BCH of North Carolina, Uwharrie Chapter Receives BCHA Grant for Trail Project in Uwharrie National Forest

Greetings from the BCH of North Carolina, Uwharrie Chapter. We give our sincere thanks and gratitude for the $1000 grant we received last year from BCHA.

The grant was used to help offset project costs to repair a section of the River Trail located in the Uwharrie National Forest near the intersection of the River Trail (TR#713) and Forest Road 576 in North Carolina. The proposed project would be to build a turnpike to elevate approximately 200 feet of low-lying trail. The current state of the trail has caused numerous braided trails in this area. These diverging trails are allowing native flora such as the North Carolina native plants Arisaema Triphyllum, and Jack in the Pulpit to be trampled and destroyed. In addition to the trail repair there is a need to stabilize the current creek crossing as well as repair and obliterate an additional crossing which is badly eroded and unsafe for equestrian traffic. Our group considers this to be a high use trail.

Project Specifics:

  • Turnpike: Elevate trail by securely placing 6x6x8 timbers, lining with Geomat and backing filling with larger to smaller gravel.
  • Stabilize the current creek crossing using Geomat and gravel with rip rap on the upstream side to help prevent washout.
  • Stabilize and obliterate the existing unstable and eroded crossing using rip rap and installing a split rail fence to close off access to this area.

BCHU used the grant money to help offset the cost of 4 loads of gravel at $375 per load. The Forest Service donated the 6×6 posts and Mike Ferrel donated the steel stakes for our repair project on the River Trail. The area of the trail we improved is located in a low-lying area beside a creek and was constantly muddy so riders had created numerous other paths in order to circumvent the mud and this was damaging the native plants in the area. The project took place in June of 2021. Volunteers dug trenches, installed the 6x6s and shoveled gravel to build a turnpike.  The turnpike elevated the trail and improved drainage. The Forest Service was hosting youth volunteers from the Conservation Corps of North Carolina at the time of the repair and this group of young men performed the much of the heavy lifting for the project.  A BCHU member donated the use of a tractor to haul in the gravel. We were fortunate that this area was close to a road crossing that allowed access and use of equipment.

The River Trail before building the new Turnpike
Completed Trail Turnpike
Completed Trail Turnpike
Completed Trail Turnpike

Getting this work completed was great, but the grant process was beneficial in other ways as well. In preparation for the project, we connected with the Forest Service other organizations such as the NC Horse Council, 4H and the Boy Scouts. It was a great reminder that the relationship building is also an important piece needed to keep our trails open and safe for equestrian use.

Our chapter has had a busy year and we were able to complete several other projects in the Uwharrie National Forest. Here are some photos from other projects.

Creek Crossing Stabilized
Canebrake Horse Camp to Overflow Parking (Before)
Stabilizing repair on Todd
Culvert installed on Leslie
Job Well Done!
Downed Tree Removal Helen’s Loop at Larry’s Link
Canebrake Horse Camp to Overflow Parking (After)
Stabilizing repair on Todd, Tractors and their operators are amazing!
More Creek Bank Stabilization