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  1. #1
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    Waterdog trail nerfing on Chaparral?

    I've noticed a few folks "adopting" some of the trails in Waterdog lately as they seem not to be getting enough love from the Belmont Parks & Rec. I'm sure resources are thin, and this year's been more challenging to clean up after than most. So the city does what they can. I've worked on a couple of official work days, but it's not super easy to find out about them, and there aren't as many as the trails need so people come out and do a little cleanup/trimming/etc. Imho, this is great, and I've brought hand trimmers to cut back a little overgrowth from time to time...but...

    Riding this Sunday I saw a couple guys on Chaparral Trail with a sledge and chisel/pry bar taking out a big chunk of rock from one of the right angle turns just before the junction with Elevator. I'm not big on trail confrontations so I just rode along, but they didn't look like they were doing city approved work. What they were doing was taking all the challenge out of a lightly technical line and not helping drainage in the process.

    I'm all for giving your neighborhood trails a little love, with or without the blessing of the authorities. I'd gladly show up for more work days if they had a calendar or a mailing list. (I'd especially love to sort out that bridge and creekbed issue at the bottom of Rambler.) And I realize getting Parks and Rec involved may end up with exactly the sort of feature removal I'm complaining about (see: the old roller near the lake and the log overs at the backside of the lake loop), but I'm pretty sure nobody appreciates vigilante trail damage like this.

  2. #2
    fc
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    Nerfing? I got curious about that.

    We need some pics of what you're talking about. Also the nerfing perps.

    fc
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  3. #3
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    Add more rocks don't remove them!

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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    Nerfing? I got curious about that.

    We need some pics of what you're talking about. Also the nerfing perps.

    fc
    It's a term typically used these days by gamers for when game devs rebalance a game and make detrimental changes to something. I've never heard it used in real life especially in this context.

  5. #5
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    Well, there's this group trying to this more organized: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2079772678916626/

    Jon's done some of the brush clearing with trimmers but I don't think he would be out there with a pry bar removing rocks. I think he trimmed down some of the "improvised" waterbars on the downhill towards the bridge on John Brooks.

    In one of the recent Parks and Rec meetings, Kevin Sullivan, one of the commission members mentioned the need for more trail work to the board. I haven't seen anything posted yet, so maybe the FB group will help better coordinate sanctioned work. The park does need some TLC.

  6. #6
    Hella Olde
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    Nerf herders

  7. #7
    Wēk Ss
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    wow, that's disturbing. caught red handed. call the po-po! cops! cops! cops!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by DH40 View Post
    Nerf herders
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    "You're messing with my zen thing, man!"

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by IAmHolland View Post
    wow, that's disturbing. caught red handed. call the po-po! cops! cops! cops!
    Myself and three partners and dozens of volunteers were the ones who built many of the trails at Water Dog and Hidden Valley 1999-2006. We worked with the support and cooperation of Belmont but the Town never took an active roe in the work. Initially some supervision, but later, none at all. They supplied materials and installed the signage, poorly, and that's it.
    That area has a long history of ad hoc trail maintenance, but it has usually been limited to brushing the trails; cutting back vegetation. Tread work should only be done by someone who knows what they are doing. Many think they do, no so many really know what they're doing. Prying out rocks with a bar sounds to me like the latter to. That sort of thing should be discouraged. Likely that rock is only part of the problem there. Contact Kevin Sullivan, thru the Town, he built the trail around the lake and and has the best current knowledge of what should or should not be done. He is a volunteer, but Park and Rec should be able to provide contact info. Follow his advice.
    just ridin' em now

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berry Stevens View Post
    Myself and three partners and dozens of volunteers were the ones who built many of the trails at Water Dog and Hidden Valley 1999-2006. We worked with the support and cooperation of Belmont but the Town never took an active roe in the work. Initially some supervision, but later, none at all. They supplied materials and installed the signage, poorly, and that's it.
    That area has a long history of ad hoc trail maintenance, but it has usually been limited to brushing the trails; cutting back vegetation. Tread work should only be done by someone who knows what they are doing. Many think they do, no so many really know what they're doing. Prying out rocks with a bar sounds to me like the latter to. That sort of thing should be discouraged. Likely that rock is only part of the problem there. Contact Kevin Sullivan, thru the Town, he built the trail around the lake and and has the best current knowledge of what should or should not be done. He is a volunteer, but Park and Rec should be able to provide contact info. Follow his advice.
    This is a better (and less negative than my initial report) perspective on the state of things at Waterdog. I'm sure the folks doing this had the very best intentions and the handbasket to go with it.

    I'll try to get back this weekend and snap some photos of the results of this little project. In general though, I agree: brushwork/po mitigation, treefall cleanup, and maintaining drains are all great ways to show your love for this neighborhood gem. Mining and excavation, feature removal, and woodwork are better done with park approval, and ideally some formal sanction. This didn't look like the sort of thing parks & rec would have approved of, but if I'm wrong I'm glad to apologize for casting any aspersions.

  11. #11
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    Feature addition > feature removal... Perhaps some gap jumps and a rock garden!

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  12. #12
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    Photos of the resulting "work product"

    So I managed to get back and see what the result was. It seems they simultaneously did a lot of rock moving, yet accomplished very little:

    Here's the "modified" section:
    Waterdog trail nerfing on Chaparral?-img_20170723_091507.jpg

    A closeup of the "rock work"
    Waterdog trail nerfing on Chaparral?-img_20170723_091533.jpgWaterdog trail nerfing on Chaparral?-img_20170723_091557.jpg

    There really aren't any new lines here:
    Waterdog trail nerfing on Chaparral?-img_20170723_091624.jpg

    And all the rocks just ended up in the creek:
    Waterdog trail nerfing on Chaparral?-img_20170723_091631.jpg

    Here's the specific location:
    Waterdog trail nerfing on Chaparral?-mappin.jpg

    A lot of rock got chiseled and moved, but I'm not sure for what, there's not really an extra line or anything. Definitely should have been left the way it was.

