More bike trails approved for Naylor Mill tracts

The Eastern Shore chapter of International Mountain Bicycling Association will design the trails, obtain necessary permits and approvals for construction of trails, and supervise volunteers during construction and maintenance of trails. Several current trails, above, are located just west of the Henry Parker Athletic Complex.

The city-owned Naylor Mill Forest Conservation Area will get additional mountain bike trails under an agreement approved by the Salisbury City Council.

The Mountain Biking Trail Complex within the forest which is maintained by the Eastern Shore chapter of International Mountain Bicycling Association, or ESIMBA, will be expanded with new trails that will extend along and spur off from a section of the city’s Rail Trail that is undergoing final design, Amanda Pollack, Director of Infrastructure and Development, told council members during a work session last week.

ESIMBA also is working closely with the running community in developing new trails, said Alex McRae, a member of the group and the city’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee.

“We would like to encourage all trail users to be able to use these trails,” he said.

ESIMBA will design the trails, obtain necessary permits and approvals for construction of trails, supervise volunteers during construction and maintenance of trails, coordinate with the city on trail modifications and purchase and install all trail signs, Pollack said.

The city will review the design and implementation plans, encourage police patrols of the trails, authorize ESIMBA to have informational displays about the trails, and acknowledge that ESIMBA built and maintains the trails.

Pollack said the city has entered into similar agreements with ESIMBA for other trails at Naylor Mill as well as in City Park.

City Councilman Muir Boda said he sees people regularly using the existing trails in the forest and called it “a great resource for our citizens.”

“I think this is great and it continues adding another element up there in that park,” he said.

Since 2016, the forest has been protected by a conservation easement that prohibits future development there after City Council members killed a deal to donate it to Wicomico County for an athletic complex expansion following public opposition.

The agreement with the Maryland Environmental Trust and the Lower Shore Land Trust allows the city to operate the land as a public park. The 92 acres includes woodlands, a portion of Leonard Pond Run and the North Prong of the Wicomico River.

Wicomico County had hoped to acquire the property in 2015 to expand the Henry S. Parker Athletic Complex to draw larger-sized athletic tournaments such as the USSSA World Series. County officials had hoped to get a multi-year contract with organizers of the softball event for use of the facility as long as the county built the additional ball fields.

The county later acquired another property for the ball field expansion.

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