What started out as a volunteer project for Summer Wofford turned into so much more. When Summer approached Randy Whorton of Wild Trails about some work she could do for Wild Trails, he told her “[The trail is] all yours—you build it; you name it.” The trail took on the name Girl Trail because after one month, it was a consistent group of girls that worked on the trail.
The trail is about half-a-mile long and is easy to moderate in difficulty. The girls wanted the trail to be a flat, single track trail that wasn’t too technical in an effort to atrract a broad spectrum of people to use it. It’s an extension to the Profile Trail, the only single track trail located in the Nature Center.
Several people worked on the trail: Summer Wofford, Kris Whorton, Kimber Keplinger, Robin Crump and Ginny Kelly. During the 3 months it took to construct the trail the core group of girls met once or twice a week, sometimes others would join, sometimes mothers would bring their children.
In addition to the occasional schedul conflict, one of the biggest challenges the women faced was poison ivy. Summer mentioned she got it three different times. Another challenge was a large swath of bamboo—everyone felt is was one of the best features of the trail so a path was cut through, but the girls made sure to remove only the amount necessary for the trail.
If you think building a trails is as simple as moving some rocks and dirt, Summer has news for you, “I assumed that you clear a path and you have a trail, but there’s a lot of planning involved. For instance, if a trail is not located on a slope, then there is the potential for the trail to become a collection basin for water. The trail tread must always be slightly higher than the ground on one side so that water can drain properly.”
When someone recently asked Summer why she decided to build a trail, she had a ready answer, “I’ve invested a lot time on the trails in Chattanooga, therefore I love the idea of helping expand and/or maintain the trail system in the area. I believe people that use the trails should do their part by helping in some way. I think I speak for whole GIRL TRAIL crew when I say that working on this project has been truly fun and rewarding. I love the outdoors, and being with others working as a team to accomplish a goal. Trail work takes some energy, but the surroundings and camaraderie make it worth your while.”
The Girl Trail has its Grand Opening Group Run this evening at 6:00PM. We’ll have photos of the event in the next couple of days.