6:18 PM EST, February 16, 2013
FRANKLIN CO., Va.
Leading the charge is "the trail machine," a piece of equipment that's clearing a path through the hilly terrain, but it can't do the job alone. Following behind is a crew of volunteers equipped with hand tools.
They're working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to expand the trail system at Philpott Lake, an effort that could eventually add 20 miles for mountain bikers and hikers.
"There are some sections where we can blaze through a hundred feet in no time," said Park Ranger Brian Stewart. "Other sections where we will spend an entire day on 20 feet of trail because it's full of rocks and roots and all sorts of stuff."
The ultimate goal is to connect all of the parks on the Franklin County side of the lake.
Members of the trail crew were happy to get their hands dirty, because many plan to return on their mountain bikes.
Daniel Sheets is a member of the Southern Virginia Mountain Bike Association. "It's going to be fun," Sheetz told us. "Some of the hills I can pull. Some of them I can't, but if I can't pull it, I'll push it up it. I'll be glad when it's ready to ride," he said.
Assisting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers were volunteers from the Southern Virginia Mountain Bike Association, the Henry County Bike Club, the Patrick County Bike Club and the Dan River Basin Association.
Dan River Basin Association volunteer Wayne Kirkpatrick said he hopes an expanded trail system at Philpott Lake will encourage more people to enjoy the outdoors. "We've lost an appreciation for our natural resources, and we're trying to rebuild that and rekindle that," he said.
The project depends on volunteer labor, so the Corps of Engineers is inviting others to lend a hand. Trail work days will continue at Philpott Lake on the third Saturday of each month.
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