These areas were once primarily mine and logging roads. They are now 'owned' by the NPS. I say owned, but these are public use areas. South central West Virginia is the epicenter of bad health. There are so many with heart disease, diabetes, and obesity, to name a few. We live in a world of convience. If the trails are maintained and expanded it will help us and our younger people stay active. If you want to think about it monitarily, It could make the cost of your health insurance go down! Keep the trails open, make access easy!
Some may say that cycling these trails will destroy the environment. I say it will not. I say, that through people like me, we will clean and design the trails, preventing the destruction. You see, I have a vested interest. If the trails close I have no where to ride. So it beefits me to make sure something bad doesn't happen.
I have seen a lot of bashing between groups about who should access the trails. Don't fall into the trap.
I'll use an example seperate from the cycling issue to illustrate my point. I have a friend that is a large land owner. He is an avid hunter. He decided to fence in his land to 'preserve' the game for hunting. PETA staked out his front gate, stating that he will be responsible for wiping out an endangered species. In my friends eyes nothing could be further from the truth. He wants to keep the animals from being hunted to extinction and preserve them from poaching.
BOTH sides wish to preserve the animals!
So, the New River Gorge is open season.
Please help. Thanks, JZ
P.S. Jamie is a Park Ranger, and an IMBA trail building school leader. No one is going to help if you aggravate them. Be cool to him, he's on our side!
This is from IMBA's e-mail. I doubt they will mind you using their form letter.
Help Bring Mountain Biking to West Virginia's New River Gorge National River
The National Park Service is looking for public input for a proposed trail network at New River Gorge National River, one of the premier recreational areas in the Mid-Atlantic. The proposal includes the construction of two new stacked-looped mountain bike trail systems and the reclassification of certain existing trails to be open to bicycles. This has the potential of creating a network of more than 100 miles of trails in the region.
Please take a moment to let the Park Service know that you support mountain biking in the New River Gorge trail proposal.
Don't delay -- the commentary period ends Jan. 15.
Sample Language for Comments
(Feel free to add your own language, or use our suggested text below to complete the NPS commentary form.)
Dear National Park Service,
I support the construction of a new stacked-loop mountain bike trail system, located in New River Gorge National River.
New trail construction -- including good sight lines and well-designed trail layout -- will allow for an enjoyable recreation experience for all user groups. Scientific research funded by the NPS shows the environmental impacts of mountain biking are similar to those of hiking and less than other allowed uses.
IMBA members recognize the backlog of maintenance needs for public trails and donate nearly one million hours of volunteer trail stewardship each year nationally. Mountain bike volunteers are willing to help the agency construct and maintain this trail, bringing a new base of volunteer energy and support to New River Gorge National River.
I also applaud the expansion of this Environmental Assessment to include the existing trail network.
Thank you for considering my comments as you develop the plans for a shared-use trail system. This would be a terrific asset for New River Gorge and the surrounding communities.