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  1. #1
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    Wet trails....please help!!

    Not really sure this is the right place to post this BUT considering most people in here are trail builders/advocates/"policy makers" I thought I'd give it a shot.
    The club I"m involved w/ is really starting to become active. We laid 5 fresh miles of NICE NEW ST last year w/ at least 3 more on track for this year plus rerouting/upgrades to maybe 10 existing miles. This stuff is IMBA guidlined and we put A LOT of time and love into it... you all know the deal....
    We are now in our "rainy season" and will be for the next 2 mos maybe. The trails are now officially trashed.....just relentless riding......even a few members who worked on them are culprits!!!! (BTW, red clay type soil is prevelent around here. The terrain is rolling so drainage no matter what you do is still an issue...)
    We've begged, pleaded and discussed it at length on our local boards......
    Any ideas? Closure is not an option due to the layout of our system...long story.
    Anyway, what do you guys do in these situations? Do you call people out publicly when you see it happening? Stop the car and confront? Hope education helps with self-policing?

  2. #2
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    Get used to it...

    Quote Originally Posted by gsomtb
    Not really sure this is the right place to post this BUT considering most people in here are trail builders/advocates/"policy makers" I thought I'd give it a shot.
    The club I"m involved w/ is really starting to become active. We laid 5 fresh miles of NICE NEW ST last year w/ at least 3 more on track for this year plus rerouting/upgrades to maybe 10 existing miles. This stuff is IMBA guidlined and we put A LOT of time and love into it... you all know the deal....
    We are now in our "rainy season" and will be for the next 2 mos maybe. The trails are now officially trashed.....just relentless riding......even a few members who worked on them are culprits!!!! (BTW, red clay type soil is prevelent around here. The terrain is rolling so drainage no matter what you do is still an issue...)
    We've begged, pleaded and discussed it at length on our local boards......
    Any ideas? Closure is not an option due to the layout of our system...long story.
    Anyway, what do you guys do in these situations? Do you call people out publicly when you see it happening? Stop the car and confront? Hope education helps with self-policing?
    Signage helps. Here's a description of winter trail conditions in the Midwest. Perhaps you can apply it to your area and your signs? http://forums.earthriders.com/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=4726

    But the reality is you can't really stop people from tearing up the trails. It only takes 1 or 2 irresponsible riders to tear up a trail.

    One approach that has help a little bit with a few of our trails is asking the Land Managers to determine trail conditions and open and close the gates to trails as required. Because this approach is enforable with tickets, it's more effective than nothing or signs but people still poach (and tear up) the trails.

    Good luck.

    Ken

  3. #3
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    Landowner posted signs and trespassing tickets for violators. Signage about the effects of ruts on the trail at trailheads would deter a few.

  4. #4
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    Unfortunately enforcement just is not an option due to the layout of our network of trails....

  5. #5
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    After placing the appropriate signage, to educate and deter riders; You climb up a well possitioned tree with a paintball gun, and snipe the hell out of the guilty parties. Maybe they'll get the point after some painfull reminders.
    Braun Enterprises LLC, Building Cool Stuff

  6. #6
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    Or hide behind some rocks, and throw large sticks in thier spokes. Either way, they're bound to learn a valuable lesson.
    Braun Enterprises LLC, Building Cool Stuff

  7. #7
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    Do you want people to stay off the wet trails, or to keep the trails from being vulnerable when wet?
    Outslope the tread more or Armour it
    Last edited by LWright; 01-05-2009 at 09:13 PM.

  8. #8
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    I was just joking around; in all seriousness here folks; you can't really stop determined people from doing what they will. We just need to try to edjucate and inform those who don't know any better. After that, its up to them to be responsible riders and trail stewards.
    Braun Enterprises LLC, Building Cool Stuff

  9. #9
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    We want people to stay off the wet trails.

  10. #10
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    Agrred

    Quote Originally Posted by NastyNick
    I was just joking around; in all seriousness here folks; you can't really stop determined people from doing what they will. We just need to try to edjucate and inform those who don't know any better. After that, its up to them to be responsible riders and trail stewards.
    Agreed.
    However, I was really hoping to hear some at least partial success stories involving any strategies other than closure....like calling offenders out via postings on the club site or similar measures.
    I understand the problem in it's entirety....just fishing for some other options.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by NastyNick
    You climb up a well possitioned tree with a paintball gun, and snipe the hell out of the guilty parties. Maybe they'll get the point after some painfull reminders.
    And the point you will get is not to trap yourself up a tree and then p!ss off people on the ground.

