Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Volunteers Enhance Area Trails

The Adopt-a-Trail volunteer group “Friends of the Fieldale Trail” includes: first row Molly; second row (l-r) Paula Wyatt, Beth Wyatt, Nancy Kennett; third row (l-r) Tracy Kennett, Tommy Wyatt, Benny Setliff, Chris Wyatt.

Take a walk along the Fieldale Trail in Fieldale, Virginia most any day of the week and you’re sure to see the smiling faces of a very special group of volunteers known as “Friends of the Fieldale Trail.” This group is part of the Smith River Trail System’s Adopt-a-Trail Program developed by the Dan River Basin Association (DRBA).

The purpose of the Adopt-a-Trail Program is to provide opportunities for hikers, bicyclists and equestrians to assist DRBA in supporting Henry County Virginia Parks and Recreation and Eden North Carolina Parks & Recreation by coordinating volunteer activities to monitor, maintain and enhance trails and trailhead facilities along the Smith River Trail System. Roger Adams, Director of Henry County Parks and Recreation, said that volunteers “are a vital part of the maintenance of the trail system, especially as we continue to add additional trails.”

The “Friends” group has enhanced the Fieldale Trail by building and installing bluebird boxes, establishing a recycling program on the trail, picking up litter, and hosting volunteer workdays. The group is led by team captain Paula Wyatt, and includes her husband Tommy, children Beth and Chris, along with close friends Tracy & Nancy Kennett, and Benny & Pam Setliff. According to the Wyatts, the group wants “to obtain sponsorship through area animal shelters and stores” to help buy supplies for the group’s next project that will include installing “dropping bags and containers” throughout the trail for pet owners that enjoy walking their pets on the trail.

On the second Sunday in August at 2:00 p.m., the “Friends” group will be meeting to work on the lower half of the Fieldale trail, and the next volunteer workday will be the second weekend in September. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend!

At a recent volunteer event the group, in coordination with DRBA, opened up an additional 1,700 feet of trail for walkers and cyclists to enjoy. Jennifer Doss of DRBA serves as the Adopt-a-Trail coordinator and helps place families and groups with sections of trail in need of adoption. “The Friends of the Fieldale Trail has shown so much enthusiasm and they really stand out as ambassadors for the Fieldale Trail”, says Doss.

On the other side of Henry County, another group of volunteers is busily working on trails. The Gardner Family (shown at right) of Martinsville spends their time volunteering at the Richard P. Gravely, Jr. Nature Preserve in Ridgeway. Team captain, Martin Gardner works alongside his son Jackson as they help to extend the Rhododendron Trail located on the preserve’s property. According to Doss, this extension of the trail will provide “one mile of river front walking trail that guides visitors through a living tunnel of Rhododendron bushes”.

Through the hard work and dedication of these groups and individuals, Henry County’s trails have been maintained to their highest standards and will continue to expand and prosper. However, we can never have too many volunteers! School and youth groups, scout troops, church, community and service organizations, businesses, families, individuals or groups of individuals can adopt a trail. Anyone with an interest in trails and the outdoors is welcome to help preserve our land and provide safe, enjoyable access to the outdoors. To learn more about becoming involved with “Friends of the Fieldale Trail,” contact Tommy and Paula Wyatt at 276-647-3274. For more information on the Adopt-a-Trail program or to register as a volunteer, contact Jennifer Doss at 276-634-2545 or jdoss@danriver.org

Article by: Jennifer Doss and Jordan Martin
Photo submitted by: Paula Wyatt

1 comment:

Irfan Mahmood said...

Very interesting and recreational.