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Since 1992, The Delaware Trail Spinners have donated over 10,000 hours to trail improvements in their state and neighboring Maryland as well as contributed $29,000 towards trail construction. They are working hard to dispel misconceptions involving mountain bikers harming trails.

 

Delaware Trail Spinners donate time and money to trail improvements

The Delaware Trail Spinners organization was founded in 1992 over concern that Northern New Castle County, Delaware, trails were in danger of being closed to mountain biking. With the perception that mountain bikers were irresponsible destroyers of nature, the members began to volunteer to improve and maintain park trails. Today, the non-profit organization focuses volunteerism, environmental stewardship, fostering trail networks, trails (for all) advocacy and educational outreach.

photo of trail workers

volunteers working to improve trails for all users

 

Building Relationships

This organization of dedicated volunteers and advocates has effective and productive relationships with Delaware State Parks, City of Newark’s Dept of Parks & Recreation, and New Castle County’s Dept. of Special Services (Parks). Their commitment to community service benefits all trail users, and fulfilled manpower gaps within our agencies, and saved precious public resources. Our agencies have designed and constructed an extensive trail networks with the knowledge and comfort that the Delaware Trail Spinners are the trained citizen corps ready to maintain trails. Delaware Trail Spinners have spent countless hours training in the Delaware Trail Standards becoming qualified in sustainable trail construction techniques and methods. In expanding trail systems, the Spinners have assisted in the developing park trail plans in DE, PA, and MD and with area townships and Land Trusts.

Major Trail Network Improvements: Volunteer Projects by Delaware Trail Spinners

Redd Park – Held 2009 & 2010 National Trails Day events here; 476 Spinner volunteer hours; recruited area citizen volunteers; donated $2000 for trail building materials; reconstructed trail and constructed a new 24 foot bridge. Hosted a “thank you” BBQ for trail volunteers.

White Clay Creek State Park – 1) A fierce wind storm on June 2, 2009 caused major damage to park infrastructure. Over 100 trees fell closing the trail system. During the two weeks following the storm, Spinners volunteered 216 hours clearing downed trees and debris to open trails. 2) Sever mud holes made sections of the David English Trail difficult to use. Spinners volunteered 391 hours to upgrade a 1.5 mile trail section. Work completed in less than 4 weeks.

Middle Run Natural Area – 1) The Spinners have fully adopted this site converting 10 of 13 trails. They have constructed and reconstructed trails to Delaware’s Trail Standards. All trail maintenance in Middle Run is carried out by the Spinners. The beneficiaries: all trail users, county resources conserved. 2) An 85 foot bridge was constructed by the Spinners under direction/guidance of the DE State Park Trail Crew. This bridge replaced stepping stones that once served as the crossing of the Middle Run stream. Environmental damage to the streambed was eliminated, universal accessibility created, and floodplain impacts minimized. In three days, Spinners volunteered 360 hours to install an ET Techtonics fiberglass bridge. An additional 650 volunteer hours were made to build bridge approaches. Spinners contributed $6,000 cash toward the purchase of helical anchors, beams, hardware, and lumber for bridge for this project. Spinner funds matched $50,000 in public funding sources.

Paper Mill Park – To create a community connection from several residential subdivisions to two county parks and 25+ trail miles, the Spinners built a 1-mile trail and 5 bridges. A total of 1210 volunteer hours were logged. The Spinners were awarded a $10,000 Bikes Belong grant for this project; Spinners provided a $4000 match. These funds leveraged $46,000 (New Castle County and Recreational Trails Program) to complete the project. Kids and families can now ride and walk to the two parks from their homes.

Maryland - In addition to their volunteerism in Delaware parks, the Spinners volunteer have volunteered to for trail maintenance projects in nearby Maryland sites - Fair Hill Natural Environmental Area & Susquehanna State Park.

Educational Outreach
Going far beyond trail work, the Delaware Trail Spinners offers educational outreach to the Northern Delaware region. Concerned with appropriate riding and trail courtesies and riding skills, the Spinners hold free Mountain Biking 101 classes; classes are adapted to suit individual abilities and needs. Classes cover bike setup, equipment choices, trailside repairs, and riding skills. Outreach impacts: 74 classes reaching approximately 1,340 people; and 300 students in the at Brandywine High School were trained.
Believing that trail courtesy is essential to successful trail usage and social sustainability, Spinners distributed 2,000 bells to mountain bike users.
Eight members completed the required training and prerequisites to be fully qualified as members of the DE State Park “Park Watch” Program. Park Watch Certifications include IMBA, CPR, First Aid, and DE State Park rider certifications; bike repair, an State Park Ranger interview, and an online test. Park Watch volunteers are ambassadors patrolling trails aimed at helping park visitors with way-finding, proper trail use, trail etiquette, and emergency response. Spinners volunteered 200 (09) + 100 (2010) hours riding trails in White Clay Creek State Park. During their watch, Spinner assisted in two major accident responses properly staging rescues for the AETNA Fire Company.

Improving the Natural Environment
Eight DE Trail Spinners volunteered 200 hours to train in invasive species control. Trainees learned to identify invasive plants that encroach on trail corridors and the methods to control those species. Delaware State Parks led the training with the objective to build a volunteer corps for habitat improvement. Areas targeted for removal are trail locations where poor sight lines and invasive species overlap. This initiative improves trail safety while improving habitat quality.

Spinners also assist Delaware State Park Trail Crew with closing social trails and re-naturalizing areas scarred by illegal trail building.

 

For more information:

Delaware Trail Spinners website: http://www.trailspinners.org/

 

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