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  1. #1
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    Black Mountain solutions

    Let's move the part of that other discussion that has nothing to do with rain and race pro motors to over here.

    Obviously, lots of talk about Black Mountain Trail recently. Discussion centers around whether or not it can be salvaged in any way, and if yes developing a plan to do just that. I will confer with a few others on schedules over the weekend and then we will announce Phase 1, a meeting date to go look at this trail and develop a plan. Though there will need to be a few invitees present (namely the ones that the FS recognizes as crew leaders within Pisgah SORBA who will likely carry out the work when we plan it), I want to be open and transparent in this planning phase so we will be public with that date and invite all of you to join us.

    The main focus of that day will be educational in nature, and developing a plan of attack. From everything I am hearing BM is a full shitstorm of a trail right now (maybe a desired trail experience, but full on eroded nightmare and having high impact on natural resources).

    We will set up a shuttle and walk any or all of what we need to be looking at. I am thinking a Sat. in the next several weeks for this first phase site visit. After that day, we can set a date to begin what sounds like one hell of a challenge.

    More details early next week.

    Woody

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    Oh course we'll have to be on your schedule because we know you only consider that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sasquatch on 1206 View Post
    Oh course we'll have to be on your schedule because we know you only consider that.
    Well yes, it would be hard for me to host this while I am in AZ for work Feb 20-25.

  4. #4
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    Not 2/15 please.

    We can talk about it all we want (and have already discussed it ad nauseam) but eventually what needs to happen is people need to go up there with shovels and rakes, pulaski and mcloeds, mattocks and pick axes and start moving dirt around.

    Drains need to be opened. More drains need to be installed. A 'line' for mountain bikes needs to be defined. The corridor needs to be narrowed to keep riders on that line.

    The trail's alignment is poor for long stretches. We cannot move that corridor and need to be willing to work within it, even if it doesn't fit our definition of what a trail should look like. Grade dips won't work on those grades in those alignments. More waterbars are going to need to be installed.

    It would be a lot of work.

    A note about the corridor: Last time I was up there - a few weeks ago - I noticed recent chain saw triming coming up from Pressley Gap. The trail had been made even wider giving mountain bikers even more room to leave the trail and increase the erosion. If you give mountain bikers a way to ride around any sort of obstacle they will take it. Riding around waterbars defeats their purpose and is a big part of the problem with Black mtn. trail.
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    Subbed this thread. Look forward to helping with this project and putting some faces to names.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodman View Post
    Let's move the part of that other discussion that has nothing to do with rain and race pro motors to over here.

    Obviously, lots of talk about Black Mountain Trail recently. Discussion centers around whether or not it can be salvaged in any way, and if yes developing a plan to do just that. I will confer with a few others on schedules over the weekend and then we will announce Phase 1, a meeting date to go look at this trail and develop a plan. Though there will need to be a few invitees present (namely the ones that the FS recognizes as crew leaders within Pisgah SORBA who will likely carry out the work when we plan it), I want to be open and transparent in this planning phase so we will be public with that date and invite all of you to join us.

    The main focus of that day will be educational in nature, and developing a plan of attack. From everything I am hearing BM is a full shitstorm of a trail right now (maybe a desired trail experience, but full on eroded nightmare and having high impact on natural resources).

    We will set up a shuttle and walk any or all of what we need to be looking at. I am thinking a Sat. in the next several weeks for this first phase site visit. After that day, we can set a date to begin what sounds like one hell of a challenge.

    More details early next week.

    Woody

    Just wind 'em up and let him loose! You the man Woody!

    Thanks for getting this thread going. Looking forward to helping anyway I can.

  7. #7
    drunken pirate
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    I went up there today and took some pictures:

    you can view the whole set here
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    PLEASE LEAVE IT ALONE. IT'S PROBABLY ONE OF THE FUNNEST TRAILS IN PISGAH PROPER RIGHT NOW. there are plenty of other less "challenging" trails for people to enjoy.

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    Black Mountain solutions

    Quote Originally Posted by jstuhlman View Post
    PLEASE LEAVE IT ALONE. IT'S PROBABLY ONE OF THE FUNNEST TRAILS IN PISGAH PROPER RIGHT NOW. there are plenty of other less "challenging" trails for people to enjoy.
    "Funnest"?

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    Please don't woody black mtn

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    Quote Originally Posted by jstuhlman View Post
    PLEASE LEAVE IT ALONE. IT'S PROBABLY ONE OF THE FUNNEST TRAILS IN PISGAH PROPER RIGHT NOW. there are plenty of other less "challenging" trails for people to enjoy.
    Quote Originally Posted by supercusty View Post
    Please don't woody black mtn
    It will be smoothed/buffed/dumbeddown in the name of progress!

