SORBA Uwharrie is SORBA’s newest chapter, and it’s growing fast. Located in the heart of North Carolina’s Piedmont region, between Charlotte and Raleigh, Uwharrie is bursting with opportunity for mountain bikers, with the Uwharrie National Forest and 60 miles of trails currently open to mountain biking at its doorstep. Designated as one of IMBA’s first ride centers, the Uwharrie area is poised to become a great destination within reach of six million outdoor enthusiasts. Developing the ride center raises the economic outlook of the area, and adds to the choices outdoor enthusiasts have in the Southeast.
|The chapter is off to a good start, with leadership in place, and 50 members signed up. Brian Bristol is President, supported by Vice President Chris Green, Treasurer Travis Stewart, Secretary Lynda Campbell, and Trail Director Mark Hayes. Each of these leaders is an avid cyclist that is committed to expanding the sport and making Uwharrie a world-class mountain biking destination. Over the next year this group will build trails, improve existing trails, lead rides, train riders, forge community alliances, and raise money to make Uwharrie a mountain biking mecca of the Southeast.
The Uwharrie National Forest is a small (50,000 acres) forest, but rich in beauty and natural resources. Mountain bikers can currently ride 60 miles of trails that exist in two separate sections of the forest. Bikers head to Wood Run for fast rolling singletrack and to Badin Lake Recreation Area for primitive, technical all-mountain styled riding. Tree-lined trails surrounded by granite formations are a perfect playground for mountain bikers. The trails do need some work to make them sustainable, but the foundation for fun is already there.
The Uwharrie chapter’s first task, already underway, is to rework the Wood Run Trail System in the Uwharrie National Forest. This project brings together a strong coalition comprised of SORBA, the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), the Uwharrie National Forest staff, local trail user groups, Trek, Subaru, and local businesses. Wood Run is designed to be the model for sustainable trail design and construction for a large-scale, multi-year regional trail master plan and implementation project in the forest. So far, $100,000 has been raised towards the Wood Run project.
The trail work gets a kickoff with the IMBA/Subaru Trail Care Crew visiting in April for two weeks. Collins and Kelley Bishop will train trailworkers, meet with land managers, and oversee trail construction projects on these visits. You can join in and make a difference. Sign up for these trail weekends online.
The Uwharrie Mountains, America’s oldest, were once towering peaks, shooting 20,000 feet into the sky. Today these time-worn mountains are poised to hold one of the Southeast’s premier mountain biking destinations. SORBA Uwharrie has a lot of work ahead of them, and they are welcoming the challenge.