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An Introduction to the Baileys

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As of May 30, 2020, the first 14 miles of the Baileys Trail System are now officially open to the public! Four years in the making, this initial milestone in project construction came just in time for Chauncey locals and Ohio visitors to enjoy the trails during 2020’s summer season. Specific to these 14 miles are 8 miles of beginner trails and 6 miles of intermediate trails, some of which feature adaptive mountain biking routes and alternate B lines for a more challenging ride, all in addition to an accessible trail loop with a forthcoming bridge intended for community use. 

This new network of trails, with its current trailhead located at the Chauncey-Dover Community Park, winds through sections of a 9,000-acre parcel of land in the Wayne National Forest. Located in Athens County, Ohio, these trails encompass wide expanses of lush forests and rolling hillsides characteristic to the area. Though optimized for mountain biking usage, all outdoor enthusiasts can find enjoyment on these paths, whether out for a solo trail run or looking for a family-friendly spot to hike. Since the very beginning, this has been a project rooted in community, hence everyoneno matter age or mode of human-powered recreationis welcome on these paths. 

But these first miles of the system only represent Phase 1 of construction. Another 11 miles of trails, including a connector to the Doanville Trailhead, constitutes Phase 2 of construction. This next set of miles will include approximately 5 miles of easy, 5 miles of intermediate, and 1 mile of difficult trails, all the while affording users greater access from Nelsonville and a wider variety of routes to explore. In addition to the system’s extension, the current trailhead in Chauncey will soon be receiving several updates in order to accommodate higher visitor numbers, mainly in the form of a larger parking area and an additional overflow lot. A Chauncey spur is also being constructed from the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway to the park, which will provide non-motorized access to the nearby cities of Athens and Nelsonville with local breweries conveniently stationed along the way. Potentially as early as this time next summer, the new trailhead and bikeway spur could be complete and ready for recreation!

Partners and sponsors across the board can agree—the most rewarding aspect of this project has been the collaborative spirit shared by all those involved. The Baileys Trail System embodies what opportunities for innovation and inclusion look like when persons put aside their politics in order to achieve something greater for their communities and region at large—in this case, rural towns throughout Appalachian Ohio oft forgotten by local governments and private investors alike. 

To date, the U.S. Forest Service, Quantified Ventures, and other agencies have worked tirelessly to bring this 88-mile trail system into fruition, but they have a ways to go before the Baileys can become the premier recreation destination many envision it will be. Every penny counts! If you’re interested in donating to the Baileys, check out the Athens County Trail Fund for more information.

That wraps up the first post on our blog, but make sure to stay on the lookout for new content coming soon! Future features will highlight some of our key partners currently working to transform this project into a reality, each bringing sustainable economic development and accessible outdoor recreation to the communities of Southeast Ohio. You can find all blogs postings listed here, or follow us on Instagram @baileystrailsystem, Facebook @BaileysTrails, and Twitter @baileys_trails for daily updates on the Baileys.

Written by Alli Mancz