Black, it's the new Thrift (lower Black opens)- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Black, it's the new Thrift (lower Black opens)



    Just finished a 276->477->Clawhammer->Black loop. Yes Black, all the way to the bottom. There was no tape at the Thrift intersection. From the look of the trail I must have been one of the first if not the first to ride it....

    After the 'experience' of pushing up and over Black and then down past Turkey Pen to Pressley Gap and then up over Hickory Knob and down Back to Thrift/Black the end of the ride was a bad surprise. Riding (and walking) all the completely unmaintained single track of Black and then finding a fckn dirt road at the bottom is just a complete shock.

    Other than the 3ft wide bridge at the bottom I could drive my GMC Yukon up to Thrift pretty easy - maybe not even need the four wheel drive. IMHO the trail is way too fast now and there's not any technical features to slow anyone down. I'm on my rigid single speed and had no need to slow down or alter my course to find a good line. The grade dips are very large too, you can get some serious air without any effort.

    Basically lower Black Mtn is no different than Thirft Cove in terms of technical features (i.e. none) and it's even faster because it's steeper. I expect over time the mud/dirt surface will erode and expose some rocks to add a bit of challenge. But then where does that mud end up? In the creek of course.... I just fail to see how this is an improvement.

    I was easily hitting 20+ MPH and I wasn't pushing it at all - a cushy bike and a better rider could easily hit 30. That's just way too fast for a shared use trail.

    many gears, some pies

  2. #2
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    I'm moving out west to get away from this sh1t

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  4. #4
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    Who can we thank for Dumbing up our trails?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ridn29s


    no need to slow down or alter my course to find a good line. The grade dips are very large too, you can get some serious air without any effort.



    I was easily hitting 20+ MPH and I wasn't pushing it at all - a cushy bike and a better rider could easily hit 30.

    sounds like fun

  6. #6
    zod
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    I'm selling my mountain bike and buying a beach cruiser..........

  7. #7
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    What would have been better and how much would it have cost?

    Is the work they have done not consistent with the contract?

    I just can't imagine that they could fix lower Black the way you want(making it fun, slower, sustainable, and green) within their budget.

    When they finally fix the erosion channel that is upper Black, people will riot .

    "Who can we thank for Dumbing up our trails?"

    Answer: You and me. There has been no consistent volunteer effort to maintain Black Mountain trail(and most others). I haven't taken the initiative to form a group, deal with the politics and the griping and the apathy, and nobody else has, either. If the FS was happy with the trail's condition, it wouldn't have been chosen for this work. So, instead of small amounts of work being done continually, one big, ugly blitz has been done on it this time.

    Moto, this is NOT an attack on you or anyone, but your question raises an important point.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by D.F.L.
    What would have been better and how much would it have cost?
    Fix the parts that were 'broken', by hand, keeping in mind the nature of the trail.

    Is the work they have done not consistent with the contract?
    I never said it wasn't done per the contract, there's a lot of commentary in other threads about how f'd the contract was.

    I just can't imagine that they could fix lower Black the way you want(making it fun, slower, sustainable, and green) within their budget.
    Materials: Use rocks and not mud
    Method: Use hands and not machines
    Sustainable: f'get it, it rains cats and dogs in Pisgah and mother nature can wipe out the most sustainable trail in minutes - why fool ourselves there's such a thing in a rainforest. Sustainable is rocks, that's about the only thing that marginally stays where you put it.

    When they finally fix the erosion channel that is upper Black, people will riot.
    doubtful, there's no point, and they can't fix it right anyway 'cause nobody is going to haul all the rocks it would take to fill channel.

    "Who can we thank for Dumbing up our trails?"

    Answer: You and me. There has been no consistent volunteer effort to maintain Black Mountain trail(and most others). I haven't taken the initiative to form a group, deal with the politics and the griping and the apathy, and nobody else has, either. If the FS was happy with the trail's condition, it wouldn't have been chosen for this work. So, instead of small amounts of work being done continually, one big, ugly blitz has been done on it this time.

