The Gauntlet, The Vision, and The First Trail Day

Part of the crew heading in to work.

When Eric Woolridge began his job as Watauga County’s Outdoor Recreation Planner, there were no legal places to ride mountain bikes in the county. Not only has Eric worked to change this fact but over the past year he has created a vision that will propel Boone into the ranks of top outdoor recreation destinations in the country. Rocky Knob will be an important part of this vision.

Kick-off at the Broyhill

This past Thursday evening the vision for Rocky Knob became more clear. Woody Keen, CEO of Trail Dynamics (the company planning and building phase one of the trail system) presented his take on why Rocky Knob will be a destination mountain bike park: the proximity to town, the mature forest, the rocks, the opportunity for all levels of trail all rank high on the list. “This will be a park where families can ride great singletrack and rip cool rock lines together,” he says. Woody has traveled far and wide riding and building trails and frequently compares Rocky Knob’s potential to the world-famous Coed-y-Brenin trail system in Wales. “One possibility we have here,” he adds in his comparison to the Welsh network, “is all-weather trails.” Much of the first loop will be hardened and will drain very well. Eric Woolridge concluded the evening with a poignant reminder: “We went to the county with this idea and they came back with the cash. Now it’s time to show them they made a good investment.

Safety Briefing

This is our trail. Let’s get out there and work.”

Eric’s gauntlet is more of a work glove.

Trail Dynamics adds an educational component to its design and build commitment. Saturday, Woody led a sustainable trail workshop indoors then the attendees gathered at the park to get a first hand look at the construction process and swing some tools. Classroom knowledge provides a good foundation for trailwork, but it’s the experiential element that provides the paydirt. By the end of the day, 23 volunteers including a handful of eager youngsters hand-finished close to 800 feet of trail complete with the first optional berm-drop (courtesy the Marland boys). Check out the work:

The crew checks out the trail

Breaking rocks is hard to do...unless you have a 500 pound rock hammer attachment on your mini-exc.

Hand-finishing. The team works the back slope behind the machine.

Bob in the second mini-exc. The machines work on opposite legs of the trail to maximize productivity.

Stone Masons: building trail the Roman way.

Much of the first trail through the boulderfield will look like this.

Join us for “Dirty Thursdays” to get involved in the park. We will be meeting each Thursday for the next several weeks at 6:00 PM at the Knob. Tools will be provided.

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