IMBA Partners with MEC to boost regional office program in 2010

For Immediate Release: 3-01-10
Contact: Rachael Raven
IMBA Canada Communications Coordinator
rachael.raven[at]imba.com
(613) 301-8098
www.imbacanada.com

IMBA Canada is excited to announce a national partnership agreement with Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) for 2010. The Vancouver-based outdoor gear and clothing retailer has made a generous contribution towards IMBA’s regional office program. Funding will enhance existing offices in British Columbia, Quebec, and Ontario, as well as expand the program to other provinces.

The goals of the regional office program are to build club capacity, create critical mass, and expand mountain bikers’ influence on public policy at the provincial/regional level. Each office is staffed by a part-time regional coordinator, whose mandate is to achieve the following goals for mountain biking in their region: convenient access to appealing trails, trailbuilding expertise, a positive image, and political influence.

Since the program’s establishment in 2008, IMBA Canada’s regional coordinators have assisted numerous local clubs to create and protect sustainable trails. IMBA staff have worked alongside groups like the BC Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts to develop provincial trails strategies and represent mountain bikers to government organizations.

“With a country the size of Canada, and the wide geographic spread of IMBA Canada’s affiliated groups, the regional office program is vital to bridging the gap between the grassroots level clubs and national representation for mountain biking,” said IMBA Canada Director Lora Woolner. “We are thrilled that Mountain Equipment Co-op has committed to growing mountain biking’s capacity at the regional level, and are excited for the new opportunities this partnership will bring.”

IMBA Canada’s goal is to have four regional offices up and running this year, adding a staff position in Alberta for 2010, and eventually expanding to six regional offices by 2012 – with the Maritimes and Central Canada being next on the list.

“Mountain Equipment Co-op is proud to support IMBA Canada’s efforts to enhance high-quality and environmentally responsible mountain biking experiences in communities across Canada,” said MEC CEO David Labistour. “Whether it is building trails or encouraging kids to take up the sport, IMBA Canada’s important work will only advance mountain biking as an exciting, healthy and positive outdoor pursuit.”

More About IMBA Canada and MEC

The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) Canada is a non-profit association whose mission is to create, enhance and preserve great trail experiences for mountain bikers throughout Canada. Since 1988, IMBA has been bringing out the best in mountain biking worldwide by encouraging low-impact riding, volunteer trailwork participation, and cooperation among different trail user groups, grassroots advocacy and innovative trail management solutions. IMBA’s Canadian office has been up and running since 2004. Find out more at www.imbacanada.com.

Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) is Canada’s leading retailer of outdoor clothing, gear and services for self-propelled activities like cycling, hiking and snowsports. Established in 1971, MEC operates 13 destination stores in central locations across Canada, which together with its website, supports MEC’s 3-million-plus members to pursue their outdoor activities. Widely recognized for its commitment to sustainability, MEC directs one per cent of total sales every year toward community-based outdoor and environmental initiatives. More information about MEC is available at www.mec.ca.