Several local and regional outdoor organizations have worked closely with the Pisgah Ranger District of the U.S. Forest Service to unveil Project 2018. The project will add new backcountry mountain biking loops and a hiking/biking path to a popular trailhead, and it will also upgrade and reroute unsustainable trails. Much of the trail work will be done not by the Forest Service, but by volunteers from outdoor organizations like the Southern Off-Road Bicycle Coalition (SORBA).
The money for it is already lined up—a $55,000 grant from a funding pool created by a gas tax on off-road vehicles secured by the Pisgah Area SORBA chapter.
“It’s huge trail loop,” said Jeff Keener, the group’s president. The grant is not enough to complete the project, which is expected to cost about twice as much as the grant amount, but it is enough to get the work started, hopefully early next year. And the group expects to be able to raise money to complete it as well as at least two other of the trail improvements that are part of Project 2018.
Such progress is possible, Keener said, because of the outreach and flexibility of district rangers like Dave Casey, who recognize the value of recreation to the region and the forest.