The Interior Greenbelt Trail Still Rocks!Jun 3rd, 2011 | By Isabella | Category: News
Its been exactly two years since my first day of trail work on Mount Sutro – it was National Trails Day 2009. At the time, I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. I just knew that this thought had been quietly nagging at me for a while – that I’d been walking (and riding) all over these trails for years and I wanted to give a little something back to them. Beyond that, I wanted to learn a few things about how those trails got there and how I could make sure they’d still be there for years into the future. How better to do that than to spend some hours with those who had already been maintaining them, invisible to me?
When I showed up that first morning, there were about 70 other volunteers ready to get to work. We walked out to the site, which started the day as a eucalyptus, blackberry and ivy covered hillside. The intention was for this overgrown area to end the day as the Edgewood trail, a quick connector between the winding trails above Medical Center Way and the residential Edgewood Avenue below. Before I had much time to contemplate how we were going to achieve this, we were separated into crews and got down to business.
The crew I worked with spent most of our work day excavating a large hole that had been filled with old pallets, plywood, camping mattresses, odd rocks and other debris. After we cleared out this erstwhile campsite, we worked with another crew collecting large rocks and soil from the hillside with which to fill it and create our section of trail. As surprised as I was at how much work our crew got done in those few short hours, I was even more stunned when I walked the length of trail to see what others had been doing and discovered that a retaining wall had been built, several switchbacks constructed and the Edgewood trail more or less completed.
Well, this had me hooked. I wanted to know how one could look at an overgrown hillside and see the route a trail might take across it, how to layout that trail to shed water and also design it to be a fun and beautiful place for its myriad users. I wanted to work on it from beginning to end and, of course, I wanted to run, hike and ride across that trail knowing how it had been created. The satisfaction I feel after a good ride through these little urban outposts of open space is nothing compared to the connection I feel with that same piece of dirt after having contributed to its existence.
You can see what my first day of trail work looked like by watching the video below or you can come out and see what it’s like for yourself. National Trails Day 2011 is fast approaching. On June 4th,2011 the Interior Greenbelt Trail (connecting the Edgewood trail down to Stanyan Street), which has already had thousands of hours dedicated to it by SF Urban Riders and other volunteers, will be completed. And there will no doubt be a few amongst them (maybe you…) who will be, as I was, hooked by the experience they have that day.
Words and photos by Isabella Battig