Bikes Belong

Last year, Boulder, CO based Bikes Belong, an organization devoted to putting more people on bikes more often, awarded Rocky Knob Park a $5000 grant. Bikes Belong recognized the importance of legal mountain bike trails in the Boone community and their grant helped leverage additional funds that led to the creation of the park.

This past week, Watauga County’s Outdoor Recreation Planner Eric Woolridge presented Bikes Belong with a plaque of appreciation from Rocky Knob Park. Without organizations like Bikes Belong, fewer bike opportunities would exist around the country. Thank you!

A New Day in Boone: Welcome to Rocky Knob Park

Michael Thomas tests a berm.

We broke ground at Rocky Knob Park less than a year ago. Today, we ride the first legal mountain bike trails in Watauga County. This significant moment has come about only due to a monumental effort.

Our hard-working volunteers have logged over 1500 hours and worked with the professional trail builders to complete the initial 1.6 mile loop. We’ve held 18 Dirty Thursdays, 2 Community Work Days, and numerous special work days to finish trail, build crib walls, bridges, alternate lines, and causeways.

We are grateful for the work of our volunteers and trail builders, the support of Watauga County Tourism Development Authority and Boone Area Cyclists, and the generosity of Boone Area businesses such as Boone Bike and Touring, Magic Cycles, Stick Boy, Ray’s Weather, Black Cat, Mast Store, Bald Guy Brew, Chick Fil’A, Jimmy Johns, Earth Fare, and many others. These trails have been a community effort. Thank you.

Come on out and sample a beginning of a new era in Boone. Stay tuned for more: we have big plans for the rest of the park.

See you on the trail.

Opening Day

On Sunday, May 1st at 2pm, Watauga County, Watauga County Tourism Development Authority (WCTDA), and Boone Area Cyclists (BAC) will host the official opening of Rocky Knob Park’s first 1.6 mile mountain biking trail. While a grand opening is being planned for later in the year with the completion of additional trails, this event is the culmination of 18 months of intensive, collaborative work among local government officials and engaged citizens. The county has secured $515,000 in grant funding for the 185-acre facility and Boone Area Cyclists have logged more than 1,500 volunteer hours. Currently, 6.5 miles of additional trails are under construction. With the opening of this first trail, the WCTDA expects to gauge user needs for future facility management.

Vicinity map

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Dirty Green Thursday

Come celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by getting a little dirty. With the time change, we will meet at 5:00 and work until 7:00-7:30. We have marked several areas for armoring and also need to remove all stobs from the first loop as well as continue corridor clearing on the Lower Knob Trail. Come on out. Bring a friend. If you can make it earlier or have other times available to work during the day, email me directly (jackson.kristian@gmail.com) and I’ll hook you up with some work.

Thanksgiving Break

Despite the best efforts of our legions of volunteers, we were not able to open the trail before Thanksgiving as hoped. While the first loop has been completed in terms of machine work and hand finishing, several special areas are still under construction:

  • The “Bridge Area” which is the north east corner close to 421 won’t yield passage quite yet. This area confounded us in the design phase due to the complex jumble of rocks and braided stream beds.  After numerous re-designs we settled on an alignment that would rely upon several boardwalks and causeways. We are about 90% complete with this 400 foot section. This might sound encouraging but it has taken over 5 weeks to get 90% done. The work has been difficult but rewarding and will result in a very memorable and enjoyable section of trail.
  • Seeps. The lower flanks of the mountain seep with springs. If you’ve walked the trail, you’ve seen these boggy area in the fresh cut trail. Yesterday, Moto Mike, Jay Womack, Bob Kariker and I began experimenting with solutions. We installed French Drains and conduit in strategic areas to see if this would solve the problem. If this works, we’ll be working on the remaining boggy areas with this technique.
  • Gravel. From the first mention of this word, hackles start to rise. Yes, we have been hauling tons of gravel. We have used a mix of crushed gravel and fines to lock in the rubble sections, the causeways, and the French Drains. The end result will be a sustainable trail that most cyclists will be able to ride.
  • Also please note that any trail work must be approved before conducted. Recently someone modified an optional feature that the trail crew had built. We had constructed the feature with a “qualifier” entrance to encourage only those with advanced skills to get on it; however, now the modified approach is much easier and could encourage someone without the appropriate skills to get in over their head. We are not against technical features at Rocky Knob. We will be creating a variety of experiences for trail users and if you have ideas for features or want to help build some, send me an email at jackson.kristian@gmail.com.

We do hope to be open soon after Thanksgiving Break. A special thanks is due to some folks that have put in a ton of work in the past few weeks:

  • Watauga High School’s Mountain Alliance
  • ASU’s Recreation Management Association
  • ASU’s Cycling Team
  • The Thursday Regulars
  • Bob Kariker, Michael Thomas, Andrew Mueller, Ross Landino, and Chris Curtin who practically live at Rocky Knob.

Milestone

Trail work is in full swing at the Knob. Several community groups have been working on hand build sections of trail, the interns and volunteers have been making boardwalks ready, the trail is nearly 1 mile complete, and mother nature is providing a brilliant backdrop. This weekend will mark our first community build day since the opening weekend. Come out and join us on Saturday, Oct 16th from 10:00 to 2:00 for some work. We will provide tools, some food and drink after, and a raffle. This event is being sponsored by the Boone Area Cyclists, Boone Bike and Touring, Magic Cycles, Bald Guy Brew, Black Cat, Sunrise Grill, Boone Take Out Express, and many others. Hope to see you there!