Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

November 27, 2013

Building better trails


CROSSVILLE — Fairfield Glade residents Mike Durwald and Mark Richie recently completed a four-day trail building course resulting in their designation as Certified Master Trail Builders.

Durwald and Richie join a handful of volunteers in Tennessee to earn that designation.

“The course was packed with a lot more detail than we expected,” said Durnwald.  “Each day combined class work, exams and field exercises.”

Water erosion and user impact are the two factors that destroy trails over time. The course focused on construction techniques that make trails resistant to both natural forces and the behavior of users. The result is a “sustainable trail” that requires little or no maintenance in the future.

“Residents and visitors want an enjoyable outdoor experience in our wilderness areas,” explained Richie. “That means walking a trail that isn’t plagued with washouts and mud puddles.”

In addition to their work on the Fairfield Glade trails, Durnwald and Richie are experienced trail builders with the nearby Cumberland Trail. They expect to pass on their recently acquired advanced techniques to the many volunteers who are building the new trail system in the Glade.

“We learned sustainable building techniques that will result in fewer maintenance headaches later,” said Durnwald. “Building a trail is a lot more interesting than going back and fixing old problems.”

Currently there are almost five miles of paved walking paths in Fairfield Glade. In addition, there are three grass trails and traditional hiking trails at the Overlook and North Ridge. More information can be found at the Glade trails web site:

Trail maps are also available at the Community Center information desk. To volunteer as a trail builder contact John Conrad at