Podcast #3: Exploring the Future of the Va. Capital Trail

Today we released our third “Views from the Treehouse” podcast, recorded in RO’s secret treehouse headquarters. Our first two featured Ralph White (one podcast cannot contain the greatness that is the former James River Park manager). In this one, Matt Perry and I sat down with Catherine “Cat” Anthony. The VCU grad hasn’t been out of college for a decade, but just last fall she was installed as the the new executive director of the Virginia Capital Trail Foundation. She’s charged with shaping the future of one of the Central Virginia’s most popular outdoor recreation resources — the 52-mile ribbon of asphalt that runs from Richmond to Jamestown and drew over 1 million visits last year. What’s her vision for the trail? What will it’s economic impact be? How safe is it? How will we fund its continued maintenance? All these questions — and our usual James Lipton-esque rapid fire session at the end — are a click away!

Check it out!

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RVAMORE Looks for Support to Shore up Huguenot Flatwater Trails

rvaMORE, Central Virginia’s mountain biking and trail building club, plans to raise the trail tread on about a half a mile of the Huguenot Flatwater Trail upstream of Pony Pasture in the James River Park, in the hopes of making it usable year round.  This trail is very heavily-used by both cyclists and hikers, although for increasing amounts of time the trail is a muddy mess (see picture).

The Flatwater Trail in Huguenot Flatwater Park, part of the James River Park System. Credit: rvaMORE

The plan is to raise the entire trail tread and to improve the drainage, so that the trail remains accessible for a much longer part of the year. It is a multi-step process anticipated to cost $10,000 in materials.

To make all this happen, rvaMORE is asking for donations to the IMBA Dig In campaign before December 31st.  The group has committed $2,000 to this project and we plan on starting in the spring.

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Virginia State Parks Hosts ‘First Day Hikes’ with Free Parking, Contests

Virginia State Parks will offer free parking on Jan. 1, 2018, giving visitors the opportunity to enjoy special hikes or self-guided hikes on more than 500 miles of trails across 37 state parks.

In addition, Virginia State Parks will hold the First Day Hikes Photo Contest and the New Year Challenge. Each contest has a $500 gift certificate as the top prize, as well as other prizes.

A hike at Grayson Highlands State Parks can include views of this guy (or girl…not sure).

In the Richmond area, Pocahontas State Park hosts a New Year’s Eve to New Year’s Day hike that begins Dec. 31 at 11 p.m. and ends with a New Years bonfire and a sparkling cider toast. On New Year’s Day, Pocahontas will offer five other hikes, including a stroller-friendly hike, an advanced hike, a First Day Run, an orienteering hike, as well as a hike for family and friends.

Other parks with multiple hikes and difficulties include Bear Creek Lake, Holliday Lake and Twin Lakes state parks.

Some of the more unique hikes include Grayson Highlands State Park, with the possibility of seeing wild ponies. Guaranteed to be colder than other parks, hikers flock to the park for the challenge, the view of snow-topped mountains and the ponies.

New River Trail State Park will feature a hike and bike on the new mountain biking trail. At False Cape State Park, hikers will take the Terragator, the beach transport vehicle, down the beach and then hike to the North Carolina border.

Hikers can see bison at Wilderness Road State Park and amazing geological formations at Natural Tunnel and Natural Bridge state parks. The hike at Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State Park includes a tour of the historic town of Big Stone Gap.


You can take this cool teragator to going hiking at False Cape State Park on New Year’s Day.

Virginia State Parks welcomes bikes and horseback riders at parks with those facilities. Leashed dogs are welcome everywhere except False Cape State Park. Details for all hikes can be found here: http://bit.ly/VSPFDH2018.

For more information about Virginia State Parks activities and amenities or to make a reservation for one of the more than 1,800 campsites or 300 climate-controlled cabins, call the Virginia State Parks Customer Care Center at 800-933-7275 or visit www.virginiastateparks.gov.

