Blue Ridge Parkway Trail Plan for Roanoke- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    CrgCrkRyder
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    Blue Ridge Parkway Trail Plan for Roanoke

    I just received my copy of the new Blue Ridge Parkway Trail plan for the Roanoke area. Wordy to say the least, 133 pages. Looks like there is a public hearing Thursday September 1, from 3 - 8 PM at Explore Park. Stop by and express your support of Alternative C, the MTB friendly alternative.

    East Coasters Bike Shops, Blacksburg and Roanoke, Virginia ... USA

    EastCoasters has a short version of the trail plan proposals here:
    http://eastcoasters.com/merchant/122...utRigePlan.pdf

    Alternative C opens up Chestnut Ridge Loop for a year test, supports a connector from the Parkway to Explore Park trails, as well as a multi-use trail that parallels the Parkway. I am assuming they will put the plan on-line at some point. The Plan contains a link for posting comments online that I will dig up if the park Service doesn't post it soon.

  2. #2
    CrgCrkRyder
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    Found a link for comments and some more info here:

    Parkway Seeks Input For Roanoke Valley/ Blue Ridge Parkway Trail Plan

    Write a letter, send an e-mail, go in person - or all 3

    Alternative C, Alternative C, Alternative C..............

  3. #3
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    Would love to see it happen. I will be Devil's Advocate for a minute regarding Chestnut Ridge Loop. I do enjoy running on that trail and hope that if it becomes a shared use trails that there are not negative interactions between users. I've seen it very busy and I've seen it deserted. It like every other trail in/around Roanoke suffers from inattention as well. Overgrown weeds, downfalls etc end up being removed by good citizens. The section of Ridgeline trail on Mill Mountain is on park service property hence no maintenance and it was horrible when I rode down it today - major ruts. If this is any indication of how the NPS will maintain it's trails, I'm skeptical.
    Enjoying the trails one pedal stroke at a time...

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikerJen View Post
    Would love to see it happen. I will be Devil's Advocate for a minute regarding Chestnut Ridge Loop. I do enjoy running on that trail and hope that if it becomes a shared use trails that there are not negative interactions between users. I've seen it very busy and I've seen it deserted. It like every other trail in/around Roanoke suffers from inattention as well. Overgrown weeds, downfalls etc end up being removed by good citizens. The section of Ridgeline trail on Mill Mountain is on park service property hence no maintenance and it was horrible when I rode down it today - major ruts. If this is any indication of how the NPS will maintain it's trails, I'm skeptical.
    I have to agree with you on the condition of the lower portion of Ridgeline. It's getting so rutty that it's difficult to pick a good line to make it through with any speed.

  5. #5
    CrgCrkRyder
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    OK I'll be the optomist. Lower Ridgeline is a mess, but it does improve your loose rock skills. It was probably a logging or mining road. I don't think the Park Service ever really wanted to admit that trail was on their property. Same with Wood Thrush, hence no trailhead for a perfectly good trail.. What I got from my brief look at the proposal was that if Alternative C passes, then they would rely on volunteers quite a bit for trail building and maintenance. Just like all the other trail systems do. New trails would be built to the best standards Their past policy was no bikes period. Therefore, no ,maintenance by them and very little by us. I think its a major policy shift that embraces mountain biking. But, at the rate they move, I may very well have to use my wheelchair on the trails. And all the new stuff at The Cove should be finished by then.

  6. #6
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    Often Park service trails open to MTBs because we are the rare local cohort that actively maintains its trails.

    WIth the impressive activity in Carvins Cove led by Brian etal, perhaps they are anticipating some new positive user impact to under maintained trails.

  7. #7
    CrgCrkRyder
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikerJen View Post
    I will be Devil's Advocate for a minute regarding Chestnut Ridge Loop. I do enjoy running on that trail and hope that if it becomes a shared use trails that there are not negative interactions between users. I've seen it very busy and I've seen it deserted. It like every other trail in/around Roanoke suffers from inattention as well. Overgrown weeds, downfalls etc end up being removed by good citizens.
    Jen, I see this also as a potential problem. That trail gets a lot of hiker / trail runner / dog walker use - not much horse use, but a little. With the woopdedoos and roll of the trail it will be fast on a bike (so I have been told). I hope its not an issue, but it could be. Some trimming back of vegetation would help a lot on sight lines, especially in the old farm section of the trail. I offered to put together a crew for that a couple of years ago, but never heard back from them. I still would. For sure though, if there is conflict we will only be on that trail for 1 year.

  8. #8
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    Thanks to CraigCreekRider for posting about this, and to everyone else for taking an interest.

    Please read Dan Casey's editorial, and today's article at Roanoke Outside, where Pete(?) explains the issues pretty well, and how you should respond. We really need everyone's comments now. Please also help spread the word.

  9. #9
    CrgCrkRyder
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    Thanks Matt. I am going to post some more on this when I finsh reading it. Its not as promising as I had hoped. No mention of opening up Chestnut Ridge or the trail that parrallels the parkway to bikes. The most favorable thing is the building of three miles of trail from the parkway to Explore Park. That would connect with the Roanoke River Greenway if it ever gets built that far east, making a good ride from town. Alternative C is the only one that gets us anything. Just breaking the ice so to speak would be good, as there is so much potential along the Parkway for other trails. Some of that country in Floyd would be beautiful to ride in - if there were some trails.

