For those of you that frequent Frances Slocum Park and the trails, the park hosted a meeting last night involving the various groups that use the trails, wether it be for biking, hiking, hunting or fishing.

Chris Stine and myself (Kevin Czekalski) represented WVMTBA as we have the largest organized group ride at the park Tuesday evenings.

Hashed out were idea's for more trails, usage of existing trails, and future plans for the park. Let me begin by talking about the current trails in use and then the plan I brought forth to expand usage to complete our loop on our side of the lake.

Rex Brandish, Park Manager is so far pleased with the results of what we have accomplished at the park. Trail maintenance so far is up to par and what he has expected, so, all in all everything is good on that front.

As far as trail expansion, I brought forth the plan to have the usage increase by including a section of the trails that extend from the "orange/yellow" trail, or what we call "False Flat" (Hilltop on the park map), northeast to the short paved access road off of the intersection of Green Road and Mt Olivet Road. If this is done it will add some real nice single track and complete our loop. The trails are already there and from what Chris has said are very decent shape and easy to maintain. Also, an added benefit is we have access to single track trails on the opposite side of Mt. Olivet Road past the park boundry where we can connect and add additional mileage to the system. Once any legal issues are looked at and hopefully resolved with this connection, the park will have probably the best trail system in the area.

Rex said he will take a look at it, seemed to like the idea and said he will get back to us on it.

Also raised were trail access on the camping end of the lake, or the trail area known as Larch Tree trail/Campground trail. Granted the trails are there and are being used illegally at this point. Somewhere in the future we would like to obtain them for legal riding, but I have to confess I will side with the park on this. Until there is a way to control the amount of people using that section, Mountain bikes will have to take a back seat at this time over there. Problem is all the big activities at the park take place over there and on the penninsula. Campers, the pool, cars/traffic, amphlitheater....basically a nuthouse, esp in the summer. Throw Mountain Bikers into the mix in a very crowded area someone is going to get creamed. If you look at the map, all the bike activities are on the left side of the lake, away from everyone, which actually is ideal I think as we have very little park traffic where our trails are located.

Another issue brought up unfortunatly, and I'm sure it's an issue at other locations, is the illegal riding. Our group has been good and we don't venture onto the "Yellow" trail, but others have and have almost caused collisions with the nature groups down there. The park enforcement officers are on the hunt for violators in a big way. Put it this way, if you're caught, don't expect any mercy from them. One of the rangers is in our group and rides with us just about every Tuesday and he sees who goes where. As a group, we are not enforcement. We are education, but we will tell you if we see you head for an illegal area, we will tell you not to ride illegally, and we will help the park out if we establish a pattern of time and day of anything illegal. We don't want it ruined because of the actions of a few inconsiderate riders.

So, there you have it. Plans are moving ahead for Frances Slocum. Albeit slow it seems for some, but consider that 5 years ago bikes were banned, we've accomplished a helluva lot.

To our volunteers that come out every work day, Thank You very much for your asistance. Now let's go ridin'!!