April 11, 2012
By ASHLEY JACKSON - Bulletin Staff Writer
Rock Ridge Trail offers more wilderness experience for outdoor enthusiasts in Henry County, Dan River Basin Association program manager Brian Williams said Tuesday as he and others officially opened the trail.
Rock Ridge Trail is the newest multi-use trail in Henry County. It is at the Beaver Creek Reservoir.
Representatives of the Dan River Basin Association (DRBA), the city of Martinsville and The Harvest Foundation marked the opening of the trail, which was built using funds from a Harvest grant.
Rock Ridge Trail is phase II of the two-part Beaver Creek Trail system project and was completed in partnership with Harvest, Martinsville, The Lester Group and the DRBA, according to Williams. The first phase, the PHCC loop trail, was finished in 2010.
A $50,000 grant funded the entire project, he said.
The new trail is across the lake from the PHCC loop trail. Rock Ridge Trail’s trailhead is off Boat Ramp Road near the picnic shelter on the public access side of the reservoir, according to a news release. The trail begins just off the right-hand side of the road at the kiosk and continues through the woods, eventually bordering the lake and then looping back up to return to the road near the kiosk, the release said.
Another part of the trail begins across the road from the kiosk, continues down the hillside and follows the lake’s shore. In all, the trail is about one mile long, Williams said.
Paul May of Martinsville, a member of DRBA, tested out the new trail on his bike Tuesday.
After his trip, he called the trail “beautiful for hiking and biking ... it’s a little bit of a challenge for a biker.”
The trail is “really pretty coming over the ridges,” he said.
Rock Ridge Trail is a “natural surface trail,” meaning it is not paved, Williams said. “You’re not going to see a house ... you’re going to see the lake and the woods.”
The trail offers a quiet place for bikers, hikers, runners and nature lovers to enjoy the outdoors, he added.
DRBA’s mission when partnering in such projects is to ensure that people have access to nature because once they have experienced nature first-hand, they will begin to appreciate it and “in turn, want to protect it,” Williams said.
Jeff Mansour, senior program officer with the Harvest Foundation, said Harvest views the project as part of its overall strategy to enhance the quality of life in the area.
Recreational activities at places such as the Smith River, Philpott Lake and Beaver Creek “increase our (the area’s) attractiveness and competitiveness” as the area seeks to attract businesses and create jobs, he said.
Trails also offer residents a healthy alternative to sitting at home watching television, Williams said.
Before the opening of the trail, Krista Hodges, education outreach coordinator for DRBA, took students with Patrick Henry Community College’s Upward Bound program to clean up trash along the trail.
Twenty-five students participated and collected around six bags of trash — mostly bottles, cans, fishing line, bait containers and some old car parts, according to Hodges.
Visitors to the trail are asked to help keep it clean.
Beaver Creek Reservoir, also known as the Martinsville Reservoir, is a source of drinking water for the city of Martinsville. The lake also provides an area for recreational activities such as picnicking, fishing and boating, according to Hodges.
The Lester Group and the city of Martinsville donated easements for the trail. The project was developed by DRBA in partnership with the Martinsville Water Resources Department, the release said.
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