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  1. #1
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    Pisgah Trails Plan

    I didn't attend the meeting last night, but since this hasn't been posted here yet, I figured I'd pass it along. Various proposals are in here, some specifically affect mtb use. Some entirely new trails. Some substantial reroutes. Some closures. Looks like overall a net gain in mileage, since most reroutes are longer than the sections closed, as well as the outright addition of several miles of new trail. Summary descriptions here:

    https://www.fs.usda.gov/nfs/11558/ww...T3_4278332.pdf

    Maps showing the changes, as well as the comment form are here:

    https://cara.ecosystem-management.or...?project=53329

    My comments centered on maintaining the Pisgah character on rerouted trails. Like replacing a technical, eroded, unsustainable trail with a technical, rugged, more sustainable trail. No reduction in difficulty, for example. Also not pleased about the proposal to lose even seasonal access to some trails, like North Slope.

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    Yeah I saw the PAS guys up on Black Mtn this past weekend getting started. Took a nice photo of the work too...

    Pisgah Trails Plan-pavingfiler.jpg


    haha... sorry I had too.
    On your left!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Banjopickin View Post
    Yeah I saw the PAS guys up on Black Mtn this past weekend getting started. Took a nice photo of the work too...

    Click image for larger version. 

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    haha... sorry I had too.
    Ha!

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    Thanks for the info OP...thanks for the laugh banjo..

    Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk

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    Maps are really cool to check out - love that they have them.

    I was under the impression original alignment of Middle Black was to get maintained for an optional rowdy descent, but a lot of traffic moving off of it to the new alignment. New alignment looks like a damn contour follower. #keepthesteeps

    Absolutely LOVE the idea of the 2400 trail. Man that is a need if there is one. Get us off the roads.

    Reroute of Bennett has me very cautious. As long as they stay up on the ridge, should still be great. But would prefer the hikers to move down off the ridge, not the bikes. We'll see.

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    Curious, what's Project 18 on map 6?

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    Project 18...

    Quote Originally Posted by Pisgah View Post
    Curious, what's Project 18 on map 6?
    ...is shown on Map 8, and is detailed in text on page 10 of the scoping letter. Basically improvements to the Brevard water supply by eliminating all camping along Cathey's Creek Road (FS471) and stabilizing the road near Brevard's water intake dam.

    TZ
    Geriatric mountain biker and trail maintainer... ...with digital braking!

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    Quote Originally Posted by TrailZen View Post
    ...is shown on Map 8, and is detailed in text on page 10 of the scoping letter. Basically improvements to the Brevard water supply by eliminating all camping along Cathey's Creek Road (FS471) and stabilizing the road near Brevard's water intake dam.

    TZ
    Yeah, nasty campers crapping too close to the water, which sends runoff into Brevard's water supply. Yummy.

    FS should probably require people using any roadside campsites to have a toilet so they can pack it out and dispose of their waste better. A Luggable Loo and some contractor bags, at minimum. I used one of the roadside sites along Avery Creek Rd. about 15yrs ago, and the TP in the woods around the campsite was nasty. Made my skin crawl. And this campsite was one of the closer ones to the creek.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lithified View Post

    Middle Black was to get maintained for an optional rowdy descent, but a lot of traffic moving off of it to the new alignment. New alignment looks like a damn contour follower. #keepthesteeps
    Looks like the same thing is being done to Butter Gap.

  10. #10
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    Is that Upper and Middle Black stuff in the works? That looks like a serious change. Butter too. Not surprised though as they were all pretty blown out. I also like the change to allow Butter to be year round. Joel Branch connector would be cool for getting to Bracken too, pretty sure that's already poached in conjunction with Art Loeb anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Acme54321 View Post
    ... Joel Branch connector would be cool for getting to Bracken too, pretty sure that's already poached in conjunction with Art Loeb anyway.
    What do you mean by "poached"? I'm very interested in this option, cause I can get to Joel Branch from my house without using any roads.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RDO View Post
    What do you mean by "poached"? I'm very interested in this option, cause I can get to Joel Branch from my house without using any roads.
    Ride up Joel Branch and then punch up to the ridge and take Art Loeb the rest of the way. I guess if you carry your bike down Art Loeb it's not poaching. Strava Heatmap ..... I don't live there but if I did I can't say I wouldn't explore the option.

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    This is an ambitious plan and frankly, my jaw hit the floor when I started going through it. I can't imagine where they're suddenly getting the money for all this when they haven't 'till this point been able to maintain the trails we already have, although it does say in there "funding sources are available". Very strange.

    Aside from that open question, I'm still digesting some of the changes they're proposing. Some of the ideas are fantastic, like the Laurel<-->Big Creek connector, but we already knew about that, and the Big Creek<-->Middle Fork connector, which is new to me. In some cases, re-routes are definitely needed but the proposals are rather drastic, like re-locating a long section of trail to the other side of a mountain rather than moving it up or down slope to a more sustainable location. That makes a huge change in the overall character of some trails.

    I know the maps are probably rough sketches, but dang. I'm glad the comment period is open until the end of the month, because this one is going to take some thinking.

  14. #14
    RDO
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    Quote Originally Posted by Acme54321 View Post
    Ride up Joel Branch and then punch up to the ridge and take Art Loeb the rest of the way. I guess if you carry your bike down Art Loeb it's not poaching. Strava Heatmap ..... I don't live there but if I did I can't say I wouldn't explore the option.
    I'd thought of walking my bike on Art Loeb. Not sure how that would have gone over though. I know in most cities where it's illegal to ride on the sidewalk, walking the bike is okay.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbwnc View Post
    This is an ambitious plan and frankly, my jaw hit the floor when I started going through it. I can't imagine where they're suddenly getting the money for all this when they haven't 'till this point been able to maintain the trails we already have, although it does say in there "funding sources are available". Very strange.
    I think they're relying on Pisgah SORBA and other groups to raise the funds for the projects, along with volunteer efforts, at least that's my understanding and vaguely what the document states. I don't think it's coming out of the USFS budget.

    It still seems ambitious, though, and timelines aren't really clear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RDO View Post
    I'd thought of walking my bike on Art Loeb. Not sure how that would have gone over though. I know in most cities where it's illegal to ride on the sidewalk, walking the bike is okay.
    Ya YMMV on that one depending on who you talk to. Last year we rode Pilot from the Parkway and we walked our bikes along the MST to get to bike legal terrain (I promise we actually did walk that whole way, lol). We passed a MST volunteer and he was really nice and we chatted for a while about the history of that area. No problems.

  17. #17
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    I've done that a couple of times but we actually carried the bikes just to make sure. A Parkway to Ranger Station shuttle on Pilot and Black Mountain is a good time. Just saying.

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    LOL, this plan drew the attention of Mike Vandeman, all the way from California with his craziness:

    https://cara.ecosystem-management.or...&project=53329

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adodero View Post
    LOL, this plan drew the attention of Mike Vandeman, all the way from California with his craziness:

    https://cara.ecosystem-management.or...&project=53329
    Thanks to Mike for linking to the Loam Factory video. I had not seen it and its awesome...

    And I am glad he put his address on that memo. I have a gift card for HERE I have been meaning to use...
    On your left!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Banjopickin View Post
    And I am glad he put his address on that memo. I have a gift card for HERE I have been meaning to use...
    there are oh-so-many more similar sorts of options one could have fun with.

    I have been playing with www.bobcatinabox.com with a friend, and it's pretty customizable. Could totally set it up to send him shit-tons of stuff with mtb's on it.

    There should be a system in place for any sort of "letter to the editor" or public comments that automatically links his comments to his criminal record. That way, when his comments appear online, in print, or to public officials, they also see his mugshot and how he was convicted of attacking mountain bikers with a saw.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    That way, when his comments appear online, in print, or to public officials, they also see his mugshot and how he was convicted of attacking mountain bikers with a saw.
    I don't think he was convicted, he was charged but acquitted IIRC.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adodero View Post
    I don't think he was convicted, he was charged but acquitted IIRC.
    Not quite. Looks like the record was "expunged" but he was definitely convicted, though some charges were dropped.

    http://forums.mtbr.com/california-no...an-973410.html

    It is difficult to find information about that conviction, honestly. I found a scan of a print article on a Google Images search that gives info.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=mike...30fZuM1oAZ6KM:

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    Not quite. Looks like the record was "expunged" but he was definitely convicted, though some charges were dropped.

    http://forums.mtbr.com/california-no...an-973410.html

    It is difficult to find information about that conviction, honestly. I found a scan of a print article on a Google Images search that gives info.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=mike...30fZuM1oAZ6KM:
    Interesting, I was wrong then, glad to hear it in this case.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adodero View Post
    LOL, this plan drew the attention of Mike Vandeman, all the way from California with his craziness:

    https://cara.ecosystem-management.or...&project=53329
    Spotlight this clown as an example of Wilderness Coalition membership.

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    Comments Submitted to FS

    FWIW, here's what I sent to the Forest Service. Believe it or not, 30 days isn't much time to think about/comment on a project this big...

    Pisgah Ranger District Recreation Project 2018 Comments

    Project 1 (Big Laurel Connector Trail)

    This is a fantastic idea from a recreational standpoint which greatly enhances the usability of the trail network in the N. Mills RIver area. I am strongly in favor of this project.

    Project 2 (Big Creek Connector Trail)

    This is a fantastic idea from a recreational standpoint which greatly enhances the usability of the trail network in the N. Mills River area. I am strongly in favor of this project.

    Regarding projects 1 and 2, I would suggest unique official names for the new trails that do not include “Big”, “Laurel”, “Creek”, or “Connector” in them! There are already many trails and landmarks in the immediate vicinity with those name components and these “connector” naming situations sometimes become quite confusing. Naming Project #2 as a continuation of the Middle Fork trail might make sense in lieu of giving it a new, unique name. Project #1 could have a unique name based on a landmark along the trail - “Good Enough” or “Turkey Spring” come to mind, depending on where the trail is ultimately placed, since they’re unique nearby USGS placenames not already used on other trails.

    Project 3 (“2400 Connector” Trail)

    I am generally in favor of this project. The goal of creating an off-highway connection between the listed trails is a good one, and from FS 5061 west I think the proposal is on-target.

    However, I have some major reservations about the proposal east of FS 5061 I’d like to express.

    First is the location the map seems to indicate this trail connects back to US 276 (the pull-off at the sign & split-rail fence about 0.4 mi west of the NC 280 junction in Brevard). If this is correct, and unless there is a solid plan to also provide access (bike lane, shoulder, greenway, etc) along US 276 to that trailhead from the forest boundary, this has the potential to increase use of that stretch of US 276 for those wishing to access the trail from town, on a straight section of the highway where vehicles attain high speeds, when the stated goal is to *reduce* the need for trail users to travel along US 276.

    Next, I’m concerned that this connection to US 276 needlessly duplicates the existing (and wonderful) Eastatoe trail (as stated, to provide forest access back toward the Brevard area), but very poorly (since it doesn’t actually connect all the way to town and prevent the need to travel on US 276 the way Eastatoe does). It reaches close enough that people would be tempted to use it instead of Eastatoe, but they’d still have to use Hwy. 276 for that 0.4 mi stretch to reach the trailhead. It really must reach all the way to the forest boundary to fulfill the stated goals.

    If it cannot reach all the way to the boundary, I suggest it stop at Sycamore Cove. If the leg of 2400 Connector from the east side of Sycamore Cove down to US 276 was *not* built, that would encourage users to come into the National Forest via the existing, easily-maintainable Eastatoe trail. In addition to taking people off 276, that trail provides a better user experience (since it’s across the river from traffic on 276, in a more scenic, quieter environment).

    In this scenario, the portion of the 2400 connector trail between the two ends of Sycamore Cove could still be constructed as proposed (perhaps to become part of Sycamore Cove trail, turning it into a loop). The existing eastern leg of Sycamore Cove trail that connects to 276 (beside the creek) could be decommissioned as proposed. Then, trail users could connect to the proposed new 2400 connector trail from Brevard via Eastatoe, the scenic steel arch bridge over the Davidson River (a significant prior infrastructure investment), and the western leg of Sycamore Cove.

    This would create just one main crossing of US 276 for trail users north of the steel bridge (over to the western end of Sycamore Cove, which could easily be re-aligned with the bridge) and prevent the need for users to walk or ride along US 276 at all to get into the forest from Brevard. It would also still provide the connectivity to the other trails (Black Mtn., Thrift, etc) as proposed, eliminate the stream-side eastern leg of Sycamore Cove as proposed, and reduce the overall mileage of new trail construction (and ongoing maintenance) required.

