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  1. #1
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    Post Fire Trail Conditions: What to Expect?

    Talking with a friend on a ride last night about what to expect from the trails that got burned over. We came up with downed trees, fire lines scratched across the trail and wash outs due to unanchored soil. What else? Who has experienced a trail getting burned out, what's the deal?
    Gone are the days we stopped to decide,
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  2. #2
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    Expect trail closures.

  3. #3
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    Green grass. Fewer weeds and cactus. Happy animals b/c they can eat food instead
    of garbage with pretty yellow flowers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jugdish View Post
    Talking with a friend on a ride last night about what to expect from the trails that got burned over. We came up with downed trees, fire lines scratched across the trail and wash outs due to unanchored soil. What else? Who has experienced a trail getting burned out, what's the deal?
    I think this may be the most ignorant post of the year, especially since I know you have been there.

    You don't remember riding in Buffalo Creek?

    That's what you can expect.

  5. #5
    A guy on a bike Moderator
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    A lot depends on how hot the fire was, and whether there have been crews out to stabilize the area.

    Worst case: lots of downed trees (usually in the following years) and serious erosion (washouts, ruts, gravel piles). Sometimes the trail isn't even visible anymore, especially if the duff burns completely down to mineral soil. If a crew doesn't get out reasonably quickly, it'll get worse for several years (3 to 15+) until small plants return and start stabilizing and rebuilding the soil again. A formally cool and shady forest with lots of little creeks often becomes hot and dry--but often with great wildflowers in a year or two!

    Best case: if the fire wasn't too hot, then trails don't suffer that much. Maybe some fallen trees a few years after.

  6. #6
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    Go ride Walker Ranch. There was a really hot fire years ago. We couldn't get back on the trail for a year because the crews were still in there chopping down burned up trees ready to fall over. When we finally did get in there it was a mix of large bare areas, small stands of trees miraculously left standing, lots of green grass and flowers that would later fry in the summer heat. They had scattered seed mixes of native grasses and such to help things along. Some areas burned hotter than others and were totally scorched. They didn't even grow grass for a couple of years.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by drunkenbikesnob View Post
    I think this may be the most ignorant post of the year, especially since I know you have been there.

    You don't remember riding in Buffalo Creek?

    Right on! What type of rep is that worth?
    Actually, I think I only rode that zoo about 5 times and it was a number of years ago, short term memory loss has served me well.
    Gone are the days we stopped to decide,
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  8. #8
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    So with a lot of downed trees and washed out hills, it sounds like we need some north shore style ladders built.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by drunkenbikesnob View Post
    I think this may be the most ignorant post of the year, especially since I know you have been there.

    You don't remember riding in Buffalo Creek?

    That's what you can expect.
    Caparisons to Buff Creek are what's really ignorant.

    Fires are typical/frequent in a healthy coniferous forest. Buff Creek was
    unique b/c the fuel loads had built up over decades of fire suppression
    which resulted in a very hot, fast moving fire. The heavy rains shortly
    after only added to the damage. We don't know that's the case with this
    fire. "Experts" can't even agree on how beetle kill trees affect the fire.

    The only thing you can really do is humble yourself with the idea that
    Mother Nature is taking care of herself and sit back and watch to see
    what happens. It's really out of our hands.

  10. #10
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    what i expect


  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by rogbie View Post
    Expect trail closures.
    I have ridden a lot of burn-area trails but its all been a year or more after the fire (example bobcat ridge). How long do you think the trails will be closed? Is it just until they get worked on and cleared? If so is this something the Mountain bike community can get involved in to get them open sooner?
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jugdish View Post
    Talking with a friend on a ride last night about what to expect from the trails that got burned over. We came up with downed trees, fire lines scratched across the trail and wash outs due to unanchored soil. What else? Who has experienced a trail getting burned out, what's the deal?
    The forest service crews have actually done a really good job of clearing out the beetle kill in HTMP and Lory State Park the last couple of years. Beetle kill burns low and very fast. It's the alive stuff offering what shade we had left that's now gone. If you've ridden Buff Creek or Bobcat/Ginny area, then Timber will look like that if they even reopen it this year. I'm not sure anything else is burned - hopefully not.

    Lory S.P./Niner had a trail day just this past Saturday, I snapped a bunch of pics below. At 8:30 on arrival you could smell the smoke in the lot. By 9:30 you could see a little bit of it in the first pic below. Top pics are earlier with the last pics taken around 2:00. We thought it was burning around Davis Ranch Road but it turned out to be 5-6 miles behind that area and knew it was going to be the big one by noon with all the smoke.

    Crazy. We have friends that live close to the Lory entrance staying with us. They got a call at 5:15 am Sunday morning to evacuate.....20 hours after we were doing trail work up there. Still seems kind of surreal.