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City Trail Crew Engineers New Span Over North Bank Trail

Editor’s note: The fall and winter are the lower usage times for trails in Central Virginia, and thus are when most of the trail building and rebuilding take place. This is the first in a seasonal series on the trail work projects taking place in the region.

If you’ve run, biked, walked your dog, or otherwise traversed Richmond’s North bank Trail in the past few days, you’ve probably noticed a gleaming new wooden bridge spanning the small gulley near the trail’s eastern end. (The area in question is where the flat gravel trail meets a steep, rocky section behind the Dominion headquarters. It’s the first bridge heading west from downtown.)

The entrance to the new North Bank Trail bridge heading east toward downtown.

City trails manager Mike Burton said he and his crew had originally hoped to keep some of the structure intact and repurpose other pieces. They realized that wasn’t possible once they removed a few boards and stringers.

“We were able to just push the entire frame over,” he said.

The bridge was as old as the North Bank Trail itself — more than a decade — and was built entirely by volunteers. It saw tons of traffic, as the James River Park System trail usage has exploded in recent years, but it was becoming a danger.

Burton said they spent about $1,800 on materials to rebuild the structure. Some of that money came from mountain bike/trail building club RVA MORE, and some came from the Sports Backers’ James River Park Fund, which racers are prompted to give to when they sign up for some Riverrock events and the SB’s Trails and Ales.

The new bridge looking west.

Burton said the bridge is “real similar” to the old one in terms of how users enter and exit it. The line hasn’t really changed, just the structural integrity.

North Bank was closed for a few days while the work was completed, but it’s back open now. Next up for Burton, Andrew Alli and the rest of the trail crew: completing the already-in-progress jump park in Gillies Creek Park next to the BMX racecourse.

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Wanna Get Away? Try Our Expert’s Top 5 Excursion Backpacking Trips

Editor’s Note: Author James Linton Vasen Brewing’s hiking ambassadors. Never been to Vasen in Scott’s Addition? Learn more here.

Hiking is a fantastic way to get out and see relatively unknown and remote places in the wilderness, and backpacking pushes those boundaries even further. Even though you have haul a lot more weight, be comfortable with the creatures of the forest at night, and become one with your own (and other people’s) filth, the payoff is getting to see and experience spectacularly remote, untainted wilderness areas. And luckily for us, Richmond is situated in an incredible place to access some fantastic weekend backpacking trips. These are my top five weekend backpacking trips that can be accomplished relatively easily from Richmond, in order of beginner, intermediate, and experienced. Happy hiking!

Looking down at Linville Gorge. Credit: James Linton

Spy Rock — Although often completed as an day hike, the Spy Rock hike as an overnight trip yields incredible sunset and sunrise views and is great for first-timers. The hike begins at a parking lot (coordinates 37.841873, -79.131253) adjacent to the Montebello Fish Hatchery, which is just a little over a 2-hour drive from downtown Richmond. Bring enough water with you to last overnight and pitch your tent early enough to enjoy the sunset views atop of Spy Rock! In the morning, scramble back up Spy Rock before sunrise for another phenomenal display of the mountains before making the 1.6-mile hike down the mountain back to the car. Insider tip: The hike used to lead up a rather unexciting road for approximately 1 mile on private property until it reached the AT and you bear left to Spy Rock. However, within the past few months, this road on private property has reportedly been closed to hikers and the U.S. Forest Service is working to establish a new hiking route, which may be slightly longer. As with any hike, make sure you’ve done your research and keep an eye out for postings from the Forest Service with updates. Level: Beginner. Length: 2 short days/1 night with a total hiking distance of 3.2 miles. Round trip driving time from Richmond: 4.5 hours.

