On Monday, March 1, the first of 3 public meetings was held in regard to the master plan for and allowable uses at Ragged Mountain at the Trinity Church on Fontaine Ave. Extended in Charlottesville.
The first meeting was informational, with City Parks and Recreation and RWSA giving a presentation that recapped the history of the Ragged Mountain Reservoir area since the late 1800’s and up to the present. Approximately 40 people were in attendance, including a member of City Council. Besides providing history and facts about the land and water at Ragged Mountain, the presentation also made it clear that the current status of the proposed ordinance to change rules at Ragged Mountain to shared use is “on hold” until results of an ecosystem study are completed (around June), but the process of planning will proceed based on City Councils vote “in principal” to endorse shared use. No trails will be constructed until City Council indicates it is OK to proceed with building trails. However, Parks and Recreation was directed by City Council to proceed with a formal planning process similar to what was conducted several years ago for McIntire Park. This was the first of 3 meetings for that planning process, though more meetings will be scheduled if needed. Parks and Recreation has also enlisted a UVA research assistant to conduct a study within a 100 mile radius of other towns where reservoirs are used for recreational purposes. That study is only just beginning. This is a very brief summary of the presentation.
Parks and Recreation intends to conduct 2 more meetings. They indicated the next meeting, March 22 is primarily for public comments. The April 6 meeting will be a discussion of allowable uses and on actually planning for the Ragged Mountain Area trail layout based on existing results of public comments and ecological study results.
Four members of the CAMBC board were present. It was hard to tell how many other “active trail users” were there, and the comments from this group were light. Or perhaps we were just the silent majority. CAMBC board member Dave Stackhouse was the only person who directly spoke in favor of shared use, defending the mountain bike community as “healthy minded” folks who care about the environment, who are learning a lot from this process, and who are ready (once shared use is approved) to contribute resources, tools, and volunteers to help construct trails.
All previous communications sent to City Parks, as well as all the comments from the City Council meeting in the Fall will be included in the process, but if we want shared use to be endorsed, then we need more folks to get engaged and to express their opinions and concerns. They could do this by attending and speaking at the next meetings, or they can send their comments to raggedmountain@
As March 22 meeting gets closer, we will reiterate our key concerns and recommendations for the Ragged Mountain area, and hope you all can make it.