Friday, August 27, 2010

Mountain Biking the Northern end of the North Fork

North Fork Awareness Rides!

Stay tuned for more information on upcoming North Fork Awareness rides this fall. IMBA and mountain bike clubs in the Mid-Atlantic area will be sponsoring rides on the North Fork trail to showcase the beauty of the area and why it is designated an IMBA Epic ride. The mountain and trail are currently in the Spruce Knob/ Seneca Rocks National Recreation area. This Congressional designation already gives the area greater protection than other areas of the National Forest.

North Fork Mountain Trail - IMBA Epic Ride

Not only is the North Fork Trail an incredible riding experience. The trail itself has it all, fast twisty flowy singletrack, rocky bits, and long fun downhills. In addition to this amazing trail experience, the views off of the ridge are extraordinary! In the picture above riders are sitting on one of dozens of rock outcroppings looking at Germany Valley below. Off in the distance is the Dolly Sods and beyond that (beyond the picture) is Canaan Valley. The Dolly Sods North and South are already designated Wilderness. From these rock outcroppings you can see houses and cars as they move along route 55/28 down below. From these rock outcroppings you can look South East all the way back to High Knob on top of Shenandoah Mountain where 33 crosses.

IMBA Action Alert to Save the North Fork Trail from Wilderness Designation

Protect an IMBA Epic in West Virginia

Join IMBA and the West Virginia Mountain Bike Association in urging members of the House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee to protect bike access to West Virginia's North Fork Trail.

This trail provides some of the most desirable riding in the state, and it's part of the Spruce Knob trail system that IMBA designated as an Epic last year (photo at right).

Now, a pending Wilderness bill, proposed by Rep. Alan Mollohan [D-WV1], threatens to permanently end bike access to the most iconic section of the North Fork Trail. Additionally, the ridge itself would be effectively reduced to an out and back ride, as the southern access point crosses private land.

Take Action! Urge House committee members to help adjust H.R. 5965 to protect mountain bike access on the North Fork trail.

Find your representative online. Your comments are particulalrly valuable if you live in the district of a Represntative who serves on the Natural Resources committee.

IMBA's recommendation is to modify the Wilderness Area boundaries by extending the southern boundary of the proposed Wilderness Area to Powdermill Run and changing the eastern boundary to 100 feet west of the North Fork Trail. These adjustments will still protect more than 5,300 acres as Wilderness, while preserving mountain biking access to this treasured trail (see map below).

Another possibility is to avoid a Wilderness designation and, instead, strengthen the resource protection language of the existing legislative designation of the area. Currently, the North Fork Mountain area is protected as National Recreation Area. One way or another, we believe bike access to the North Fork Trail can and should be preserved.