Frank Pietras, Neal Boyd and I met this past Friday morning with Mike Kafsky, the High Adventure Program Manager of the USNWC. In addition to all programs of a climbing nature (indoor/outdoor walls, high ropes course, etc.) management of the mountain bike trails also fall under Mike’s list of responsibilities. We visited the site to get Mike acquainted with the layout of the trails, talk about sustainability and discuss some of the options that we had before us (while Mike is a mountain biker, unfortunately, we did not ride). Frank presented Mike with a proposed budget for the trail reconnect that included labor, mechanical equipment costs, and materials.
Shortly thereafter, we were joined by Jeff Wise. Jeff (as is Mike) is very excited about getting the trail reconnect underway (the main hold up seems to be the ongoing construction inspections by county engineering types) - and of course, the heat and humidity of summer. Jeff is in the process of arranging for an on-sight contractor to assist in the construction of the trail head, leaving from the southeastern corner of the new parking area, within the UNSWC, proper. The trail will be constructed to allow riders to pass in each direction, as the trail to/from the parking area will be two-way (approximately ¼ mile). This will take a major load off of our resources. Jeff and Mike will be pursuing additional assistance in the form of labor (under our guidance) to help with the reconnect that will cover some 1.5 miles.
From all indications, it looks as if the USNWC will be opening for business (a rather “quiet” opening) in mid July, with the official “Grand Opening” in September. At that point in time, Jeff and Company are hopeful of having the reconnect completed and the entire trail opened to bike traffic.
As always, if you are interested in being a part of the re-connect team, please contact me at: email@example.com.
In Neal’s absence, tireless volunteers Paul Bellin and Doug Satterwhite took the reins of last night’s first stop at
Good things are happening at the USNWC (Catawba) as we are on the verge of starting to move dirt and get the re-connect started. Trail Coordinator Frankie Pietras has spent countless hours and has the blessing of
Jerry Adams has been spending time at our newest park, Sherman Branch in southeastern
Our Recreation Trails Program (RTP) grant for construction of trails at
The Meck Co P&R Committee will be voting on a proposed trail system at
In closing, I encourage any of you readers that may be on the fence to join the Trailblazers, Dirt Divas or PASA, as together as clubs we are much stronger and can continue to request access for additional parks land for our favorite sport. Each member is vital to the cause, your support is appreciated!
I just want to repeat the words of Jeff W.: There is no plan to charge for access to the trails at USNWC, now or in the future. There will be a pro shop with bike parts for sale, a store/machines at which one can buy drinks and snacks, and a restaurant. With those facilities, the USNWC expects to be able to get income from trail users by providing products and services that would otherwise not be available without driving several miles.
Since last post here on April 11th, I have put in about 20 hours of ground time in laying out the reconnection trails in a manner that is consistent with the existing trails at the park. The plan is to meet with Michael and Jeff this Tuesday to show them the work and get their approval on the trail corridors. Work has been done to clear the existing trails of debris in anticipation of the Charlotte Mountain Bike Series.
I personally have a tremendous amount of time invested in the trails at USNWC over the last 15 years and I see the task of reconnecting the trails as an opportunity to further improve one of the finest trail systems in the region. In fact, it is conceivable that the new loop, once completed, will be even more challenging and enjoyable than before. I think it will be much like Beatty Park where we were all suprised to end up with a better trail system after the construction was done.
Get ready folks. We will have a large task on our hands once we get the go-ahead to get started. There are sections that will be much like the New Point Trail with dramatic side slopes and huge Beech trees. I'm glad that we will have the opportunity to build these trails ourselves as true single-track and not have to follow the course of a D-9 that someone drove through the woods.