Pathways for Greenways President Brian Batteiger.
You could try to turn Brian Batteiger into a hero. For being the president of Pathfinders for Greenways, a volunteer organization that has built or rehabilitated scores of trails around the Roanoke Valley. Or for his 130 days of volunteering since 2003, or his 800 hours. Or the online spreadsheet he created to help track the roster of more than 750 people associated with Pathfinders. Or the emails that alert members when and where work is needed.
You could try to turn him into a hero, but Batteiger will have nothing to do with it.
“It’s all a simple labor love,” he says. “We want the trails to be nice. And look at all the people in the database that have helped out. We wouldn’t get anywhere without them.”
The trails include the 40-plus miles of hiking and biking trails at Carvins Cove reservoir, also Roanoke City’s principal source of water, which are a special focus of the Pathfinders.
“We get four to 30 people [to typically show up],” says Batteiger, who likes to mountain bike at the Cove. A Wednesday crew made up largely of retirees and another on the weekend that he leads at least once a month are fixtures there. Batteiger’s efforts won him the Distinguished Volunteer Service Award in 2009, from the Virginia Recreation and Parks Society. Roanoke City Parks and Recreation nominated Batteiger, a Chicago transplant who fell in love with the valley’s natural beauty.
Other Pathfinders’ work has taken place at Roanoke County’s Green Hill Park, on Mill Mountain, at the Poor Mountain Preserve and several other local venues. Trail maintenance has included hauling tons of rock to muddy areas, used to improve drainage and walking paths. Donations to Pathfinders have helped fund the purchase of heavy equipment and other supplies used on local trails.
The group, which coordinates its efforts with the Roanoke Valley Greenways organization, is waiting for a trail plan to be approved by Roanoke City Council, a document that is expected to include new paths to be built at Carvins Cove. No doubt the Pathfinders will be asked to shoulder much of the load. And no doubt Brian Batteiger will be leading the way much of the time.