I’ve received several comments during the past few weeks, asking why we’re building trail in a clear cut – and hinting that it isn’t worth it.
Let me say that I feel your pain if you’ve been involved in the builds of Deja Vu, Upper Jekyll, and the new lines that will replace the Creek Trail, the Big Wow, and the Road Trails. It’s extremely difficult work. Unfortunately, after investing 30+ hours of my own in these projects, I’ve discovered that neither bemoaning the loss of trail to logging nor feeling sorry for myself will change things.
Growlers was built out from the lower trails, with new lines added to extend the system and connect the pieces. Logging has put a big dent in the cohesiveness we once enjoyed. This is particularly true in the middle part of the system where a gravel ride of approximately 1.5 to 2.0 miles is currently required to get from the lower trails to those beyond the blue gate. This is why the system now feels so fragmented.
In the past 16 months, we’ve lost the following trails to logging: A-B-C, Little Sister, the Miracle Mile, JFK, Upper Jekyll, Double Down, the Big Wow, the Ridge Trail, Carnage, Piece, Pound, the Creek Trail, and two of the three Road Trails. I’m guessing that the total mileage lost was about 10 miles, which represents approximately 25 percent of the system.
Timber companies operate on a 25- to 35-year cutting cycle. We did not have to deal with logging at Growlers for nearly 20 years, but the reality is that we will be dealing with it regularly from this point forward.
So, we are left with these choices: (1) Wring our hands, do nothing, and end up with no system as logging gradually takes what we have; (2) Build new line out farther but lose the trail-to-trail connectivity we have always enjoyed; (3) Suck it up and put some of the trail back.
There is absolutely no way I would ever propose taking on these clear cut projects without the tremendous support we enjoy at Growlers. As evidence of this, we are likely to have more than 100 volunteers at our big build in December. But numbers don’t tell the entire story. The people we have are experienced and dedicated trail works who are willing to do whatever they can to help out. Despite the difficulty of these clear cut builds, the work can get done when you have great people and plenty of them.
Yes, we will also be dealing with ongoing maintenance issues. The good news is that unlike Legacy – we will be able to drive in with weedeaters to deal with the problems.
If you flag trail in an area that actually has standing trees (I’m guessing the places that would fall into this category would be at least 3 to 5 miles out), let me know and I will do what I can to get your project on the calendar.
If you (a) don’t have flagged line ready for us or (b) don’t have a plan for putting the system back together, I suggest that you put on your work boots, buy a pair of good gloves, fill your flask with Fireball, and prepare to pick up limbs.