First county mountain biking trail nears completion

Organizers hosting one more big volunteer work day Saturday
Jul. 12, 2014 @ 07:17 AM

On weekends for about the past six months, volunteers have been making their way to Zacks Fork Road in Lenoir, hauling shovels and picks and rakes in the woods, working to create a first for Caldwell County — a trail built specifically for mountain-biking.

The Zacks Fork Mountain Bike Trail, a beginner-level loop route between Zacks Fork Road and Jim Barger Drive, is the brainchild of Luna Cycles owners Shawn Moore and Jeff Welch, who have been trying to make the trail a reality for years.

More than 1,000 volunteer hours, $35,000 and years of work are getting painfully close to a completed trial, and this weekend there will be a big work day to try to gather more volunteers and take a big chunk out of the work still left to be done.

“It’s been going great, we’ve been making good progress,” Moore said. “We’d love to have more volunteers.”

Currently there are two miles of bike-ready trail completed, and the other mile and a quarter of trail has been rough-cut. Once the two are joined, which Moore said will happen soon, the trail will be complete.

Volunteers are encouraged to bring their bikes to the trail, which is open for riding and is free, but Moore stressed the importance of wearing a helmet.

Work starts at 9 a.m. on Saturday. Moore said anyone willing to help could just bring gloves and water.

Directions, tools and instruction on how to use them will be provided, and volunteers will be treated to lunch by the Lenoir Grill and Brew Club.

Moore said the trail fills a gap in Caldwell County, a place rich in potential for mountain biking. Moore described Lenoir as the center of an area rich with mountain biking opportunities, but having none of its own, like a doughnut hole.

For example, Lake James State Park recently opened about 14 miles of new mountain bike trails, yet that’s still a considerable drive, while the Zacks Fork trail is accessible from the Lenoir Greenway.

Opportunities for more trails are in the works, too, with a “tremendous swelling of interest and people being excited about (mountain biking),” Moore said, saying the Zacks Fork Trail could serve as a “stepping stone.”

And once that stone is in place, it’s time for the next.

For more information on the trail or the work day, visit www.facebook.com/zacksforkmtbtrail.