Buffalo Creek Park Re-opens, fully Restored to its Original State

The Area's only Mountain Bike Park & Back Country Hiking Experience is Back in Business

 

These two images are of the same section of trail. On the left, the damage of a major dozer line built to keep the Party Rock Fire from spreading further. On the right, the trail completely restored by Trail Dynamics. 

 

Ahead of schedule and under budget

That's the report from the Town of Lake Lure as one of its most valuable recreational assets is now reopened to the public - Buffalo Creek Park.

The popular mountain biking, bouldering, and back country hiking park has been closed since Nov. 5th 2016 in connection with the Party Rock Wildfire that burned for over 25 days from Nov. 5-29th.

During that time several  fire containment lines were bull dozed through numerous areas of forested land in Lake Lure and Chimney Rock Village, including Buffalo Creek Park. The effort, which was a complete success, kept the fire from spreading further. As such, no structures or lives were lost.

However, the bulldozing effort resulted in significant trail damage at the Park. Town officials last month approved $20,000 in repair work for the Park. Actual cost of the repair was just over $16,000. Town officials, working with Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy, are filing a claim to have those expenses reimbursed.

Trail Dynamics handled the repair. They were the same firm that designed and built the original trails for Buffalo Creek Park. 

"We truly cannot say enough good things about Trail Dynamics," said Jim Walters, Chairman of the Lake Lure parks and Recreation Board. "We expected the trail repair to take much longer than this, but they came in and just did a phenomenal job. You can't even tell there ever was a fire or a dozer line there at all."

In addition to returning the park to its original state, the repairs were critically necessary toward mitigating any erosion issues now and in the future.The park, which opened in 2014, features six completed miles of a planned seven-mile hiking and mountain biking trail that the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy has been working on with the Town of Lake Lure.

The trail, once completed, will stretch from Buffalo Creek Park to Eagle Rock, on Chimney Rock State Park land. Construction is slated for completion in late spring.

The property and park project was funded by PARTF and the Clean Water Management Trust Fund, including a conservation easement to prevent erosion in the watershed.

Peter Barr, CMLC trails and recreational lands coordinator, compared the aftermath of the Party Rock fire to that of a storm.

Burnt limbs and sticks were strewn across the trail, and in some places, hollow trees burned from the inside toppled across it.

As a result of the fire, about 1,350 acres of CMLC land burned on two tracts, the Weed Patch Mountain tract and the Teaching and Research Reserve.

In all over 7,000 acres of forest burned, but it was primarily the type of fire that burned a thick floor of forest timber litter, thus making it a ground scorching fire that stayed predominately low to the ground. In the vast majority of places today it is very difficult to tell there ever was a fire.

According to several forest and ecology experts, by late spring or early summer, the forest should be bursting with new greenery. While costly and dangerous, ecologists expect the fire to ultimately have a positive impact on the health of the forest.

Learn more about the impacts of the Party Rock Fire at this Party Rock Fire Educational Forum held at Lake Lure Town Hall