AP NEWS

Reserve opens 35-mile bike trail network to area riders in offseason

December 17, 2018

Area mountain bikers will soon be able to ride the Summit-Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve’s 35-mile network of mountain bike trails, as well as a dual-slalom course, a skills park and a dirt-jump learning zone, during the months the Reserve is not being used for Scouting encampments.

An agreement worked out by Summit-Bechtel and the New River Gorge Travel Alliance allows area mountain bikers to ride new trails and learn new skills on the Scout Reserve, while the Scout Reserve gets help with trail maintenance from late October to late April.

“To stay in good shape, bike trails need to be ridden year-round,” said Phil Waidner, a New River Gorge Trail Alliance board member.

By allowing the public to come in and ride the trails, the Summit gets help with its trail maintenance, Waidner said. At the same time, “mountain bike riders get a chance to experience some awesome flow trails, dual-slalom courses, a skills park, a dirt-jump learning area and multiple pump tracks that aren’t really available anywhere else in our area.”

Pump tracks are dirt trail loops designed to be ridden without having to pedal. Riders maintain speed by creating thrust as they ride over bumps and carom off berms and other track features. Five pump tracks are available at the BSA facility.

Membership in the New River Gorge Trail Alliance is mandatory for members of the public to ride the Summit Bechtel Reserve’s trail system. A $15 yearly membership fee is required for individuals, while family memberships are $25.

The BSA facility’s trail system is generally available to the public from late April through late October. But riders are urged to check the calendar on the New River Gorge Trail Alliance’s website, www.nrgta.org, before heading out to the Summit-Bechtel trails, to make sure the trails are not in use by Scouting groups.

The New River Gorge Trail Alliance is a nonprofit organization promoting the health and well-being of the area by building and maintaining a regional trail system.

Reach Rick Steelhammer at rsteelhammer@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-5169 or follow @rsteelhammer on Twitter.