The Fountainhead Project is FINISHED!
That should have been our headline May 16th, 2015 when we received our last invoice from our contractors. Of course now it’s almost 5 months later and we’re finally writing this piece. We had hoped to install the final signage including the final map but those projects have been delayed and it’s way past time to sum the Project up.
The Numbers – Trail Distances: After completion of the Black Loop Project our advanced loop went from 3.93 miles to 7.98 miles (As measured with a wheel by Trail added during construction subtracted by trail closed/reclaimed).
The Green Loop: 2.20 miles (Measured by walking with a professional grade GPS)
The Blue Loop: 4.77 miles (Measured by walking with a professional grade GPS)
The Black Loop: 7.98 Miles (Calculated Total)
This brings the total trail mileage as measured and calculated to nearly 15 miles. Most riders using a commercial GPS are seeing approximately 13 miles. This tracks pretty well with the error we saw after the first phase of construction where riders recorded nearly a mile shorter than what was measured by a professional GPS. Our 2 mile discrepancy can safely be attributed to GPS accuracy and sampling rate combined with the constant elevation change of the trail. Whatever riders decide the distance is in their own heads is good with us!
The Numbers – Cost: Both Phases of the redesign project were funded through a combination of donations and grants received though the Virginia RTP (Recreational Trails Program) grant program. RTP grants receive their funds from the Federal Highway Administration. They are matching grants with the recipients required to fund at least 20% of the projects total cost. The FHP more than exceeded its matching obligations for both grants allowing each phase to significantly expand past their original designs. The Green and Blue Phase I project received an RTP grant for $100,000 and the club contributed through fundraising and donations approximately $80,000 in cash. The Black Loop Phase II project grant provide funds of $152,000 with MORE matching nearly $42,000 in cash. This staggering amount does not even include the donated material (Stone from Vulcan Quarries), volunteer labor, and donated services. The original IMBA estimate for the project was $425,000. When all is said and done, cash spent on the project was $374,000. Combine that with the donations of material, time and labor mentioned above and that estimate was pretty spot on.
Thanks for a project that spanned this many years (2005 through 2015) can always be a tricky thing. Not so much on who you Thank but who you forget to Thank. With that in mind we want to send out the broad Thank You to The Land Owner, NVRPA (The Northern Virginia Park Authority), MORE and the all of the contributors. Without these three groups the project could not have started much less run the course to completion. 10 years is a long time and the faces changed many times but there was always the Land Owner, the bike club and the riding community that supported the project.
Special recognition should be given to NVRPA regional mangers James Short and Mathew White as well as their grant specialist Kate Rudacille. Dealing with “us” and all of the intricacies needed to complete this project was an above and beyond challenge. Again, we Thank them and all of NVRPA for their patience, their help and of course their use of land to build the trail.
In Thanking MORE we need to Thank every Board member that has served over the last 10 years. The FHP was probably the largest home grown, internally run project that the Club has ever taken on and it was not without its share of churn. Each and every month the Board met they had to hear about the status, the funding and the problems associated with the project. There were many many Board members who were directly involved with the project. Treasurers (there were 5 of them), Advocacy Directors and Presidents of the club. Special recognition needs to be given to Jason Stoner, who was President during the Phase I construction, and Ernest Rodriguez, who President during the second Phase. Without their constant support the Project would have been lost many times over. In addition to the Board Members who supported the project we would like to Thank the two Project Managers for the efforts. Thanks to Anne Mader and Larry Cautilli for sticking it out!!!
And of course our Donors. There were many individual donations to the FHP. These donations ranged from $10 to $10,000. And of course donations were not just in cash. As mentioned above, Vulcan Quarries donated TONS of rock that include delivery. The FHP also received volunteer labor from many club members, the Bike Lane Team and Team XXL. CDW donated labor by helping to write our RFI/RFP’s. IMBA donated labor to help offset and bridge shortfalls with the use of IMBA Trail Solutions. Our builders helped us stay on budget. There were several times that Ironwood Outdoors, 402 Trails and Bergrad Trails needed to “right size” construction costs to help us stay on budget.
The FHP originally kicked off with grants from the Trail Conservation Fund (Sponsored by Michelob Ultra) and a Grant from REI. Club members formed TEAM IMBA and raised over $4,500 dollars. The O’Sullivan family as well the Pinkerton foundation donated several times with large cash donations. KBR donated $10,000 and the project received a grant from Bikes Belong for another $10,000. There were over 200 individual donations to the FHP during its 10 year existence. MORE matched funds, did fund raisers and donated several times through the FHP history. Again without all of this support we could not have achieved what we did.
It’s a bitter sweet taste now that the project is over. It was a long 10 years but we learned a lot. Only time will tell if the trail lives up to our expectations, can justify its expense or stand the test of time and rider usage. We think we have a kick butt trail offering a little bit of everything to the many different riding abilities that make up our mountain bike community. Is it perfect? No. Did everything we try work? No. Are there complaints? Yes!! But one only has to look at the upper Parking Lot of Fountainhead every weekend and now nearly every day to see how popular the trail has become.
Over the next year we’ll work with MORE and NVRPA to get new signage and maps installed. We also need to do some additional clean-up here on the FHP website so it provides more information about the trail and comes across less beggy for money. From all of us here at the Fountainhead Project, this is not so much as a goodbye but a strong suggestion to go out and ride. We’ve earned it and we bet you have too!!