The International Mountain Bicycling Association is blazing a new path ahead to provide funds to its chapters and local biking trail development.
To promote and fund the building, maintenance, and improvement of biking trails, the International Mountain Bicycling Association launched a national marketing effort and crowdfunding platform called the Dig In Campaign.
“Mountain biking is growing as a sport. It keeps people active, healthy, outdoors, enjoying the environment which we’re all a part of, and we want to be able to put more opportunities in the hands of Americans to get out and experience those trail networks and the love of what can come from riding a bike in the woods,” Director of Brand Development Aimee Ross said. “We believe that mountain biking changes lives, and this is just a step forward in us showing how we are going to accomplish changing more lives across the U.S.”
Running from November 1 through the end of the year, Dig In raises money to support local projects IMBA chapters are working on. To receive funds, chapters had to prove they already had an agreement with a land manager to develop a trail and fill out an application providing IMBA with the details. Ross said the application process could become more selective in the future depending on resource availability.
IMBA’s partners donated a large amount of the money behind the campaign. Some like REI gave flat donations while others gave a portion of their sales—such as Showers Pass, which is giving 5 percent of proceeds from its IMBA jacket.
After significant internal change at IMBA last year, “part of this campaign is just to reestablish that trust with our chapters and our partners, and then allow us to share the IMBA story to include our chapters and what they’re doing,” Ross said.
In addition to industry partners, individuals across the U.S. can give to specific chapters and trail projects through the online crowdfunding platform. “[Chapters] were really excited about that part of it that not only did IMBA go out and gather a pot of money from the industry—which we’re still not done [with]—but we’re also hosting an individual fundraising platform that we will promote on a national level,” Ross said.
In the past, IMBA hosted a trail-building fund that was largely run on a regional basis as well as worked with industry partners to give small grants to chapter projects. Neither method proved effective, driving IMBA to develop the Dig In Campaign.
By supporting 68 chapter projects in 31 states, the campaign will fund 500 miles of new trails, maintenance of 140 miles of existing tails, 10 new bike parks, and four trails for the National Interscholastic Cycling Association and its high school mountain biking program.
“These projects are a product of the hard work of dedicated volunteer mountain bikers who are making their communities better through trails,” Executive Director Dave Wiens said in a press release. “It is our pleasure to introduce a campaign all across the country that supports mountain biking, mountain bikers, and trails.”