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  1. #1
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    Rock armoring techniques - pros & cons?

    Looking for some guidance on the various benefits and drawbacks to trail armoring with a flagstone technique versus stone pitching. I've checked the IMBA book but it doesn't really discuss when each method should be considered or why.

    My current situation is a creek crossing, the creek bank is probably 6' tall, with a reasonable grade. This section climbing out of the creek bottom will be shared by bikers and equestrians, so it needs to be relatively sturdy. Plus, the creek level rises significantly during heavy rain (recently up 10' above normal), which will occasionally completely cover this section of trail.

  2. #2
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    can you show any pictures?

    it will be hard to determine exactly what you are looking at, however your best bet will be the largest stones possible. do you have plenty of native stones at your disposal and the other question is what is the landmanagers take on using native local stones. in pisgah you are not allowed to take stones from a creek or other water area or from archiological sites, which is where most of the good stone is. also think about using other items that are more uniforma and easier to use. concrete garden pavers are very sturdy under horse traffica dn much easier to use in a large are because of the ease of installation. look up appilacian armoring in the mba book. also you can request local trail builders to come look at the site for a small fee and give you an assessment of the project. also think about bringing in eagle scouts the can use it as a project and they are emensly useful carrying in supplies.

  3. #3
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    Thanks. Old pic, but shows the creek bank in question: http://home.everestkc.net/pvbarth/DSCF0014.JPG

    The trail runs from the gravel on the far, right-hand side of the picture, up the bank to the left (mostly visible but washed out by the sun a bit). Probably 30-40 feet of trail to armor. We have lots of big stones available (land manager's been great about delivering very large limestone boulders right to the edge of the creek for us), and plenty of smaller stuff too which we're free to use. I read about the appilacian armoring in the trail solutions book - that might work, seems like a cross between pitching and flagstone. We'd prefer to use natural rock rather than manmade pavers etc.

    The other creek bank we've already completed with large limestone rocks in a sort of stairway/ramp, and the creek bottom itself is flagstone. I've always thought stone pitching looked really nice, but now I'm sort of leaning toward flagstone, as I'm concerned that equestrians might travel on it too soon after a rain (when the underlying soil is still soggy) and just drive small, pitched rocks down into the mud, whereas it'd be a lot harder to do that with large flat flagstones.

  4. #4
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    make sure the rocks are big.

    stone pitching should primarily be used when you only have access to a plethora of smaller rocks. flagstone paving is a wonderful techniques as long as you have large enough rocks that your user will not desturb them ie..limestone boulders. it sounds like you have this very well in hand. make sure you dig a good foundation for the rock and also ensure the ancors are nice and deep. the other reason paving will work better is stone pitching often creates slightly sharper upward facing edges and can make a horse go lame, by cutting into the hoof. try and get some of the equestrians envolved. rock work is some of the hardest but most fun and rewarding stuff you can do on a trail. have fun and good luck.

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