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  1. #1
    Builder of Trails
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    Which do you prefer?

    And why?

    Which do you prefer?-oliver-before.jpg

    Which do you prefer?-oliver-after.jpg

    D

  2. #2
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    I'm not terribly picky either way for the most part about which I prefer to ride. I DO prefer the trail to be defined well enough to see where I'm supposed to go. Trails with lots of traffic tend to not need too much attention, as the leaves/needles are broken down from tires passing over them, except maybe the week or so of peak leaf drop.

    For trails with less traffic, I'd rather mark them with blazes on the trees than to use up time raking or blowing miles of trail.

    Some people I know insist on raking/blowing every mile of trail because they don't like that the grip on the trails changes with the coverage. I consider it a change in seasonal conditions that I need to adapt to, as far as I'm concerned (akin to snow/ice in the winter, dust in the summer, and wetness in the spring - I'm not going to spread ice melt on the trails in the wintertime, or spray the trails with water from a backpack sprayer in the summer to keep the dust down). That's not for me. I pass on those workdays.

    I understand that decaying organic matter absorbs moisture and you don't want that on the trail. IMO, however, I prefer to address those issues case-by-case rather than wholesale clearing as prevention. If wet leaves are packing up somewhere, stop and kick them off the trail so they don't get squishy/sloppy and turn the trail muddy.

  3. #3
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    That depends on how often the trail gets ridden.

    A popular trail that gets ridden a lot a base of leaves or in your case
    pine needles will get matted down in no time and leave a good base
    and a visible line that you''ll be able to follow.

    A not so often ridden trail a light raking won't hurt to help define it's lines.

    I prefer the raked version it makes me not have to think where the trail is..but I know the un-raked one servers in the best interest of the Tera firma

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by TORQUE-29er View Post
    but I know the un-raked one servers in the best interest of the Tera firma
    How so? Those pine needles just turn into the organic matter that we want off of our trails, don't they.

  5. #5
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    Cleared, defined trail. Definitely. I like to see where I'm heading when trying to go fast.

    Not that all trails need to be raked. As others have said, trails with a lot of traffic will mulch up, and ground it in in no time, which is better for some trails.

  6. #6
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    Can't see what your dirt is D. For me personally, if the trail doesn't need to be cleared, leave the leaves. I have lots of trails that NEED to be cleared either for moisture control or to define the trail to stop braiding. That one in your picture looks like it should be defined if it's a public trail.
    I have a device that can access the total knowledge of man. I use it to look at pictures of cats and argue with strangers.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by epic View Post
    How so? Those pine needles just turn into the organic matter that we want off of our trails, don't they.
    Some trails get built on ground that can benefit from some organic matter being added. Sand, for instance.
    I have a device that can access the total knowledge of man. I use it to look at pictures of cats and argue with strangers.

  8. #8
    FatBike Fiend
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    What I see here is Ma Nature in the early stages of reclaiming her trail. To quote one of our infamous Alaska ex-guvs: "You can't just let nature run wild". If it's dry the leaves usually get swirled out of the way by trail users, but if it's wet they can turn into a slimy layer of organics on top of your nice mineral soil tread. Either way, they clog drain dips and form a berm on the outer edge of the trail. Although I can buy the argument that leaves couldn't hurt if the soils are granular/sandy, I would likely be breaking out the leaf blower.

  9. #9
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    Which do you prefer?

    I will guess sandy soil in the pic. Or at least usually dry due to an upslope location. It almost looks like a pine plantation (e. tx, n. mi, or similar sort of environment) with the lack of understory vegetation.

    Usually the kind of place that would benefit from something helping to hold the mineral soil in place. Topography looks slight here at best. The kind of place that no matter what you do, the trail will form a channel due to compaction (though sandy soil doesn't compact much, it is easily displaced)

  10. #10
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  11. #11
    Builder of Trails
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    I leaf blow the trails primarily for safety. Clearing the tread does help define it, which allows riders to look further ahead to see turns, TTFs, etc.

    Clearing the tread also exposes roots, rocks, stumps on the side of the trail, etc., things that, if seen, one can prepare to negotiate, be it by riding over or around.

    And, as someone above stated, it provides a more reliable & predictable tread surface for traction purposes.

    Something as simple as leaf blowing can prevent an injury, which, in turn, can prevent a lawsuit, which we do not want.

    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    I will guess sandy soil in the pic. Or at least usually dry due to an upslope location. It almost looks like a pine plantation (e. tx, n. mi, or similar sort of environment) with the lack of understory vegetation.

    Usually the kind of place that would benefit from something helping to hold the mineral soil in place. Topography looks slight here at best. The kind of place that no matter what you do, the trail will form a channel due to compaction (though sandy soil doesn't compact much, it is easily displaced)
    It's a pine plantation on rented land, so there is minimal we can do. The land owners make that clear. Painting a blaze on trees is not an option, nor is tying flagging tape, as the flagging tape falls away in a year or so and becomes trash, which I will not spend the time picking up so I don't tie flags.

    The soil is sandy & loamy, drains well, and it is relatively flat. Erosion has not been an issue on the five-plus years the trail has been there save for one spot, and it's minimal there such that I haven't bothered to address it.

    The trail is a beginner trail not easily accessible to beginners, so it gets the least traffic of all our trails. The reason it's not accessible is b/c it was built when we used a different trail entrance that we can no longer use. Now, instead of being next to the entrance, it is furthest away and over a hill from the entrance.

    Quote Originally Posted by TORQUE-29er View Post
    The topic of leave or not to leaf has been discussed before there are many factors involved.
    Yeah, I'm aware of the history of this topic. It comes up every year. I might have even chimed in before. If one wants to search for previous posts, go for it. I started a new one.

    D

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