Coopers Rock Volunteer Day, August 14, 2015 Trails users at Coopers Rock will benefit from a recent volunteer day of service provided by a big busload of incoming WVU Freshmen.  A cooperative effort between the Coopers Rock Foundation, WVU’s Center for Service & Learning, WVU’s Adventure WV program, and the WV DNR resulted in 250 Hours of work accomplished in one day. On Friday morning, August 14th, before they even set foot in a university classroom for the first time, 44 WVU freshmen stepped off a bus and joined 4 CRF Board Members, two WVU grad students, and a representative of the CS&L, for trailwork on 3 different Coopers Rock trails.  All projects were given prior permission, and encouraged by, the WV DNR. One group of freshmen joined Adam Polinski to work on a segment of Roadside Trail about 1/3 mile from the Overlook end of the trail.  The group used wheelbarrows, buckets, shovels, garden rakes, mattocks and tampers, to upgrade 250 yards of trail.  They did this in three steps:  re-digging drainage ditches above and below the trail; reshaping and enlarging drainage features on the trailbed itself; and using 7 tons of crusher run gravel, they coated, shaped and tamped gravel onto each drainage feature on the trailbed.  Flat sections of trail are the hardest to drain, and this segment is one of the flattest of Roadside Trail’s entire 3.1 miles.  This work added some small-scale topography to the trail, which will cause water to flow off of it from high point to low.  The trail will now be drier, and with more solid footing.  Due to the careful shaping of the drainage features upon the trailbed, trail users will still be able to easily hike, mountain bike, run and cross-country ski Roadside Trail. Another group joined Dave Hopkinson and Daniel Hanks to help further a new work-in-progress trail at Coopers Rock State Forest.  This new trail is underway on the forested sides of the Reservoir.  The Coopers Rock Reservoir, located across the street from McCollum Campground, is a popular place for dog walkers, and this ¼ mile trail, when added to the distances of the open shoreline and the dam, will create a  .4 mile loop around the water.  Dog walkers and all other trail users will love this new half shade / half sun easy loop.  Using hand-held trimmers, shears, loppers, and pruning saws, the group trimmed brush along the trail, and on four short side-trails to the shoreline.  Volunteers also hammered together four 4’x8’ sections of bridge.  The bridge sections will be assembled, boardwalk-style, at a later date, across a boggy area, suspended above it on native stones.  A signpost was also installed.  While work remains to be done on this trail, it is useable by the general public as-is. The third group joined Gwen Jones, assisted by two WVU grad students, who worked on yet another trail project.  The goal of this one is a trail entirely around the Trout Pond, to increase access by anglers, and to provide for another short loop hike at Coopers Rock.  The Trout Pond, not to be confused with the Reservoir, is within sight of Interstate 68.  Using hand-held trimmers, loppers, pruning saws, and bow saws, volunteers cut back brush on a 600’ segment of Glade Run Trail, on the east side of Trout Pond.  They also hauled the brush back out.  On the opposite side of the pond, they cut back brush and partly cleared an informal ‘billy goat’ path, which will one day be upgraded into a slightly easier, more permanent trail.  These two trail legs, both extending upstream, will eventually be joined by a bridge, to form a loop.  Volunteers also cleaned out the Trout Pond Pavilion.  Although major work was completed on the 14th, much remains on this project before Trout Pond Loop is useable by the general public. This day was another instance of how collaboration and cooperation gets things done.  The Coopers Rock Foundation thanks the Center for Service & Learning, Adventure WV, and the WV DNR for their contributions.  And the biggest thanks goes to the incoming WVU students who made the largest difference on Community Service Day – 250 Hours of work  – this time for the Coopers Rock Community.