  13. #13
    fc
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    That work look pretty good. That trail was disappearing and it was very easy for a rider to get hung up and fall off the edge/cliff.

    That trail is a nice tight singletrack but that section just deteriorated each year. More sketchy in rain for sure since slippy rock.

    It just didn't match the rest of that trail and would get worse since it is a crik.
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  14. #14
    fc
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    Those rocks look gnarly hard. Could start a fire
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    That work look pretty good. That trail was disappearing and it was very easy for a rider to get hung up and fall off the edge/cliff.
    I've been thinking for the past 2 years that I was the only one to fall off the edge in that exact spot. Definitely taught me to pay attention to what I'm doing

  16. #16
    fc
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    Quote Originally Posted by houst View Post
    I've been thinking for the past 2 years that I was the only one to fall off the edge in that exact spot. Definitely taught me to pay attention to what I'm doing
    My buddy, who's pretty experienced but unfamiliar with that trail fell off.

    Scary cause you could get very seriously hurt in that lil canyon.

    fc
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    That work look pretty good. That trail was disappearing and it was very easy for a rider to get hung up and fall off the edge/cliff.

    That trail is a nice tight singletrack but that section just deteriorated each year. More sketchy in rain for sure since slippy rock.

    It just didn't match the rest of that trail and would get worse since it is a crik.
    My first ride with clipless was at Waterdog years ago. LOL. I fell over the edge trying to get out of my bike, standing still. It was stupid, but I landed on my helmet, which did it's job. Not the best place to learn to ride clipless, I must say as much of Waterdog is narrow to begin with.

  18. #18
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    If the goal was to open the trail width up a bit, they didn't take out enough rock. If the problem was pedal clipping passing that corner, a lot more than necessary was removed. It was a lightly technical spot, more challenging when wet than when dry, but totally passable.

    If the problem was washout risk the 2x6 bracing already there could be extended a bit.
    Heck, even the rocks thrown down the hill could have been reserved to help armor things. Instead a challenge was removed and nothing was genuinely improved.

    I'm glad the facebook group [Plug: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2079772678916626/ ]is getting some good attention from the city. I don't facebook, but have reached out to the organizer(s) and will absolutely join in the maintenance so people don't feel this sort of "help" is necessary.

  19. #19
    > /dev/null 2&>1
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    I'm torn on this - FC is right that its precarious and takes some balance to squeeze by. And yes it was getting worse over time.

    But, still totally rideable, with a good sight-line so if it made you nervous you had plenty of time to stop and walk it.

    If people are sanitizing this, what's next? Why isn't any technical section in the entire park subject to flattening?

  20. #20
    rox
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    really? of all the places that need work in waterdog due to time and erosion we chose to make one of the legit trail feature easier?

  21. #21
    > /dev/null 2&>1
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    I know right

  22. #22
    fc
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    Quote Originally Posted by rox View Post
    really? of all the places that need work in waterdog due to time and erosion we chose to make one of the legit trail feature easier?
    There's a lot of technical segments at Waterdog. More donkey punch per yard than any neighborhood trail.

    Problem is that is not a trail feature. It's just a narrow canyon turn that gets narrower every year because no one can work on solid piece of rock. One pedal strike and you plunge.

    The other issue is absolutely anything done there, we can heckle and mock to death as sanitization. It's not an easy balance since there's central trail steward/decision maker as far as i know.
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  23. #23
    > /dev/null 2&>1
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    I just found this archive footage from this section!



    But, I agree with you FC, its easy to sit at our computers and heckle this, we should be out fixing stuff (like the water damage on upper Rambler).

  24. #24
    rox
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    I fix stuff in waterdog constantly. And I trim back the poison oak and other vegetation and clear trees. I feel justified in my heckling

  25. #25
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    Since we're heckling... maybe we should put warning signs up.

    Waterdog trail nerfing on Chaparral?-img_0040.jpg

    This section on Chaparral was where I was going uphill, and the downhill rider didn't want to yield, which I was fine with actually, but he didn't feel comfortable rolling downhill closer to the outside trail edge, and he didn't tilt his bars outward, so he clips my bars, knocking me over.

  26. #26
    fc
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    Quote Originally Posted by rox View Post
    I fix stuff in waterdog constantly. And I trim back the poison oak and other vegetation and clear trees. I feel justified in my heckling
    Let's see your actual dirt/rock work! Can you withstand the heckle heat?
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  27. #27
    > /dev/null 2&>1
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    Quote Originally Posted by tburger View Post
    This section on Chaparral was where I was going uphill, and the downhill rider didn't want to yield, which I was fine with actually, but he didn't feel comfortable rolling downhill closer to the outside trail edge, and he didn't tilt his bars outward, so he clips my bars, knocking me over.
    This happens to me on 3 witches too. When I'm going down, I ALWAYS stop and yield on this part, even if I feel I could squeeze through, because its a tough climb and the rider deserves the entire space. When I'm going up, I'm heads down trying to grind it out. Its off camber, so, sometimes you drift to your left a little. A guy was coming down and he didn't yield at all, he almost clipped me and went off into the brush. I gave him a 'Yield to climbers man!', trying to muster a slightly cheerful tone and didn't stop. Hope he got it for future.

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