Saturday, November 10, 2007

The End is Near

Almost sounds like one of the Rev's posts...Not that End!

After many tumultuous years of existence, Explore Park will be closing it's gates on Thursday Nov 15th for good. Or at least for the foreseeable future. This unique "living history" attraction never attracted anywhere near the amount of visitors that it's creators anticipated. The concept is pretty cool; dress a bunch of folks up in garb from the era of grist mills and fur trappers and have them talk about how people lived during that particular time. Many accurate recreations of buildings from the era can be found throughout the park. Apparantly this format, which requires people to actually walk through the park, wasn't appealing to the lazy masses.

Explore is also home to the IMBA/Subaru Explore Park Trail system. Built and used by non-lazy people. Unfortunately, access to this gem will also be cut off when the gates are locked next week.

The worst part about this whole thing is that the public had no say in the matter at all. The City, County and State were all very happy to shut the place down. They see it as a money-eating black hole. The next phase will be the transfer of the property to the new lessee, Florida businessman Larry Van Maten. His plans for the site are still unknown. It's doubtfull that the trail system will be opened back up to the public.

We've had tons of great rides there. I'll miss this place. Next Thursday the 15th will be the last night ride I get the honor of leading at Explore Park.

The 15th is also the same night the Blue Ridge Parkway will have yet another public input meeting regarding the future of trails on BRP property. This meeting will be held at the visitor center at Explore Park. Anyone interested in having the Chestnut Ridge Loop Trail at Mill Mountain opened for multi-use is urged to attend to have your voice heard! We'll need the trail access now that Explore Park is going away.

Hope to see you Thursday!


Jen said...

You should lead your ride right through the meeting, but wait that might be interpreted all wrong. It is a shame about the Explore Park trails. After all that's where I pretty much got my start in mountain biking. Perhaps I'll go ride there for a bit of nostalgia tomorrow.

Fat Lad said...

Time for some Mass Trespass me thinks,3604,689869,00.html

Fat Lad

Fat Lad said...

Sorry It's mangled that url Google for Kinder Mass Trespass

TSWimba said...

Wow that really sucks. Explorer park was a great place to take out the single speed and just ride loops till your legs fell off. I've driven over from Richmond a many of times to ride there and Carvins Cove the same day. Maybe Rich (IMBA) could help out with a new loop system in the area, or better yet maybe the new buyer wont close the trail.