(Paraphrased from Welsh to English: Rich Gets Busy With Stone!)
Trail Solutions spent a week with trail builders in Newark Delaware helping them channel their inner Welshman.
Trails through Redd Park serve triple-duty: as a transportation route to reach the city center, as a link between the larger White Clay and Middle Run Parks, and as a recreation destination unto itself. Surrounded by established neighborhoods, Redd's trails get used 365 days a year, including many days where their clay-based soils really are not up to the task. Trail surfacing helps during wet conditions but reduces the fun-factor for mountain bikers and trail runners.
With an interest in developing fun all-weather trails, The TrailSpinners, an IMBA Chapter, retained Trail Solutions for technical assistance. East coast staff members Rich Edwards and Dan Hudson suggested an approach which weaves a traditional surfaced trail with a veritable smorgasbord of rock features: rock piles, rock gardens, rock skinnies. In some locations the two lines co-exist in a tight corridor and in others they braid more widely. Progression is built into the features, for while Newark and the surrounding areas may contain few boulders one need not drive far into neighboring Maryland or Pennsylvania to encounter traditional east coast rocky “gnar.”
The project is a great example of the synergy of advocates and agencies to make a real difference for the larger community. The TrailSpinners secured a grant via Delaware State Parks to pay the bills for staff/equipment/materials, leveraged the project to provide a training opportunity for club members as well as Delaware and Maryland State Park and Newark City trail staff (whose time and equipment provided needed grant match), and used the one week visit by Trail Solutions to set the stage for a month-long effort by city/state/volunteers to finish the job.
Special thanks to TrailSpinner's Jim Ireland, who had the vision and drive to pull this project together.