After years of reworking and redesign, the biking and hiking trails that criss-cross the huge bedrock of Belle Isle are almost complete. The craftsmanship is amazing and its clear these guys are having fun while they work hard.
Nathan Burrell, Mike Burton and Will McQuate of the James River Park and members of the volunteer trail building group Richmond-MORE constructed a granite rock retaining wall around existing walls of the former VEPCO hydro power plant on the south side of Belle Isle.
The work is intended to minimize erosion, diverting water away from the trails as it runs down from the service road/walking trail that surrounds the popular downtown island. The trail runs through the woods near the hydro plant back and back around to the “Lost Garden” trail that runs under the bridge on the south side of Belle Isle. The work is expected to be completed in the next week or two, depending on cooperation from the weather.
The rocky technical trail feature and the new connector trail ties it into the reworked trails at the top of the island and has added something fun for the more experienced riders, according to a posting from Richmond MORE.
“I think the James River Park trails are the best in the area and it’s because of the support,” said Keith Garrett of Richmond MORE, referring to the park system and the City of Richmond. It has the most features, tighter spaces, interesting terrain and skilled trail-building, he added.
“It depends on the weather,” Garrett said of when volunteers come out. “If it’s nice and it hasn’t been nice for a while, we won’t get many [volunteers] — everybody wants to ride.”