One of the things I look forward to every year is the fall colors on the trail. The DRHT is a great place to view the turning leaves; some of our photographers capture the scenes wonderfully. Watch for their photos on our website and social media channels, including Instagram. Even better, get out and enjoy it yourself — I’ll see you out there!
While we’re at it, please remember that our goal is to make the DRHT a part of the fantastic Virginia State Park system. We’ll join the two other railroad trail parks (High Bridge and New River). Four other state parks have rail-trails within their trail network.
Work continues as always to keep the trail maintained and in shape for our hikers and bikers. We continue to get appreciative comments and observations about things that need attention. Last week my trainer at the YMCA suggested that there was a particularly rocky section of trail that could use an application of rock dust, so we’ll check that out. Another user missed a turn and got lost; he suggested carefully placed signage would help. One of our maintenance goals is to cover the entire trail with crushed granite, but with limited funds we have to apply it first to the most needed sections.
We always appreciate new volunteers; see the appeal for help elsewhere in this newsletter. Some of our neighbors (how cool is it to live on the trail!) are pitching in to keep the trail clear. Bravo!! Let us know if you’d like to help out. If trail maintenance isn’t your bag, we have other ways you can help out.
I was working the other day to clear a downed tree lying across the trail. I got the work done just as the sun had gone down. As I was walking back to the parking area in the dark, a family walked past to begin a moonlit outing. The kids were having a great time, so excited to be out for a nighttime walk. They were skipping along, chattering, and noticing everything. They had flashlights but didn't want to use them. They knew it would spoil the spell of the moonlight. It was just another magical moment on the trail.
Speaking of clearing trees, we had a particularly challenging blowdown near the western end of the trail, a multiple trunk monster that we seriously considered leaving in place because trail users could easily pass under it. But our trail boss, Warren Veazey, decided that it really needed to get cleared so that work vehicles could still travel on the trail. See the photo above — Warren is serious about tree clearing. Scampering up the fallen tree, he earned a new nickname: The Flying Lumberjack!
We recently wrote a letter of support for a greenway feasibility study to be led by the George Washington Regional Commission, and we're happy to share that the grant was awarded! So the work on the study will start in the new year. As Kari Barber of GWRC, explains, “The study will build upon the individual efforts of local partners to set the stage for increasing the connectivity of regional pockets of forest with a robust network of greenways for recreation, mobility, communing with nature, and wildlife corridors. The project will reduce the impacts of land use change, fragmentation, and urbanization on forest landscapes and improve community health and well-being.” This is an exciting opportunity to plan out a regional trail network with the DRHT a key component.
See you on the trail,
President, Friends of the DRHT
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