Conscious Party: Tending the trails

WHAT: Bent Creek Service Project

WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 22, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

WHERE: Ledford Branch Road, 479G, Bent Creek

WHY: Many trails in Bent Creek Experimental Forest were never intended for recreation, and the high level of use they experience today causes significant deterioration. In order to keep trails properly maintained, Pisgah Area SORBA and REI team up remediate trails through ongoing service projects.

“Most people think the U.S. Forest Service provides the work to maintain trails at Bent Creek, but it’s mostly done through volunteers,” notes Greg Leister, vice president of the Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association. “We work with the USFS, which gives us the opportunity of take ‘ownership’ of the trail system.

Leister says volunteers are critical to the maintenance of the Bent Creek trail system, and this service project serves as an open workday where anyone may participate, learn about volunteering and gain an appreciation for how Bent Creek is maintained. This is especially important as winter approaches, since “the season is particularly hard on trails; dormant vegetation doesn’t soak up water and freeze-thaw cycles further damage trails,” he adds.

Participants should expect to work hard — hiking four miles round trip with tools to get to the work site. Weather may also be a factor, so volunteers should wear appropriate clothing and be prepared for changing weather conditions.

Since registration is required and space is limited, early registration is recommended. Volunteers will receive a T-shirt and a light breakfast and lunch, with donated beer available for of-age participants. For more information and to register, visit


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