Rick Daniel calls volunteering to help create the proposed six miles of new trails at Bracken Mountain “tough but rewarding work.”
Daniel, an assistant district attorney for the Judicial District 29B, lives near the city of Brevard-owned Bracken Mountain property, which looms over downtown adjacent to the Brevard Music Center.
Daniel moved to Brevard from Cincinnati, Ohio, roughly two years ago because of the “amazing trails for mountain Biking and hiking.”
“We are in the trail corridor clearing phase, which basically involves us volunteers following behind volunteer sawyers and moving everything they have cut as far off of the trail corridor as possible,” he said of the work on Bracken Mountain. “This sometimes involves dragging entire trees through extremely thick rhododendron thickets, up or down very steep slopes.”
The eighth volunteer workday is planned for this Saturday at Bracken Mountain.
Since Jan. 14, roughly 75 volunteers have helped clear four-and-a-half miles of the six miles of corridor. After the work is done, a local company, Long Cane Trails, will bring in machinery to actually create the trails.
This work is expected to begin in the next few weeks. The project will cost $134,200 to complete.
One trail will be a four-mile loop around the mountain. The trail will include three bridges to cross streams and access to two small cascades. Views of downtown, particularly during the winter, will be visible from portions of the trail.
The trail will be 5 feet wide to accommodate families, multiple users (mountain bikers and hikers for example), small vehicle access for long-term maintenance of the property, and access for rescue equipment should the situation ever arise, said Daniel Cobb, with the city’s Planning Department, which is overseeing the project.
An example of what the trail will look like is the popular Moore Cove trail in Pisgah National Forest that was recently widened to 5 feet. Cobb also addressed concerns that the wider trails could lead to erosion problems.
“As long as the trails are properly designed and built using standard practices, the width of the tread should not be a factor in the amount of erosion,” Cobb said. “We will be taking every precaution to prevent erosion both during and after construction.”
The two-mile trail will connect the mountain trail with Forest Road 475C. This will allow hikers and mountain bikers to travel on to the Pisgah Wildlife Education Center in the Pisgah National Forest.
Cobb acknowledged that the volunteer support has been “great” and encouraged others to come out to pitch in. Volunteers have included students from Schenck Job Corps.
Jay Hinze is another volunteer. He moved to the area seven years ago, saying he and his wife “fell in love with the natural beauty of the area.”
A retiree, Hinze also likes to repair and maintain trails in the national forest.
“Building the Bracken Mountain trail fits in with what I like to do,” he said. “I like the camaraderie associated with working with people of like interests.”
Cobb cautions that potential volunteers should be physically fit as some of the terrain is steep.
No definite date has been set on when the trail work will be finished, but Cobb said it would be this summer.
What is complete is the parking lot at the start of the proposed trails at the end of Pinnacle Road. Though not open to the public yet, the lot will have 10 spots.
The longer-term plan is to connect Bracken Mountain to downtown and the city’s bike/hike path system.
Precisely how to make that connection remains to be determined. The city’s Comprehensive Pedestrian Plan, which city council adopted in 2007, established as a high priority city goal the construction of sidewalks along Probart Street from Railroad Avenue to Music Center Drive.
This would greatly improve safety for pedestrians along Probart Street, including homeowners and Brevard Music Center students.
This Saturday’s volunteer work day will run from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.
To sign up for the work day, contact Cobb at (828) 885-5630 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Article from The Transylvania Times
March 19, 2012 | Vol. 126-No. 23