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Theft reported at Hampton Watershed Bike and Hiking Trail

Tools were discovered stolen from the bike repair station at the Hampton Watershed Bike and Hiking Trail earlier this week. 
This comes just one week after the equipment was installed. 
Mike Mains, Director of City of Elizabethton Parks and Recreation, said the theft is believed to have occurred Monday or Tuesday of this week, noting that over the weekend the equipment was still there. 
“To say the least we and members of our biking community volunteers are extremely disappointed,” Mains said. 
This repair station was purchased from funds provided by a grant that was obtained through the Jeff Roth Cycling Foundation. This grant funding was applied for by SORBA of the Tri-Cities. 
Brian Keith is a member of SORBA and also owns his own landscaping business. Keith has worked to help maintain the trail, especially in terms of downed trees, etc. 
Keith described being at the trail on Sunday with his wife and the equipment was still there. 
“They hadn’t even been there a week and someone stole them. It’s a real bummer,” he said. “It’s something we expected the likelihood of, but we were hoping for the best, hoping the community would see the value in this.”
Another notable member, Wes Bradley, serves as a SORBA Trail Liaison for the Hampton Watershed Trail system. He has been working with the Carter County & Elizabethton Parks and Recreation for the last couple of years on development and expansion for this existing trail system. 
Bradley, like Keith, said despite fear it would happen, hoped the theft would not occur. 
“I’m not surprised at all by this theft, but it doesn’t stop me from being angry and disappointed in my community,” he said. “Why can’t we do better?”
This scenic trail is currently 3.5 miles, however expansion plans are underway. This trail offers scenic views and is gaining quite a bit of popularity in the hiking and mountain biking communities. Among the views from this trail are that of the Appalachian Mountains and Doe River.
“It’s something that can really bring tourism to our area,” said Keith. “This will benefit the community in a lot of different avenues, like small businesses.”
Mains hopes the community will remain vigilant from this theft. He also said that despite the negative, there are still positives. He commended the strong, committed group of volunteers who are working together to create something special for the community.
“Once these trails are expanded…you can’t steal a trail,” he said. “It’s going to be a wonderful resource for everyone. It’s just unfortunate that this happened, and we will do the best we can to keep things as best as they can be.”