FORESTVILLE — In preparation for its next big opening day, the Forestville hiking trail once again saw a number of high school students volunteer on a recent Saturday morning to help pick it up.
A total of 12 youth helped pick up excess poles and make the trail more and more accessible as the July opening nears. The students were joined by Forestville School Board President Carol Woodward and Imagine Forestville members Tom Woodward, Merv Fry, Luz Logan and Aimee Rogers, who is thrilled to see the conclusion coming closer.
“We at Imagine Forestville are so excited” said Rogers. “We look forward to seeing the grand opening on July 9 and recognizing that this will be the first walking trail in the city of Hanover. »
The trail, which takes about 40 minutes to hike, has been ongoing for several months now, with some cleanups similar to what happened on Saturday. As July 9 approaches, Rogers said much of the remaining work to be done includes improving ease of access and walking.
“We’re tagging the trail better and cleaning it up so people don’t have to bend down,” said Rogers. “There are still places where you have to bend down. So we hope that by July everything will be finished.
Rogers said as part of completing the trail, some wildlife is also being recognized and preserved, including an endangered plant species that hikers will be able to view.
“We did a survey of the plants that were here to see if there were any endangered species,” said Rogers. “And there is one, so hopefully spring comes, we can find it and tag it. One of the oldest elm trees has also been located. That one we won’t let people climb but it will be a marker so it can be seen in the distance.
The 12 who helped were: Ingrid Gibson, Makayla Press, Gabrielle Vanzile, Lynn Krupa, Elli Smith, Gabriele Smith, Lucas Clarke, Antonio Patton, Alena Thomas, Matt Ounn, Ben Mescall and Vivian Tanner. They each worked from 10 a.m. to noon and received hot chocolate, pulled pork lunch and other treats after their day’s work. Rogers said that in conjunction with Forestville High School Principal Dan Grande and the Honor Society, students were also able to receive volunteer hours for their work. The kids were also able to have fun at work and also expressed interest in coming back to help finish the job, which Rogers is grateful for.
“The children worked hard but also had fun” said Rogers. “They were swinging on hanging vines which was quite fun to see. Some were able to cling to the vine and some were not. You could tell who hasn’t been able to hold on to the mud all over their coat… We still need about a third of the track to work on. When asked if the kids would be interested in coming back to help again, they all said emphatically yes.
The children were also helped by Fry, who provided advice on areas requiring a saw or knives, and Tom Woodward, who brought his ATV and cart to clear debris.
As the trail is covered under the city of Hanover, volunteers are fully insured to work, although Imagine Forestville did contribute to a fundraising event. Rogers also said drainage work needs to be done so people who come have a place to park.
The July 9 opening will be at 11 a.m. and will be followed by a celebratory luncheon, and will showcase a full community effort, including benches donated by Councilman Ed Schintzius.
“We were lucky to have a very helpful and supportive Hannover City Council, without which this trail would never come to fruition,” said Rogers. “It was a community’s dream to get us this far, and we couldn’t be happier.”