Seeking the Mountain Biking Gold

On 11/30/23 we talked with Charles Evans, who introduces himself to our listeners, and talks about his duties as the CVB’s Trails Maintenance Coordinator.

“My name is Charles Evans, I am the Trails Maintenance Coordinator for the Pocahontas County CVB, as well as in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, Snowshoe, WV University, Pocahontas Trails, and a number of stakeholders that all come together to make up the Snowshoe Highlands Area Recreation Collaborative. Essentially what we do is address deferred maintenance in the county and surrounding area -anything that’s in the Ride Center, so that’s Pocahontas County, Randolph County, a little bit of Nicholas County and a little bit of Webster (connected to) the Cranberry Wilderness.”

“We just started here in July, I started in July, and then we just hired two new trail crew leads. We have Zen Clement and C.J. Peterson. Just super thrilled to have them on board, because, I have done a lot of trail-work in my day, but just watching them work, and the skills they bring to the table, they are not only athletes, but they are artists too. So (I am) just absolutely thrilled to work with them.”

“My background is in Natural Resource Management and Forestry. I’m a West Virginia native and really enjoying the job so far.”

Are you paid by the CVB?

“Yes, so we are a fiscal agent of the CVB and the CVB is the fiscal agent for this Great American Outdoors (Act) project. So, the funding comes in from the Benenden Fund as well as with the U.S. Forest Service, so it’s just a partnership there.”

Where are we at with upgrading the IMBA ride Center from a silver to a Gold?

“The IMBA -the International Mountain Biking Association- designates different areas that have qualities for mountain bikers. It’s basically like the medal system for the Olympics. You have your Bronze, your Silver and your Gold. We started off as a Bronz (Ride Center,) and within a year we applied again and became a Silver. And where we are now is we’ve identified, through a gap analysis, different areas that we need to improve on (to become a Gold Ride Center) and that being signage. We need signage, we needed a jump trail up at snowshoe -the Big Ash-, we need different connectivity, and we need some of the businesses to come together to help boost out recreation economy. In all of this, we plan to apply for the Gold status in 2025, and with our crew working together with (the) Snowshoe Area Recreation Collaborative (SARC,) I do believe we will meet that goal.”

What’s the new trail here in Marlinton?

“We have the Monday Lick trail system, right now it’s in its preliminary phase. We have one crew working there, Dirt Endeavors, or Appalachian Dirt. They’ve finished approximately 3 miles of single track right past the Stillwell Park past the Wyatt Nature Trail, and they are also working on a little bit more of the blue courses on the mountain there.”

(NOTE: Blue Trails are mountain biking trails that are marked with blue signs which indicate their level of difficulty)

“Their goal is to have just about four to five miles completed this year, and I believe there is going to be nine-teen (miles) on the task order next year.  That (work) is going to be split between Appalachian Dirt Endeavors and a company called Rock Solid. They haven’t started yet, but they are coming out next year.”

Charles, where will the Monday Lick Trail go?

“It’s basically gonna go past the Wyatt Trail and off the Greenbrier River Trail. It’s gonna be all up in that area. It’s gonna be kind of a shuttle system. You will be able to loop it up.”

Where will the trailheads be?

“One of them is right there at Wyatt Park right past the Wyatt Trail, and there is gonna be a number of others, but currently the one that’s open is right past the Wyatt Trail.”

Will there be a trailhead in Marlinton?

“Yes, there will be, so there will be a kiosk that does identify that right over here in the old power plant area.”

These trails like the Monday Lick Trail, I know they are made primarily for mountain bikers, but will hikers be able to use them as well?

“Absolutely. All the trails we work on through the Great American Outdoor Act, all of these are going to be multi-use trails. So, any trail in the forest Service is a multi-use trail -hiking, biking, what have you.”

Is there anything else you would like to add?

“I’m just absolutely honored to be able to participate in and carry-on the legacy that’s being made here in Pocahontas County. It is a dream come true. I never thought that I would be able to collaborate with such passionate individuals, being the Recreation Collaborative, all of the stake holders being involved, as well as my crew.

Just collaborating with them, working with them, and really making sure that we make this program a success is super important. Just very passionate to work with everybody.”

Thank you.

Story By

Tim Walker

Tim is the WVMR News Reporter. Tim is a native of Maryland who started coming to Pocahontas County in the 1970’s as a caver. He bought land on Droop Mountain off Jacox Road in 1976 and built a small house there in the early 80’s. While still working in Maryland, Tim spent much time at his place which is located on the Friars Hole Cave Preserve. Retiring in 2011 as a Lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, Tim finally took the plunge and moved from Maryland to his real home on Droop Mountain. He began working as the Pocahontas County Reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio in January of 2015.

Current Weather