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[RC] Trail News - Alleghany Highlands Trail System (Virginia) - saungier@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Thought ya'll might like to hear some good news!

Alleghany Highlands Trail System

During the March 15, 2008 annual conference of the Virginia Horse
Council, everyone was excited about the upcoming completion of the
Alleghany Highlands Trail System on the George Washington and Jefferson
National Forests. This 63.3 mile trail system will be the end product
of what was originally proposed as a horse trail connecting the Virginia
Horse Center with the Homestead Resort in Bath County. When that
project proved infeasible, the Virginia Division of Conservation and
Recreation (DCR) decided to build an equestrian campground at Douthat
State Park, and the US Forest Service agreed to further develop its
already existing trail system in the area. On March 14, in a show of
support for the project, the Virginia Horse Council board voted to
donate $1200 towards materials needed during the massive work effort on
the trail system.

The project is located in Alleghany and Bath Counties, on the James
River and Warm Springs Ranger Districts of the George Washington and
Jefferson National Forests.

The Forest Service has already completed some of the trail work near
Douthat under a grant from the DCR, but the big news is that about 1,000
boy scouts, members of the scouting service group called Order of the
Arrow, will be descending on the area June 21-28, 2008, to construct all
of the remaining trail routes. Of the 63.3 mile system, about 14 miles
will be new construction, while the remainder is made up mostly of
existing trails and some old closed roads that will be incorporated into
the system. The scouts will also be reconstructing or improving much of
the previously existing routes, and installing all of the signs planned
for the project. The result will be a network of loop trails that can
be used by equestrians, hikers, and bicyclists.

This is one of five big service projects that the Order of the Arrow
(OA) will be implementing on five national forests this summer under an
event called "ArrowCorps5." The Forest Service and the OA will be
managing the project under the "Incident Command System", a method of
management originally developed for fighting wildfires, but now used for
managing all kinds of emergencies, including natural disasters and
terrorist attacks. OA youth, less than 21 years old, will lead the
work, with older OA members and Forest Service employees holding
parallel positions and assisting as needed.

The Virginia Horse Council hopes that other organizations supporting
trail development will follow their lead by donating either funds or
in-kind support. The Golden Horseshoe Backcountry Horseman's
Association has been working on sections of the trail system for several
years and has offered to assist by packing in supplies to the Scouts.

Currently, the Forest Service is working on getting the trees and brush
cut out of the new trail routes. They are seeking volunteers from the
equestrian community to come out on March 29 and do some tread
construction work on one of the new trails. This will not involve
bringing your horses on that day - plan to come prepared to do some
digging! If you can help, contact Sally Aungier or Sharon Mohney (see contact 
Wear non-skid boots with good tread and high ankles (preferably 8 inches) and 
along a
pair of leather gloves, lunch, and plenty of drinking water.

For ongoing information on the project subscribe to
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AlleghenyHighlandsTrail. For a map of the
trail system visit http://www.vahorsetrails.org/trails.html


For more information contact:
Sally Harris Aungier. Chair, VHC Trails Committee
Phone 804-379-9829 (evenings/weekends)

Sharon Mohney
Recreation Forester, James River Ranger District 
810-A Madison Avenue
Covington, Virginia 24426. Phone 540-962-2214

Sally Aungier

Sally Aungier


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