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  1. #1
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    Who destroyed the one somewhat challenging section on the DRT and other Bend trails?

    Rode the river trail yesterday for the first time of the season and was very disappointed to see that someone had filled in a rooty rocky section of trail just below Dillon Falls. Does anyone know who is responsible? Was this done under any authority? Or was this just one selfish rider who could not tolerate having to walk for 10 feet over the course of a 15 mile trail so others who enjoy a challenge could continue to do so. I understand the nature of the DRT but whats next? Are we going to see jackhammers out removing the rock near lava island and meadow camp? Year after year I watch challenging sections of our trail be removed to increase "flow" or some other BS (COD is a prime example). You could literally ride a hundred miles around Bend and never encounter a single technical section if you wanted. Why is there an assault on the few rocks and roots we have to make things interesting. Riders in Bend are a diverse group and I see the trails becoming more and more similar every year. Please stop neutering our trails. I attend several work parties with COTA each year and have been instructed to remove every root and rock in sight. I have begrudgingly obliged because the supervisors have obviously put in more work than I have but I am wondering if people like myself have a voice on the COTA board. We are building and maintaining mountain bike trails right?

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    It is sad that COTA is going the direction of everything "freeride" ( wide swoopy trails) which is a shame. I thought that was what Funner and Tildy Winks was all about but it seems to be carrying over to all trails. Bend Parks and Rec is doing the same with the hiking trails around town. Filling in and smoothing out. As far as a voice you could go to the meetings. Last Thursday of every month.

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    First off, whining and complaining in an internet forum isn't going to get you anywhere, I suggest you do as Metal suggested and bring your frustrations up at the next COTA monthly member meeting. Check COTA's website for all the details.

    While I can't speak of the COTA work parties you went on where you were instructed to remove every rock and root in sight, but generally speaking this is not COTA's policy. Maybe this was more specific to the trails you were working on. The accepted rule of thumb for rocks is that if they move, they get taken out, otherwise they are just going to eventually get kicked up and knocked out by someone riding over them with the potential of the rocks damaging someones bike or person. Then we are going to have someone else on here whining about his/her damaged bike/body and why COTA didn't remove that rock!

    Regarding both of your comments regarding your "voice" or the "direction" of the trails, COTA just like the rest of the World is run by the people that show up, and not just to a few work parties a year, but who continually show up and put in hundreds of hours each year so you can go ride trails free of charge. Just like the bikes we ride today are different (better) than those of past, so are the trails, call it progression, evolution whatever you want to call it, its not going to stop.

    Furthermore COTA is entirely volunteer driven, they do not get paid anything to build or maintain the trails other than the satisfaction of being able to enjoy them, so instead of whining and complaining maybe you all should be thankful that you have hundreds of miles of trails to ride, and go ride your bikes.

    Peace,
    Joe

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    I think the "freeride" comment is a lot off-base. I don't think the OP was intended to say that the trails were becoming "freeride," he was saying they were being dumbed down. I tend to agree COD below the rim rock is messed up. The lines are all wonky, it should have never been touched. That bypass section on COD is rad though.

    My guess is that the people don't like tiddly, funner, whoops because they lack the skills and it's easier to complain about those damn freeriders than trying something new. There's enough trails for everyone to ride what they like. Harden up.

  5. #5
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    The Deschutes River Trail is not maintained by COTA. COTA might be asked to come in and help with a downed tree now and then, but that is about it. The Deschutes River Trail is a designated hiking trail and is maintained to be in great condition for hikers. The actual biking trail is 10 yards up from the river and at times is shared with a horse path.

    Your voice is always important and deserved to be heard. Going to the monthly meetings and discussing your concerns is a great idea. The next monthly meeting is April 25th from 7:00 to 8:00pm at Brooks Resources, 409 NW Franklin Ave.
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  6. #6
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    Thoughts...

    COTA doesn't play a role in the maintenance of the DRT, and I've heard of no COTA work on DRT this season or over the winter. I believe the section in question is maintained by CORK (runners) they do a great job of maintaining the DRT and North Fork trails for their intended multi-user designation. COTA appreciates their efforts.

    Some positive and negative reviews of actual COTA work. We do our best to log all our work hours on our website. Not every thing done in the forest is under our guidance obviously. We aim to please of course, we realize we're not going to please a 100% but the goal is to maintain the trails to their intended usage.

