Ragged Mountain Natural Area and our Trail Partnerships

Since 2003, the Charlottesville Area Mountain Bike Club has proudly partnered with government agencies and non-profit organizations in an effort to promote sustainable trails, and educate our community about trail stewardship. We have also been fortunate to partner with many community organizations to promote shared trail use, safety education, healthy lifestyles, and alternatives to motor vehicle transportation. Our partners include the City of Charlottesville (City), Albemarle (County) and Fluvanna Counties, the US Forest Service, the University of Virginia, and the Rivanna Trails Foundation.

We will never back away from these partnerships, or our shared missions.  Despite these solid partnerships, we have traversed some rough patches with the City and County recently. Rest assured CAMBC is doing what we do best. We are rallying our volunteers and applying our experience and training to restore a currently unsustainable path.

How did we get here?

In late 2014, the City of Charlottesville took over management of Ragged Mountain Natural Area, and began a series of public hearings to guide future management. The city’s hearing demonstrated the support of our community to open the parks trails to cyclists and runners. These meetings were publicized and well attended. As a recognized leader in sustainable trail design, the city reached out to CAMBC in 2015 for input on a new trail plan, and to help replace trails now underwater following the expansion of the reservoir footprint.  Contrary to a few claims of collusion, CAMBC was never promised or assured cycling access would result.  In that consultation process, several existing, poorly designed and badly eroding trails and roads were identified, and trails with a sustainable grade were drawn up. Aside from the City Parks and Recreation Staff, we have been the only advocate for rehabilitating eroded trails and roads. CAMBC put $3500 of club funding toward 2 days of expertise from professional trail builders, and rallied over 40 volunteers putting in an equivalent of $3,300 of volunteer labor on a third workday.  The City Parks Department soon brought a proposed ordinance to council.  Indeed, both Albemarle County, and the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority  (RWSA) supported the change to include cycling and trail running.  In fact, RWSA has stated that these activities do not in any way impact water quality.  This public video, Parks Director RMNA City Council Briefing, beginning at 1:45 clearly shows this.

As RMNA had previously not gone through a park planning process, the City Council felt a responsibility to restart with new public hearings (totalling 4 public meetings, 2 parks advisory board meetings, 1 planning commission meeting, and 2 city council meetings), especially as a city ordinance needed to be changed to allow additional uses such as cycling, running, pets, boats, etc. This process took well over a year to reach a 3-2 verdict in favor of shared-use over exclusive use, in December of 2016.

During this time, our message has remained consistent and positive:

  • We have the volunteer resources, expertise and equipment ready:
    • to repair or de-commission all of the problematic, eroding trails at Ragged Mountain (that only see foot traffic to date),
    • To construct new trails that follow modern trail standards for sustainability,
    • To work with our partners to insure that the placement of these trails do not negatively impact important, identified natural resources.
  • Shared-use trails benefit community
    • More areas for people to explore outdoors
    • Increased value ascribed to natural pursuits and environmental protection
    • Promotes healthy lifestyles
    • More users generates more advocates for our local trails
  • Sustainable trails benefit the environment
    • Less erosion
    • A sustainable trail system identifies area trail users would like to visit (positive control points). Of equal importance is to identify sensitive or dangerous areas to keep trail users away from (negative control points). A comprehensive sustainable trail plan uses positive and negative control points to guide trail users through an enjoyable natural experience, without risk of danger to the trail user, damage to a sensitive area, or encouraging trail users to venture off trail.
  • Mountain biking has no proven increased impact to the environment and trails compared to hiking
    • Mountain bikers spend less time in a specific spot, reducing animal disruption
    • Mountain bikers are less likely to trample sensitive flora and fauna, as going off trail offers no benefit to us versus other foot travel uses

The anti-bike community’s message has focused on elements of fear and hyperbole:

  • Mountain bikers can injure hikers
    • We are unaware of a single reported incident. As a result of this concern, we are promoting the use of bike bells on crowded local trails to mitigate this risk.
    • More miles of trails disperse all trail users, minimizing conflict.
  • Mountain bikers disturb wildlife
    • There is no evidence to support this. Studies supporting either viewpoint may be very specific to geography and local land management practices.
    • Taylor and Knight 2003: No statistical difference in animal disturbance between hikers and mountain bikers.
    • Papouchis et al 2001: Animals fled 61% of encounters with hikers, and only 6% of the time a mountain biker approached
    • Jordan 2000: The presence of trails fragments habitat, and introduces microclimates due to reduced canopy cover and other factors around the trail tread. For this reason, CAMBC would never advocate separated use trails over shared-use trails if environmental impact is a concern.
  • “This is a Natural Area!!!”
    • This will continue to be a natural area.  In no way does allowing running and bicycling destroy RMNA.
    • Human presence at Ragged Mountain is evident and longstanding. Old homestead foundations can be found within the park leftover from those who farmed the valley. The reservoir at Ragged Mountain has seen 5 major construction projects, and the subsequent expansions of the reservoir pool. A major highway forms a border of the area and a major housing development forms another.
    • Our plan is to create trails that minimize impact to the environment. We would never run a trail through sensitive areas.
    • We recognize how special this place is, which is why we would prefer to partner with other organizations to balance access with sustainability.
  • The reservoir is the water supply for the city and county
    • Mountain bikes in no way pollute water any more than any other trail user.
    • Our trail management practices mitigate sediment runoff. There are dozens of rehabilitated trail sections in our region that prove this. CAMBC is ready to help repair the current erosional problems at Ragged Mountain.
  • Mountain bikers will increase the use of this land, and therefore increase impact
    • They have said openly that the fewer people that access Ragged Mountain, the better.  This view simply does not represent our community.
    • CAMBC believes that this public land should be available for all citizens to enjoy.

Where this has taken us?

The 3-2 vote to allow shared use at Ragged Mountain signified a win for the Charlottesville community. Even before the City Council vote, some opponents of the new plan began to lean on Albemarle County, as the county jointly regulates Ragged Mountain as a water supply. The city has already heard statements from the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority (managers of the dam and reservoir) stating that they see no problem allowing cyclists and trail runners to use the reservoir area. Based on this sudden interest by the public in water quality of its reservoirs, the County has removed cycling as an activity promoted at Chris Greene Lake Park, and Totier Creek Park. This move was silent, but not nefarious in nature. It was an oversight they needed to fix because the county code states:

Any activity not expressly permitted, including but not limited to, swimming, hunting, trapping or discharging of firearms and camping shall be prohibited within the boundaries of the reservoir

Despite the fact that trail maps showed bike trails, cycling was a not a permitted activity according to County code, therefore making cycling at these locations illegal. This means we just lost 5 miles of shared-use trail from parks that have never caused concern since their inception. The list of examples of illegal activities, with the exception of swimming, involve activities dangerous to pursue in a populated area, or activities that take from the land. These are reasonable prohibitions. Cycling and running are not expressly permitted around county reservoirs, yet pose no threat to other users, do no damage to the water supply,  and actively give back to the land in the form of volunteer trail maintenance.

What can you do?

We are confident that our longstanding partnership with the City and County, our proven track record of protecting local trails, and our advocacy of trail use for everyone will prevail. We need our members to advocate now. Here is a list of County Supervisors by jurisdiction:

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  • Tell them that CAMBC still wishes to be a proud partner of the county. We have so much to offer our parks and trails.
  • Ask them to include cycling and running in the authorized uses on trails around county reservoirs.
  • Ask them for a fast resolution to this conflict between city and county, to which citizens are now caught in the crossfire.
  • Ask them to look at the history of reasonable uses they have advertised in our parks, namely biking, running, canoeing, dog walking (Chris Green Lake Dog park). Ask them if they still consider the presence of these activities, in clear violation of the county code, an amenity to the County’s parks.

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To email all of the albemarle supervisors, use

Individually, they can be contacted at:

Rick Randolph, Scottsville District

Diantha McKeel, Jack Jouett District

Liz Palmer, Samuel Miller District

Brad Sheffield, Rio District

Ann Mallek, White Hall District

Norman Dill, Rivanna District


With strong partnerships, we will get past this–hopefully with an ever growing number of trails. Thank you to all of you who have already spoken out over the last 2 years. Every single voice has counted.



Ragged Mountain Master Planning Meeting: Part 1

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.

The meeting was then opened up to questions and comments.  Most of the questions and comments concerned opportunities for fishing, size of parking lot, and where the water in the Reservoir comes from (answer: Sugar Hollow).  One Charlottesville resident talked at length about protecting the water quality, though she did not put this in a context that was for or against shared use.  No one else expressed any significant advocacy for or against shared use.

