Gary Moore - SORBA Woodstock Trail Director - Blankets Creek
There's one last bit of land currently available for us to build new mountain bike trail on here in Woodstock and it lies on the north side of Little River in the Olde Rope Mill Park; so we felt it was important to get something built on it that would really bring some fresh miles to the area.
Back in February, we brought an independent trail designer from North Carolina, Valerie Naylor, to the park and spent several days with her hiking the site for the new trail and biking all of the local trails in the Taylor Randahl Memorial trails as well as those at Blankets Creek. We also held several meetings with local riders, members of SORBAWoodstock, the Greenprints Alliance, Woodstock City, Woodstock Parks & Rec and the Army Corps of Engineers to insure that we had as much input from the local stakeholders as possible.
Armed with the results of these meetings, and a quick sketch on a topo map, Valerie spent the better part of a week on the property carefully planning and laying out the new trail. There are a lot of considerations for trail designers to keep in mind and it takes a careful hand to balance the various attributes of a trail to meet a certain goal. For this trail, the objective is to build a trail that can reach a very broad spectrum of riders and provide a unique and entertaining experience for each. We looked a lot at the Dwelling Loop, due to it's top-ranked popularity, and focused on the stretched-out but undulating and rolling sections that do such a great job of accommodating beginner and intermediate level riders, but that also appeal to advanced riders that navigate it at a high speed and tempo. We felt that the addition of some side-features and alt-lines into the mix would provide a more playful character that is often missing from the current trails.
The end result of all this planning, scouting and designing is a trail that promises to add the missing ingredient to the Taylor Randahl system. A bit of a departure from the stacked loop layouts of Avalanche and Explorer, Fierce is designed with a main, contour style loop (marked in green in the design) of approximately 3 miles that remains at the lower elevations but takes the rider to all corners of the property. Gradients are low, but the trail tread itself will be highly manipulated to create the playful nature that appeals to everyone. Off of this main loop are three optional lines (marked in blue) that will make use of the higher elevations. These will have steeper climbs, tighter lines and more advanced features such as rock drops, rollers and berms. The blue lines will add roughly another 2.5 miles.
The Implementation Plan for this trail has been completed and submitted to the Corps for final approval, which we expect to receive in the next few months. In the meantime, we are working on the construction plans and fundraising so that we can begin work promptly upon receiving the go-ahead. Our base plan currently is to use several different professional trail building companies to construct the various loops and lines so that we can get a variety of styles and techniques to create different flavors around the trail. We estimate that we have raised about 65% of the funds needed to build this trail, so we do have some progress to make there.
There are some gorgeous areas of this property and we are confident that Valerie's design is making the absolute best use of all it has to offer. It's going to be a great new addition to our local trails, which aren't too shabby already!
You can view the picture of the proposed trail map here.