MAMBA organization continues trail building efforts on Moscow Mountain


A member of the Moscow Area Mountain Bike Association (MAMBA) bikes through trail number five on Moscow Mountain.

CHRIS ARNESON, Evergreen columnist

The Moscow Area Mountain Bike Association (MAMBA) has represented adventurers across the Palouse for a decade and a half. By building trails, MAMBA is continuously providing opportunities for not just bikers, but hikers, runners and horseback riders alike that access Moscow Mountain.

MAMBA President Scott Metlen said that his organization relocated from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. As far as the non-profit association’s purpose in the community, there are many goals that MAMBA looks to achieve.

“We work with landowners to gain and keep their trust and with the community to understand land use, expected use and rules up there,” Metlen said. “We help inform the masses what the rules are and what to do.”

The “up there” that Metlen is referring to is the 70 miles of trail that MAMBA has carved out on Moscow Mountain. MAMBA is about trying to get away from the routine of everyday life and not be “a gerbil in a little cage,” as Metlen puts it.

Anyone can use the trails on Moscow Mountain because the landowners allow for public use, he said.

“The main function of MAMBA is to have an entity between the public and landowners,” Metlen said.

Moscow Mountain is all privately-owned land, meaning that 100 percent of MAMBA’s trails are on private property, he explained. The University of Idaho owns a small bit of forest on the mountain, and the state has two small lots, but the rest is privately-owned.

Specific rules on the mountain are numerous. “No fires, stay on the trail, no camping, no shooting and go have fun.”

That last one is more of a guideline, but as long as one can follow these rules, anyone is welcome to check out the man-made paths on Moscow Mountain.

MAMBA is essential to maintaining recreational activities for individuals on the Palouse who love to get outside and be active. With summer starting to embrace the Palouse, the trails are opening up.

MAMBA’s big events are trail-build days, Metlen said. You’ll have to bring snacks and water, but the tools are supplied and no experience is necessary. The dates of trail-build days are listed on the non-profit’s website.

Not everything is as cut and dried as building a wooden bridge for Metlen, though.

“Nature takes it back pretty fast,” Metlen explained in regard to the lack of longevity of the bike trails. You never know when a tree might fall or something of that nature. Therefore, trail builds occur once monthly from May to November, with the next build date set for June 24.

MAMBA is always looking for extra help from the community, Metlen said.