NWTA Going Independent. Farewell IMBA Chapter Program

A message from Bob Lessard. President Northwest Trail Alliance.

NB: This post previously made the erroneous statement that NWTA members would retain their IMBA benefits after April 30th. IBMA has clarified that this is not the case. We apologize for any inconvenience caused by our false assumption.

The Northwest Trail Alliance has been in a close relationship with the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) for decades, and it has served us well. IMBA was, and still is, a positive force for mountain bike advocacy in North American and around the world, but the IMBA chapter program evolved to fit IMBA’s changing needs and priorities, and in its current format, it is no longer a good fit for NWTA’s needs. After careful consideration, the board of directors has voted to leave the IMBA Chapter program. We have discussed the matter with IMBA management, and we will cut ties April 30th, 2020. From that point forward, membership with NWTA will no longer come with an IMBA membership.

We are doing this for several reasons, but cost is the most significant reason. Currently, IMBA takes a membership processing fee for each signup. For small organizations, it’s a fair price to pay, and worth it to not have to maintain a membership database and a payment system. NWTA has grown a lot in the last few years though. We have been watching large payment processing fees accumulate and go to IMBA instead of our local trails. This will no longer be the case. We will keep 100% of revenues.

Leaving the IMBA chapter program was not an easy decision. IMBA paved the way for a lot of what we now take for granted. The IMBA brand brought a lot of clout to local and regional mountain bike organizations. Even when we did not agree on some issues, we still maintained that supporting a strong national voice was important. To that end, NWTA will remain an affiliate member of IMBA’s Local program after the transition, just no longer part of the Chapter program. In fact, NWTA will be part of IMBA’s Advocacy Workgroup, so we will still have a voice in IMBA’s national policy agenda.

NWTA will honor memberships currently held through the end of each member’s current membership timeline. Whatever your current NWTA/IMBA membership expiry date is, you will retain that date. If you currently auto-renew, you will need to cancel your IMBA auto-renew service and join directly with NWTA.

Nothing will appear any different or affect you in any way until we have our new membership management system up and running. We will provide instructions mid-April on what you need to do.

Bob Lessard