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c/o Lee and Judi Borland, Facilitators
43 Saranac Avenue
Lake Placid, NY 12946


For additional information
Contact Lee Borland at (518) 523-3959

Adirondack Park Economic Development and Mountain Biking
On December 11, 2000 a group of 30 people met as a special focus group to discuss Adirondack Park Economic Development and Mountain Biking. Recreational mountain bikers Lee and Judi Borland of Speculator and Lake Placid facilitated the group meeting, under the umbrella of IMBA (International Mountain Biking Association), headquartered in Boulder, Colorado.

The focus group included key executives from ANCA, Adirondack Regional Tourism Council, ORDA, Adirondack Mountain Club, Residents Committee to Protect the Adirondacks, DEC, APA, Adirondack Council, Empire State Development, several Chambers of Commerce and County Tourism Offices, and grass roots IMBA members and entrepreneurs. Tim Blumenthal, the Executive Director of IMBA, flew in from Colorado to make a presentation to the group on the economic impact of mountain biking, and success stories from around the United States and Mexico.

The results of the focus group discussion included adopting a vision of developing mountain biking in the Adirondack Park to the degree that the Park becomes THE Eastern United States destination for this rapidly expanding family and individual sport.
(9 of 10 bicycles sold in America today are mountain bikes.)

Those familiar with alpine skiing know that one of the main keys to becoming a true destination is to have several close and varied venues within easy driving distance of each other. Since sports enthusiasts seek variety, Vermont, Salt Lake City, Lake Tahoe and Summit County Colorado have each become a Mecca for alpine skiers. Lee Borland said, "We can do the same thing for mountain biking if we develop the trail systems to include loops and networks in every corner of the Adirondacks, and we market them as such." The economic development impact on our Adirondack Park hamlets and villages could be significant.

The Adirondack Park Mountain Biking Initiative will be actively pursuing this vision, with the help of the Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages (AATV). Each municipality will be asked to get behind this project by appointing a Coordinator for their town or village. This person could be the Supervisor, Mayor, a mountain biking enthusiast or someone interested in economic development. Each town or village will be asked to complete a short preliminary Survey of existing and potential mountain biking trails in their municipality and return it by mid-January to the AATV office. AATV President George Canon, upon learning of the Initiative said, "This Initiative is long overdue. It will be great to involve every corner of the Adirondacks in this exciting new venture."

The Adirondack Park Mountain Biking Initiative includes the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) as a partner. The DEC has the responsibility of completing Unit Management Plansœ (UMP) in all Wild Forest Units within the next five years. In order for each UMP to reach its recreational potential, the public needs to get involved in the planning process. Planning for the improvement of existing mountain biking trails and the development of new trails would be a natural inclusion in the Unit Management Plans.

Adirondack Sports Commission (ASC) is another partner in the Adirondack Park Mountain Biking Initiative. Part of the ASCās mission statement is to cultivate sustainable economic development throughout the Adirondack region using sports tourism as a catalyst. Many of the other partners have a similar responsibility and mission. Joann Reed, Executive Director of the ASC remarked, Think about it! Mountain biking can happen in any region of the country, but the Adirondack Park, with its 6+ million acres of public and private lands, is UNIQUE. However, for the Park to become a truly competitive mountain biking destination, it will need local biking centers located throughout the Park, within short driving distances of each other, mapped and marketed in brochures, and diverse trails, each providing a different experience.

The Steering Committee of the Adirondack Park Mountain Biking Initiative will be meeting in late January to make specific plans to roll out the Vision, beginning with two or three model mountain biking centers in Adirondack towns. One of the first centers will be in Wilmington, NY. Jeanne Ashworth, Supervisor of the Town of Wilmington commented when hearing of the Initiative, Wilmington would love to be a leader in this endeavor. This is an exciting opportunity for the entire Adirondack Park. When all the towns get behind this, people will come from all over the world to mountain bike in the Adirondacks.



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