Leading the Effort for New Family & Beginner Mountain Biking Trails Near Oakhurst, California

At Pedal Forward Bikes & Adventure, we strive to be more than just a bike shop. Giving back to the community and inspiring our customers to have more adventure are two of our core values. Beyond selling bikes, gear, apparel, and repairing bicycles, we also advise customers where to ride and hike. Having talked to hundreds of customers since opening, it has become woefully evident our wonderful town needs more places for families and new mountain bikers to develop their single-track riding skills. The popular riding trails require long and often steep climbs followed by single-track descents that are challenging for children and new riders. We currently suggest that these riders drive all the way to Tenaya Lodge and ride Jackson Road or head south to Tesoro Viejo. Unfortunately, both options do not offer single-track riding.

Our search to find the perfect location close to Oakhurst lead us to explore options at the 400 acre Ahwahnee Hills Regional Park located at 43469 Highway 49, in Ahwahnee, California. We are collaborating with The Friends of Ahwahnee Hills Regional Park. Fern Facchino, the Chairman, has graciously invited us to present our plan for family mountain biking in the park. We’ve attended two board meetings and are pleading our case to obtain approval to develop a sustainable single-track mountain bike trail specifically designed for families and new riders. Read on to see our proposal.


Ahwahnee Hills Regional Park

Proposal: Access for bicycle use within Ahwahnee Hills Regional Park 

This proposal is presented by Jorge Negrete and Michael Broderick owners of Pedal Forward Bikes & Adventure located in Oakhurst, California on behalf of local families. Jorge is a board member of Yosemite South Gate Trails Cooperative, a mountain bike enthusiast, and former Environmental Manager at Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite. Michael is also a mountain bike enthusiast, tourism expert, and former Director of Sales & Marketing at Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite.

Reference:

Families living in our mountain communities need access to safe family-friendly bicycle trail riding, especially for beginners learning to ride on trails. Currently, there are no designated and conveniently located areas that are safe for families to ride bicycles. Due to the steep and challenging terrain of the mountain area, families cannot ride together in safe, “easy”, “green level” trails. Most of the existing bike trails access points are difficult to locate and entail long drives from Oakhurst/Ahwahnee area. Biking is an excellent outdoor activity that enables children to stay healthy, enjoy the outdoors, and develop a passion for an active lifestyle. Currently, there are non-profits in the area that use mountain biking to keep children involved in athletics providing alternatives to video games, social media, and other potentially negative activities. The addition of a convenient, safe, and fun trail within the Ahwahnee Hills Regional Park will positively benefit the community and promote the park as a place where a family can spend the day together. Families visiting the area will have another family-friendly recreational activity that will positively impact our local businesses that rely on tourism.

The increased demand for outdoor activities that the community of Oakhurst/Ahwahnee are looking for will benefit families and visitors that are looking for a retreat in the mountains.

Details of Proposal:

1. Kids and families will benefit from the riding areas while keeping the bikes off equestrian trails with signs clearly noting: “No bikes allowed.” Signage will educate visitors on proper trail etiquette required between riders, hikers, and horseback riders to share access on the Orange trails that are already designated within the park. 

2. Extend the existing hiking trail, keeping it separated from equestrian trails. This will benefit hikers that can enjoy the trail as well.

3. This trail expansion will have the appropriate signage for the specific trail for mountain bikers. The future possibility to build trail features will provide a safe and fun family training ground for riders interested in developing their skills in order to ride the more challenging biking trails in the Bass Lake/Oakhurst area. This trail development could become a small scale version of the Woodward Park trails near Clovis, California.

As a board member of Yosemite South Gate Trails CO-OP, we have the expertise to build and maintain sustainable trails while educating users on the appropriate trail etiquette.

This proposed access is only for non-motorized bicycles. Attached is an environmental impact study about mountain biking. The study concludes that “the environmental effects of well-managed mountain biking are minimal.”

There will be scheduled maintenance of these trails by members of Yosemite South Gate Trail Cooperative, bike enthusiasts, and through community events.

The green trail on the map below illustrates the potential expansion and development of hiking/Mountain bike trails in Ahwahnee Regional Park. Note that a separate biking only trail could be designated. Additionally, a new bike only trail can be build next to the red (hiking) trail to eliminate any mixed use trails.

Michael Broderick & Jorge Negrete – Pedal Forward Bikes & Adventure, LLC Owners