The month of May is both National Tourism Month, and National Bicycling Month. The tourism industry and the bicycling community have formed a fantastic synergy in the Raystown Lake Region of the Alleghenies. In 2009, the area opened its arms to mountain bike enthusiasts with the grand opening of the 32-mile Allegrippis Trails at Raystown Lake, a phenomenal addition to what was already a very popular biking destination for both on and off-road riders.
In the past year, the US Army Corps of Engineers has estimated that the Allegrippis Trails system has attracted over 26,000 visits. Assuming that the trailhead visitation mirrors the normal visitor trends at Raystown Lake, it can be safely estimated that about 9,000 of these visitors travelled more than 50 miles to reach the trailhead along Baker’s Hollow Road, and combined spent a more than $1.3 Million while in Huntingdon County.
The weekend of May 18-20, 2012, more than 1,200 mountain bikers will be converging on the Huntingdon/ Hesston area for Dirt Rag magazine’s DirtFest. This will mark the third year in a row that the magazine has chosen the Allegrippis Trails at Raystown Lake as the location for their signature event.
The following weekend, begins the Trans-Sylvania Epic mountain bike stage race. The seven-day race is based out of Seven Mountains Boy Scout Camp, and will follow routes through Bald Eagle and Rothrock State Forests, as well as remote starts in R.B. Winter State Park and on the Allegrippis Trails at Raystown Lake. This event, also in its third year, will draw some of the top talent in mountain bike racing to our area for an entire week.
The Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau is asking any and all businesses in the area that have marquees to display a “Welcome Mountain Bikers” message for the weeks of May 15 through June 4. We are also asking drivers to be extra-cautious on area roads, as we will expect to see an increase in bicycle traffic during this time.
The bicycling community has a strong track record of economically supporting the communities that are friendly to their sport. Please join us in welcoming them to Huntingdon County, and inviting them back to ride again!
Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau