Posts Tagged ‘Dominion Riverrock’

Richmond MORE and city open Forest Hill Park trails

New bridge at Forest Hill Park bike trailAfter nearly six months and 800 man hours, one of the key elements to the revitalization of Richmond’s Forest Hill Park is now complete with the re-opening of the biking and hiking trail.

Jimmy McMillan hits the trails at Forest Hill ParkThe trails were closed to allow the reworking of portions of the original trail to help prevent erosion and to make it easier to maintain, said Nathan Burrell, Trail Builder for the City of Richmond.

“That’s why we build them that way — to cut down on the maintenance and let us work on other projects and continue to expand,” he said.

The restored trail is intended for use by everyone, not just the mountain biking community, he said. The single-track trail winds it’s 3.2 miles around the perimeter of the wooded areas of Forest Hill Park and highlights many of the park’s existing features.

Several new techniques were put to use and the trail looks fantastic.

The restoration of Forest Hill Park’s lake was completed under budget and a month early and the park will soon put in place a footbridge over Reedy Creek at the above the lake in memory of the Bryan Harvey family. The lake has become a marsh after being filled by silt over many years of neglect.

“We’ve turned the corner on perception,” said J.R. Pope, the city’s director of Parks and Recreation Department. “People are taking ownership of the parks.”

The Patio at Forest Hill Park in Richmond, VirginiaThe trail restoration was a combined effort from the City of Richmond Parks and Recreation Department, Richmond Mid-Atlantic Off Road Enthusiasts, and many other volunteer groups.

RA-MORE is an all volunteer organization formed in 2005, is dedicated to improving the state of mountain biking in the Greater Richmond Virginia area.

The Forest Hill Park trail project cost $15,000 to complete — $5,000 from the city and $10,000 in donations, mostly from RA-MORE.

One example of the cost is the new wooden multi-use bridge over a brook in the middle of the park.

New bridge at Forest Hill Park bike trail“The bridge is incredible,” Pope said. The bridge has a curve in the middle as it crosses the ravine and a staircase — a fine example of carpentry.

Several overheard comments from riders as they approached bridge for the first time were nothing but complimentary.

Greg Rollins, president of RA-MORE, congratulated the 25 members that attended an opening day picnic before the group hit the trail to celebrate its completion.

“J.R. saw that the mountain bikers wanted to be a part of the parks,” Rollins said. “Guys that come out and put 8 hours in each Saturday.”

Burrell was the project leader and was especially proud that the trail was completed in time for the Urban Assault mountain bike race, which is part of Dominion Riverrock, scheduled for May 14-15.

J.R. Pope addresses members of RA-MORE at Forest Hill Park“We were able to bring something together that only a small amount of people could use….to something that walkers, hikers, bikers, everyone could use,” he said. “And as a result, everybody is happy!”

Burrell added that the next trail building project is in the wooded hillsides Dogwood Dell, below The Carillon and across the road from Pumphouse Park. 

Pope agreed and said that effort would be the next logical step in establishing the Pumphouse as the new visitor’s center for the James River Park System.