Monday, April 7, 2014

By the Numbers: March 2014

The mountain bike trails suffered from the snow and ice storm in the month of March, only being open 35%.

These are the statistics for March:

Total number of visitors: 2656.5

Total rainfall amount: 5.35 inches*

Average daily high: 56.39 degrees F

Average daily low: 35.65 degrees F

Mountain bike trails open: 35% of the month

*Precipitation came in the form of ice and snow for much of March and was difficult to collect in our rain gauge. Total rainfall for the month is probably higher than recorded.

A look back at February for comparison:

Total number of visitors: 2440.5

Total rainfall amount: 3.866 inches

Average daily high: 51.11 degrees F

Average daily low: 32.43 degrees F

Mountain bike trails open: 54% of the month

CLAWS Come To Little River - Summer 2014 Programs

Here's the list of programs and special events for May through August 2014. Highlights include visits from wildlife educators CLAWS and Tiny Trekkers switches to Saturdays for the summer.

Special Events/Programs
CLAWS at Little River

Day/Date:      Saturday, May 17th
                      Saturday, June 21st
Time:              1:00pm – 2:00pm
Location:        Large Shelter
Fee:                Free; all ages
Description:   Wildlife educators from CLAWS will be on hand to talk about their work, their animals and the wildlife in our area. They will be bringing several live birds including raptors and birds of prey.

These programs are made possible by donations from the Little River Trail Runs & the TrailHeads.   

Tiny Trekkers (age 2-4)
Tiny Trekkers is a series of programs designed for young children ages 2 to 4 years old accompanied by an adult. Trekkers learn about nature through stories, activities, crafts and games. 
Dirty Hands, Muddy Feets
Date/Time:     Saturday, May 3rd, 10am-11am
Location:        Small Shelter
Fee:                $2.00 per participant
Description:   Trekkers learn about plants and how they grow. We’ll dig in the dirt, spread some seeds and plant some flowers. Please dress to get messy.

Things with Wings
Date/Time:     Saturday, June 7th, 10am-11am
Location:        Small Shelter
Fee:                $2.00 per participant
Description:   Trekkers discover what bugs are flying around the park. In addition to a story, we’ll be releasing some live ladybugs into the garden.

Crawling Critters
Date/Time:     Saturday, July 5th, 10am-11am
Location:        Small Shelter
Fee:                $2.00 per participant
Description:   Lots of legs, enormous eyes, they skitter and scurry. Trekkers learn some of the cool ways bugs move, listen to a story and search for critters around the park.

Buzzy Bees
Date/Time:     Saturday, August 2nd, 10am-11am
Location:        Small Shelter
Fee:                $2.00 per participant
Description:   The garden will be buzzing this month with Trekkers and bumblebees.  Discover what the noise is about with bee stories, crafts and activities.

Discovery Club (ages 5 and Up)
Discovery Club programs are geared toward children ages 5 & up accompanied by an adult. Programs focus on learning about nature and science through hands-on activities and exploration.  
Full Moon Hike
Day/Date:      Saturday, July 12th
Time:              8:00pm – 9:30pm
Location:        Large Shelter
Fee:                $5.00 per family/couple/individual
Description:   Experience Little River Park in a whole new light on this hike led by park staff. We’ll learn about the moon, nocturnal animals, search for eye shine, and hoot like owls.

What’s Below?
Day/Date:      Saturday, August 23rd
Time:              10:00am – 12:00pm
Location:        Small Shelter
Fee:                $5.00 per family/couple/individual
Description:   We may not notice them at first but a closer look below the surface of the water reveals many bizarre and interesting creatures. We’ll hike to the river and examine the specimens we net and scoop out of the water. Please note that it is about a 2 mile round trip hike.

Environmental Education at Little River

The Little River Regional Park offers a variety of nature programs for all ages. Regularly scheduled programs and special events are listed below. Park staff can also arrange programs on a variety of topics for schools, scouts, or other groups. For more information, call the park office: (919) 732-5505. Registration is available online: Pre-registration is required.