    This would also eliminate potential parking issues at the small pull-off on US 276. The 2400 connector proposal as stated (connecting directly to US 276) would likely result in parking headaches at the small US 276 trailhead unless that is also expanded. Visitors exploring the forest looking for a place to hike often do so without pre-planning, and simply stop where they see trail signs and other cars parked - and this would be their first opportunity to do so. I do not see potential parking issues or enhancements mentioned in the proposal.

    I would also suggest adding the western leg of Sycamore Cove (from US 276 to Starens Branch tr. or the new 2400 connector) to the “Heavy Maintenance” list. It is in dire condition, including the ancient rotting log bridge over the stream and the heavily eroded stretch of trail next to the stream just beyond it.

    Finally, it is not clear how the new 2400 Connector trail would interact (or not) with the eastern end of the Starens Branch trail west of Sycamore Cove. I’d be interested in seeing a detail map of that area for this proposal. I suspect they would share paths, but if so, that section of Starens Branch would need some heavy maintenance as well. Perhaps the Sycamore Cove trail could share a better new bridge over the stream with the 2400 connector trail.

    Project 4 (Black Mtn. Tr. Re-route)

    I am generally in favor of this project as I have seen first-hand how dire the condition of segments of this trail are in. The route remains in the same general vicinity as the old trail (back and forth across the ridge’s southerly aspects), taking users through a similar surrounding environment as the old trail, which is good.

    However, it is not clear from the map how the Turkey Pen Gap trail would then connect to Black Mtn. - I would like to see a detail of that area’s proposal. (It seems like north toward the summit of Black Mountain would be the most reasonable route, and that portion is not so eroded, but it is “oranged out” on the map as if to be decommissioned).

    This proposal also doesn’t appear to bypass the lowermost portion of middle Black Mtn. tr. before it connects with Thrift Cove. That section is short, but it is not the most maintainable stretch of trail and should be considered for adding to the re-route.

    Project 5 (Butter Gap Trail Connector)

    I am in favor of this project. Great idea, and the potential to enhance the user experience of the trail system in this beautiful portion of the forest with more quality miles of trail with loop options.

    Project 6 (Butter Gap Trail Re-Route)

    I am in favor of the southern portion of this re-route near Butter Gap itself, and the re-route at the end of Long Branch trail. This should provide more quality miles of trail and a better user experience in that area while reducing erosion and sedimentation issues.

    However, I have serious reservations about the proposed extension/re-route near the Cat Gap end of the trail.

    First, while I agree that there are erosion issues along Cat Gap up to Cedar Rock Creek Falls from the Fish Hatchery that need to be addressed, the proposal doesn’t even eliminate that by keeping the Cat Gap trail open (to hiking).

    Next, access to Cedar Rock Creek Falls and Butter Gap’s path through the beautiful, open Picklesimer Fields area are classic landmarks for mountain bikers in this portion of the forest. Re-routing Butter Gap all the way over to the north side of the ridge onto what looks like an old road bed is a dramatic change, which would result in more trail to maintain, and a wildly altered user experience in this section of the forest.

    What I would suggest instead is to simply build a single, mixed-use re-route of the eroding stretch of the Cat Gap trail. It could, for example, begin as proposed near the footbridge over Cedar Rock Creek and proceed west on the north side of that low ridge along the old road. But instead of going all the way around the ridge, it could go south (beginning somewhere near the “r” in the words “re-route” on the proposal map) on a sidehill trail heading back toward the existing Cat Gap/Butter Gap junction at the rock slab above the falls and away from the stream and the eroded portion of Cat Gap trail. (See project 6 map I’ve marked up, attached).

    Pisgah Trails Plan-alt-proposal-project-6.jpg

    This (example) re-route would be far enough away from the stream and on such a level course that a properly built trail would eliminate any sedimentation issues. And since they would still have access to the rock slab area, that would allow mountain bikers to access the waterfall (via a very short side-hike) and ride through Picklesimer Fields - scenic landmarks of Pisgah mountain biking accessible to less experienced riders for decades.

