Archives for: October 2009, 14
Joanna Padgett-Atkisson details for Dirt Rag, the mountain bike forum, the seven-years-plus effort she led to construct nearly 15 miles of biking trails at the Jackrabbit Mountain day use area near Hayesville in the Nantahala National Forest.
"It began in early 2001, when I was approached by the administration of the Clay County School system (where I am employed as School Nurse) who knew of my love of cycling. They asked if I would be interested in helping to coordinate a mountain bike component for a newly formed after-school and summer program for middle school students, called Pathways. ...
"In late 2002 I began making inquiries to the Tennessee Valley Authority and the U.S. Forest Service, Tusquittee Ranger District, about gaining access to public lands for the purpose of building trails. It was readily evident that this project would take a collaborative effort between committed organizations that share common goals — promoting mountain biking not only for our community but for the whole region, to help promote environmental conservation and 'green' tourism."
And the result: "Its stacked-loop design helped meet the goal of creating a trail system that appeals to all skill levels. For starters, the all-access Central Loop is family-friendly with a perfect length of 3.1 miles. In contrast, the one-mile High Point trail has a 75-foot rock crossing, elevated ladder bridge, steep inclines and descents to create a challenge for advanced riders. Most trails are fast and furious, with bermed turns, dirt jumps and whoop-de-dos. Others, such as SABA Beach, are tight and twisty. Jackrabbit offers great lake views [of Lake Chatuge] while meandering through the woods alongside stately oaks and a multitude of flora and fauna."
A connector trial to Jackrabbit Mountain Campground is in the planning stages, Padgett-Atkisson says.
"As popular as the trails have been to mountain bikers, they are equally popular among those traveling by foot. Not only does the local hiking club (Mountain High Hikers) schedule routine hikes at Jackrabbit, but they are widely used for trail runs by individuals and school cross country teams. SABA [Southern Appalachian Bicycling Association] would like to continue to enhance trail access, promote environmental education and inspire conservation. Plants of interest have been identified and marked with the goal of creating signs containing this information."