Backcountry trail scouting and building?
A small group of interested individuals are looking at connecting two trails in Northern NM and Southern CO for one heck of an epic loop. Most of the current path is a game trail or that beaten down by cattle and we are looking for safer passage off the ridge down into the meadow. I have been in contact with some of the land managers and they seem willing to allow the creation of a trail if we were to take such an effort on.
I understand the logistics of trail building when the truck is a few miles off the road, but here we have no roads where vehicle traffic is an option. Even 4-wheelers have a difficult time getting back in the area where we are looking at building. From a logistics standpoint how does one take on a backcountry effort.
From my perspective we would require.
Scouting and planning the route.
Ensuring safe passage from off flat mtn. down into Rio Chama.
Method of hauling in/out all tools and supplies for several days including food.
Means of attracting and retaining volunteers.
Means of supplying all volunteers with tools required.
What else am I missing? or should consider?
I at least have the water figured out for approximatly 20-25 people for 5-7 days.
How far in do you have to go?
Check out SCA book
The book speaks at length of setting up a remote camp for trail work parties.
Enjoy your back country adventure.
Anywheres from 15-25 miles depending upon what section of the trail we are talking about.
Originally Posted by bsieb
Nearest town would be Chama NM .
When completed each section would qualify as an epic in its own right and linking the two only adds to the experience.
One option would be to only use mountain bike volunteers and have them ride to the work site. The farther they have to ride, the less work will get done. This usually also means you will only get in one day of work on a weekend because Sundays are usually only half days.
The only other real option is to backpack in and camp near the work site. This means weekend work sessions are usually impractical, because one day is used to hike in and one to hike out. A lot of trail organizations use professional trail crews to do backcountry work, because they can hike in and work for a week at a time. You might be able to get a trail grant to help pay for the professional trail crew.
Horsepacking to get the tools and food into the work site is a good option. Sometimes you can get a house organization to do this on a volunteer basis or professional horsepacking is not terribly expensive.
Plan on spending lots of time on trail layout. The more carefully the trail is laidout, the less work it will require to build. A well-designed trail will also require less trail maintenance, which seeing how remote this trail is, it will probably rarely get any. This would be another advantage of working with mountain bike volunteers. When maintenance is requiremed, like when there is deadfall across the trail, someone can bike in and fix it.
What about motorcycles...or those fat tired (ATV type tires) dirtbikes that would track better and leave less trace but not leave ruts like a an MX or enduro would. Are you going to build your way OUT to your destination or start in the middle or what? If you start just beyond the beginning and leave it unbuilt, it would be more likely that tools and materials would not be messed with as you go further and further. Can you use a temporary wide trail (4 wheeler/4X4) to get your stuff where you need it by running parallel and cut in every so often to get your stuff in there? Maybe fab a narrow 4 wheel cart to move the big stuff that will fit on a new, wider trail and let nature and the natural riding line narrow up the trail with time. Drag the tools out one time and bury/camouflage them and leave them out there during the week. I assume you and others be doing this weekly. so all you'd really need to bring out is water/food/and chainsaws. That, and/ or B.O.B. trailers and big backpacks or racks.
Know anyone in the Sheriff's Dept./National Guard/State Forest Dept. that want's to do some "training rescue missions" with a whirlybird to bring stuff out and drop at a key location?
IF YOU CAN READ THIS, YOU'RE NOT RIDING (or building)!
I have to hire a helicopter every year to suppy a backcountry hut and the National Guard will not compete with private contractors when it comes to heli time. I've talked to them several times and that is the response I get every time I talk to them. If you can get your congressman, senator, or someone i the govenors office to work that for you it might make a difference.
As far as remote trail building sites go the people who have this down pat is the Colorado Trail Foundation. You should talk to them. Mostly, it's best to set up a base camp and have your crew stay on site rather than go in and out. If you can get a horse packer to haul stuff, that would be great and I'd guess finding a packer in N Colorado/S New Mexico wouldn't be too hard.
Also, I think how you go about building a trail would would have to be included in the NEPA work so yo have to have it all planned out when yo go though all that process.
Use biker/workers and bob the supplies in stages? Seems possible to raise a cadre of dedicated vols who could devote a week or two. How much actual dirt moving construction needs to be done?
Originally Posted by crux