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  1. #1
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    Lower Trace Ridge Relocation FAQ's

    I just found this on the PAS web site.


    Let's keep it constructive Fellas

    Pisgah Area SORBA » Blog Archive » Lower Trace Ridge Relocation FAQ


    It seems like it comes down to if we want a voice in what is going to happen on Trace, then we are going to have to play the game. Otherwise the horsemen are going to make it exactly how they want it, lame. I'll play and do what I can to make it better than it would be otherwise. I hope you will too.

    Here we go....
    He/she who works the trails does so in their own image.

    Speed just slows me down...

  2. #2
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    Pack and Saddle Requirements

    I was trying to post up the Pack and Saddle requirements from the USFS but could not get the formatting right. If someone could, it would be appreciated.

    I heard Lower Trace was a Class II Pack and Saddle designation.

    After looking at the Class II designation for both Bicycles and Pack and Saddle, they seem pretty similar.
    He/she who works the trails does so in their own image.

    Speed just slows me down...

  3. #3
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    I just signed up to volunteer.

    If I can help, I am willing no matter if the trail is cut the way I want or not.

  4. #4
    drunken pirate
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    I hate to be a nit picker but the lower Trace Ridge reroute is very clearly a part of the Brushy Ridge logging project. It says so very clearly on page 3 of the Decision Notice. Yes, they cite impact to aquatic resources as the reason for that reroute but it is still very much a part of the logging project. Also, in the EA for the project on page 73 it states that the lower end of Trace Ridge will be used temporarily as a skid road, so the old trail is going to be used to pull timber out of the forest.... That is just what the documents say....

    I honestly do not think this reroute is inherently a bad thing. That stretch of trail is very bad and a hazard for horses. To me it is unfortunate that it takes a logging project to get it fixed and unfortunate that other trails will be lost and recreation greatly impacted as part of the same action.

    I'm not saying people shouldn't go out and help. I might go out for a day myself as I'd like to talk with the horse folk some....
    Last edited by driftwood; 10-03-2012 at 06:43 AM.
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  5. #5
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    Since we're picking nits ...

    First, thank you to kjlued for signing up to volunteer. We are currently in a period in which we will not be adding anyone to the list, so please sit tight for a couple of weeks -- we're working with the Forest Service on some back-end process issues before we include more folks. I will let you know as soon as we add you and anyone else who signed on after the initial sign-up period ended.

    driftwood, the reroute is not being built due to or as part of the Brushy Ridge logging -- in fact, what we're doing goes beyond the scope of the documentation you point out.

    What you didn't reference was page 32 of the EA, in which the hydrologists point out that "the Trace Ridge Trail is channeling sediment directly into the North Fork of the Mills River. Some of these sediments are being naturally filtered through vegetation and the impoundments created by beaver within the area, however, sediments are causing turbidity. The North Mills River trail is also a source of sediments but a cooperative project with NCWRC, Hendersonville Water Department and USFS would address issues associated with this trail in the fall of 2009 and spring of 2010."

    Obviously, that didn't happen, and so here we are in fall of 2012 with the same water resource problem.

    As you astutely note, the logging project scoping documents include the use of roughly the current trail alignment as a skid, and the Forest Service indicates that they would like for the last 1/4 mile -- the gully of red clay that's out there now -- to then be a "reroute" to solve the problem of sediment.

    So here's the way I read it, and the source of the FAQ as it is written: The FS, NCWRC and Hendo water (yes, that's my family's drinking water we're talking about) identified a problem. Lower Trace needs to be rerouted. Period. It's been on the books for 3+ years as an uncompleted project. Except for some USFS flagging (and some volunteer work by two PAS supporters to further pin flag a route), the project didn't even really get started.

    So that said, with Brushy Ridge the USFS saw an opportunity to solve a problem, using the logging project to reroute a bit of trail that's dumping into a river. However, and this is what I feel is the most important piece of the puzzle: we've all seen what happens when logging companies get to do reroutes. Does anyone want that here? Do we step away from a project that actually increases the scope of the reroute and increases the trail mileage in Pisgah? Because as it's written, the logging company will "realign" 400 yards at the base of Trace, turn it into a skid, and then re-seed it and walk away. That's not how I want my excellent experience of Trace Ridge to end.

    So no, driftwood, the work we're doing is not part of the logging project.

  6. #6
    drunken pirate
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    Okay, so even though this reroute is clearly listed as an action with the Brushy Ridge logging project and even though the old trail is going to be used to extract timber it has nothing to do with the logging project. Got it.

    I'm all for improving water quality. As soon as I'm done with work today I'm heading out to North Mills river to go fishing. Lots of sediment makes for bad fishing. I wonder how long until all the social fisherman trails off of 142 that dump sediment into the river are closed as also called for as part of Brushy Ridge? If we are going to fix this problem, then lets fix it all, not just the part we get to ride our bikes on. Incidentally, your family's water comes from above Trace Ridge
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by driftwood View Post
    I wonder how long until all the social fisherman trails off of 142 that dump sediment into the river are closed as also called for as part of Brushy Ridge?
    Pretty sure that's happening as per the Brushy Ridge Decision Notice. Look at page 3:

    Decommission 10 of 12 user-created access points
    and trails between North Fork Mills River and
    Hendersonville Reservoir Road (FSR 142) while
    ensuring the remaining two access points and trails
    are maintained to provide suitable access to the river.
    The two trails would be added to the Forest’s trail
    system. The longer trail (0.3 miles) just past the gate
    on FSR 142 would be maintained for foot, bike, and
    horse travel and the shorter trail (0.1 miles) would be
    maintained as foot trail. The shorter trail connects
    with the longer trail and eventually with Trail 353 on
    the North Fork Mills River.

  8. #8
    drunken pirate
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    Yeah, I know it is in there. But my question is when is that work going to happen? I'd assume it would be concurrent with the Trace reroute but I don't like to make assumptions. Trace Ridge is a small part of the problems that stretch of river faces.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by driftwood View Post
    But my question is when is that work going to happen?
    Ah. As far as I'm concerned that's anyone's guess. The Trace Ridge relo was supposed to happen in 2009, after all...

  10. #10
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    As far as social trails/off system trails, those are being noted in the trail assessment work currently conducted by WildSouth. As volunteer trail assessment teams are recording trail attributes along the official system trails, all social/of system trails are noted, with info concerning what feature the trails are leading to.

  11. #11
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    Chris et al...

    In my opinion, beating the water quality issue to death is NEVER going to convince the people who don't already understand it that a relocation is a good thing.

    The only thing that will is a re-location that creates a better riding experience that is consistent with the historic character of the trails in the region.

    Why don't we try focussing on how we are going to create a "Pisgah" trail (which, too me, means a rugged woods experience that creates a feeling of being part of nature rather than on a machine-built track) rather than why's, what for's, and water?

    Edit: Oh yeah, "rugged woods experience" means fun to ride, too. Forgot to emphasize that.

    Oh, and I plan on being at part of the upcoming work day. Mtbr users- don't know what I'm talking about? Make the minimal effort to be part of the official trail crew's communication. You would.
    Last edited by Mike Brown; 10-03-2012 at 06:10 PM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Brown View Post
    Chris et al...

    In my opinion, beating the water quality issue to death is NEVER going to convince the people who don't already understand it that a relocation is a good thing.

    The only thing that will is a re-location that creates a better riding experience that is consistent with the historic character of the trails in the region.

    Why don't we try focussing on how we are going to create a "Pisgah" trail (which, too me, means a rugged woods experience that creates a feeling of being part of nature rather than on a machine-built track) rather than why's, what for's, and water?

    Edit: Oh yeah, "rugged woods experience" means fun to ride, too. Forgot to emphasize that.

    Oh, and I plan on being at part of the upcoming work day. Mtbr users- don't know what I'm talking about? Make the minimal effort to be part of the official trail crew's communication. You would.
    Mike, that focus is happening. It's part of every discussion we've had about the trail, with Backcountry Horsemen and the Forest Service. And every discussion we've had with the Forest Service has ended with them reminding us that for all our talk about trail experience, they need to solve a resource problem.

    Look at it this way: The house is burning. The fire chief is asking bigger volunteer organizations to bring in hook-and-ladders, and smaller groups are providing everything from tanker trucks to fire extinguishers depending on their resources. And all the while, there's a gaggle of folks across the street who want to debate the color of the paint in the kitchen.

    I'm not trying to convince anyone, but neither am I going to hide the work we do. I believe we should stand behind the projects we take on, and to me part of that includes transparency about our decision making. I'll let the conspiracy theorists take it from there.

  13. #13
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    So when are they going to start work and close down the trail. I would like to ride it a few more times in its current form. I ride from my house at the end of North Mills for my morning rides before work so this is very close to home for me. Love that trail.

  14. #14
    drunken pirate
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    I went and rode Trace Ridge yesterday before going fishing and as a result I can confidently say that Trace Ridge sucks. It is way too eroded. It really doesn't matter what is done with the bottom section, almost anything will be better than what is there now.

    I still cannot get over the Brushy Ridge thing. It is not a good thing for the PRD.

    But I can get over machines being used to build that small stretch of trail. I very well may go out and help build one day if hand work is done.

    I'm also going to reiterate that I am all for protecting our resources, especially our water. I get it. I get it to the point that I know the Trace Ridge reroute is a small part of what needs to happen to protect that stretch of river. One of these days I'd like to actually catch a fish
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by backsattack View Post
    So when are they going to start work and close down the trail. I would like to ride it a few more times in its current form. I ride from my house at the end of North Mills for my morning rides before work so this is very close to home for me. Love that trail.
    It's going to be a while; we're nearly doubling the trail mileage down there, and as you can see in some of the messages here, it's going to take quite a bit of work to complete the reroute.

