Monday, September 18, 2017

Farewell To A River Trail Friend-Nancy Elliott

I noticed the obituary of a friend last week. Nancy Elliott, 70, was one of the many characters I have been privileged to meet along the Arkansas River Trail. In near daily rides along the trail, one becomes familiar with other regular trail users, whether they be runners, walkers, or fellow cyclists. Nancy was a dog walker and we regularly exchanged greetings. I make it a point to introduce myself to these folks, so we became friends and I would often stop to visit with Nancy, who was always pleasant and who clearly loved her small dogs.

When then-County Judge Buddy Villines threatened in 2011 to close the ART bridges to dogs due to the persistent problem of dog poop being left by inconsiderate pet walkers, Nancy sprung into action. She set up a table  at the north foot of the Big Dam Bridge and gathered signatures while educating and encouraging dog owners to take responsibility for their pet waste.

Nancy Elliott spent some afternoons at the BDB in her efforts to prevent a dog ban on the River Trail bridges.

I last saw Nancy a year or so ago and she seemed to be struggling a bit, but was, as always, gracious. Good-bye my friend. I hope that you were able to catch up with the pups that preceded you on that final walk.

About the link above: The article covered not only Nancy's efforts, but the near-complete state of the Two Rivers Park Bridge, traffic issues, and some club news. It is interesting to see how much some things have changed while others remain much the same.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Trail Party At Boyle Park

Man, it is dusty here at the long-ignored JBarCycling blogspot. Nothing has been touched for months, so I'm not surprised. There has been a lot going on in central Arkansas, so it may be time to get back to work here.

CATA Trail Party At Boyle Park-Saturday, January 7

After a standing room only crowd at last Thursday's BACA meeting, and a huge turnout for the most recent trails work day at Camp Robinson, I was only slightly surprised by the number of folks who showed up on a cold Saturday morning for some trail building at Little Rock's Boyle Park. The work was scheduled to begin at 9:00 AM, and when I arrived around 10:00, the parking lot was nearly full. The temperature had also climbed to 20-degrees, though with the bright sun and some exertion, it was a really good day to be outside. I've never ridden at Boyle, so I enjoyed being introduced to a new patch of woods in midtown.

I showed up in time to be sent out with a pick ax to section 11 of a new trail. There were many crews scattered around the area, and the sounds of progress surrounded us.
Rachel Furman was our trail boss before we moved over to help Tom Burks and crew with challenging section around a big pine.
Tom Burks and his partner had a solid start on this section of  trail when we arrived. This stretch promises to have great flow as it crosses a stream bed a couple of times, and rolls smoothly around and between the big pines.
Many hands make light work. There was plenty of work to go around but the results were immediately apparent---new, ready-to-ride trail!
Young Hudson joined our gang and proved himself to be a solid worker and quite a character.
The trail crews filtered back to a lunch of pulled pork. As I headed for home, the temperature had soared to 22-degrees, and several folks headed out for another round of work.

Though I've always been a roadie at heart, the mountain bike community is remarkable. For the most part, the construction of the local trails that we ride has been initiated and performed by mountain bikers. The heritage of many of our systems, like those at Allsopp Park, Boyle Park, and Camp Robinson goes back to the early days of mountain biking. Those riders took to the few existing hiking trails in the area and soon began making improvements and adding sections. I'm most familiar with Camp Robinson, but the story seems to be the same for most of our single-track resources. Many of these systems have been recognized and adopted by the parks systems or other entities in which they lie, most of the work continues to be done by mountain bikers.
Groups like IMBA and CATA  have come to provide organizational support, help to focus resources, and bring political clout, but most the work on the ground is still done by volunteers.

If you feel like you missed a good party.....
There will be a Boyle Park Trail Party 2 on Saturday, February 11. Tools will be provided, but if you have a rake, Pulaski, or shovel, it never hurts to have them on hand.