Virginia DCR Outdoors Plan is Up for Revision CAMBC participated in local meetings at the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Committee on October 26, 2005 to comment on the Virginia Outdoors Plan which is now up for its 5 year revision. Review the TJPDC portion of the VA Rec Outdoors Plan if you missed the meeting. Comments are being accepted by the VA DCR throughout the winter of 2005-2006.
Proposed New Albemarle County Park Thanks to a generous bequest, the Patricia Byrom County Park is in the works. The park will be located off Scenic Route 810 in Albemarle County. CAMBC representatives are working closely with the county to develop multi-use trails at the new park that will be open to mountain bikers. The County announced the gift in the Fall of 2004. Stay tuned for more developments as the various government processes slowly, but steadily roll on toward a new park. The current hold-up: The county is working on gaining proper (state mandated) road entrance access for emergency vehicle entry into the new park.
Proposed Wilderness & Scenic Areas CAMBC supports the preservation of our public lands for future generations using a variety of conservation tools as appropriate for each area to be protected. CAMBC, SMBC, and IMBA are working to protect current mountain bike trail access and preserve the experience of riding in the George Washington National Forest (GWNF) as we know it.
Several years ago, the Virginia Wilderness Coalition Virginia Wilderness Coalition proposed five new areas of the George Washington National Forest for possible formal Wilderness Area Designation. As originally proposed (Note: Maps on VA Wilderness website are outdated and no longer reflect current discussions), these areas contain some of the region’s best trails for mountain biking. Legislation passed in 1984 explicitly closes Wilderness areas to mountain biking. CAMBC is involved in ongoing discussions with the Shenandoah Mountain Bike Club (SMBC), IMBA, and the Virginia Wilderness Coalition to retain mountain bike access in these areas. For more background information, please see the Shenandoah Mountain Bike Club website.
An informational meeting geared toward mountain bikers was first held on April 16, 2003, at the Massanutten Public Library in Harrisonburg, VA. Many CAMBC members made the special effort to travel there to attend. Since that meeting, a group of regional mountain bikers have met with the Wilderness advocates approximately every three to five months since. Attendees have been discussing a range of options, including other protection area types and alternate boundaries to maintain mountain bike access while still protecting the areas all types of users love. Those involved reached a verbal agreement on October 13, 2004.
The group’s activities are on hold while the Ridge and Valley Scenic Area and Wilderness Act is being considered by our Congress for the Jefferson National Forest in Southwest Virginia. Our joint coalition is still working toward a mix of National Scenic Areas and Wilderness areas to protect the areas we all know and love while preserving mountain bike access to the greatest extent possible and creating new mountain bike access opportunities. What we are trying to do is innovative at a national level and has drawn national attention. Our work includes writing stronger NSA legislation with more Wilderness-like protections, but specifically recognizing mountain bikes as legitimate users.
Trail Maintenance CAMBC performs trail maintenance on regular basis at Walnut Creek Park in Albemarle County. Subscribe to our email list-serve to keep informed on upcoming trail work days. Any suggestions for trailwork? Is there a big tree down on your favorite trail? If so, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. CAMBC members have also been involved in trail work at other local venues, such as Sherando Recreational Area and other places in the George Washington National Forest.
New Riding Opportunities CAMBC is always looking for new riding opportunities for local mountain bikers. Do you have any suggestions for public or private lands where mountain bikers might be granted access to ride? If so, please email us at email@example.com.
Other Advocacy Work
Virginia Greenways Conference CAMBC attended the 2005 Virginia Greenways Conference held in May in Richmond, VA. The conference included attendees from across the state. Some folks attended informational sessions, while others learned more about trailbuilding.
IMBA 24 Hours of DC CAMBC participated in the April 6-7, 2005 inaugural IMBA 24 Hours of DC. This was a new kind of 24 hour mountain bike event…one where mountain bikers dressed up in suits and met with their legislators to lobby for legislation to benefit mountain bikers. Folks attended from all over the U.S. and conducted approximately 100 meetings with members of the Senate and Congress. We met with staff of Senator George Allen and John Warner and Representative Virgil Goode.
IMBA Trail Care Crew Visit in Charlottesville, VA CAMBC is hosted anIMBA Trail Care Crew Visit in Charlottesville from December 2-5, 2004. The Trail Care Crew talked trails, taught people proper trailbuilding technique, and spent quality time digging in the dirt. This was the last of 70 stops on the 2004 schedule. .Click here for more info. Photos from the visit are on our Pictures page. The visit featured a slideshow, one daytime ride, one night-time ride, clasroom learning sessions, and two days of fieldwork at Walnut Creek Park where we learned how to build a switchback and re-routed some trails.
IMBA National Summit CAMBC attended the IMBA National Summit, held in Westminster, MD June 3-6, 2004. Club representatives from around the country attended, and we learned lots of good info not only about advocacy, but about how to run our club on the grassroots level. In between lots of great informational presentations, attendees enjoyed a ride at Gambril State Park in Maryland and a chance to meet with state representatives in the Senate and Congress on Capitol hill for a day of lobbying.
Greenways and Trails Forum Several CAMBC members attended the Greenways and Trails Forum, hosted by the local Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission on Tuesday, August 26, 2003.
Albemarle County Parks and Recreation Facilities Use Survey CAMBC officers completed and submitted a user survey on behalf of local mountain bikers in the summer of 2003. The survey asked about current facility usage and anticipated future needs. Walnut Creek is the only Albemarle County facility with trails open to mountain biking at this time. CAMBC reported current uses as riding and trail maintenance. Based on input from members and non-members, CAMBC expressed the opinion that access to trails for mountain biking (and other uses) at other county facilities would benefit area mountain bikers and further improve local quality of life by increasing the number of local mountain biking opportunities. CAMBC also offered its assistance in building and maintaining any new trails that might be authorized for future use.
Heritage Whistle Stop Tour to Support Roadless Area Conservation On August 5, 2003, member Sue George spoke on behalf of the Charlottesville Area Mountain Bike Club about the mountain biker’s perspective on Roadless Area Conservation in our National Forests. Other speakers from the Southern Environmental Law Center, Virginia Forest Watch, and the Virginia Wilderness Committee joined in with the folks from the Heritage Forest Campaign on their national Whistle-stop Tour to spread the word about the Bush administration’s attempts to gut the Roadless Area Conservation Rule. The event was held at Blue Ridge Mountain Sports in Barracks Road Shopping Center. CAMBC would like to extend a special THANKS to all the mountain bikers who showed up to support this initiative, CAMBC, and mountain biking in general!