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New Park Offers Mountain Bike Trails
The Herald-Sun
November 25, 2004 10:37 am

DURHAM -- Residents of Durham and Orange counties are about to enjoy a new park at half the usual price. That's because the new Little River Regional Park and Natural Area has land in both counties, straddling the county line. And since we're sharing the land, we're splitting the cost of this exciting new project.

Opening Dec. 5, Little River is the first joint effort between the Durham and Orange County parks and recreation departments and only the second regional park in the state. At nearly 400 acres, it's much larger than most county parks -- roughly the size of a state park.

Most exciting is that the park gives Durham and Orange residents the first public mountain bike trails in either county.

"This is a huge benefit to Durham and Orange residents," says Lori Taft, recreation and parks management director for Orange County. Fifteen miles of trails are planned for horseback riders, hikers and mountain bikers. The more than 6 miles of singletrack opening in December were designed and built by volunteers with the Durham Orange Mountain Bike Organization (DOMBO).

Taft says that of all the groups that have volunteered time to get the park ready, none has worked as tirelessly as DOMBO. DOMBO carefully and thoughtfully divided the singletrack into two loops: one more challenging than the other.

Singletrack, the gourmet of mountain bike trails, is a thin strip of trail winding through the woods. It gets its name from its width; it's just wide enough for one bike at a time.

The beginner loop introduces novices to riding over roots, rocks and bridges. Cross-country connoisseurs will love the more advanced loop, which has some of the most challenging climbs, rock gardens and log crossings in the Triangle area.

The significance of opening singletrack at Little River is that Durham and Orange county governments join the Wake County and the state parks departments in recognizing the demand for public places to mountain bike.

Opening day celebrations kick off at 2 p.m., with a group ride on the beginner loop. The park's main entrance is about 12 miles north of downtown Durham on Guess Road. Look for signs just inside Orange County.

None of this could have happened without the help of the Triangle Land Conservancy, Eno River Association and trail-building grants from the state government. Special thanks go to George Newton, who originally donated the land for preservation.

Looking forward to opening day, Taft says, "I hope to continue to work with DOMBO."

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