  12. #12
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    Maybe instead of people b!tching and whining about trail sanitizing, you could actually show up and help make a plan and then come work it.

    Of course that might be too much work for you guys and God forbid you may actually learn something.
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by driftwood View Post
    I went up there today and took some pictures:

    you can view the whole set here
    Whoooo doogie! No wonder that section of trail has be rumored to be erased from existence and re-routed. Would be a proud moment for the mountain bike community if that happened….NOT!

    Thanks for the pictures and the reality check!

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    Quote Originally Posted by jstuhlman View Post
    PLEASE LEAVE IT ALONE. IT'S PROBABLY ONE OF THE FUNNEST TRAILS IN PISGAH PROPER RIGHT NOW. there are plenty of other less "challenging" trails for people to enjoy.
    I agree. There are only a few trails in Pisgah that are of an "advanced" nature, and this is one of them.

    That being said I agree that something needs to be done up there, and Im more than willing to help out when I can.

    Im all for helping to narrow the trail corridor to force riders into the Gnar as opposed to letting folks go around it. Trail creep sucks, and if your skills aren't there to ride that level of trail you can always walk sections of it. No shame in that.

    Im also for giving my time to help divert water off the trail. Black is the way it is because of the massive amount of erosion that has been eating away the soil. While that has created some awesome trail to ride, I will agree that issue needs to be addressed to keep it from becoming un-ridable in the future.

    Its a thin line to walk between sustainability and fun.

    If any of the Trail Coordinators are available, I will be up there the week of Feb. 10-16th. to ride and whatnot if ya'll want to check it out.

  15. #15
    drunken pirate
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    lol.

    Unless the trail is relocated there is no way it is going to look like a flow trail.

    Relocation requires NEPA and that isn't happening anytime soon.

    Yesterday I actually thought the trail wasn't as bad as I'd remembered. There is hope for it yet. Lots of material needs to be moved but it seems doable. There are also a lot of rocks in the corridor to work with. And plenty of locust.

    However, if you look at my pictures it is very easy to see just how much damage is being caused by mountain bikes. There haven't been any races recently, either.

    This picture is at Black and Thrift. Look at those ruts mountain bikers are tearing into the tread:



    Also, if you look at the pictures you will see evidence that the trail is an historic foot path, in more ways than one. Any work done to the trail should have the historic users in mind as well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kjlued View Post
    Maybe instead of people b!tching and whining about trail sanitizing, you could actually show up and help make a plan and then come work it.

    Of course that might be too much work for you guys and God forbid you may actually learn something.
    I can't do any trail work until mid March according the e-mail I received.

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    Quote Originally Posted by driftwood View Post
    lol.

    Unless the trail is relocated there is no way it is going to look like a flow trail.

    Relocation requires NEPA and that isn't happening anytime soon.

    Yesterday I actually thought the trail wasn't as bad as I'd remembered. There is hope for it yet. Lots of material needs to be moved but it seems doable. There are also a lot of rocks in the corridor to work with. And plenty of locust.

    However, if you look at my pictures it is very easy to see just how much damage is being caused by mountain bikes. There haven't been any races recently, either.

    This picture is at Black and Thrift. Look at those ruts mountain bikers are tearing into the tread:



    Also, if you look at the pictures you will see evidence that the trail is an historic foot path, in more ways than one. Any work done to the trail should have the historic users in mind as well.
    This was and still is a classic weekend where the weather is perfect and everybody goes for a ride,but the trails are slop.Sure everyone will say some were fine but most look like Clay's pic.
    Bent Creek was packed yesterday.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by sasquatch on 1206 View Post
    I can't do any trail work until mid March according the e-mail I received.
    Like I said in a previous thread, show up and I am sure somebody will put a tool in your hand.

    Or could just continue to be one. The choice is yours.
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Banjopickin View Post
    I agree. There are only a few trails in Pisgah that are of an "advanced" nature, and this is one of them.

    That being said I agree that something needs to be done up there, and Im more than willing to help out when I can.

    Im all for helping to narrow the trail corridor to force riders into the Gnar as opposed to letting folks go around it. Trail creep sucks, and if your skills aren't there to ride that level of trail you can always walk sections of it. No shame in that.

    Im also for giving my time to help divert water off the trail. Black is the way it is because of the massive amount of erosion that has been eating away the soil. While that has created some awesome trail to ride, I will agree that issue needs to be addressed to keep it from becoming un-ridable in the future.

    Its a thin line to walk between sustainability and fun.

    If any of the Trail Coordinators are available, I will be up there the week of Feb. 10-16th. to ride and whatnot if ya'll want to check it out.
    Agreed. The intent of this planning day and future work is to accomplish the goals that you state here: make the trail more stable, control the serious (from what I am hearing) water based erosion, but keep the tech "Pisgah" feel of Black.

