We have two bicycle reps on our advisory board. One is president of the Birmingham Urban Mountain Pedalers who also happens to be a street bike guy and the other represents hikers and urban bicyclists. In fact, several of our board members have multiple trail-use interests. We have left distance bicycling to the Alabama Department of Transportation as they deal with statewide bicycle planning issues and have deep pockets for alternative transportation projects.

Arkansas - our RTP committee has a Mountain Bike rep but not a road bike rep unless you count me.

California - Our trails advisory board is actually the California Recreational Trails Committee, originally established by statute in the 1940s. Members are appointed by the governor (although this governor wants to make changes to all this). The seven member committee is comprised of two reps from northern, two reps from central, and two reps from southern California. There is a seventh "at-large" member. I generally work with the governor's office with the new appointments, attempting to keep representatives on the committee spread among those with interests or close affiliations with the different user groups: equestrian, mountain biking, and hiking. Currently we have one equestrian, two or three mountain bikers, a road (touring) biker, and a couple of hikers. There are crossover interests among the members with most also hiking. California is a bit different though when it comes to RTP related meetings/grants etc. This particular statewide committee has one member who serves on the nonmotorized RTP review committee. There is a separate motorized RTP-related committee. Confusing, but it all seems to work.

Colorado - The State Trails Committee has eight members, one from each of Colorado's Congressional Districts, and one appointed At-Large. Members represent a wide variety of trails interests, both motorized and nonmotorized trails, with a goal of working cooperatively for trails and greenways throughout the State. Members are not selected to represent specific trail activities.

Connecticut - has reps from both the mountain and road biking sectors, since they have such different needs. We also have snowmobile, dirt bike, and quad reps on the motorized side.

Delaware - has a mountain bike rep. There are plenty of folks that do both (weather dependant). The person that we have on our board is such a person.

Florida - has one bicycling representative.

Georgia - has a mountain bike rep. The other bike rep position is vacant.

Illinois - Since the IL Greenways & Trails Council was already established when the RTP required a State Trails Advisory Board, it is the group we use for the RTP. Bike reps include: 1. League of IL Bicyclists represents on-road, bike trail & mountain bicyclists; 2. IL Mountain Bicyclists Coalition, formed to represent local clubs; and 3. IMBA. For more on the Council see http://dnr.state.il.us/orep/planning/igtctxt.htm.

Indiana - has a mountain bike representative on our Trails Advisory Board. We added this position in 2002. Almost immediately afterwards we agreed to requests to add a hiker/backpacker position to differentiate between other pedestrian users. Our board is rather large and we are thinking about eliminating some of the positions that have not been actively participating such as sportsmen/sportswomen and soil and water conservation districts. We just created a website for our trails advisory board: www.in.gov/dnr/tab/index.html.

Iowa - does not have a separate Mountain Bicycling representative.

Kansas - has one bicycle representative, and fortunate that she does both mountain biking and greenway biking. She represents both groups rather well.

Kentucky - currently doesn't have a person representing mountain bicycling. We do have the KY Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator as Chairperson for the RTP Advisory Board. The Board members represent bicycling, pedestrian, hiking, rails to trails, horseback riding, ATVs, and motorcycling. We also have members from KY Department of Parks, County Park Recreational Department, US Forest Service, and KY Division of Forestry.

Louisiana - has in the past had two reps (mountain bikes / path bikes) on the advisory committee. However, there are some new players now and I'm not sure that is still the case. I think having 2 reps is a good idea since the two sports are so radically different. I'm also the SCORP Planner and in it Louisiana did not differentiate between the two different bike uses, but we will for the next SCORP if I'm still involved.

Maine - has both an on-road and an off-road bicycle rep on the State Trail Advisory Committee.

Maryland - Maryland has a mountain bike rep and a regular bike rep. It has worked very well for 8+ years and has been a good mix on advisory committee. Make sure the mountain bike rep that you are considering has a connection with IMBA, who I consider pioneers in single track planning, design, and construction.

Massachusetts - The Recreational Trails Advisory Board (known as MARTAB) has representatives from the mountain biking and road/rail-trail biking communities.

Michigan - has a bicycle rep on our board, it happens to be the Exec Director of the Michigan Mountain. Bike Association. The Mountain. Bikers tend to be the most interested in "trail" riding activities. We get lots of other bicycle use, family outings etc. however other organized bicycle groups tend to be more activated/oriented to road riding and road riding issues.

