Several recent surveys of Fairfield Glade residents have identified the need for more walking, hiking and biking trails. In the recent amenities surveys, walking trails, sidewalks, hiking, or biking trails were requested in comments over 250 times by survey respondents. Nationwide, more retirees are looking to stay fit by walking and hiking. But trails aren’t just for hikers. Nature lovers, bird watchers, dog walkers, and even folks looking for a quiet bench to read a book outdoors, are all enthusiastic users of trails.
In Fairfield Glade, several folks read those surveys and decided to do something about it. A trails committee of volunteers was formed under the Fairfield Glade Board of Directors and positive things began to happen. A “Friends of Glade Trails” website and blog were established to communicate with volunteers and, through word of mouth only, over 175 individuals signed up on the website to receive regular updates on walking, hiking, and biking trails in Fairfield Glade. Then the hard work began.
Wyndham/Fairfield Homes paid for supplies and heavy equipment to smooth and improve one trail. That equipment saved lots of manual labor, but trails must be finished by hand. Work included digging, picking, raking, clipping, and cutting to build the dirt trails to trail standards. Trail building techniques were learned by people who never worked on trails before. Two existing, but crude, wooded trails were expanded and improved. An existing grassy road trail and a gravel road loop were marked and signed for walkers or bikers. A gravel parking lot was built off of Catoosa Boulevard to provide a safe place to park. Fairfield Homes and the Community Club provided the maps and signs and volunteers placed the signs and blazed the trails.
In the past six months, over 75 individuals have donated over 1,000 hours to build the trails. Men and women from all over our community and even people from other areas came to help. Volunteers donated money and time to build more than 10 rustic wooded benches to place along the trails. Their only reward was a free T-shirt and a hot dog at the end of a three-hour shift. Wyndham provided the T-shirts and different individuals paid for the hot dogs each month. It’s amazing how several hours of hard work can put a smile on the face of volunteer that three hours of sitting at home can’t.
Hopefully, the can-do attitude of many positive individuals will be a model for other opportunities in our community.
So, come out to Mirror Lake on Saturday to listen to live music by Soul Fissh, eat hot dogs, go on the parade of homes, take a hike and have fun.
There will be trail volunteers and Trail Committee members available all day to discuss walking trails, marked grassy road trails, wooded trails, and even future trails. There will be food, fun, music, free maps, guided hikes, a parade of homes and much more.
Here is the information you’ll need to enjoy the Hit the Trails Fall Festival:
• Stop by Saturday, Oct. 13 at Mirror Lake Pond between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
• Listen to live music by Soul Fissh, Tommie and Don and Friends.
• Buy a hot dog or hamburger and a soft drink for lunch.
• Talk to volunteers who helped build the new hiking and biking trails
• Pick up maps and information about the new trails.
• Take a guided hike at noon or 2 p.m. on some of the new trails.
• Enjoy Parade of Homes open house tours by local builders.