Summer 2017 Atlantic News
Atlantic Region Spring Update
Report by Atlantic Region Director Anthony Duncan
Roanoke IMBA, along with other local mountain biking interest groups, is working with Roanoke County to help develop a master plan for Explore Park in Roanoke. Initial proposals and public input have revealed great interest in creating a bike park with lots of progressive features and a dedicated facility for Virginia NICA races. The county just finished the comment period and we will be working to help develop a long-term trail/park development plan to meet the expectations of the Blue Ridge region’s mountain biking constituency.
I recently attended the second meeting of the Virginia State Trails Advisory Committee where outdoor recreation leaders from across the state worked to create recommendations for the next Virginia Outdoors Plan. Among the items discussed were how to create new economic development strategies around trails and trail development, how to best market trails throughout the state, and how to build capacity for new trail development.
Through the National Park Service’s RTCA program, the Fayetteville IMBA chapter New River Bicycle Union (NRBU), in coordination with the New River Gorge (NRG) National River staff, have submitted two Recreational Trails Program grants totalling $300,000 for planning and construction of almost 10 miles of new trail in Garden Ground in Mount Hope, WV. The project is one of two centennial projects that RTCA will help build community support and financial resources to complete. NRBU, NRG and the Summit-Bechtel Reserve Boy Scout Camp have already begun construction on Phase 1 of the Garden Ground trails with the first 5 miles expected to be completed before 2017. The other project as part of RTCA is a trail connection from Fayetteville town park to Hawks Nest State Park via the Hawks Nest Connector Trail on NRG property. The trail has been incomplete for several years, but is expected to be completed by Summer 2016.
The IMBA chapter Blackwater Bicycle Association, in partnership with the Monongahela National Forest, is in the beginning stages of planning for a new trail system at Stuart Recreation Area just outside of Elkins, WV. Excitement is building around the project from both the Forest Service and the local mountain biking community. Though the project is in its early stages we hope to have a proposal and seed money available for the project by Fall 2016.
The Western New York Mountain Bike Association and the Northern Allegheny Mountain Bike Association (PA) are working on connecting and marketing a bikepacking route called the 42nd Parallel. The concept is a region-wide cycling route from Ellicottville to Jake's rocks that includes trails, gravel roads and some pavement. Maps of the region are routinely cut off at the PA/NY border at the 42nd parallel, hence the name of the route. Bikepacking is often overlooked as a mountain biking activity with the recent popularity of enduro-style riding and more progressive styles of trail design and development. WNYMBA and NAMBA are embracing this unique opportunity to showcase the beauty of the northwestern portion of the Atlantic region and to show the importance of land conservation for mountain biking. Expect more exciting news in the very near future on this!
The Northern Allegheny Mountain Bike Association and its partners have begun construction on the first phase of the Jake Rocks trail project in the Allegheny National Forest. Fundrasing for the project continues and we have been in discussions with the forest leadership to leverage funding from the Master Challenge Cost Share agreement with IMBA as well as exploring funding through the National Forest Foundation. To date the nearly half-million dollars raised for the project have been private funds from various community partners and fundraising activities.
The push for legal singletrack access on Pennsylvania Game Commission lands continues. Along with representatives from several other “secondary user groups," I attended the third focus group meeting to create a constructive and meaningful relationship between the Commission and PA IMBA chapters. I am currently working on a proposal to present at a future meeting to help establish biking access on PGC lands.
During the first quarter of 2016, we also submitted comments for the Pennsylvania State Forest Recreation Management Plan. One issue identified with the draft plan was its inclusion of mountain biking as a non-traditional recreational use on State Forest lands. We recommended that the wording of the paragraph change to reflect mountain biking as a traditional form of non-motorized, human-powered recreation.