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Uwharrie Phase One Grand Opening Set for November 12

Mountain bikers and outdoor enthusiasts have patiently awaited new, purpose-built singletrack trails at Uwharrie National Forest in Montgomery County, North Carolina. The International Mountain Bicycling Association-Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association's (IMBA-SORBA) Tarheel TrailBlazers are pleased to announce that Phase I of the Wood Run Area Trails expansion and improvement project will be completed by October 15, 2011, and a Grand Opening celebration will be held on November 12. This project encompasses work on  Wood Run Road Trail,  Supertree Trail, and Keyauwee Trail. The festivities commence at the Wood Run Area trailhead at noon, and include a ribbon cutting, trail rides, games, and food. The Wood Run Area trailhead is located on NC 24/27 between Albemarle and Troy,  two miles east of the bridges over Lake Tillery / Pee Dee River.

Phase 1 at Wood Run Area, which begain in 2009, is extensive,  including design and construction. The project is comprised of 6 miles of new singletrack, and includes ½ mile of road-to-trail conversion, rehabilitation of existing unsustainable trail, installation of approximately 20 rolling grade dips on the Supertree Trail, 2,300 square feet of rock armoring, construction of rock retaining walls, at least a dozen in-sloped switchbacks and turns, and over 25 rolling grade dips on the KeyauweeTrail. The new trail and upgrades should be really sweet, and the rehabbing will make some of the existing trail much more sustainable. Although these trails are designed and built to be attractive to mountain bikers, they are open to other recreational users, such as hikers and trail runners.

Trail Dynamics, based in Cedar Mountain, NC, has contracted to complete Phase 1 construction between September and October 2011. When you're out there riding, be on the lookout for Ed Sutton and his trail construction crew, and stop and say hello when you see them!

Tom Sauret, Executive Director of IMBA-SORBA said “Several years ago, the International Mountain Biking Association identified the Uwharrie National Forest as having great potential to be a ‘Ride Center’, including an extensive array of mountain bike trails that would create a regional destination for mountain bikers as well as local riding enthusiasts. Phase 1 is just the beginning, but it's an important milestone in the enhancement of mountain biking in the Uwharrie National Forest and the surrounding area."

Funding for Phase 1 came from a Recreational Trails Program grant and a matching donation from First Bank in Albemarle. The community is solidly behind this project, and additional contributions from Uwharrie Capital, Montgomery County Tourism Development Authority, The Rotary Club, Tarheel Trailblazers, and many individual donors attest to their support.

The history of the Uwharrie Ride Center Project stems from over a decade worth of conceptual ideas on how to best use the region's natural resources for quality recreation and economic growth. Central Park NC, as the region is known, initially adopted the idea of a Uwharrie Cycling Center over a decade ago, and that concept eventually attracted another 501c3 non-profit organization, IMBA, and their regional division, SORBA.  The region of Uwharrie met the qualities IMBA recognized as an ideal destination for their new Ride Center Initiative. Thus a project was formed and given traction through industry funding, state and federal grants and most importantly local support!