I am a Jefferson county resident. I have been a victim of hit and run while biking on 19N. I still ride thousands of miles around north Jefferson County on my bike. I have often thought about how nice it would be to have the bike trail that is being proposed. I don’t understand why the nearby landowners don’t mind my riding on the roads near their property, but are opposed to me riding down the proposed trail. I don’t bother their property as I ride by on the roads, why am I suddenly going to do damage because I ride a trail. The trail right now is private property and is posted, which means no trespassing. Therefore, I haven’t been on it. Most of the land owners have no trespassing signs now which would tell bikers to stay off their property. Most are also patrolled by security. There’s not much you can steal while biking or even walking. The point of riding is exercising and enjoying the scenery as you go.
To the land owners, there are numerous places that poachers and vandals can get on your property unconnected to the trail, so I’m not sure why you think the trail is going to suddenly open you up to poaching or vandalism. That ability is already there.
I’m not saying that the proposed trail will be an economic boom. I think it will benefit locals and others as a safe place to ride. We will still ride the roads, but a safe place to ride is a bonus. The only places to ride now are dirt roads that are narrow and mostly one lane or paved roads that are narrow with no shoulder because they were the dirt roads before they were paved. Most of them are low traffic which helps. The bigger roads that have lots of traffic are dicey to ride.
Jefferson County needs to think ahead because access to safe recreation is diminishing greatly as more people move to the county. There will be no safe place to ride horses, bike or walk without planning for it. I have ridden bike trails in other areas and am thankful for the people who had the foresight to plan for safe recreation.
I do think the staging area should be at New Monticello road so that it will be safe for all bicyclists, families with children and those walking to have a safe place to get on the trail.