  12. #12
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    As much as I like the tactics you guys are describing, I think the rest of the club might have some probs with them......I'm all for that route though

  13. #13
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    Post alternative routes

  14. #14
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    I think you'll be wasting your time trying to get people to stop riding on popular trails. it doesn't work on the North Shore or here on Vancouver Island. You have a couple of options, keep repairing or armour the hell out of the trails. In the grand scheme of things, 18 miles of trail isn't a lot. You could try shaming the poachers into helping pay for the damage they have caused

  15. #15
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    Calling out people doesn't work. it just gets them more pissed off, and they will still poach.

    Post signs stateing the trail conditions and that they are closed. Unfortunatly you will always get poachers that don't give a sh!t.

    IMO, your best bet is to avoid low spots, outslope the trails, armor and create as much drainage as you can.

  16. #16
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    Here in central oregon, every spring we have muddy trails from melting snow; and the majority of the cycling community respects the trail conditions; BUT we allways have those riders who make ruts, or make the trail into double track, trying to go around the mud. Maybe build ladders accross the really bad areas. Or do like we do, and put up Trail Closed signs
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  17. #17
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    Suggestions

    My experience is at Town Run Trail Park in Indianapolis. It's the only mtb trail in Indianapolis so it gets a lot of use. Also being in the City, we have many new trail users who have very little experience with mountain biking or the out doors.

    Town Run was also, HMBA's first trail. It was land that was historically ignored by the land owners, so it was a free for all between bikes, atvs, motorcycles, etc....

    When it became a park and HMBA took over managing the trails in an official capacity, there was a large percentage of the existing mtb crowd that didn't see the value of the now having rules.

    This group of experience riders who haven't seen the light of responsible trails use are the hardest to deal with. Here are my suggestions.

    1) Post signs. If the land manager is on board, have them put signs in their name, clearly stating not to ride muddy trails. I found that taking pictures of muddy tire tracks and mud holes and printing them with verbage about not riding muddy trails helps get the point across. Most mud riders aren't going to just stop due to the signs, but their first line of defence when confronted is usually about there not being a sign saying not to ride in the mud.

    2) Don't rush to band aid repairs. If you rush out after each muddy day and band aid the damage. Riders will rationalize that riding in the mud isn't bad, because the trails seem to be ok the next time they come out. Make people ride through a few bad mud holes so they see the results.

    3) Schedule work days when the trail shouldn't be ridden, but is dry enough to work on. It is very uncomfortable to try and ride through a group of volunteers with a bike covered in mud. As a representative of HMBA, I have to remain calm and rational when talking to those riding on muddy days. But if some of my volunteers light up on them, that's not my fault. Once people put a couple hours into maintaining the trail, they become very protective of the trail.


    4) Be at the trail on muddy days. When the trail is too muddy to ride, all the responsible riders are at home. So those at the trail are not going to be good role models. A new rider shows up a the trail and sees the sign, but also sees 5 experienced looking riders who are riding the trails. The new rider is going to be convinced to go ride despite the signs. This is a tough job for a volunteers. You have to remain professional and try to win over the newer riders. Most riders out on the trail on muddy days are not bad people and just need to be coached to do the right thing.

    5) There will be the hard core riders who refuse to by in. The biggest problem is that they often are the ring leaders in getting their friends to ride on bad days. The goal is to get through to some of their friends and let peer pressure work for you. So when you encounter riders on muddy days, try to stay calm. If you let them drag the conversation into an insult match, you can't win. Just let them know that they are damaging the trails and that there actions will not be viewed well by the mtb community. If you have individuals who are really causing issues, then you will need to work with the land manager to consider having park rangers or the police get involved. Most of the jerks will find somewhere else to ride rather than be hassled all the time. I do not suggest publicly calling people out, but many experienced riders have teams, shops, friends, etc.. who you also know. Don't be afraid to talk to shop owners who sponsor teams whose riders are flying the shops colors while trashing the trails.

    6) Be careful on marginal days. Trails don't go from too muddy to perfect instantly. There are many days when the trail is too damp for me to ride, but where I don't lecture people on riding. Make sure that the trails are clearly too muddy when you tell people not to ride.

    That's all I can think of for now. Be patient. You have to look at this as a long term project.

  18. #18
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    Well put!
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  19. #19
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    Awesome...

    Quote Originally Posted by indytrekracer
    My experience is at Town Run Trail Park in Indianapolis. It's the only mtb trail in Indianapolis so it gets a lot of use. Also being in the City, we have many new trail users who have very little experience with mountain biking or the out doors.

    Town Run was also, HMBA's first trail. It was land that was historically ignored by the land owners, so it was a free for all between bikes, atvs, motorcycles, etc....

    When it became a park and HMBA took over managing the trails in an official capacity, there was a large percentage of the existing mtb crowd that didn't see the value of the now having rules.

    This group of experience riders who haven't seen the light of responsible trails use are the hardest to deal with. Here are my suggestions.

    1) Post signs. If the land manager is on board, have them put signs in their name, clearly stating not to ride muddy trails. I found that taking pictures of muddy tire tracks and mud holes and printing them with verbage about not riding muddy trails helps get the point across. Most mud riders aren't going to just stop due to the signs, but their first line of defence when confronted is usually about there not being a sign saying not to ride in the mud.

    2) Don't rush to band aid repairs. If you rush out after each muddy day and band aid the damage. Riders will rationalize that riding in the mud isn't bad, because the trails seem to be ok the next time they come out. Make people ride through a few bad mud holes so they see the results.

    3) Schedule work days when the trail shouldn't be ridden, but is dry enough to work on. It is very uncomfortable to try and ride through a group of volunteers with a bike covered in mud. As a representative of HMBA, I have to remain calm and rational when talking to those riding on muddy days. But if some of my volunteers light up on them, that's not my fault. Once people put a couple hours into maintaining the trail, they become very protective of the trail.


    4) Be at the trail on muddy days. When the trail is too muddy to ride, all the responsible riders are at home. So those at the trail are not going to be good role models. A new rider shows up a the trail and sees the sign, but also sees 5 experienced looking riders who are riding the trails. The new rider is going to be convinced to go ride despite the signs. This is a tough job for a volunteers. You have to remain professional and try to win over the newer riders. Most riders out on the trail on muddy days are not bad people and just need to be coached to do the right thing.

    5) There will be the hard core riders who refuse to by in. The biggest problem is that they often are the ring leaders in getting their friends to ride on bad days. The goal is to get through to some of their friends and let peer pressure work for you. So when you encounter riders on muddy days, try to stay calm. If you let them drag the conversation into an insult match, you can't win. Just let them know that they are damaging the trails and that there actions will not be viewed well by the mtb community. If you have individuals who are really causing issues, then you will need to work with the land manager to consider having park rangers or the police get involved. Most of the jerks will find somewhere else to ride rather than be hassled all the time. I do not suggest publicly calling people out, but many experienced riders have teams, shops, friends, etc.. who you also know. Don't be afraid to talk to shop owners who sponsor teams whose riders are flying the shops colors while trashing the trails.

    6) Be careful on marginal days. Trails don't go from too muddy to perfect instantly. There are many days when the trail is too damp for me to ride, but where I don't lecture people on riding. Make sure that the trails are clearly too muddy when you tell people not to ride.

    That's all I can think of for now. Be patient. You have to look at this as a long term project.
    Great post and great strategy.
    I will encourage our club members to review your post.
    Overall, I think this subject is not talked about enough....at least in my area.
    Thank you all and please keep the dialogue going!!!

  20. #20
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    I know of two trail systems in Ohio where the land manager posts official closures. It's not perfect, but it does save time and effort. Alum Creek SP in Columbus tried posting signs and hoped people would self-police, but it didn't work. The park decided to close the trails seasonally.

    I know in Michigan, the MMBA puts a lot of effort into educating riders not to ride before the spring thaw. Their website has a good bit of literature about it. Their conditions may be different from what you have, but it's worth a look. Again, it's not perfect.

    Honestly, your best bet is going to be to put work into prevention. If you can harden and armor your trails so they don't get sloppy when wet, then you save yourself the headache of trying to stop people from riding.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by indytrekracer
    My experience is at Town Run Trail Park in Indianapolis. It's the only mtb trail in Indianapolis so it gets a lot of use. Also being in the City, we have many new trail users who have very little experience with mountain biking or the out doors.

    Town Run was also, HMBA's first trail. It was land that was historically ignored by the land owners, so it was a free for all between bikes, atvs, motorcycles, etc....

    When it became a park and HMBA took over managing the trails in an official capacity, there was a large percentage of the existing mtb crowd that didn't see the value of the now having rules.

    This group of experience riders who haven't seen the light of responsible trails use are the hardest to deal with. Here are my suggestions.

    1) Post signs. If the land manager is on board, have them put signs in their name, clearly stating not to ride muddy trails. I found that taking pictures of muddy tire tracks and mud holes and printing them with verbage about not riding muddy trails helps get the point across. Most mud riders aren't going to just stop due to the signs, but their first line of defence when confronted is usually about there not being a sign saying not to ride in the mud.

