Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

As the end of another decade draws near, I along with others all over the world are thinking about New Year resolutions for 2010.  Some common resolutions that I have heard in the past include:
-- increase activity level to lose weight or become more healthy
--save money
--reduce stress
--make new friends
--find a meaningful activity to contribute time to
--spend more time together as a family
--become more green and help the environment
--give back to the community

We make resolutions each year and often have a difficult time following through. The fact is that there is a cause right here in our own backyard that will enable a person to EASILY accomplish ALL those resolutions and more. (Psst...It's more fun than a gym membership too!)

The Adopt-a-Trail program was established by the Dan River Basin Association in May 2009 in partnership with Henry County Parks and Recreation, Martinsvillle Parks & Recreation and the City of Eden. Since the program's development, four teams have been established with more than fourty volunteers and similar programs are being created in the North Carolina Counties of Stokes and Caswell.  The first official AAT team in Henry County was "Friends of the Fieldale Trail". This group of friends and neighbors is led by team captain Paula Wyatt and maintains three miles of shared-use trail in Fieldale, Virginia. Members include: Charles & Pat Dameron, Nancy & Tracy Kennett, Glenda Scott, Benny & Pam Setliff, Ronny Tranthum, Tommy, Chris, Beth Wyatt and Joan Ragland.

“We fell in love with the Fieldale Trail the first time we walked the trail. The river is such an asset—it is so stress relieving to sit on the benches and listen to the water. We also like the flowers and trees on the trail. It’s a wonderful experience for families, whether walking, biking, jogging or bicycling.” – Pat Dameron

"Friends of the Gravely Nature Preserve" is led by Martin Gardner (shown above with his wife Ginger and sons Will & Jackson) and helps to maintain two and a half miles of hiking trails in Henry County's first interpretive park. Team members also include: Doug Foley, Neil Tatum, and Louis & Campbell Pitzer.

The trails at Doe Run Park are adopted by scouts from Girl Scout Troop 691 and their families. The group is led by team captain Jenniffer Jamison. Youth also help maintain the Uptown Spur Trail as it is adopted by the Boys & Girls Club of the Blue Ridge (shown at right) and members of the Martinsville Uptown Revitalization Association (MURA).

All of these volunteers make a commitment of visiting their adopted trail a minimum of eight times per year. They pick up trash, remove debris from the trail, interact with trail users and work on elective special projects chosen by the team captains. "Friends of the Gravely Nature Preserve" have spent the fall working on a half mile extension of the Rhododendron Trail to create more hiking opportunities and "Friends of the Fieldale Trail" have helped Henry County Parks & Recreation to acquire a dispenser for doggie bags so that walkers can clean up after their canine friends.

“I love to give back to the community and volunteering is one way to do that. The trail is a good way to meet people, get exercise and see nature.” –Paula Wyatt

The program is fun, easy and a good way to accomplish all of your new year's resolutions. As I make my departure from being a DRBA staff member in the new year. I am renewing my dues as a member of DRBA and signing up to join an Adopt-a-Trail team at the trail closest to my home. This is an incredibly worthwhile program and proves that many hands working together can accomplish great things!

I challenge you to give it a try and Adopt-a-Trail in 2010. You won't be disapointed! To learn more about the program, join us at an informative meeting on Thursday, January 7th, 6pm at the Henry County Administration Building (3300 Kings Mountain Road Collinsville).

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