Allegheny National Forest wants to open trails - Tell them you agree!!
Below is the text of a press release today from IMBA (meaning its chapters WNYMBA and NAMBA, with assistance from our regional rep Anthony Duncan).
The TL;DR version is this:
- The Forest Service is proposing to open some trails (12 miles!) just south of Allegany State Park that are now closed to bikes.
- Wilderness groups oppose this.
Here's the forest service announcement: http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/allegheny/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD511051
And here's the press release:
IMBA chapters WNYMBA and NAMBA wish to commend the U.S. Forest Service for its multiple use, shared vision of sustainable outdoor recreation on the Allegheny National Forest and for its desire to improve public access and appreciation of this worldclass public asset. After receiving appropriate public input, Forest Service professionals in the Bradford Ranger District are considering a balanced proposal that would allow the designation of 12 of the 34 miles of trail in the Tracy Ridge portion of Allegheny Recreation Area to be shared use trail. This designation will allow mountain biking, an increasingly popular, sustainable and healthy outdoor sport for Forest visitors.
According to the USFS scoping letter, this “trail system is currently underutilized. The Forest Service provides minimal maintenance on the trail system and the system has fallen into disrepair with numerous trees down and trail markers missing”.
“We are pleased with the opportunity to continue fostering a productive relationship with the U.S. Forest Service and WNYMBA to give these trails muchneeded attention and create a better multiuse trail experience for all trail users,” said NAMBA president Andy Georgakis.
This proposal would reopen trail that was closed to mountain bikers in 1994 following a citizenled proposal. Since 1992, local IMBA chapters have been responsible and active stewards of other area trails and continue to develop relationships with local land managers. The Tracy Ridge trails are managed in the Allegheny National Recreation Area as defined by the 2007 Forest Service Management Plan, which allows for mountain biking use on designated trails.
“Our chapter members as well as visitors to the Allegheny National Forest graciously support the Forest Service in their proposal to allow mountain biking access to such a beautiful area,” said Georgakis. “Our members annually provide nearly 700 hours of volunteer stewardship to sustain this public treasure for all trail users, including hikers and equestrians.”
The local IMBA chapters NAMBA and WNYMBA will continue to work productively with the U.S. Forest Service and other conservation, environmental and recreation organizations on matters related to the management plan and how mountain biking complements the sustainable implementation of that plan.
“With the continued increase in mountain biking as a way to enjoy the outdoors and experience nature here in Pennsylvania, we believe the Tracy Ridge Campground facilities and trails will see welcome maintenance and sustainable enjoyment,” said Jon Sundquist of the Western New York Mountain Bike Association.
Written comments can be mailed to :
Tracy Ridge Shared Use Trails
District Ranger Rich Hatfield, Bradford Ranger District 29 Forest Drive
Bradford, PA 16701