Your Help is Needed in Uwharrie National Forest |
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-19-2016, 02:18 PM Thread Starter
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Your Help is Needed in Uwharrie National Forest

I am writing to ask for your help with an important issue that effects anyone who enjoys the off highway vehicle trails in Uwharrie National Forest. I am the Media Director, Administrator for Friends of Uwharrie, a non-profit organization that helps facilitate volunteers and funding of this public trail system.

In the past few years leading to present day, we've seen a big rise in the number of ATV/Dirt bike riders on our trail system which is both a positive and a negative. Myself, I ride a Honda 250 and wheel full sized Land Cruisers on this trail system.

We are having problems with getting all user groups to respect the trail system and the rules that must be followed in order to keep this system open. As with Tellico Plains in Tennessee, our trail system is now in danger of closure due to environmental impact. I am asking you to educate your groups and clubs on trail etiquette, laws and the need to respect the trail.

We are having trouble making people stay on the designated routes and off of roadways unless licensed. Each time a barrier is breached, repairs are made and the damage around the barrier to the environment is studied by an archaeologist. With each breach, this system is getting closer to closure. I've created a brochure that explains the rules of this system, please email if you would like a copy. I tried posting and was unable to do so. A second resource that is a great tool is where riders can take an online awareness course for free. Please share this information with your riders. Together, we can keep this system open!

Please visit to follow current events and issues on this system or to volunteer.

Thank you for your time and effort,

Robin Touw, FOU Media/Admin

Last edited by Robtouw; 04-19-2016 at 02:22 PM.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-19-2016, 02:28 PM
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I think your asking the wrong group here ?, maybe I am wrong ?, but I see you going back out the front

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-19-2016, 03:12 PM
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Robin, Thank you for your letter (above). I am a moderator on this forum, and I am also a volunteer for the U.S. Forest Service. I help the U.S.F.S maintain over 100 miles of OHV trails in my area (Grand Lake, Colorado). I completely understand both your concerns and your goals. As you (and I) know well, asking the public to do their part to preserve both the trails and their privilege to use public lands has it's challenges. There are many people who very much enjoy the opportunities that they have to go into National Forests with OHV (Off Highway Vehicles) and those people also do all they can to help preserve and maintain the trails and environments that they travel in. Likewise, as with anything, there are a few who feel 'it is their right' to tear through the forests, spin their wheels and dig holes, fly through a pristine stream as fast as they can, and so on. Those people not only ruin opportunities for themselves, but for everyone. As you know, the U.S. Forest Service is not wealthy, and is not one of the Federal Agencies that gets great amounts of money. Therefore, when public lands are being torn up, the Forest Service, BLM and other governmental agencies mitigate the damage by simply closing lands and access to the public.
Now, I must say that in my area (near Rocky Mtn National Park) we have been very successful not only in maintaining trails, but keeping trails and areas open. Our greatest efforts go towards educating the public; letting them know where they can go, where they can't go, and what might happen to them (as well as to the trails they ride on), if they abuse their privileges. We are also very specific about our signage, so people will not have any difficulty determining if they should, or shouldn't be on a trail. In our area, our ATV trails are now strictly limited to 50 inch wide vehicles. Yes, that irritated a lot of people. BUT, the wear-and-tear on the trails was reduces significantly, and the trails are much easier to maintain and more enjoyable for those who use the trails. We engineer plenty of bends and turns into the trails so that people can not go fast. We intentionally create obstacles for people to climb over, (which most people enjoy) and it (again) keeps speeds down, which also preserves the trails. I work very hard to completely drain off any standing or running water on trails as water quickly erodes a trail and repair becomes extremely difficult. If trails go through a pristine meadow, we build a raised, 50 inch wide, boardwalk, across the meadow (we call it a turnpike), so that the vegetation won't be damaged. If a trail must cross a stream, I build a bridge across it. Most of all, when we work on the trails, we do it in such a way that the public sees us working. Therefore, they gain a much greater appreciation of what is done for their benefit. It is even amazing how many people ask if they can help us! I could go on and on, but this isn't the place to do it. If you would like more information, or would like to speak with me personally, please send me a Personal Message on this forum, and I will respond to you. Bottom line...... There is hope!
Best Regards, Kent

