When we work together, we can accomplish so much. IMBA-SORBA and the Chattahoochee Trail Horse Association hosted a work pary at the Bull and Jake Mountain Trail System on Saturday, Aug 6th. This workday marks a long tradition of volunteer maintenance at Jake and Bull Mountains between SORBA and CTHA, as the two groups have worked together on this trail system for several years. Many of our SORBA chapters got behind this effort, with members from Gainesville, Athens, Woodstock, NW GA, UC3, Upstate SC, Ellijay, RAMBO, OMBA, and Atlanta attending the event. Woodstock furnished two machines for the day’s work, and Woodstock and UC3 brought their tool trailers. Thanks to the dedication and hard work of 56 volunteers and two Forest Service personnel, 225 hours of work were accomplished, putting the new trails at Jake & Bull mountains in excellent shape.
Volunteers were divided into a ground crew and three machine crews. The ground crew debermed and dug nicks so that water will flow quickly from the trail tread, completing 3,000 feet of the Jake Mountain trail. Only 2,000 more feet to go to the creek, and that section of trail is done for a few years!
The Connector Trail got a lot of love, too. Two SORBA machine crews led by Charlie Shulz and Ken Nix worked the Connector Trail with SORBA Woodstock’s Dingos, creating water drainages. These crews were invaluable, as it would have taken many, many hours of manpower to do what they made look easy. These guys broke for lunch, then went out again and worked for several more hours, putting in a full day of work on our trails. Keith Owen and swampers widened that trail by removing overgrown trees. That trail was getting to be a very narrow pathway, and the open lines will give equestrians more room and bikers better sight lines. CTHA’s Joy Corcoran and her crew laid grassy pavers at the entrance to the Connector Trail to stabilize it.
Bill Hester and his machine crew made a valiant effort (and stayed for extra hours) on the Jake Mountain Connector Trail with the USFS Ditch Witch, but the darned thing kept loosing its track. It's safe to say that that crew is now expert at putting it back on. In spite of the difficulties, this crew did much work to improve drainage on the trail.
Jeremy Bordelon and Debbie Crowe walked out to Black Branch Trail to lay erosion matting on an exposed hillside near the creek. The matting will hold the soil in place until new vegetation has a chance to take hold.
After all this activity, it was time to refuel and relax. Ralph Raddatz prepared and served a wonderful lunch that was devoured by everyone. The hungry volunteers feasted on three types of sausage served on whole wheat rolls, caramelized onions, pesto pasta with pecans, sliced garden tomatoes and cucumbers, mint iced tea and two types of cheesecake! No one went home hungry!
This great workday is in the books, but don't forget, our work is ongoing. The next trail workday at Jake and Bull will be Sunday, 9/11. Same place (Jake Mountain parking lot) same time (8:30-1:00). Lunch will again be provided, albeit on a less-grand scale.