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, or they can mail a letter to Parks and Recreation, or they can stop in the offices of Parks and Recreation.  Parks and Recreation indicates they will record every comment and all comments will go into the record for the issue of shared use, rules at Ragged Mountain, and the planning process.

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.


Clips Beer and Film Tour, September 17, 2015

Clips_Dave-Cruiser-BikeHey trail riders, runners, beer lovers, and adrenaline junkies,

MARK YOUR CALENDAR for the CLIPS BEER and FILM TOUR, coming to Charlottesville, Washington Park, the evening of September 17, 2013. Sponsored by New Belgium Brewing, and proceeds to benefit Better World Betty and Charlottesville Area Mountain Bike Club (CAMBC). This fun event is FREE!

CALL FOR HELPERS: We need folks to help set up and staff stations the day of the event. There are volunteer positions needing filling for setup (10am to 6PM) and staffing (6PM to 11PM) the day of the event, Friday, September 17. You know you don’t want to miss this fun event, and you’ll be there anyway, so why not help out your favorite cause and pitch in. There’s positions available for setup, pouring beer, wrist band/ID checkers, beer gypsies, game leaders, and non-profit rep tents.

Volunteers sign up at this link:  To volunteer just follow this link, add your name and contact info. Your entries will automatically be saved. Please don’t overwrite anyone else’s entries. We’ll be in touch with volunteers with details before the event.

This film-traveling, beer-toting, nonprofit-benefiting show is coming to 21 cities coast-to-coast, including Charlottesville. Combine New Belgium’s unique craft brews with inspiring short films at night, and you’ve got this fun-for-all event to wrap up your summer. Gates open at 7PM, films start at dark. New Belgium took their love for beer and film fans and put them together in this one-of-a-kind event. You’ll get to try New Belgium’s most esoteric offerings (up to 18 varieties on tap) and pair them with inspiring short films created by fans. And good news for Charlottesville, 100% of the proceeds from beer sales benefit Better World Betty and CAMBC. There will also be games and contests, local food vendors, and the chance to win the raffle for a New Belgium Cruiser bike! (See the Cruiser Bike and get your raffle tickets at Blue Ridge Cyclery).

CALL FOR HELPERS: We need folks to help set up and staff stations the day of the event. There are volunteer positions needing filling for setup (10am to 6PM) and staffing (6PM to 11PM) the day of the event, Friday, September 17. You know you don’t want to miss this fun event, and you’ll be there anyway, so why not help out your favorite cause and pitch in.

Volunteers sign up at this link:

Check out or for more information. We hope to see you there!


Join New Belgium Brewing Company and Better World Betty on SEPTEMBER 17 from 7-10pm in Washington Park for the Clips Beer and Film Tour!

link on

Meeting Notes

November 2014

CAMBC Board Meeting

November 25, 2014


Sam Lindblom via phone

Dave Stackhouse

Jon Ciambotti

John Lewis

Kristi Lombard

Will Sanford

Matt Jones

Ken Crawford (tardy)


Shawn Tevendale

Financial Update by Dave Stackhouse


22,851 in bank account

after recently paid 3645 for 50% of the jersey deposit to Cutaway

received $750 from MJH for Jersey Sponsor

Still need $750 from Blue Ridge Cyclery and the Great Outdoors Provision Co.

Expecting a balance of around 26000 after jersey sale is complete.


Recent outgoing money includes

$500 to Rob Eastman for training to lead beginner rides

$500 to RTF to help defray the cost of stolen tools


Fund raising

2014 = $6828

$1035 – New Belgium Clips and Beer with Betty World Betty

$591 – Lockn

$500 – (plus 500 for the 2013) Shenandoah Mt 100

$1708 – Pavillion Beer Pouring

$405 – food sales (for example Scud Fries and the Paranormal)


91 Jerseys sold !!

30ish extra jerseys for sale at BRC only. no online sales. We can order a minimum of 6 at a time from Cutaway


119 paid members!!

2014 Awards

Rob Eastman – Beginner Ride leader of the Year for leading the beginner rides (sorry but no physical award because we just gave him a big boy saw)


Jason Hisor – Ride Leader of the Year.  SERS and Tuesday Supersecret Rides – give new CAMBC jersey for free. XXXL other than Burnt Orange


Alex Kurland – Trail Worker of the Year – lead all CAMBC member with 28 hours of trail work – gets Silky Big Boy saw


Chris Hoy – Trail Volunteer of the Year –  United Way day of Caring trailwork, Lockin leader, SM100 Aid Station 2/6 Captain.  Give new CAMBC jersey for free


Board agreed to schedule a date for a CAMBC membership gathering, pot luck, and awards ceremony this winter, perhaps in conjunction with Sam’s winter RTF event.


