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On The Trail: Building hiking trails

(WSIL) — We’ve been hitting the trails all across the region this summer but how are those trails made? This week we’re not hiking the trail, we’re building it.  

Isaiah Tanner, employee with Touch of Nature in Carbondale, says, “So today we’re working the volunteer trails. The kind of trails we’re building are really experience-based so we’re not looking for a destination rather we’re just trying to give people a place to play” and it’s no quick or easy task. Touch of Nature has been holding volunteer days in efforts to build a mountain bike trail.

Tanner explains, “This project started about two years ago and we have up to about a mile of trail now. We’re looking to get 30 miles of trail through volunteer and professional efforts.”

Once the volunteers arrived, it was time to gear up and get to work. For safety reasons, helmets, gloves, and protective eye-wear were all recommended.  After hiking out to where we would be working, Tanner gave us a quick demonstration. The demo made it look easy, but it’s a lot harder than it looks. Thankfully that doesn’t discourage the volunteers, as many return week after week. 

Volunteer, David Gray, says, “I recently retired about a year ago and I’m just doing a little community service. It’s a good workout, it’s a lot of fun and good people to work with.”

Trails are a lot more than just a line in the dirt.

Tanner explains, “Well bit trails take a lot of work and design. We’re just out sloping it basically making sure we kind of tilt the trail to the outside. Not enough to where you feel off balance but just enough to clear the water off of the trail.”

Touch of Nature is often looking for more volunteers to help with their bike trail.  For more information on Touch of Nature click here. For more information on how you can volunteer, click here.

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