ohiopyle has sooo much potential- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    ohiopyle has sooo much potential

    I've been working in Ohiopyle for the last couple of months, and its crazy to me how under utilized the park is from a mountain biking stand point. We have 13 miles of pretty mediocre trails, and almost five times that many hiking trails that would be awesome to ride. If the trails were opened and some new ones built, the park would become a great mountain biking destination. Everything else is already in place: restaurants, hotels, pubs, cool shops, an hours drive from other riding areas, and activities for the rest of the family.

    From what I understand, IMBA did a trail work clinic a few years ago to show support for trail redesignation. The park managers and local authorities were apparently for it, but the paper to sign off on it is now lost in Harrisburg. Is there anything we can do to get things moving along?

    read KNOBBY MEATS or be sadly ignorant of the mediocrity that is allowed to exist in the interwebs

  2. #2
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    We tried. Several of the local Clubs, bikers, as well as local business owners met w/ park mgt a few years ago several times in hopes of sparking interest in MTB'ing at OSP. We had a few trail work days as well as the IMBA weekend. The park managers applied for redesignation of all the trails w/ exception of Fern trails as it has spcaial designation. It made it to Harrisburg and there it sits. It has been approx 3 years.

    The park mgt gave us permission at the time to ride and scout the existing trails in order to determine which would be rideable as well as sustainable for biking. I went down a few days and covered all of the trails in the park except the Fern trail. All were excellent. The only trails not very good were those that were OPEN to biking.

    Some trails needed a little work and a few connectors, however, there is already a 25-30 plus mile network in place......just not legal to bike.

    As the Rep for LHORBA, I had been calling the park managers for updates on progress about every 6 months, however recently gave up.

    There is a pretty strong mtb community at OSP and this could be an awesome destination. Just need to get through the red tape.

    On a brighter side, there may be some new trails going in thanks to the PEC.

  3. #3
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    Totally agree...

    It looked like there had been a little work done on the downhill from Sugarloaf earlier this spring. I haven't been up since early May. I rode the trails around Sugarloaf Knob, and it looks like there's a lot of potential for different things through there--connectors, rock gardens, etc. Heard some work had been done up by McCune trail, but i haven't checked that out yet.

  4. #4
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    All were excellent. The only trails not very good were those that were OPEN to biking.
    Thats the worst part. Everyday I field a few questions about places to ride in the park, and I usually have to tell the interested riders to go elsewhere. And most of those people are not local. They come from all over the country for the Yough river, and they would probably come back for the mountain biking. Its a shame.

    I realize that nothing is going to happen until the state budget is finally passed, but could a petition with a bunch of signatures help get the ball rolling again?
    read KNOBBY MEATS or be sadly ignorant of the mediocrity that is allowed to exist in the interwebs

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    Totally...I remember when IMBA was trying to get people to show up for the weekend trail work a few years ago.I found out about it on this forum,as a matter of fact.I contacted a few people but the trail went cold.From what a heard it was supposed to be a ten mile loop at the time.I would love to ride that place.If anyone hears anything post 'em up.

  6. #6
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    Munts, do you work at the park?

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    I dont know if it helps or anything, but I live about twenty minutes from ohiopyle and would love to help in anyway possible, whether it is signatures, trail maintenance, etc. If you guys need me for anything send me a PM and we can organize something.

  8. #8
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    McCune and Sugarloaf

    Anybody been on these lately? I'd hit up Sugarloaf a few times this spring. I think the loops on top have a lot of potential, especially if the park would let a group like IMBA come in and do something similar to what they did at Raystown. On the downhill part (Specifically between Meadow Run and Sugarloaf Road) it looked like somebody had a machine out there this spring. Maybe early May? Between the two times I was up there somebody had rerouted large sections of the trail and built a few banked turns. I've never seen anything 'officially' mentioned and posted a few times about this but nobody really seems to know anything about it.

    I'd also heard that McCune was open to biking and that a new section had been built, but haven't been up there to check it out.

    I'm from Uniontown and would love to get involved in some building/maintenance up there. I think Ohiopyle has Raystown/Quebec Run potential and would love to see it happen in my back yard.

  9. #9
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    potential...

    Seems like PA has a lot of places that have a lot of potential.

    And a lot of places that could really benefit from the economic boost of some mtb tourism.
    PA is just jammed packed with great (and potential) rides, it's a shame that so many folks (non-mtb) fail to see it...

    Ride on.
    "Whether it be an abrasion or a mental breakdown, everyone suffers in one way or another." ORAMM Disclaimer

  10. #10
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    I was at Ohiopyle recently white water rafting and on the drive in and out was looking around to see if I could see some trails in the back woods and came up with nothing. Its surprising to me that such a prime spot is so under utilized. I am from the south hills and while it isn't exactly in my backyard the drive for a spot like that is nothing. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help. Just tell me where to sign.

  11. #11
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    Okay... rode up at Ohiopyle today and maybe learned a few things.

    Rode McCune trail, which at 1.2 miles long, isn't really worth it. Mostly deeply-rutted double track and a lot of grass. Could have potential if integrated into the Sugarloaf trails.

    Sugarloaf trails don't look like they're seeing a lot of use. On the map at the trailhead I saw something I didn't notice before (maybe if was new?), but the biking trails go all the way out to Pressley Ridge. There are two trails intertwining with each other so multiple routes can be taken out and back.