    Additionally, the eroding stretch of Cat Gap from near the footbridge up to the rock slab which is proposed to become hiking-only should simply be closed to all users in favor of the re-route, eliminating the sedimentation issues entirely. This would allow all users to access the landmarks in this part of the forest we’ve come to love and completely eliminate the sedimentation issues that are a concern, while reducing the number of trail miles needing ongoing maintenance overall.

    As far as the proposed name - “Butter Gap Connector” - I suggest we don’t need another “connector” trail. Why not give it a proper name! (The alternative re-route I suggest above could simply remain part of Cat Gap Loop, however, and it would still make sense).

    The short re-route of Butter Gap trail northwest of Picklesimer Fields is a good idea and I support that.

    Project 7 (Long Branch Re-Route)

    This is a good idea and I support it.

    Project 8 (Cantrell Creek Re-Route)

    While I agree that the current upper end of the Cantrell Creek trail alignment is a disaster (“Hell’s Canyon”, a friend calls it) affecting the health of the stream, the proposed re-route is an absolutely drastic measure, flipping the user experience 180 degrees from a stream-side wet trail to a ridgeline dry trail. It’s more of a brand-new trail than a re-route.

    However, if the worst (upper) part of Cantrell Creek were simply decommissioned, users wishing to complete a loop in this general area could potentially just use the portion of Squirrel Gap trail west of the upper part of Cantrell Creek and connect back to the middle of Cantrell Creek via Horse Cove Gap trail, for a similar cove-environment trail experience on a much better alignment, which is what many do anyway. Thus, while the new trail on the ridge might be a welcome addition to the trail system for those who just want more trail mileage (to maintain), I think it does nothing to replace the upper part of Cantrell Creek. It should be a lower priority in relation to other projects in this proposal even if the upper portion of Cantrell Creek is decommissioned as proposed long before it is built. I would support that.

    It also appears the proposed new trail route simply follows the ridgeline straight down. Ridgeline trails in that area tend to be severely eroded (think Black Mtn. and Trace Ridge), so I’m not certain that’s the best path unless extreme care is taken to bring it down the ridge properly (back and forth across the ridge face, for example, or looping into the adjacent cove to the east).

    In fact, unless there is some outstanding natural feature along that ridge I’m not aware of that this proposal is trying to provide access to, a switchbacked, sidehill path down the west slope of Laurel Mountain in that vicinity, perhaps with a run over the summit first, and ending at a point near the bottom of Horse Cove trail, might make more sense in context with the existing trail network and be more maintainable in the long run.

    But proper maintenance of existing trails in that area rather than a long new one is a better use of limited funding and manpower when it comes down to it.

    Project 9 (Horse Cove - Joel Branch Connector)

    Fantastic idea. I support it!

    Project 10 (Re-route a portion of Bennett Gap Trail)

    This is a good idea and I support it, especially if the re-route could be built to include some technical trail features that would appeal to mountain bikes (rocks, bridges, switchbacks, etc). Coontree Loop is not an especially popular trail for cross-country mountain biking since it doesn’t go anywhere at the bottom, so I agree that it could probably be changed to hiking only without too much impact. However, unless there are serious documented cases of trail user conflict (this is used as a shuttle trail, so there may be), I would be in favor of leaving it as-is, especially since some of my other comments are against new mileage of bike-accessible trail elsewhere in the forest.

    Project 11 (Change North Slope to Hike Only)

    North Slope is an example of a classic Pisgah mountain bike trail. It is just long enough to be a nice addition to other rides (or short destination ride), it’s in an easily accessible location, it’s scenic, and it has some unique features that make it a lot of fun for mountain bikers. It would be a real loss to that user base. The other proposed trail construction projects referenced simply don’t make up in character for what would be lost on this one.

    Speaking personally, when hiking North Slope, I’ve never had an issue with a mountain biker, nor do I frequently encounter any other trail users (hikers or bikers) at all in the cool season when it’s open to bikes other than perhaps the portion nearest the campground and river. Since this is a trail on which you must “earn your turns” (it is not car-shuttled by mountain bikers like, for example, Bennett Gap, Coontree, or Butter Gap is), mountain bikers on this trail tend to have lighter bikes and not ride as aggressively as those who are only there to blast downhill.

    Thus, unless there is some severe and documented user conflict problem on North Slope I’m not aware of, I am opposed to removing the seasonal access for bikes to this trail.

    Projects 12 - 19

    I support all of these projects as proposed.