Monday, March 3, 2014

By the Numbers: February 2014

Here are the numbers for February:

Total number of visitors: 2440.5

Total rainfall amount: 3.866 inches

Average daily high: 51.11 degrees F

Average daily low: 32.43 degrees F

Mountain bike trails open: 54% of the month

If you like to keep track, here are the statistics for January:

Total number of visitors: 3223.5

Total rainfall amount: 4.718 inches

Average daily high: 43.06 degrees F

Average daily low: 25.16 degrees F

Mountain bike trails open: 68% of the month

Friday, February 21, 2014

Trail Running Group Raises over $50,000 for Little River Park

Chapel Hill/Carrboro, NC – The TrailHeads, a local group of trail running and outdoor enthusiasts, love playing in the woods. They also are dedicated to introducing others to the joys of the trails, and to helping create and protect natural spaces for public use. 

Perhaps the best evidence of this commitment is the Little River Trail Runs, an event created by the TrailHeads – a 501(c)3 organization; see -- in 2006. The Little River Trail Runs take place each January at Little River Regional Park, located at the border of Durham and Orange Counties, in Rougemont, North Carolina. Runners who sign up for the races choose between 10 mile and 7 kilometer distances, both of which are run on the single-track trails of Little River Regional Park. Proceeds from the race benefit the park generally, and trail-building and maintenance specifically.

At last night’s volunteer appreciation and donation event, hosted by Balanced Movement Studios and Proaxis Physical Therapy, the TrailHeads presented Mike DiFabio and Michelle Pesavento, the park manager and park conservation technician at Little River Regional Park, with a contribution of $10,000. This donation, representing proceeds from the January 2014 race, was the largest to date. Over the race’s nine years, the TrailHeads have now given a total of $51,000 to Little River Regional Park. These donations fund a variety of activities and purchases, including trail building and maintenance, nature programs for children and adults, a gator utility  vehicle and zero-turn mower, iPads for use in park programs, and driveway and bathroom improvements.

David “booda” Elam, race co-director since 2011 views the Little River Trail Runs as a model for how public and private groups can work together to maintain public spaces. “If resources are to be maintained for public access and use, someone has to pay for them.  We expect our tax dollars to cover these costs, but in recent years, declining tax revenues have forced governments to shift funding from niceties like parks to necessities like fire protection.  Organizations like ours can help.  In the case of the Park, our events have provided funds that support programing that otherwise would have been eliminated or covered with access fees.”

Proceeds from Little River Trail Runs also generate donations to Triangle Off-Road Cyclists (TORC;; these monies are in support of TORC’s trail-building activities across the Triangle and, specifically, at Little River Regional Park. This year, the TrailHeads donated $1000 in Little River proceeds to TORC; since 2006, the event has directed more than $3000 to TORC. Moreover, to offset the carbon generated by travel to the event, the TrailHeads have funded the purchase of 435,000 pounds of carbon dioxide offsets, via $3100 in contributions to NC Green Power. These offsets are the equivalent of planting 59,610 trees, or not driving 553,024 miles.

The Little River Trail Runs also illustrate how one person’s idea for an event, and other individuals’ willingness to dedicate effort toward the event, can make a difference in the community. In 2005, John “Skwryl” Strange, a TrailHead who had discovered the beauty of Little River Regional Park, proposed the creation of a running event there. Other members of the TrailHeads jumped on board, and the first event took place in early 2006, with 300 runners. Over the years, as interest in trail running has increased and as participants have demonstrated a continued willingness to carpool to the Park, the event has expanded. In 2014, a record 650 people registered for one of the races. For some, it was their first trail race; others were seven-, eight- and nine-time participants. 

Each year’s event is made possible by volunteer efforts – ranging from designing posters for the event and distributing shirts and bib numbers; to marking the race course and directing participants in the parking area; to handing out water at aid stations and timing the runners; and to feeding the crowd at the finish and collecting empty cups for the Park’s compost pile.

“Our events, and the financial benefits they generate, wouldn’t be possible without volunteer effort,” says Layna “Willow” Mosley, co-race director since 2011. “Our volunteers make race directing easy: year after year, we count on TrailHeads to work behind the scenes and on race day, and they do so without fail, and with smiles. We strongly encourage new members of our club to volunteer at our races, and we remind them that we host races not to make a profit, but to generate benefits that we can share with the local outdoor and running community.” Mosley estimates that each race includes 500 hours of volunteer effort.

