(by Matt Tackett)
It’s one thing to talk about taking care of the lands you use… It’s easy to spray online or around the campfire about giving back to an area we take so much from… It’s simple and way too common to think others will just pick up your mess like being back home with mom on summer break… It seems most people think those sustainable trail systems have always been there or that Bambi built them for us… A few of us know that’s not true and that it requires someone to put action to their words and show they truly want to be stewards for our playgrounds.
A few of those special folks gathered together on National Trail Day, June 4th, 2011. The Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition joined up with the state of KY and Natural Trails and Construction to host a Train the Trainer day. This day focused on how to design, build and repair sustainable trails as well as how to organize and run trail days in the most efficient manner.
As our area becomes more popular, as we start using more of the lands we own and as we continue having issues in areas not owned by the community we have seen that land impact is top priority and the reason for closures. Impact management is becoming much more important than what the grades or stars are on the routes, whether you can ride the whole trail without dabbing or how fast you can run the system. As users we must protect what we use, it’s a fine line we have to walk. With well designed, properly built sustainable trail systems being the most important piece of this puzzle.
14 people showed up bright and early on this beautiful day proving their loyalty to the lands around us. The class held strong as I mumbled on for a few hours over common mistakes seen on our lands, IMBA standard trail building practices such as full bench construction, proper trail layout and closures. Re-routing and trail repair were discussed in great depth as well as general tool and trail day safety. Lunch was served thanks to the one and only Dr. Bob. Then the group went out to get their hands dirty cutting new trails in the Flat Holler area of the PMRP.
Many thanks to everyone involved. I feel much was learned, by the students and the teachers. With attending this class you have done more than just showing you care about that land, its users and your playground. You have shown that you will be top of my list for the Johnny and Alex Trail Day trail leaders email, no good deed goes unpunished…
We look forward to seeing everyone at the next big trail day and party. If you only attend one event a year then the Johnny and Alex Trail Day is the one to hit. It will be on August 13th this year and will be packed full of good folks, good times and good music. Visit www.rrgcc.org for more information and to pre-register.