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Gabby Romano, a senior at Appalachian State University, takes on the trails at China Creek in Blowing Rock. Photo submitted



Originally published: 2014-05-07 01:12:44
Last modified: 2014-05-07 14:28:00

Voting under way for bike park

The region is starting to become quite the biking center, with plans of another mountain biking park on the way in the area.

The Doe Mountain Recreation Area in Mountain City, Tenn., has been selected as a Top 12 finalist for a Bell Built Grant offered by Bell Helmets and the International Mountain Bike Association.

Bell Helmets will be giving away $100,000 for building three mountain bike facility projects across the country.

The Northwest North Carolina Mountain Bike Alliance has partnered with primary Bell Built applicant and neighboring IMBA Chapter, SORBA Tri-Cities, to bring destination quality mountain biking the Tri-State area.

 "Doe Mountain is a special opportunity," Paul Stahlschmidt, Alliance president, said. "Through our partnership with SORBA Tri-Cities, we plan to help bring an epic facility to the area."

Grant funding will be awarded to three projects receiving the most online votes from the general public during the specified voting period.
 
Voting for the three East Coast region projects will take place May 5 through 18.

"Funding is always an issue with a project of this magnitude," Stahlschmidt said. "Winning this grant will make these trails happen a lot faster. The trails will be built regardless, but we have a major opportunity right in front of us with this competition."

Doe Mountain is an 8,600-acre tract of land that is managed by the Doe Mountain Recreation Authority. The mountain is home to outdoor recreational opportunities that will soon include mountain biking. The trails will provide opportunities for mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding and all-terrain vehicles.

"The nicest part about the mountain is the variety of terrain," Stahlschmidt said. "The terrain is conclusive for all levels of cyclists. The park will include trails suitable for beginners and advanced cyclists."

The Doe Mountain trails will eventually offer visitors up to 40 miles of dual-use trails, adding to the area's vast majority of mountain biking opportunities.

Mountain biking facilities in this area have continued to grow, with Doe Mountain biking on the way in Mountain City.

"The High Country hasn't always been the biking center it now is," Stahlschmidt said. "The growth of parks in this area has made Boone the centerpoint where people can stay and hit all of the great parks in the area. Soon, Doe Mountain will be part of the great mountain biking mecca."

The High Country has experienced continual growth of mountain biking opportunities during the years. Boone's Rocky Knob Mountain Biking Park opened in 2011 with five trails and eight miles of riding.

Velo Magazine named Rocky Knob one of the country's "Ultimate Ride Hotspots."

In 2011, the town of Beech Mountain opened the Emerald Outback trail system with eight miles of trails at mile high elevations.

Sugar Mountain also offers an extensive mountain biking trail network from July through early September. Chairlift rides give cyclists and their mountain bikes a lift to the top for exciting rides from the summit.

Some more mountain biking opportunities can be found along the scenic shores of W. Kerr Scott Reservoir in Wilkesboro. The lake is home to more than 35 miles of trails, with more under construction.

With the vast array of mountain biking opportunities, no wonder "mountain" and "biking" go together so well in the Boone area.

 "Funding brings resources faster," Stahlschmidt said. "This is such a huge opportunity for immediate funding."

Voting for Doe Mountain funding is going on now. Be sure to visit http://www.bellhelmets.com/bellbuilt and vote to help bring another mountain biking park to the area, he said.