Usually a Summer trail build weekend is “faux pas”, especially being scheduled in mid-July. The dirt is almost always too dry to work with and finding willing volunteers (that aren’t out enjoying ideal riding conditions) is a tough job.
With the perpetual Spring-season that had yet to loosen it’s grip and the growing excitement over the up-and-coming Stub Stewart State Park Freeride Area, we decided to go out on a limb. And boy, did it pay off…
On Saturday we had 10 glowing faces show up to spend their Saturday digging in the dirt, giving back to the sport that they love. Despite the drizzly weather (a few outright downpours), we put in several hours of building on “Drip-Torch”, the intermediate-level difficulty “flow” trail. The ST240 Single-Track trail machine was rented (via courtesy North-West Trail Alliance) and helped with some heavy lifting and also served as motivation for the volunteers. Throughout the day, we cleared a long section of trail and rough-formed a few features (berms, jump, and rock-garden). Despite the conditions, these hard-working and optimistic volunteers worked until near-exhaustion. We called it a day.
Sunday greeted us with early-morning drizzle, followed by a tropical monsoon. Naturally, our crew was smaller so we decided to tackle sawing and clearing the beginner trail, to prepare for tread/trail/feature construction. We flagged this trail back in March and since then, the foliage had grown in and hidden most of the flags. This was bush-whacking at it’s finest. We cleared a tunnel through the vine-maple, pitching logs and branches where we could. This trail is going to have a closed in, tunnel type-feel through a few sections. (Think- covered waterslide)
We are now chainsaw-use approved, we have authorization to use the Park’s John Deere “Gators”, and also have access and the training to use NTWA’s ST240. Just a couple months ago, we had no access to any of these aids. This changes everything.
Thank you to all those volunteers who came out this weekend. Your commitment to creating new places to ride will be opening many doors in the future. Let’s keep up the fight!
*Elements of this trail build day partially funded by a tourism development grant from the Washington County Visitor's Association.