Project Spotlight: Colyer Lake Multi-Use Trail

Thu, Oct 8, 2020
For nearly half a century, residents of Centre County, Pennsylvania enjoyed fishing and paddling at Colyer Lake. Then in 2013, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission announced that it was going to permanently drain the lake due to structural issues with the dam. Having deemed Colyer Lake a low priority for repair, officials planned to allow it to renaturalize. For those living around the scenic 67-acre lake, that news was hard to swallow.

Trail Design 101: Seven Ways To Make A Trail Fun

Thu, Aug 27, 2020
Imagine that you’re pedalling along a ribbon of singletrack. It’s twisty and turny, but not too much. There are some ride-able uphills, and the downhills make you want to exclaim “Whee!”. Some optional features along the way tempt you to test your skills, and you can’t help but smile and laugh along with your riding buddies whether you’re out for an hour or two or for the entire day. If you’ve ever ridden a “fun” trail or trail system, you’ve had this kind of an experience, but what exactly is it that makes it fun?

Project Spotlight: Edge of Appalachia Hiking Trails

Wed, Apr 15, 2020
Nestled deep in the rolling hills of southern Ohio about an hour and a half’s drive from Cincinnati and not far from the Kentucky border are 20,000 acres of mostly deciduous forest and some prairie that are owned and protected by the Nature Conservancy. The Edge of Appalachia Nature Preserve is home to about 100 different kinds of rare plants and animals, including two federally listed bats and a snake that is considered an endangered species by the state of Ohio.

Trailbuilding Behind the Scenes: Our Three Favorite Machine Tools

Tue, Dec 31, 2019
Every profession has a set of tools to help get the job done, and trailbuilding is no exception. When it comes to creating great trails, both hand tools and machines are important, but it’s the skillful use of machines that makes trail projects happen more efficiently and typically results in a higher quality end product. In this article, we delve into our three favorite trailbuilding machines and why we love them.

Meet Dirt Artisans’ Staffer: Sara Gatewood

Fri, Nov 1, 2019
Over the years, Sara Gatewood has gone from being an occasional trail work volunteer to being a professional trailbuilder. Today you can find her working for Dirt Artisans - both on the trail and in the office; she wears multiple hats. Sometimes, that means spending all day outdoors in the field, mostly hand finishing trails. Other days, it means hours in front of the computer, tracking and taking care of essential company administrative tasks.

Behind the Scenes: A Day in the Life of a Trailbuilder

Tue, Oct 1, 2019
Trailbuilding is seasonal work, and trailbuilders typically log long, difficult hours, but there’s a lot to love about being outside all day in the lush green woods creating ribbons of singletrack that many others will ultimately enjoy pedaling and hiking. In this article, we go behind the scenes with Dirt Artisans Founder and President Chad Irey for a glimpse of what life is like deep in the midst of a big trailbuilding project.

Meet Dirt Artisans’ Seasonal Staff: Olivia Ashbaugh and Christopher Johnson

Mon, Aug 26, 2019
University students Olivia Ashbaugh and Christopher Johnson spend most of the year attending classes and studying, but both also love being outdoors. So when the opportunity arose for them to join the Dirt Artisans team building trails in the woods back home this summer, they jumped on it. “My dad is a member of the Northern Allegheny Mountain Bike Association (NAMBA) and heard that Dirt Artisans was considering hiring a local person,” said Olivia, who is studying Veterinary and Biomedical Science with a minor in International Agriculture at Penn State University.

Trailbuilding Behind the Scenes: Our Three Favorite Hand Tools

Tue, Jul 30, 2019
Whether you’re an occasional volunteer trail worker or a professional trail builder, it’s important to have good tools. If we had to pick just a few hand tools to take with us for a day of trail building or maintenance, we’d bring these trusty favorites: a clinometer, an adze hoe and a folding hand saw. “Technically with just these three tools that you can get for about $225 total, you can construct an entire trail,” said Chad Irey, President of Dirt Artisans, a company that specializes in building world-class natural surface trails.


Fri, May 31, 2019
Chad Irey used to spend his work days managing multi-million dollar construction projects and his free time riding and hiking and taking care of his local trails as a volunteer. He had gotten into construction as a skilled carpenter, and over time, his jobs and responsibilities grew, eventually morphing into a time and energy-consuming commercial construction career. He found himself tied more and more to his desk, and he missed being outside and working with his hands.

The Trails at Jakes Rocks Part: 2

Tue, Apr 30, 2019
In case you missed it, check out Part 1 of the story of the Trails at Jakes Rock. Prior to constructing the first phase of the Trails at Jakes Rock, there were no purpose-built, mountain bike-specific trails in the vicinity of Warren, Pennsylvania. Locals had only two, far less appealing options: ride legacy hiking trails or pedal on Forest Service ATV trails - neither made for a great mountain biking experience.
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