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Idaho stays on top of IMBA rankings

The state famous for its potatoes may need a new slogan. For the second straight year, Idaho received the top grade in the International Mountain Bicycling Association's Mountain Bike Access Report Card, solidifying its status as the best state for mountain biking. Serpentine trails, expansive public lands and a low population are key components in Idaho's success. Idaho received the top grade in the inaugural 2000 IMBA Report Card, but that didn't make the local cyclists complacent. Riding opportunities improved this year around Boise, Idaho's largest city, as mountain

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By VeloNews Interactive

The state famous for its potatoes may need a new slogan. For the second straight year, Idaho received the top grade in the International Mountain Bicycling Association’s Mountain Bike Access Report Card, solidifying its status as the best state for mountain biking.

Serpentine trails, expansive public lands and a low population are key components in Idaho’s success. Idaho received the top grade in the inaugural 2000 IMBA Report Card, but that didn’t make the local cyclists complacent. Riding opportunities improved this year around Boise, Idaho’s largest city, as mountain bikers played a central role in creating new urban fringe trails.

South Dakota closely followed Idaho as the best place to ride receiving an A-minus. South Dakota boasts super singletrack and uncrowded trails in the Black Hills.

The report card also confirmed that there are states where mountain bike access needs work. Louisiana’s Mardi Gras is unmatched, but its mountain bike access is nothing to celebrate. The state has limited trails, lots of swamps and needs a statewide mountain biker organization. These factors shaped Louisiana’s D+ grade, the lowest in the report.

The IMBA Report Card is designed to help mountain bike leaders chart their accomplishments and inspire new efforts. Mountain bikers in Ohio, a state that graded poorly last year, got organized and improved relations with land managers to build new trails. This positive momentum boosted Ohio’s grade from a D to a C, the biggest improvement of any state.

In 2001, the report card considered other countries for the first time, grading access in four Canadian provinces and the United Kingdom.

Leading the international class was British Columbia with an A-minus. Kid’s mountain biking programs in the province are more popular than little league baseball.

“Every state, regardless of its natural terrain, is capable of earning an A,” said IMBA executive director Tim Blumenthal. “All it takes is enthusiastic volunteer organizations, steady cooperation with land managers and a variety of established trail systems.”

Grades are based on many factors: amount of singletrack, effectiveness of local mountain bike groups, land manager relations, an IMBA Web site survey and feedback from IMBA leaders.

Grades and comments are listed below.

Idaho: A
Phat: Endless public land and singletrack
Flat: Population growth
Trend: Same

South Dakota: A-
Phat: Black Hills rule
Flat: Few maps, more crops than cyclists
Trend: Same

Alaska: B+
Phat: Improving trails
Flat: Swamps and mosquitoes
Trend: Same

Arizona: B
Phat: Urban trails, Arizona Trail
Flat: Developers versus trails
Trend: Same

Arkansas: B+
Phat: Womble and Ouachita, solid advocates
Flat: Ice storm damage
Trend: Better

Florida: B+
Phat: Sunshine State has super singletrack
Flat: Sprawl, sandy, sea level
Trend: Better

Kentucky: B+
Phat: KYMBA unifies diverse state
Flat: Lack of media relations
Trend: Better

Massachusetts: B+
Phat: NEMBA: Energetic regional group
Flat: Building pavement, not dirt
Trend: Better

Michigan: B+
Phat: MMBA: Dynamic statewide org.
Flat: Turf battles with horses
Trend: Same

Nevada: B+
Phat: Gambling = money for trails
Flat: Lack of riding info
Trend: Same

New Mexico: B+
Phat: Federal agency and ski area support
Flat: Los Alamos fires, Santa Fe tension
Trend: Same

North Dakota: B+
Phat: Medora becoming MB destination
Flat: A long way from anywhere else
Trend: Better

Utah: B+
Phat: Slickrock and red rock
Flat: Lack of MB groups
Trend: Same

West Virginia: B+
Phat: Not a flat inch in the whole state
Flat: Hunters come first
Trend: Same

California: B
Phat: State park progress; MB leadership
Flat: Lots of conflict
Trend: Better

Colorado: B
Phat: Jeffco trails national model
Flat: Crowded roads, crowded trails
Trend: Same

Delaware: B
Phat: Great trails in a tiny state
Flat: Nowhere to add trails
Trend: Same

