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  1. #1
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    Uwharrie - IMBA Ride Center & Xterra Course?

    A year or 2 ago there was some press released about the Uwharrie area becoming a real destination trail center with new trails for all. Anyone know the status of the planning for all this new trail work?

    I know there were a couple of miles or so of trail added that helped bypass some of the areas where the trails were logged, but don't know of any more work that has happened there. If money is available (don't know that it is), are they considering hiring an experienced trail building crew to help with some trail design and work? I know the population in the area isn't as dense as some other areas in NC, but I'm sure volunteers would travel in to help with the work if they're ready to roll.

    They've run a couple of Xterra races out at Uwharrie and I've ridden the trails on that side of the park, too. Can those trails be expanded or is that side of the park off limits for new work?

    Centrally located, nice rolling terrain, tons of land, land managers that are already used to ORV traffic there. Seems like a prime spot.

  2. #2
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    From what I have heard in casual conversations: IMBA spent lots of time and money designing and building trails. BUT... there were major hang ups on the archeological studies required for permitting. It just so happens that Uwharrie has this special tool making rock. And back a thousand or so years ago people traveled from all over to get theses tool making rocks. So the place is loaded with sensitive archeological sites. Mapping and permitting disruption of these sites to build trails is a long and expensive project. Possibly half the trail building budget went into the permitting boondoggle. so they have built some stuff but not nearly what they had intended, Kinda sad cause had things gone differently it would be a great new trail system.

  3. #3
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    To add to what Maida said:
    I know first hand that there were not enough volunteers showing up to the work days and the community on the area did not get behind the project a$ much a$ the organizers initially thought.

    Its a shame too - the riding in that area could be unbelievable.

  4. #4
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    This is some up to date info

    From the Tarheel Trailblazers

    http://www.tarheeltrailblazers.com/c...m=1286555525/0


    Uwharrie Trails Project and Future Potential
    Oct 8th, 2010 at 12:32pm Last night at the October meeting, the membership voted to apply $2,500 of the club's available funds toward the Uwharrie Woodrun trail project that SORBA currently has underway. We had a great discussion regarding the status of the current project and the potential for A LOT of new trail in the Uwharrie National Forest. I'd like all of our club members to have an good understanding of the outstanding opportunity that this project makes available us as Charlotte area riders and also to riders from the entire Southeast region. First, some background information.

    Background:
    IMBA designated Uwharrie as one of their 5 "Ride Centers" some 3 years ago or so. The Ride Center concept was unclear, but the idea was to improve the Woodrun trails and build a substantial amount (50 miles) of new trails of various types to turn the location into a regional/ national destination - someplace that folks would want to travel to in order to ride. Based on the Uwharrie National Park location, that is surrounded by a population of over 4 million and plenty of available land with mostly willing land managers, the site seemed solid. Problem was, no-one ever consulted the locals - either the local mountain bikers (of which there are very few in Albemarle/ Troy) or the local business/political leaders.

    Long story short;

    1. IMBA helped start the SORBA-Uwharrie Chapter in Albemarle area to become the nexus for the local mountain bikers to become involved in the project and to supply the local volunteer base.

    2. A 1 to 2 mile trail and bike park was built in Albemarle, at an in-town park, to show what could be done and to create local interest;

    3. SORBA applied for and received a NC RTP Grant for approximately $69,000 in 2009 to improve and expand the Woodrun trails (Supertree and Keyawee);

    4. IMBA has spent well over $110,000 on environmental impact, archeological studies and trail design. Part of this (approx. $40,000) was from another grant, the rest came out of IMBA's pocket. All the new trail has been laid out by Trail Solutions, an IMBA affiliate trail builder. An IMBA spec 1.5 mile connector trail was built that "parallels" the central fire road from near the lower parking lot up to the campground where the bottom of Supertree and Keyawee start.

    5. In order to use the RTP grant, SORBA-Uwharrie had to raise an additional $25,00 in cash matching funds. The continuation of the initial trail project got stuck on this required pre-condition. Once the money was raised, SORBA could put the remaining project work out to bid for a professional trailbuilder to cut the trail that flagged, approved and ready to go.

    6. Over the last 3 years whaile all this was going on, IMBA completely re-thought its "Ride Center" concept and realized that its initial scheme to simply designate future Ride Center sites won't work for most all of the initial site selections. Ride Centers will now be selected after an application and review process that is still being developed. Uwharrie won't make the grade for an IMBA Ride Center in the near future and likely won't at any time until a good bit more trail is built, or planned and funded.

    Current Status:
    SORBA got the fledgling SORBA-Uwharrie Chapter off the ground, but by itself the club was not able to gain enough traction as a sustainable group to support the development of the Uwharrie project. There may be too few riders in that immediate area to support a full fledged club that can take on such a project; this includes not having the combined membership numbers and the experience in putting new trail on the ground. IMBA (reasonably) decided they had spent enough cash on this initial project.

