Happy trails in park for bikers

Posted: March 23, 2013

The Winchester Star

A new single-track mountain bike trail has been built using volunteer labor on the north side of Sherando Park in Stephens City. Work sessions to continue the trail development began on Thursday and will continue on subsequent Thursdays. (Photo by Jeff Taylor/The Winchester Star)
New mountain bike trails for beginner to intermediate riders have opened on the north side of Sherando Park in Stephens City. The new trails were made possible through the use of volunteer labor from members of the Winchester Wheelmen, Boy Scouts and leaders of Troop 22, the Stephens City Moose Lodge and other individuals. Riders are asked not to use the trail when the ground is wet. (Photo by Jeff Taylor/The Winchester Star)

STEPHENS CITY — The Frederick County Parks and Recreation Department is hoping to attract local mountain bikers — and anyone interested in the sport — to two sections of trails on the north side of Sherando Park.

The half-mile mountain bike trails are geared toward riders with intermediate and beginner skills, according to Jon Turkel, the department’s park and stewardship planner.

Park staff members and volunteers from the community started working on the trails last August, Turkel said Friday, and they were completed this year.

“We were responding to the expressed community need for mountain bike trails,” he said. “[Other] trails in the area ... have gotten a lot of support and usage and there is an interest to offer that in more areas of the county. We felt Sherando Park was a good place [for mountain bike trails] and that a trail complemented the Master Development Plan for the park property.”

County officials plan two more miles of mountain bike trails in the 330-acre park.

We’re targeting the trails to be accessible to the most users,” Turkel said. “Beginner to intermediate [trails] are something that’s going to have a broader appeal.”

The main trail head is located at the “S” turn on the existing paved bike path, just past the softball fields north of Fairfax Pike (Va. 277).

In addition to individual volunteers, the bicycle group Winchester Wheelmen, Boy Scouts in Stephens City’s Troop 22 and the Stephens City Moose Lodge contributed to the trails’ construction, Turkel said.

Cory Smith, Sherando’s park manager, said he was pleased with the speed of the volunteers in installing the trails.

“It’s been very rewarding that we’ve been able to create these trails,” he said on Friday. “We’re really happy to be able to offer something else for the community that’s not costing them any [taxpayer] money.”

Park officials have resumed Thursday evening work sessions in order to create more trails for mountain bikers. The sessions begin at 5:30 p.m. and volunteers should dress for working in the woods.

Volunteer forms are available at the park, and additional information is available by calling 540-868-0970.

— Contact Matt Armstrong at marmstrong@winchesterstar.com