Wintergreen Gorge, a 3,980-foot long, 250-foot deep natural wonder, was carved from shale and sandstone by Fourmile Creek during the end of the Ice Age more than 11,000 years ago. The site includes steep and highly erodible slopes, wetlands, important bird habitat, and unique and threatened plant communities.
The purpose of the project was to increase safety for trailhead parking, redesign the existing main trail to be more sustainable, eliminate unsustainable user trails, protect and restore wetlands and other sensitive riparian habitat, provide green stormwater infrastructure, educate visitors through interpretive signs, and increase accessibility.
Pashek + MTR developed a Sustainable Trail Master Plan for the property. We then assisted the University in securing over $500,000 in funding and were hired to design Phase 1.
New trailhead parking with accessible spaces replaces the former unsafe dirt parking along Cooper Road, 850 feet of Fourmile Trail is now accessible, boardwalks protect wetlands, new wayfinding and interpretive signs direct and inform visitors, an accessible loop trail allows people of all abilities to get close to the Creek, and a dry stream bed collects stormwater runoff from the Bayfront Connector. These improvements decrease erosion, protect native plants, and provide a more viable and sustainable area for wildlife.