The Little River Trail Runs also wouldn’t be possible without the support of title sponsors; they provide prizes, food, coffee and other materials. Sponsors include Balanced Movement Studios/Proaxis Physical Therapy; the Open Eye CafĂ©/Carrboro Coffee Roasters; Fleet Feet Sports Carrboro and Durham; and Montrail. “Each of our sponsors understands the value of this event to local runners as well as to the Park, and they are always asking what else they can do to make it a success,” says Mosley. A new element this year was a training program, created by Fleet Feet Sports and Montrail, to introduce people to trail running. The program had approximately 50 participants, most of whom ran Little River as their “goal race.”

The TrailHeads also host another event, the Philosopher’s Way Trail Runs, at Carolina North Forest. The seventh edition of this event takes place on May 3, 2014. Like previous iterations, its proceeds will be directed to Carolina North Forest, the group’s “home base” for running.

While the TrailHeads are associated most closely with Little River and Philosopher’s Way, you’ll also find them involved at other events. For instance, earlier this month, the group was heavily involved with the Uwharrie Mountain Runs in Troy, NC. Some members conducted trail maintenance and course set up in advance of the races, while others assisted runners at various aid stations. Even closer to home, you’ll find the TrailHeads contributing both funds (approximately $4,000 since 2010) and time to maintenance of the parking lot at Unity Church of Peace (on Seawell School Road in Chapel Hill); this lot provides an access point to the trails of Carolina North Forest.

About the TrailHeads: TrailHeads is a group of trail running and outdoor enthusiasts, based in Chapel Hill/Carrboro, NC. The organization’s purposes are to promote the joy of trail running; support the efforts of members to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle; listen, learn and internalize the lessons taught by the natural environment and wilder spaces; and organize and encourage efforts to enhance, extend, and maintain nature’s reach into the lives of the greater community. For more information about the TrailHeads or the Little River Trail Runs, contact Layna Mosley (;919-623-5097).


Monday, February 10, 2014

For the Birds: January 2014

Here are our bird count numbers for January:

  January 1 January 27
Number of Species 28 7
Number of Individuals 97 9
Number of Checklists 1 1

Species Name January 1 January 27 January Total
Black Vulture 8   8
Turkey Vulture 1 1 2
Red-tailed Hawk 1   1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 3   3
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 2   2
Downy Woodpecker 1 1 2
Hairy Woodpecker 1 1 2
Northern Flicker 1   1
Blue Jay 1   1
American Crow 7   7
Carolina Chickadee 2   2
Tufted Titmouse 4 3 7
White-breasted Nuthatch 2   2
Brown Creeper 1 1 2
Carolina Wren 1   1
Golden-crowned Kinglet 8 1 9
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 5   5
Eastern Bluebird 6   6
Brown Thrasher 1   1
Cedar Waxwing 10   10
Pine Warbler 2   2
Eastern Towhee 1   1
Chipping Sparrow 1   1
Field Sparrow 1   1
White-throated Sparrow 11   11
Dark-eyed Junco 7   7
Northern Cardinal 5 1 6
American Goldfinch 3   3

Monday, February 3, 2014

By the Numbers: January 2014

Visitor numbers get a bump in the beginning of the year thanks to the Little River Trail Runs.

Here are the statistics for January:

Total number of visitors: 3223.5

Total rainfall amount: 4.718 inches

Average daily high: 43.06 degrees F

Average daily low: 25.16 degrees F

Mountain bike trails open: 68% of the month

For those keeping track, here's what December looked like:

Total number of visitors: 2563

Total rainfall amount: 8.478 inches

Average daily high: 52.3 degrees F

Average daily low: 35.9 degrees F

Mountain bike trails open: 52% of the month

Thursday, January 9, 2014

By the Numbers: Year 2013

Here's a wrap-up of this past year's stats:

Total number of visitors: 40,102

Total rainfall amount: 63.891 inches

Mountain bike trails open: 71% of the year


For those who like graphs, here's what the year looked like: