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West Virginia park opened to mountain biking

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New and revamped multi-use trails and roads will officially open for bicycling along the New River Gorge National River. The National Park Service (NPS) announced that effective Jan. 6, people can ride mountain bikes within the river park in West Virginia. NPS regulations require it to announce whenever it opens areas to bicycling in undeveloped areas.

You can read the announcement at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-12-05/html/2013-29087.htm.

The scenic river unit of NPS includes about 72,000 acres within a 53-mile corridor between Hawks Nest State Park and Hinton.

NPS had proposed a trail system for the park. It has renamed most of the trails.

You can find a trails guide at http://www.nps.gov/neri/planyourvisit/trails-guide.htm.

For background, see the stories linked to below.

NPS has built bridges over streams that might be subject to erosion by mountain biking.

NPS warns, however, that “it is our experience that most (biker) user groups have a small percentage of participants who fail to respect rules and other recreational users....If any cyclists behave in an unsafe manner or harm park resources, they can be cited for regulatory violations and subject to criminal penalty, as can any other irresponsible park visitors.”

Park managers retain the right to restrict or prohibit bicycle use if they find that cyclists are riding off trails or behaving irresponsibly.

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