Community members and the Albemarle County Parks and Recreation trail crew are working to build a walking trail at Simpson Park in Esmont.
Volunteers and staff have been meeting on Wednesdays to build the approximately 1,000-foot trail, which will add additional walkable space at the 13.6 acre park.
Many area people are already utilizing park space to walk, as there are not sidewalks in the nearby community.
“There’s no shoulder along Porters Road, and people have to jump off the road to avoid cars,” said Vivian Feggans, who has pushed for the trail and helped build it.
Currently, people walk the perimeter of the developed portion of the park, but Feggans said it’s also important for everyone in the area to be able to get out into the woods and be in nature.
Community members want to eventually add tree identification cards along the trail to make it an educational experience. They also are hoping to raise funds for a second phase, and eventually want to create other spur trails onto other parts of the park property.
Tucker Rollins, Albemarle’s trail maintenance supervisor, said when building a new trail they first mark the route with flags. Then the area is raked before a mini excavator is used to pull up large roots and other small plants in the path.
Tim Padalino, the county’s chief of parks planning, said the trail is based on a route from the original master plan for the park, and that project has been community-driven.
Since all of the work is being done with parks staff and volunteers, the only outside cost will be for lumber for two footbridges, which Rollins said will be less than $1,000.
The trail is projected to be done before the end of this year.