    Doing nothing is simply not an option, unless you want to do nothing for long enough (which will not be much longer) that the FS steps in and does something (and I doubt riders will be happy about those results). Black Mtn is very much on the radar screen of the USFS. Other non sustainable trails having large resource impacts are also on the radar screen of the FS and other environmental protection agencies and groups. NC Dept of Environment and Natural Resources (Land and Water Resources Division)
    Trout Unlimited, WNCA and others are all looking at recreation with a very critical eye. As folks here have pointed out, you need to look no further than all of the Tellico OHV trail system closure or the recent decision of Summey Cove trail closure as examples in which high impacts of trails forces the decision of full closure.

  20. #20
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    Several have communicated via email and phone and here is the plan for this first inspection and developing a plan site visit:

    Sat. Feb 8th meeting at 9:30 AM. Meet at the ranger station. No bikes, we will walk in and inspect as much of Black Mtn as possible. DW posted up some current conditions photos, and we will take lots more. This will be a long day and walk so bring food, water, and clothing layers. Maybe dinner and a beer after we get out of the woods, and/or join the Native eyewear party happening.

    Calling for rain right now, but way too early to really know what the weather is going to do. If the weather is no good, we will re-schedule for Feb 16th (which is the following Sunday). We may schedule that day as an additional day even if this Sat. works out for us.

    The goals of this site visit and overall effort are (but please add to this):
    -Develop and implement a plan for a more stable but technical “Pisgah worthy” trail experience.
    -Continue growing our level of respect with the USFS folks on the district but also regional level.
    -Identify, recruit, and train additional crew leaders who are passionate about Pisgah. Current crew leaders have their hands more than full. This is a good opportunity to rally some troops and finding the right people and then giving them the right tools to make a real difference in Pisgah.
    -Build respect for PAS within the greater mtn bike community.

    Now is the time to step out from behind your hidden identity of MTBR and come to be productive. I hear many folks say "I love Pisgah". If you really love Pisgah, you will step up to the plate in this process to help protect it: not just the riding experience it provides but also the natural resources that the trails run through. If you are not willing to help with trail maintenance of "your favorite trail" then you don't truly "love Pisgah" you simply "enjoy Pisgah".

    All are invited to this planing day on Sat. We want and welcome input and will listen if you show up.

    We will look at the trail (current conditions), discus options for solutions, and most importantly discus and set a date in the spring for a kick off workday.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodman View Post

    Sat. Feb 8th meeting at 9:30 AM. Meet at the ranger station. No bikes, we will walk in and inspect as much of Black Mtn as possible. DW posted up some current conditions photos, and we will take lots more. This will be a long day and walk so bring food, water, and clothing layers. Maybe dinner and a beer after we get out of the woods, and/or join the Native eyewear party happening.
    Woody why not ride up there?

    I am sure you have your reasons but if inspecting is the goal, I don't see why we can't make a ride of it.

    I am sure you have your reasons, just curious to what they are.
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

  22. #22
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    Let's hold if on the whining and the Woodification crap until you know the actual plan and what will take place on the ground.

    On the work day there will be several different crews working at the same time, you can pick whatever section of Black you would like to work on with that sections crew leader.

    If you want it to reflect your riding style and preference, you better plan on showing up and making it happen.
    He/she who works the trails does so in their own image.

    Speed just slows me down...

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    Many reasons:

    -I want folks to see the trail the way a hiker sees it. Maybe we even get to experience being buzzed by bikes while we are hiking the trail.

    -I don't want folks to focus on the ride experience, but instead look at the trail with a higher level of detail and critical eye that being on bikes will not allow.

    -If we are on foot, we can talk while we walk instead of having to stop every time a problem area is encountered.

    -We can look for and flag best places to build water management structures, hard to do that on bikes.

    -We can better see (cause we are going slower) what resources there are that we might be able to use for a solution (rock in the area available for harvesting and rock armoring work, locust trees that we can fell and use etc.).

    Developing a good plan will require some sacrifices, including going for a walk instead of a bike ride to develop a best plan of attack.

    Once we have a good detailed plan, we can schedule bike rides down the trail in the coming weeks to share/distribute our thoughts and ideas on solutions, and also recruit volunteers for the implementation phase to happen in spring.

    I plan to hike all of Black on Thur. with friends. That will be a preview for me, and give some targets for us to go look at on Sat. It will also help me deal with the logistics (which some of you may already understand) of going to look at this. I may come back and say "bring your bikes" if walking it on foot and developing a plan seems like it will be too much of a time investment.


    Quote Originally Posted by kjlued View Post
    Woody why not ride up there?

    I am sure you have your reasons but if inspecting is the goal, I don't see why we can't make a ride of it.

    I am sure you have your reasons, just curious to what they are.
    Last edited by Woodman; 02-02-2014 at 01:27 PM.

  24. #24
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    Thanks Woody
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodman View Post
    Several have communicated via email and phone and here is the plan for this first inspection and developing a plan site visit:

    Sat. Feb 8th meeting at 9:30 AM. Meet at the ranger station. No bikes, we will walk in and inspect as much of Black Mtn as possible. DW posted up some current conditions photos, and we will take lots more. This will be a long day and walk so bring food, water, and clothing layers. Maybe dinner and a beer after we get out of the woods, and/or join the Native eyewear party happening.

    Calling for rain right now, but way too early to really know what the weather is going to do. If the weather is no good, we will re-schedule for Feb 16th (which is the following Sunday). We may schedule that day as an additional day even if this Sat. works out for us.

    The goals of this site visit and overall effort are (but please add to this):
    -Develop and implement a plan for a more stable but technical “Pisgah worthy” trail experience.
    -Continue growing our level of respect with the USFS folks on the district but also regional level.
    -Identify, recruit, and train additional crew leaders who are passionate about Pisgah. Current crew leaders have their hands more than full. This is a good opportunity to rally some troops and finding the right people and then giving them the right tools to make a real difference in Pisgah.
    -Build respect for PAS within the greater mtn bike community.

    Now is the time to step out from behind your hidden identity of MTBR and come to be productive. I hear many folks say "I love Pisgah". If you really love Pisgah, you will step up to the plate in this process to help protect it: not just the riding experience it provides but also the natural resources that the trails run through. If you are not willing to help with trail maintenance of "your favorite trail" then you don't truly "love Pisgah" you simply "enjoy Pisgah".

    All are invited to this planing day on Sat. We want and welcome input and will listen if you show up.

    We will look at the trail (current conditions), discus options for solutions, and most importantly discus and set a date in the spring for a kick off workday.
    Yeah Feb. 8th doesn't work for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kjlued View Post
    Woody why not ride up there?

    I am sure you have your reasons but if inspecting is the goal, I don't see why we can't make a ride of it.

    I am sure you have your reasons, just curious to what they are.
    This is pretty one sided and selfish to want to ride up instead of hike up, we are going up there to access the trail not for your enjoyment.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by sasquatch on 1206 View Post
    This is pretty one sided and selfish to want to ride up instead of hike up, we are going up there to access the trail not for your enjoyment.
    You want to stop trolling and maybe contribute for once?

    All I hear from you is how you will show up then whenever a date is made, you say you can't make it.

    Remember, it isn't all about you.

    Quote Originally Posted by sasquatch on 1206 View Post
    Yeah Feb. 8th doesn't work for me.
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

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    Sorry to learn that. Needless to say, it would be impossible to pick a date that worked for all. How does Sunday Feb 16th look for you? Maybe we will repeat the process with a new set of folks. This was also our rain date set.

    The idea was jump right into this and strike while the iron is hot. Plus I am out of town later in month for some work in sunny AZ.

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    I had planned on the Sycamore/Native bike ride but if the trails are a mess Saturday I'll be there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jn35646 View Post
    I had planned on the Sycamore/Native bike ride but if the trails are a mess Saturday I'll be there.
    I plan to attend the party.

    Supposed to rain most of the week, and trails are already a mess.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodman
    The goals of this site visit and overall effort are (but please add to this):
    -Develop and implement a plan for a more stable but technical “Pisgah worthy” trail experience.
    -Continue growing our level of respect with the USFS folks on the district but also regional level.
    -Identify, recruit, and train additional crew leaders who are passionate about Pisgah. Current crew leaders have their hands more than full. This is a good opportunity to rally some troops and finding the right people and then giving them the right tools to make a real difference in Pisgah.
    -Build respect for PAS within the greater mtn bike community.
    Those are some good goals, but I thought we were going to try and develop a plan for how to best repair and subsequently maintain the Black Mountain trail with an emphasis on the section between Pressley Cove and Buckhorn Gap.

    I'm interested in stopping the erosion on the trail, not politics. We can talk theory all we want but eventually someone is going to have to move some dirt.

    Black Mountain trail does not meet mountain bikers current sustainability standards. We cannot relocate the trail or leave the corridor. Either we are willing to work with what we have, or we can continue to say the trail is inherently flawed and not worth the effort. If it is the later there is no need to go up there.

    I would suggest hiking up Pressley Cove trail. It is the fastest way to the main problem area and also shows that a trail can have alignment problems and old technology like waterbars but yet does not have to be an eroded mess. That trail is in excellent shape and would provide a nice contrast to what will be seen on Black.
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  32. #32
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    I had a couple of minutes to kill and drew up a plan. I've never made a trail work plan before so I look forward to everyone's criticism as well as any better plans anyone has to share.

    Black Mountain Trail Maintenance Plan

    Goal:

    Stop erosion and repair tread damage on the trail while maintaining an user experience consistent with the trail's “most difficult” designation.

    Specifications:

    The trail will be divided into three segments:
    Section 1 - Ranger Station to Pressley Gap
    Section 2 – Pressley Gap to Buckhorn Gap
    Section 3 – Buckhorn Gap to Club Gap

    Natural materials will be used for construction whenever possible. Some foreign materials, such as rebar or bolts, may be used when needed.

    USFS TMO's will be followed.

    All trail work will stay within the existing trail corridor and no further widening of corridor to occur as part of the maintenance plan. In the event that any machinery is used as part of the work it will have to be able to go up the existing corridor.

    Whenever possible the original tread alignment will be maintained. In heavily eroded areas it may be necessary to build new tread to the side of the erosion as the corridor allows.

    Plan of action:

    Start maintenance at Pressley Gap heading North to focus initial efforts on the heavily eroded Section 2.

    All existing drains to be repaired and reopened.

    New drains to be built where needed. Knicks, grade dips and grade reversals to be built where possible. Wooden waterbars to be used when needed. Waterbars to be set at angles up to 45 and to span the entire width of trail corridor.

    Soil to be moved to fill in erosion where possible.

    Loose rocks within corridor to be used for armoring where appropriate.

    Gargoyles, plantings and other means to be used to help keep users on the trail.

    Check dams to be installed on the most heavily eroded areas.

    Tread to be sloughed and bermed where needed.

    Bench cut to be restored where needed.

    Areas where the corridor is significantly wider than the TMO states to be revegetated.

    On the section from the top of Clawhammer Mtn. To Buckhorn Gap efforts will be made to keep users on the trail stop users from cutting switchbacks and waterbars.

    Once trail crews complete the drainage work on Section 2 they will continue north to Section 3 continuing to restore drainage and repair damage. Work on Section 1 to start from Pressley Gap and work down the trail once other problem areas have been addressed.

    A yearly plan to maintain all drains and clear and brush the trail to be implemented.

    An effort to educate users on the importance to stay on the trail to be made.



    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    What would a plan like this mean?

    A lot of work would have to be done. And chances are it will be just a handful of people doing it. It would realistically take a year, or more.

    Let's look at some pictures:



    In this one you can see where mountain bikers have created an alternate line around the pesky waterbar. The old line would need to be restored and the drain directed away from the tread. Erosion would lessen just below it.



    This drain needs a longer piece of locust to stop users from cutting it. A lot of dirt needs to be moved from the top to the bottom. Two guys could easily spend two or more hours digging here.



    This drain hasn't been full too long. But still a lot of digging to be done. And look at that long line of other drains above it.



    In some places like this it might make sense to move the center of the tread up to where Duma is standing, but even up there water still has to leave the trail.



    Pisgah District trails have a distinct flavor. There is no reason why this stretch of trail could not stay most difficult once these drains are operational again.



    Here you can see where mountain bikers have been widening the trail to avoid the rocks on the original tread. Notice the fresh ruts the bikes have torn into the new line. Unless this section is drained the new line will be just as eroded as the old.

    Thoughts?
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  33. #33
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    DW, I am glad you are excited about this. Your plan is a good starting point and can be altered as we go through the planning. Look forward to seeing you Saturday.
    He/she who works the trails does so in their own image.

    Speed just slows me down...

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    Very impressive Clay, sounds like a good plan to me.Funny how it looks like everyone rides around the rocks/hard part but they say they want it to remain technical.I'm curious as to when the last scheduled work day was on this particular part of Black?

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    DW, I am so proud..... it is like..like.. you are all grown up now... sniff sniff, (wiping tear from corner of my eye)

    PS Your plan looks great! Your dedication to this trail along with Pisgah has always been respected and appreciated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sasquatch on 1206 View Post
    Very impressive Clay, sounds like a good plan to me.Funny how it looks like everyone rides around the rocks/hard part but they say they want it to remain technical.I'm curious as to when the last scheduled work day was on this particular part of Black?
    Yeah, it is really funny. Mountain bikers say they like and want hard trails but yet if there is any way to avoid and obstacle they take it. Look at all my pictures and you'll see evidence of it time and time again.

    The only work I know of being done to that stretch of trail in the past six years is triming and clearing. There is no such thing as a drain that can go six years without maintenance.

    Take a look at this picture:



    Notice how mountain bikers have created a line around the waterbar. Also notice the recently trimmed rhodo in the bottom left of the picture to make it easier for mtbs to leave the trail. It is going to take a long time for that bush to grow back and unless water is drained from the tread the new line is going to be just as eroded as the old one.

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    I had noted that I have not been on middle or upper Black in many years. I am hiking the whole trail on Thur. to preview. You seem to be very familiar with where the worst sections are and your suggestion of hiking in on Pressley sounds like a good idea so let's plan on that. I may see other sections in dire need of some work during my hike on Thur. but also know the section you suggest is a great starting point.

    Pressley is not in bad shape due to very low traffic counts, and no bikes. Pretty simple answer to that non mystery. Trail users (all users) loosen soil, and that is available to be taken away in the next rain storm. Low traffic counts means little soil is being disturbed.

    For every photo of a water bar you can find that you think is working, I can provide 10 photos of failed waterbars, many of them causing severe erosion below them. It is not just the mountain bike trail building world that believes in rolling contour trail design, and rolling grade dips instead of waterbars, the rest of the trail building world believes the same. Go look at a modern built hiking only trail and you will see no water bars but instead grade reversals, and rolling dips as the water management structures.

    Quote Originally Posted by driftwood View Post
    Those are some good goals, but I thought we were going to try and develop a plan for how to best repair and subsequently maintain the Black Mountain trail with an emphasis on the section between Pressley Cove and Buckhorn Gap.

    I'm interested in stopping the erosion on the trail, not politics. We can talk theory all we want but eventually someone is going to have to move some dirt.

    Black Mountain trail does not meet mountain bikers current sustainability standards. We cannot relocate the trail or leave the corridor. Either we are willing to work with what we have, or we can continue to say the trail is inherently flawed and not worth the effort. If it is the later there is no need to go up there.

    I would suggest hiking up Pressley Cove trail. It is the fastest way to the main problem area and also shows that a trail can have alignment problems and old technology like waterbars but yet does not have to be an eroded mess. That trail is in excellent shape and would provide a nice contrast to what will be seen on Black.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snototter View Post
    DW, I am so proud..... it is like..like.. you are all grown up now... sniff sniff, (wiping tear from corner of my eye)

    PS Your plan looks great! Your dedication to this trail along with Pisgah has always been respected and appreciated.
    I appreciate the sentiment. However, this isn't something I just thought of. I've tried for years to get a trail maintenance plan developed (for Black as well as all of the PRD).

    I look forward to hearing other's thoughts but for now have to remain skeptical that any action will actually occur.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodman View Post
    For every photo of a water bar you can find that you think is working, I can provide 10 photos of failed waterbars, many of them causing severe erosion below them. It is not just the mountain bike trail building world that believes in rolling contour trail design, and rolling grade dips instead of waterbars, the rest of the trail building world believes the same. Go look at a modern built hiking only trail and you will see no water bars but instead grade reversals, and rolling dips as the water management structures.
    I was on the recently relocated Greybeard trail in Montreat yesterday. It uses waterbars and is new, sustainable trail construction.

    The Florence Preserve has some brand new trails that use waterbars.

    GSMNP is full of functioning waterbars.

    Of course, none of those trails allow bikes.

    I don't see rolling grade dips working on the steep pitches on Black without leaving the corridor. If they can work there, great. If not, waterbars will be needed.

    Also, in keeping with the historic nature and experience the trail provides tearing out hundreds of waterbars does not make sense and fears of such work is what makes people say "Don't Woody Pisgah"
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    Quote Originally Posted by sasquatch on 1206 View Post
    Very impressive Clay, sounds like a good plan to me.Funny how it looks like everyone rides around the rocks/hard part but they say they want it to remain technical.I'm curious as to when the last scheduled work day was on this particular part of Black?
    Welcome to our world. "We want technical trails" is all you hear, but the photos don't lie do they.

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    Nice initiative!

    Theres alot of work to be done but I would caution against trying to do too much as far as correcting the grade and losing the "Most Difficult/Pisgah Feel" of the trail. This is a MAJOR undertaking and some riders will be upset if their favorite features are taken away. For example, those failed water bars are great drops and hitting them at high speed is alot of fun for me. They're not doing the job they were intended for(moving water off the trail) but are now as important as a technical feature. Would it be possible to keep the use down that section but, bring in the trail corrider to force use into the technical stuff and prevent trail widening?

    Alot of the trail has eroded to a point that its in a "trough" i.e. below grade. Im wondering if the plan will include re-routing to avoid those sections and try to force use onto new/more sustainable trail.

    What Im concerned about is dumbing down the trail in the name of sustainability. Theres a way to preserve the awesomeness that is Blackl, while keeping it from washing out completely. Controlling traffic onto the trail bed and preventing "go arounds" on the technical sections could go along way as far as keeping it sustainable.

    Its going to be interesting to see how the balance between Gnar and Sustainability is kept.

    Nice work though!

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Banjopickin View Post
    Nice initiative!

    Theres alot of work to be done but I would caution against trying to do too much as far as correcting the grade and losing the "Most Difficult/Pisgah Feel" of the trail. This is a MAJOR undertaking and some riders will be upset if their favorite features are taken away. For example, those failed water bars are great drops and hitting them at high speed is alot of fun for me. They're not doing the job they were intended for(moving water off the trail) but are now as important as a technical feature. Would it be possible to keep the use down that section but, bring in the trail corrider to force use into the technical stuff and prevent trail widening?
    Absolutely. The trail is too wide. We need to get riders back on the trail. Those waterbars aren't going anywhere. If anything, more will be added.


    Alot of the trail has eroded to a point that its in a "trough" i.e. below grade. Im wondering if the plan will include re-routing to avoid those sections and try to force use onto new/more sustainable trail.
    Any new work cannot leave the existing corridor. Some of those places might see the tread moving up to the grade, like where my dog is in the one picture. Some of those places are going to require a lot of digging to get the water out of the troughs.

    What Im concerned about is dumbing down the trail in the name of sustainability. Theres a way to preserve the awesomeness that is Blackl, while keeping it from washing out completely. Controlling traffic onto the trail bed and preventing "go arounds" on the technical sections could go along way as far as keeping it sustainable.
    You aren't the only one concerned. We need to get the water off the trail but we don't need a flow trail up there.

    Once we get the water off we need to keep it off by doing regular, routine maintenance.
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    Many of the hiking only trails you refer to have installed waterbars for one of several reasons:
    -They think mtn bikes don't like them and they install them as a deterrent.
    -The hiking clubs building these trails are older folks and they just don't want to change their ways.
    -They don't know any better.

    For the record:
    I know the land manager for the Florance Preserve and he is frustrated with the CMC and their use of waterbars on trails there as he knows there is a better way. He has spoken to me at length about this. Hard to turn down the free labor however.
    I did a 3 day workshop for GSMNP a few years back and we dug out old failing waterbars and replaced them with rolling grade dips. I know the trails manager there and he reports the grade sips are working better with less need for cleaning.

    It is fine to have logs as drop offs when desired and we may install some additional ones serving as check dams or wood armored sections (if locust is more available than rock). That may be part of the plan.

    In referenced to the comments about "woody trail", go ride the steep drop on Burnt Mtn in DuPont. The land manager wanted to relocate that trail. I committed SORBA resources and organized all the workdays to rock amour that section instead of the relocation the land manager wanted. It is textured, has drop offs built with locust and is very stable (though we need to do more).

    I get that riders want to keep this trail "pisgah style". Those same riders need to get involved instead of just yakking away. You commented that mtn bikers are doing less work than other users. I don't believe that to be the case nationwide, in fact the opposite is true. There are tons of new trails and whole systems being built by mtn bikers in lots of places and the mtn bike community as a whole is working harder than other users groups. In Pisgah however, you are likely correct. But the current crew leaders have their hands full with other areas and other projects. As I noted in my goals, we need to identify and trail new crew leaders giving the tools to succeed.

    Quote Originally Posted by driftwood View Post
    I was on the recently relocated Greybeard trail in Montreat yesterday. It uses waterbars and is new, sustainable trail construction.

    The Florence Preserve has some brand new trails that use waterbars.

    GSMNP is full of functioning waterbars.

    Of course, none of those trails allow bikes.

    I don't see rolling grade dips working on the steep pitches on Black without leaving the corridor. If they can work there, great. If not, waterbars will be needed.

    Also, in keeping with the historic nature and experience the trail provides tearing out hundreds of waterbars does not make sense and fears of such work is what makes people say "Don't Woody Pisgah"

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    It is not as hard as you may think to get NEPA pushed through for relocation/re-alignments. FS can fast track any project they want to see happen. Trail relos happen via a CE (Categorical Exclusion) with a simple process of a biological review and culteral resources review of the flagline and then the District Rangers signs the CE. Thsi can happen in a few months if the FS sets it as a priority.

    All relo alignments (to better manage water) should include log or rock drop offs, rock armored sections and the like to keep the tech flavor. That is exactly why Pisgah SORBA is chasing grant money so when this is needed on trails we love, mtn biking community controls the process (from specifications to choosing the contractor) as opposed to the FS low bid and lowest common denominator contracts. The club up in Hburg VA has been doing just that for quite some time.

    That is the plan moving forward here and how we affect what Pisgah becomes in the future. If more folks get off thier collective asses and get to work, you control the end product though your hard work. When contractors are needed as the project needs are just too big (because mtn bikers have sat on their collective asses for way too long), the mtn bike comminity still has great influence due to controlling the contracting process.

