Raven Rock steers toward mountain biking

Volunteers, directed by seasonal employee Joe Franks begin clearing a biking trail corridor.
Volunteers, directed by seasonal employee Joe Franks, begin clearing a biking trail corridor.

Raven Rock State Park in Harnett County will join our group of mountain biking destinations, with plans to build up to 20 miles of bike trails over the next several years. With a group of volunteers, the park launched the project Monday with a modest start at clearing brush from the first trail corridor.

“There is a lot of excitement from park visitors, volunteers and the local community about adding new mountain bicycle trails to the region,” said Superintendent Jeffrey Davidson. “It is proposed to have the first of three loops bike-ready in mid- to late 2015.”

The more people who get excited about the new trails and volunteer to help, the quicker the project will advance. The park plans a series of workdays. (The next is Sunday Jan. 25; click here for details.)

The park received two grants totaling $200,000 from the federal Recreational Trails Program to create a network of beginner, intermediate and advanced trail loops. The first step is to build the beginner loop, expected to cover about six miles. Hikers will be welcome on the new trails, as well. The trail network will be in the southeastern section of the park (Moccasin Branch area) with a trailhead near the picnic shelter.

Mountain biking trails are being added to several state parks in the system.
Mountain biking trails are being added to several state parks in the system.

Mountain biking is a booming outdoor sport, and the state parks system is adding trail networks in parks that can accommodate them. The largest network in the system is at Lake Norman State Park, where volunteers have created more than 30 miles of trails. Lake James State Park opened a 15-mile network in 2014.

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