Published 11:14 am Thursday, October 2, 2008
AID TOWNSHIP — Getting to the Wayne National Forest’s Paddle Creek Horse Trailhead is a little safer now that the county has helped by putting in a culvert.
It replaces an old wooden bridge that had many wondering if they and their equine companions were going to make it over safely. The age of the old bridge is unclear.
The culvert, on Elkins Creek-Storms Creek Road, was paid for with $50,000 in Forest Highway funds for the installation came from the Federal Highway Administration through the Wayne National Forest to Lawrence County. The county is responsible for the maintenance and repair of the bridges.
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Marsha Lee Wikle, the assistant ranger of operations for Ironton Ranger District, said the decades-old wooden bridge was not built to support the weight of modern vehicles.
“Particularly, a truck loaded down with rock,” she said.
In 2005, a dump truck was hauling in rock to stabilize the banks of Storms Creek to protect the horse facilities and the weight of the truck broke the old bridge.
“The trail is heavily used by local horseback riders who use trucks with horse trailers and there were some who would not drive across the bridge,” Wikle said.
With the replacement of the bridge with a culvert, horse riders can use the WNF’s facilities without worry.
“This was government cooperation at work for the benefit of the community,” Wikle said. “We’re thrilled, we have been waiting three months to do these improvements. It makes it more accessible and safer for our local horse clubs. We are happy to help the county with some support to make this happen.”
Jerry Elliot, a member of the Soggy Bottom Horse Club, said he was glad to see the new culvert in place because there were many in the club who were leery about using the wooden bridge.
“The county did a fantastic job,” he said. “It has guard rails now, which makes it a lot safer for the horse trailers to get in and out of the trails. It’s very nice now.”
Elliot has been riding his horses on the forest’s trails for the past eight years.
He said that people attending the St. Jude’s ride this past weekend were happy to see the old bridge gone.
“Everyone was very satisfied,” he said. “The forest does a great job keeping the trails up and they have helped us a lot. The forest and the county did a great job on this.”