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  1. #1
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    Use of Land Clearing Machine?

    Our club is faced with building a trail in an old pasture that is grown up with maybe 30 years of scrub weeds and short trees, with honeysuckle all mixed in. It is a nearly impenetrable thicket. I have laid out trail in there and come out covered in scratches and sticks all down my back. Tough conditions. We have not started corridor clearing yet.

    It has been suggested that we hire a land clearing contractor to drive his Fecon FTX 140 (a land clearing machine with a horizontal rotating cutter head on front) along the flagged route, then come after with hand labor and clean up and build the trail. This is very gentle terrain, maybe max grade of 2%. There will be no benching. I am worried that this would render our weed wrenches useless and we would have to dig by hand each stump.

    The counter argument was we could ask him to leave the cutter about 1 ft high, and leave a stub for pulling.

    I mainly am worried that, at minimum, this machine will leave about a 7' wide ugly swath through these "woods". At worst, this would make more work for us. We are new to the weed wrenches, but sure like how much easier they are than digging stumps and stobs.

    Does anybody on here have any experience with this type of technique?
    Kindacreeky,
    Tennessee Singletrac Sculpter

  2. #2
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    I'm the steward of a bike park next to utility right of way. The utility and the city have used mechanize clearing that leaves a woody mess that was not good for using the WeedWrench but some of it is space we don't use or has been razed by another machine.

    I would want the machine to leave something our WeedWrench could grab if I had the choice.

    The bike park is a different animal than the places I'm a steward of conventional single track so I accept this mess there. I can also tell you that Walt Dizzy who posts here and myself mighty tired using the weed wrench for days.

  3. #3
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    If you don't pull all the scrub, it'll just come back. Hand labor or a mini-ex to remove the crap, roots and all, from the get-go is your best option. I'd hate to have a 7' corridor of chips, stubble and shredded brush to have to work through.
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  4. #4
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    Thanks for responses. I tend to agree with these comments. We met with the Parks people yesterday and I did not even bring the possibility up. They had their biologists there, and were pointing out ferns that needed to be moved. So you can imagine the response if I were to suggest the machine corridor. It will be slow but in the end, it will be a nicer trail by hand.

    Parks wants a trail on this property for beginner mtb, kids groups, etc. Our club has agreed to build it. We do not yet have a skidder type machine. However, the grade is so gentle and the drainage so poor that I fear a machine would just dig a trench that would funnel water. This is in TN, so we get a fair amount of rain.
    Kindacreeky,
    Tennessee Singletrac Sculpter

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by kindacreeky View Post
    Our club is faced with building a trail in an old pasture that is grown up with maybe 30 years of scrub weeds and short trees, with honeysuckle all mixed in. It is a nearly impenetrable thicket. I have laid out trail in there and come out covered in scratches and sticks all down my back. Tough conditions. We have not started corridor clearing yet.

    It has been suggested that we hire a land clearing contractor to drive his Fecon FTX 140 (a land clearing machine with a horizontal rotating cutter head on front) along the flagged route, then come after with hand labor and clean up and build the trail. This is very gentle terrain, maybe max grade of 2%. There will be no benching. I am worried that this would render our weed wrenches useless and we would have to dig by hand each stump.

    The counter argument was we could ask him to leave the cutter about 1 ft high, and leave a stub for pulling.

    I mainly am worried that, at minimum, this machine will leave about a 7' wide ugly swath through these "woods". At worst, this would make more work for us. We are new to the weed wrenches, but sure like how much easier they are than digging stumps and stobs.

    Does anybody on here have any experience with this type of technique?
    If you did attempt this, I would attempt to make the machine operator turn tighter than the trail tread you want at the end of the day. Instead of cutting a 7 foot swath with your tread in the middle, identify and mark specific trees or saplings in that 7' wide swath you want him work around and leave. While the machine's actual path may look like a meandering mess, it will grow in and your actual corridor will be more interesting.

    I'd hit it with a ditchwitch or similar mini skid steer if you have access to one w/ the blade. I think it might go faster than the mini ex.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by kindacreeky View Post
    .....This is very gentle terrain, maybe max grade of 2%. There will be no benching......
    This right here would give me pause to build any kind of trail unless you do elevated trail like this or with dirt and crushed gravel.

    You're asking for a muddy maintenance nightmare if you do.

    I'm actually surprised that one else has actually mentioned this at all. Everyone seems focused on how to cut through the brush.

    BTW Not trying to be a ****** but this to me is a glaring "DON'T BUILD TRAIL HERE!".

  7. #7
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    can you use herbicide?
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  8. #8
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    Here is what we rented from Home Depot. Well worth it.


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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbikernc69 View Post
    This right here would give me pause to build any kind of trail unless you do elevated trail like this or with dirt and crushed gravel.

    You're asking for a muddy maintenance nightmare if you do.

    I'm actually surprised that one else has actually mentioned this at all. Everyone seems focused on how to cut through the brush.

    BTW Not trying to be a ****** but this to me is a glaring "DON'T BUILD TRAIL HERE!".
    Your response prompted me to check the maps. I found that I exaggerated the flatness. The thicket areas range from 4.6-12% slope. I do anticipate some drainage issues anyway. Also, part of this beginner trail is in an open field, maybe 2 miles, and that is more gentle with slopes down to 3.2% minimum.

    We had considered mixing in some crusher run with tillers, and then compacting it again with a plate compactor. Our proposed procedure in the open field was to be bush hog, then low mower, then tiller, then rake out stubble and weed/grass roots, then re-compact. That could include some crusher run too in flatter areas. Anybody done any open field construction?
    Kindacreeky,
    Tennessee Singletrac Sculpter

  10. #10
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    As far as the walk behind clearing machine, we have used a DR mower, a similar unit to clear the edge of established trail and like it a lot. State Parks here has one and lets us use it as needed only on State Park property. I don' think I will opt for this here, as it will leave us digging every stump up.

    Thanks for all replies. Glad to know there are others out there with this crazy passion.
    Kindacreeky,
    Tennessee Singletrac Sculpter

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