Scott Run Trail Upgrade Underway this summer

Scott Run Trail Upgrade – First Look --by Adam Polinski, CRF Trailwork Coordinator Trailwork talk turned to action at Coopers Rock, on June 28th and 29th, as the Coopers Rock Foundation’s (CRF) long-planned upgrade of Scott Run Trail began.  The area where Scott Run Trail is located is one of the top trail sites of Coopers Rock, as it covers two and a half miles of varied forest territory, at times adjacent to its namesake stream, between the Front Gate and McCollum Campground.  But the physical state of the trail itself ranks at the bottom of the Coopers Rock scale.  A multitude of drainage problems, and the ensuing erosion, plus extensive stretches of extremely rocky terrain, mar what was once a premier forest trail.  But CRF plans to reverse that trend, and restore the trail so that it matches the quality of its context. On the very first day of work, the trail crew of Forrest Moreland, Adam Polinski, and Stephen Pugh, using wheelbarrows and 5-gallon buckets, moved over 10 tons of crusher run gravel from the Reservoir Parking Lot onto the segment of trail closest to McCollum Campground. They also improved a handful of drainage features, and dug a few new ones, using pick-mattocks, long-handled spades, and bow rakes.  On the second day, their work on improving drainage features continued, which is a key element of upgrading this trail.  This initial surge of work provides Coopers Rock trail users with a first look at what some of the planned upgrades will look like along Scott Run Trail. Coopers Rock trail users know the segment of Scott Run Trail closest to McCollum Campground as a steep and very rocky section that has gotten bad enough in terms of trail surface and drainage problems that many people avoid it.  Trail runners and mountain bikers in particular frequently choose to avoid Scott Run Trail intentionally, because steep, rocky sections like this take what should be a fun but strenuous time and turn it into a rocky, bumpy, muddy slog.  The intention of this upgrade is to provide a 4’ wide smoother trailbed through these rocky sections with a tamped topcoat of recreation-friendly crusher run gravel, so that all trail users, travelling in either direction, can enjoy a reasonable trail surface crafted to their needs.  Further, the entire width of the trail corridor, which is an old, rocky road, will be drained much better than it is now.  Much of the entire corridor will be drier and easier to navigate, and a 4’ width of it will be an order of magnitude easier to hike, run, bike, or ski than it is now. As of the end of June, several hundred feet of the old, rocky road bed that is now the trail corridor for Scott Run Trail has a new topcoat, and several water bars, drainage ditches, and dips were widened, deepened, and shaped to accommodate bike tires, cross-country skis, and running shoes, as well as hiking boots.  Further work is planned for mid-July as well as for mid-August.  All of that work will focus on the McCollum Campground end of the trail.  After that, the focus may shift to the middle third of the trail, or the end closest to the Front Gate.  Upgrade strategies will vary from site to site, based on type of problem and distance from trailhead.  Only certain segments of trail will receive a new topcoating of crusher run gravel.  Work is expected to occur intermittently through Autumn until November 15th, stopping just before Buck Season and Thanksgiving. Trail Problems and proposed solutions for the Scott Run Trail Rocks and exposed roots along the Scott Run Trail

Example of part of the trail repaired using crusher-run gravel near the McCullom Campground: