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Volunteers cutting in the Carr Mountain Trail above German River Road

The Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition participated in a weekend of work on the Carr Mountain Trail in conjunction with the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club. The SVBC hired Ironwood Outdoors to bring in a machine to help with benching in the southern portion of the trail. Ironwood Outdoors is Brock Lowery, based in Harrisonburg. Ironwood recently spent considerable time on the Fountainhead Trail system up in Northern Virginia. While still a work in progress, the trail network at Fountainhead has quickly become the best place to ride in NOVA after some major changes that have resulted in a bike-specific trail system that is unrivaled in the area.

The trail under a large power transmission line and about to disappear back into the trees. The McLeods pictured are important for compacting the tread and ensuring a sustainable trail.

The Carr Mountain Trail is located in the far Northwestern corner of Rockingham County, west of Folk’s Run. The trail will be part of the eventual Great Eastern Trail and the unofficial Virginia Mountain Bike Trail. Construction and design of the trail has been a collaborative effort between the Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition and the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club.

The ditch witch cutting in the trail bed as the volunteers wait to do the finish work
The machine operator out using hand tools to show that you can’t do it with a machine alone, but it sure speeds up the process.

 This was the first time that mechanized equipment was brought in to build a section of the trail. While the machine does not at all replace the need for volunteers to use hand tools and finish the work, it does get a good chunk of the heavy lifting out of the way.

It is important to cut out any roots from the trail bed and make sure the tread is compact and smooth

For this project, Ironwood Outdoors used a Ditch witch machine to cut the trail into the side hill of the mountain. This allows for quick and efficient “benching ” of the tread and does a good chunk of the difficult work. Volunteers then came in with hand tools to finish the back sloping of the trail, clean up the tread and knock down any berms on the downhill side. All this work not only ensures a more aesthetically pleasing trail but it also means a more sustainable longer-lasting trail that will drain water much better. Stay tuned for more opportunities to get out to this beautiful and remote corner of Rockingham County and help finish the Carr Mountain Trail.

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