Results 1 to 12 of 12
  1. #1
    Loser
    Reputation: Jisch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    4,418

    Blocking/preventing braids

    There's a thread over at one of the local boards about stopping trail braiding at a few popular spots. It really is amazing how quickly trail braids appear at some of the more heavily ridden spots - EVEN WHEN THERE IS ALREADY A "GO AROUND"! I've done and seen the branches and logs across the braid to block it out, but those seem only marginally successful at stopping it from happening - especially in the long term.

    What are some good strategies for preventing trail braiding? I've seen the pics from Vietnam in MA with rocks on the sides of the trail, I'd be interested to see if that's successful, but even if it is, that's a lot of effort.

    There was talk about erecting signs at strategic places reminding people to stay on the trail. That sounds like a good idea, but I wonder how long the signs would be around.

    Any ideas?
    John
    Big Strings, Big Wheels, The Jisch Blog

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    421
    Three things to think about when trying to close braided trails.

    1) Try to address the reason people are choosing to leave the trail. Is there a mud hole, a log or some other obstacle they are trying to avoid? Fixing the problem may be all that's required. If they are trying to avoid an expert obstacle with an alternate easy line nearby, consider making the easy line the main trail and leave the expert obstacle as an alternate line. Except on trails clearly intended for experts, any expert obstacle should be the alternate line not the main trail.

    2) Physically block the alternate trail in a way to make it difficult to reopen. Very large objects like rocks or large logs do a good job of blocking a trail because the average group of riders will be unlikely to have the tools or numbers to move the obstacles. Lacking large obstacles, place smaller obstacles but wire them together as you place them. Use the thin brown wire used to make floral arrangements because it is hard to see, poses little risk if buried deep in a brush pile and will eventually rust away. Make the top layer of stuff in a blocking brush pile something scratchy to discourage people reaching inside to remove the wires.

    3) In addition to physically closing the alternate trail also visually close it. Try to make it look like the trail never existed rather than the users seeing an obvious trail with brush piles in it. Oftentimes it takes only a little extra effort to visually block a trail.

    Do NOT line the trail with rocks as this will often cause trail drainage problems and violates the idea of a visual closure. The combination of fixing the underlying problem, doing a hard-to-remove physical closure and a visual closure will usually do the trick.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    788
    Good luck with that.

    It's a common problem. Putting a few sticks to block the braid usually doesn't last. You need to put something really heavy, that requires three or four people to move. Such as a large log or boulder. Then fill the area with soft duff and organic matter to slow them down if they try to get around the blockage.

    If you put something that one person can move...that usually doesn't last cause they will move it quite easily. I usually also put the word out at the trailhead that if you see anyone moving the blockages. Please tell them to stop and explain why.

    Braids could be a sign that there is something wrong with the trail at that location...are they avoiding something such as baby heads or roots, or is there a flow problem? Most times it's people who are racing their friends and trying to cut corners to pass them.

    We have sometimes resort to lay down logs then pound old sign post sections alongside and nail the log to the sign posts...not very pretty but it gets the message across.

    A simple sign such as "ride the line...keep single track single" was also used but some people seem to have trouble with reading comprehension. But it may help the clueless get a hint.
    Michael Vitti
    CLIMB President
    www.CLIMBonline.org
    www.IMBA.com
    NY State Trails Council Member

  4. #4
    Loser
    Reputation: Jisch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    4,418
    Thanks, some good ideas here. After reading through these (and others) I think its a case by case deal. The ones I'm most concerned and frustrated about are the cases where there is an "expert" line, a clear go around and still people braid it out to create three or four ADDITIONAL go arounds. Makes me nutz.

    Thanks for the insight - sounds like a very common problem.
    John
    Big Strings, Big Wheels, The Jisch Blog

  5. #5
    lurkio
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    519
    I think a lot of the time it is novices who inadvertantly create new lines (braids?) due to not looking ahead, lack of confidence, knowledge etc, and taking what they see as a safe/easy/not so muddy line. The new trail then gets used more and moreand becomes harder to repair. I suppose you would need to identify problems before they occur, and we all know how easy that is.
    We went, earth, sky, earth sky, earth skyambulance

  6. #6
    Loser
    Reputation: Jisch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    4,418
    One of the most popular riding spots around here is filthy with braids (we call them PPs). The amazing thing is how quickly the braids get so worn in so that you can't tell which one was the trail and which one was a braid. I guess its an ongoing process.

    John
    Big Strings, Big Wheels, The Jisch Blog

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    10,971
    Create a better path that most will recognize as the proper path.

    Every thing else is just a bandaid solution.

    Also ride the very edge of a deep path rather than the middle this will widen the path and make it more appetizing to novice riders.

    Not all braiding is bad cause it does provide a means for passing, both slower riders, but hikers horses etc.

    One thing I hate is the concept that all paths must be absolutely singletrack with no options for anyone.

  8. #8
    Loser
    Reputation: Jisch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    4,418
    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott
    Create a better path that most will recognize as the proper path.

    One thing I hate is the concept that all paths must be absolutely singletrack with no options for anyone.
    While I understand your logic, I suspect everyone's vision of "a better path" is different. If everyone stayed on the path as it exists its easier to maintain. Trust me around here in CT, there's very little actual singletrack, most has been blown out by MXers and quads at some point. Its the 9 different paths that drives me crazy.
    Big Strings, Big Wheels, The Jisch Blog

  9. #9
    local trails rider
    Reputation: perttime's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    11,772
    I think local conditions make a big difference. Where I ride, the existing trail usually is the only obvious way to go on. You need a good reason to get off the "beaten path" because the vegetation blocks the way or at least makes it hard to see what exactly is on the ground.

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    149
    if you are looking for help doing some trail work PM me. I'm usually pretty busy but I would be willing to sacrifice a Saturday or Sunday ride to get out and work on the trails. Ive been noticing what you are talking about in case a lot and West Hartford too. I ride a lot of the parks in the area so I wouldn't mind chipping in for a couple afternoons here and there.

    Steve

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation: California L33's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    699
    I guess the first thing to ask yourself is- is this a bad thing? Will this really turn into a 4 lane super-highway if I don't "fix it." Will the hill erode away to nothing?

    As other have said- there's usually a reason for it- muck, obstacles, etc. It might actually be better to re-route the trail.

    Someone suggested using wire that rusts away as a fix- bad idea. If someone falls or reaches in (or some animal goes through it) do you really want them cut with your rusty metal and possibly dying of tetanus? You might not like the braids, but a randomly applied death penalty seems a bit too much.
    To the troll mobile, away...

  12. #12
    Loser
    Reputation: Jisch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    4,418

    Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by jeepmtnbiker
    if you are looking for help doing some trail work PM me. I'm usually pretty busy but I would be willing to sacrifice a Saturday or Sunday ride to get out and work on the trails. Ive been noticing what you are talking about in case a lot and West Hartford too. I ride a lot of the parks in the area so I wouldn't mind chipping in for a couple afternoons here and there.

    Steve
    I'm going to set up some trail maintenance at the Snip to start with. I'll definitely post it up - keep an eye on the CT board.

    John
    Big Strings, Big Wheels, The Jisch Blog

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •