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 Wildcat OHV Park Review 11.2.13

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Reeko
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PostSubject: Wildcat OHV Park Review 11.2.13   Mon Nov 04, 2013 8:53 pm

WILDCAT OHV Review
So on Saturday a few of us loaded up our daughters in the Jeeps and headed down to the new Wildcat OHV Park near the old Cromers Ridge. I have ridden that country a few times in my RZR so I thought I knew what I was expecting.

The park is currently open but still not 100% functional. They will have a really nice building to check in and buy your daily permits(still under construction), campground with RV hook ups, bathrooms, etc. Currently the daily per head rate is $12.00 per person but I have heard reports that it will go up to $20 a head after the park is complete.

Upon checking in, the friendly staff stated that they had 70 miles of trails. I was reluctant as the most I have ever rode back in there was about 28 miles on the RZR and about 8-10 of that was riding blacktop to get to the back entrance of Callohan Falls from Hazel Patch. They stated that the CSX train tracks and the Vision RV junkyard were the park bounds but didn't say anything about tresspassing across the tracks to the Callohan Falls side.

Since the park is not 100% open, the signage is sub-par at best. Outside of the main check in building we were first confused as to which way the trails were located as there was a new gravel road going in both directions. We took a gamble and headed south of the check in building. We encountered a sign that said trail access but no other markings. As of now, only 1 trail (Trail #1) is marked and it isn't marked very well. 99% of the trails that we rode on that day were freshly bulldozed trails. Almost all were wide enough for full width axles but there were several switch backs cut into the side of the hills that were not designed for full size vehicles in mind. A couple were really sketchy to try to get my Jeep turned around and took 2-3 point turns. I suspect it took Will and Ken in their XJs a bit more to make the turns. Riding on the rim of the park next to the CSX tracks between tunnels 7 and 8 we were riding on a trail that was on the map but if we were reading the signs that were posted correctly, we were off park. I didn't care for this too much. Looking over, a train was on the tracks and there were several ATVs chasing the train on the gravel right of way. Stopping to wait for the group, I noticed that the majority of the traffic was not in the park but across the tracks on private property riding the Callohan Falls side.

About 1:30PM or 3 or so hours into the ride my GPS stated that we went 3.4 miles and had a good portion of the length of the park and maybe 25% of the trails on the map. With that we decided to cross over East Bernstadt Road and do a final loop before heading back. We once again started down trail 1 to loop up by the RV Junk Yard and come back around on freshly graded trails. Towards the end of the loop we had to drop down a small valley, cross a creek, and climb back out. Well decending the hill I knew something wasn't good when I started to slide down the hill. The dirt was dry on top but mud underneath. Since I didn't have anywhere to go, I decided to cross the creek and climb back out the other side. This turned out to be a bad idea. I suppose that during the drier period the bull dozer operator decided to make a earthen bridge over the creek. With the recent rain, this solid looking earthen bridge turned out to be a muddy nightmare. I am running 35" tires, locked front and rear, and 9000 lbs Warn winch. I instantly sank in mud up to my rockers and could only see about 2" of my tires. Using my winch, a snatch block, 4WD locked in and the skinny pedal, it took me over 1 hour to get out of the mud infested creek crossing. I crossed the creek only to find out that I would have to cross the creek in another section to get back to the trail that was on the map. Once again, I slide down a ravine and into about 12" of mud. I tired several times, while hitting the rev limiter to climb the other side with no avail due to the freshly bulldozed trail.

Coming back to the first creek crossing, Ken Taylor in his XJ, slide down the same hill while trying to get past that turn off to come winch me up the second creek crossing since the thick mud burnt up my Warn XD9000i winch motor. While doing so he slide down the hill towards the muddy creek. Will Barnett and myself had to winch him 180 degrees to face back up the hill and then winch him back up the hill. Surprisingly his new 10,000lbs Engo winch did great. After winching him back up he then came to pull me up out of the creek only to find that the trial looped back around. 3+ hours later we were back on our way and covered in mud.

After returning back to the main check in building I checked my GPS and the whole day we ran 6.7 miles. With that, I feel safe in saying that there is not 70 miles of trails in this 1,100 acre park. On a long shot, there maybe 70 miles of trails if you included the Callohan Falls side but that might still be close. A full day of riding on the park and we didn't see any rocks at all and 99% of what we did could have been done in 2WD (minus the muddy creek crossing).

In closing, Wildcat is not another Cromers Ridge with the fun and challenging obstacles that we have all came to love. This may change over time after some of the dirt gets washed away and exposes bedrock but this may take some time. Sadly, since I didn't notice very many sediment traps on the trails, I feel that either the EPA or CSX Rail Road may help the demise of the park before it gets off of the ground. I do hope this doesn't happen as it is great to have another area to ride that is local and my report is based of a single trip down there. I plan to make it back down there possibly this next weekend but I will be leaving the Jeep at home and will take the RZR so I can cover more ground and see if there is any other areas that we missed that might appeal to full size that is on the park (Not Callohan Side).

All-in-all a good day in the woods with our daughters. Well except for all the winching around some muddy creek bottoms.

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I'll be heading back down there this weekend in the RZR to cover the complete park if anyone wants to go.