    Moto, this is NOT an attack on you or anyone, but your question raises an important point.
    I've been hiking Black for well over two decades and riding it for about four years. In all that time it changed quite little. Very gradual and rather imperceptable really. A big fix will get undone in a big way very fast - just a law of nature IMHO. I didn't think it needed much fixing to begin with. There are MANY MANY more trails out there that could use the $$$ spent in one giant 'kill shot' on Black. And I don't think it was a matter of the FS thinking Black was most in need of fixing - they had a pile of money and they spent it in the easiest way.
    many gears, some pies

  9. #9
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    i will miss the old trail... i think i was one of the last to ride it before they taped it... i had ridden it one afternoon and the next morning they had taped it at the bridge then a day or two after that at where black creek goes to thrift...

    anyway... i really liked the way it had berms on both sides... you could really get some speed... and the little hip jump off that rock outcrop... oh well... it was one of my favorite sections in PNF...

    but getting some nice air is also good...
    Last edited by dog; 08-14-2010 at 03:58 PM.
    i need to develop my crashing skills...

  10. #10
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    It's too expensive for the FS to fix things the way the majority of bikers would like. It's never going to happen.

    It's past time for a regular work group down here at Davidson River. I had hoped to spearhead that a while back, but decided that the grief made it not worth it. But that's me and I do not like to lead people.

    Upper Black would be the perfect trail to adopt and use to demonstrate to the FS what a small, dedicated group could do to maintain a problem trail. In my 5 years here, Black has really degraded.

  11. #11
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    Question, is the same trail company that reworked lower black mtn also slated to rework squirrel? Please, I hope not.
    A bunch of my ride pics: http://uberfarm.com/mnf

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ridn29s
    ...Sustainable: f'get it, it rains cats and dogs in Pisgah and mother nature can wipe out the most sustainable trail in minutes - why fool ourselves there's such a thing in a rainforest...


    ...I've been hiking Black for well over two decades and riding it for about four years. In all that time it changed quite little. Very gradual and rather imperceptable really...
    Ridn29s, this pair of statements within a single post by you appear to be in conflict. If Black Mountain Trail has "...changed quite little..." in the past twenty years, its design must have included some of the guidelines for sustainability. However, I side with D.F.L in his ..."Black has really degraded...." comment, and feel that Black Mountain Trail and many other trails on the District need work. I'm NOT saying I like the work that was just done on lower Black, but laisse faire is not an appropriate trail management plan. As D.F.L points out, a regular MTB trail crew in the Davidson River area of the District is long over-due...

    TZ
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  13. #13
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    A local PAS group will still only be able to work on the trails adopted by Sorba. On top of regular work days we need to volunteer with the many hiker groups In charge of the other 100 trails in Pisgah we enjoy and need plenty of work, not cosmetic stick stacking and waterbar building.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrailZen
    Ridn29s, this pair of statements within a single post by you appear to be in conflict. If Black Mountain Trail has "...changed quite little..." in the past twenty years, its design must have included some of the guidelines for sustainability. However, I side with D.F.L in his ..."Black has really degraded...." comment, and feel that Black Mountain Trail and many other trails on the District need work. I'm NOT saying I like the work that was just done on lower Black, but laisse faire is not an appropriate trail management plan. As D.F.L points out, a regular MTB trail crew in the Davidson River area of the District is long over-due...

    TZ
    "changed quite little" refers to the overall nature of the trail - all the way from buckwheat/club to the bottom, of course there are sections where you see the trail degraded. My point, not well made, was that those sections won't benefit from the kind of work done on the bottom and in fact parts of the bottom won't benefit either. They will require many many person-hours of handwork to improve.

    do trails need work? YES
    do they really need the kind of work just completed on Black? NO!

    From Buckwheat to Black Mtn evolved for many many years, slowly as a foot trail. I doubt anyone did anything specifically sustainable to create it other than walk the path. The part up the creek and then ridge to get to Black Mtn came later. Again, there are spots that would benefit from sustainable improvement - but no machine is capable of what needs to be done - brute force isn't going to overcome mother nature.

    BTW - after just two days of rain there are already several spots where the trail is rutting again just like it was before.... so really doing nothing would have been better, because now there's new mud/silt thats running into the creek. At least before it had basically rutted down to rock so the runoff of silt was less. Go check the waterbars and decide for yourself if there's more or less dirt and silt getting in the creek now.

    First do no harm and all that...
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by salmansp
    A local PAS group will still only be able to work on the trails adopted by Sorba. On top of regular work days we need to volunteer with the many hiker groups In charge of the other 100 trails in Pisgah we enjoy and need plenty of work, not cosmetic stick stacking and waterbar building.
    Good news is that I don't think this is true. From talking to the Ranger, the clubs who currently have many trails in D.R. are not capable of doing lots of back-breaking work. It was suggested that we (any group that chooses to participate) can help out doing work that needs to be done. Check with Randy.

    For instance, I, Nick, and others have gone out and done work on Black that Todd and BRA had pledged.

  16. #16
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    From what I heard @ a meeting the other day, you need to have permission from the trail sponsored group and pre-plan way in advance to fill out the appropriate paperwork. I am so down for trail days, just not Saturdays...Busy day at the office.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by D.F.L.
    I just can't imagine that they could fix lower Black the way you want(making it fun, slower, sustainable, and green) within their budget.

    .

    What needed to be fixed? I didn't see anything wrong with it in the first place.

  18. #18
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    I too think there is a real need for an active mtb work group in Pisgah. We can b*tch and moan all we like but that isn't going to get us very far. As far as I know PAS has not done any trail work on their trails in Pisgah outside of Bent Creek all year. Those of us who are willing to do some work in Pisgah need to get together and discuss our options. So, let's do it - who's in?

    Lower Black is done, what's next? Squirrel?
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by driftwood
    I too think there is a real need for an active mtb work group in Pisgah. We can b*tch and moan all we like but that isn't going to get us very far. As far as I know PAS has not done any trail work on their trails in Pisgah outside of Bent Creek all year. Those of us who are willing to do some work in Pisgah need to get together and discuss our options. So, let's do it - who's in?

    Lower Black is done, what's next? Squirrel?
    Driftwood all volunteer trail work has been halted, by USFS, not only in BC but in the Ranger district as well. Things are in motion to try and get things moving again. There are still some issues to be hashed out. Trust me PAS would love to get back to doing what we are passionate of, showing love to our trails.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by litespeedchick
    What needed to be fixed? I didn't see anything wrong with it in the first place.
    I think Ridn29s nails that one -

    "And I don't think it was a matter of the FS thinking Black was most in need of fixing - they had a pile of money and they spent it in the easiest way."

    Nothing needed to be fixed, but fixing stuff was never the point of the exercise.
    Yeah, it's strange. But oh well.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snototter
    Driftwood all volunteer trail work has been halted, by USFS, not only in BC but in the Ranger district as well. Things are in motion to try and get things moving again. There are still some issues to be hashed out. Trust me PAS would love to get back to doing what we are passionate of, showing love to our trails.
    I assume you mean all volunteer trail work by PAS has been halted. I've heard grumblings and rumors about that but not much else.... The issue of needing a Brevard area group of volunteers has come up before but nothing ever seems to come of it. I think those of us that are interested should pick a day, time and place to get together and discuss our options. ridn29s, D.F.L., salmansp, and anyone else - wanna get together for a beer sometime? [email protected]
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  22. #22
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    My understanding is any trail work(in the Ranger District) associated with mtb has been halted. I could be wrong because details are still hard to come by. Now if there are some trees down somewhere I don't think the USFS has an issue if a small group of approved folks handle that, but as far as posted and scheduled trail day, to my knowledge has been temporarily halted. I have not heard or seen any in the past 4-5 months. I make every effort to attend any and all days in Pisgah and BC.

    I agree, to a certain extent, Brevard area should be treated as a separate entity. There is a lot of stuff to do out there. PAS definitely has its limitations as do the other volunteer user groups. The need more than anything and especially in the eyes of the USFS is one voice. Lack of communication is, again from my understanding, one point of contention between MTB trail groups and the USFS. Both sides need to work on this and the good news is we are. I have high hopes for the future relationship with the USFS and mtb trail groups because this can only benefit everyone.

