(The following was submitted by Chimney Rock State Park Ranger Tyson Phillips. Photos contributed by Karen Johnson, office assistant.)
On Dec. 1 rangers at Chimney Rock State Park hosted a trail workday at the Rumbling Bald Climbing Access in Lake Lure. The park acquired the climbing area in 2008, but it had long been used by the public for climbing, bouldering and hiking. The park began stewardship of this land by creating a new parking area and trailhead, and this stewardship continues today as state park staff works alongside local volunteer groups to complete a new trail to the base of Rumbling Bald Mountain.
The existing trail route leading to the base of the climbing area consisted of old logging roads and had become washed out by rain, causing very deep gullies. Park staff reconfigured the trail to a more sustainable grade and also to provide better emergency access. Next, the state parks system hired YRU Contracting Inc., a professional trail building company, to do the initial rough cut of the trail and to repair the eroded areas.
Most recently, local volunteer groups, such as the Carolina Climbers Collation, Friends of Chimney Rock State Park, and the Carolina Mountain Club, all came out to volunteer their time to manicure the newly constructed trail back to a more natural looking state.
Specifically, the volunteers cut all exposed roots on trail and side slopes, raked side slopes to cover roots and created a more natural looking slope. And, they removed anything from the footpath that would be a tripping hazard. Volunteers used rakes, axes, loppers, wheelbarrows, and ropes to tackle the work on steep banks.
Chimney Rock State Park’s staff gives a big shout out to all that were involved in this very successful trail workday. The volunteers lent their excitement to the project and made a significant difference in the new trail.
For those interested in experiencing the new trail, park rangers will lead a free hike Jan. 1 in conjunction with the nationwide First Day Hikes event organized by America’s State Parks. Join a ranger at the Rumbling Bald Climbing Access at 1 p.m. that day for the hike and a discussion on how the park uses ecological information to reroute old tails and plan new trails.