Congratulations to the 2017 National Trails Fund Projects. The following Alliance of Hiking Organization Members will receive funding for their projects:
- Mohonk Preserve
- Lookout Mountain Conservancy
- Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers
- The Nature Generation
- Teton Valley Trails and Pathways
- Pacific Northwest Trail Association
- Environmental Center of SLO County
- Victor Hiking Trails
Mohonk Preserve (MP) will partner with the Jolly Rovers Trail Crew – a community of volunteers trained in stonework – to replace 21 stone steps along a steep 90’ section of the East TrappsConnector Trail (ETCT), which provides access from MP’s Visitor Center to the popular Trapps area of the Shawangunks. A Jolly Rovers team led by co-founder, Artie Hidalgo-Espinosa, will train and work with MP’s staff and volunteers over 20-25 days to replace the current steps with new steps that will meet higher standards be more durable over the long term. MP’s volunteer “Trail keepers” regularly develop climber ascent trails, but can only shape stone rather than cutting it. The training they receive from the Jolly Rovers will give them experience with stone cutting theory and practice, the mathematical principles of stone step layout and design, techniques for moving large stones, and setting gargoyles. Following the project, MP staff and volunteer will use this training to develop and improve ascent trails throughout the Preserve for the benefit of many thousands of hikers and climbers annually.
The Howard High School Interns of the Lookout Mountain Conservancy will work with volunteers and a professional trail builder to provide a safe connection from the Tennessee Riverwalk to the trails on Lookout Mountain. This 1-mile-long project will connect 140 miles of hiking trails on Lookout Mountain. This trail will serve as a teaching opportunity to develop future trail builders and stewards. A professional trail builder will guide the Interns with appropriate trail building techniques, so that the Interns can guide the 1100 volunteers throughout the construction, and future maintenance, of the trail. This trail will be used primarily by hikers, as well as, climbers who are accessing our Bouldering Park. The trail will be wide enough to be safely used by bikers as well. This project will serve as a transition from the Urban Greenways of Chattanooga to the Natural Trails of Lookout Mountain.
The Capitol Creek Trail, in the Maroon Bells/Snowmass Wilderness Area provides wilderness access to hikers and equestrians to a beautiful alpine valley and lake. It is also the access to Capitol Peak, a Colorado Fourteener, one of the 54 peaks over 14,000. Volunteers will complete a back country public volunteer project to fix several of the most damaged sections of the heavily used Capital Creek Trail. This two-day project will reconstruct, repair and restore damaged sections of the trail two to four miles in from the trail-head. Top priorities include constructing rock walls to support some failing trail sections near Capitol Lake and to adequately drain and control erosion in a wet area that is being chewed up by horse traffic. We anticipate doing some minor trail reroutes.
The Chapman DeMary Trail is in the last stand of old growth forest in the second largest town in Loudoun County, Virginia. This 1-mile trail runs along the South Fork Catoctin Creek and the 10-acre area is located within a floodplain. The trail is narrow in many places, and due to its riparian location, many sections are impassable throughout the year. The project will widen the 1-mile trail and boardwalk a 100-foot section of the trail. It will be the kick off a larger effort to boardwalk the entire trail to provide ease of access to those in wheelchairs, people using strollers, and those who require mobility assistance; we want more people to experience the nature trail safely and easily. Our organization focuses on the environment; therefore, we will be mindful of protecting natural habitat as we widen the path and install a boardwalk. By increasing trail access and making it more user-friendly with the wider trail and boardwalk, this project will allow year-round trail use for more people. Our work on the Chapman DeMary Trail is done with volunteers. We intend to use our current volunteers and engage new ones.
In the summer of 2017 we will focus on Sheep Bridge (Trail 130), South Fork of Horseshoe (Trail 219), and the DeCoster (Trail 012). Each trail needs significant attention to assure they are sustainable and support users. The Sheep Bridge Trail needs works done on a bridge and bog area to shore up the ailing bridge while rerouting the bog area so that we can contain sediment distribution into the Teton Creek. The South Fork of Horseshoe needs to have a 1/3 of a mile of trail addressed to reroute it from a non-sustainable design that has led to a significant drainage issue. The DeCoster Trail has multiple creek crossings where the trail leading to and from the creeks goes directly down to the creek in a straight line from the bank. This leads to a huge amount of sediment being drawn into the creek and a very unstable trail. These Creek crossings will be addressed with sustainable entry and exit points to minimize any impact to the stream-bed flow.
The newly constructed John Tursi Trail links existing trails in Deception Pass Park that will allow the Pacific Northwest Trail Association to relocate the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail (PNT) off the busy shoulder of highway 20, and onto beautiful non-motorized tread within the park. Volunteers have already completed most of the work to open the trail, but to increase safety and accessibility, we need to complete brushing and tread work, and add signage before we can designate the new trail and connectors as an official relocation of the PNT. This project would allow two PNTA staff members to lead a volunteer weekend in Deception Pass park; improving the trail corridor, and installing official PNT signage.
The Waddell Ranch Open Space acquisition was completed by the City of San Luis Obispo with support from ECOSLO in January 2017. The property features an historic homestead site that, while no longer habitable, offers an outstanding opportunity for a trail rest area facility as an adaptive reuse of the site. Specifically, the project proposes to establish a picnic bench on a raised wooden platform, as well as a “back-country hydration station” that uses the existing artesian spring that fed the old homestead with a new filter system and spigot (in compliance with County Environmental Health standards). The site is an attractive, shaded, and protected spot that also has views of Froom Canyon and the surrounding hillsides. The site location is about mid-way on a 6.2-mile loop hike with over 1,000’ of elevation gain; it’s a strenuous hike that offers very little shade, making the proposed facility an ideal location for a rest and a chance to refill one’s water bottle while enjoying the scenic and pastoral setting.
Replace a temporary bridge with a wider, higher, safer bridge and repair several erosion areas due to flooding. Provide a safer crossing of a creek and make the trail sustainable. Success will be measured by hiker feedback to a survey and less erosion on the trail.