The large project to restore the Kilburn parking lot, the Kilburn access road, and the western side of the Kilburn Loop Trail by Kilburn Pond is now complete. All equipment is gone, the trail, road, and parking lot have been graded, raked, and chain-dragged to create a rather smooth and walkable surface. It is now incumbent upon Friends of Pisgah volunteers to help "soften" the road and trail by doing handwork. That process has begun and will continue until the hiking season begins in earnest in late spring. 

This is what you will find when you come to the Kilburn parking lot to walk into the park. The parking lot is larger and can handle a few more cars. The road into the park is much more stable and can support heavy equipment, such as fire trucks and emergency vehicles. The road's edges will get a good deal of attention from the Friends of Pisgah, and that has already begun. You can see some of the work already.

Hand work has also commenced on the northern 900 feet of the 3,800 foot Kilburn Loop Trail project on the west side of the pond. The first 150 feet of silt fence has been taken down. The junction area has been heavily mulched to help retain soils and moisture to assist nature in healing the area. Raking work has been done and leaves incorporated into the western edge of the trail for some 900 feet already. In the weeks and months ahead, more raking work will be done to bring more organic matter into the trail margins so that we "narrow" the construction work and assist nature in the healing process over 3,800 feet before the first leaf fall in autumn of 2018.

By this time next year, after the first leaf drop, the entire trail will have an additional infusion of organic material, of course, and we will "dress" the trail a bit more so that we can speed the process of turning the trail into the woods trail that people have always loved.

Once our work is complete and a season or two goes by, what you will find is that the pathway is dry underfoot in almost all conditions, root coverage runs the length of the trail, much of the trail is level and devoid of rocks, the pathway begins to resemble a woods trail rather than a construction project, you can cross country ski the route with a single inch of snow on the ground, you no longer have to contribute to the herd paths around the wet sinks and seeps that were a constant part of the trail and the cause of it widening out over time. If you are hurt, rescue vehicles can actually get to you or at least get closer to you.

The improved trail will also be a part of a new loop pathway once the John Summers Trail is completed in 2018. That new trail with the new improvements will make it possible for all people, including families with small children to enjoy a fairly short loop hike in the Kilburn area for the very first time in the park's history.

The Friends of Pisgah has been, over the last three years or so, highly active in restoring bridges, improving paths, building a viewing platform and boardwalk, rebuilding the roads, improving drainage, and so on. This Kilburn Loop project is, of course, the most extensive effort to solve big problems, and there are no plans to bring in heavy equipment for foot trails anywhere else in the park. Kilburn Loop needed serious work to solve serious issues. Now it is our task and pleasure to heal the trail and make it look and feel like the trail everyone loved in the past.

The Friends of Pisgah volunteers are not done in the park, as you would expect. There are a host of other improvements necessary, including restoring more bridges, eventually linking trails east to west to create loop hikes, putting up "You Are Here" map kiosks, and creating ways to disperse use in congested portions of the park and make remote areas much more accessible.

The park is getting better, thanks to a whole host of volunteers, to Park Manager Whip Newell, to NH Volunteer Coordinator Patrick Hummell, and to the NH Dept. of Parks and Recreation for their substantial support of our efforts over the last few years.

So get out there and have a fine time of it in our beautiful Pisgah State Park.