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.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

County Mayor, Officials Praise FORP


I attended the Montgomery County Conservation Board meeting yesterday afternoon. FORP, in conjunction with the Parks and Recreation Department, has two proposals currently before the board. Both of those items were on last night's itinerary (both were tabled for adminstrative reasons but are expected to pass at the next meeting). After all official business was concluded, County Mayor Carolyn Bowers publicly thanked FORP for all the work that we have done at Rotary Park. As the newly elected Mayor, she was excited about the work that our group has done and continues to do at Rotary Park. Throughout the evening, three other county officials took time to publicly thank us for our work including Parks and Recreation director Stacy Goodwin and Projects and Facilities Director Gary Hamm, both of which have been to the park and seen our work first hand.

Our work is sometimes difficult and strenuous, but it is being noticed by the county and other park users. The new kiosks will be erected very soon and will feature information about our organization including this website. As our work grows, so will our group. I reiterate the message from all four county officials: stay the course and keep up the good work.


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

News Article/Important Dates/Night Riding and Hiking


I hope everyone was able to read the front page of yesterday's paper. Despite a few minor misquotes, I thought that the article was informative. My only real complaint was that there was a statement under the picture saying that bikes caused ruts on the trials, which is not true. The only damage that bikes cause that hikers don't is soil displacement during hard braking, and we have taken that into consideration when designing the trails to reduce that. I wish that I had invited to walk the park with The Leaf Chronicle and Mr. Whittaker so that I could show them what I am talking about when I explain these techniques. Examples like the "rolling grade dip" are a little difficult to grasp without a visual. All in all, though, I liked the article and appreciated the author, Nate Karlin, giving us an opportunity to respond to Mr. Whittaker's complaints. It is important to note that all of his complaints pertained to the old trails that we have not addressed yet.

There will be a meeting on November 8th at the public library at 5:30 p.m. We will meet in the lobby and then proceed to the upstairs to a meeting room. At the meeting, we will discuss the overall trail network, trail names, and signage.

On November 11th, there will be a workday at the park. We will use this day to begin working on a new section of trail that will replace a badly eroded section of trail on the Pavilion I short loop. The new trail will be flagged and will need to be cleared and benched. Bring gloves, loppers, shears, or anything that can be used to clear trail in an eco-friendly way. The new section of trail will be much longer than the section it is replacing and will utilize the entire hillside. The reason for the replacement is to bypass damp areas near the creek bed and the fall-line trail leading downhill from Pavilion I. We will also need a couple of wheelbarrows to bring in some soil. I will have mine but the more the better.

Recent Trail Work
I mistakenly thought that yesterday was a State holiday, so I took off. Although the office did not like it, it was good because I got a lot of work done at the park. I trimmed the weeds on the side of the new trails as they go through the TVA easement and in some other places. These paths are very, very clear now. I spent most of my time dealing with some erosion/trail tread issues on the new trail leading from Pavilion I to Pavilion II. Although this trail is open for use, it still needs a good deal of work before I would call it complete. The work yesterday was laborious but worth it. There are two drains that cross the trail near the trailhead. Each was about 8 inches to a foot deep. When laying out the trail, I crossed the drains at perpendicular intersections so that water would be diverted away from the trails. All trail manuals that I have read say to cross the drains in this manner. Yesterday's project was to raise the drains at each crossing and pave them with rock in a manner that will resist further erosion. I used a large wheelbarrow to get topsoil to trail. I raised the tread surface in the drain using the topsoil, tamped the soil, and then paved it with large flat rocks. In some areas, I pitched the rock (setting it in place vertically instead of flat) to strengthen certain areas and lock the other rocks in place. I then went back over the areas in topsoil so that the rain will wash it into the cracks and create a cement-like bond. The drains are still slightly lower than the rest of the trail tread so the drain will still function properly. I'm very happy with the way these turned out and the trail seems to be much more functional and aesthetically pleasing. This week, I hope to fill some of the holes in the trail with soil. I am going to wait until after my wedding to flag the new trails so that I don't get poison Ivy before my wedding and honeymoon. I should have them flagged before the meeting on the 8th.

Night Riding/Hiking
The time will be changing soon and our use of the park will be shortened during the week . . . or will it. I just purchased a night riding system for my bike. I am hoping that we can bring back night riding to Rotary Park. There used to be a regular group that met on Wednesdays that began at 5:30 and rode past dark. Any mountain bikers with lights interested in night riding please call or e-mail me. My e-mail is at the top of the blog. If anyone schedules a night hike, please be sure and let me know. I would love to join in.