We’d like to wish everyone a Happy New Year and thank all who help us with the trails we support: members, sponsors, and all volunteers.
Without a doubt, weather has crushed the trails in Northwest NC this past year; floods, tornadoes, winds, and snow & ice have all played their part. Most of our areas are over 15 inches above normal on precipitation for the year. It has been challenging to say the least:
- Every trail system in Northwest NC with a closure policy is currently closed, including those that typically do well with wet weather such Zacks Fork which has had to close more than 10 times this year.
- After officially reopening all trails in May (after 6 months of closure due to tornado damage), Lake Hickory Trails have also closed often due to wet weather, and will need extensive work done on the pump track & jump line this spring.
- Today, the USGS gauge at Kerr Scott Reservoir is reporting a lake height of 1048 ft (above sea level). This is 18 feet higher than normal and covering some of the trails by over 15 feet! The lake has crested above 1040 ft SEVEN times this year, which is 3 more than the three previous years combined.
Kerr Scott and Cub Creek have both suffered massively from the recent blizzard which brought down many, many trees.
- Rocky Knob Park is currently closed and has been for most of December. Despite all the Rock, RKP has been closed many other times this year.
- The Grandfather District of Pisgah National Forest has had a historic number of flood events this year. Campgrounds were closed for many days over the summer. Some of the trails and roads have literally washed away!
- Lake James State Park recorded a record number of wet-weather closures in 2018 including more trail-saturating rain events than ever. Even the trail work days at LJSP have had to be shut down and rescheduled, twice.
Moving into 2019
Northwest NC trail systems will be dealing with the effects of 2018 for a while, but the Alliance is planning to help get everything in shape! We could use more help, so please consider volunteering on your local trail in your list of resolutions! We’ll be rolling out many opportunities for trail work on our calendar over the coming weeks, but we are starting right away this weekend at Lake James State Park. Sunshine is in the forecast!
Please be patient everyone. Great rides and good trail conditions will return. See you on the trails soon!