  10. #10
    CrgCrkRyder
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    Public Meeting Thursday Sept 1

    Roanoke area mountain bikers, the public meeting on the Blue Ridge Parkway Trail Plan is Thursday Sept 1, 3 PM – 8 PM at Explore Park Visitors Center Auditorium. Milepost 115 on the BRP.


    I finally finished reading the whole thing today. Some of my impressions follow. A lot of repetition. Repetition. Repetition. Sort of like reading the Old Testament, without all of the cool stories. Environmental Consequences, soils and geography, water resources, vegetation, wildlife, archeological resources, socioeconomic environment, visitor use and experience, human health and safety and parkway operations as they would be affected by all three alternative plans were explored deeply. The Cherokee nation, Tuscarora, Catawba, Shawnee Indian nations were all contacted and asked for their blessing of the whopping 9.75 miles of new trails. I’m poking a little fun here, a lot of this stuff is mandated.

    If you haven’t looked at the plan, it is here:

    NPS PEPC - Roanoke Valley / Blue Ridge Parkway Trail Plan Environmental Assessment

    There’s some good stuff in there regarding improving safety and access. In general I think mountain bikers came out with the short end of the stick. Alternative C is the only plan that gives any mountain bike access. IMO, they need an Alternative D or E.

    A lot of the plan involves closing 42 unauthorized trails totaling 4.1 miles. (All Alternative Plans) I hate to see them spend a whole lot of resources on something that will probably re-appear

    17.4 miles of existing trails would be improved (but still off limits to bikes) (Alternative B)

    6.25 miles of new trail would be built for pedestrian and horse use (no bikes), mostly north of the Roanoke River
    (Alternative B)

    3.5 miles of new trail would be built multi-use (bikes allowed) on the road into Explore Park (Alternative C). Ultimately this could connect the Explore Park trails and the Roanoke River Greenway.

    Mysteriously missing from the earlier proposals is the 1 year pilot project allowing mountain bike access for Chestnut Ridge (page 66). That is a huge loss – or should I say lack of gain. Chestnut Ridge is not mentioned much in the plan. (Page 20) “Providing separate facilities for mountain biking and not mixing user groups (bikes and horses) at the Chestnut Ridge Loop Trail would limit user conflicts.” OK, but where is our trail? A not very specific statement in a document full of specific statements. Chestnut Ridge see’s a lot of hikers, dog walkers, and trail runners, but few horses. I’d even go along with an alternate day plan, if that were proposed.

    Stop by Thursday and let them know what you think if you can. Send them an e-mail comment if you can’t. I plan on doing both. Thanks to East Coasters and IMBA also for spreading the word.

  11. #11
    CrgCrkRyder
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    BUMP

    Meeting is today at Explore Park 3PM - 8PM.

  12. #12
    CrgCrkRyder
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    Bump. Last day to comment on the trail plans for the Roanoke area of the Blue Ridge Parkway. It only takes a few minutes.

    NPS PEPC - Roanoke Valley / Blue Ridge Parkway Trail Plan Environmental Assessment

  13. #13
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    any news on the verdict??

  14. #14
    CrgCrkRyder
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    Quote Originally Posted by K9Self View Post
    any news on the verdict??
    If its like everything else the Park Service does, it will take 6 months - two years before we know anything.

  15. #15
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    Roanoke City Council Supports Mountain biking!!!


    CCR, Kapusta et al - didn't know if ya'll saw this today or not, but this has to help the cause for riding on the Chestnut Ridge Loop. Perhaps the persuasion of a local government will help the park service make a good decision for recreation.
    Enjoying the trails one pedal stroke at a time...

  16. #16
    CrgCrkRyder
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikerJen View Post
    Roanoke City Council Supports Mountain biking!!!


    CCR, Kapusta et al - didn't know if ya'll saw this today or not, but this has to help the cause for riding on the Chestnut Ridge Loop. Perhaps the persuasion of a local government will help the park service make a good decision for recreation.


    Missed that, thanks BikerJen for posting. I am curious if the backing of City Council will overpower the opinion of 2 horse back riders in the eyes of the Park Service

    That is good to see the city embrace the idea of opening Chestnut Ridge to mountain bikers. I think if we could get some Feds on board that would be good too.

    As far as the campground closing goes, my opinion has been if they put in showers and open the trail to mountain bikers the campground would stay full much of the time.

  17. #17
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    I agree with you about the campground. The day use concept would succeed too if mountain bikes are allowed. It just baffles me how they will allow horses on the trail but not bikes. The impact of horse hooves on the CRL is obvious especially when wet. I would hope that if it comes to fruition and we're allowed on CRL that people will be responsible and share accordingly. I honestly have never ridden it, but I've run and walked it many times. I'd be glad to extend a hand at maintaining the trail just as I have on Mill Mtn.
    Enjoying the trails one pedal stroke at a time...

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