    Beginning a few week ago, the Trailblazers, working in conjunction with SORBA (namely Tom Sauret, its Executive Director) and Brian Bristol and Scott Cole from the SORBA -Uwharrie chapter, made a big effort to raise the matching funds necessary to move forward with the SORBA RTP grant. First, the Trailblazers pledged $2,500 of our funds and to ensure that we got the volunteers necessary to the site to dress the new trail that would be built by the contractor. Then using the local contacts that Brian and the Uwharrie guys had developed since the beginning of the project, we got another $2,500 committment from two Alberrle businessmen. Those businessmen also helped us arrange a meeting with First Bank in Troy to see if the could provide some or all of the remaining $20,000 of matching funds. First Bank had also been interested in the project for some time; they realized the impact that an IMBA Ride Center could potentially have on the local economy.

    Last week, we had meetings with the Albermarle businessmen and a grant writer, the US Forest Service personel who manage the Uwharrie National Forest, and finally First Bank in Troy, This is what I wrote to our extended board members (who I'd keep in the loop on our progress) about 4 hours later:

    And we thought it might take a few days .....

    Great news: following our meeting this morning with First Bank in Troy, First bank has committed to donating $20,000 for the Uwharrie project!!. Along with our $2,500 and another $2,500 that 2-3 gentlemen from Albamarle committed at last night's meeting, we have met the match for the RTP grant to complete this phase of the project. Now Tom Sauret will put this out to bid, and we should get a professional trail builder on the ground this winter.

    Long story short, at today's meeting we were very enthused at First Bank's expression of interest to help - they really GET IT - what this IMBA Trail Center concept can do for the Uwharrie area. We were asking them for the bulk of the matching funds necessary ($20,000 of the $25,000) to move forward. They were not sure what their timing could be as far as a committment for this phase of the project and whether they might need to donate the funds over a period of time, etc. However, within 4 hours, they have committed to write the check next week for the full amount. Moreover, they are committed to do what is necessary to support the entire Ride Center Concept, knowing that eventually $1.5 to $2.0 million will need to be raised.

    The folks that Brian (Explore Uwharrie and formerly Middle Ring Cycles) got us in front of are really well connected. Not just to other folks of means within the Stanly and Montgomery Counties, but also with the regional and State foundations that have grant funding available. They also are politically connected so that we should have an entre to the federal politicians that can make things happen ($$$) in Washington. (For example, an IMBA Ride Center out west got $400,000 from working with their congresmen.)

    There will certainly be challenges to come, but this is a really teriffic opportunity for all of us and all of the riders in the region.

    Next Steps:
    Tom Sauret at SORBA is excited to get the project back on track and to not have to give the RTP funds back to the State. He is willing to bring everything that SORBA can offer to support the project as long as he's comfortable that there is local committment and continued effort.

    First, Tom Sauret will get this current project in the hands of a trailbuilder to do the rough cut work. We expect this to happen this winter. There will also need to be some re-conditioning done on Supertree where the recent logging activity tore up part of the trail (this part of the trail was built on the old service road corridor). I expect we can have an impact on helping design this re-conditioning work. The Forest Service said they will spend a few dollars they have remaining from the logging contract to help in this reconditioning effort too! In the spring, another small section off of the Kewayee trail will need to be logged (thinned for the health of the forest) and that will disturb part of the Kewayee trail tread. That will need to be re-conditioned as well. Finally, there are a few small re-route sections called for in the RTP grant that will be around this section of Kawayee that willl need to be delayed and completed after this final logging activity.

    The Future:
    Tom Sauret has had conversations with Mike Van Abel (IMBA CEO) about the potential not only for this current project but also for future trail opportunities at Uwharrie. While the IMBA Trail Center concept is still evolving, IMBA and SORBA are looking for opportunities that IMBA can bring support to, particularly in North Carolina. With the right local leadership, the Uwharrie region is still ripe for trail development and IMBA could play a big part in that development. We now have a great deal of momentum in the Albermarle and Troy business communities, and the interest of a lot of well connected folks who want to see a Ride Center happen. I believe the Trailblazers has a role to be an important part of the local leadership to help make this happen.

    Please post up any questions you might have. If you haven't yet ridden the Woodrun trails, you're in for a treat. Get on out there and see what potentail lies right near our doorstep!

    Jim Grover
    President, Tarheel Trailblazers

  5. #5
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    I'm really glad to read that the folks down that way aren't giving up!!

    That area is a jewel.

  6. #6
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    That's a whole lot more info then I had. Good to see that a classy group like the Tarheel Trailblazers has decided to pursue this project. I hope things work out as this could be a destination trail for several large population centers.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maida7
    That's a whole lot more info then I had. Good to see that a classy group like the Tarheel Trailblazers has decided to pursue this project. I hope things work out as this could be a destination trail for several large population centers.
    Oh but the best is yet to come!