    All of us at Niner Bikes ride here several times a week, it's our back yard. We're committed to help work on these trails if allowed and would love to sponsor a trail day to help clean up and restore what is left.

    Brett
    Niner Bikes
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Post Fire Trail Conditions: What to Expect?-img_9695.jpg  

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    Post Fire Trail Conditions: What to Expect?-img_9754.jpg  

    Post Fire Trail Conditions: What to Expect?-img_9748.jpg  

    Post Fire Trail Conditions: What to Expect?-img_9758.jpg  

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  13. #13
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    Maybe I'm just a big wuss but I think I would have high-tailed it out of there with that plume coming from seemingly across the ridge.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2melow View Post
    The forest service crews have actually done a really good job of clearing out the beetle kill in HTMP and Lory State Park the last couple of years. Beetle kill burns low and very fast. It's the alive stuff offering what shade we had left that's now gone. If you've ridden Buff Creek or Bobcat/Ginny area, then Timber will look like that if they even reopen it this year. I'm not sure anything else is burned - hopefully not.
    Just curious - is it confirmed that upper Timber (the heavily treed switchbacks) burned? Based on the maps I've seen, it doesn't look like it. I saw pictures of flames in the area, but it didn't seem like a crowned fire that would devastate the area. Maybe just trying to be optimistic here...

  15. #15
    flowcus
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    Quote Originally Posted by dino View Post
    Just curious - is it confirmed that upper Timber (the heavily treed switchbacks) burned? Based on the maps I've seen, it doesn't look like it. I saw pictures of flames in the area, but it didn't seem like a crowned fire that would devastate the area. Maybe just trying to be optimistic here...
    It appears the majority of the north facing treed section may have narrowly escaped the burn. Comparing the fire map (left) to a recent GPS of a Timber/Howard ride (right) it almost appears the edge of the burn is right AT the Timber trail with the saddle in the burn area. Indeed the ground crews are likely using the trail to access the fire and dig a line in places. There are also spot fires beyond the fire boundary (in yellow). Regardless, I would imagine Timber trail will still be closed for some time after the fire is 100% contained and they have time to get up there and assess the damage.

    The good news is it appears Arthurs Rock, Howard and HTMP trails are so far unscathed (barring a flare up). I had no hope on Monday that was possible.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Post Fire Trail Conditions: What to Expect?-highpark_timber.jpg  

    Ok, here's the deal. I have a hangover. Who knows what that means?

  16. #16
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    Against my better judgment, I put the attached map together. Base layer is the USGS Horsetooth 24K DRG. The orange area is the latest fire perimeter from geomac.gov. It's dated June 14, 2012, 00:07. The blue line is a ride I did in May 2010 of Timber, Howard, and West Valley.

    I'd say Timber Trail was definitely impacted. As to the extent, who knows? My opinion is that Timber will be closed at least until the extent of the damage is determined, any safety issues with falling / fallen trees are resolved, and any erosion / soil issues are mitigated.

    My opinion is that once the roads open and the evacuation orders are lifted, both HTMP and Lory should be able to re-open pretty quickly with the exception of Timber. Whether their administrators will let them or not will be the bigger issue.

    -Glen
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Post Fire Trail Conditions: What to Expect?-lory_impact.jpg  


  17. #17
    flowcus
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    great minds think alike. i couldn't find a base layer to use with my ride data, and my GIS tech skills are admittedly slim.
    Ok, here's the deal. I have a hangover. Who knows what that means?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by fcrider View Post
    The good news is it appears Arthurs Rock, Howard and HTMP trails are so far unscathed (barring a flare up). I had no hope on Monday that was possible.
    ...
    great minds think alike. i couldn't find a base layer to use with my ride data, and my GIS tech skills are admittedly slim.
    In more ways than one. I was thinking the same thing on Monday afternoon but am feeling much better about the HTMP / Lory trails situation now. I use a package called GlobalMapper. Cheaper than ESRI but still expensive.

  19. #19
    flowcus
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    eek, that is an expensive license - you must use it for work? Yes, cautiously optimistic myself, considering we lost Young's, Hewlett's (??), Old Flowers and it now appears White Pine/Monument Gulch are right on the western flank as I write this.
    Ok, here's the deal. I have a hangover. Who knows what that means?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by fcrider View Post
    eek, that is an expensive license - you must use it for work? Yes, cautiously optimistic myself, considering we lost Young's, Hewlett's (??), Old Flowers and it now appears White Pine/Monument Gulch are right on the western flank as I write this.
    Side job. I use it to create, convert, and maintain content for the Where to Go section of staythetrail.org. For example, I used it to convert a Forest Service MVUM PDF file into georeferenced Google Maps map tiles for the background map on this page: Stay The Trail Colorado - View Trail System - Middle Saint Vrain

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