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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

In Other Words: CORA Makes Trails and Us Better

 

Jen Kirst, Nathan Kirst, Mike Lehrter, and Sherman Butler work the trail. 

Things don’t happen by themselves and when a group shares a vision then something big can happen. 

The bike trails in Tower Park are getting some long needed attention from the Cincinnati Off-Road Alliance (CORA) in partnership with the city of Fort Thomas. 

Olivia Birkenhauer the Vice-President of CORA says, “Our plans for Tower Park Mountain Bike and Hike Trails are to fix the erosion issues we have, to repair and maintain what trails are currently there....so that they are all more sustainable....The city is a great partner, supplying us with gravel to help us ensure trails are more sustainable for hikers and bikers."


Maria Bozeman, one of CORA’s organizers says, “CORA maintains the mountain bike trails in Tower Park but it takes an army of volunteers on community trail days to see the work done. We had over 40 on our last trail day, November 14!… We are working towards the short term goal of creating a well-signed beginner ‘green’ loop of approximately 2.5 - 3 miles. We would like to see way-finding for folks who do not know the trails well, so they can ride, hike, or run a continuous loop without getting turned around or lost. A long term goal would be to sign a ‘blue’ or intermediate loop as well as the difficult ‘black’ trails. Riders who ride the advanced trails know their way around well enough, so that’ll come last!” 


And the vision is clear. Maria Bozeman says, “The vision is to have a wayfinding system for different levels and types of trail users throughout the park; a map at trailhead with loop mileage and well-signed loops.”

CORA organizer, Brian Bozeman, Maria’s husband, notes that trail maintenance can be tricky. “Managing water and the way it flows over the trail is the largest concern to creating and maintaining sustainable trails. Locally, we also have the challenge of the clay content of our soil acting as a sponge that holds water. Erosion from users is very high when water is being held in the tread of the trail. Re-routing and fixing drainage issues should help, but the Trail Steward also notes on the Facebook page when the trails are closed. Users should consult this before heading out, it is a color coded system, green means go, red means enjoy the sidewalks today, yellow means it’s slick but usable, blue (used in winter) indicates freeze/thaw in effect and only usable if trail is frozen.”  

He adds that, “We are being careful to avoid the NKU Ecological Restoration Areas.” That’s a lot of attention to details that users of the trails don’t see.

CORA’s community work days are scheduled for the second Saturday of each month at 10:00 AM. Check the Ft Thomas Trails—CORA page for location details each month. Bozeman says, “We are asking folks to follow all COVID protocols when working during a community day, as well as limiting the use of tools to adults and older children.” 

Maria Boseman says, “It is a perfect winter-Covid-family activity!” 

You know, lots of people in various civic organizations work quietly and joyfully to make the city more enjoyable. They don’t do it for recognition or for money. They do it simply because it’s the right thing to do. It’s enjoyable and it builds community. 

In a larger context, though, every civic organization adds to the community in a unique way that creates the character and personality of the community. CORA  develops and maintains trails in Fort Thomas for mountain cycling, trail runners, and hikers and that makes this a little bit nicer place to live.

Check out CORA’s Facebook page - Ft Thomas Trails CORA - for more information. 


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