Bikers dig in to give Tsali trails a hand

About 40 volunteers, some from as far away as Florida and Virginia, recently helped improve drainage on trails at Tsali Recreation Area as part of a MegaWork Party co-sponsored by the Nantahala Area chapter of the Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association.

“I’m grateful for all the volunteers who came from throughout the Southeast to make this a special event,” said Sae Smyrl, president of the Nantahala Area SORBA chapter. “Riders have enjoyed Tsali for many years. It is our special place and it needs this kind of attention if it is going to continue to host so many people in years to come.”

Water is a chief enemy of trails, and getting to run off without eroding the trail in the process is one of the greatest issues facing trail builders and maintainers. Volunteers at Tsali used sustainable techniques, mostly creating nicks to channel water off the trail more effectively than timber water-bars, are more fun to ride through and can last several years without need for maintenance, Smyrl said.

Trail work was focused on Right, Thompson and Mouse loops at Tsali.

“You won’t recognize the sections we worked on. They look so much better, and are less treacherous,” said Andy Zivinsky, co-owner of Bryson City Bicycles.

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