In August 2009, the Montana Mountain Bike Alliance hosted its second annual backcountry festival in the tiny town of Lima, population 250. Roughly 150 cyclists from across the region showed up to trek along singletrack in the Lima Peaks by day and party by night. The MMBA brought in a band. Bikers sponsored a spaghetti dinner, even rented local buses for shuttles. All told, the event raised nearly $1,000 for Lima’s assisted living center. Locals thanked the MMBA for the biggest economic boost in Lima in a decade.
Bob Allen, MMBA’s co-president, told the story to members of the Blackfoot Challenge during a recent meeting at the Lubrecht forestry center. It’s a prime example, he said, of the kind of contribution mountain bikers bring to small communities in Montana. It’s also a prime example of why the MMBA wants to see a portion of the Scapegoat wilderness addition boundary contained in Sen. Jon Tester’s Forest Jobs and Recreation Act altered. Mountain bikers have lost access to hundreds of miles of trails across Montana and Idaho in recent years, partly due to a new Forest Service philosophy banning bicycles in certain areas that could theoretically be designated wilderness. Allen is drawing the line in the Scapegoat.
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