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Chimney Rock Park Master Plan - Urgent - Responses due December 13th!

Trail Alert: Chimney Rock Park Master Plan

NC State Parks has just opened a TWO WEEK public comment period on the Master Plan for this new State Park Master Plan. Once again, NC State Parks has not considered equestrian access, and has not provided clear justification for doing so. Comments are due DECEMBER 13; please provide comments and let State Park planners know we are a trail user group that deserves serious consideration.

The Master Plan can be viewed at the following link, but beware some of the files are huge and take several minutes to download.

It is much easier for you to respond to the Master Plan Survey at this link:

The survey consists of three open-ended questions. These are some of the points the NC Horse Council suggests for your survey comments:

The public notice for the May 2010 public workshop was inadequate: this is a State Park and the public workshop should have been advertised in newspapers state-wide.

No equestrian organizations were contacted or made aware of the public input opportunity and as a result have been under-represented in public input. In contrast, it is clear that mountain bike advocacy groups were made aware of the workshop and public input opportunities and were strongly represented.

Because of the lack of notice to equestrian user groups, the current two week public comment period is too short. It needs to be extended to at least 45 days for people to properly review the Master Plan and make comments.

The current form of the Master Plan is not user-friendly because the files are very large and time-consuming to download. Greater effort should be made to make a compressed version available for download. Effort to download and review the Master Plan requires hours, not a "moment" as suggested by the survey.

Comments from the small number of equestrians that did attend the public workshop were not addressed in any way, and their suggestions for equestrian trails, possible parking areas, etc., have not been addressed. Mountain bike users were well-represented in the public input, and mountain bike trails are part of the Master Plan.

Though there are ecological and topographical constraints on trail construction in this State Park, if there is a location for mountain bike trails to be sustainably constructed, then the same opportunity must exist for equestrian trails.


News Release »

Beverly Eaves Perdue, Governor
Dee Freeman, Secretary
N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Release: Immediate Contact: Charlie Peek
Date: 2010-11-22 Phone: (919) 715-8709


Chimney Rock State Park Draft Master Plan to be Available for Review

RALEIGH -- A draft master plan for Chimney Rock State Park will be presented online for public review starting Nov. 29, and public comments on the plan will be accepted through Dec. 13, according to the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation.

Comments will be considered for the final master plan expected to be completed in early 2011.

A state park's master plan is essentially a blueprint for long-term development of facilities and recreation opportunities and a guide for protection of natural resources. Three initial design alternatives were publicly presented earlier this year by Greenways Inc., a Durham-based environmental planning and landscape architecture firm responsible for completing the master plan. The alternatives differed primarily in the extent of development proposed.

The N.C. General Assembly authorized Chimney Rock State Park in 2005. More than 4,300 acres in Rutherford, Polk, Henderson and Buncombe counties has been acquired in partnership with The Nature Conservancy, the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy, the Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina and others. In 2007, the former Chimney Rock tourist destination was added to the park and offers the principal current public access.

The final draft master plan can be viewed at starting Nov. 29. Written comments may be submitted by using an online comment sheet or by mail. Mail comments to: State Parks Planner, N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation, 1615 MSC, Raleigh, NC 27699-1615.

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N.C. Division of Parks & Recreation • 1615 MSC • Raleigh N.C. 27699-1615 (919) 733-4181


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