    Additional Suggestion

    I would also like to suggest an additional change to the trail network that would represent a significant improvement but requires almost no work on the ground: a slight re-naming. I suggest re-naming the entire loop of trail southwest of Slate Rock/Forked Ridge in Pilot cove, consisting of the current Pilot Cove Loop and a portion of the Pilot Cove/Slate Rock trail, to Pilot Cove Loop Trail. The remaining portion of Pilot Cove/Slate Rock trail northeast of the ridge should simply be called Slate Rock or Slate Rock Creek Trail.

    The current names are confusing. The “Pilot Cove Loop” trail is not a loop and it’s not really in Pilot Cove - it’s on a ridge. The Pilot Cove/Slate Rock name is redundant and easily confused with the “Loop” trail and/or Pilot Rock trail. This whole thing is very hard to explain to people who have not been on these trails before.

    This re-naming would not only reduce confusion caused by the current naming scheme but it would reflect the names people already tend to use on the ground. Moreover, it would be a “backwards compatible” change: anyone still using the old Pilot Cove/Slate Rock name would be referring to two separate trails, and basically still be correct.

    General Comments

    I am very excited by the prospect of these sorts of trail improvements Pisgah to finally come to fruition. The Pisgah Ranger District has been in need of such a project for a long time. I am optimistic that these projects, if implemented, could have a tremendous benefit to the Pisgah trail system overall. But it must be said that this is a highly ambitious set of projects, and the public has had very little time to digest what’s being proposed and make comments like these.

    I’m greatly concerned by some of the specific proposals. While I believe they could cause too large of an impact as written, with some slight modifications many of these projects would end up having the desired benefits without such a disproportionate impact on certain users.

    I’m concerned that the unusual approach of proposing so much work all at once could strain the limited resources available to the agency and its partners. It is not made clear where the funding for this extraordinary spate of trail construction is coming from (other than “the majority of these projects also have realistic funding sources available in the near future”). That's promising language, but not very specific - I wish this proposal went into more detail about what this means, and funding needs for each individual project. And not only that, additional funding is still listed as a “Need” in the proposal document, leading to further skepticism about whether resources are really there.

    While new trail construction is appreciated, the reality is that the Pisgah District has had tremendous difficulty maintaining the trail network that already exists. Some of these proposals are not new, and have been bandied about for years - only to be delayed again and again. All in all, I am concerned that the idea that funding is secured may be wishful thinking.

    A net increase of trail mileage sounds like a win to many trial users, but I think the “quality over quantity” adage applies well here. These new trails and all the others which are not included in this proposal need to be maintained better than they have been. With political realities, I hope the agency has given a lot of thought as to how this can be realistically accomplished in the long term, and I sincerely hope some of my proposals that reduce the number of new trail miles while still preserving the stated goals of these projects are taken seriously.

    I also hope there is an opportunity to be involved in any further discussions on a project-by-project basis before they are fully decided upon and implemented. I would also like to gain some insight into the discussions happening with various other stakeholders before more specific proposals are made and implemented.

    Sincerely,
    [mtbwnc]

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    Quote Originally Posted by Acme54321 View Post
    Ride up Joel Branch and then punch up to the ridge and take Art Loeb the rest of the way. .
    You don't have to poach, (or take the long walk on), Art Lobe to connect Joel Branch with FS475C, the road that connects Bracken to the fish hatchery. Just ride to the absolute very end of Joel Branch, (a little grown up the last few hundred yards), and if you are comfortable with trail reading you will find a path on the north-west side that will take you to 475C. This ain't for people uncomfortable with way finding, but it has been flagged in the past a few times and shows usage but it does it go up and can be grown over in the summer. A guess would be that the powers that be will use this as a starting point for the proposed connector.

    Poaching is bad, don't do it, we have an abundance of trails open to biking.

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    OT: speaking of poaching, my Pisgah map (purchased this year?) shows Butter Gap, (one leg each of) Coontree and Pink Beds as seasonal trails...a rider who used to work for the forest service claimed the seasonal designation of these trails were lifted last year. Is this indeed the case?

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    I didn't think Butter was ever seasonal, just Cat Gap. Is that incorrect?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adodero View Post
    I didn't think Butter was ever seasonal, just Cat Gap. Is that incorrect?
    Sorry, I'm mistaken; you're correct, Cat Gap, not Butter.

