They seem to go hand in hand: every chance we have, we pack the car, load up the bikes and head out for a couple days of mountain biking, and, most of the times, it involves camping. Living in Montreal, my girlfriend and I cross the border frequently to ride Vermont’s Green Mountains. We’re always amazed that most of the state parks we visit offer great multi-use trails, and the opportunity to ride deep into the wilderness. Its also quite common to find state parks that are working with their local mountain biking clubs to improve trails and build new ones. In Canada, you can find the same sort of relationships between clubs and National Parks (ie: Bow Valley Mountain Bike Alliance in Banff National Park).

These partnership between clubs and land managers create great riding for locals, and also for visitors, who are likely to spend money during their stay.

Most mountain bikers enjoy spending time in nature, and camping is just an extension of that… and because camping is pretty cheap, it means more money to be spent elsewhere! The local bike shop, the pub and restaurants all get their fare share from mountain bikers visiting the area for a little retreat away from civilization.

Making natural surfaced trails accessible to mountain bikers is great for enthusiasts but first-timer as well. How often do you come across kids in the campground looking for something to do? Campgrounds normally have tons of social trails between spots and places to go, but exploring those by bike isn’t the best option for most first-timers.

As mountain bikers, we need to advocate for more trail access within our National (Provincial, State, etc.) Park networks. I’ve visited many parks in the northeast United States, and its great mountain biking opportunities that brings me back year after year.

Get involved.

As a mountain biker, ask your local club if they ever attempted contacting local land managers (private, regional, Provincial Park, or National Park). You’ll get better support if a club is behind you. If you’d like to get more information on what steps to take to talk to a land manager, grab a copy of IMBA’s Trail Solutions. There is even a french adaptation published by ADSVMQ: “Guide d’aménagement de sentiers de vélo de montagne.