SWMMBA volunteers dedicate over 2,000 hours a year into organizing, researching, communicating, and facilitating the protection of access to your Public Lands. As the premier defenders of your right to travel by human power across public lands, we have had some amazing successes in our first few years.
Ever wondered about the myriad of federal regulations, management guidelines, legislative actions, state funding, or even the difference between the BLM and the Forest Service? SWMMBA also offers a number of educational seminars throughout the year to help you brush up on your facts and talk the talk.
The Board of Directors has taken a number of long-standing issues into account, and have produced a set of positions on common issues in cycling advocacy. To learn more, check out our Position Statements:
Gallatin Forest Partnership
The Gallatin and Madison Ranges are southwest Montana’s wild backyards. Teeming with wildlife and steeped in historical recreational uses, these ranges serve as Bozeman, Livingston, Big Sky and West Yellowstone’s favorite after work and weekend playgrounds.
These public lands also provide vital resources to our community including nearly 80% of Bozeman’s drinking water supply, and are rich in important undeveloped open spaces and trails that attract business to southwest Montana and feed our growing outdoor recreation economy https://outdoorindustry.org/advocacy/.
For many years, diverse stakeholders have come together, put their differences aside, and focused on creating land management solutions for these areas that benefit all. In this collaborative spirit we have created the Gallatin Forest Partnership, and reached an agreement about how valued public lands within the Gallatin and Madison Ranges could be managed that takes into consideration wildlife, historic recreational use, and the water supply of the Gallatin Valley.
Management decisions have direct impact on cyclists. Many individuals do not know that with the simple decision to manage an area as a primitive recreation area would eliminate all cyclist access within it. Do you know the difference between Recommended Wilderness Areas, Wilderness Areas, and Wilderness Study Areas?
SWMMBA does, and we advocate for your continued access to the trails which you have historically ridden your bicycle on. We work with our advocacy partners, including national partners like IMBA and local cyclist groups to make sure your voice is heard.
Copper City Trails is a project by the Southwest Montana Mountain Bike Association in partnership the Bureau of Land Management. The plan calls for 18+/- miles of bike-optimized trails, open to hikers and trail runners. The project encompasses a wide range of trails including beginner-friendly trails, technical ridge trails, flow trails, and two downhill-only bike-only trails. There will also be a youth-focused skills park with dirt jumps and a pump track catering to all ages and abilities.
Phase 3 Now Under Construction
With the completion of Green Eagle, a green level beginner friendly flow trail winding through the sage brush covered hills of Copper City, SWMMBA and the BLM had an immediate success. Phase One saw nearly four miles of foot and bike optimized cross country trail built in a short four months. Phase One finished in 2017.
With thousands of yearly visitors and hundreds of engaged volunteers, Copper City expanded with the addition of over ten miles of trail in six short months. Between the impressive support of the local communities to the incredible involvement of individuals across southwestern Montana, this project has grown quickly as one of Montana’s favorite places to ride. Phase Two finished in 2018.
Help us complete the third and final phase of Copper City. Over the last 3 years we have built Montana's most successful trail system with your generous support. Now, with your support we can finish more than two miles of brand new sustainable flow trail, complete navigational signage, finish the parking lot, build a shade structure, and install educational kiosks. Phase Three will begin in Spring of 2019.
History You Ride Through
Copper City Trails is located just outside of Three Forks Montana. The history of mining in the area dates back to 1300 BC where the peoples of Pelican Lake mined for chert. By the late 1800’s early settlers to Gallatin County recognized colors in the rock outcroppings and found gold in a massive boulder of copper quartz. After digging directly beneath the boulder, the shaft yielded several mining car loads of high grade ore, causing considerable interest from several mining companies. The newcomers staked out a number of mines and got to work.
Through the 1880’s, mining companies dwindled with little success. In 1889, a number of the claims were purchase by one of the leading capitalists in the area. Local residents speculated that a smelter would be built near Three Forks and the town would be chosen as the state capitol, but when the financial crisis of 1893 hit, a number of the mining companies took a turn for the worse. Nearing the turn of the century, the mining in Copper City continued to decline for various reasons as the town of Three Forks flourished.
Bozeman Bike Parks
In 2016, volunteers dedicated more than 900 hours and 130 machine hours to rebuild the Dirt Jumps at Westlake Park. We held a grand opening dirt jam party under the lights in the fall of that year. That same year we began to revitalize the Pump Track at the Gallatin County Regional Park. Now, we have two amazing community resources, each with hundreds of monthly visitors.
The dirt jumps are located at Westlake Park in Bozeman, adjacent to the Gallatin Valley BMX pump track. They are entirely volunteer built and maintained. With four jump lines ranging in ability and skill level, there’s something for everyone—even the kids. The dirt jumps are constantly being cared for, contact us to help out!
The pump track at Gallatin Regional Park has been volunteer built and maintained since 2011. It is a great place to have fun and practice skills with friends or your family! In 2018, SWMMBA undertook a major renovation on the west-most section of the pump track. This renovation included table tops, wider spacing, progression drops, a shade shelter, and a tool shed.