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News Release  » 

Beverly Eaves Perdue, Governor Dee Freeman, Secretary
N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Release: Immediate Contact: Charlie Peek
Date: 2012-01-04 Phone: (919) 715-8709

Equestrian Trails at Morrow Mountain State Park to Close for Construction

RALEIGH -- Morrow Mountain State Park will close its equestrian trails for several months in 2012 to allow for rehabilitation of hazardous trail sections, and the park will implement an inclement weather closure system for its 16-mile equestrian trail network upon completion of the project, according to the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation.

Three sections of bridle trail totaling nearly two miles ? that are unstable and cannot be properly maintained ? will be rerouted, and 0.87 miles of trail will be added. Also, two trailheads will be consolidated into one trail access point for all equestrians. Construction may begin as early as mid-February. Morrow Mountain State Park is in Stanly County.

The trail network will remain closed during construction and for several weeks afterward, depending on weather conditions, so that the trail surface can properly compact and harden.

Under a new inclement weather closure system, the bridle trail network will be closed during rain and snow events and will remain closed following inclement weather until park staff can determine that use will not damage the trail surface or the park?s natural resources. Trails may also be closed on short notice for repair and maintenance. Notice of trail status will be posted on the Morrow Mountain State Park page of the division?s website, www.ncparks.gov.

Temporary closures for equestrian and mountain biking trails are an evolving management practice designed to protect natural resources and reduce the cost of long-term trail maintenance. The technique is being implemented at several state parks. Decisions on closing and reopening trails are made by park staff based on local conditions.

?We realize that there is more demand than ever for equestrian opportunities, so taking good care of the facilities we have in the state parks is critical,? said Park Superintendent Jason Gwinn. ?We want to partner with the equestrian community to keep our trails in good shape and sustainable over time in order to protect this recreation resource.?

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