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Gauge Height: 3.95'
Flow: 2040 cfps

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High Tide: 12:42am
Low Tide: 7:42pm

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Posted In: Mountain Biking

Buttermilk Trail Re-Route Underway

Andy Thompson

February 7, 2018 2:08pm

The trail section being re-routed is right in the middle of this screenshot.

Last Saturday, the city’s trail crew, like by Mike Burton, began a long-anticipated re-route of a section of Richmond’s most famous trail — Buttermilk, which runs below Riverside Drive from the Nickel Bridge to 21st St. (Buttermilk East then runs on to below the SunTrust building.)

Burton said 25 volunteers braved chilly weather to help rough in the new trail sections below Riverside near where 26th St. comes in in Woodland Heights. If you’ve walked, jogged or biked Buttermilk, you know it as the steep, rutted section with old disintegrating railroad tie stairs next to it.

“It was a horrible erosion problem,” Burton said. “But also a safety issue.”

Because the trail there featured a steep drop, bikers had to take significant speed to get up it, and also were going fast down it. And because it also occurred where the understory is lush, it was a completely blind curve.

The trail crew hard at work. Credit: Mike Burton

“There was so much potential for user conflict,” Burton said.

Last weekend’s crew was able to rough-in all of the new re-route, which, when it’s done, will stay higher on the slope and come down more gradually. Burton also added that the current “low line” alternative to the steep section will remain, but will become “rockier and more technical.” So there will still be two trail options in that area, but they’ll both be more sustainable, erosion-resistant and safe.

Another volunteer work day is scheduled for this Saturday at 9 a.m., but Burton said the weather isn’t looking promising. If it’s cancelled, it will likely be rescheduled for the following Saturday, but check RVA MORE’s Facebook page for more information and updates.

About Andy Thompson

I was the Outdoors Columnist at the Times-Dispatch from 2007 to 2013, writing twice a week about mountain biking, fishing, hunting, paddling and much more. I live a 1/4 mile from the James River, close enough to see bald eagles soaring over my house on their way to find a meal. Pretty cool, eh?