ACTION ALERT: NC Park Plan Request for Comment

From: Paul E.
Sent on: Tuesday, October 27, 2009 8:57 AM
Dear Fellow Mountain Biker:

In recent years, our mountain-bike access to private, city, and county lands has improved greatly. Unfortunately, we have not had the same success when trying to gain access to North Carolina?s state parks. With the exception of one (1) state park and one (1) state recreation area, mountain bikers are still excluded from single-track access to state lands.

That is why we need your help.

Right now, the North Carolina Park System is soliciting comments on the 2009 Systemwide Plan for North Carolina State Parks. This plan?s current draft under-represents the significant interest and activity related to off-road cycling in NC. I?m asking that you please take some time to review the current plan and submit comments that support greater off-road cycling access. Deadline for comments is Oct 31, 2009.

The current draft of the 2009 Systemwide Plan can be downloaded from:http://www.ncparks.gov/News/media_room/docs/2009_Syst_Plan.pdf

Your comments can be submitted by several methods:
Online: http://149.168.1.195/summit/sys_plan_comment.php
E-mail: [address removed]
Mail: Systemwide Plan Comments
NC Division of Parks and Recreation
1615 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC[masked]

Essentially, we need to ask the park advisory committee to revise the plan so that it better supports responsible off-road cycling access to NC state parks and other public lands. When writing your comments, here are some talking points to consider including:

  • Off-road cycling is a low-impact, human-powered, legitimate recreation group with more than 35 million annual U.S. participants (and growing).
  • The North Carolina mountain bike community is also growing.
  • Modern methods of building mountain bike trails?utilizing scientifically validated methods for controlling erosion?are sustainable with little maintenance and focus on minimal environmental impact.
  • The physical environmental impact of a mountain bike is no greater than that associated with hiking.
  • Mountain bike tourism contributes to the economic vitality of a community by boosting retail, restaurant, hotel, gas, and grocery sales. In fact, the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) has designated the Uwharrie area for development of a National Ride Center largely because of the economic value this venue will bring to the area.
  • A united trails community (one that includes mountain bicyclists and other trail groups) can be a powerful, effective voice for increased federal, state, and local recreational-trails funding.
  • Cyclists give back to their local trail systems by volunteering on public land, protecting the environment, and preserving open space.
  • North Carolina-based, IMBA-affiliated clubs currently maintain single track at city, county, and federal parks and forests. Yet only one NC state park currently has single track opened to mountain bikers (Lake Norman State Park).
    Off-road cycling is a great form of exercise and helps combat the societal trend toward obesity.
  • Bicycling helps reduce air pollution by getting people out of their cars and onto bikes.
  • Mountain bikers support a healthy environment and land protection through diverse land designations.
  • All of North Carolina?s bordering states allow mountain bike usage in state parks.
  • The majority of off-road cyclists are responsible, considerate riders.

Thank you for taking the time to help us gain greater access to North Carolina?s state parks. Because we don?t always have proper representation on the state?s park advisory committees, this is our chance to be heard. Every mountain biker who submits a comment is another voice telling our state government how important this is to our community.

Sincerely,

Paul Elliot
President

Triangle Off-Road Cyclists

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