    The COTA board, our crew leaders and the adopters are a very diverse group of rider types and maintain the trails for what they want to ride. Whoops and T'winks of course are going to be maintained for different rider and experience than say Farewell or Helipad. COTA will encourage adopters to address maintenance issues when user-based erosion or water-based erosion begins to change the character of the trail. This is obviously subjective, but case for doing nothing typically parallels the attitudes that fear change. We do not make changes to a trail without careful thought and planning.

    The COTA board is guided by our mission of trail stewardship which is managing a trail for its intended use and experience. Advocating for no change is not really maintaining no change, at some point it no longer becomes a trail and just becomes a blown out road. We are grateful to live in an area with such a tradition of stewardship. As a direct result of COTA's efforts many of us moved here and now we are enjoying our "first-world problem" of whether too much trail work was done. Love Bend.

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    I have nothing but respect for those can dedicate countless hours to trail maintenance and building. The 3 or 4 days a year I go out are a drop in the bucket and this is why I follow direction when I'm out there, regardless of my opinion. However, the idea that there is this unstoppable "evolution" aimed at making all trails besides twinks, funner and whoops perfectly doable on a cross bike, I don't buy. If this were the case, destinations like Moab and the North Shore are doomed. I guess the main point of my post was to ask whether or not this is a discussion going on at COTA. It seems like we have leadership on the buff trail front and the jump trail front (both of which I love and help with when I can) but is there anyone in COTA pushing to build (and keep what we have) technical trail in the area. I'm not one for the politics part, but I would love to put some sweat into that cause. On a side note, I agree with KW, the re route on COD is awesome. All the rock patio work on the rest, I think, really detracts from what that trail was.

  8. #8
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    I have been doing a lot of work with COTA over the last year - and it's quite a subjective thing in terms of building new trails from what I see. Each crew leaders goes about it differently.

    If you ride out at Maston, there are sections that are rocky as hell, and others directly next to that which are smooth as silk. This lies in who built the trail. Typically a work party aims to finish a section of trail, and they are not going to be as anal as one person who goes out on his own to build new trail. Even if a crew leader wants something done a certain way - you then have 10 people spread out over a couple hundred yards who are then using their own subjective eye.

    When I was working on NEW trails out there about a month ago, usually a crew leader would instruct us to test out any rocks on the trail, and if they are loose - remove them. If they don't budge, leave them.

    There are others who remove every single rock along the trail. The idea here is that you want people to pack the trail down and stay on a line the first year or 2, and eventually rocks will show up on the trail. They are right below the surface and soon erosion and use of the trail will uncover them.

    There is a difference between technical section and random root/rock however. For instance on Phil's trail near the trailhead, if there is a rock in the center of the trail (which is 99.9% smooth), people go around it. If you have noticed, Phil's is very wide in many spots, and you could argue that removing the stray rock will keep the trail singletrack. There are other sections on Phil's like the big rock outcropping (with the optional gap) and there are giant rocks all over. Nobody is going around removing any of those rocks. It's a legit technical section.

    If you look at the open letter to the forest service from COTA a couple months ago you will see that they specifically wanted to keep COD a harder trail, etc. There is no dialogue about making trail easier. If you look up the COTA trail standards on the web, you will see what each trail designation will show, and trail adopters need to follow that.

    I love technical sections personally. I know some people don't like them at all.

    With that said, nobody at COTA is actively dumbing down trails.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by sketchbook View Post
    I have been doing a lot of work with COTA over the last year - and it's quite a subjective thing in terms of building new trails from what I see. Each crew leaders goes about it differently.

    If you ride out at Maston, there are sections that are rocky as hell, and others directly next to that which are smooth as silk. This lies in who built the trail. Typically a work party aims to finish a section of trail, and they are not going to be as anal as one person who goes out on his own to build new trail. Even if a crew leader wants something done a certain way - you then have 10 people spread out over a couple hundred yards who are then using their own subjective eye.

    When I was working on NEW trails out there about a month ago, usually a crew leader would instruct us to test out any rocks on the trail, and if they are loose - remove them. If they don't budge, leave them.

    There are others who remove every single rock along the trail. The idea here is that you want people to pack the trail down and stay on a line the first year or 2, and eventually rocks will show up on the trail. They are right below the surface and soon erosion and use of the trail will uncover them.

