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

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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.
    I ride with the best people.




  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.....

  26. #26
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    In our situation most of the burden of 'policing' the trails falls on the Park Rangers, and overall they are doing a good job. As far as positive impact - when there are standing mudholes and people ride thru them they just get deeper and hold more water, but it becomes obvious what needs fixing. When people ride around them the trails just get wider, and that's not good. So keeping people off the trails when wet is an overall positive thing.

    I agree with what most people have said - post signs that remind people not to ride when wet, and it sounds like in your situation it would be a challenge to police that. Also post signs when trail work is planned, so some of these bozos will know when they can help out.

    I had one guy that we called out about riding wet trails tell me "I ride these trails 150 days a year, so I know these trails and they don't need to be closed right now.".

    Hmmmm... you ride 150 days a year and I've never seen you at even one of the 7 trail days we had last year? