Friends of Rotary Park

This is a service provided to the users of Rotary Park in Clarksville, Montgomery County, Tennessee. It is hosted by Friends of Rotary Park, a newly formed volunteer group that is dilligently working to improve the trail network at the park. This site provides information about current, past, and future trail development.


Rotary Park is a county-owned natural park in Clarksville, Montgomery County, Tennessee. It consists of two adjoining tracts of land that make up about 95 acres of mostly undeveloped, wooded land. There is one park entrance/exit that is paved and runs to the back of the park. There are three pavilions along the roadway with the largest being at the road's end. Rotary Park has an extensive trail network and is open to hikers and bikers. The new push for extensive trail work is necessary because most trails were improperly built by ATVs and motorcycles. Motorized vehicles are now banned from the park. Furthermore, the trails are showing signs of serious erosion. Most recently, a large amount of sustainable trail located outside of the park's boundary has been taken by development. The Friends of Rotary Park is dedicated to restoring and improving the park. Those interested in joining Friends of Rotary Park can do so by contacting Chris Clark at 931-801-3898. Dues are $25.00 for a family membership.

Monday, March 17, 2008

First Spring Workday


I am excited to announce our first workday of the Spring. It will be Saturday, March 29th. We will meet at 8:00 a.m. at the lower parking lot next to the creek. I will try to put the banner on my truck so everyone can see.

Our projects for the day include installing rolling grade dips (like water bars) on some new sections of trail. This really needs to be done before the April showers begin. Also, I would like to have a crew working on the new trail up to the amphitheater. If David can bring the auger, I would like for us to finish installing the signs.

Be sure and bring gloves, water, snacks, and any trail building tools that you may have. Of particular importance this day will be a shovel and wheel barrow as well as clearing tools like shears and loppers. The more shovels and wheel barrows we have, the better.

Also, I would really like to thank all of those who have made contributions to FORP over the last couple months. I have been really busy at work and got behind on my Thank You notes. However, I would like everyone to know how much their support is appreciated.

I look forward to seeing everyone on the 29th. And, before any of you mountain bikers call me and say, "wait, the Chickasaw race is the next day." I know. I'm sorry. It was the only day I could work in for a workday this month. However, I understand if you are racing Chickasaw and don't show for the workday. Rest up and represent Middle TN. I may be there to cheer you on but I will not be racing this year.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Welcome APSU Students

I would like to welcome all of you who visited our table at the APSU Wellness seminar today. I'm sorry that I was not there to personally greet everyone but had to work. I do hope to see each of you at the park soon.

I began mountain biking at Rotary Park when I was a student at Austin Peay. I found that it provided an excellent atmosphere in which to escape the rigors of college life. I encourage each and every one of you to pay the park a visit. We have plenty of trails for hiking, biking, and trail running. Seriously, I see some of you guys running up and down Madison Street. I've done it and it can get boring. Try trail running at Rotary Park. You will not be disappointed.

Also, I would like to thank all of our members who were able to prepare for, install, and operate our display today. You guys all did a fantastic job. It made me very proud to part of an organization with such wonderful people. Thank you.


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Next Workday/Update

Dear Friends:

I just wanted to give everyone an update as to what is going on at the park.

Next Workday
Saturday, January 19th will be our next workday. We will meet at the lower parking lot near the Pavilion II trailhead at 8:00 a.m. We will divide up into three groups. One group will focus on clearing the trail (cutting small brush and weeds that are growing in the trail). Another group will focus on benching the trail while another group will focus on constructing some erosion control devises (i.e. rolling grade dips, kicks, etc.). As discussed below, we may work on installing signposts. Aside from flagging the trail at the amphitheater for the grant proposal, I will not be laying out any new trail until the existing trail is complete and in tiptop shape. I don't want us to build so fast that we neglect to include the features necessary to make the trail sustainable and enjoyable.

Things needed for the workday: bring water, gloves, a Maddox, shears, a hoe, and/or any weed removing devise. If anyone has a power trimmer with a small brush attachment, that would work best.