    There is a difference between technical section and random root/rock however. For instance on Phil's trail near the trailhead, if there is a rock in the center of the trail (which is 99.9% smooth), people go around it. If you have noticed, Phil's is very wide in many spots, and you could argue that removing the stray rock will keep the trail singletrack. There are other sections on Phil's like the big rock outcropping (with the optional gap) and there are giant rocks all over. Nobody is going around removing any of those rocks. It's a legit technical section.

    If you look at the open letter to the forest service from COTA a couple months ago you will see that they specifically wanted to keep COD a harder trail, etc. There is no dialogue about making trail easier. If you look up the COTA trail standards on the web, you will see what each trail designation will show, and trail adopters need to follow that.

    I love technical sections personally. I know some people don't like them at all.

    With that said, nobody at COTA is actively dumbing down trails.
    One additional thought on this. One of our COTA leaders shared some really good information on this with me today. First, the trails like the DRT and COD are considered "Classic" trails and are quite old. Therefore, over time the characteristics of these types of trails tend to change due to erosion from rain, snow, and just plain usage. As the trail steward for Phil's, I like to add good dirt, not duff to the trail during the Fall in sections that need added material due to erosion and usage. This sometimes results in folks complaining that I am "dumbing" down the trail. This is not at all the case. This is pure maintenance and helps preserve the tread for long term use.

    Over time trails lose 4-6 inches of dirt in some sections. Just think of the rocks on Paul's Trail (Helipad) and COD as good examples of this. They get more and more exposed each year. These changes are gradual. Then the COTA trail steward and/or work crew goes in and adds dirt or re-routes the section in order to preserve the trail. Unfortunately, this results in complaints and also just as many kudos. I have been a steward for four years now and am still learning about proper trail maintenance and building. Folks think that this is a really simple and easy process. I would say it is far from that. A lot of experience and dare I say "artistry" goes into trail building and maintenance. We are fortunate to have some very experienced folks leading COTA. Most of them have 10-20+ years of experience working the dirt! Amazing.

    Happy Riding!! Come join us for Spring Fling in June (Central Oregon Trail Alliance ? Mountain Biking Trails Bend Sisters Oregon, Trail Maps Information).

    Cheers
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  10. #10
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    IMO, the term "Dumbing Down" is a misnomer, I like to use "Sterilize".

    Willem3 brings up a point that I've often wondered about. Why maintain a trail? I understand that a very large percentage of the trails that we ride are multiuse trails and need to be maintained this way, but why not let some trails go completely raw?

    My absolute favorite trails (Wright Meadow, Craggy Peak, Cussed Hollow) are open to motos and with the exception of clearing blow down, I don't think they have seen a rake, shovel, puloski or grub hoe in years. A large percentage of the trails are fall line and I'd bet in the wetter months there is a torrent flowing down them. Over the years, the motos have basically dug the trails into a large trench, someplace are easily 3 feet deep. Iíve ridden these trails with dozens of people and Iím fairly certain that most have thoroughly enjoyed them, at least everybody is whooping and hollering with huge smiles.
    I only ride bikes to fill the time when I'm not skiing.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldHouseMan View Post
    IMO, the term "Dumbing Down" is a misnomer, I like to use "Sterilize".

    Willem3 brings up a point that I've often wondered about. Why maintain a trail? I understand that a very large percentage of the trails that we ride are multiuse trails and need to be maintained this way, but why not let some trails go completely raw?

    My absolute favorite trails (Wright Meadow, Craggy Peak, Cussed Hollow) are open to motos and with the exception of clearing blow down, I don't think they have seen a rake, shovel, puloski or grub hoe in years. A large percentage of the trails are fall line and I'd bet in the wetter months there is a torrent flowing down them. Over the years, the motos have basically dug the trails into a large trench, someplace are easily 3 feet deep. Iíve ridden these trails with dozens of people and Iím fairly certain that most have thoroughly enjoyed them, at least everybody is whooping and hollering with huge smiles.
    The only maintenance I need is blowdown removal. I could not agree more OHM!!!
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  12. #12
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    Here are a few reasons.

    1. the majority of people i know DON'T want to ride moto tracks.
    2. Forest Service/BLM entrusts trails to org's like COTA. If you want to keep bikers on trails and you want to build new one's regularly, you need to maintain the current trails by the standards they require.
    3. Some trails start out as roads. FUN! Not. It's very labor intensive converting a road to a nice trail.

