'Steel City Enduro' mountain bike race planned for July 14 in Walking Purchase Park
With the intention of more frequent reports by the Valley Mountain Bikers to the Salisbury Board of Commissioners comes the announcement of "Steel City Enduro," a mountain bike race, July 14 in Walking Purchase Park.
Also, according to VMB members, hunting is allegedly taking place in the park. It is prohibited there.
"We thought it would be nice to come in periodically," Jon R. Roth, the new VMB president said in announcing the race, which was held for the first time last year.
BOC President James Brown urged Roth to present VMB reports twice-yearly at township meetings.
Race proceeds are to benefit the VMB trail system, where the race will be held in the 500-acre park in eastern Salisbury, between the Lehigh River and Lehigh Mountain.
Roth, in response to a question by BOC vice president Robert Martucci Jr. at the March 28 township meeting, said VMB has not built new trails in the park.
Martucci said a resident had contacted him about the matter.
Roth said a portion of the VMB trail was re-routed until large trees and branches that fell across the trail could be removed. The trees were said to have been toppled during Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.
"It was impassable," Roth said of the trail area where a 35-foot bypass was made by VMB volunteers.
"It may not have been by the mountain bikers," Martucci said of the alleged new trail in the park.
"No new trails are ever undertaken without the landowners' permission," Roth said.
VMB also has built and maintains trails in the Trexler Nature Preserve, Schnecksville, North Whitehall Township, Lehigh County, and Nockamixon State Park, Ottsville, Bucks County.
Walking Purchase Park is jointly administered by Salisbury, Allentown and Lehigh County.
Roth claimed hunting is taking place in Walking Purchase Park. He said crows and deer are being shot. Carcasses are said to litter the park.
Salisbury Township Police Chief Allen W. Stiles said hunting, if taking place there, is illegal.
"It's like the wild, wild west," VMB member Joe Gallagher said at the meeting.
The VMB members cited a safety factor, noting the danger of shooting in the park when riders are on the trail.
Roth said VMB members have met with Stiles as well as Pennsylvania Game Commission Deputy Wildlife Conservation Officer Archie Hartzell, who patrols the park.
"There are definitely issues about hunting that are taking place on the land," Roth said.
"We don't want anybody shot there. That would be horrible," Commissioner Joanne Ackerman said.
Township Manager Randy Soriano said he would meet with Stiles and Hartzell to ensure an adequate number of "No Hunting" signs are posted in the park.
Roth offered VMB volunteers to help put up signs.
To enforce the law, signs must be posted at the park's perimeter.
Stiles said police officers have difficulty determining where the township and Allentown borders are in the park.
"If it [the park] was surveyed and posted that would make it [enforcement] easier for us," Stiles said.
"Walking Purchase Park is a very challenging area," Soriano said.
Soriano said Lehigh County, as one of the park administrators, should help with enforcing rules in the park.
The next VMB ride in Walking Purchase Park is 5:15 to 7:30 p.m. April 10, according to the website, bikevmb.com.
According to the VMB website, "Steel City Enduro" is the successor to last year's "Endurorama.'
Volunteers are needed to set up, establish stations and tape the trail, man registration, monitor the two road crossings, traffic control directing participants into the St. Luke's University Hospital - Fountain Hill parking garage, help with timing, and cleanup and removing tape and stations from the trail.
The Salisbury Trail Committee needs help to trim the Salisbury park trail in late June.