Why is this project necessary? Heavy trail use, unsustainable grades and heavy precipitation have caused severe erosion to this section of the current Black Mountain trail. Without significant and costly rehabilitation, the trail corridor will continue to widen, erode, and create conditions which are not sustainable to be managed by the land manager, the US Forest Service.
Who are the groups behind this project? This project is a cooperative effort between the USFS, The State of North Carolina and Pisgah Area SORBA.
What is the length of the Re-Route? 3.6 miles
How much of the existing trail is being decommissioned? 2.2 miles: The section between Turkey Pen Gap and the switchback above Lower Black.
What is the total project cost? $125,000
When will this be built? The project will begin in Spring 2021 and will be completed by Fall 2021.
Who is the trail contractor? Chris ‘Shrimper’ Khare will be managing the project through Singletrack Trails, LLC.
Project History & Need:
The 2013 Trails Strategy Process for the Pisgah & Nantahala National Forests deemed that a relocation was needed for portions of the Black Mountain Trail. After dozens of waterbars have failed, the trail has become entrenched, and water now becomes trapped within the tread for hundreds of vertical feet with no good way to drain. The 2018 Pisgah Ranger District Recreation Project identified many new trail projects on the district, including this re-route for portions of the Black Mountain Trail. Multiple public input sessions were held, and mail-in and online comments were accepted. On-site meetings were held to evaluate if there were options for fixing the current trail without changing the alignment. Trail crew leaders and trail builders attended these meetings, and the verdict was that certain portions of the trail needed to be relocated off of the ridgeline and to the sidehill where it could drain properly. Pisgah Area SORBA and the USFS sought and received a North Carolina Recreational Trails Program grant to build the new trail, ensuring that the Black Mountain Trail would not be entirely closed.
The new trail will be constructed as a single lane, USFS Trail Class 2 hiking/biking trail (double lane where appropriate) under the USFS Trail Specifications for Construction of Trails on Forest Service Projects. Within those specifications, the desired character is for a relatively narrow, rocky trail, with several challenging rock and log features, able to sustain heavy use and weather.
Who is Paying for This?
Pisgah Area SORBA was awarded a North Carolina Recreational Trails Program (RTP) grant to fund construction of the new trail. The Pisgah Conservancy has generously covered the cost of NEPA environmental studies, and Pisgah Area SORBA will be contributing volunteer labor and equipment. Pisgah Area SORBA has also organized several fundraising campaigns to support this project and other trail stewardship across the region. See below for how you can help.
Singletrack Trails has been selected by Pisgah Area SORBA as the contractor for the Black Mountain Re-route. The project will be lead by local professional trail builder Chris ‘Shrimper’ Khare. The contractor was selected because of their ability to meet the schedule, budget and character of the proposed trail, while having a proven track record of successful work completed within the Pisgah Ranger District.
Driven by the desire to protect natural resources while providing better experiences for recreating outdoors, Singletrack Trails has designed and constructed over 1000 miles of sustainable, shared-use trails across the United States. An active member of the Professional TrailBuilders Association, they are an industry leader in shared-use trail planning, design, and construction.