Boy Scouts
Some of you have already noticed the new bridge behind Pavilion I. The bridge crosses a 20 ft. wide drain on the Red Cedar Loop. The bridge was built by Boy Scout Michael Cox as his Eagle Scout project. Like other newly built bridges, this bridge was built to engineering standards proposed by IMBA but with some additional improvements. The footers for the bridge are formed concrete. The treated lumber supports and stringers are all bolted to the footers using galvanized lag bolts. Also, it is decked in a composite decking surface so it should last for a very long time. The treated lumber on the ends was painted in tar prior to the bridge being backfilled to add additional protection from the elements. Also, an additional stringer above the number recommended runs the length of the bridge. The bridge is absolutely top of the line and should last for very, very long time. Thanks to Michael and crew as well as his father, Ted, and Kurt Kowalski for this wonderful bridge.

Also, Kurt, Glen, Josh, and I met with another Boy Scout seeking an Eagle Scout project. We discussed three potential projects and are currently waiting on the Scout's proposal to present to the county. It is important to note that the increase in Scouts seeking projects within the park is a direct result of Kurt's involvement with the Scouts and Friends of Rotary Park. Thanks, Kurt, for spreading the word.

White Oak Loop
As I have previously discussed, a new section of the White Oak Loop has been opened. This section is part of the perimeter trail and connects two previously existing point-to-point trails. Kurt, Glen, Josh, and I began benching the new section on New Year's Eve. Those guys did some awesome work and got a lot done. There is still a substantial amount of clearing and grooming that needs to take place on this trail, however, especially through the TVA easement. Feel free to take a pair of shears to the park one day and work on this. The more people that pitch in, the sooner the trail will be completed.

I have flagged one of the trails to the amphitheater. I will complete the flagging of the loop soon. We are waiting on the grant process before beginning work on this section as this trail is tied directly to that grant, which should fund the trail's bridges.

We still have additional signs to install. We may work on this at the next workday depending on ground temperatures and whether or not the auger is available. I have also ordered new "No Horses" signs. These will be installed in four locations upon arrival. The signposts are already installed.

I appreciate all the help and support I have had lately. As we worked on Monday and with 2008 less than 24 hours away, we stopped to reflect on all the work we have done in the last 2 to 3 years. The park has come a very long way since the tornado. Once again, people are starting to travel from all around to visit the park. I strongly believe that 2008 will see even more improvements and the spirit of volunteerism will grow.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Wow, I haven't updated this blog in a while; it is long overdue. Here is the Cliff's Notes version.

Had a workday last month. Went great. About 15 showed. Some old logging roads closed and erosion addressed. Fine tuning, grooming, and benching on the new White Oak extension above the small Boy Scout bridge. This includes 3 rolling grade dips for erosion control. Lots of old tornado damage cut and fell to the ground. Decay expedited.

Now, to the fun part. I have flagged and sketched in a large section of the White Oak that connects the new section we worked on in Nov. to the other side of the creek. In the month of Nov., I laid out over ½ a mile of new trail and have a large amount of it open. Thanks to TTA for the chainsaw – that has sped up the process. General clearing and grooming needs to occur on the new stuff to get it open. It will need to be benched but no hurry on that. This will take two point-to-point trails and make them a complete loop WITHIN THE PARK BOUNDARIES.


I'm working over there when I can but have other duties to complete very soon for Stacy for the grant application. I don't want to schedule a workday in Dec., we are all busy enough. But, if you can go to the park on your own and do a little work it would go a long way. Here is what needs to be done: the new trail that I have laid out needs to be cleared of small brush and the like. I have raked it as clear as I can but it is still not completely passable. If any of you could go and work on this it would be wonderful. Even just an hour's worth of clearing would go a long way. The area that needs particular attention is the area through the TVA easement.

If you do not know what trail I am talking about, it is located in the back of the park just above the creek and past the bowl/campfire area near the creek. If that still doesn't make sense, just call or e-mail me. PLEASE HELP!


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Workday and Newsletter

Hey gang:

I just got back in town from a two-week vacation of sorts (one week of vacation and one week of conference). I am happy to say that I am well rested and re-energized about the park. It is a great time of year to build some trail and complete some of our projects. Lets get started, shall we?


Saturday, November 10th, will be our next workday. We will meet at 8:00 a.m. in the parking lot at the bottom of the hill near the creek-side trailhead. Look for my maroon pickup truck with camper shell. I will try to make a sign this time.