Minnesota - Our board consists of 30 members with 3 representatives from 10 identified trail user groups. Bicycling and Mountain Biking are 2 of the 10 user groups. Last year the mountain bike contingency in this State wanted to have their own three seats and didn't feel that the existing three bicycling representatives were representing their interests. This did somewhat open "Pandora's Box" here, because many of the groups didn't fully realize the difference between the two and objected to increasing the size of our already large group. But after several discussions and presentations, it was clear to our board that there were clear differences and benefits which warranted their inclusion. Over-representation was never a concern here either, because our board operates in a consensus fashion.

Mississippi - Great Idea! I've been thinking about doing the same (including both mountain biking and road/paved trail biking) and also had some of the same concerns. I think diversity is critical.

Nevada - We have a total of nine committee members from diverse recreational backgrounds representing private and public sector groups, not necessarily associated with a user group. It was felt that if they identified individual user groups for representation then it would limit them to replacing departing members with ONLY new members from the same user group (i.e. departing bicycle representative can ONLY be replaced with somebody from a bicycle group).

New Hampshire - Our Statewide Trails Advisory Committee consists of one bicycle representative, generally mountain bike. The road-style bike representatives are more tied to our DOT and Bike/Ped functions. Trailwise we find one representative works well.

New Jersey - has one mountain bicycling representative on our Trails Council. We feel that on-road bicycling interests are represented by our NJ Department of Transportation representative who is the Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator with NJDOT. Her appointment on the council is in an ex-officio capacity. This arrangement seems to work for New Jersey.

New York - The Statewide Trail Council is comprised of 10 trail activities. Each trail group can have up to 3 delegates. Biking covers both road and mountain biking. However, many of the delegates participate in various trail activities and offer suggestions on various issues.

North Carolina - has one bicycling member, representing mountain bicycling

North Dakota - We only have one biker represented on our committee, however, we do have a rep from the US Forest Service, which maintains our longest and most well-known mountain bike trail. They represent those users pretty well for us. For motorized we have a snowmobile and an ATV rep.

Ohio - has a mountain bicycling representative on our Board. For more information see http://dnr.state.oh.us/tabid/10770/default.aspx.

Oklahoma - We originally had one rep for mountain biking and one for road biking. They have now been combined into one bicycle rep. Our bike rep is usually more of a mountain bike user than a road bike user. We also have 2 at-large positions, one that represents more of the urban-ped-road bike trail user.

Pennsylvania - We modeled our board set up similar to the national committee with ten representatives: Water Trails, ATV, Snowmobile, Cross-country Skiing, Hiking, Bicycle, Horseback riding, Four-Wheel Driving, Off-Road Motorcycle, and Physically Challenged. Our bicycling rep has varied. Sometimes it has been someone from the mountain bike community and sometimes that person has been just a rail-trail or road biker. This has worked well for us. But many of our members actually participate in more than one activity. We also tried to maintain a balance between motorized and nonmotorized (although it is not exactly 5 to 5). Right now we have 4 motorized persons and 6 nonmotorized. For several years though, the person who previously represented the physically challenged was also an ATV rider.

South Dakota - We do not have a specific mountain bike representative on our board.

Texas - We have always had two bicycle representatives on our trails advisory board, one narrow tire and one fat tire person. Currently we have the good fortune to have Hill Abel, current IMBA president, on our advisory board.

Vermont - VT Trails & Greenways Council has had a member from the Bicycle & Pedestrian Program be represented and the Stowe Bike Club is also a member organization. The Council encourages and extends open invitations to all user groups and meets quarterly.

Washington - Part of Washington's RTP Advisory Committee includes "trail user groups (four each from motorized and nonmotorized...)". Since our program focuses on a backcountry trail experience, we have always chosen a mountain bicyclist as one of the representatives of the nonmotorized community.

West Virginia - Two of the nonmotorized reps are bicyclists. In addition, the person who represents the citizens of WV owns and rides mountain bikes, while the rep from the Division of Tourism is a serious mountain biker, and the Chairman (DOH's representative) also owns and rides a mountain bike.

Wisconsin - We just have one bicycle person out of nine members total. He owns cycling shops here in WI, and is also on the IMBA board of directors.

Updated: 02/12/2014
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