USFS Motorized Trail Maintenance Volunteer
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-19-2016, 05:06 PM

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Thanks for the heads up on Uwharrie . Me and a riding buddy were talking about going there this weekend for our 1st trip there . I'd hate to find a nice place to go, and then it close up the next year . I'll definetly look at your websites . Thank you for the work you do, and you as well Kentco .
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-19-2016, 05:55 PM
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far too many average riders DON"T care to do crap, till things get closed, and then all they do is about how its wrong something got closed
and sad part is FAR too many times, the reason places get closed id due to the riders that cannot follow simple rules, or respect the land they USE, they act like its a GOD given right to be able to ride where ever they feel like it, and could care less WHO own's it

so I feel your pains, here in PA< we lost SO many thousands of acres to once OPEN to ride places due to folks making there own trails, dumping trash and the worse, getting hurt and suing land owners, and sadly they win more times than they don'
t even when there 100% in the wrong trespassing??
ITS crazy

I wish you the best of luck, but I think FAR too many atv/ off roaders again are too ?? to care till its too late

ask them for fee's and they cry REALLY loud really fast, too!
or MOST do

gates and obstacles put in place here to KEEP folks out, just seem to make folks try harder to get past them, like its a challenge someone made at them, and there determined to get thru?? and keep on trespassing!!
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-20-2016, 12:51 PM
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Hawg and MRBB: Thank you for your kind and supportive words. You are correct that many people don't complain until it is too late. Likewise, I know, first hand, that when government employees decide to do something (like close a trail) it IS too late. The reason they are closing it is (most likely) because 'the damage has been done' and the Forest Service has determined that it is both easier and less costly to simply close the trail. I try hard to be both proactive and a nice guy at the same time (it's tough to do). When I see someone tearing up a trail, or (worse) going off-trail, I proactively try to let them know that THEY are closing the gates down on the trail. For the most part, I/we are very lucky in our area and the vast majority of riders are very respectful and careful. It even amazes me at how many people stop and ask if they can help me - as I'm working on a trail! But, there are a few, who make their exhausts louder (because it sounds cool and gives them .0001 more horsepower). There are those who insist on taking 4-person side-by-sides on a 50" ATV trail. Better yet, there are some who try to take full-sized pickups and 4 X 4's on ATV trails. If we catch those people, they risk VERY large fines and penalties (including jail time). (We catch about 4 or 5 of those people each year). Likewise, it is always the abusers who complain the most when a trail or area is shut down (go figure). The National Forests are no different than a Federally owned building or monument. People do not have a 'right' to do as they please, or to cause damage, including erosion on trails. My/our goal is to make as many trails accessible to the public as possible; (and not to shut trails down). Again, when trails are shut down, it is nearly always because: People thought it was fun(ny) to fly through a stream as fast as possible, make a mud hole even deeper and larger by hitting it as hard and fast as possible, spinning and sliding around corners, riding with loud, aftermarket exhausts, etc.
Last, but far from least, is the safety factor. The Federal Government is anal about safety! If they determine that anything is unsafe, they will shut it down. Unfortunately, there are people who believe that the safety warnings on ATV's and other OHV's don't apply to them. So, they ride 2-up when their ATV has warning stickers that say they shouldn't carry a passenger. Likewise, when they have an accident, the Forest Service also keeps track of that, and if there have been too many accidents (for any reason) on a trail, the trail could be shut down. Last summer, I had to call in a helicopter four times to evacuate people who were riding unsafely. Again, it is the people who say they have been riding since they were 4 years old and don't need to be told what to do, who have the accidents. It is not the Mom and Pop's who are going for a nice ride through the forest.
I'm taking the opportunity to say all this, simply because the originator of this thread took the time to talk about possible trail closures. Likewise, it is important to understand why trails are closed. Thanks for reading...

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