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.

Accomplishments Advocacy

IMBA Trail Care Crew Visits Charlottesville

IMG_20151017_104915Trails are one of the earliest and clearest markers of society, CAMBC president David Stackhouse reminds us. To move about efficiently, early humans created trails. Trails provide protection to our surrounding natural resources by concentrating travel patterns as we explore our world. And above all, trails unite communities.

Dave shared this message of unity to kick off a trail building workshop led by the International Mountain Bicycling Association’s Trail Care Crew. The attendees included mountain bikers, hikers, and trail runners from various areas of Virginia. Our IMBA Trail Care Crew leaders, Lani and Jordan reinforced this message as they discussed the impact of trail design on various trail use types. IMBA promotes mountain bike friendly trails, but the vast majority of their projects are shared-use; appropriate for biking, hiking, running, and often equestrian use. The goal of the day was to learn to build quality, sustainable trail, instead of just following the shortest path through the woods. “You are leaving a legacy”, Lani said of properly built trail.

Following the workshop, 30 volunteers worked on a new 800 foot section of Rivanna Trail behind UVA’s campus. This section of trail will reroute a 100 foot section of steeply sloping and unsustainable legacy trail. The new trail follows more closely to the contours of the hillside, and will handle water runoff much better than the legacy trail. The work site had many steep slopes to deal with, and where bench cuts were not enough to secure the trail, rock retaining walls were constructed. The crew of volunteers worked hard, and completed more than we had anticipated for the day. Remaining work includes connecting the ends of the trail to the existing trail, moving an existing bridge to a new stream crossing, and removing the legacy trail to encourage use of the new reroute.

It was a great honor to work with IMBA’s Trail Care Crew. It had been 12 years since their last visit to Charlottesville. We hope this visit will encourage our club and other local trail use communities to push for sustainable multi-use trail in our area. The knowledge this small group gained can be shared with thousands of other trail users. Special thanks to Lani and Jordan from IMBA, and Dave Stackhouse from CAMBC for hosting this event.12122687_618229088315802_3428516918974402531_n



  1. image4Fellow bikers,So many great biking activities going on right now with this beautiful autumn weather.  I hope that you will take the time to support the new City Parks and Rec “shared use” ordinance to allow a shared use trail system at Ragged Mt.   What can you do to support the Parks and Rec “shared use” ordinance?Please share and help spread the biking goodness.
  2. Vote for shared use:
  3. Contact your City Council to voice your support for the share use ordinance.  The Councilors really pay attention to these emails
    *Send a single email to all the City Councilors:*Send individual emails to the City Councilors:
  4. Show up at the public hearing on Monday October 19th. City Council Chambers, Second Floor City Hall on the downtown mall.Talking points:
    *Keep it simple.  “I support the City Parks and Recreation proposed ordinance to allow a “shared use” trail system at Ragged Mt Natural Area.”  Done and thank you.*Thank our City Councilors for all they do for bicycling in Charlottesville and making Charlottesville a “livable city”. These guys work pretty hard for us and rarely hear positive feedback.  Give them a big hug and kiss.

    *City of Charlottesville Parks and Recreation Mission Statement:  “To enhance the quality of life for all through the stewardship of public land and parks and to provide quality recreational experiences.”  Emphasis on “quality recreation experiences”

    *The bicycling community is happy to share trails and will work with Parks and Recreation to ensure that all users can have a positive experience at Ragged Mt.  The bicycle community promotes INCLUSIVE not EXCLUSIVE use of our City Parks.

    *CAMBC is fully committed to work with City Parks and Rec in building and maintaining a sustainable trail system at Ragged Mt. For example: February 14th: CAMBC worked with Parks and Rec to organize and host a trail work day at Ragged Mt. Over 40++ CAMBC volunteers spent a cold wintry morning building over 1 mile of sustainable bench cut trail at Ragged Mt.  In addition, CAMBC hired spent $3,000 on a professional mechanized trail builder at Ragged Mt last winter in cooperation with Parks and Rec to construct a mile of trail. All of this despite not having City approval to ride our bicycles on the trails. This shows our willingness to work with Parks and Rec and commit our resources to shared use sustainable trails at Ragged Mt.

