Trail Building in Northern Virginia

I knew there would be some trail work happening in the area so I made some inquiries on an online forum for the local IMBA club, MORE
This is how I found out about the trails being built on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land in the Meadowood recreation area. I had no idea there was even any BLM land in Virginia. I got in contact with Doug Vinson (dvinson at and made plans to come help. Excited about finally getting to do some trail work Sharon and I met up with Doug.

Meadowood Recreation area, new finished trail tread

The above photo is what we saw on the short walk into the work area. Meadowood recreation area recently got an updated plan and as such some work is being done. In a first for the area this new loop trail will be open to bikes.

Ditch Wich SK650 with custom 6 way blade

This little brute, operated by Doug, did most of the work. It’s got a diesel engine and the rubber tracks don’t tear stuff up. The 6 way blade fitted to the front gives great control over setting out slope. It did all of the major bench cutting and other digging, leaving Sharon and me to finish the trail tread by cleaning up the back slope and scattering the fill on the out slope, pruning, and chopping any remaining vegetation out of the tread. David, the other BLM empolyee, used a backpack blower to clear the leaves out ahead of the ditch witch and then went back to blow leaves back onto disturbed areas right up the edge of the tread. This was an efficient way to give a nice finished look. Much better than sprinkling arm loads of duff and leaves by hand.

A good action shot of Doug and Jay finishing tread

With four experienced people, a route already marked with pin flags, and some good equipment, we made excellent progress. A reasonable estimate would be 1000 feet of new trail in the 3 1/2 hours we worked before Sharon and I had to leave for a lunch obligation.

Current map of the Meadowood area at the trailhead.

This new trail is relatively short and very beginner friendly. It may not seem like much but with any luck it will be the start of a whole new trail system open to bikes. This is how it starts.


2 responses to “Trail Building in Northern Virginia

  1. I walk that trail just about every weekend – you were about 1/2 mile from my house! Can’t wait to walk the new areas. THANKS for your help!

  2. Rode the Meadowbrook trail network last month, and while the newly cut trail is nice, the whole network will be a great place to ride. Thanks to Doug, and you two for all the efforts.

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