Trail Day a success

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The Southern Conservation Trust and Southside Cycling Club co-hosted the 3rd Annual National Trails Day event June 6 at the Ridge Nature Area, and organizers called the event was “a tremendous success.”

A total of 34 registered volunteers from the Southern Conservation Trust, Southside Cycling Club, Fayette Master Gardeners, Boy Scout Troop 279, friends and families provided over 120 hours of effort.   

The first event project was clearing the new “Three Oaks” hiking trail that will lead from the Whitewater Creek Trail to a grove of massive oak trees that will become known as “Meditation Oaks.” This project is sponsored by Dennis Chase, noted local naturalist and volunteer with the Southern Conservation Trust.

The second project was construction of an 8-foot trail bridge over a gully wash on Wild Wood Trail. This is an Eagle Scout community service project led by Scout Jacob Hillebrand and sponsored by the Southside Cycling Club.  Volunteers also assisted in trail maintenance while hiking, mountain biking, or trail running the 5.6 miles of trails.

The Ridge is the fifth public nature area to be owned or managed by the Southern Conservation Trust. This community park for the city of Fayetteville is slated for full public opening later in 2015. The Ridge Nature Area is a 308-acre hardwood forest and wetland habitat located on a ridge line between the Whitewater Creek and Gingercake Creek. The initial phase of infrastructure development is concluding in the near future with construction of the parking lot and gate.

Once complete, the Ridge will provide a nature education center, and host of sustainable outdoor recreation activities including over five miles of on-site hiking, mountain biking and running trails, geocaching and orienteering, a youth campground, canoe and kayak boat launch, and numerous bird watching spots. More information about the Ridge is available at https://www.facebook.com/TheRidgeNatureArea.