Maine: B
Phat: 90 percent forested
Flat: Few organized trail systems
Trend: Same

Maryland: B
Phat: MORE: innovative and resilient
Flat: Unauthorized trailbuilding near DC
Trend: Worse

Montana: B
Phat: Progressive rec planning near cities
Flat: Bikers need to organize, long winter
Trend: Same

Nebraska: B
Phat: W. Nebraska = untapped singletrack
Flat: Not well organized
Trend: Same

North Carolina: B
Phat: Nantahalla and Pisgah NF awesome
Flat: Urban trails still restricted
Trend: Better

Oregon: B
Phat: Abundant, diverse riding
Flat: Portland access remains tricky
Trend: Same

Pennsylvania: B
Phat: KMBA becoming statewide force
Flat: State game land access threatened
Trend: Better

Texas: B
Phat: Effective multi-level bike advocacy
Flat: 97% private land
Trend: Same

Virginia: B
Phat: West VA: mountainous, great trails
Flat: Eastern VA: Baseball fields, not trails
Trend: Same

Wyoming: B
Phat: Wide open for mountain biking
Flat: Ranch closes key Laramie connector
Trend: Same

Georgia: B-
Phat: SORBA has political and financial clout
Flat: Where to ride close to Atlanta?
Trend: Same

Hawaii: B-
Phat: All State parks have MB routes
Flat: Restricted trail access near Honolulu
Trend: Better

Indiana: B-
Phat: DNR opened trails in state forests
Flat: Roadies and MBers must cooperate
Trend: Better

Missouri: B-
Phat: Kansas City and St. Louis have mo’
Flat: Access limited in state parks
Trend: Better

New Hampshire: B-
Phat: Rich trail tradition, White River NF
Flat: Long, legal rides are limited in south
Trend: Same

Oklahoma: B-
Phat: Oklahoma Earthbike Fellowship rocks
Flat: Flat and dusty
Trend: Better

South Carolina: B-
Phat: State funds full-time MB trail crew
Flat: Yet to turn trail plans into reality
Trend: Better

Tennessee: B-
Phat: Vigilant advocates; lots of trails
Flat: Lack of central state organization
Trend: Better

Vermont: B-
Phat: Wooded, rolling and getting organized
Flat: Private land interrupts public trails
Trend: Same

Washington: B-
Phat: Middle Fork progress
Flat: Seattle singletrack access still limited
Trend: Same

Wisconsin: B-
Phat: WORBA: 12-years of MB leadership
Flat: Trails in south crowded
Trend: Same

Mississippi: C+
Phat: Tri-county MBers make progress
Flat: Limited statewide leadership
Trend: Worse

Alabama: C
Phat: BUMP: great organization and Web site
Flat: Mountain bikers lack state presence
Trend: Same

Connecticut: C
Phat: Better than 2000 grade reflected
Flat: Hiking-only trails limit northern riding
Trend: Better

Iowa: C
Phat: Solid clubs, improving MB leadership
Flat: Lack of federal land; agricultural
Trend: Same

Minnesota: C
Phat: New Twin City trails
Flat: Limited parks and trails near cities
Trend: Same

New Jersey: C
Phat: Good club momentum in S. Jersey
Flat: JORBA in transition
Trend: Worse

New York: C
Phat: Adirondack model can be replicated
Flat: NYC: too many people, too few trails
Trend: Same

Ohio: C
Phat: New trails, new clubs, new energy
Flat: Cleveland and north-east still shaky
Trend: Better

Rhode Island: C
Phat: Singletrack in Arcadia forest
Flat: Providence can’t provide good riding
Trend: Same

Illinois: C-
Phat: DNR supports mountain biking
Flat: Shawnee Forest shuns bikes
Trend: Worse

Kansas: C-
Phat: Flint Hills and riverside trails
Flat: More silos than singletrack
Trend: Same

Louisiana: D+
Phat: Baton Rouge advocates solid
Flat: Limited trails, no leadership
Trend: Same

Canada
British Columbia: A-
Phat: MB is mainstream; awesome organizations
Flat: Lack of sustainable trails

Alberta: B
Phat: Canadian Rockies epic riding
Flat: Calgary and Edmonton trail crowding

Quebec: B
Phat: Nordic and Alpine ski areas support cycling
Flat: Classic urban restrictions

Ontario: C+
Phat: Solid advocacy groups
Flat: Lack of legal riding near Toronto

United Kingdom
Wales: B
Scotland: B-
England: C