2016 UNF March Trail Revamp was a
Over the two last day weekend, a total of 224 volunteers came together as one 4WD family to complete projects on our Uwharrie OHV trail system with heavy concentration on our Daniel trail.
Preparation for this work weekend began in December. Once we were notified that we had been granted the generous funds from Southern and OMIX, we immediately began putting plans into action. Darin Touw spent the better part of three months riding trails, measuring, planning, determining re-routes, analyzing terrain and plotting GPS coordinates. He worked closely with Terry Savery, USFS Recreation Specialist and Joel Hardison, Zone Archeologist, flagging areas for guard rail installation and mulching. The three of them met dozens of times to plan, organize directives and produce mapping for the teams and determine material needs.
My job was to promote the event to all clubs, contact vendors and prospect sponsors via phone, email and letters to ask that they supply promotion materials to reward our volunteers. Countless numbers of hours were dedicated to this task. My posts on Facebook reached over 17,000 people in the NC, SC and VA states. I also spent a great deal of time lining up donors to cover costs of equipment. We were rewarded by receiving approximately $3500 in new tool donations from individuals and clubs for the work weekend and will continue to utilize these items for each volunteer workday in the future (this amount is not included within the figure reported for the USFS contribution). We received pole saws, augers, shovels, rakes, post hole diggers, rock bars, sockets, loppers, shears, gas cans, gloves, safety glasses, pick axes, sledge hammers, etc.
Chris Brower, our treasurer, was tasked with receiving donation checks and issuing receipts and managing our funds. He also served as our chef during the event, planning and preparing dinner for all volunteers on Saturday and breakfast on Sunday. We received many compliments on his cooking and there were no leftovers!
Several weeks prior to the big event, Darin, along with several clubs, spent their weekends moving materials to the proposed job sites with the goal of having as much in place as possible to maximize work hours on the weekend.
Volunteers from the following clubs, as well as individuals, came from North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia: C.O.R.E, Mud N' Blood, Jeepers United, Triad Jeep Club, Land Rover Experience, Carolina Trail Blazers, CNC4x4, Carolina Broncos, CROC, LKN Jeepstyle, CB4x4, Olde North State Cruisers, Nomad Jeeps, Black Sheep Jeep NC, Mid Carolina Jeepers, Jeep TJ, NAXJA, True Patriot Inc., 4WP, 7 Slot Jeepers, Wicked Jeeps and Banana Slap.
We began the day with a sign-in followed by safety briefings then gave our donated gifts to our volunteers via raffle. Thanks to our generous sponsors; Warn, Teraflex, Metal tech 4x4, Texas Roadhouse, Dick's Sporting Goods, Tread Lightly, Interco Tire, Land Rover Experience, UROTC, NC4x4, Morris 4x4, Canuck's Cruisers, True Patriot, 3M, CROC, Nomad Jeeps, Marc Holbert, NAXJA, Mud N' Blood, USFS, and Food Lion, we gave away almost $4,000 in incentive gifts. Our volunteers were very surprised at the level of support and were very motivated by the drawing.
After the drawing, we broke the large crowd into teams: Rock, Brush, Straw, Signs, Loading, Railing, Gate Keepers, Photographers, Barn, and Trash. They were given a second safety briefing and a preprinted list of goals and directions along with maps marked with specific locations for each team. After equipment check out, it was off to the trails!
Our loading team consisted of two experienced volunteers, operating skid steers which were rentals donated by OMIX-ADA and Marc Holbert of Jeepers United.
An estimated 100,000 tons of rock was applied to OHV trails by our volunteers with shovels and rakes, with the goal of increasing traction, slowing erosion, controlling drainage, and protecting sensitive areas.
The addition of the rock has made a positive impact on the longevity of this trail system. During the application alone, it greatly helped our loaded vehicles navigate slick clay areas, providing the traction necessary to climb steep areas without excessive wheel spin. Rock armoring was completed on Daniel, Wolf Den, Dickey Bell, Rocky Mountain Loop and the clay shoot on Dutch John trails. This took the better part of two days with crews working from 10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. each day. The second half of rock will be applied via contractor to areas that our volunteers were unable to reach with excess material being stored to utilize during the trail season.
Our mulch team applied 125 bales of straw, spread over sensitive areas on Daniel to promote seeding and growth of ground cover which will help slow erosion. This was completed on Daniel and Dickey Bell beginning at the newly installed guard railing, working backwards about 15 ft., hand raked at approximately 1.5 inches in depth.
Our railing teams were dispatched to Daniel, Dickey Bell and Wolf Den where they installed over 1 mile of guard railing to protect sensitive vegetation, block off illegal bypasses, barrier the trails and serve as protection in drop off areas. Many of the areas protected by new barriers are areas that were in danger of being re-routed or closed. For the immediate future, they will remain open because of this project.
Our Sign team consisted of about 20 vehicles which installed numbered trail markers, no camping signs, no vehicle signs on all trails.
Our brush team navigated steep terrain areas to cut vegetation away from signs, limbed all trees that may come in contact with on trail vehicles, and took care of downed trees and debris from winter storms.
Our trash team also collected over 100 bags of garbage from off trail areas. This was a very ambitious project with more than enough work planned for the expected number of volunteers. We are very excited to report that our volunteers more than just met our expectations, they far exceeded what we thought we could accomplish. Our 4WD family came together, working hard to support the sport and the environment that we love. Together through volunteer hours, donated equipment and sponsorship we were able to add $51,975.81 towards the maintenance of our trails from this single weekend project! Southern’s generous donation of the rock, has made a direct impact on our ability to enjoy this beautiful resource, and has aided in the protection some of our most beloved trails for future enjoyment. We appreciate your investment in Uwharrie and in us, the enthusiasts, who depend on each other and on great associations such as yours to keep us wheeling!
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Thank you for your continued support,
Friends of Uwharrie, Media/Admin