Adaptive Trail @ Tall Poplar

Natural Surface trails for every user!

photo @khopshoots

At Patapsco Valley State Park we are working hard to be inclusive of our visitors who may have special needs while enjoying our incredible trail system. Our goal is to establish a loop in the park that will be accessible to visitors who desire a less demanding trail tread, and to those using adaptive bicycles. Accessible parking, bathrooms, and safe access to the trail are key elements of this trail plan – all while retaining a trail experience in the character of PVSP.

photo @khopshoots

After considering several areas in the park, the Maryland Park Service and FPVSP determined that the Tall Poplar trail in the McKeldin area of the park was the best candidate for this specialized trail. The Tall Poplar trail, a popular trail adopted by the Mountain Club of Maryland provides great views of the valley, access to the river, and a wide trail corridor that stays fairly close to the developed areas of McKeldin.

The Tall Poplar trail is high above the river and has sweeping views of the river valley.

We worked with Catalyst Sports to feature Adaptive Mountain Biking at Patapsco Trail Fest and the response was overwhelming! It became immediately apparent that this trail was a needed amenity at the park!

photo @khopshoots

Proposed trails and trail development at PVSP go through a comprehensive review through the Maryland Park Service and the Department of Natural Resources (no trails may be built in the park without a rigorous review process) – the Adaptive Trail was approved, and we were good to go!

This 1.5 Mile loop (highlighted) provides an accessible trail experience.

We knew that the trail could not be entirely volunteer and hand-built, so we contracted with Greenstone Trailcraft to create a trail surface, and minor alignment modifications to make the trail more accessible.

Greenstone Trailcraft is an expert in sustainable natural surface trail design and construction. Andrew and the team brought their knowledge about adaptive trail design and built a trail for all users!
Professional trailwork is a blend of art and science – thank you Greenstone! – not only did you build an amazing trail, but you made a substantial donation to be sure that every user has an equitable and fun outdoor experience!

Adaptive use requires specialized facilities, and this trail is more than just a trail. Accessible parking and bathrooms would be key to a successful project so the decision was made to begin the trail at the existing bathroom and construct a new trailhead kiosk that highlights the adaptive trail.

The Kiosk for the Adaptive Trail @ Tall Poplar was constructed by Wyatt Broscious – congrats Wyatt on a successful Eagle Scout Project! photo @khopshoots

The accessible bathrooms and parking are just under a 1/4 mile from the Tall Poplar trailhead – working with the Maryland Park Service we installed a gravel side path so trail users can reach the trail without traveling on the park road with vehicles.

Professionals from Bravo Equipment and Construction work to install a gravel sidepath.
The sidepath is beautiful! Funding for the sidepath was donated by the Cycle Mill. Click the above photo to learn more about the Cycle Mill. photo courtesy Bravo.

With the project coming together, we were thrilled when Specialized Bicycles reached out to feature this project as part of their Soil Searching program. We worked with Specialized to host a trailwork day to put the finishing touches on trail, work on adjacent trails, and cut the ribbon for the first Adaptive Trail in a Maryland State Park!

Specialized Bicycles stepped up in support of trails at PVSP! Click the above photo to learn more about the Specialized Soil Searchin program. photo @khopshoots

Led by dedicated and knowledgeable park staff, our volunteers put in the work to provide great trails for every user.

photo @khopshoots
What a community of volunteers! We are so grateful for the folks who support our park. photo @khopshoots

Patapsco Valley State Park has one of the largest volunteer trail work programs in the country – each year we contribute thousands of hours to maintain trails for all users. What’s the cost of a project like the Adaptive Trail @ Tall Poplar? To produce this 1.5 mile Adaptive Trail -about $42,000 – and that tracks with what Friends invests in each mile of trail at the park, typically about 25k per mile.

Manager of Adaptive Programs for the Freinds, Bruce Clopein, talks about the investment in our adaptive programs and the incredible commitment of our volunteers and sponsors. photo @khopshoots
We need you! However you enjoy PVSP your year-end gift is critical to building trails for every user – click on the heart below and show us your love for Patapsco Valley State Park.

Of course, the Friends of Patapsco Valley State Park doesn’t do this alone! Our partner organizations and sponsors make our adaptive programs possible. Click on the below logos and check out the folks who make our work possible.