Rocky Knob park in Boone, 2011 trail work- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Rocky Knob park in Boone, 2011 trail work

    From what I heard, as of Thanksgiving 2010, the Rocky Knob mountain bike park in Boone was just short of opening its first few miles of trails. Snow has been the problem holding back trail progress. Does anyone know if volunteering has started back for 2011? I'd like to get that place ROLLIN!

    Its about time Boone got some local trails that are longer than half a mile and aren't hidden on private property.
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    No workdays scheduled yet. Check rockyknob.wordpress.com for updates.

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    Progress pretty much ground to a halt when the snow began to fall. I haven't been out there since November and the trail wasn't even rough cut all the way around.

    The second phase has been contracted out to a company from SC called Benchmark trails. I have no idea what happened to Trail Dynamics. I don't know if they didn't want to bid on this part, have other obligations, or if the terrain was just too much for them. TD had a setback with some machine failure during the process, obviously not helping progress. The volunteers were amazing and nobody was waiting on them.

    Here's our local rag article: http://www2.wataugademocrat.com/stor...Park_id_004663

    Just the upper section. The journalist kinda lumped a bunch of stuff together. Note the ASU Mountaineers ad in spite of school cutbacks and rising tuition costs. Go figure.

    -Lule

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    i've had the privilege of being included on the trail crew building rocky knob and it's been a blast. the first loop, a 1.3 mile loop, is finished save for some tricky work involving building bridges over some very persistent seeps. we've been hand-splitting locust that was felled on site for these bridges and they're really something to look at.

    the loop is still officially closed but that's from as much the weather as anything. hopefully the projected thaw will allow us to get back out and finish the loop.

    when the entire project is done it will be quite the resource--everything from easy xc to black diamond dh. volunteers are always welcome.

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    Muddy!!!!!

    Went out just to walk around with my dog yesterday and the trail was muddy as could be... not only was it muddy but the trail-digger has created massive ruts in the trail from its treads. Not stoked about amount of trail that has been filled in with gravel... places that needed it don't have it and places that didn't need it have been filled in. After doing loads of trail work there, I'm bummed about the outcome thus far. Rant-over.





    Quote Originally Posted by jamatt
    i've had the privilege of being included on the trail crew building rocky knob and it's been a blast. the first loop, a 1.3 mile loop, is finished save for some tricky work involving building bridges over some very persistent seeps. we've been hand-splitting locust that was felled on site for these bridges and they're really something to look at.

    the loop is still officially closed but that's from as much the weather as anything. hopefully the projected thaw will allow us to get back out and finish the loop.

    when the entire project is done it will be quite the resource--everything from easy xc to black diamond dh. volunteers are always welcome.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by drinkwat
    Went out just to walk around with my dog yesterday and the trail was muddy as could be... not only was it muddy but the trail-digger has created massive ruts in the trail from its treads. Not stoked about amount of trail that has been filled in with gravel... places that needed it don't have it and places that didn't need it have been filled in. After doing loads of trail work there, I'm bummed about the outcome thus far. Rant-over.
    Maybe the gravel parts are making an illusion that they don't need it because they are working properly now. We had lots of large seeps on the north face of the lower knob where we had to go in an dig trenches and lay in perforated pipes and surround it with varying sizes of rocks, then gravel so that it would drain instead of being a constant muddy spot. The areas where we laid down gravel over rocks were done because it is a true beginner trail and the surface needs to be smoother than it was. That was the plan from day 1. The rest of the trails will be much different...

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    Quote Originally Posted by motomike
    Maybe the gravel parts are making an illusion that they don't need it because they are working properly now. We had lots of large seeps on the north face of the lower knob where we had to go in an dig trenches and lay in perforated pipes and surround it with varying sizes of rocks, then gravel so that it would drain instead of being a constant muddy spot. The areas where we laid down gravel over rocks were done because it is a true beginner trail and the surface needs to be smoother than it was. That was the plan from day 1. The rest of the trails will be much different...

