VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Bike riders in Vigo County will soon benefit from a unique approach to re-using old utility poles thanks to a donation from Duke Energy.

Duke Energy donated more than 60 old utility poles that had reached the end of their useful service period to the Shepherds of Griffin Bike Park. The poles will be used to build a series of extended ladder bridges that will fit into a 1,000-foot-long log ride that will be integrated into the park’s rolling hills and ravines.

According to Duke Energy Community Relations Manager Rick Burger, old utility poles can be hard to recycle.

“Because of their size and weight, recycling utility poles can be quite difficult. Through this unique partnership with the Vigo County Parks and Recreation Department and the Shepherds of Griffin Bike Park, we were able to find an innovative and sustainable solution to repurpose the wood in a way that will benefit the community and the environment for years to come.”

Rick Burger

Duke Energy says this donation is yet another way the company is working to reduce the amount of wood waste that goes to landfills. In 2021, the company says it recycled 90% of its old power poles, pallets, reels, and other wood waste, preventing more than 22,000 tons of wood from being thrown away.

Volunteers at the park used a portable sawmill to cut the poles in half for use in the new ride. The new extended ladder bridges and log ride will weave through the park’s dense and secluded forests, crossing over streams, ravines and fallen trees – allowing for sections of the trail that are prone to soil erosion to be interconnected and enabling bikers to ride over natural obstacles. The installation will provide opportunities for new and experienced mountain bike riders alike to test their balance and hand-eye coordination skills.

Once complete, the newly minted “Fubar Trail” will lay claim to the longest continuous log ride in the country.

For us to have purchased wood on the market to build this trail would have cost the park thousands of dollars. We’re grateful for the ongoing support of partners like Duke Energy that have enabled us to transform the park and attract mountain bikers from all over the Midwest and beyond.

Gene Griffin, chairman of the board of Shepherds of Griffin Bike Park

Gene and Dona Griffin spearheaded the creation of Griffin Bike Park in memory of their son, U.S. Army Sgt. Dale Griffin, 29, who died while serving in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in 2009.

Construction on the project began in November of 2021 and is expected to be finished sometime in May.