    Quote Originally Posted by driftwood View Post
    Absolutely. The trail is too wide. We need to get riders back on the trail. Those waterbars aren't going anywhere. If anything, more will be added.



    Any new work cannot leave the existing corridor. Some of those places might see the tread moving up to the grade, like where my dog is in the one picture. Some of those places are going to require a lot of digging to get the water out of the troughs.



    You aren't the only one concerned. We need to get the water off the trail but we don't need a flow trail up there.

    Once we get the water off we need to keep it off by doing regular, routine maintenance.

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    Looks good, thanks for putting this together.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodman View Post
    It is not as hard as you may think to get NEPA pushed through for relocation/re-alignments. FS can fast track any project they want to see happen. Trail relos happen via a CE (Categorical Exclusion) with a simple process of a biological review and culteral resources review of the flagline and then the District Rangers signs the CE. Thsi can happen in a few months if the FS sets it as a priority.

    All relo alignments (to better manage water) should include log or rock drop offs, rock armored sections and the like to keep the tech flavor. That is exactly why Pisgah SORBA is chasing grant money so when this is needed on trails we love, mtn biking community controls the process (from specifications to choosing the contractor) as opposed to the FS low bid and lowest common denominator contracts. The club up in Hburg VA has been doing just that for quite some time.

    That is the plan moving forward here and how we affect what Pisgah becomes in the future. If more folks get off thier collective asses and get to work, you control the end product though your hard work. When contractors are needed as the project needs are just too big (because mtn bikers have sat on their collective asses for way too long), the mtn bike comminity still has great influence due to controlling the contracting process.
    What exactly are we trying to get done to Black Mtn. Trail? I'm getting confused here....

    Are we looking to maintain and repair what is there now or are we looking to relocate, realign, etc?

    Are we waiting for NEPA or are we looking to start digging and start making some improvements?

    Is PAS looking to spend their RTF money on Black instead of Spencer?

    Black mtn. is very low priority for the FS as most of the trail is nowhere near any water. Low priority for the FS does not mean it should be the same for mountain bikers.

    Snototter originally proposed trying to get out there and make some improvements to the trail asap. Now it is starting to sound a lot like "not worth the effort with the current alignment" again.
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    Black Mountain solutions

    I have yet to see a water bar in Pisgah that hasn't been ridden around.

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    The goal is to maintain what we can, where we can. Pretty simple. That involves using a range of techniques, some tried and tested and other others maybe new.

    The RTP (Recreational Trails Program) grant is for Spencer Relo work, but also basic maintenance of a large chuck of trail, this is not an either or situation but a both situation. It is a very large $ grant PAS has been awarded and not all of it will go to Spencer.

    You are correct, Black is not near water sources and thus lower on the priority scale. But you and others have been asking for this for some time (in your own words) and so we have now collectively made it a priority.

    It would be just plain stupid to get a group together soon and just go walk into the woods with tools and start digging away. The point of this planning phase is to do just that, plan. Yes, your document was a good "plan" but we need to take that off the paper and apply to the ground. Once we have looked at the site collectively, that combines with your notes, TMO for the trail, past knowledge if what works and what doesn't, and rider preferences for the trail to all come together and guide us moving forward.

    The FS has in fact talked about a parallel trail off the ridge and bench cut and keeping the current ridgeline trail for hiking only. I think it is a dumb idea on many levels.

    Will we look at some sections of Black and a small number of folks with hand tools will not be able to stabilize, I guess our hike on sat. will determine that. I say small numbers citing reports from Ryan who says in the past the average number for Lower Black workday is less than 5.

    We all are hoping many will step up in this new push and in fact we can really make a difference.




    Quote Originally Posted by driftwood View Post
    What exactly are we trying to get done to Black Mtn. Trail? I'm getting confused here....

    Are we looking to maintain and repair what is there now or are we looking to relocate, realign, etc?

    Are we waiting for NEPA or are we looking to start digging and start making some improvements?

    Is PAS looking to spend their RTF money on Black instead of Spencer?

    Black mtn. is very low priority for the FS as most of the trail is nowhere near any water. Low priority for the FS does not mean it should be the same for mountain bikers.

    Snototter originally proposed trying to get out there and make some improvements to the trail asap. Now it is starting to sound a lot like "not worth the effort with the current alignment" again.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbmb65 View Post
    I have yet to see a water bar in Pisgah that hasn't been ridden around.
    Exactly. Even hikers avoid water bars if possible, I have lots of photos of that.
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    The FS is on board. They may even join us on Sat.


    I would love to figure out a way to keep the gully and get it stabilized and ridable. Should we heli in some more rock? JK
    He/she who works the trails does so in their own image.

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