Brevard location changed – Workshops for NFsNC Non-Motorized Trails Strategy (Registration) / Asheville-area forest trails need support
Recent e-mail from NFS 01/04/2012
The intent of this initial workshop is to lay the foundation for this collaborative effort to identify long term needs for managing trails on the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests. Subsequent working meetings will address the details of specific trails. This effort will balance increasing interest expressed by trail users with declining federal financial and human resources and create recommendations leading to ecologically sustainable trail systems. Through an “all-lands” approach, we will identify opportunities to link lands and communities with and note existing recreation opportunities around adjacent national forest lands. This is a unique opportunity to collaborate on national lands management discussions.
The goals of the initial workshop:
- Offer an overview of the project and the current need for a trails strategy
- Provide an opportunity to understand diversity in and types of trail user groups
- As a group, identify opportunities to link lands and communities with and note existing recreation opportunities around adjacent national forest lands
- Identify key representatives to participate in the full collaborative process
- Determine next steps and meeting time preferences
- Please think about what are your favorite trails and why, to contribute to the group discussion on what makes a high quality trail experience.
- Please bring a copy of your group, business or other affiliation’s mission statement or the equivalent. Everyone will be included whether or not you are affiliated with a group.
- Please bring a coffee mug or water bottle. We will provide coffee and light snacks to help you through the evening hours.
For more information reference the website at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/nctrailstrategy
or contact Alice Cohen, Trails Strategy Facilitator, at email@example.com or 828-257-4258.
Please consider attending one or more of these workshops in January.
(PreRegistration is required dates at bottom)
These workshops will be the shaping of our trail access over the years to come.
Important documents to read over to get involved.
- Trail Strategy Invitation – click here
- Questions and Answers – Click here
- A Framework for Sustainable Recreation
- Trail Fundamentals and Trail Management Objectives
- Class registration – Click here
In 2012, trail enthusiasts and others with knowledge of non-motorized trails in North Carolina will have a chance to provide input on the US Forest Service trail planning process.
This effort, referred to as the Non-motorized Trails Strategy, gives partners the opportunity to identify sustainable trail systems in the four national forests.
A wide variety of partners and volunteers, many of whom have worked to enhance forest trails over the years, will have the opportunity to provide input in this transparent and inclusive process. Partnerships that promote nature-based tourism will also play a role in development of the Non-motorized Trails Strategy.
During work sessions held near the national forests in 2012, collaborators will:
- Share the types of trail experiences that are enjoyable to them.
- Identify a larger landscape and recreation context into which existing trails fit on national forest and non-forest lands.
- Identify how quality trail recreation will be sustainably and collaboratively managed.
The result will be a plan for a sustainable, quality trail system that:
- Offers a variety of high quality experiences for a variety of users.
- Is an ecologically sustainable system that reduces or avoids impacts to other resources.
- Provides an improved network of trails and trail complexes, including loops and connectors, to meet user interests.
- Informs the US Forest Service management process.
- Increases volunteer support in the management and sustainability of forest trail systems.
The NFsNC will be hosting a public workshop to be held at multiple locations around the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests in January 2012. The Croatan and Uwharrie National Forests processes will start in summer 2012. Registration is strongly recommended to assure adequate meeting space. See the registration form below for locations. Workshops will be held from 6:00-9:00 p.m. to accommodate participant/volunteer work schedules.
The initial workshops will include:
- Overview of the effort
- Opportunity to understand other groups’ interests regarding trails
- Time to identify existing opportunities, with a focus on the area in and around the meeting location, but including the larger forest areas
- Identifying key representatives to participate in the full collaborative process
- Determining next steps and meeting times.
Initial Workshop Dates:
(snow date Jan.12)
|Cooperative Extension Building
130 Ammons Dr., Suite 2,
(snow date Jan.17)
|Andrews Community Center
54 Park St., Andrews, NC
|Mars Hill||Jan. 19
(snow date Jan.23)
|Peterson Conference Room, Mars Hill College
Mars Hill, NC
(snow date Jan.31)
|Macon County Community Facilities Bldg.
1288 Georgia Rd, Franklin, NC
(snow date Feb.2)
BREVARD COMMUNITY CHURCH
Article from the Citizen Times
Click here for Article
Asheville-area forest trails need support
Do you love your local Forest Service trails? Apparently there are some 5 million visitors who do.
With an ever-increasing fan base using the 1,600 miles of trails on the four national forests across North Carolina, but no more federal dollars to maintain them, the Forest Service is launching an initiative to bring together trail users to develop a long-term trail management plan.
The agency also wants to recruit more volunteers.
The initiative, known as the Non-Motorized Trails Strategy, will get under way with a series of public workshops starting in January.
“We’ve had a backlog of maintenance needs and an increase in recreation,” said Alice Cohen, trails strategy facilitator with the Forest Service.
“We need to collaborate more, get more volunteers to help with trail maintenance and make sure the natural resource is protected in the process.”
The National Forests in North Carolina manages four national forests — the Nantahala, Pisgah, Uwharrie and Croatan. The four forests comprise 1.25 million acres of public lands, making them some of the most visited forests in the country.
Most of that land lies in the Pisgah and Nantahala forests in Western North Carolina, together making up about 1 million acres and the majority of trail miles, Cohen said.
But Forest Service staffing — one recreation manager and one part-time recreation coordinator for each of the seven districts statewide — is not keeping pace with the amount of land to be maintained. This is where the public’s help is needed, Cohen said.
The Forest Service will hold public workshops for Pisgah and Nantahala trails and is asking representatives to attend from a wide range of trail-user groups, such as local communities and ecotourism, hiking and mountain biking clubs, equestrian groups, elected officials or any interested member of the public, she said.
“This is a working group,” Cohen said. “We need people to roll up their sleeves, look at the conditions of the trails and increase the quality of the trail experience. It will take up to a year. It’s a collaborative effort.”
A 2008 Forest Service recreation user study found that the great majority of trail users are hikers, Cohen said, followed by mountain bikers, equestrians and then a variety of uses including birdwatching, fishing, hunting and rock climbing.
BJ Moretz, a member of the Blue Ridge Horsemen’s Association, said the group, which helps to maintain equestrian trails across the state, will send a representative to the trail strategy workshops.
“Most of the trails we use are in pretty good shape, but some could use re-routing and some should be closed altogether because they’re too steep and the water running off is eroding them,” Moretz said.
“I think (the workshop strategy) is a great idea. It will get everybody on the same page and working together, forming bonds with some new people. It will also help in building trails to the same standards.”
Stuart English, spokesman for the Carolina Mountain Club, the region’s largest hiking club with some 1,000 members, said he also expects the group will participate.
“I like the idea that the Forest Service is going to work with us,” English said. “It seems like a positive thing.”
The club has between 70-80 dedicated trail maintainers who volunteer their time to maintain 130 miles of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail and 92 miles of the Appalachian Trail in WNC.
“If they are expecting more out of volunteers, then they should be working with us,” he said.
The result of the Trails Strategy should be recommendations for a comprehensive trail management plan for each national forest in North Carolina, along with a stronger community of volunteers, Cohen said. The agency will use information generated for the Nantahala/Pisgah National Forests Management Plan revision slated to start in 2013.
“We’re looking forward to working with our partners,” Cohen said. “Our ultimate goal is to come up with recommendations for trail management into the future, and to increase out volunteer support and collaborative network.”