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That's Not a Rock, It's a Gravestone...

Our first visit back from vacation was with the Hoosier Mountain Biking Association (HMBA) in Indianapolis, IN.  HMBA had us working out at Southwest Way Park with Alex Stuart, planning a small project for our volunteers to tackle that Saturday.

Alex is working on redoing a lot of the trails at Southwest Way Park, so he was able to find us an area that we could use as our volunteer project that would teach the people attending out school a new skill base. The project he picked for us to flag was on a very steep side slope, so it would require a lot of digging. We try our best to incorporate bench cutting new trail into our workdays, so this worked well.

Saturday, after Trail Building School, we took 25 volunteers out to Southwest Way to start on our reroute. The purpose behind the re-route, was to move the trail up onto the contour and away from the river. Seasonally, the current trail is under water. The re-route is necessary for the longevity of the trail.

We got to work digging the bench and struggling to do so seeing as how we were on a steep hillside. Then, just as everyone was seemingly in a flow, we were derailed. Three feet below the surface, directly on the trail, was a gravestone.

The area had undergone all the normal approval procedures and they were aware of an old gravesite on the premises, but since we unearthed a stone, we decided it would be best to stop building, report the stone, and move from there.

HMBA will be handling the progress of the trail once the approval is given to more forward after the stone. Hopefully this will not stunt their progress with future trails! The volunteers were super patient while we hashed out our options and were even willing to stay, in the rain, and hand finish some other trails Alex had been working on in another area.


For a full set of photos from this visit, click here!

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This is an example of what IMBA and its chapters do when faced with difficult decisions. They strive to do the right thing. Such actions may seem to slow down the process of trail improvement in the short term, but by putting the protection of resources first we help ensure that what we build serves its intentions and lasts for generations. We also build confidence with the public and land managers as we strive to create, enhance, and preserve great trail experiences. Applesauce (opps - darn spell checker) - Applause to Alex, Jesse, and Lori, and to all the good peeps at Hoosier Mountain Bike Association. Keep up the great work!