Trailer Purchase


CAMBC trailer to be purchased from Will Sanford valued at 1800.  Will Sanford abstained in the voting.  Paid in full 111-25-2104. David Stackhouse to register the trailer with DMV.

Tool Shed

CAMBC to put tool shed next to RTF tool shed next to city gardens behind Bodos on the RTF

Will Sanford will look into moving current tool shed from Walnut Creek

Dave Stackhouse will look into a new shed and size necessary for all tools

$4000 cap on purchase of tool shed approved by board

Ragged Mt Update

  • Kudos for everyone who came out or wrote in support of multi use trails at Ragged
  • Land owner on south side of 64 tunnel said “not interested at this time”.  Board agrees extending to south of 64 will take much longer to resolve, and should not be our top priority at this time.
  • Board agreed our focus and energy should be on creating a variety of sustainable, multi-use trails in the existing Ragged Mountain park area.
  • CAMBC to initiate a meeting with Chris Gensic to review trail plan.
    • Important to get immediate input on trail(s) placement and intended use.
    • Desire to create several different trails options in the park

Pump Track Update

  • Chris Little in contact with Lee McCormick from Boulder re. pump track designs and quotes.  Chris is waiting for the City to formalize location to scout and give details to Lee.  Lee will provide quotes for several options (just a plan, a plan and his guidance on-site, turnkey).
  • Board agreed role CAMBC can play is to back up Chris to provide site assessment, volunteers, possible funding and coordination with City.
  • John Lewis will contact Chris to re-iterate our support.


Respectfully submitted


Jon Ciambotti


Ride Reports: SERS

SERS: Hearthstone to Wolf Ridge

“Ride start is a steep and long climb, bring the big boy/girl pants and leave the complaining at home.”

-Hisersaurus Rex

And it did start steep, too. The push up Hearthstone had us mortals in the group on and off the bikes many times during the relentless grind required to the top. Near the ridge line, the trail was choked off with blackberry vines pretty badly. Much blood was drawn from the tough guys in shorts and short sleeves. We also put the handsaws in action, clearing several trees from the trail.

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Fall is in full swing in the George Washington National Forest. Enough leaves were on the ground in spots to hide the singletrack, but most leaves were still on the trees providing spectacular scenery along the ridge. Temps around 70 made for perfect riding weather. It was an absolutely perfect day to be out in the mountains on a bike.


Battle Damage!!!
Battle Damage!!!

Brandon joined us for his first ride on these trails since his Tillman West wreck last year. Early in the decent on Wolf is a set of large drops in rapid succession. Brandon is a superhero and charged at them full steam, getting a clean line off the first, squirrely on the second, poaching a third drop off the side of the trail, and then plowing headfirst into the ground. Scary moment, but he recovered quickly and got back on the bike to finish the ride. We later discovered he had taken a chunk out of the side of his helmet during the ordeal.

The rest of the downhill was a mix of rocky and not so rocky flow along the crest of the ridge. Flow sections were broken up with short, steep, technical climbs. These provided some welcome relief for hands permanently curled around the brake levers during 10-15 minute downhill sections.

At the bottom, the group split up with one half climbing to the top of Tillman West for a second session of downhill. The rest of us rode the gravel back to the cars.

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Trailwork Reports

Pleasant Grove Trail Work Day – September 27, 2014

On Saturday September 27th Jason Smith from Fluvanna County Parks and Recreation, Walter Hussey from theRivanna Chapter, Virginia Master Naturalists and David Wood, John Petrylak and Josh Wall from theCharlottesville Area Mountain Bike Club (CAMBC) participated in a trail work day at Pleasant Grove park inFluvanna County.

The work day was focused on moving a bridge back to its original position spanning a largeditch along the Heritage Trail. The bridge was built by a group of local Boy Scouts early in the spring and shortlyafter was washed down a creek and turned 180 degrees during a torrential rain storm. Luckily, the Scouts did agreat job building the bridge and it survived the trip down the flooded creek intact. In order to move the bridge back to the trail the work team used chains, rope, and a tractor to slowly pull the bridge along 2×10 skids. The whole operation took about 4 hours and the crew was done in time to enjoy the Fluvanna County Wine Festival that took place at Pleasant Grove that afternoon.

