New trail open in Danville for mountain biking/urban hiking
Danville’s first mountain bike/urban hiking trail is now open and ready for the public to conquer. And it’s taken seven years of planning and cooperation from local governments and property owners to get here, said Jennier Kirchner. She’s director of the Danville-Boyle County Convention and Visitors Bureau, as well as head of the Danville-Boyle County Trails Alliance.
Just a few yards off of Lebanon Road, near the U.S. 127 bypass, the winding and primitive dirt trail is hidden among trees in a flood plain. It weaves back and forth across a small pasture, up and down hills and a meandering creek flows nearby, just off of Enterprise Drive. Even though a mountain biker or hiker may feel like they’re far away in an undiscovered area, the sound of highway traffic is constant.
Kirchner said the 1.5 mile loop, named the Woven Wire Mountain Bike Park, was completed about three weeks ago on land easements donated by Honeywell, Boyle County Industrial Foundation and Heritage Hospice Inc.
Janelle Wheeler, executive director of Heritage Hospice, said they donated the easement to the property in 2016 and were happy to do it because it just made sense.
“The way the plan had been sort of written out, it involved a small area of our property, so when we were approached, it felt like the thing to do. We’re excited about it and so pleased to be a part of it,” Wheeler said. “This gives the community another option to get out and see the beauty of it, and make some memories.”
The mountain bike park is located in a low-lying wooded area along Clarks Run that is subject to flooding, she said, which makes the area unusable for commercial development.
Kirchner said even though the park is open, there is still work to be done, including using native plants for buffering restoration along the creek.
Signage will be placed at the trail head pointing mountain bikers to head in one direction and hikers in the opposite direction.
“You won’t have a biker coming up behind you,” Kirchner said. There will eventually also be signage explaining trail etiquette, for example, how pedestrians have to yield to bikers, and no motorized vehicles will be allowed.
Because the Trails Alliance is still figuring out the signage and maintenance plans, Kirchner asked that the community “have patience with us.”
Right now, the easiest way to reach the park is to turn onto Enterprise Drive, off of Lebanon Road and head to where it T’s, she said. Turn left on Techwood Drive and park in the cul-de-sac. The trail is located just below the tree line. Or, you can park at Heritage Hospice or on Enterprise Drive, facing Lebanon Road, and the trail begins in the trees on the right side, she added.
However, very soon, The Still at AMBRAbev will be allowing parking in their lot. They want to become the trailhead and will be adding a bike station next door to their outdoor patio with equipment like tire pumps, she added.
There are three more trails being constructed around Danville, Kirchner said. “The goal … isn’t necessarily trying to make a loop of trails to connect to each other, but connect people to places.”
The alliance is also writing another grant for phase 2, which will cross Clarks Run and create a second loop.
“The longer we can make it the more of a destination it will become,” Kirchner said. “It also functions as a starting point to connect visitors from The Still to Wilderness Trail Distillery along Lebanon Road. This section is about 60% complete. This capitalizes on our potential in adventure tourism which includes physical activity (usually) in nature and cultural exchange. You see this with the success of the Bourbon Trail.”
Wheeler said for anyone who hasn’t checked the trail out, it’s a must. “It’s beautiful, I’ve walked it. It’s a great opportunity to get out and experience the area in a different way.”
To see a video created by Brian Mountjoy, an experienced mountain biker who shows the full ride of the trail, visit the Danville Boyle County Trails Alliance page on Facebook.
Staff writer Bobbie Curd contributed to this story.
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