    *City of Charlottesville Parks and Recreation hosted a public meeting on November 14, 2014. There were over 60 people in attendance with many more contributing comments on line. There was near 100% agreement to allow a shared use trail system at Ragged Mt.

    *Feel free to add your own personal anecdotes such as my kids like to ride bicycles on trails without getting run over by a car. Bicycling promotes a healthy life style etc. But PLEASE keep you comments POSITIVE.  This is not about bikers vs birders or bikers vs the rest of the world. (although sometimes it feels like it) This is about shared use and the bicycling community working with City Parks and Rec to accommodate all users to enjoy the Ragged Mt Natural Area.

    Thanks for your support

    Jon Ciambotti

Advocacy Community

Ragged Mountain Headed to City Council

In November of 2014, the City of Charlottesville held an open forum to discuss the trails at Ragged Mountain. Ragged Mountain was in the process of changing hands and coming under City management, and the issue of trail use was on the table. Roughly 100 citizens representing multiple public land use interests showed up. The overwhelming response was a resounding push for multi-use trails at Ragged.

RaggedSince then, CAMBC has begun working with the city of Charlottesville to begin planning and laying out trail. The club also hosted a two day engagement with professional trail builders to teach local trail builders how to install brand new trail at Ragged Mountain. Many people who have been involved in the public hearing and trail building events have asked why the “no biking” signs have remained onsite.

It is up to the community of trail users to push this over the goal line. City Council is set to take up this issue on Oct. 5th at 7:00PM and will consider some language designating these trails as multi-use.

12 speakers will be allowed to sign up at the beginning of the meeting and each has 3 minutes.  Then there may be time at the end of the meeting for more comments.  This is the first of two “readings” to allow City Council to gauge public support.  If the support outweighs opposition, then the Ragged Mt “shared use” rules tentatively may be approved at the next City Council meeting on October 19th.

Please come show your support for bicycling, trail running, and dog walking at Ragged Mountain. Opening these trails to all trail users helps keep up with the growing demand for outdoor experiences in Charlottesville. Shared use trails will also encourage numerous user groups to volunteer in trail building efforts. Moreover, designating these trails as multi-use brings the rules at Ragged Mountain in line with other city and county parks, which have proven popular among all trail users.

We thank everyone for their patience waiting for news at Ragged Mountain. We are pleased to say that our time has come, and we need to show City Council that CAMBC and our partner organizations are dedicated to public trail access. Join us Monday October 5th at 7PM and tell them we want Ragged Mountain.

Accomplishments Advocacy


61022_10152216207134189_2062430409_nO-Hill. It’s rocky, it’s steep, and it is as “in-town” as Charlottesville mountain biking gets. And now CAMBC can help maintain the trail network on O-Hill as well as some other UVA properties.

After 5 years of negotiating we’ve finally signed an MOU with UVA that allows us to build and maintain trails on undeveloped UVA property.  This is significant for several reasons.  First, UVA is the largest land owner in the City of Charlottesville and has the largest undeveloped land holdings in the City.  This leads to the second significance… there are existing primitive trails (single track) on much of UVA’s undeveloped land, including portions of the Rivanna Trail and the trails at Observatory Hill (a.k.a. Ohill).  These trails represent the bulk of single track available in the City of Charlottesville, and thus are very popular.  Many of the trails on Ohill have gone neglected for 5+ years, plus many were not originally created with sustainable design, so there has been considerable erosion on those trails.  This MOU will allow our club to take initiatives to re-route, restore, or otherwise improve the trail system on Ohill in the coming years.  Our first trail work day is slated for February 28 where we intend to do a minor re-route to correct an eroded and poorly designed section of the Rivanna Trail on Ohill.  This work day will be a joint effort between CAMBC and the Rivanna Trail Foundation.


CALL TO ACTION: Ragged Mountain Reservoir Area

RaggedCAMBC crew;

[cryout-button-color url=”” color=”#47AFFF”]see attached flyer[/cryout-button-color]

You’ve heard us talking about the huge opportunity that is the Ragged Mountain Reservoir property.  This is the land out reservoir road from Ohill, formally managed by the Ivy Creek Foundation.  Ivy Creek Foundation is no longer managing this property as of the completion of the new dam and reservoir.  The City of Charlottesville Parks and Recreation Department are hosting a public meeting this Wednesday, November 12, 6 pm at City Space on the downtown mall.  They are considering rule changes at Ragged Mountain, which could include, among other things, access for cycling.  As many of you already know, this property (and adjacent properties on the other side of interstate (linkable via existing tunnels)) represents one of the biggest forested and big mountain public land essentially IN TOWN.  Put simply, if we can advocate for and help build a system of shared use trails out there, it could easily result in many, many additional miles of singletrack, including big mountain riding, accessible right from town.  Heck, you can link to it from Ohill!  It’s easily the biggest terrain this side of the blue ridge mountains.