    You just confirmed what I thought... they laid the gravel down because they want it to be beginner friendly. They might as well have just paved the trail. The long rock garden (or rocky trail) where we put the piping down was not super tech and nor where the other areas up top or by the parking lot. I understand not putting in large drop offs, elevated skinnies, or doubles on a beginner trail but putting gravel down to make it beach bike friendly makes no sense. First off, gravel is going to be equally dangerous because you get little to no traction on it on turns or when needing to stop. Secondly, its just going to be more dangerous when the beginners decide to venture up to the actual mountain bike trails and get seriously hurt because they haven't developed the skill set to handle it. At any rate I just think it sucks that what would have been a great place for beginners to progress has turned into a lets take BSO's on Boone's version of the Virginia Creeper.

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    Quote Originally Posted by drinkwat
    You just confirmed what I thought... they laid the gravel down because they want it to be beginner friendly. They might as well have just paved the trail.
    Yes, and also because we needed to address many problem spots on the trails(I'm not talking about the area by the bridges either, there are more pipes up higher on the trail as well). Its a beginner trail and it has always been that way.

  9. #9
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    Kinda off topic but, Will there be any weekend trail construction/maintenance days scheduled? I live in the Raleigh area, but vacation around Jefferson and would love to come out and help if we're around.
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    The next scheduled trail work day is April 9th.

    http://www.booneareacyclists.com/calendar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lule
    The next scheduled trail work day is April 9th.

    http://www.booneareacyclists.com/calendar
    Thanks. I'll have to keep an eye on this site.
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    You just confirmed what I thought... they laid the gravel down because they want it to be beginner friendly. They might as well have just paved the trail.
    I have stated in past posts that I am 61, will turn 62 in April and am a rank amateur in MTB. I hope to get to the Boone area this year for some trout fishing and hopefully to ride RKP. I REALLY don't need a bike trail that is 3/4 "rock climbing and cliff diving".
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lule
    The next scheduled trail work day is April 9th.

    http://www.booneareacyclists.com/calendar

    Correction: Volunteer work will begin again this Thursday March 3rd.

    I will be in town looking at what Trail Dynamics has left to do under our current contract and I plan to work with volunteers Thur. evening.

  14. #14
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    "The second phase has been contracted out to a company from SC called Benchmark trails. I have no idea what happened to Trail Dynamics. I don't know if they didn't want to bid on this part, have other obligations, or if the terrain was just too much for them. TD had a setback with some machine failure during the process, obviously not helping progress. The volunteers were amazing and nobody was waiting on them."

    Lule,

    TD still has work to do in phase 1, the second loop of the Blue rated trails. We plan to start back in early April. Winter hit and we had to pull out and we had other commitments in less snowy places (one of our crews has been in FL a lot working on a mtn bike trail on FS lands near Tally).

    Yes, we did have some machine problems but that is somewhat normal on really difficult builds. Rocky Knob is burly building and well named (lots of rock which can take its toll).

    TD did bid on phase 2 but we were under bid by BenchMark Trails out of SC. We wish them the best of luck.

    In addition to the trail construction work we have left to do, TD will also be developing the risk management plan for the parks and trails. Having such a plan is a good management step to reduce the liability the county has in providing mountain bike trails. Yes, everyone reading this knows that mountain biking is dangerous. But some folks are not willing to accept full responsibility when they get injured badly. I am under retainer for a lawsuit in IN for an accident of a novice rider who fell off of a ladder bridge.

    Volunteer work starts back up this week and I will be in town to join in on the fun.

    Woody Keen-
    President Trail Dynamics LLC

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    First and foremost, thanks for any volunteer work you have put into Rocky Knob.

    “They might as well have just paved the trail.” “Boone's version of the Virginia Creeper.”

    A bit of an over exaggeration.

