Croft State Park

Mountain Bicycle Trails Plan

I. Rationale

Croft State Park has been identified as the top priority of the Palmetto Cycling Coalition and the State’s cycling community for the development of mountain bike trails in the upstate. Reasons for its selection include:

  • central location among the large population centers of Greenville, Spartanburg and Rock Hill on the I-85 corridor
  • large size and moderate topography relative to other state parks in the upstate
  • organized and committed group of volunteers willing and able to provide volunteer labor for trail construction, maintenance, patrolling and education
  • proximity to a local bicycling club - Freewheelers of Spartanburg (300 plus members) with a history of working with governmental and community organizations, a national reputation for putting on quality cycling events (24 years of the Assault on Mt. Mitchell), and the financial resources to provide local matching support for grants
  • lack of significant tracts of public lands in this section of the State for trail development

Croft State Park provides recreational opportunities for a variety of user groups. This plan seeks to include mountain bikers as legitimate users of and contributors to the Park’s recreational facilities. Although mountain bikers have received "word of mouth" permission to use trails in "Southside," no officially designated mountain biking trails exist within the Park. The current situation creates confusion and uncertainty among both park personnel and mountain bikers as to the status of mountain biking within the Park. A plan that is commonly agreed to will eliminate confusion and will encourage both to work toward a common goal. The mountain biking community believes the plan will create a first class mountain biking experience attractive to families and children, residents and visitors, and novices and experts without detracting from the recreational experiences of other user groups. The mountain biking community will work in partnership with park service personnel and other recreational user groups to ensure wise use of the Park’s resources and to provide long-term support of mountain bike facilities within the Park.

The activities and map on the following pages provide a plan that will create a first-class mountain biking recreational facility at Croft State Park. The facility will serve a need of one of the largest and fastest growing outdoor-recreational activities that is currently not being met in the upstate region.

II. Proposed Trail System

Create a "Northside" (Dairy Ridge Road area) and "Southside" mountain bike trail system that will provide approximately 15 miles of trails. In addition, the Johnson Lake Loop Trail, approximately three miles, is proposed as a shared use trail. The Croft State Park map shows the proposed trail system with the following designations:

  • BLUE: Existing Equestrian Trail System (approximately 23 miles)
  • RED: Mountain Bike Trail System (approximately 15 miles)
  • YELLOW: Shared Use Trail System (approximately 3 miles)

The advantages to this proposed trail system include:

  • a variety of difficulty levels to meet the needs of riders with beginner to advanced abilities
  • a variety of terrain (some trails could be closed during adverse weather conditions to prevent damage)
  • an increase in the number of miles of trails to reduce potential overuse

The proposed trail system is made up of existing (although not officially designated) trails except for the approximately 1 - 1.5 mile connector trail (red-dotted line on map) between the "Southside" and "Northside" loops. The connector trail would intersect the Park’s main entrance road. This intersection would serve as a location for a parking/information/restroom/bike wash area.

In addition to the above trail designations, the mountain biking community recommends the creation of an adaptive management team made up of representatives from the Park and the recreational user groups to address trail issues including:

  • shared use of additional trails on a seasonal basis

e.g., open all trails to all users October 15 - April 15

  • trail construction and maintenance
  • trail closing during adverse weather conditions
  • trail signage, education and patrolling
  • trail maps & usage brochures

 

 

III. Action Plan

1. Safety Approval

 

  • designation from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that all existing and proposed trail areas have been checked and cleared of ordinance

2. Trail Improvements - "Southside"

  • relocate approximately 1.5 miles of existing "Southside" trail off of the power line right-of-way
  • relocate approximately four miles of existing "Southside" trail off of the bottomland following Fairforest Creek.
  • construction of 3 small bridges over feeder streams into Fairforest Creek

3. New Trail Construction

  • construct approximately 1 - 1.5 mile connector trail between the "Southside" and "Northside" trail systems
  • construct a bridge over Fairforest Creek on connector trail

4. Parking Facility at intersection of entrance road and connector trail

  • construct a parking area providing access to "Southside" and "Northside" loops
  • other facilities to develop at the parking area:
    • restrooms
    • kiosk - trail information and maps
    • bike wash station
    • shelter/picnic tables

5. Develop Trail Maps & Install Trail Signage

  • develop trail map brochures that include park rules & regulations
  • install approved trail signs at all trail entrance locations and trail intersections

 

 

 

IV. Summary

The opportunity exists to create a first class mountain biking facility at Croft State Park. The Palmetto Cycling Coalition, Freewheelers of Spartanburg Bicycle Club, and upstate mountain biking community can provide volunteer labor, in-kind services, and financial assistance to make this facility become a reality. In working toward the goals of this plan, we look forward to a long-term, cooperative and productive relationship with the Park Service and other recreational user groups.

Croft Trail Proposal
Click to Enlarge


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