  8. #8
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    Wow. Great news.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reward
    Wow. Great news.
    I second that!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbikernc69
    Oh but the best is yet to come!
    Uh oh......sounds like some sweetness is about to happen there.

    Rode LKN on Fri for the umpteenth time - still can't believe how well those trails ride. Awesome work.

  11. #11
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    any shuttle-able dh or real, natural freeride opportunities going to happen? or is that going to get ignored as usual? don't give me the "get involved" bullsh1t either.

  12. #12
    CrgCrkRyder
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsomtb
    Uh oh......sounds like some sweetness is about to happen there.

    Rode LKN on Fri for the umpteenth time - still can't believe how well those trails ride. Awesome work.

    Guided tour sometime? You know how I like riding National Forest trails.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by CraigCreekRider
    Guided tour sometime? You know how I like riding National Forest trails.
    For you my friend, anything.

  14. #14
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    LKNM SP will be over 30 miles long by 2013. With the help of a $75K RTP grant and a $10K REI grant. Starting this Fall!
    Last edited by mtbikernc69; 11-01-2010 at 03:42 PM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by vinnycactus
    any shuttle-able dh or real, natural freeride opportunities going to happen? or is that going to get ignored as usual? don't give me the "get involved" bullsh1t either.
    *crickets*

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by vinnycactus
    *crickets*
    Haahhahaha
    I think they are scared of something different and actually fun

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by supercusty
    Haahhahaha
    I think they are scared of something different and actually fun
    If you notice mtnbiker69's response, it only mentions mileage and grant numbers. honestly, big deal. i'm hoping that the powers that be may embrace outside the box thinking for once.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by vinnycactus
    If you notice mtnbiker69's response, it only mentions mileage and grant numbers. honestly, big deal. i'm hoping that the powers that be may embrace outside the box thinking for once.
    Hey Vinny:
    I personally wrote both of those grants so to me it is a "big deal". I also think the mountain biking community at large will enjoy a 30 mile singletrack trail system. The best part is that we are in a state park so the trails will be just about as "permanent" as possible. The Itusi Trail has also opened up dialog at other state parks throughout the state so there may be even more opportunities in the future.

    Honestly, the state park system will never allow much in the way of stunts or downhill runs. That just doesn't fit with their priorities. I would suspect most of that type of trail would almost have to be built on private property? Can't imagine there are too many public land managers willing to take on the liabilities? Maybe that is why they can be a good fit with ski areas?

    Anyway, we have broken ground for the next 12 miles and will be hosting the IMBA Trail Care Crew November 18-21. Should be a great time! Hope to see ya'll there.

  19. #19
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    Edited b/c its not worth it.....

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by First Flight
    Hey Vinny:
    I personally wrote both of those grants so to me it is a "big deal". I also think the mountain biking community at large will enjoy a 30 mile singletrack trail system. The best part is that we are in a state park so the trails will be just about as "permanent" as possible. The Itusi Trail has also opened up dialog at other state parks throughout the state so there may be even more opportunities in the future.

    Honestly, the state park system will never allow much in the way of stunts or downhill runs. That just doesn't fit with their priorities. I would suspect most of that type of trail would almost have to be built on private property? Can't imagine there are too many public land managers willing to take on the liabilities? Maybe that is why they can be a good fit with ski areas?

    Anyway, we have broken ground for the next 12 miles and will be hosting the IMBA Trail Care Crew November 18-21. Should be a great time! Hope to see ya'll there.
    I understand, but I'm not quite sure what mtnbiker69's comment regarding the grants and lknm had to do with the question I asked. The Uwharrie "project" was always openly billed as an IMBA Ride Center. Ride centers by definition embrace all aspects of riding, not just those who ride xc/trail.

    So again I ask, will there be opportunities to build shuttleable dh and/or free trails or features.

  21. #21
    CrgCrkRyder
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    OK, so now I'm a little confused. First Flight mentioned the 30 miles of singletrack in a state park. I thought it was in Uwharrie National Forest - or is it some of both?

  22. #22
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    CCR:
    mtbiker69's post about mileage & grant $$ at LKNM was in response to my post about riding down there and how sweet it is - I got a bit off topic b/c he posted about maybe being involved at UWH & I was excited b/c he's involved at LKNM and I love riding there. Confused yet?

    Lake Norman is a State Park; Uwharrie is a National Forrest.

    Sorry for the hijack.

  23. #23
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    Thanks gsomtb, yea I missed the turn sign to Lake Norman. I'm always looking for places to ride that aren' too far away and may be a bit warmer in the winter. I have a sister in Charlotte so Uwharrie, Lake Norman, and the Wilkesboro trails would give me another reason to give her a visit. I'm guessing the IMBA rider center although located in Uwharrie would promote trails and riding throughout the region, which would have to be good.

  24. #24
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    No offense to anyone, but building a trail like Lake Norman on the terrain Uwharrie has to offer, would be a waste.

  25. #25
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    SORBA-Woodstock Diggin' dirt since 1999.

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