Many times you may have asked: What is Southern Nevada Mountain Bike Association? What are they doing? And why are they important to me? Without cut and pasting verbiage from IMBA, let us tell you who we are and what we do in our own words. First, we are avid mountain bikers, just like you, who have a passion to see our community be as strong and visible as anywhere in the United States, to develop a true trail system that can rival some of the most well respected biker destinations around, and to show people that Las Vegas and Southern Nevada is more than just a gambling destination. We are just a group of people, voted in and changing on an annual basis, who are taking time out of their lives to put effort into making this happen. We are all volunteers that can see a bigger picture, who want this area to be better as a whole. You may know some of us, or maybe we never met, but we both have the same common goal: To ride on sweet trails and keep them that way.
Before SNMBA was established by our “Founding Fathers”, our community did not have a voice. The mountain biker was represented by silence at the city and land manger level. It was up to several small independent groups to take their own ideas and try to and represent the mountain biker, but each could have had their own agenda, so who represented who? We needed action and more trails, and someone to speak for us at levels of management who controlled the land. Our Founding Fathers contacted IMBA (who is the main advocacy group for mountain bikers not only in the United States but worldwide) and they were more than happy to help establish Nevada’s first IMBA chapter. Across the country there are 170 chapters, not clubs, of IMBA. Ohio has six, Florida has four, and Hawaii has two. Nevada has one. Florida has no mountains, is not known for mountains, but has four advocacy groups that are standing up for mountain bikers in that state. Our state is fantastic for riding, and yet we have a hard time getting together for a similar cause, but we’re getting better. SNMBA was born for you, for your rights, for more access and better trail conditions. As of this writing, we’re 140 members strong and that’s thanks to you!
The loose definition of an “advocacy group” is a collection of people who lobby or campaign on the interests and/or rights of a group to influence change. So think of how many things that you are involved in have an advocate or “association” that helps you whether you know it or not. Guns? Health? Your job? Religion? Transportation? Your parents? Your kids. We’re here to advocate mountain bikers. ALL mountain bikers and all types of riding. If it has two wheels, or one, we’re going to bat for you.
In the past several years, we have grown out of diapers, started walking, and are now learning words and building great friends at recess. We’re growing and learning new things every year thanks to the people that came before us and the leadership of our IMBA Southwest Director. There are many clubs in Las Vegas, and we love having them part of the community, but SNMBA is officially your representative to land managers and local government, to speak on your behalf. Many chapters across the U.S. work with land managers to create a better environment for all, so it’s wonderful when a city pokes around the Interweb, reads some news, and picks up the phone to reach out to IMBA and says, “We’d like to build trails”. When that happens in Southern Nevada (and it is happening), IMBA hands those opportunities off to SNMBA. Next, we’re off to the races, or at least the meetings. We understand that sometimes it is difficult to get trail access right here at home, even with the large National Conservation Areas of Red Rock Canyon and Sloan being right behind your house, literally, it’s tough to get a full-access pass to this land even though we see dirt bikes, quads and Jeeps out there with trash and gun casings strewn everywhere. Understand that we are walking a fine line and know that it’s not going to happen overnight, we will fight for your right to get these areas protected from motorized vehicles and open gun ranges so we can build sustainable trails. It’s our goal to help change the current philosophy and loosen up the reins of trails access and restrictions all while developing a stronger relationship with the land managers.
Allow us to highlight what has SNMBA been doing in 2014, and our goal for 2015. Last year, with the help of US Forest Service and Great Basin Institute, completed 90% of the Showgirl Trail in Telephone Canyon opposite of the old DH Trail in Mt.Charleston. There is one section that still needs attention to link the upper and middle section together. GBI will be working on that since it’s a very washed out spot that isn’t really a trail. With an REI grant, we worked with Whiting-Turner to build a bitchin’ kiosk at the top trailhead and hope to have signs and a dedication party this spring. Soon, we’ll be working on more of the trail south the highway after the tunnel. We have been working with Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort on building a grassroots push to get a lift serviced bike park approved. We are awaiting “final decision” by the Fish and Wildlife on the MCB butterfly, but there is more work to do! We volunteered for the Las Vegas Cyclery Take Your Kid Mountain Biking Day, the Outside Las Vegas Get Outdoors Nevada Day at Craig Ranch; joined Downhill Mike at the Thanksgiving Fest at Bootleg; met with the City of Henderson to discuss the options of trails in Anthem area and adopting sections of McCullough; working to develop a digital map of Southern Nevada trails via MTB Project on snmba.net; assisted in trail building at the Grand Canyon North Rim; and more. Although you may not have seen us, we’ve been busy taking your side in meetings, discussions, and plans. SNMBA has been working hard this year to assist you and the local shops in more community service.
Thanks to our official sponsors: Las Vegas Cyclery, Irwin Cycles, Bike Shop/Eye Gear, and REI, we were able to purchase a pop-up tent that bring us to another level. Working with Primal Wear, we obtained our first jerseys as well. We’ve gained Maxxis as a sponsor for those who race under the SNMBA banner, and are working for more support that will help this all volunteer non-profit organization help you. This year, you will see us at ALL the bike events in town (supporting the Gila Monster and DH Races) and even out of state races. We are working on putting together some local fun events, BBQs, all while establishing more trail in Mt. Charleston and trail maintenance here in the valley. We’re representing you Southern Nevada, and letting the outside world know we’re serious about bikes.
To finish this long story, our mission is not far from IMBA’s: “Our mission is to create, enhance and preserve great mountain biking experiences, bringing out the best in mountain biking by encouraging low-impact riding, volunteer trail work participation, cooperation among user groups, grassroots advocacy and innovative trail management solutions” Our members work to benefit the entire mountain bike community. In addition, their goal as well as ours is to create a powerful voice for trails, public land and policies that welcome bikes, build sustainable trails and bike facilities to make mountain biking more accessible, teach environmentally responsible trail building and trail etiquette practices and most importantly – inspire more people to experience the outdoors on bicycles. Wouldn’t you agree?
If you ride a mountain bike, you should be an advocate of the sport you love. Join us. – Erik Montville, President
Kenny Newby – Vice President
Ashlie Watters – Secretary
Brett Call – Treasurer
Holly Priest – Race Liaison
Jon Blum – Legal Avisor
Jonnie (Dangerously) Temple – Webmaster
Rich De Young: Trip/event