In 2016, Barry Beyer and his wife were living in Columbia, South Carolina and took a vacation to see DuPont State Recreational Forest. That visit inspired them to move to the area so they could enjoy their favorite past times: exploring the outdoors and mountain biking.
Barry wanted to become more involved in the community, so he put his skills to work in the Forest. “DuPont is a special place,” says Barry. “I did trail work for several years in North Georgia. I like doing trail work, plus it allows me to get to know people that I normally wouldn’t meet.” Barry happily joined the Friends of DuPont Forest volunteer trail crew and enjoys the time he spends with other volunteers who maintain the trails.
DuPont State Recreational Forest
“We are making a difference in the trails, and that means a lot to me,” says Barry. “I’m a square shovel guy,” explains Barry. “Most people use round shovels, but with a square shovel, you can do a lot more, like cut roots or rake with it.” He last worked on Poplar Trail where the crew did a short reroute around a muddy area and worked in other spots to mitigate the flow of water that was damaging the trail. The most difficult trail work he’s performed in the Forest, so far, has been the work on Big Rock. “We did a lot of digging,” Barry says. “It was important but hard work to create new drains to reduce the flow of water that was harming the trail.”
The trail crew is led by Lyle and Molly Burgmann. “They deserve a ton of recognition,” says Barry. “They put in a lot of hours scouting the trails and marking the areas that need the work.” According to Barry, there is a formula used to select which trails are to be worked on, and it factors in criteria such as how heavily the trail is used and the amount of damage present, either caused by usage or environmental conditions.
Barry feels that the most important work that Friends of DuPont Forest does is to provide feedback on the needs of the Forest to the landowner, the Forest Service, and to be helpful in interacting with and educating the public. He believes that more funding is needed for Forest improvements, and that an access fee might help. Also, he explains that with the high visitation the Forest is experiencing (more than 1 million people used the Forest in 2020), both the trail system and parking should be expanded in the current land as well as in the newly acquired parcels.
When he’s not volunteering to improve the trails, Barry takes on building projects on the eight acres that he and his wife live on. He has built a barn, picnic area, fire pit and a tree house. And, he loves to ride his mountain bike on Forest trails. His favorite is the Turkey Knob/Briery Fork route.
Barry hopes that more of his fellow mountain bikers would volunteer to work on the trails. “If everyone who bikes on the trails volunteered just one day a year, it would make a huge difference,” says Barry. “We could do so much more. Anyone can volunteer to be a part of the trail crew. You don’t need to be a member of Friends of Dupont Forest, although we welcome the financial contribution and support of members, too.”