    My only request is try not to skid

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by driftwood View Post
    I went and rode Trace Ridge yesterday before going fishing and as a result I can confidently say that Trace Ridge sucks. It is way too eroded. It really doesn't matter what is done with the bottom section, almost anything will be better than what is there now.

    I still cannot get over the Brushy Ridge thing. It is not a good thing for the PRD.

    But I can get over machines being used to build that small stretch of trail. I very well may go out and help build one day if hand work is done.

    I'm also going to reiterate that I am all for protecting our resources, especially our water. I get it. I get it to the point that I know the Trace Ridge reroute is a small part of what needs to happen to protect that stretch of river. One of these days I'd like to actually catch a fish
    But backsattack loves it. Who's "right?"

    driftwood, I know how passionate you are about the trails. We all do. But it sounds very much like you and PRD staff need to have a sit-down conversation about your concerns -- in an official manner, not off the record. Set an agenda, send it to them ahead of time, and either get right with them or agree to disagree -- on Brushy Ridge, on the priorities they'd like to see, on their priorities for PAS and other volunteer groups.

    Regardless of what you may have experienced in the past, and regardless of what you all may think about PAS, we're not going in like cowboys and just doing what we want. Every step we take in the District is done with full consultation of the Forest Service. Some of you may object to working so closely with the land manager (armed rebellion?), and it's your right to do so. It's my very strong opinion, however, that it's only through dialog that we get to where we really need to be. And we have a long way to go.

  17. #17
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    Driftwood's and crossboy's statements reflect exactly what I'm trying to say:

    Lower Trace Ridge does suck right now, especially the last few hundred yards.

    So, in reality, it's cool we get the chance to re-route it, but the proof is going to be in the proverbial pudding. Let's create something that is in character of the surrounding area and matches the trail rating of Medium/ More difficult- not Most Difficult, but not Easy. Let's focus on this potential for positive riding improvements, not negative judgments or what some people (for right or wrong) can't seem to care about in relation to trails- water quality.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by backsattack View Post
    So when are they going to start work and close down the trail. I would like to ride it a few more times in its current form. I ride from my house at the end of North Mills for my morning rides before work so this is very close to home for me. Love that trail.
    Work has already started. As of right now the old trail will not close till the new one is opened from my understanding.
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  19. #19
    drunken pirate
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Brown View Post
    Driftwood's and crossboy's statements reflect exactly what I'm trying to say:

    Lower Trace Ridge does suck right now, especially the last few hundred yards.

    So, in reality, it's cool we get the chance to re-route it, but the proof is going to be in the proverbial pudding. Let's create something that is in character of the surrounding area and matches the trail rating of Medium/ More difficult- not Most Difficult, but not Easy. Let's focus on this potential for positive riding improvements, not negative judgments or what some people (for right or wrong) can't seem to care about in relation to trails- water quality.
    You are absolutely right. I'm hopeful that the trail PAS and the BCH chose to build is what you describe. I was going to walk the flag line last night but decided to wet a line instead as in the grand scheme of things it really doesn't matter.

    And crossboy, I talked officially at length with the former District Ranger about Brushy Ridge during the comment period.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by driftwood View Post
    You are absolutely right. I'm hopeful that the trail PAS and the BCH chose to build is what you describe. I was going to walk the flag line last night but decided to wet a line instead as in the grand scheme of things it really doesn't matter.

    And crossboy, I talked officially at length with the former District Ranger about Brushy Ridge during the comment period.
    Mike, that's the conversation we're having with BCHP every time we talk about Trace Ridge. That's why we're involved, even though it means we don't get maintenance done elsewhere in the District. I don't want this to happen without our input.

    Work has sort of started, and starts in earnest this weekend. A PAS Crew Leader will be on site tomorrow working with their Wash Creek trail boss to narrow in on the scope of the project, and come to an agreement on what we'd all like to see. There are sections back there that for sure we'd like to see hand-built, and there are some areas that will clearly need a machine. It's going to be an interesting project, to say the least.

    So that's the plan, driftwood: Hand-clear the corridor, starting this weekend. Saw what needs to be sawed. Scope out the final alignment. Cut some tread by hand. Work with BCHP to identify a volunteer (hopefully) operator, and rent a machine appropriate for the work -- appropriate for the type of work. Hand finish.

    The only thing we don't have is a timeline, and that will largely depend on how many volunteers PAS and BCHP bring to the table. Heck, if we have a huge turnout for a few weeks, maybe a machine won't be necessary and we can all go clear some drains on Black by December ...

    Whether you spoke to Randy is, quite frankly, immaterial at this point. In the hierarchy of the Forest Service, District Rangers wield enormous responsibility and influence. While some of what came before would obviously be preserved, I would think it's obvious by now that with a new Ranger comes new discussion, new priorities. That was my message to Ben as well: What Randy and John might have said in the past may or may not hold true today.

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