- Associated Press - Friday, November 27, 2020

NEBO, N.C. (AP) - A district inside a national park in western North Carolina has approved a project that will help sustain and expand its trail system.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a news release that the Pisgah National Forest’s Grandfather Ranger District approved the Mortimer Trails Project this week. It’s designed to maintain the trail system as well as add 10 additional miles of mountain biking and hiking trails to the Wilson Creek Area in Caldwell and Avery counties.

In 2015, the Grandfather Ranger District began a partnership with local mountain bike users and volunteers to improve maintenance of Wilson Creek trails. The volunteer effort spanned five years.

Through the maintenance effort, work began to assess the need for changes to the current trail systems. The lack of connected mountain biking trails was among the needs highlighted.

An effort to gather feedback from users and interested parties led to three key goals: creating a more connected network of mountain bike trails to provide a better experience, relocating poorly aligned trail segments to protect the Wilson Creek Watershed, and expanding trailhead access in sustainable locations.

Work will begin this winter to construct new sections of trail.

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