Cole Mountain/Mt. Pleasant Loop — For those looking to make the transition from day hikes to backpacking, or for those looking to grab some epic views along fantastic trails, this hike couldn’t be a better place to start. A leisurely 2.5-hour backcountry drive from downtown Richmond brings you to the Cole Mountain/Mt. Pleasant Trailhead near Amherst (coordinates 37.759653, -79.195179). Starting at

The view from Cole Mountain. Credit: James Linton

Hog Camp Gap, you take the AT south to the summit of Cole Mountain. A little sweating and burning during this first section will quickly reward you with incredible views as you traverse the balds at the top of the mountain. As you finish your first loop, you’ll find a ton of great campsites, so pitch your tent for the night here. Looking for a spot farther away from parking? An alternate site would be to continue up the Mt. Pleasant trail for a farther campsite. This will also allow you to get a jump start on the following day’s summit of Mt. Pleasant. For great campsites and great views, with the convenience of not being too far from the car, this backpacking trip is one that would be hard to skip. Insider tip: Stray off the AT when on the balds and you will find some great hammock places to relax and soak in the view in complete solitude away from the trail. Level: Beginner/Intermediate. Length: 2 Days/1 night with a total hiking distance of 11.4 miles. Round trip driving time from Richmond: 5 hours.

Spruce Knob/Seneca Creek Loop —  Just writing about this hike gets me excited all over again! This 16.5 mile loop is hands down my favorite 2 day/1 night backpacking trip, which allows the intermediate backpacker chances to get out on a hike with everything from incredible waterfalls to beautiful wildflower-laden meadows with rolling mountain vistas. The hike starts about a 3.5 hour drive from Richmond at the summit of Spruce Knob in West Virginia (coordinates 38.70230, -79.53105) and follows the Huckleberry Trail out of the parking lot through an incredible spruce forest. The full loop hike is a combination of six different trails in the following order: TR 533 – TR 534 – TR 564 – TR 530 – TR 515 – TR 512 – TR 530 – TR 533 (I highly recommend using the Seneca Creek Backcountry forest service map for the hike). Insider tip: Although incredible campsites begin popping up 8 miles in, my personal favorites are approximately 9-10 miles in along Seneca Creek near Judy Springs where you will find fantastic trout fishing, incredible open meadows, and deer foraging beneath wild apple trees. An early camp set up is worth it so you can snag one of these spots. Level: Intermediate. Length: 2 Days/1 night with a total hiking distance of 16.5 miles. Round trip driving time from Richmond: 7 hours.

Hiking toward Mount Rogers in the Grayson Highlands hike. Credit: James Linton

Grayson Highlands/Appalachian Trail Loop — If there is one hike on this list that I would say is a must do for every backpacker in Virginia, it would be this one. Just under a scenic 5-hour drive from Richmond is the trailhead for this hike (coordinates 36.633520, -81.505716) in Grayson Highlands State Park. The hike is unlike just about any other in the region in that there are wild ponies and longhorns along many of the trails. You are met with continuous incredible views and constant interaction with wildlife, and to top if off some amazing camping spots. Insider tip: the streams (and your drinking water with them) on this route dry up rather quickly when it hasn’t rained in a few days. Try and plan your trip to avoid these dry spells and ensure you have more than enough water. Level: Intermediate. Length: 2 Days/1 night with a total hiking distance of 15 miles: Round trip driving time from Richmond: 9.5 hours.

Linville Gorge Wilderness Loop — Wow. This single word is the best way to describe this rugged, exhausting, backcountry loop. This hike is for all of my fellow weekend warriors and all of the serious backpackers out there. Sitting at the furthest hike on the list at just over 5 hours away is the Wolf Pit trailhead (coordinates 35.824125, -81.889411) in the Pisgah National Forest. Here you begin your hike into the Linville Gorge Wilderness area with the climb up the Wolf Pit Trail. You’ll be met with nonstop breathtaking views along the ridge before you begin your descent into the gorge itself. From personal experience, this hike is no joke, so prepare yourself for intense elevation gain, river fording, and minimal trail blazes. It’s also important to note that many of the trails off of the Shortoff Mountain Trail are not blazed or marked whatsoever, so be sure to always have your map handy. If you want one of the most challenging and rewarding weekend backpacking trips from Richmond, this is it. Insider Tip: If hiking on a hot day, make sure you have plenty of water after making the final river ford before you hike back up to the Wolf Pit Trail. This section is grueling and very exposed to the sun. Stay prepared and enjoy all that this hike has to offer! Level: Experienced. Length: 2 very long days/1 night with a total hiking distance of 22.3 miles (and lots of elevation gain). Round trip driving time from Richmond: 10.5 hours.