We have two main projects for the workday. One or two crews will be covering some of the logging roads left by the loggers after the tornado. Another small crew will continue installing sign posts if David and his auger are available. If not, I have other projects.

The reason that the old logging roads need to be covered is two-fold. First, they are susceptible to serious erosion due to their layout, the way they were constructed, and their width. If there is a good side to the drought this summer, it is that we did not suffer serious erosion at the park in these areas. We have already built new trails bypassing the areas that we will be covering. The second reason for covering these logging roads goes back to one of FORP's original goals: create a stacked loop trail network that is easy to follow. By closing off these random logging roads that lead nowhere, it will cut down on the confusion at the park and allow people to learn the new loop system.


As I stated above, we have already built new trails bypassing the logging roads that are to be covered. I built one of those this past Saturday. I spent five hours at the park on Saturday connecting two existing trails and bypassing a logging road. This new section is located on the trail leading to the amphitheater and is located just above the creek. It is part of the White Oak Loop. I have been scouting this area for several months now trying to find the best way to site this section of trail. I have flagged it different ways but not been totally happy with those options. On Saturday, I made some changes that work very well. I flagged the trail, cleared the corridor, removed deadfall and downed trees, and installed an erosion control devise above one of the turns. The trail is open, fully marked, and ready for use. The only thing left to do on it is to install one additional erosion control devise that I will do sometime this week or next.

I am very excited about this new section of trail. It is not incredibly long but is very fun. It is built to proper trail-building standards for avoiding erosion and blends very naturally with the landscape. Please enjoy the new section of trail and enjoy not having to use the logging road. Mountain bikers, you will be happy to find that one of the two turns is in-sloped (bermed) so you can maintain your momentum in the turn. I may extend the bermed area at a later date as I feel it would benefit the trail.


While in Florida and Chattanooga, I rode some of the local trails. Each was quite different and unique in many ways. I learned something from the trail builders in both locations, particularly Raccoon Mountain in Chattanooga. I am excited about taking what I learned at both trails and applying it at Rotary Park. Above all, my visit to both sites reassured me that we are building great trail at Rotary Park and doing the right thing by taking our time and building it right the first time. One of the trail's I visited is less than a year old and already suffers from serious erosion issues as a result of poor trail placement.

I look forward to seeing everyone on the trails.


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Ride Today

Some of us will be riding at the park today should anyone want to join us. We will try to meet at the Main Trailhead (Pavilion I) at 4:30.

Also, if anyone is looking for projects you can do at the park outside of scheduled workdays, there is some extensive chainsaw work that needs to be done in order to complete the next section of the White Oak Loop. I have started flagging it but cannot complete it without some tornado damage being cleared. If you are interested, call me. 801-3898.


Thursday, October 04, 2007

Work Today


Although I am not quite caught up on my Fall yard work, I'm taking the afternoon to go work in the park, weather permitting. It is last minute and certainly not an official "workday", however, I thought I would put the word out in case anyone is free this afternoon and wants to come and help. My work will be in the new section of the White Loop where we worked on our last official workday. That is above the small Boy Scout bridge leading towards the back of the park.

I will be benching and making improvements to the trail tread. We did a great job on our last trail day, however, the dry conditions kept the soil from bonding; some of it has blown away. With the chance of rain at 40%, today is a great day to reconfigure the trail tread. If you come, bring your Maddox, a leaf rake, and/or a bowhead rake. If you can't bring tools but would still like to come help, don't sweat it. I am bringing extra tools and can share if you don't have any.

Also, as soon as the underbrush dies down from summer, I will be flagging the remainder of the White Oak Loop. When that is done, volunteers can go to the park at their leisure and begin clearing, i.e. you will not need an official workday to do the work. I hope to have the large loop open by Spring but it will take folks going to the park and working on their own.

Also, a special thanks to Kurt Kowalski for leading a pack of Cub Scouts as they completely closed off one of the troublesome logging roads. They did a fantastic job and have solved what was fast becoming an errosion problem. Kurt has posted up on the Boy and Cub Scout leaders message board letting local leaders know about the need at Rotary Park. Both the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts have been great partners in the rebuilding and maintenance of Rotary Park. Thanks, guys.

Happy trails,