Archive Ride Reports: SERS

SERS: Whetstone

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New Trails Coming to the Belmont Area

The City of Charlottesville has just purchased a parcel of land in the Belmont area, near Quarry Park, and Moore’s Creek. The 32 acre purchase protects this land for future use by Charlottesville’s outdoors enthusiasts.  The trails may include some of the highest viewpoints in any of the city’s parks. CAMBC looks forward to working with the city to design and install mutipurpose trails. Watch for future updates.

We’d like to thank Chris Gensic, Charlottesville’s Park and Trails Planner for his hard work making this happen for the community.

[cryout-button-color url=”” color=”#47AFFF”]Link to the NBC 29 Story [/cryout-button-color]

[cryout-button-color url=”,-78.4805874,15z” color=”#47AFFF”]Google map of the approximate location[/cryout-button-color]

Meeting Notes

April 2014

CAMBC Meeting Minutes

April 21, 2014 (7:00PM – 9:00PM)

Meeting notes for April 21 club board meeting at Sam Linblom’s house.


Sam Linblom (President), Dave Stackhouse (Treasurer), Will Sanford (Officer), Ken Crawford (Secretary), Matt Jones (Board Member), John Lewis (Board Member), Jon Ciambotti (Board Member)

  • First Order of Business:

The board voted to fill the Treasurer vacancy created by the exit of Pam Crawford.  All present voted in David Stackhouse as Treasurer effective immediately.

Responsibilities include:

  1. Deposits
  2. Payables
  3. Balance Account
  4. Reports (Dave indicates current balance ~$21K)
  • Discussion around board member responsibilities and expectations.  Sam iterated that board members have a duty and a responsibility to the club and its activities.  Sam gave members an opportunity to step down or announce their intentions to shirk responsibilities.
  • Unfinished business:
    • Amend bi-laws to expand board members to 9 and notify/file SEC filings.  Ken to reach out to Al Inigo for legal input.
    • We need to author and post a CAMBC Mission/Vision Statement.
      • Jon C. has vision to ride unobstructed from Ragged Mountain to Nature Conservancy land.
    • Sales tax exemption has expired.  Stackhouse to file.
  • John Lewis volunteered to be Civi-CRM operator/owner
  • Statement that MOUs do expire.
  • iMatt:
    • Website hosting has switched to GoDaddy including updated calendar, trail maintenance notifications and RSS feeds.  Summer EPIC series now have some video feeds.
    • eWaiver is mandatory.  If you are over three months without signing eWaiver you are out.
    • Trailwork feed coming


  • Fundraising:
    • Friday After Five
      • One done
      • Second one pending
    • Vampire Weekend
    • Better World Betty/New Belgium
  • Recent joint CAMBC/RTF ride April 12th had 60+ volunteers working on route between Sandridge and Old Ivy.
  • Rides:
    • Rob Eastman to host beginner rides
    • Night Rides at Preddy possible
      • Pick a Wednesday 2nd/4th  of the month
        • Ken to lead and announce
        • No less than 3 windshield passes in the parking lot
          • Coordinate with Amy Smith of ACPR
  • OHill MOU – Waiting for Don Sungrew for email or formal agreement to enable CAMBC to take ownership of trail maintenance without need for prior permission for minor reroutes and chainsaw use up to 18”.
  • Azalea Pump Track – Needs champion.  Possible candidate is Chris Gensick (sp)
    • Could we submit a grant proposal for a pump track at Preddy?
  • Richmonds Pump Track:  (
  • Women’s ride:  With the absence of Carrie Hill Ken will approach Lynn to host the Preddy Women’s Ride.
  • MEMBERS MEETING PROPOSAL (3 summer potluck meetings): May 14 (McIntire) & June 25 (Darden Towe), August 06 (Penn)

Post current trail conditions!

Out scouting trails between rain storms this weekend? Help your fellow riders out by reporting problem conditions (or AWESOME conditions) to [cryout-button-color url=”” color=”#47AFFF”][/cryout-button-color]. The website will post the most informative submissions in the trail conditions box on the right side of the homepage. Trees down? Muddy trail need de-berming? Snap a picture with your smartphone and attach it to the email. Pictures will upload to the site to help guide the next trail work crew to the problem areas.

Keep an eye on the website for developing trail conditions as we all wait impatiently for March to finally dry out. Please remember to allow at least 24 hours for the trails to dry for each inch of rain (allow more time when it is cold out).