It was a great weekend in White Park for the Appalachian Bicycle Racing Association 2014 summer race! Below is a gallery of some of the photos taken over the weekend, including riders, pre-race trash pick-up and some of the signage that volunteers placed for notice of the race.
Also included here is a list of where race participants traveled from:
Pennsylvania - 45 Riders
New Jersey - 2 Riders
Ohio - 3 Riders
Oregon - 1 Rider
Virginia - 1 Rider
West Virginia - 20 Riders
The July meeting of the White Park Trail Advisory Committee synopsis is as follows:
Discussion was held regarding immediate needs, volunteer hours and future funding for improvements. There are a couple of immediate trail repair needs planned due to safety concerns.
1. Trail shift needed in an area where the trail passes too close to a bench.
2. Water issue on trail near overlook.
These are further detailed in a separate blog entry and will be attended to within the week by trail volunteers.
Within the remainder of the current season, committee volunteers will blaze the main trail loop and begin to remediate existing cutbacks and areas that are not part of the established trail.
The next meeting will be scheduled soon. Want to get involved? Email BOPARC at email@example.com.
In addition to the trail armoring and repair, volunteers will be attending to the following immediate needs of the White Park trail system:
1. Shifting a small turn in the trail away from a bench and seating area for safety purposes. The trail passes too close to the bench and the path of it will be redirected toward the already existing berm. This will alleviate concerns of safety for anyone seated at the bench area. The location of this work is on the Ice Arena side of the trail system, at the 1st entry into the wooded trail area.
2. Armoring and drainage assistance will be performed in the wet area on the way to the overlook. This will address safety and standing water concerns.
Preparation for the Appalachian Bicycle Racing Association annual White Park race began this week.
Small signs were placed at the major entrances into the woods. Those signs say "Bike Race Saturday 9 to 4" and are to help alert everyone of the event for safety purposes.
On race day there will be signs placed stating "Caution Bike Race in Progress".
Friday night (night before race) the course will be marked just before dark with paper arrow and barricade tape. The course marking will be completed early Saturday morning before the race begins. All arrow and tape will be removed at the end of racing on Saturday.
Important Race Day Information: Morgantown Police will close Mississippi From the Day Care to just past Pam Barry field from 9am until approximately 3:30im. EMS will be on site and course marshals will be used at the spots on the mountain bike trails that cross the gravel walking trails for safety.
Post By Scott Wilkinson
As we continue the process of improving the White Park trail system, differences of opinion have come up regarding how best to do this. These differences generally fall into two overlapping categories:
• Social/Ethical Differences (e.g. the extent to which pedestrians and cyclists do or don't get along and how each group perceives the other)
• Environmental Impact Differences (e.g. disagreement over the relative impacts of walking and cycling on the natural surroundings and concern over any impact whatsoever)
White Park has been used by both pedestrians and cyclists for many years. A dense network of trails has appeared over time outside the primary gravel walking paths. Many (if not all) of these trails were created by cyclists, then used by pedestrians.
With regard to social/ethical differences, we all live here together. And it goes without saying that respect for other trail users (whether walking or riding) is the right thing. Both pedestrians and cyclists value the park equally. Some pedestrians have had unpleasant experiences with cyclists and vice-versa. But it's obvious these incidents are the exception, not the rule. Most interactions between pedestrians and cyclists are polite.
With regard to environmental issues, a BOPARC committee is discussing several steps to minimize the impact of trails on the natural surroundings—and also to minimize negative impact on the trails themselves.
CLOSING UNNECESSARY TRAILS
There is a consensus among many cyclists who ride in White Park that some trails are excessive and should not have been created in the first place (e.g. shortcuts between more established trails, corner cutoffs, etc.) The BOPARC committee for White Park is considering the possibility of permanently closing some of these unnecessary trails.
It's worth noting that the seemingly random nature and number of White Park trails (created by cyclists) may be due in part to the lack of any official trail designation. In other words, when you don't tell riders where to go and where not to go, they'll go anywhere they want. This is an issue the BOPARC committee plans to address.
With regard to environmental impact, studies have shown three things:
1. The negative impact of a trail on its surroundings decreases from the moment the trail is created—regardless of how many people use the trail. In other words, it is not true that the more use a trail gets, the greater the impact on natural surroundings (assuming users remain on the trail).
2. Studies have shown there is little difference (if any at all) in the negative impacts to a trail surface (and its surroundings) between cycling and walking.
3. Damage from trail use is almost always greater when trails are wet. (Some well-established mountain bike trail systems, for example, prohibit all cycling when trails are wet.) Both pedestrians and cyclists can damage a trail equally right after a hard rain or snowmelt.
(For more on the above, see "Environmental Impacts of Mountain Biking" at https://www.imba.com/resources/research/trail-science/environmental-impacts-mountain-biking-science-review-and-best-practices - though this summary was written by mountain bikers, it is a well-balanced look at available studies.)
UNAVOIDABLE AND AVOIDABLE IMPACTS
Finally, environmental impacts fall into 2 categories:
Unavoidable impacts are those that result from establishing a trail in the first place: the initial clearing of vegetation and compaction of soil along the trail surface.
Avoidable impacts are those that can be controlled and mitigated, such as trail widening, erosion, and muddiness. Informal "social trails" (such as the shortcuts and cutoffs mentioned above) are also avoidable impacts.
The BOPARC committee suggests continuing work to lessen avoidable impacts on trails. In addition to closing unnecessary trails, a priority is controlling erosion and eliminating muddy/wet areas along trails by improving drainage and armoring short sections of trail with large, flat (natural) rocks. This benefits both pedestrians and cyclists.
FORMAL TRAIL DESIGNATION AND MARKING
Another goal of the BOPARC committee is to formally designate primary trails for cycling and mark these trails in a noticeable yet unobtrusive way. As mentioned above, this should help reduce avoidable impacts by keeping pedestrian and cycling traffic where it should be.
One possibility that has been implemented with success on many other trail systems is to establish multiple trail loops of varying difficulty, and mark them as beginner, intermediate, and advanced (similar to the way ski slopes are marked).
Most social/ethical friction between trail users comes from stereotyping users. For example, some pedestrians may believe that mountain bikers are all inconsiderate daredevil speed freaks with no regard for other trail users or the environment. In fact, many mountain bikers are avid environmentalists who are just as concerned about protecting the environment as anyone else.
Similarly, some mountain bikers may believe that pedestrians hate all cyclists and want to ban cycling in the park completely. In fact, a recent, informal poll on Facebook suggests that most residents of First Ward have no issue with mountain bikers at all.
Sure, there have a been a few incidents—but these incidents do not reflect a majority opinion, and are isolated cases of grumpy individuals on both sides.
YOUR OPINION MATTERS
As we continue to improve the trail system in White Park, we'd appreciate hearing what you think. Our goal is nothing less than a sustainable, multi-use trail system that accommodates all users and preserves the natural qualities of White Park that we all value. Feel free to leave your comments below.
Some photos of current volunteer work in White Park... Want to get involved? Email BOPARC at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Advisory Committee will be meeting on Wednesday, July 23rd at 6:00PM at the Marilla Center conference room. Current committee members should have received an email this evening. Please advise if you will be able to attend. Interested newbies are welcome! We will be discussing progress made on trail repairs, planning for future volunteer projects, clean-ups and current concerns between multi-use groups.
This blog is a cooperative effort by members of the White Park Trail Advisory Committee. Contact BOPARC at 304-296-8356 or email@example.com for information on how you can become involved in trail clean-up events, trail maintenance and the preservation of our community parks and trails.