Monday, November 22, 2010

Monongahela National Forest Trails Survey Needs your help to establish bicycle use on the North Fork Trail

If you are like many of us, a cyclists who frequently uses trails on public lands, then you are probably all too familiar with the public input meetings that public land managers often hold. These meetings work well for local parks where the vast majority of the trail users live within a relatively small radius. These meetings do not work nearly as well for remote, yet popular renowned back-country destinations where people will often drive several hours just to experience the magic of such places. The IMBA Epic North Fork Trail is a just such a place where many of the trail users would not be able to attend a public input session concerning trail use of this iconic ridge trail.

As such, the Monongahela National Forest has created an online trails survey where you can tell them which trails you use in the Forest (no matter where you live). Specifically we need you to tell them that you bike on the North Fork Mountain Trail. The process on their site is not as clean as one might hope but here is the quick and dirty:

1. Look at the Google Earth map of your Monongahela ranger district of interest. In this case it is the Potomac District

2. Take the FULL SURVEY and be sure to properly reference the North Fork Mountain Trail by name and trail number (501)

3. While taking the Survey make sure that you establish the use of bicycles on this shared use trail. We want the Forest Service to know that cyclists love this trail and want to maintain access.

4. If you are feeling frisky then please fill out the survey again but instead of the North Fork Mountain Trail please reference the Seneca Creek Trail (Trail # 515). This area is also targeted for future Wilderness designation

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