In 1849, many families moved west in search of gold.
In 2022, many are working to bring GOLD here, to the Snowshoe Highlands Ride Center and Pocahontas County. The stakeholders see the opportunities that Gold can bring to Pocahontas County.
Gold can do the same thing here that it did for places like Oakridge, Oregon.
Oakridge stood out to me because of some similarities with this area. A place where citizens hold their timber history and culture close. Events are held all year long. They have a Pioneer Picnic that celebrates the families of early pioneers who settled in what would become Oak-ridge.
Oakridge is a beautiful area, surrounded by a national forest, where families live and dream, and businesses can grow. A place where citizens work and play in a safe and sustainable community. Oakridge had a population of about 3,205 as of the 2010 census and 3,304, in 2018. What happened?
As the town embraced the importance of mountain biking, there was a resurgence of building. Oakridge was named a top mountain biking destination and designated an IMBA Gold Level Ride Center. Now, Oakridge refers to itself as the Mountain Biking Capital of the Northwest.
IMBA Gold status can change things.
We can do the same here in Pocahontas County. In fact, it is already happening, and the Snowshoe Highlands Ride Center will be the only Gold in the east. But everyone must realize the benefit in order to keep the momentum moving in a positive direction. Most of us are not mountain bikers and that is okay. All we have to do is support what is going on and understand three key things.
1. Mountain biking is a very popular activity, with nearly 40 million participants annually.
2. Mountain biking participation has remained relatively steady since 2001.
3. Hikers will also use these trails and mountain biking participation is still about half of hiking participation. More visitors, more dollars, more opportunities for goods and services for all.
Let’s be ready for the Gold Rush.
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