By Terri Miyamoto
The Crozet Trails Crew (CTC) is made up of community members who are interested in helping plan, build, and promote pedestrian and bicycle trails in and around Crozet. CTC was created in the fall of 2009 as an outgrowth of the Crozet Master Planning process. The idea was to establish a grass-roots organization that would assist the Crozet community in realizing and implementing their goals for pedestrian connections and recreation. Since its inception, the CTC has welcomed scores of volunteers, from kids to the elderly, and has worked on a variety of projects in the area. It thrives on the energy and commitment of all the volunteers, and everyone is invited to join, regardless of age, fitness level, trail experience, or time constraints.
Through their work with Albemarle County Parks & Recreation, they have helped build a still-developing trail system to provide recreation and connectivity to Crozet residents. The map shows over seven miles of trails currently open, with more miles in the future.
2017 was a good year for the CTC. Goals included expanding and maintaining the trail system, increasing community participation in the CTC, and partnering with community groups to promote Crozet as an outdoor recreation area.
They hoped to build a trail from Crozet Park to the Connector Trail, install a bridge across Lickinghole Creek to provide a route from Westhall towards Route 250, extend the Creekside Trail to Jarmans Gap Road, and extend the Connector Trail toward downtown Crozet. Property rights issues are complex, though, and they are still waiting for permission to build as the county works out easements and rights-of-way. Progress has been made, but it’s in paperwork, not trail work.
Due to a new agreement with the county, Parks & Recreation staff began regular mowing of the Crozet Connector Trail in 2017. This means that approximately three miles of trail can be mowed quickly and efficiently with their large equipment, rather than depending on volunteers pushing lawnmowers, and resulted in better trail conditions all summer. This gave the CTC time to make trail improvements, such as directional signs and benches, and replacing the temporary bridge in the Dog Park with an impressive permanent structure.
Quarterly community trail walks, plus a collaboration with the Crozet Cub Scouts for trail monitoring and clean-up, showed many more people the beauty of the trails. Installation of Greenway signs at trail entrances also improved visibility. The trails are clearly getting more traffic.
Participation in Saturday workdays, plus an active mid-week crew, has continued, but it would help to have more people show up for trail work. Finally, the CTC participated in several community events, such as the Crozet Park Arts Festival and Clean-up at the Park, Crozet Running’s race at Mint Springs, and Starr Hill’s “Cheers for Charity” events. CTC’s annual 5K race in October involved 145 racers, and is their primary fund-raising activity.
In 2018, CTC will work towards providing those trail expansions they are hoping for, and to improve our existing trails. They hope to experiment with making a better trail surface in a small area by using crushed stone and stone dust, and building boardwalks where muddy conditions are common.
The crew is still building benches—so if you have a place you think deserves a comfortable seat, let them know.
They don’t work so hard that they don’t have fun—and Starr Hill Brewery is helping with that. They have named the Trails Crew as the beneficiary of April’s “Cheers for Charity” again. Join in for a kick-off party, a bike-maintenance workshop (presented by Crozet Bicycle Shop), and a 4K run on April weekends.
The Trails Crew wants to thank the Crozet community for its support and its appreciation of our Greenway. They encourage you to get out and enjoy the trails and help out with one of the workdays. You can sign up to receive regular emails with work date announcements at CrozetTrails Crew.org. You can also find detailed trail maps, complete with directions to access points, there. If you have any questions about the trails, please email Terri Miyamoto, CTC President, at [email protected]