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Use of local trail system continues to grow

The reach for the Trails at Jakes Rocks continues to grow.

WCCBI President/CEO Jim Decker said during Thursday’s Chamber Gala that six trail counters between May and the beginning of this month counted 32,000 people on the trail system.

There are, however, significantly more than six ways to enter the system so the real number will be higher.

“We had over 700 people come to Trail Fest from as far away as West Virginia, Virginia, Rochester, Cleveland, Ontario,” Decker said. “We are bringing people to the ANF in droves to create in the great outdoors that we have.”

While over 30 miles of trails are complete, there are another 15 “on the books” and Decker said he is “talking to the Forest Service daily to find funding to make that happen.”

As the trails — and their use — continue to grow, organizers aim to focus next year on how to make the trails open to more people.

Decker said he met with the founder of the IM ABLE Foundation, Chris Kaag, who is a paralyzed veteran and also a mountain biker.

“His focus is creating opportunities for adaptive mountain biking,” Decker said. “The adaptive bikes I have seen are either three- or four-wheeled units roughly three feet wide with electric assist hand pedals or steering systems designed to support individuals with paralysis or other movement restrictions in the upper or lower body.”

He said they will be “pushing really hard” to figure out what can be done to make the TAJR “truly adaptive welcoming.

“The Forest Service is certainly supportive of that initiative,” he said. “We are working with the IM Able Foundation to learn what is needed and wanted in terms of trail configuration and access needs to determine how we can provide for these athletes within the Trails at Jakes Rocks system.”

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