    If you would have attended the public meeting back in July where we kicked off the project and presented what we envisioned for Rocky Knob, you would have heard us state that the park is intended to have different levels of mountain bike trails. The County TDA wanted Green (easy) through Black Diamond (most difficult) trails on RK. I presented in the pubic meeting that I did not think we could build a true beginner trail due to the difficulty of build (we had the design done and knew what we were in for at the public meeting) and nature of the landscape. I presented that we would have Blue level trails with Red (a step up) and Black Diamond (most difficult) with the possibility of double black as options. I presented that we needed to look elsewhere for a true Green level single-track trail, something that kids and first timers to single-track could ride.

    TD was not responsible for the gravel work application, but I do support what was done. There were some really wet spots that needed a treatment and volunteers did what needed to be done. I agree that there could have been less crushed stone on top of the great armoring work, but what got done got done. Perhaps it was due to inexperience of that technique on the part of the volunteers present and doing that work. Perhaps it was because the county project manager (Eric, who is truly awesome) requested this.

    Let’s not forget that there are supposed to be different levels of difficulty on the mountain and Rocky Knob is not, nor has it ever been intended to be a place where only “rad college dudes” ride. Trails will progress in difficulty level as they go up the mountain. This in of itself is good risk management, to get to the Black Diamond trails you will have to pedal uphill to get to them. Blue level trails will lead to Red level trails and those will lead to Black level trails. Bad risk management would be where a Black Diamond DH trail is easily accessible from a Green level and beginners can easily get in over their heads.

    This all levels (or as many levels as the mountain will support) and makes sense given the different levels of riders in the community and various sources of money being used to pay trail contractors and buy needed materials.

    Watauga County has TDA money in the project, that is money from lodging tax. The county got a major Parks and Recreation Trust Fund Grant from the state and is also going after a Recreation Trails Program grant from the state. Both of those sources would not likely only want to see only rad and high skill trails built. The is also a $5000 grant from Specialized Bikes in the mix, and Specialized sells way more bikes in the $500 to 1500 range as compared to just DH or freeride bikes.

    The message here is there will be different levels of trails on the mountain, that has always been part of the plan. Phase 2 trails will step it up a notch.

    I would ask that everyone think about others and riders who may not have all the great skills you have, don't just look at the development of this trail system from a very selfish point of view.

    Woody Keen
    President- Trail Dynamics LLC

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cedar Branch Biker
    I have stated in past posts that I am 61, will turn 62 in April and am a rank amateur in MTB. I hope to get to the Boone area this year for some trout fishing and hopefully to ride RKP. I REALLY don't need a bike trail that is 3/4 "rock climbing and cliff diving".
    Cedar Branch,

    Thanks for your post, it is a good reminder that not everyone is looking to puke a lung or do death defying hucks when they go ride mountain bikes. There will certainly be some higher level trails at Rocky Knob, but we also do indeed want to provide a few loops that "mere mortals" can ride and have fun on.

    All trails will have options and TTFs (technical trail features). Blue level trails will have options a step up, Red level trails will have Black options and Black trails will have Double Black Diamond options. This skills progression is a model trail system and we hope that is what we create at Rocky Knob Park.

    Woody
    Trail Dynamics

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodman
    First and foremost, thanks for any volunteer work you have put into Rocky Knob.

    “They might as well have just paved the trail.” “Boone's version of the Virginia Creeper.”

    A bit of an over exaggeration.

    If you would have attended the public meeting back in July where we kicked off the project and presented what we envisioned for Rocky Knob, you would have heard us state that the park is intended to have different levels of mountain bike trails. The County TDA wanted Green (easy) through Black Diamond (most difficult) trails on RK. I presented in the pubic meeting that I did not think we could build a true beginner trail due to the difficulty of build (we had the design done and knew what we were in for at the public meeting) and nature of the landscape. I presented that we would have Blue level trails with Red (a step up) and Black Diamond (most difficult) with the possibility of double black as options. I presented that we needed to look elsewhere for a true Green level single-track trail, something that kids and first timers to single-track could ride.

