Thursday, March 08, 2007

GW Forest Service Plan workshop...

The Forest Service is holding a workshop this Saturday from 1-4pm in Harrisonburg to elicit public comments on its management of the forest. This impacts trail use/construction, roadless areas, road maintenance/construction and how the National Forest will be used and managed for the next 15 years.

The Daily News Leader had an article on the meeting in today's edition, see the article here:

The article doesn't specifically mention mountain biking but trails are the bread 'n butter of this constituency and they are mentioned. The meeting will be held at the Rockingham County Government Office Building, 20 E. Gay St., in Harrisonburg. If you can't make the meeting, written comments can be addressed to George Washington Plan Revision, 5162 Valleypointe Parkway, Roanoke, VA 24019

Not sure of what to say? Here are some talking points developed by SVBC/SMBC and IMBA reps: (Thanks to Pete for forwarding these to me)

I like that the current plan allows cyclists to enjoy a primitive backcountry trail experience.
o "I could ride all day in remote areas and see maybe one other person. I especially enjoy being able to ride the (insert favorite) trail because of it’s backcountry character and scenic vistas"
o I like the 12c prescription in the Jeff plan because it allows for trail cycling in "wilderness-like" area", yet still allows chainsaw use and trail management without roads.

I like how the Local ranger districts have embraced partnering with volunteers on trail management.
o Provide chainsaw training and certification
o Volunteer agreements

I like riding my bike in the Shenandoah Mountain Roadless areas between 250 and 33.
o This area includes one of the largest roadless areas in the East
o It provides one of the top three backcountry riding locations east of the Mississippi.
o Contains important habitat for black bear and a wide variety of other species, some rare
o Has outstanding scenic and recreational values
o Encompasses key watersheds, including the watershed for Harrisonburg’s Skidmore Fork reservoir.
o This area is the reason many of us have chosen to live in the Valley.
o This area is so special it deserves special protection of at least a 12c nature or be designated a National Scenic Area.

I like the economic benefit of trails
o Tourism –hikers, trail runners, cyclists, birders, hunters, and fisherman travel hundreds of miles to recreate in the GW. They contribute thousands of dollars to the local economies.
o Improved quality of life increase the ability of local business to recruit high quality employees. Ex. SRI, Merck
o Increased property value
o Damascus is a great example of the economic benefit of trails.

I like the emphasis on shared use trail opportunities.

"I Dislike the lack of funding for outdoor recreation, when it is an important economic engine for local economies"
o Studies of other mtb destinations show an average of $200 per visitor spent during an overnight stay.
o A recent survey indicated that 80% of mtb enthusiasts participate in at least one overnight destination mtb trip a year.
o The survey respondents indicated that scenery, challenge, and exercise were the main reasons for travel

I dislike the lack of trail loop opportunities. I would like more loop opportunities. There are many places where a short one or two mile connector would create a much larger loop using existing roads and trails.

I dislike how the trails are permanently altered by fire management.
o Hand built singletrack trails have been bulldozed into 8’ wide fire breaks with no restoration. Ex. Hone Quarry, SMT
o Trails are a facility and if damaged during fire management they should be restored to their former or future desired condition. This cost should be considered part of the cost of fire management be attributed to the fire management budget.
o Trails have a construction cost of $15,000 to $30,000 per mile.

I dislike that many of our trails have unsustainable alignments and use old extraction routes. These do little to showcase the landscape of the forest and often result in resource damage from erosion caused by poor design. Please replace these unsustainable trails with sustainable shared trails that reduce maintenance cost and provide a higher quality recreation experience. Build more sidehill singletrack


Any recreation facilities, including trails, damaged during fire management ops should be restored to previous or desired condition with fire management funds. This cost should be part of the fire management cost analysis. (see dislikes)

Increased shared use loop opportunities.

Increased novice or least challenging trails on forest edge to provide positive front country trail experiences.
Health benefits

Focuses use on edge of forest, leaving core for primitive recreation.

Develop or relocate parking areas on edge of forest when possible to reduce vehicle traffic and shorten drive to forest. Reduce pollution.

Increase protection for the area between US 250 and US 33, east of Shenandoah mountain to protect its backcountry aspects while allowing shared use trail recreation. (see likes)

Manage all IRA(inventoried Roadless Areas) under the 2001 roadless rule.

Increase funding for recreation trails to reflect their benefit to the local economies.

Adopt GET (Great Eastern Trail) corridor as a shared use trunk trail that connects the western GW ranger districts.

Provide viewshed protection for NRTs in GW. Ex Wild Oak trail
Seasonal road closures during wet seasons or freeze thaw to reduce road maintenance costs.

All new trails or roads should be follow sustainable design principals. This includes following contour alignments, average grades under 10%, and frequent grade reversals.
o This will result in reduced maintenance costs and reduced resource impact.
o This will increase the trails sustainable carrying capacity, improve accessibility, and create a higher quality recreation experiences.

More information on the plan can be found at this GW Forest Service site:

Get involved and get heard...


Post a Comment

<< Home