    2) Don't rush to band aid repairs. If you rush out after each muddy day and band aid the damage. Riders will rationalize that riding in the mud isn't bad, because the trails seem to be ok the next time they come out. Make people ride through a few bad mud holes so they see the results.

    3) Schedule work days when the trail shouldn't be ridden, but is dry enough to work on. It is very uncomfortable to try and ride through a group of volunteers with a bike covered in mud. As a representative of HMBA, I have to remain calm and rational when talking to those riding on muddy days. But if some of my volunteers light up on them, that's not my fault. Once people put a couple hours into maintaining the trail, they become very protective of the trail.


    4) Be at the trail on muddy days. When the trail is too muddy to ride, all the responsible riders are at home. So those at the trail are not going to be good role models. A new rider shows up a the trail and sees the sign, but also sees 5 experienced looking riders who are riding the trails. The new rider is going to be convinced to go ride despite the signs. This is a tough job for a volunteers. You have to remain professional and try to win over the newer riders. Most riders out on the trail on muddy days are not bad people and just need to be coached to do the right thing.

    5) There will be the hard core riders who refuse to by in. The biggest problem is that they often are the ring leaders in getting their friends to ride on bad days. The goal is to get through to some of their friends and let peer pressure work for you. So when you encounter riders on muddy days, try to stay calm. If you let them drag the conversation into an insult match, you can't win. Just let them know that they are damaging the trails and that there actions will not be viewed well by the mtb community. If you have individuals who are really causing issues, then you will need to work with the land manager to consider having park rangers or the police get involved. Most of the jerks will find somewhere else to ride rather than be hassled all the time. I do not suggest publicly calling people out, but many experienced riders have teams, shops, friends, etc.. who you also know. Don't be afraid to talk to shop owners who sponsor teams whose riders are flying the shops colors while trashing the trails.

    6) Be careful on marginal days. Trails don't go from too muddy to perfect instantly. There are many days when the trail is too damp for me to ride, but where I don't lecture people on riding. Make sure that the trails are clearly too muddy when you tell people not to ride.

    That's all I can think of for now. Be patient. You have to look at this as a long term project.
    what he said...

    I would add a few more following your lead:

    1. It's quite expensive to mud up a bike, especially in clay based soils, and I never miss a chance to point that out to the mudded up rider I see. I tell them it will cost them $100 at least, empathizing all the while. Kind of help them realize it's a lose/lose proposition.

    2. If the beginning of the trail is muddy many riders will turn back, so especially don't bandaid the first mile of the trail.
    A Useful Bear is a handy thing.

  22. #22
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    Hand out pamphlets warning people of a new skin disease caused by a strange bacteria found in the mud of this particular trail.

    .~...|\
    ...~.|.\
    ..~..|..\
    .~...|...\
    ~....|....\
    ...~.|.....\
    ....~|____\
    _____||_________
    .\....FAILBOAT..../

  23. #23
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    Oooohhhh Yea

    Quote Originally Posted by Skookum
    Hand out pamphlets warning people of a new skin disease caused by a strange bacteria found in the mud of this particular trail.

    That's what I'm talkin' bout

  24. #24
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    Despite all the trailwork we've done over the years, our local state park was wet and messy last summer due to all the rain... at one stretch we had rain for 17 out of 19 days. The park closes the trails when wet - they post 'Singletrack Closed' signs at the park entrance, at the trail head in the parking lot, and they update the website.

    Some people ignore the signs and still ride, or they enter the park from an 'unauthorized location'. If we identify who the people are we privately call them out and explain why they are closed and ask them for their help by staying off the trails. These people are just selfish, as most know why the trails are closed.

    We figure if we keep 90% of the riders off the trails then we're successful. It's too hard to keep everyone off since some people just don't give a shart.

  25. #25
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    Question

    Quote Originally Posted by fishbum
    Despite all the trailwork we've done over the years, our local state park was wet and messy last summer due to all the rain... at one stretch we had rain for 17 out of 19 days. The park closes the trails when wet - they post 'Singletrack Closed' signs at the park entrance, at the trail head in the parking lot, and they update the website.

    Some people ignore the signs and still ride, or they enter the park from an 'unauthorized location'. If we identify who the people are we privately call them out and explain why they are closed and ask them for their help by staying off the trails. These people are just selfish, as most know why the trails are closed.

    We figure if we keep 90% of the riders off the trails then we're successful. It's too hard to keep everyone off since some people just don't give a shart.
    How much of a POSITIVE impact are you guys seeing in what you do?
    In other words, how successful are u guys at 1)keep folks off and 2) "preserving" your trails.....

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