RALEIGH -- Lake James State Park will open 15 miles of newly constructed mountain biking trails Saturday as part of the state parks system’s observance of National Trails Day, according to the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation.
A dedication ceremony will be at 9 a.m. at the Paddy’s Creek Area of the park in Burke County.
The project consists of a four-mile, beginner-level trail loop and an 11-mile intermediate loop as well as a parking area for 30 vehicles. It represents an investment of $210,000 from the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, the principal funding source for state park capital projects and land acquisition. The park’s staff and volunteers also contributed to the two-year project, including construction of three of four stream bridges by park maintenance mechanics.
“This mountain biking trail system is part of an expanding menu of recreation activities at Lake James, and through volunteer efforts, reflects the community’s commitment to this dynamic western state park,” said Carol Tingley, acting state parks director. “A 2005 master plan developed in concert with community partners’ lists trail systems for both hiking and mountain biking as priorities, and it’s gratifying to see this level of progress.”
The new trail system augments a swim beach, bathhouse, picnic areas, foot trails and a maintenance compound that have been opened at the park’s Paddy’s Creek Area since 2010. The newly developed access is on 2,915 acres that were acquired for the park in 2004 from Crescent Resources Inc., separate from the original 605-acre state park opened in 1987. The Paddy’s Creek Area encompasses more than 30 miles of shoreline on the 6,812-acre lake.
The Northwest North Carolina Mountain Bike Alliance will assist park staff in maintaining the new trails.
“We are looking forward to working with the park staff on keeping the trails in good shape and also planning for the future of mountain biking at Lake James,” said Paul Stahlschmidt, the organization’s president.
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