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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Local ‘Trail Fairies’ Put in the Effort for Local Parks

Freedom Park, Trail D (Stephanie Sabin/WYDaily)

WILLIAMSBURG — Have you ever been out on a beautiful day, enjoying one of the many trail systems Williamsburg has to offer, and wondered how it is maintained, and who maintained it?

“The trail fairies magically take care of the trails,” laughs Kirk Moore before adding, “I guess that is what some people think who don’t know about EVMA.”

Established in 1988, the Eastern Virginia Mountain Bike Association (EVMA) is a nonprofit organization that supports the sport of mountain biking by building and maintaining environmentally, sustainable trails and promoting responsible trail use.

Moore, a member of EVMA since 1990 and former club president said, “we build and maintain trails in every park within the Hampton Roads area.”

Kirk Moore inspects a bridge before it is moved into Freedom Park (Stephanie Sabin/WYDaily)

The club recently replaced a rotting bridge in Freedom Park. The project took several hours of manpower and required a 16-foot-long structure to be built and hand-carried a quarter of a mile into the park before it could be installed.

EVMA volunteers move the bridge through Freedom Park. (Stephanie Sabin/WYDaily)

“EVMA has been a vital part of the success of the county park system. They map out and create the trails and add features in addition to regular maintenance,” said Sarah O’Reilly, Program Coordinator for Freedom Park. “Their work takes a lot of stress off of the county.”

Removal of the old bridge on trail D. (Stephanie Sabin/WYDaily)

“People have no idea how hard it is to maintain the trails. It requires volunteers, avid riders and hikers who are willing to come out for large projects, as well as do simple things like moving branches off the trail,” said Moore.

“The club cares about what they are doing.” O’Reilly continued. “Members are passionate about the trail system and the relationship we have with EVMA has been wonderful. We provide the supplies, such as wood or stone, and they get the work done.”

Jim Irby hauls out old bridge sections by hand. (Stephanie Sabin/WYDaily)

While the focus of EVMA is mountain biking, anyone with an interest in cycling or an active lifestyle is invited to join.

“You do not have to ride bikes to join the club,” said Moore. “You can be an avid hiker or dog walker who likes to use the trails.”

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Completed bridge. (Stephanie Sabin/WYDaily)

O’Reilly reminds the community that Freedom Park does not encourage people to walk the mountain bike trails.

“If people chose to walk the mountain bike trails at Freedom Park, we ask that they walk the trails in reverse for their safety and the safety of the riders,” states O’Reilly. “Additionally, on the mountain bike trails, riders have the right of way on the trail and walkers should be aware of that. However, Freedom Park has three multi-use trails for walkers to enjoy.”

To learn more about EVMA, visit its web page. For more information on the trail system, visit James City County Parks & Recreation.

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