    Was this ex-FS employee correct to state that Cat Gap, Coontree and Pink Beds (the bikeable legs) are no longer seasonal, but open to bikers year-round?

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    Quote Originally Posted by VegasSingleSpeed View Post
    Sorry, I'm mistaken; you're correct, Cat Gap, not Butter.

    Was this ex-FS employee correct to state that Cat Gap, Coontree and Pink Beds (the bikeable legs) are no longer seasonal, but open to bikers year-round?
    Cat is seasonal from the Butter intersection to the Hatchery.

    Coontree and Pink beds are still Seasonal as well last I heard. The only trail that I know that lost its Seasonal designation was Bennet Gap and that is open year round to bikes.
    On your left!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Banjopickin View Post
    Cat is seasonal from the Butter intersection to the Hatchery.

    Coontree and Pink beds are still Seasonal as well last I heard. The only trail that I know that lost its Seasonal designation was Bennet Gap and that is open year round to bikes.
    This was my understanding, too.

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    I find it highly unlikely that Pink Beds or Cat Gap are no longer seasonal, especially considering the latter is on the docket to be closed to bikes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbwnc View Post
    This is an ambitious plan and frankly, my jaw hit the floor when I started going through it. I can't imagine where they're suddenly getting the money for all this when they haven't 'till this point been able to maintain the trails we already have, although it does say in there "funding sources are available". Very strange.
    Currently publicly shared information shows they plan on spending around 3 mil over the next few years on trails in NC.

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    The Forest Service has comments submitted up in the "Reading Room" on their web site:

    https://cara.ecosystem-management.or...eLastFirst-asc

    Reading through these, some threads of consensus do seem to emerge:

    * For the Mills River area connectors
    * For the 2400 connector in some form or another
    * but with parking concerns at the east end
    * and a redundant entrance trail with the greenway/Estatoe
    * For the Black Mountain re-route, with caveats
    * and the idea that the re-routed portion remain open ?!
    * Against closing Coontree and North Slope to bikes (but the few who want North Slope closed *really* want it closed)

    Overall, for the other projects, it's more of a mixed bag of pro/con. Non-bike users and the Forest Service itself seem to be increasingly "allergic" to multi-use trails, which is really puzzling. I think we need more of them; bikers seem to be pushing (via SORBA) for bike-only trails as a result. Why Cat Gap behind the wildlife center, for example, can't be safely used by both hikers and mountain bikes is beyond me. Several folks (a la C.M.C) are concerned that increased bike use of the forest overall leads to increased poaching on "hike-only" trails. (If that's a concern that the Forest Service buys, then us bikers only have ourselves to blame for that one).

    Anyone else have any thoughts? This is such an enormous project I'm surprised it's not getting more attention. The more I've been thinking about it, the more I wish they'd present these as more of a master plan, and then bite off each project one-at-a-time for more feedback (and then involving volunteers during construction).

    I also get the sense that there is some behind-the-scenes lobbying involved. I see the CMC, PAS, and the horse clubs submitted comments but does anyone have insight on what other larger groups or businesses are pushing for?

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    Quote Originally Posted by motomike View Post
    Currently publicly shared information shows they plan on spending around 3 mil over the next few years on trails in NC.
    I must've missed that; any links? Insight as to where this funding is coming from? Isn't that like 6 times their entire annual budget? To say I'm skeptical would be an understatement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbwnc View Post
    I must've missed that; any links? Insight as to where this funding is coming from? Isn't that like 6 times their entire annual budget? To say I'm skeptical would be an understatement.
    https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportun...=core&_cview=1

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    Awesome, thanks. Hope some great local trail builders win contracts if/when this comes to fruition.

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    I guess that figure means these projects could be many years down the line. That's a bit concerning, because closing trails (N Slope, Upper Sycamore, Cat Gap) doesn't cost much. I'm really concerned the USFS is gonna start closing trails before the alternatives are opened up given these cost figures.

    As a side note, I was riding Butter Gap the other day and I couldn't help but notice what appeared to be some singletrack cut through the woods in parts of it (mainly the climb from the road). It appeared worn in to some degree and didn't look like drainage, what are those trails? Is there a segment of the Butter proposal that is already in place but just unauthorized?

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