Monday, March 16, 2009

Fieldale Trail Expands

The Dan River Basin Association (DRBA) and Henry County Parks and Recreation invite the public to come celebrate the opening of a new section of the Smith River Trail System to be held on Saturday, March 28th. The trail is an extension to the Fieldale Trail, located on South River Road in Fieldale, Virginia. Festivities will begin at noon, and the public is invited to walk or bike on the trail after the ribbon cutting ceremony. The trail takes visitors one and a half miles downstream from the trailhead alongside massive sycamore trees and scenic views of the river. Future plans are to connect this trail to the Rail Trail.

The extension to the Fieldale Trail is an initiative of the Dan River Basin Association’s Martinsville-Henry County Rivers & Trails Group and is funded in part by a grant from the Dominion Foundation. Work has been underway on the project since last spring when staff from DRBA marked the proposed trail. Henry County PSA officials then mapped the property and acquired easements from generous landowners. Construction of the trail itself began in the fall, after the leaves fell from the trees. Volunteers from the community and inmates from Patrick Henry Correctional Unit #28 both worked over the course of several weeks to clear the path for the 10-foot wide multi-use trail. Several businesses from the community contributed to the project including Dave Wilson, a local tree surgeon, who removed limbs left over from wind storms that might have posed a danger to walkers below. Frith Construction of Martinsville also assisted by preparing the trail surface using small equipment and trail building techniques designed to leave a minimal impact on the surrounding forest.

The Smith River Trail System is a series of trails that is planned to follow the Smith River 45-miles from the base of Philpott Dam to where it meets the Dan River in Eden, NC. Currently, seven miles of the system are complete. This trail system is also part of the statewide Beaches to Bluegrass Trail, presently being developed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. For more information on the Fieldale Trail and other sections of the Smith River Trail System, contact Jennifer Doss, DRBA’s Rivers & Trails Project Manager, at 276-634-2545.

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