Itusi trail @ Lake Norman State Park – photo by EZ-E
IMBA is on the ball again, this time organizing mountain bikers to comment on the North Carolina State Parks Systemwide Plan. As always, IBMA has some talking points for comments that can be submitted via email or letter by October 31, 2009.
If you have ever ridden or plan to ride North Carolina, please take the time to send your comments in support of expanded and improved shared-used trails in our state parks.
Looking at the draft plan itself, there are some pretty encouraging words for mountain bikers in North Carolina. I’ve pasted the section on mountain bike trails below but the jist of it is that mountain bikers in NC are vocal and they want singletrack in Umstead State Park. The plan also gives kudos to MTB volunteer groups and points to the trails at Lake Norman State Park as a good model for future trail development. Check out the NC Division of Parks & Rec. website to see how you can submit your comments before the deadline.
From the 2009 Systemwide plan:
The largest number of responses on the survey from a recreation-specific user group was from mountain bikers. The survey found that while although only 39.3% people surveyed would ride mountain bikes in state parks, mountain bike trails were by far the most requested facility-type – with 19.9% of people surveyed choosing this facility as their highest priority to develop in state parks. The 2007 NSRE found that within the previous year, 15.7% of North Carolinians participated in mountain biking.
The comments on the survey from the mountain biking community were numerous. The major themes emerging from the comments were: more mountain biking trails are needed – particularly in areas near centers of population; the mountain biking community is sizeable and organized; mountain biking can be low impact use on properly designed trails; single-track trails on natural surfaces with a wide variety of trail types, difficulties, and length are preferred; and there are many groups such as: the Tarheel Trailblazers, Brushy Mountain Cyclists, Greensboro Fat Tire Society, Triangle Off-Road Cyclists, International Mountain Biking Association, and the Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association are available and willing to contribute financially and also through volunteer work to help design, build, and maintain mountain bike trails.
The vast majority of park-specific comments received from this user group were directed to William B. Umstead State Park where mountain bikers were unhappy with the wide gravel road experience and noted that new single-track trails (or conversion of existing trails) at the park were desired. Several mountain bikers applauded the division’s collaboration with the mountain biking community on the design and construction of the single-track trail network at Lake Norman State Park.