    There are always going to be opinions on what is good and what is bad maintenance. That's just the way it is.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldHouseMan View Post
    IMO, the term "Dumbing Down" is a misnomer, I like to use "Sterilize".

    Willem3 brings up a point that I've often wondered about. Why maintain a trail? I understand that a very large percentage of the trails that we ride are multiuse trails and need to be maintained this way, but why not let some trails go completely raw?

    My absolute favorite trails (Wright Meadow, Craggy Peak, Cussed Hollow) are open to motos and with the exception of clearing blow down, I don't think they have seen a rake, shovel, puloski or grub hoe in years. A large percentage of the trails are fall line and I'd bet in the wetter months there is a torrent flowing down them. Over the years, the motos have basically dug the trails into a large trench, someplace are easily 3 feet deep. Iíve ridden these trails with dozens of people and Iím fairly certain that most have thoroughly enjoyed them, at least everybody is whooping and hollering with huge smiles.
    Well said couldn't agree more.

    I will add, that while I agree trails even "classic" trails need maintenance they need intelligent thoughtful maintenance from the perspective of an avid mountain biker. I think I am speaking for many riders when I say that simply filling in rocky, rooty, or otherwise challenging terrain because it was not that way originally is just dumb. There are many ways to preserve a trail, prevent it from widening etc than just simply filling it in. Furthermore, filling it in gives the green light to other "well intentioned" riders to do their own rogue maintenance of a similar nature and all this collectively leads to OUR trails becoming sterilized. So stop!

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    Quote Originally Posted by big JC View Post
    Well said couldn't agree more.

    I will add, that while I agree trails even "classic" trails need maintenance they need intelligent thoughtful maintenance from the perspective of an avid mountain biker. I think I am speaking for many riders when I say that simply filling in rocky, rooty, or otherwise challenging terrain because it was not that way originally is just dumb. There are many ways to preserve a trail, prevent it from widening etc than just simply filling it in. Furthermore, filling it in gives the green light to other "well intentioned" riders to do their own rogue maintenance of a similar nature and all this collectively leads to OUR trails becoming sterilized. So stop!
    First, Big JC.... COTA trail crews leaders and volunteers are "Avid Mountain Bikers". Second, if you think that all we do is add dirt and fill in you are clearly not well informed or experienced with trail work. There is a lot we do that you and other riders don't even notice when riding the trail. Feel free to join us for a work party or at a COTA meeting. Also, Central Oregon dirt is very unique and each year in Spring we spend countless hours removing the damage caused by riders who hit the trail too early and create ruts, wider trails, and other damage.

    Thanks for your input.....
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    Quote Originally Posted by sketchbook View Post
    Here are a few reasons.

    1. the majority of people i know DON'T want to ride moto tracks.
    2. Forest Service/BLM entrusts trails to org's like COTA. If you want to keep bikers on trails and you want to build new one's regularly, you need to maintain the current trails by the standards they require.
    3. Some trails start out as roads. FUN! Not. It's very labor intensive converting a road to a nice trail.

    There are always going to be opinions on what is good and what is bad maintenance. That's just the way it is.
    +1!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by willem3 View Post
    First, Big JC.... COTA trail crews leaders and volunteers are "Avid Mountain Bikers". Second, if you think that all we do is add dirt and fill in you are clearly not well informed or experienced with trail work. There is a lot we do that you and other riders don't even notice when riding the trail. Feel free to join us for a work party or at a COTA meeting. Also, Central Oregon dirt is very unique and each year in Spring we spend countless hours removing the damage caused by riders who hit the trail too early and create ruts, wider trails, and other damage.

    Thanks for your input.....
    I am well aware of the nuances of Bend area dirt and damage done by wet riding. I am also aware of and have tremendous respect for what COTA does. I was speaking specifically to the idea of filling in trails over where rocks and roots have been exposed. Obviously we all have our opinions on what a trail should be. It has been mine (and obviously others) observation that the direction of some trail maintenance is to "dumb them down". It has been my personal observation that in high use trail area's the maintenance increasingly has gone the way of appeasing the least common denominator. I don't think this is to the benefit any "avid mountain biker", quite the contrary.
    Last edited by WHALENARD; 04-12-2013 at 06:27 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by big JC View Post
    I am well aware of the nuances of Bend area dirt and damage done by wet riding. I am also aware of and have tremendous respect for what CODA does. I was speaking specifically to the idea of filling in trails over where rocks and roots have been exposed. Obviously we all have our opinions on what a trail should be. It has been mine (and obviously others) observation that the direction of some trail maintenance is to "dumb them down". It has been my personal observation that in high use trail area's the maintenance increasingly has gone the way of appeasing the least common denominator. I don't think this is to the benefit any "avid mountain biker", quite the contrary.
    I would highly recommend that everyone watches the following documentary (available on Netflix):