These hikes aren’t just incredible backpacking trips that are easily accessible from Richmond, but are some of the East Coast’s finest. Take your time to plan for each outing and be prepared for anything. If you have a smartphone, I personally recommend the Hiking Project app. It is a great tool to help prepare for each hike, and works offline if you need help on the trails.

Looking for even more ideas? Here are some others worth noting:

Big Rocky Row (37.596847, -79.391172) – Beginner/Intermediate

Dolly Sods/Lions Head (39.064648, -79.303326) – Intermediate

Three Ridges Hike (37.901628, -78.985255) – Intermediate

AT from Iron Mountain Gap to 19 East (36.142922, -82.233194) – Experienced

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BSF’s ‘Hike for Kids’: Hike, Party, Support Urban Youth

I’m not sure I believe it myself, but RVA’s weather people say fall is around the corner. Like we might see cooler, crisper conditions early next week. I don’t know about you, but that makes me want to get outside and stay there. If you feel similarly, and you want an excuse to get your family outside, too, check out the the Hike4Kids, the annual hike-athon fundraiser from our good friends at the Blue Sky Fund, on Oct. 28th.

Last year over 200 participants chose three different distances: 5-, 10-, and 18-milers, all on trails in the James River Park System, started/finished at Legend Brewery, and generally had a blast. This year, the concept is the same but some of the details have changed.

For 2017 you can challenge yourself with the family-friendly 3-mile loop, the tougher 8-miler, or the endurance-distance 14-mile loop. All hikes start and end at the Virginia War Memorial. The after party features local food trucks and beer from Vasen Brewing.

To learn more and register, click here. Your participation will help ensure outdoor enrichment opportunities for Richmond’s urban youth!

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Blue Sky Fund Announces ‘Hike4Kids’ 2017 Details

Hike the James River Park for a good cause. That’s all the Blue Sky Fund is asking.

Late October might seem like a long way off, but just imagine it: changing leaves, cool dry weather, the actual need to wear long sleeves in the middle of the day. Sounds like bliss, right? Sounds like a good day for a hike, too. That makes it perfect timing for the Hike4Kids, the annual hike-athon fundraiser from our good friends at the Blue Sky Fund.

Last year over 200 participants chose three different distances: 5-, 10-, and 18-milers, all on trails in the James River Park System; started/finished at Legend Brewery; and generally had a blast. This year, the concept is the same but some of the details have changed.

For 2017 you can challenge yourself with the family-friendly 3-mile loop, the tougher 8-miler, or the endurance-distance 14-mile loop. All hikes start and end at the Virginia War Memorial. The after party features local food trucks and beer from the brand new Vasen Brewing (grand opening July 29 in Scott’s Addition).

To learn more and register, click here. Your participation will help ensure outdoor enrichment opportunities for Richmond’s urban youth!

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Enthusiastic Crowd Packs the House for Richmond Trail Forum

Crowd of more than 100 people at the Byrd Park Round House for the Richmond Trail Forum, Feb. 1, 2017

Crowd of more than 100 people at the Byrd Park Round House for the Richmond Trail Forum, Feb. 1, 2017

The first Richmond Trail Forum took place Wednesday night at the Byrd Park Round House before an enthusiastic overflow crowd of more than 100 people. Many identified themselves as cyclists, runners, hikers, volunteers, and dog walkers.