    The biggest problem I saw was that the park, rather than making new trails, designated existing trails for biking. So the layouts aren't the most interesting (avoiding rock gardens, a lot of straight lines). This, in addition to the lack of signs/advertising make this area really under-utilized. I think if more people rode the trails they'd start to take shape.

    I was talking to the former park superintendent at the visitors' center and asked who did the improvements on the Sugarloaf downhill. He didn't seem to know what I was talking about, but said any trail 'maintenance' was done by Friends of Ohiopyle, a volunteer group. So I was thinking that maybe the way to get some trail improvement done is through them. I'll drop them an email and see what kind of 'maintenance' they do, and if they'd be willing to accept help from this community for trail improvement.

    Anybody have any other suggestions? Ideas? If I hear anything I'll post here.

    http://www.friendsofohiopyle.info/

    Here's a map of the park. Essentially everything east of town is open to riding. The foundation exists out there for something really nice.

    http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/statepar...opyle_mini.pdf

  12. #12
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    Nice to see that you guys are being adamant about changing things in ohiopyle. I have only hiked there before, but I will have to go down there soon and do some riding/research. The region seems like it would be perfect for riding so hopefully you get somewhere. Again if you get anywhere with this community helping let me know so i can join in.

  13. #13
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    Munts, do you work at the park?
    Ja, I work at WV which is one of the guiding services in town.

    Since last month, I've talked to the ast. park manager about doing some trail work, and she said that the park is absolutely interested in expanding mountain biking. She directed me to help one of the guys I work with help re-route the bottom of Baughman Trail. If you've never ridden Baughman, (and you probably shouldn't have as its just a hiking trail at this point) it is a perfect example of what the park could be. 7 miles of rocky, twisty, and at points scary fast, single track. It's by far the best downhill I've been on in PA or WV.

    I think that the Sugarloaf area see's very little use because it takes a long climb (10 miles) to get there, and the trails are mainly for XC skiing, so they are wide and smooth. Other trails in the park are great, but not technically open yet. I'm not sure what is holding it up at this point, but at least the rangers are friendly to mountain bikers. Later this week, I'll take some pictures of the riding that could open up.

    But even more exciting for PA is the rumblings in the DCNR of building a trail that connects Johnstown to Coopers Rocks, WV. It would be all single track, and hit all the major riding areas between the two locations(Laural Mt., Seven Springs, Ohiopyle, Qubec Run, ect). The idea is to have wilderness with amenities, because it would pass through towns that riders could stay the night in, get food, and relax before continuing down the trail. If built, it would give PA one of the most extensive trail systems in the country. It would be so incredible for the mountain biking and economy of the area.

    I think what we're missing in Ohiopyle right now is a club thats concentrated on building and maintaining mountain bike trails in the park. I know that there are Pittsburgh clubs, but it would be nice to have an organization based in the Laural Highlands that could focus on Laural Mt, Ohiopyle and the other near by areas.
    read KNOBBY MEATS or be sadly ignorant of the mediocrity that is allowed to exist in the interwebs

  14. #14
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    I was lucky enough to have been able to hit Big Bear up twice this week, and all I kept thinking about was the area east of Meadow Run. So far that's just Sugarloaf Trail and the bike area at the top, the Pressely Ridge trails and McCune Trail. From the top of Sugarloaf to town is a freaking scream. Steeper and faster than anything I rode at Big Bear. I've hiked Baughman Rock trail a long time ago. I remember it was pretty steep. I can't remember how it compares to Sugarloaf.

    I believe the real potential lies in the biking area at the top. A big advantage is that there are none of the type of people that hang around the falls on a Saturday afternoon. I looked for maps online and didn't find what I was looking for, so I may have to scan my Big Bear map for a comparison. But if the park would let bikers--with the park's guidance/supervision and the assistance of somebody like the IMBA--the existing trails could be the skeleton for something like Big Bear or Raystown. That entire area could become a network of trails with varying difficulty--downhills, rock gardens, tight, twisty stuff and fast flowy stuff (the alliteration was accidental).

    I know that there's not a scale on the Big Bear map, but I'll include it anyway for comparison. This is from the 24 hour race, and probably represents 1/4 to 1/3 of the trails there. https://www.grannygear.com/Assets/Im...ading-800x.gif

    Here's the Raystown map: https://raystown.nab.usace.army.mil/...T_TrailMap.pdf

    Raystown can't be more than 3 or four mile from end to end. From the top of Sugarloaf down to town is AT LEAST a mile of solid downhill. Add another 3 or 4 miles of existing trails (to the end of Pressely Ridge Trail) and you have the potential for something huge. I agree, the trails that are up there are grassy and wide and straight. But if the park gave the go ahead it may not take much for an experienced crew to start tweaking pre-existing sections to be a lot more interesting. The ultimate situation would be one where the park lets a group (one sponsored by IMBA, perhaps) cut a few new trails to connect various sections of the existing trails. From the end of Press Ridge Trail and the top of Sugarloaf it's a 700' drop down to Lytle Road. From Sugarloaf to town it's 1400'. (seven Springs=754') I couldn't find a contour interval on the Raystown map, but that part of the park has to be comparable, if not better than Raystown. Looks like Big Bear has about 1000' vertical feet of relief.

    Anyway, I think this fall would be a great time to do some trail work. I'll do whatever--write emails, round up volunteers, dig. Anybody on this board go to the IMBA meeting at Ohiopyle a few years back? Anybody a current member?

    BTW, spent the 90s working in Ohiopyle for LH. Good times.

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