JORBA, New Jersey Interscholastic Cycling League and King Trail Alliance jointly propose to fundraise, and build a beginner level trail at Allamuchy Mountain State Park. This trail will allow for the New Jersey Interscholastic Cycling League (NICA) to hold races for their student athletes. The trail would branch off the existing Blue Rock Trail near Kinney and Waterloo Valley Roads. By connecting with an existing unmarked trail; and extending the course to the adjacent field with the infield, pitzone and start finish the course meet NICA distance requirements. And provide a much needed new venue for the rapidly growing league.
Disabled riders currently have difficulty accessing the trail network in Stephens. The Green Rock Trail will be build to universal trail design standards to accommodate disabled riders using adaptive mountain bikes providing a connection to the other trails. With an aMTB Rating 1 the trail will be wide enough to be ridden confidently solo.
In addition to establishing a new venue for student athletes, the Green Rock trail will provide better access to the Stephens side of Allamuchy Mountain State Park for mountain bikers of all abilities as well as adding a much needed beginner trail to a network dominated by intermediate trails.
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A Venue for Student Athletes
To develop a venue for the New Jersey Interscholastic Cycling League (NICA) to hold races for their student athletes.
The Existing Blue Rock Trail
The trail would branch off the existing Blue Rock Trail off Kinney Road and Waterloo Valley.
Connecting with an existing unmarked trail;
Using professional trail building company to build the new trail. It would take place in an area that has been historically disturbed and to meet NICA distance requirements, the trail would be extended to the adjacent field where we would have the infield, pitzone and start finish.
The start finish area will be combined with call up and staging in the adjacent field.
The trail will be built to USFS Trail Class 3-4 and an IMBA difficulty rating of Easy Green. Tread 36″ wide and relatively smooth with few irregularities. No imported material, native only. Vegetation cleared outside of trailway.
This trail will be build to universal trail design standards to accommodate disabled riders using adaptive mountain bikes. The aMTB Rating 1 – No obstacles exist. Wide enough. Can be ridden confidently solo.
Reviewing program response to LMR for proposed JORBA/NICA cycling course:
The ENSP (NJ Fish & Wildlife Endangered Non-Game Species Program) does not support the creation of new mountain bike trails within Allamuchy SP unless currently existing, unauthorized, mountain bike trails are closed via physical barriers (e.g., logs, debris, etc.) and the forest permitted to reclaim them. There are numerous unauthorized, mountain bike trails throughout this park, however the ENSP has provided a specific mapped location where unauthorized trails have damaged and continue to damage habitat for rare dragonflies. In addition, ENSP staff have observed damage to wetlands, streams, and dragonfly habitat in the past when another trail was filled with crushed stone (crossing these habitats). The [unauthorized] destruction of rare species habitat is a concern for the ENSP in this park.
IF UNAUTHORIZED TRAILS ARE CLOSED as described above and/or the project moves forward, based upon the information submitted for review, the proposed project area is valued by the Landscape Project mapping for a number of rare wildlife species. To minimize the risk of harm to these species, and in so doing minimizing the risk of violating the NJ Endangered and Nongame Species Conservation Act (N.J.S.A. 23:2A-1-13), New Jersey’s Endangered and Nongame Species Program (NSP) recommends implementing the following “minimize harm strategies” during the project’s proposed activities to create the cycling racetrack.
1. Venomous snakes (northern copperheads) may be present in the area. As such, please caution all personnel and inform them that all of NJ’s native, nongame wildlife are protected by law making it illegal to kill, harm, harass or collect any individuals or their parts (ENSCA N.J.S.A. 23:2A-1-13).
2. The stated plan to avoid clearing trees >5” DBH addresses concerns for the federally endangered Indiana bat. The area is also suitable summer habitat for the federally threatened Northern Myotis (a.k.a. Northern long-eared bat), which is now undergoing status review for possible up-listing to endangered. IF trees or shrubs >3” DBH will be cut and cannot be excluded from the project, AVOID cutting during the bats’ active season (April 1 through September 30).
3. Ground- and shrub-nesting birds have been documented proximate to the proposed project area. The ENSP recommends that clearing or disturbance of vegetation (grasses, forbs, shrubs, and trees) not occur between May 1 through July 15 to ensure active nests are not destroyed. If vegetation must be removed or disturbed within that timeframe, ENSP requests a qualified bird surveyor familiar with nest-searching protocol conducts nest searches 1 – 3 days prior to the disturbance or clearing of vegetation. If an active nest is discovered, wait until the nest is no longer active before clearing or disturbing the vegetation.
4. Bobcats may inhabit the project area. Autumn olive, Japanese barberry, multiflora rose, and similar dense shrubs may provide suitable denning habitat. As such, if dense shrubs will be removed between April and June, the ENSP requests field personnel check for dens at the base of the plants when kittens may be present. If kittens are found, personnel should leave the area immediately to minimize the risk of causing the kittens to flee and delay removing/altering the vegetation until the den is no longer active.
5. If planning to use soil erosion or sediment control materials, whenever possible, avoid the use of products (e.g., blankets, fiber rolls, reinforced silt fencing, etc.) that incorporate plastic or other synthetically-made netting, including those claiming to be photo-, oxo-, UV-degradable, and others as these products have demonstrated to ensnare wildlife resulting in unauthorized incidental take of nongame species protected by ENSCA (N.J.S.A. 23:2A-1-13). In addition, such products do not degrade but rather break apart leaving plastic fragments, balls of matted plastic, and microplastics in the environment causing long-term risks to wildlife. Instead use 100% bio-degradable products (i.e., products made of 100% natural material with netting made of natural plant fibers unaltered by synthetic materials). If “temporary” materials with plastic/synthetic netting must be used to meet the performance standards outlined by the Department of Agriculture, State Soil Conservation Committee in The Standards for Soil Erosion and Sediment Control in New Jersey (Standards), they must be removed within 6-months of installation. If permanent materials with plastic/synthetic netting must be used to fulfill the Standards, the plastic/synthetic netting must have movable joints (not fixed/welded) with a rectangular aperture.