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MIKE_D
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PostSubject: Re: Wildcat OHV Park Review 11.2.13   Mon Nov 04, 2013 9:14 pm

Great write up. Our daughter was sick most of Saturday and Sunday morning so we scratched the wildcat trip. Looks like we made the right choice. Wish it could have been a better experience.
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Reeko
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PostSubject: Re: Wildcat OHV Park Review 11.2.13   Mon Nov 04, 2013 9:20 pm

Yeah me too. If I could have just avoided the mud I would have been in a better mood. I prefer rocks and try my best to stay out of the mud. Costs too much to fix the parts that the mud destroys and I really don't enjoy washing the stuff back off.

Most likely head back down in the RZR Saturday so hopefully it will go a bit better this time around.
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DoddS
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PostSubject: Re: Wildcat OHV Park Review 11.2.13   Tue Nov 05, 2013 8:22 pm

If there going to charge $12 or $20 a head for a day pass I wont wast my time and money. Rush is about the same distance for me. Much cheaper and lots more to ride from the sounds of it. I really hate to hear this. I was looking forward to the old 909/ Livingston riding I grew up with.
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Reeko
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PostSubject: Re: Wildcat OHV Park Review 11.2.13   Wed Nov 06, 2013 7:50 am

Yeah, like you I cut my teeth riding 909 and was hoping for this to be similar. Over on the Callohan private property is pretty similar but it has had years of riding on it with very little bulldozer activiity. Gonna give it another shot this weekend in the RZR since it is only 25 miles away for me and hopefully I will see something I didn't see last weekend.
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DoddS
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PostSubject: Re: Wildcat OHV Park Review 11.2.13   Wed Nov 06, 2013 9:46 pm

Keep us updated.
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Reeko
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PostSubject: Re: Wildcat OHV Park Review 11.2.13   Sun Nov 10, 2013 8:33 am

Wildcat OHV Update 11.9.13

Took the RZR to Wildcat OHV Park yesterday as opposed to the Jeep. On this trip we found a lot of trails that were not bull dozed so that was a blessing. We tried everything possible to hit every trail we saw on the park side while staying away from the Callohan side and CSX train tracks. What we found were a lot of fun trails for ATVs and SXS so I have to take back some of my comments from last weekend. Still don't think it would be very fun for full size vehicles at this point. We also noticed that some drain tiles have been put in across some of the main trails to help with run off but did notice on some of the back trails that there were still a half dozen creek crossings that were filled in by the bull dozer so this will still need some work. Some of the trails from last weekend are starting to get wore in a bit and we did see some rock starting to get exposed but still no real exposed rocky challenges.

We started out the day with a RZR that was over heating so he had to go home. While assisting him at the trailer I realized that my Maxxis Big Horn had a stick ran through the side wall so we had to do a plug job on it. At the end of the trip I realized that my other rear tire was leaking due to a slice from a recent Windrock trip so it wasn't a good tire day for me.

After hitting 90%+ of the trails we could in the park and we tried our best not to ride on the same trial twice, we covered about 16 miles in 3 hours. We also encountered a few dead end trails (old logging roads). So at this point I still don't believe the claim of over 70 miles of trails in the park. I feel they would have to be counting the Callohan side as well as several offshoots from the CSX tracks and possibly into the Daniel Boone National Forest.

We talked to one of the workers and he stated that there is talks of an annual pass being offered early next year so this is a good sign. It didn't appear that there are plans for raising the daily rate. He stated that 196 people had checked in on Saturday and over 300 for the previous weekend. So I suspect that they can make some money next year. We inquired if there were any issues up to this point with CSX and the question was kind of side stepped, maybe out of accident and stated that the USFS actually wrote this gentlemen and his group $175 per driver tickets. He stated the were riding off park on the CSX tracks to get to another riding spot that wasn't on the USFS land. Said there were 3 USFS trucks waiting. He is taking his ticket to federal court to argue the ticket.

So after seeing the whole park I think they have done a good job so far. Still a lot of room for improvement to keep silt run off where it needs to be but it is a fun day out and it is close. I will continue to go for this reason. After another 10-15 miles of connector trails are cut this can be a really good time for ATVs and SXS since this will give you options to bypass stopped groups on the narrow trails.





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Big-R
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PostSubject: Re: Wildcat OHV Park Review 11.2.13   Sun Nov 10, 2013 10:51 am

Well that sounds better.....

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rangerpat
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PostSubject: Re: Wildcat OHV Park Review 11.2.13   Wed Nov 13, 2013 8:57 pm

I would like to go im in Frankfort ky how many miles to this park
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Reeko
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PostSubject: Re: Wildcat OHV Park Review 11.2.13   Thu Nov 14, 2013 6:46 am

10 miles north of London off I-75 exit 49. Old Cromers Ridge exit but go east as opposed to west for Cromers.
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Reeko
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PostSubject: Re: Wildcat OHV Park Review 11.2.13   Mon Nov 18, 2013 9:00 pm

Went back again this past Saturday since it is only 25-30 miles away. Road 21.9 miles. Basically most of the park as well as off park on the Callahan side. Since there seems to be a lot more clay on this side of the interstate as opposed to Cromers Ridge side it was a slippery mess with the rain the previous day but made drifting on the trails a bit more interesting. But a bad day in the woods is better than a good day at the office.

Black are the trails from Sat. Yellow are the ones from the previous weekend.
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