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  1. #1
    turtles make me hot
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    Repairing A Badly Eroded Sandy Hill

    One of the trails I've been riding for over twenty years is getting bad.
    Long Island is very sandy. We do have a lot of excellent hard pack singletrack, but in a few spots, especially the hills, once you break through the hard top, sand just pours down the hill and keeps opening up. Now, at the bottom of a couple of these hills, the sand is so deep, it kills off all your speed and most hope of getting up.
    It's bad to the point where trees are going to start falling over.
    The main spot I'm talking about isn't too far in from a road, so I can bring supplies fairly close before I have to carry them in.
    I've looked on line and did a search here. I found two books online titled Managing Mountainbiking and Trail Solutions. Maybe Trail Solutions will be helpful.

    Anyway, I think I'd like to do an organic type of repair and not tires or pavers. Anyone done this type of work before and want to share some ideas?
    I like turtles

  2. #2
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    Sounds like a good place for a bridge/boardwalk.

  3. #3
    turtles make me hot
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    I actually found a description of the correct way to place a trail on a hill and this one is WRONG. Next time I'm there I'm going to spend some time looking for a way to correct it. The trail runs straight down the hill as water would. It needs to go back and forth.
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  4. #4
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    Keep reading those books! It sounds like you have an understanding of why this style of trail cannot last. Have any photos of the trail?

    A fall line trail in sandy soils is one of the worst types of trails from a sustainability/maintenance standpoint. It will need to be abandoned and replaced with a properly graded trail with good drainage. No matter how much "organic" work you put into the old trail, the problem will eventually return because you can't win the war against water and gravity. After closing the trail, installing some water diverting features to slow further erosion will probably be necessary.

    Keeping the new trail grade under 5% for sandy soils and with multiple grade reversals (humps/dips that keep water from flowing down the trail) along its length should keep the erosion away. Managing rider speeds and preventing abrupt braking (berms are good at this) would also be a good idea given the underlying sand and erosion potential. Get a clinometer (there's an app for that) and learn how to use it to make sure you are building the new trail to the proper grade.

  5. #5
    turtles make me hot
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    Thanks. I'm on it.
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  6. #6
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    The first thing you will learn by reading those books is to make sure you have permission to make any repairs or reroutes. The second thing is to make sure you work with the local club that has agreements with the land owner to maintain those trails. This makes sure that you don't erode their relationship with the land manager.

    Stillwell Woods is a preserve owned by Nassau County and was the first trail that CLIMB (concerned long island mountain bicyclists) got permission to maintain. That was back in 1989 and we were only allowed to use existing trails that were formally horse trails. Many of the trail segments were fall line trails. The highest point above sea level is about 225 feet. Long Island is mostly made up of sand and any reroute would need to be kept to 4-5 percent grade. CLIMB maintains about 150 miles of trails across the island. Our newest trails require very little maintenance due to learned techniques of sustainable trail lay outs.

    Since this is a preserve, we were rarely allowed to do any reroutes. This was also due to the fact that the land manager felt there were too many trails in the preserve that contributed to habit fragmentation and we agreed. We have had a great relationship with all our land managers because we play by the rules and always make sure that conservation of habitat remains a priority.

    Stillwell Woods is an outwash plain and the top layer of organic matter is thin. Underneath is a mix of loose gravel and sand. During the dry months of August and September we get many complaints about the sand but once the rains come and pack down the surface, it's all good again. We usually do trail work and maintenance in the spring and fall since working in the hot and dry conditions of summer has proved futile.

    We have plans in place to repair certain sections and I would suggest you subscribe to our eNews to receive notice of trail work events. Once you attend several trail work days you will begin to understand our methods and can then go on to adopt a section of trail if you wish.

    Please do not try to repair or reroute sections on your own without permission because that will cause problems. Also, send me your real name and phone number so we can talk about it if you like.
    Michael Vitti
    CLIMB President
    www.CLIMBonline.org
    www.IMBA.com
    NY State Trails Council Member

  7. #7
    turtles make me hot
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    The section I'm talking about is the hills just below Sunnyside and Northern State Parkway. Not in Stillwell woods.
    In the past, the only trail maintenance I've done is cut and move fallen trees or widen a cut someone made previously and left a potentially dangerous sharp edge of a branch at eye or chest level. I know not to cut an unauthorized trail. I think you'll agree that section needs serious attention.
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  8. #8
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    Oh that one. I thought you meant the "enter sand man" section at Stillwell.

    Yes we put in a request to reroute that trail two years ago. Since that is State of NY land it takes more time to get permission. Stay tuned as we may be rerouting that hill in the late fall.

    We also have to coordinate with the hiking club on that section since we share the trail with them.
    Michael Vitti
    CLIMB President
    www.CLIMBonline.org
    www.IMBA.com
    NY State Trails Council Member

  9. #9
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    And thanks for not doing any unauthorized trail reroutes because we hate having to take time to undo and fix work that people try to do on their own but really make things worse.
    Michael Vitti
    CLIMB President
    www.CLIMBonline.org
    www.IMBA.com
    NY State Trails Council Member

  10. #10
    turtles make me hot
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    No problem.
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