“Seeing God’s Beauty:” Local church to construct trail system for the community

Published 3:31 pm Wednesday, June 21, 2023

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By NOAH WORTHAM | Staff Writer

CHELSEA – A new trail system will soon be available to the public, thanks to the efforts of members of St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church in Chelsea.

Volunteers from St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church in Chelsea recently began work on a new community project involving the construction of a trail from King’s Ranch to the church.

“We want to make a difference in our community,” church member Chris Stricklin said. “We want to use our church to be a light that gives other people a place to hang out, a place to work, a place to get back to nature and relax. That’s what started this trail system as we’re renewing it and making it a great place.”

Work has already begun on the project which will be completed in three phases.

Phase One features a parking lot that leads to a half-mile trail that goes alongside a creek.

“You walk around this little creek which is amazingly peaceful,” Stricklin said. “Then, there’s a couple of benches for people to sit down and relax out there.”

The church will also place informative plaques around on trees so that residents may be educated on different types of trees and nature as they travel through the trail.

Phase Two will expand the trail system with Phase Three expanding it even further with trails on both sides of the road, ultimately yielding a one-mile trail that follows along the stream, crosses the road behind the sanctuary of St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church and ends in the church parking lot.

“In today’s world there are not enough parks where people can truly experience nature and relax and get back to seeing God’s beauty,” Stricklin said. “Our hope is that it’s not only a place for our church and our members to go to but also a place for our community to embrace the acreage we have and spend some good relaxing time out there.”

The church recently made significant progress on the project by completing the paving of the asphalt parking lot as well as a rough cut of the trail itself.

“I find it very rewarding, very rewarding to spend time out there and spend time with a group of people whose only intention is to give back to our community,” Stricklin said.

Stricklin shared how the initial idea for the project came about.

“This actually came up at a men’s breakfast that we have once a month,” he said. “We were talking about how to make a difference in our community and that’s where this came to light is that we have this land that’s not being utilized in way that not everyone can utilize it. It’s happened very quickly because when you find something that a team of volunteers is passionate about, then they’re eager to get out there and do it.”

The church is currently planning a ribbon cutting for Saturday, Sept. 30 at 10 a.m. to celebrate the completion of Phase One of the project.

“I truly think this can be something bigger than us,” Stricklin said. “When other people see what we’re doing, our hope is that it inspires other people to give back to the community as well and volunteer in whatever their capacity is.”