  23. #23
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    I thought a lot about sustainability and trail work this weekend as we took our 6 yr old for his first hike over Black Balsam Knob. The kid was literally on top of the world, loving every moment, talking about doing multi day trips.

    As I looked around, I enjoyed the moment too. I pushed thoughts of erosion and trail maintenance and all of the bickering out of my head. The Art Loeb trail on Black Balsam is one of the worst around. Far worse condition that any bike accesible trail I have been on.

    So what?

    I think that positive forward motion is halted due to excess complaining. A lot of that happens anonymously on MTBR, if you wanna complain, tell us who you are and give us plausible ideas on how to rectify the issue. I get tired of volunteering and then reading rants about how everything was done wrong and not to taste. There is a wide audience to please, everybody is gonna have to compromise.

    I hear you, and I get it. a lot of the classic trails are changing, being groomed etc, it sucks for some, makes it more accessible for others, but nothing is gonna happen by simply coming here and ranting.

    PAS is attempting to do something, things happened and those efforts have been stalled. It's life, it happens. Let's move on and work through it, part of working through it might mean waiting...... that's the government, if you wanna change that, try joining them. Who wants to go for a career in the USFS? ( I do but I'm not going back to school)

    I guess what I am saying is, use all that energy on doing something positive.

  24. #24
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    It's easier to complain on the internet than to get involved. Unfortunately in virtually every "cause" I've been involved with, those who DID get involved and made decisions are constantly derided by others who disagree with their viewpoints... it was one of the major reasons I saw many influential people step down. It is always a thankless job.
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  25. #25
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    Trail work resources:

    If you need tools PAS can supply them. If you need training PAS may be able to help with that. If your a PAS member then you can have some insurance coverage during trail work. There are people in PAS who have been working with the USFS and attending the volunteer coordination meetings. You may want to talk with them.

    If you want to do something positive then PAS is here to help you get it done. Let not forget that we are all on the same team.

  26. #26
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    Nearly every grade dip and drain on lower Black was non-functional. It's fine to like a trail the way it is, but the FS wants these things maintained, and Black needed work. When water runs down a trail for great distances, it's broken. I have not yet seen the New Black, but if the berms are gone, then I hope water gets a chance to sheet off instead of collect.

    I'm in for helping as much and for as long as I can.

  27. #27
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    [QUOTE=sjanes]

    As I looked around, I enjoyed the moment too. I pushed thoughts of erosion and trail maintenance and all of the bickering out of my head. The Art Loeb trail on Black Balsam is one of the worst around. Far worse condition that any bike accesible trail I have been on.

    Who says its not bike accesible???

  28. #28
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    This short, lower section of Black Mountain has always been a wide double track, constantly wet and carried plenty of moving water after a big storm. Frankly, I always choose Thrift/Grassy Road/Sycamore as a finish to any Black Mountain ride from the top down. While I hope this type of "improvement" doesn't happen to Squirrel Gap, or any other tight, technical single track, this section needed work. I have walked it after the work in question and it will be back to the way it was in no time at all; a simple, wet chute devoid of any challenging TTFs except for a few berms and launches. And it is used by to many day hikers to safely take advantage of those features.

    Let us use our heads and pick the right battles to fight, i.e. Squirrel Gap.
    Last edited by pisgahrider; 08-17-2010 at 09:08 AM.

  29. #29
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    I actually don't think the answer to the problems here is more trail work (gasp!). This area needs a volunteer who would be a "watchdog" for USFS activity and it's impact on recreational cycling opportunities. This person would agree to be responsible for monitoring all proposed actions, decision notices, contract proposals, etc for work that would impact mtb'ers and then respond in a polite, professional manner through established channels prior to decisions being made. Very direct experience tells me that trying to make this the responsibility of a person who is also a trail crew leader is both too much for most volunteers and a potential conflict of interest in the minds of USFS personnel.

    If anyone is interested in fulfilling this role, either TrailZen or I can probably get you started. My contact info is [email protected]. Interested parties should think of it as being a 20 or so hours/ year commitment at a minimum and should be used to reading technical government documents.

    .

  30. #30
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    The last two comments pretty much sum it up for me. I'll have to ride it myself, but seriously, whatever was done today will be totally different later. Maybe even better?

    Have to use Hickory in Bent Creek as an example.

    Glad to see so many new folks wanting to get involved!

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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by pisgahrider
    This short, lower section of Black Mountain has always been a wide double track, constantly wet and carried plenty of moving water after a big storm. Frankly, I always choose Thrift/Grassy Road/Sycamore as a finish to any Black Mountain ride from the top down. While I hope this type of "improvement" doesn't happen to Squirrel Gap, or any other tight, technical single track, this section needed work. I have walked it after the work in question and it will be back to the way it was in no time at all; a simple, wet chute devoid of any challenging TTFs except for a few berms and launches. And it is used by to many day hikers to safely take advantage of those features.

    Let us use our heads and pick the right battles to fight, i.e. Squirrel Gap.
    There's no battle here, never was one. As you mention, it was always wide double track (old logging road) but it wasn't wet everywhere just in spots. And really the biggest head scratcher is that after so many thousands of $$$ it will be right back where it was in no time except for a large amount of stirred up dirt/mud that will be in the creek. In the meantime it is a rather smooth featureless downhill with many blind corners and it takes no skill or effort to reach speeds considerably higher than before and too high for a mixed use trail that has more hikers and runners than bikers.

    You want to put America to work then pay for picks, rakes, and shovels, get some strong backs, and do it right. That machine didn't need a job

    Sadly there's no battle for Squirrel either.... I expect this is the kind of improvement it's going to get too.
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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by ridn29s

    Sadly there's no battle for Squirrel either.... I expect this is the kind of improvement it's going to get too.

    PAS has been asked by the USFS to not propagate the ugliness of the interweb masses regarding Squirrel. We're respecting that request.

    I will say, however, that every communication indicates that concerns have been heard and reasonable efforts will be made for Squirrel to remain "wild" in character. We will be doing our best to "watchdog" these verbal commitments, but, as always, the proof will be in the proverbial pudding.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Brown
    I will say, however, that every communication indicates that concerns have been heard and reasonable efforts will be made for Squirrel to remain "wild" in character. We will be doing our best to "watchdog" these verbal commitments, but, as always, the proof will be in the proverbial pudding.
    Glad to hear that, discussions are more productive than battles. I think the wild character may be a limiting factor anyway as the machine has it's own constraints that deep in the woods.
    many gears, some pies

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Brown
    PAS has been asked by the USFS to not propagate the ugliness of the interweb masses regarding Squirrel. We're respecting that request.
    .

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  35. #35
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    I got a chance to ride the new black on Saturday. I really did not think it was that bad.

  36. #36
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    I rode it Friday evening and thought it was great work, sure there's some muddy spots on the freshly cut stuff, and yeah there needs to be some finishing work to be done, but overall i had a blast.

  37. #37
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    Also hit it Friday and thought it was just like the old lower Black, but with more soil and working grade dips.

  38. #38
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    Yeah, what's all the fuss? Just rode lower Black this afternoon, it was great. With the exception that the waterbreaks have rounded lips not suitable for jumping, it was better than before IMO. They just need to hire some guys with shovels that understand catching air is a waterbreaks purpose and go reshape those lips.

  39. #39
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    somehow this ended up being considered a h8ter thread

    Plenty of folks will like the ride, even I noted how easy it is to go real fast. fast = fun

    But I'll stand by my humble opinion the trail is too fast for a mixed use trail that's one of the most popular and easily accessible walking/running trails. I remain concerned about the possible conflicts, especially in the busier times (which isn't right now). Making the trail wider and smoother encourages even more foot traffic and most of those folks don't expect to encounter a biker coming down the trail @ 25++ MPH. If there are conflicts who do you expect will lose access? Let's hope I'm wrong and Thrift doesn't become the new Black for us.
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  40. #40
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    How about posting some pictures of the "new" trail work? A pic is worth a 1000 words. I liked the lower Black Mtn trail the way it was. I've been riding in Pisgah since 1992. I hope the new attention it is receiving by the land managers doesn't sanitize the trails. Take pictures after rains, document your findings and get involved with Pisgah Area Sorba. That is your best hope. If Squirrel Gap is "improved" and widened, you can bet equestrians will be riding it's full length. Too tempting not to.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by gamtnbkr
    How about posting some pictures of the "new" trail work? A pic is worth a 1000 words. I liked the lower Black Mtn trail the way it was.
    The changes were so slight I doubt a picture would reveal any difference. The only thing you'll notice riding it are more pronounced water bars and a new bridge at the bottom.