The well-received six-member panel included Nathan Burrell, superintendent of the James River Park; Mike Burton, city trails manager; Andrew Alli, city trail technician; Michael George, Richmond Road Runners; Dennis Bussey, James River Hikers; and Greg Rollins, rvaMORE. The forum was moderated by Brantley Tyndall, community outreach coordinator for Sports Backers’ Bike Walk RVA.

“We are an outdoor recreation mecca in Richmond,” Burrell said. “We have a multi-use system that we are all happy to share.” [Read more about the history of the development of Richmond’s trails in our preview of the Richmond Trail Forum.]

See a video from TijoMedia’s Brandon Montijo that rolls through some historic moments in the timeline of Richmond’s trail network.

The trail network includes the James River Park loop, Ancarrow’s Landing (AKA Poop Loop), Forest Hill Park, Dogwood Dell, Powhite Park, Larus Park, and more trail is on the way. The system is maintained by James River Park and city trail crew — a total of about seven staffers — and thousands of volunteer hours.

“We live and die by the volunteers,” Burton said, thanking the many volunteers who were in the building.

Richmond Trail Forum, Feb. 1, 2017

Richmond Trail Forum, Feb. 1, 2017

Burrell said the JRPS welcomed more than 1.4 million visitors in 2016, according to the network of counters at almost every parcel of the park system. Park staff is able to tell the difference between cyclists and pedestrians, which helps them determine who to best manage the trails. Bikes are in the minority, with more than 2/3 of the visits coming from pedestrians in most areas of the park.

“We know when people are out riding wet trails. We know,” said Alli, jokingly to big laughs from the crowd. He said the counters show that the numbers of riders and pedestrians are generally lower during and after periods of rain. Users on wet trails can cause damage and require more maintenance, which was a big part of the evening’s discussion, which included several topics.

The panel emphasized that pedestrians have the right of way on the trails, though many runners and walkers tend to give way to bikes.

“Cyclists should yield to other users,” he said. “Downhill does not have the right of way either. I know you want to bomb down the hill, but we need to give way to hikers.”

Bussey said, “it is helpful to [hikers] when bikers give us a head’s up about how many riders are passing through.” Alli mentioned that bells have become more popular, but a good “rider up” will do fine too to warn anyone on a trail when approaching a blind spot.

The most common conflict on the trails comes the potential for bike-on-bike collisions, Burton said. The trail crew has worked harder to minimize blind corners and trims back vegetation where needed to keep trail corridor sight lines clear.

Earbuds are not encouraged — for runners but especially cyclists. “You are oblivious to your surroundings with earbuds,” Alli said. For what it is worth, according to VDOT, an earbud in one ear is allowed.

A question about unleashed dogs in the park brought a strong response from Burrell, who said “your dog is supposed to be on a leash. Not just in the James River Park, but anywhere around the city.”

Dogs are supposed to be leashed in the city, according to city ordinance. He said keeping your dog on a leash is important for wildlife in the park too. “Typically everyone’s dog that is off a leash — that dog is not next to you, but wandering around the park. Your dog interacting with animals creates negative tension” and can cause more problems than dog owners realize.

At the beginning of the year, the city began an experiment at the Poop Loop by running the trails in one only direction on alternating days of the week. The park offers “a diversity of speeds,” Rollins said, and “we figured we’d experiment out there and see what happens.” If it continues to go well, he said that Dogwood Dell and Forest Hill Park trails could become directional trails as well, although the James River Park loop would likely be too difficult to manage because there are so many entry points.

Trail sustainability was a big topic and the panel answered many questions about their guidance on trail maintenance. Factors in management include measuring resource management, economic impacts, and social impacts. Burrell said that decisions are always a balancing act. “We’re not an amusement park. Trail features are not removed because people can’t ride them,” he said.

“For us, it comes down to staffing,” Burton said. Do they have the resources, the time to accomplish maintenance and what would be the benefits for alterations to the trails.

