Joe P. Asher
The Harlan County Outdoor Recreation Board discussed damage to the Black Mountain Thunder park and plans for the winter months ahead during a meeting on Wednesday.
Board Chairman Dallas Gilbert mentioned that Hurricane Sandy caused some damage.
“We had about 1,000 trees down,” said Gilbert.
Board member Ken Crider noted heavy snowfall resulting from Hurricane Sandy had caused problems as well.
“It was about 16 inches of the heaviest wet snow you’ve ever seen,” said Crider. “Up there on the south side… there were drifts up there 3 or 4 feet high.”
Crider said a lot of work had been done to put the trails back into shape.
“We’ve had a real interesting couple of weeks clearing trails of trees,” said Gilbert.
The panel went over options for the coming winter months.
Crider said the slower months would be a good opportunity to scout new trails.
“I think that’s the key to keep people coming back is to give them something new to ride on,” said Crider. “I’ve walked until I’ve got blisters on my feet scouting new trails.”
Crider said there have been some possible new trail sites located, but there is work to be done.
“Found another real good one today, but it’s going to take about 600 feet of expert bulldozing to finish it,” said Crider. “It’s a beautiful trail… a fantastic road goes up through there all the way to where they stripped. They didn’t finish making the road through there because of a strip job. You’d have to bulldoze through that.”
“It would be one of the prettiest trails the park’s got,” said Crider. “The whole thing is higher than Pine Mountain. And, everywhere you can look out you can see across Pine Mountain. It’s just ridge after ridge after ridge. You can see for 50 or 60 miles. You can see all up and down U.S. 119. It’s just an absolutely gorgeous trail.”
The panel discussed the results of the Fall Crawl, an annual event held in October.
Gilbert said the event was a big success.
“We had the night ride and everybody that missed that missed something,” said Gilbert. “You should have seen it. Those people were going crazy.”
This was the first time the zip line had been used at night.
“We bought some necklaces and glow sticks from Rhode Island Novelty Company,” said Crider. “We put the necklaces and glow sticks on the people and went around before it got dark and put them on the decks.”
“There wasn’t a moon or anything — it was dark as it could be,” said Crider. “It was an awesome feeling to leave the rock and couldn’t see nothing. It was total darkness. Busting through there about 60 miles per hour and you were about 300 feet from it before you could pick up the glow stick on the deck. The guys just absolutely had a blast.”
In other board activity, a motion was passed to adjust park store hours as needed.
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-573-4510 or firstname.lastname@example.org