The City of Charlottesville owns approximately 1000 wooded acres a few (bike-able) miles outside of the City proper where the City’s reservoir is located. This terrain is mountainous mature forests with a dam that creates the reservoir. A local foundation (Ivy Creek Foundation) had previously been granted permission to create and maintain a primitive trail system at Ragged Mountain Area, but bikes and other shared uses were prohibited. Ivy Creek Foundation did a great job of managing the site for many years. Last year the City undertook a large construction project to raise the Ragged Mountain dam about 50 feet in order to expand the water reserves. Most of the existing trails were destroyed or submerged with the construction and a new effort was begun to relocate/rebuild the trail system. Ivy Creek Foundation decided to give up their management of the property. CAMBC and other partners including the Rivanna Trails Foundation, Charlottesiville Area Trail Runners, saw this opportunity to open up a dialog with the land manager, the City Department of Parks and Recreation. We collectively advocated that when the trail system was restored it should be designated for shared use, including bicycles. We’ve been in continuous dialog with the City’s Trail Planner for the last year discussing the change in use for the area, and planting seeds for a shared use trail park.
In the fall of 2014 the City held a public meeting to discuss changing use at this area and, thanks to advocacy from the club, there was unanimous consensus recommending the City open the Ragged Mountain Area to shared use. The City’s trail planner now indicates the City is preparing an announcement changing the park trails to shared use. In January CAMBC met with the City Trail Planner to begin a comprehensive trail plan for the park area. Working with the endorsement of the City, CAMBC’s plan for the area would be part of a system of approximately 15 miles of nearby single track trails for beginner, intermediate, and expert use.
The City then slated February 14 for a day to begin putting that plan to ground. Working with the land manager CAMBC members flagged about one mile of new trail in preparation for the February 14 work day. The day of the event CAMBC members provided tools and instruction to approximately 40 volunteers, including a UVA service fraternity. This group cleared and benched approximately one mile of new trail on that day. After the work was completed CAMBC broke out the grill in the parking lot and served food to the volunteers. The land manager was so impressed with the turn out and the amount of new trail that was created in one day that he invited us to store trail working tools in the City-owned utility shed in the new park, and to continue to work with him to design and construct the rest of the trail system!
Thanks to all of our volunteers!
Keep it up CAMBC, together we are building a network of local, shared use trails that rival any place!