Inclined plane trails ready to ride again
Rain, Hail, and a Tornado were no match for the Johnstown community who pulled together to rebuild a local treasure.
Just three weeks ago, Michael Cook, leader of the Inclined Plane Trails Capture Team was busy preparing for the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale for Trails Event. The event was going to start out with a light clean up, followed by a downhill mountain bike race on the Inclined Plane Trails, which opened last August after months of hard work.
Then, disaster struck Johnstown. Torrential downpours flooded streets throughout Johnstown, hail the size of golf balls pummeled down, and a tornado even touched down in Westmont. Clean-up to public infrastructure was swift and soon residents were back to enjoying their everyday lives. But for the Inclined Plane Trails team, the storm’s impact was more extensive.
“The Saturday after the tornado hit Westmont, I hiked in from Blair St to grab tools, because I figured there would be some light cleanup. I came around the corner in the trail it felt like someone knocked the wind out of me…Words can’t even describe what I was looking at, but if I had to sum it up, it was a combination of heartbreaking and devastating.” said Mike Cook
Mike stood quietly as he looked upon the destruction the storm had caused. Trees lay uprooted across the path, mudslides washed out the once noticable twists and turns, and vegetation laid across nearly every part of the once beautiful trail.
“All of the trail building that we completed this winter was destroyed.”
“Words can’t even describe what I was looking at, but if I had to sum it up, it was a combination of heartbreaking and devastating .
The damage was extensive, and would take weeks to clean-up, but Mike knew that it was his responsibility to refurbish the trails so that they could remain accessible to the community and prevent injuries from occurring on the trails.
Hoping to speed up the process, Mike reached out to the community for their help in repairing the damage done by the treacherous storm. What happened next was astounding. Upon arriving on Saturday to begin his cleanup, Mike was greeted by 25 eager volunteers, tools in hand, ready to assist him in the clean up.
“I really didn’t expect that big of a turnout for the trail cleanup. I thought maybe ten volunteers, at most.” Cook laughed.
“I didn’t realize that many people saw so much value in the trails that they would be willing to spend their Saturday doing work that, at times, is absolutely backbreaking!”
Astonishingly, after just one day of hard work, the trails were once again rideable. “I can’t thank the volunteers from our community enough for the work they did. It gives me hope seeing just how many people are willing to step up and lend a hand when it’s needed.
While Cook says there is still work to be done before holding another riding event, he and the Inclined Plane Trails Capture Team are planning a BIG event to celebrate the “Grand Re-opening” of the trails.
You can stay tuned for event announcements and trail updates by heading to the Friends of the Inclined Plane Trails Facebook Page.