IMBA Canada Update - December 2014

December 1, 2014 -- Dear Canadian Mountain Biker, as another riding season comes to a close, I want to take this opportunity to update you on IMBA Canada’s progress in 2014, and to thank you for your support.

Looking back on 2014

This has been a critical year in IMBA Canada’s development -- one of transition and corporate restructuring.

At the time of our May 15, 2014 news release, we were in a difficult position, with only one part-time staff person and no clear direction. But IMBA Canada's individual members, local clubs and supporting organizations rallied behind us to pull through, and even exceed what we thought possible for 2014. With partner support, IMBA Canada managed to remain active on the ground this season, to the benefit of mountain bikers all across Canada.

Here are some of the highlights of what your money has helped to accomplish:

  • 2014 was the fifth full year of the IMBA Canada Trail Care Crew program, which puts trail experts on the ground to teach mountain bike clubs about sustainable trail design, construction and management. This year workshops took place in six of Canada’s National Parks, and five Canadian provinces. These services are offered free of charge, supported by IMBA Canada’s partners and members.
  • In addition to Trail Care Crew visits, IMBA Canada was also present at several events and festivals, including the Toronto International Bike Show, the Canmore 24 Hrs of Adrenalinthree MEC Bike Fests and two MEC Snow Fests and a variety of smaller events and races.
  • We rallied the mountain bike community through Action Alerts, including support for mountain bike trails in Canada’s newest national park in urban Toronto.
  • We delivered new resources to the Canadian mountain biking community, including MTBProject.com (a next generation trail guide and map website) and IMBA’s newest book “Bike Parks: IMBA’s Guide to New School Trails”.
  • IMBA Canada’s Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day was a huge success, surpassing past years’ participation with 32 events in all provinces (except SK), and more than 1,200 kids on bikes!

All the while, IMBA Canada has continued to offer its national insurance policy, providing affordable insurance to mountain bike clubs nation-wide; has maintained its high level advocacy and national outreach by attending national trails meetings and ensuring that mountain biking has a spot at the table; and has continued its local and grassroots advocacy efforts by supporting local mountain bike clubs with resources and coaching -- for everything from signing agreements for land access, to advocating for mountain bike acceptance.

Happily, we also made headway on financial development, becoming a 1% for the Planet member, and engaging old and new partners along the way. We intend to end the year on a solid financial footing, reversing the deficit of early 2014.

Looking ahead -- 2015 and Beyond

As part of the new Canada Not-for-profit Act, IMBA Canada was required to transition the organization under the new legislation or face dissolution as a Canadian corporate entity.  On October 6, we successfully approved the continuation of IMBA Canada, and at the same time approved a new bylaw, which removed IMBA (USA) as parent member of the organization -- the first step in restructuring IMBA Canada to become a stand-alone, member-supported organization. While IMBA Canada and IMBA (USA) will continue to agree in mission and core values, we will be reducing dependencies on our US counterparts and strengthening our Canadian mandate.

Without direction coming from a parent body, IMBA Canada's current structure (with a less active board, and strategic direction coming from IMBA HQ) is no longer adequate. And so now we are in the midst of shifting our focus from our immediate goal of bringing IMBA Canada's programs and services back up to speed, to our long-term goal of building a stronger, more relevant, Canadian-based mountain bike advocacy association.

In the coming months we will be expanding IMBA Canada’s board of directors, engaging our members, and examining our position as the national advocacy body for mountain bicycling.  We will be reviewing our membership model, our governance model, and developing a new strategic direction. Ultimately, we will develop a Canadian-specific strategic plan to guide our future decision-making and give new direction to our on-the-ground efforts.

We are excited about strengthening our Canadian identity, and we hope you are too!

Will you help?

Our immediate need is for member support to see us through this process. 2015 is IMBA Canada's 10th Anniversary -- We are asking those who believe there is value in having a national association to step forward, and help us define what that organization looks like today and into the future.

Thank you in advance, and here's to another great decade of mountain biking in Canada!

Lora Woolner, IMBA Canada Director

P.S. Give to IMBA Canada's Annual Fund and help shape the future of mountain biking in Canada. Gifts of $50 or more earn a free 2015 IMBA Calendar, full of incredible mountain biking photography. And if you can afford to give at the $100 level or higher, you'll receive a bonus $10 Gift Card from MEC to thank you for your support. Supplies are limited!