Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Mountain Bike Trails Proposed for a Resurrected Blackburn Park in Dahlonega, Georgia Area

Blackburn Sign
A local riding buddy of mine just alerted me to the fact that the abandoned state park behind Blackburn Elementary school just southwest of Dahlonega is potentially going to be reborn by the county parks department, and that mountain biking is one of the possible uses being considered for the 192 acre park.

I've actually spent a little bit of time down there riding around on the abandoned roads, and have thought to myself: "man, these hills would be perfect for some mountain biking trails!"  After I started discussing this with a few people yesterday, I found out that there are already some trails down there, albeit in sub-par condition. And, it doesn't sound like they are very extensive at all.

If you want more information about the park and the direction it might be heading, check out this article from the local newspaper.

What's exactly going to happen with this area still hasn't been decided.  That's where we come in. Right now is the time for the public to comment on what they want to see happen and to do that, they've posted a public survey online for you to voice your opinion through.

I know that some of the readers of Greg Rides Trails are local to the Dahlonega area, and that many of you reside in the greater North Georgia area within easy driving distance of where this park will be located.

I exhort you all to participate in this survey, and stand up and be counted!
Oftentimes, the general public does not realize the sheer size of the cycling community because we're generally content to just do our own thing and enjoy the peace and quiet of the woods.  However, there is great potential here for new high-quality mountain biking opportunities in our region, and I suggest that we all take the very short amount of time required to simply fill out a survey and express our desire for such facilities!

Blackburn forest
The forest on the left side of this road is one edge of the land in question.

Vision for the Future
It's no secret that cycling, mountain biking included, brings serious tourism revenue to our local area. Georgia as a whole has embraced this reality especially when it comes to mountain biking, and it seems like new mountain biking trails are being added regularly all over the state. There's a reason the Georgia State Park system is so mountain biker friendly: mountain biking = $$.

In order to establish itself as a true mountain biking destination, the Dahlonega area sorely needs some beginner-friendly mountain bike trails to round out our singletrack offering. While experienced riders such as myself and most of you that read this blog enjoy the challenge of the Bull Mountain trails, there's no place closer than Gainesville to take riders who are true beginners, or who are even early intermediate level.  The climbs and technical challenge of the Bull / Jake mountain system are daunting for the uninitiated!

This potential trail system at Blackburn Park would be excellent for getting new people into the sport, and would also be an even more easily accessible option for current riders living in Dahlonega. In addition to offering beginner trails, this park could easily include intermediate and advanced trails in concentric loops like many of the popular trail systems here in the Southeast. 

If you can't tell, I'm excited about the possibilities!

It is voting day, so why don't you vote for mountain bikes: click here to vote!


Matt November 2, 2010 at 5:53 PM  

Blackburn Park could also be a better option for riders coming up from the Atlanta area to ride. Bull Mtn., Jake Mtn. and the Ranger camp are all at least 20 minutes past Dahlonega. A trail system south of Dahlonega and just off of 400 would be really appealing. Dahlonega may then not only attract weekend warriors from metro ATL but evening riders from metro ATL as well.

Greg Heil November 3, 2010 at 9:31 AM  

Hmm that's a very good point, Matt, thanks for sharing. There are many great reasons to develop this park with mountain biking in mind!

Christopher November 3, 2010 at 4:37 PM  

Greg, what can I do as a mountain biker to give my input even though I don't live in the area? I'd love to see more mountain bike friendly parks built for more options to ride at.

Greg Heil November 4, 2010 at 8:45 AM  

hey Christopher, So far the survey is the only thing that I know of to make a difference, but I'll definitely keep you (and everyone else) posted on how things progress!

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Greg Heil is the Editor in Chief for Singletracks.com. He's been writing and publishing online since before blogging existed.

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