We recently teamed up with our friends from Crankjoy to adopt the highly popular and well known Black Mountain Trail in Pisgah National Forest through the new Adopt-a-Trail program from Pisgah Area Sorba. Not only do our trails need funding for larger-scale projects, but they also need regular maintenance and care. Before we get too much into that, let's talk some specifics on Pisgah.
Pisgah National Forest is big...really big. It spans over much of Western North Carolina with 500,000 acres and 400+ miles of trails (and that's just singletrack trail open to mountain bikes, by the way). Cognative MTB is based out of Hendersonville, NC, located right next to Brevard, NC, which is the gateway to some of the best trails in Pisgah.
Pisgah National Forest is broken up into three districts. The Ranger District is in our backyard and spans from Brevard to Asheville. We have roughly 180 miles in this section, which the volunteers from Pisgah Area Sorba are responsible for.
(Ever wonder how those downed trees disappear from the trail? Thank one of the many volunteers that keep them clear!)
In addition to increased traffic on the trails every year, we get a lot of rain. The Brevard area ranked the second-highest annual rainfall concentration in the US, coming in behind the Pacific Northwest. This part of Appalachia is a temperate rain forest, averaging upwards of 90" of rain per year (Now you know why we have an abundance of amazing waterfalls and why our trails are so steep and rugged). In 2018, we had record rainfall with totals reaching 140" in some places.
All of these factors create a need for increased maintenance and long term planning for our trails. From corridor trimming to drain clearing and shaping, there's always work to be done. One of the highest priorities for any sustainable trail is to get the water off the trail as quickly and efficiently as possible. This type of work is almost always done by hand. Considering our trails are quite remote, it creates another challenge to get the work crews and tools to any trouble spots in a timely manner.
(Pisgah gets its gnarly reputation honest due to the large rainfall amounts and steep terrain)
Black Mountain Trail is hands down one of our favorite trails to ride. Seeing the need to keep this gem maintained and taking all of the factors above into consideration, we decided to team up with Crankjoy and step up together through the new Pisgah Area Sorba trail adoption program to care for it. The bottom line here is simple: the National Forest Service doesn't have the budget or resources to maintain our trails. If a trail becomes an issue due to continued erosion or pollution of streams and creeks below with silt, they close it down. There is no plan B.
(Pisgah Area Sorba trail crew leader training)
Trail adoption isn't about "us" doing all the work. It's about working together with the community to identify and organize the work that needs to be done. Stay tuned for our next blog with more information about trail adoption and updates on Black Mountain Trail. Want to get involved? Follow the Pisgah Area Sorba Facebook page and look for upcoming workdays. We'll be organizing workdays every 2nd and 4th Tuesday evening.
See you out on the trails soon!
Cognative MTB (Founder)