By Julie Thibodeaux    

If you want to learn how to stake your own path, literally, sign up for a trail building workshop. The Lone Star Trail Building School will be held Feb 17-19 at the Sid Richardson Scout Ranch at Lake Bridgeport.

The North Texas Mountain Bike Patrol, a volunteer group that provides medical assistance on local bike trails, has partnered with Groundwork Dallas to host the annual program.   Rick Buckley, director of the North Texas Mountain Bike Patrol, said the course is designed for city parks department staff, state park rangers, scouting organizations as well as volunteers who maintain trails.  This is fourth year, NTMBP has offered the training.

This year, three levels are being taught. On Friday, an overview class will be held geared to land managers who are responsible for development and upkeep of trails. On Saturday and Sunday, beginning and advanced classes will provide participants with hands-on experience in trail building. Students will learn to map, flag and create dirt trails through natural areas that can be used by hikers, joggers, birdwatchers and bike riders.

Peter Payton, director of Groundwork Dallas, said his group has about a dozen volunteers  attending the event to prepare for trail building projects in Dallas. The nonprofit organization is part of a national organization called Groundwork USA, created by the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Parks Service, that enlists community volunteers to develop neglected green spaces in urban environments.

In the coming year, Groundwork Dallas plans to enlist high school students, college students and adult volunteers to build and maintain multi-use trails in the 7,000-acre Great Trinity Forest in southeast Dallas, the largest urban hardwood forest in North America.  Payton who has attended the Lone Star Trail Building School in previous years, highly recommends the course to anyone interested in trail building or maintenance.  “I love it,” said Payton. “The information is put forth in a way that’s easy to understand.”

Payton is working with the North Texas Mountain Bike Patrol to set up additional courses so that his volunteers will be trained and ready for projects throughout the coming year.

Cost is $40 for the land managers course. Cost is $55 for the trail building courses. Fees include lodging, meals, reference material, instruction and building materials. Attendees need to bring eye protection, gloves, closed toe shoes/boots and camelback or other water source.

Class size is limited so register early. For more information, see and

All photos courtesy of Rick Buckley.

Julie Thibodeaux is a Fort Worth-based writer covering environmental issues, green topics and sustainable living. Contact her