“Typically, when we are accused of removing technical trail features, it is due to erosion,” Burton said. “We can’t ignore that it is eroding…We all ride, we like this stuff too.”

Alli said that typically, many sections are “social trails,” indicating that they have developed over time before the park officially began maintaining trail. Often they follow the straightest line — especially on sloped sections of trail — and staff has tried to redesign them to make them more sustainable. They use features like rocks and bumps to slow riders in any areas of the trail network.

The panel answered a question about the brown trail markers throughout the city’s network. The markers help pinpoint an emergency response and have helped to cut response times from 30 minutes to closer to 5 minutes per call. The signs are documented and maintained in part by help from volunteers from the James River Hikers.

Burton answered a question about the highly popular new T. Tyler Potterfield Bridge, which saw more than 35,000 visitors in its first month, between the opening date of Dec. 2 and Dec. 31. He said the next logical step is to finish the loop on the south bank of the river and connect with Belle Isle by way of making drastic improvements to the Missing Link Trail, which is planned for in the city’s Richmond Riverfront Plan.

“It is very much a needed connection to Belle Isle,” he said. “We cannot ignore the glaring need in the trail system,”

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Richmond Trails Forum to Address City’s Growing Outdoors Network

Virginia High School Mountain Biking event at Forest Hill Park, April 19, 2016.Virginia High School Mountain Biking event at Forest Hill Park, April 19, 2016.

Virginia High School Mountain Biking event at Forest Hill Park, April 19, 2016.

Richmond offers plenty of recreational choices for anyone who wants to get outdoors. Its network of trails is extremely popular and has helped bring several beneficial economic events to Richmond, including Dominion Riverrock, XTERRA and more.

The oldest, the Buttermilk Trail, has been a part of the James River Park since the early 1980s. But the city did not commit to building trails that could officially accommodate mountain bikers until the late 1990s.

The popularity of those early trails prompted the JRPS to appoint its first trails manager in 2003 (Nathan Burrell). Citizens helped to push for more trails and volunteers did much of the work. But for all the people out riding trails in Richmond, park usage statistics show that mountain bikes are in the minority. According to numbers provided by the city’s parks department, walkers and runners outnumber mountain bikers three to one on the Buttermilk Trail. Only one in four users on North Bank is a biker.

“Everything we do is an effort to manage the growing number of people going out on the trails,” said Mike Burton, the city’s trails manager since 2013. “Even though they are the minority users, mountain bikes are always on our mind as we plan trail work.”

Burton said all of the JRPS and trail crew staffers are trail users and mountain bikers, which helps illustrate their dedication and determination to continue to maintain the popular trails network. He said the majority of the work they do is done to just keep the trails open.

The city maintains more than 42 miles of trail, including single track, connector roads, and trails entering parks. This includes more than 20 miles of trail in the James River Park at North Bank (opened 2005), Belle Isle (1999), Ancarrow’s Landing (Poop Loop trail, 2014), Pony Pasture, The Wetlands, and Huguenot Flatwater. The crew maintains trail in other city parks, including Forest Hill (rebuilt 2009), Byrd (Dogwood Dell, 2011), Powhite (1995-99), Larus (2005), and Bryan.

“We are known for having a challenging network of trails in the center of an urban area,” said Burrell, who is now the James River Park manager. “We offer a wide range of skill sets throughout the trail system.”

Burrell said building a facility like the skills park on Belle Isle (which opened in 2012) was an effort to offer a more beginner-friendly training area for new and young riders. The trail crew has also been working to introduce more trail that caters to different types of riders.

“You could spend your life building technical trails, but we only have a staff of two,” Burton said, referring to Andrew Alli, the other full time trail crew staffer. “Every time we add new trail, we also add more maintenance, and there is so much demand for the trails we have now.”


Richmond Trails ForumFor those interested in learning more and giving their input about the trails network, the city will host a forum Wednesday, Feb. 1, from 7-8:30 p.m. at The Carillon in Byrd Park. Hosted by the City of Richmond and the James River Park trail crew, the event is expected to be an open discussion about the Richmond trails network.