This is a call to action.  Please plan to attend the meeting.  The future uses of this property hinge on this and upcoming planning meetings.  CAMBC will play a major role here.  It is easily our top trail advocacy project.  YOU ARE CAMBC!  Come out and support additional trail access at Ragged Mountain.


I’m currently editing a letter that will go out, together, from the Rivanna Trails Foundation, Charlottesville Area Trail Runners, and CAMBC.  When we get it completed, I’ll send it out. It has our current talking points, tips on what you might consider saying at the meeting, etc.


If you have any questions about this exciting development, don’t hesitate to email or call me.



Sam Lindblom

CAMBC Board President



Advocacy Archive Community

Oct 25th. Take a Kid Mountain Biking!!!


Come out and support the next generation of ripper-snappers at Preddy Creek. We need club members there to lead rides, cheer the kids on, and show them real trail riding! This event is FREE!

If you have a moment to help up spread the word, please print this flyer and post publicly. We really hope for a big turnout this year! Take a Kid Mountain Biking Flyer

Advocacy Community

Tool Donation to RTF

RTF_Logo_Green_RoundThe Rivanna Trail Foundation is an important CAMBC partner, whose volunteers keep the RTF trail beautifully maintained. Recently, they had some tools stolen from their shed, severely limiting their ability to remove overgrowth from the trails, and keep the trail corridor open. Because of their dedication to local trails, and our ongoing partnership, CAMBC has donated $500 to the RTF to replace their stolen tools. Blue Ridge Cyclery has also provided a matching $500 donation as well.

Speaking on behalf of the CAMBC board, I am proud of our club and its members. It is your membership dollars, and volunteer hours that help us give back to the trails. Thank you for coming out to volunteer at club events like pouring beer at the Pavillion, Better World Betty Clips Festival, SM100 aid stations, and the XTerra. The club gets paid for it’s volunteers at these events, which lets us reinvest that money into making Charlottesville an awesome place to ride.


Advocacy Community

Bicycles: Commuting Here and Abroad (Virginia Festival of the Book)

(From Scott Paisley)

Hi All,

This coming Wednesday evening at 6pm the Virginia Festival of the Book presents Ralph Buehler, author of City Cycling and academic research papers such as “Making Cycling Irresistible.”  Ruth Stornetta of Bike Charlottesville and myself will be on the panel.

This is especially pertinent with the rapidly developing plans to re-design West Main Street and to design the new Belmont bridge, not to mention the city’s Strategic Investment Area of ‘south downtown’ and the city’s small area plans. The city has re-committed this year to the Complete Streets principles (you can find a link to this document on the city’s webpage or at, but how do we help insure that all of this community input and planning leads to real on the ground improvements for all members of the transportation mix?

I’m inviting people to the Festival of the Book to hear Ralph and moderator Suzanne Morse, and then to meet afterward to discuss how we can best work with the city to ensure the best results for these critical pieces of Charlottesville’s transportation mix.  Amanda Poncy and Jim Tolbert have arranged that we can have use of the City Council Chamber (site of the Ralph Buehler book event) until 10pm.  This is a great opportunity to hear/voice your concerns and hopes and to hear more about the ideas being presented and the timing of decisions/deadlines for input.  I would like to focus on West Main as this is the project on the fastest development track.  Hope to see you there!

Thanks! Scott Paisley

[cryout-button-light url=”″]Virginia Festival of the Book[/cryout-button-light]

[cryout-button-light url=””] Council adopts new ‘complete streets’ policy[/cryout-button-light]-Charlottesville Tomorrow

[cryout-button-light url=””]City of Charlottesville Agenda[/cryout-button-light]-Contains Complete Streets Plan

Advocacy Archive

Past and Ongoing Advocacy

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 Latest

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 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

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 CenterVirginia 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!