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  1. #1
    J-Flo
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    Havey Canyon Trail Needs Help

    One of the best downhill runs in the Tilden-Wildcat area is the Havey Canyon Trail. Almost half singletrack and the rest winding doubletrack under a tree canopy with good flow, steepness, and a few gnarly waterbar jumps. It has very little foot traffic and hardly anyone rides it uphill. To me, at least, it would be an epic trail with some work. (The only other trail in the area that compares is the Vollmer Peak Trail in Tilden, but Havey Canyon (in Wildcat is quite a bit longer, 1.5 miles of goodness, and has a bit better flow.)

    Most immediately, our beloved trail needs some basic clearing and restoration to help it recover from a rough winter. The trail is in bad shape at present. There are a few fallen trees with branches partially blocking the trail (two of them right around corners, somewhat dangerous), a number of badly rutted sections (from imprudent horse or bike traffic during wet weather), fairly heavy debris covering the trail, and a few boggy sections that need drainage (one of them is almost impassable on the bike). And the singletrack at the top is bumpier than ever and developing a too-deep rut. I have been down it three times in the last month and the trail is still a mess. This would be a great work project for the summer time (near-total tree canopy over the trail makes it cool even on hot days) and I could scare up a few workers but have no idea how to go about getting that started. Any thoughts?

    Longer term, to help this great trail achieve epic status, what about these possibilities (are they even possible?):

    1. Replace the top two cattle gates with cattle crossing grates (i.e., grates on the ground). Does anyone have an idea how that could be done and what is involved (other than raising $$)? Would EBPRD let us do it if we raised money to buy the stuff and donated labor, or do we need to talk to whoever owns all those cows that roam around up there?

    The first gate is in the middle of the singletrack near the top of the run. The second gate is right in the middle of the fast downhill part, and it always requires a very hard stop in the middle of a sweet run. Those two gates are apparently to keep cattle in the grazing area, although I have never seen any cows or evidence of cows wandering down that trail. They always stay on the grassy areas elsewhere

    2. Re-route the trail around the third gate, which blocks the short hike-a-bike creek crossing. There has to be a better way to cross that creek, although I know this would be ambitious and would require major earth-moving. Right now the gate is probably necessary for safety only -- I don't think it keeps anything in or out, but if it were not there bikers might go crashing into the sudden rocky creek gulch right beneath it. But it is a little dangerous right now for those who fly around the corner above the gate and then have problems stopping with all the tree debris on the trail.

    Just imagine how awesome this trail would be if it could be ridden from the top without stopping. OK, maybe fixing the creek crossing is a pipe dream, but a clean up is eminently doable now, and removing the top two gates seems like a no-brainer. Thoughts?

  2. #2
    It's about showing up.
    Reputation: Berkeley Mike's Avatar
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    It is hard to know where to start... I've been riding in WildCat/Tilden for 25 years. First, I climb Havey; it is the single best climb in Wildcat Canyon for its gradual slope and being in the shade. Second, talk with Alison Rein who runs Wildcat. It will clear up the gate issue pretty quickly; they aren't going anywhere. Cattle graze there and have for years.

    To answer you first question. No.

    To answer your second question. Unlikely for the reasons you gave.

    The portage you describe gets bigger every year. There used to be a 3 foot diameter culvert which took the drainage from the east slopes of Conlon Ridge under the trail. In the El Nino of 1997 rains were so heavy that a food simply washed the culvert and the trail away. When it first happened we were able to ride it but after another El Nino in 1998, usage and normal drainage continued to erode what was there. By 2004-2005 it was not ridable and became a portage.

    Yeah, Havey as an unobstructed and maintained trail would be a great down. We used to love it without gates. Now it is frequented by a lot of hikers and dog walkers. The other trail I'd love to see "done" is the Currin/Gorge trail. That will never happen either.
    I don't rattle.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
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    The EBMPD has a lot work rules and unionized park personal making it very difficult to get anything done in there parks by volunteers.The maintenace of Wildcat is handled by 4 or 5 people that have a lot of ground to cover . They will most likely be getting to Havey at some point for the tree trimming .

  4. #4
    J-Flo
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    Mike,

    I understand that cattle barriers on Havey Canyon need to remain; my question is why can't the gates be replaced by grates, which would be more easily passed? Thanks for the history on the creek crossing. You would never know that the trail once ran over it, and it is hard to argue for burying the creek into a culvert again. (P.S. I sometimes ride up Havey also; it is far more pleasant than the alternatives nearby, but I tend to ride in a counterclockwise loop starting from the Tilden side.) The Curran and Wildcat Gorge trails over in Tilden are my other favorite section in the area, but they are in relatively decent shape by comparison (although have lots of tree debris too) and, if there is no foot traffic, can be run together downhill for great fun.

    But more immediately, the Havey trail needs some heavy clean up work. Dave, are you saying we just need to wait for the Wildcat park crew to get around to it? The EBPRD doesn't like free labor? Huh?

  5. #5
    mtbr member
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    It's not that they don't like free labor ,their work rules make it difficult. There has been trail work days at other parks ,there one this weekend ai Pleasonton Ridge.If you want to get invovled with trailwork, the Bicycle Trails Council of the East Bay (btceb.org)is a place to start.VOCAL (volunteers outdoor Cailforia)is leading the work this weekend.The parks also does work with the Ivan *****on project ,they have work at Briones and Crockett hills.

  6. #6
    It's about showing up.
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    I hear that there is a rag-tag band of renegades who are going up there soon with their folding saws, clippers, and Mitch Witches to vandalize that area into shape. I'd like to be there to witness that when I get back 4/27. The blaggards!
    I don't rattle.

  7. #7
    Paper or plastic?
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    Per the EBRPD union contract, trail work is to be done by unionized employees. The irony is that they don't seem to be doing a whole lot of it (other than grading fireroads, which seems to be done by 3rd party contractors). Anyhow, at any volunteer trail work, there is a park employee there to supervise, due to the aforementioned rule.
    Faster is not always better, but it's always more fun

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