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BCHET completes new trailhead access

By Michelle King
BCHET Secretary
Back Country Horsemen of East Tennessee (BCHET): BCHET has been hard at work to complete their latest project. A Multi-Purpose Parking Lot at the north end of Cherry Flats Road.
This year, in spite of the coronavirus and weather delays the U.S. Forest Service was able to clear the half acre lot, remove stumps, grade, level, smooth and spread hay bales over the slopes on the perimeter to prevent erosion. BCHET, led by Outpost #3, was able to raise sufficient funds to place 2” rock where needed to stabilize soft spots and cover the entire parking area with crusher run to a depth of 3 to 4 inches when compacted.
On October 3 a group of BCHET members gathered to test out the new parking lot and ride the area trails. (See pictures) Several sweeps of the parking lot were conducted to continue settling the crusher run and check the space allocation and turning radius with trailers. Once the lot was tested and packed riders set out on a trail ride along Cherry Flats Road and smaller trails that afforded mountain views to the South. The parking lot passed all tests! This parking lot now provides an immediate Trailhead entrance on the Eastern end of the White Rocks Mountain area with easy access to a number of additional horseback riding trails. We look forward to continuing this cooperative effort with the U.S. Forest Service by locating and obtaining approval for connecting trails which will improve and significantly expand the outdoor recreational opportunities for our citizens and visitors to our beautiful area!
BCHET could not have done it alone! While the club funded the initial finances the project cost came in at well above what the club could have done on their own. BCHET wishes to thank all agencies, community members, club members and individuals who contributed their time, equipment and effort to bring this project to this point. Funding was generously provided by BCHET and BCHET members, Back Country Horsemen of America, Bank of Tennessee, Carter County Bank, Carter County Chamber of Commerce, Carter County Recreation, Modern Woodman of America, Northeast Community Credit Union, Roan Mountain Citizens Club, Roan Mountain Recreation Foundation, Shoun Lumber, LLC, Plumbers Hardware of Roan Mountain, Network for Good (Facebook Fundraiser) and a number of private donors. Thanks to Watauga Quarry, their drivers, Blue Water Industry’s Dustin Davis, and Beam Construction’s Ben Beam and Ralph McKinney for all of their hard work on this project. A special thanks to District Ranger Keith Kelley and the dedicated staff of the Watauga Ranger District, especially Chad Engle for preparing the ground and for a job well done. We’d also like to acknowledge BCHET members Bill Watson, Larry Jeffers, and Larry Grindstaff for their countless hours spent planning, coordinating and executing this project. Thanks to BCHET members Vedette Rice, Jamie Fritsch, and Michelle King for their support during the fundraising portion of this parking lot. Lastly, a big thank you to member, Deb McDonald, who organized and held a fundraiser yard sale to raise the final monies needed to finish this big job. As you can see this was no small feat and BCHET is thankful for the coordinated efforts of all involved in this community project. The Club intends to hold a ribbon cutting ceremony in the spring. All will be welcome!