Today the first in a series of "Wednesday Trail Workdays" was hosted by the Dan River Basin Association (DRBA). The new volunteer opportunity, held the second Wednesday of each month, is geared towards retirees and others who are free during the day.
For today's workday, the crew met at the Fieldale Trail on a new section (Phase II) that will officially open on March 28th. The 1.5-mile extension of the Fieldale Trail travels from the trailhead parking area (3521 South River Road) downstream towards Koehler.
The trail extension is made possible with a grant from the Dominion Foundation for development. Work has been underway on the trail since July when Henry County PSA officials helped to map and survey the trail and acquire easements from generous landowners. In October, when the leaves fell off the trees, volunteers began clearing the trail corridor and inmates from Patrick Henry Correctional Unit #28 completed the trail clearing process. Throughout the months of November and December, Frith Construction smoothed the surface of the trail and built an attractive foot bridge over a stream crossing.
Now that warmer weather has arrived, the volunteers are back at it, providing final touches such as trail marker signs, trimming stray limbs, and neatening up the trail. Benches, educational signs, and other amenities will be installed within the next few weeks.
The Fieldale Trail is part of the Smith River Trail System which will consist of 45 miles of trail along the Smith River in Virginia & North Carolina. It is also part of the Beaches to Bluegrass Trail System which will travel from the Eastern Shore of Virginia all the way to the Kentucky border following the Highway 58 Corridor. This trail system will not only promote conservation, fitness, and recreation in Henry County; but also, bring in tourism dollars as hikers pass through our area.
One of the unique features visitors will see along the trail is a giant sycamore tree that is 16 feet and 4 inches around and approximately 100 feet tall. The tree is known to be over 50 years old (if not much more) due to the fact that it was utilized as an anchor point when the Koehler Concrete Plant was in operation, dredging sand from the river bottom.
The crew of trusty volunteers consisted of Milton Hundley of Eden, Linda Drage and Susan Kanode both of Martinsville. They were led by DRBA staff members Jennifer Doss and Brian Williams. Many thanks to these volunteers for coming to help out!The beautiful weather brought many visitors to the trail today as our crew met a bicyclist, and six walkers; three of them with dogs (on leashes of course!). Dodie & Stuart (pictured below) are regulars on the trail. They try to get out to the Fieldale Trail as much as possible for fitness and enjoyment.We also met Ray and Jane of Fieldale and their dog Champ (pictured below), who were checking out Phase II of the trail for the first time.
Whether on bike, on foot, or even four-legs, Phase II of the Fieldale Trail is a trail for everyone!
The public is invited to attend the grand opening of the Fieldale Trail: Phase II on March 28th at 12 noon.
The next Wednseday Trail Workday will be held on April 8th from 2-5 p.m. on the Jones Cliff Trail at the Gravely Nature Preserve in Ridgeway. Volunteers may register by calling 276-634-2545.