Representatives from the mountain bike, trail runners, and hiking groups are scheduled to be on the panel. The forum will be moderated by Brantley Tyndall, community outreach coordinator for Richmond Sports Backers’ Bike Walk RVA. Topics will include:

A Q&A session will allow the public to voice their ideas & concerns. In advance of the forum, submit your questions.


rvaMORE volunteers work at Poop Loop.

RVAMORE volunteers work at Poop Loop.

The trails crew is constantly looking for ways to add new trails, but as the network increases, maintenance also increases, which creates the need for more help from volunteer groups, like RVAMORE and the James River Hikers.

In 2016, the trail system received nearly 1,500 documented hours from volunteer groups, a figure that Burton said was very low because the hours for many projects were not tallied. Project managers occasionally forget to share signup sheets or volunteers forget to sign in, missing a chance to document their efforts.

Without volunteers, Burrell said Richmond’s trails network would not exist. For 2016, the parks department used $22 per hour to calculate the value of volunteer time (less than a national figure of $23.56). Often a volunteer project would include a member of the park staff and anywhere from five to 20 volunteers, depending on the work needed to accomplish.

Other projects earned more than 4,900 hours for park maintenance and another 2,850 from long-term volunteers and interns. All totaled, the park counted 9,270 volunteer hours, which equates to about 4.85 permanent employees (considering the average permanent employee works approximately 2,000 hours per year), according to parks department documentation.

“Our job is to be stewards of the land,” Burton said. “Most trail work includes preventing erosion and making it more sustainable.” Once the crew works on a section of trail, the hope is to avoid having to revisit the site to continue to make repairs.

Burrell said the three key factors to trail sustainability include: environmental (immediate and long-term impact to surroundings); economic (cost of the trail work); and social (which involves many factors, including removing poor sight lines, tight trail corridors, dangerous junctions — anywhere trail users could get hurt from collisions).

That often means that can’t justify building technical features and alternate expert trails in the city network because mountain bikes are still the minority users in the park. Where necessary, there are a few sections of trail where hikers and bikers are separated, such as in Buttermilk Heights (including the area near the stone porch switchback), the Netherwood Quarry (east of 42nd Street, includes a ramp for bikes or stairs for hikers), and another on the North Bank Trail.

Burrell said the crew tends to choose permanent materials when they do build new trail features. “We try use the existing materials within the park as much as we can. Rock features play into the natural features of an adventure recreation park. We have a finite amount of land to work with and we have to manage it as best we can.”

DISCLAIMER: Phil Riggan is a member of rvaMORE and other volunteer groups in the city.

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Voting for Green Spaces in Henrico

A boardwalk in Henrico's Cheswick Park.

A boardwalk in Henrico’s Cheswick Park.

In the Op/Ed section of Tuesday’s Times-Dispatch, Sports Backers Executive Director Jon Lugbill clues us in to something all Henrico voters should keep an eye out for in the ballot box next Tuesday.

“A bond referendum package for parks projects would include an 87.1 million investment over six years, without an increase in the tax rate,” Lugbill writes.

Among the natural areas in the county that would see improvements: Greenwood Park, Tuckahoe Park, Taylor Park, Cheswick Park, Tuckahoe Creek Park, Dorey Park, Deep Run Park, and Three Lakes Nature Center.

I’ve hiked at Cheswick and Deep Run parks, fished at Three Lakes, mountain biked at Dorey and bird watched at Tuckahoe Creek. The idea of those green spaces getting even more TLC is an exciting one.

“Henrico’s bond referendum elevates its support of active-living infrastructure for its residents and maximizes the benefits of sports tourism,” Lugbill adds.

Give Lugbill’s column a read, Henrico voters, then do yourself a favor and vote for increased resources for Henrico’s nature parks.

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