During the pandemic, people engaged in outdoor recreation in record numbers, and communities realized the public health and quality of life benefits of multipurpose trails. Friends of the Huckleberry is busy working with small businesses and other regional non-profits to create new opportunities to explore the Huckleberry Trail and the expanded trail network. Your donation will help to continue funding the below projects and similar ones -- in addition to our on-going efforts to expand the trail network to connect with communities to the north and south. And see the "Learn More" tab for more information.
Most people know the story of how the Huckleberry Trail got its name. In the early twentieth century, a passenger train ran between Christiansburg and Blacksburg. The steam engine was notorious for stalling, or running so slow, that passengers had time to hop off the train and pick huckleberries. The train became known as the Huckleberry Train, and the Blacksburg Train Station was nicknamed "Huckleberry Station."
You can’t find many huckleberries in the corridor these days, but we plan to change that. We’re working with the localities and master naturalists to select and to identify locations within the trail corridor to re-establish huckleberry plantings -- and to remove invasive species, too. Our first project project is located around 0.5 Mile from the Blacksburg Library. In the fall of 2022, Friends of the Huckleberry, Town of Blacksburg, Master Naturalists, Plant SWVA Natives, InMotion, VT's Running Club installed 18 huckleberry bushes and scores of other native plant species in an area adjacent to the corridor. We'll be monitoring the new garden to ensure it gets well established.
The geographic nexus of the trail and the Wonder University: A Children's Museum offers visitors an opportunity to extend their experience from the indoors to the outdoors. Friends of the Huckleberry partnered with the museum and The Lester Group to develop and provide Field Explorer Packs for children to explore the Huckleberry Trail. As of May 2023, families are able to check out the explorer packs at the museum and head out to the trail to explore the natural landscapes with activity guides and tools for field observations.
In 2021, we partnered with Pisgah Map Co. to produce brand new paper and digital maps of the Huckleberry Trail and the extended network of paved and natural surface trails in the area. The map is available at our amazing small business partners in Blacksburg and Christiansburg, and through Avenza Maps. NOTE: While there are a few copies left at the local retailers, we have sold out of Version 1, and are working on Version 2, which will be available in early summer 2023.
Our goal is to continue to provide trail users with better resources for exploring the trail, and to do that, we need access to better tools. Thanks to the generous financial support of Draper Aden, a TRC Company, we are in the process of creating a StoryMap to provide richer detail of the natural, historical and cultural assets adjacent to the Huckleberry Trail.
In October 2021, we kicked off an effort with the New River Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization and NRV Regional Commission to develop the first ever Huckleberry Trail Plan. After a year-long process of meeting with key stakeholders, Part 1 of the Plan was finalized in August 2022. The Plan will help create a unified vision for the trail in the way of design, construction, signage, amenities, public art, events and so on. Friends of the Huckleberry will be working with public and private partners to help with plan implementation. Click here to download the Plan.