    TD was not responsible for the gravel work application, but I do support what was done. There were some really wet spots that needed a treatment and volunteers did what needed to be done. I agree that there could have been less crushed stone on top of the great armoring work, but what got done got done. Perhaps it was due to inexperience of that technique on the part of the volunteers present and doing that work. Perhaps it was because the county project manager (Eric, who is truly awesome) requested this.

    Let’s not forget that there are supposed to be different levels of difficulty on the mountain and Rocky Knob is not, nor has it ever been intended to be a place where only “rad college dudes” ride. Trails will progress in difficulty level as they go up the mountain. This in of itself is good risk management, to get to the Black Diamond trails you will have to pedal uphill to get to them. Blue level trails will lead to Red level trails and those will lead to Black level trails. Bad risk management would be where a Black Diamond DH trail is easily accessible from a Green level and beginners can easily get in over their heads.

    This all levels (or as many levels as the mountain will support) and makes sense given the different levels of riders in the community and various sources of money being used to pay trail contractors and buy needed materials.

    Watauga County has TDA money in the project, that is money from lodging tax. The county got a major Parks and Recreation Trust Fund Grant from the state and is also going after a Recreation Trails Program grant from the state. Both of those sources would not likely only want to see only rad and high skill trails built. The is also a $5000 grant from Specialized Bikes in the mix, and Specialized sells way more bikes in the $500 to 1500 range as compared to just DH or freeride bikes.

    The message here is there will be different levels of trails on the mountain, that has always been part of the plan. Phase 2 trails will step it up a notch.

    I would ask that everyone think about others and riders who may not have all the great skills you have, don't just look at the development of this trail system from a very selfish point of view.

    Woody Keen
    President- Trail Dynamics LLC
    Woody,

    Thanks for the reply, and yes I agree that the VC analogy is a little off. I think you misinterpreted or perhaps I poorly communicated my message so let me try again. I bummed that the trail turned into what it did and I was evoking exaggeration to make a point. I'm all for a beginner trail and a trail that allows people to learn how to mtb. I also appreciate the need for risk mgmt when designing a trail system. I'm not an air junkie nor am I a "rad college dude". I've put in many hours of work at Rocky Knob and have understood what the purpose of the first phase was from the beginning (noob friendly). It's disappointing when you have put in a lot of work on the trail and then see the fruits of your labor adulterated with unnecessary or excess use of gravel. With regards to the sections of the trail that needed it I'm all for the use of gravel. I'm also in support of optional features that allow riders the ability to opt out (Sherman Branch in Charlotte is a great example of this).

    Lets be honest though, our sport is a risky one. Regardless of whether your falling on gravel or on a fist size rock its going to hurt and people are going to fall. I would rather someone not ride a section because it's intimidating and over time work up to it, then to ride to fast on gravel, loose control and get seriously hurt. My qualm is that by putting in gravel down in order to tame the trail, a disservice is done to new riders in the long run. It creates a false sense of security on a trial that can have heavy penalties for mistakes (hence the parks name). Nor does it allow riders the opportunity to work up to features that would allow them to progress to red trails. With that said, it is what it is and time will tell whether it was a good call or bad call to gravel certain sections of the trail. At any rate thank you for your reply and a big thanks to all of those who have put time and effort into the bike park.

    Best,

    Rob Drinkwater
    Graduate Student, ASU Counseling Center Therapist, and Biking Enthusiast

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cedar Branch Biker
    I have stated in past posts that I am 61, will turn 62 in April and am a rank amateur in MTB. I hope to get to the Boone area this year for some trout fishing and hopefully to ride RKP. I REALLY don't need a bike trail that is 3/4 "rock climbing and cliff diving".
    Cedar Branch,

    Just curious if you've even seen rocky knob? Despite the parks name it not a slab of rock (dupont) or a bunch of baby heads (iron mt), but it does live up to its name. There is no cliff diving to speak of unless you go to compression falls . Seriously, the trail is a blast to ride, it has a good climb on the way up and lots of flow on the way down. If you're into it, it can be pretty fast as well with some nice berms and the sort to maintain speed. I hope you make it up.

  19. #19
    Still surfin in my 60's.
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    drinkwat, I have not seen Rocky Knob. I did not find out about RK until after my last trip to the mountains, and that was camping at Laurel Springs, trout fishing and hiking. I suppose I was exaggerating (or at least joking) in talking of "rock climbing" and "cliff diving". My exposure to MTB other than riding around on the farm, through my woods and the trail I am presently working on, is MTB magazines, and of course they like to use the most radical pictures to sell better. The same with surfing magazines. Nothing will sell better than giant Waimea or Pipeline on the cover. It sounds like you have put a great deal of effort into RK, and I appreciate that. I do, in fact hope to make it up there in the near future. I think I see what you mean about a lot of gravel on the trail. It isn't meant for and should not be a smooth ride like a "greenway". At the same time, I do hope it will be "rideable" for an "old man" like myself. On the trail I am working on, the first time I tested it, I blew right through a curve I had made too sharp, the next lap, I tried really hard to make the turn and ended up busting my "dignity". Thanks again and hope to get up there soon.
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  20. #20
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    FYI, Rocky Knob park and trails are not currently finished or open to the public. We hope to have Phase 1 (2 loops totaling only 2.5 miles) open in late spring. Phase 2 (upper trails of a higher difficulty rating) have not even been planned/designed as of yet.

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    Thank you Rob for your well thought out reply (not always the norm here on MTBR).

    I can only think of a few places where gravel (crushed stone is really the better term, or DGA which stands for Dense Grade Aggregate) was applied only to smooth out the riding service. I could be wrong however as TD had nothing to do with that work. I think most places had serious issues of springs and seeps causing muddy conditions, and many of these areas have 4'' drain tile pipe under the DGA.

    I agree that a few areas were heavy handed with the DGA and I would have prefered to not have the great rock work in some sections hidden with a crushed surfacing on top. Oh well.

    Also think there is an application problem due to lack of experience on the part of the volunteers. I plan to attend the work project Thur. afternoon and maybe I can help out with this.

    The trails have had no traffic, and thus no level of compaction and loose gravel on top. That will solve itself as users compact the crushed stone into a hard surface or larger rocks in the NC DOT spec DGA get dislodged and displaced.

    Running a vibrating compactor on these areas will really help, maybe we can do some of that tomorrow.

    If I had my way, I would like to see a light treatment of DGA worked into the native soils and compacted to provide an all weather trail. I spent 3 weeks in the UK (mainly Scotland and Wales) in 2009 and was very impressed with the trails. It rained 9 days when I was in Scotland and we rode each and every day and did no trail damage. They design and build their trails to withstand lots of use and lots of rain. I like that idea for urban trail systems.

    I had the opportunity to work with Forestry Commission and a volunteer mtn bike group at Glentress which is one of the 7 Stanes ride centers:
    http://www.7stanes.gov.uk/

    http://www.7stanes.gov.uk/forestry/achs-5rnfvj

    http://www.7stanes.gov.uk/forestry/INFD-75MK2T

    Below are some of the photos from the workday, what they called "hardcoring" the trail which is surface hardening.
    Attached Images Attached Images      

  22. #22
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    Woodman, I have been following the progress on RKP and realize that it is not open yet. I was speaking generally when I said I hope to make it up there. Will probably be late May or early June, IF I make it up there.
    So you think you can jump!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cedar Branch Biker
    Woodman, I have been following the progress on RKP and realize that it is not open yet. I was speaking generally when I said I hope to make it up there. Will probably be late May or early June, IF I make it up there.

    That is about right for when Phase 1 will open.

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    Didn't they have a fire up there recently?

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