    Pedal Driven

    This will educate everyone on why organizations like COTA and others are so highly valuable. The relationship between the Forest Service/BLM and trail builders is a critical one. No doubt COTA has to balance the difficulty levels of trails with the desires of these two organizations. The key is that we need a nice mix of trail types. I too enjoy trails like COD, Funner, Tiddlywinks, and others. The classic trails like the DRT and Phil's just need regular maintenance. As an example, I added dirt to a semi-rocky section two years ago and received complaints on this forum. Funny thing is that section is riding really nicely now. The added dirt settled in and the technical nature returned better than before. The snow and moisture did its job perfectly. If I had not done that maintenance, the section would be in horrible shape today.

    I understand the argument from both sides. That being said, this will always be a point of contention. Happy Riding!
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  18. #18
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    I don't particularly enjoy riding in 3' deep moto trenches.

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    I like it all (and I'll really miss that rock move on DRT). One of my gripes is people that gripe that every trail does not suit them. Ride them all. I don't want every trail to be built to the same standard. This is diversity that I can REALLY celebrate!

    And, of course, go COTA! Don't forget that complainers tend to complain, while happy riders just tend to ride happily without complaining on internet forums. Definitely the majority.
    The drive towards achievement and success is the motive power of civilization.

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    yawn

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    If it was a short 10' section over a 15 mile trail, then what is the big loss?? Surely you didn't ride 15 miles of hiking path just get in 10' of good technical trail.

    A trail should keep its general characteristic for the entire distance. You don't take a beginner trail and throw in random black diamond sections, and for the same reason you don't take a freeride trail and throw in long XC climbs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kosmo View Post
    I like it all (and I'll really miss that rock move on DRT). One of my gripes is people that gripe that every trail does not suit them. Ride them all. I don't want every trail to be built to the same standard. This is diversity that I can REALLY celebrate!

    And, of course, go COTA! Don't forget that complainers tend to complain, while happy riders just tend to ride happily without complaining on internet forums. Definitely the majority.
    +1!!!!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by rob_co2 View Post
    If it was a short 10' section over a 15 mile trail, then what is the big loss?? Surely you didn't ride 15 miles of hiking path just get in 10' of good technical trail.

    A trail should keep its general characteristic for the entire distance. You don't take a beginner trail and throw in random black diamond sections, and for the same reason you don't take a freeride trail and throw in long XC climbs.
    No sh*t!!! Well said!
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    Quote Originally Posted by rob_co2 View Post
    If it was a short 10' section over a 15 mile trail, then what is the big loss?? Surely you didn't ride 15 miles of hiking path just get in 10' of good technical trail.

    A trail should keep its general characteristic for the entire distance. You don't take a beginner trail and throw in random black diamond sections, and for the same reason you don't take a freeride trail and throw in long XC climbs.
    Who are you to gauge the "loss" or value of that section to another rider? There are trails where just the removal of a SINGLE root, one single root ruined the characteristic of on entire section of trail. There are threads on here dedicated to just that, the removal of one root. Obviously such things are very important to riders that look forward to specific sections that they have ridden for a long time. Then somebody comes along and changes it, usually making it easier to ride for themselves. Of coarse this is going to piss off other trail users. How could it not? Were not talking about building sections of trail and throwing xc in with freeride so take your useless analogies somewhere else.

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    Quote Originally Posted by big JC View Post
    Who are you to gauge the "loss" or value of that section to another rider? There are trails where just the removal of a SINGLE root, one single root ruined the characteristic of on entire section of trail. There are threads on here dedicated to just that, the removal of one root. Obviously such things are very important to riders that look forward to specific sections that they have ridden for a long time. Then somebody comes along and changes it, usually making it easier to ride for themselves. Of coarse this is going to piss off other trail users. How could it not? Were not talking about building sections of trail and throwing xc in with freeride so take your useless analogies somewhere else.
    Go have a beer and chill!!!
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