Manuels River Heritage Society looks to public to help restore trails

Several trail sections have been washed out after two weekends of heavy rainfall. 

Kyle Richards

Manuels River surges after heavy rainfall on Jan 30
Manuels River surges after heavy rainfall on Jan 30. Several sections of the adjacent trail system have been washed out in recent weeks. Kyle Richards / Kicker

The Manuels River Natural Heritage Society is asking the community for help in repairing trail sections damaged by two weekends of heavy rainfall. 

As the river surged, high water made sections of the popular adjacent walking trail system impassable and unsafe to use. Now the Heritage Society is assessing damages, which they say could amount to $250,000. 

Water levels are returning to normal, and equipment is being put in place to begin the restoration process. However, it may be some time before construction begins. 

Equipment is now on site as the restoration process begins.
Equipment is now on site as the restoration process begins on trails adjacent to Manuels River that were washed out by recent heavy rains. Kyle Richards / Kicker

Janet Rumsey, the executive director of the Manuels River Heritage Society, wrote that temporary repairs can begin once the weather cooperates, but permanent fixes to some areas will come when funding allows it. 

After spending $1.7 million over the past few years to make the trails safer and more accessible, these damages come at a time when financial capacities are limited. 

Support from the community

The Heritage Society describes the damages on its GoFundMe page as being beyond its current financial capacity to repair. More damages are expected to be found as water levels recede.

Because the trail is so popular in the community, Rumsey is hopeful public support will help the heritage society overcome these devastating damages.

“Support has been great so far,” Rumsey says on the site, “but we need financial resources to make this happen.” 

The heritage society is accepting donations on its website and its GoFundMe page, which as of Wednesday has collected $6,320 of a $50,000 goal. 

New restaurant offers help

Ashley Herritt and her husband Chris own Bernard Stanley Gastropub in C.B.S. When they saw the call for support, Herritt said, they knew right away they wanted to help. 

“We used these trails all the time while our new location here was under construction, so when we heard about the damages, we felt like this would be a great time to kind of give back to the community.”  

Herritt says that $1 from every burger purchased this week will go towards the society’s fundraising page. She says so far, reception has been really good. 

“We just started this promotion today (Wednesday), but it’s definitely been busy,” said Herritt. “If it stays like this, we’re hoping to be able to donate around $100 a day.” 

Herritt says that depending on the situation at the river, this promotion may continue for another week. 

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