Our mission is to enhance access to trails and advocate for mountain bicyclists in Southwest Montana. By engaging and educating community, working with public land managers, collaborating with other user groups and building and maintaining trails our volunteers are fulfilling that mission and becoming reliable voice in our region. We also build, maintain and advocate for trails that you can ride your bike on. Our Board of Directors is entirely composed of dedicated and hardworking volunteers.
Who They Are
The Southwest Montana Mountain Bike Association (SWMMBA) is a 501(c)3, local nonprofit that is passionate about building a community of mountain bikers and providing those individuals with accessible, well maintained trails. Ruby, our BACF Intern, spoke with Melissa Cronin, board member and Development Director for SWMMBA, who shared the impact they have had on the Gallatin Valley and surrounding areas.
How It Started
Growing from the Dirt Concern, a branch associated with Gallatin Valley Bike Club, SWMMBA formally started their journey in February of 2016. Community membersin the mountain biking community saw a need for more access to trails in the area as a way stay connected to public lands.
What They Do
SWMMBA projects and work on public lands in order to keep them accessible and maintained is beneficial for not only mountain bikers, but other trail-lovers as well The association’s work on trails is largely volunteer based. In 2017, volunteers have logged approximately 3,500 hours of trail and pump track maintenance. There are a handful of volunteers who commit time to maintenance on a weekly basis, which contributes tremendously to the work of SWMMBA.
The main focus for SWMMBA, in conjunction with the Bureau of Land Management, is currently the Copper City Trails, a multi-phase project located near Three Forks, MT. Over the course of the summer of 2017, they were able to complete Green Eagle and High Ore, the first loop of the system. They aim to continue making progress toward completing the project throughout the fall and next spring/summer. Once they have completed this project, they hope to relocate their efforts to state land at the Lewis and Clark Caverns.
They recently collaborated with Gallatin Valley Land Trust, Bozeman Pedal Project, and Bozeman Youth Cycling for “Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day” which they do twice annually. Another event they hold are community forums every other month at local bike shops to discuss relevant topics to their mission and how they plan to approach those issues. Working with like-minded nonprofits, SWMMBA is also currently composing a proposal for a wilderness study area to present to the Forest Service.
BACF is committed to connecting donors with causes they are passionate about. During this year’s Give Big event, one BACF fundholder, the Dumke-Manship Fund, made a large contribution from their donor advised fund to support SWMMBA. SWMMBA shared that participating in Give Big was a big success for them. Melissa stated that Give Big provided small, local nonprofits like SWMMBA an opportunity to connect with more donors and funding than they could do alone. Without the gift from the Dumke-Manship Fund at BACF , the Copper City Trails would not have become a reality.