  42. #42
    drunken pirate
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    The only thing that would show up on film as being different is the bridge.

    Like Broussard said the point of this exercise has nothing to with fixing trails.

    It is about spending money.

    The article in Blue Ridge Outdoors was very telling: the FS got some money to spend and had to spend it fast so they picked whatever trails they could, took the low ball bids and got some Recovery Act signs put up. Trail Design Specialists aren't going anywhere fast and aren't doing much (which is fine with me). It has taken them over a month to drive their machine around lower Black and Thrift Cove. Sycamore Cove will probably take another month. Seven miles of Squirrel would take them years, lol. But it doesn't really matter what they do as long as they push enough dirt around to meet the stimulus requirements everyone is happy . The BRO article is also good because it has Burgess on record saying most of Squirrel would not see a machine. Kudos to Graham Averill for doing the story and helping us save Squirrel.

    I did notice that some of the water bars above Thrift Cove on Black have been cleaned out. That is a good bit of trail work that is actually worthwhile. If it was TDS that did it good for them.
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  43. #43
    Drinker w/ Riding Problem
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    Quote Originally Posted by FatTireGoose
    The changes were so slight I doubt a picture would reveal any difference. The only thing you'll notice riding it are more pronounced water bars and a new bridge at the bottom.

    I had posted some pics on my blahg a couple of weeks back; they were still working on the trail when i rode it, and from the photos you can barely tell any change.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by driftwood
    Sycamore Cove will probably take another month. .
    !!! You're just Scyamore as an example, right??!??! They aren't going to touch Sycamore are they???

    BTW, anyone notice the changes to Grassy Road? As of 2 weeks ago, it was SUPER fast coming down from Sycamore toward Thrift, and someone had put 4 big granite rocks in the middle of the trail.

  45. #45
    drunken pirate
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    Quote Originally Posted by litespeedchick
    !!! You're just Scyamore as an example, right??!??! They aren't going to touch Sycamore are they???

    BTW, anyone notice the changes to Grassy Road? As of 2 weeks ago, it was SUPER fast coming down from Sycamore toward Thrift, and someone had put 4 big granite rocks in the middle of the trail.
    They are on Sycamore now. I guess they have 'finished' Grassy Rd. It is very soft and they have used gargoyles or choke stones or whatever they are called on Black, Thrift and Grassy... They also have built a dirt jump over a downed tree on Grassy Rd... Not at all what I like in trail work but consistent with what I have seen done by mtb based groups.
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  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by driftwood
    They are on Sycamore now.
    Ah, Jesus...I'm now weeping into my hummous plate.


    Actually, I admit when I did lower Black I didn't think it was that big of a deal, but I was never a huge lover of that trail anyway. Sycamore is like the only trail of any technical difficulty (no matter how mild) that I can actually clear all of. If I thought they were going to sanitize it, I think I'd go chain myself to a root or something.

    Are you saying the big rocks in the middle of the trail on Grassy rd. are put there on purpose by the trail crew? I thought they were put there by haters to try to kill some mountain bikers.

  47. #47
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    you should all buy rigid fixed gear bikes if you don't want anything sanitized. and don't forget to shut up.

  48. #48
    Drinker w/ Riding Problem
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    we <3 you Park

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by park baker
    you should all buy rigid fixed gear bikes if you don't want anything sanitized. and don't forget to shut up.
    Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, its good to get a good dose of wisdom every now and then, refreshing!!
    BS'ing less, riding more.

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  50. #50
    drunken pirate
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    Quote Originally Posted by park baker
    you should all buy rigid fixed gear 29er bikes if you don't want anything sanitized. and don't forget to shut up.
    fixed your post
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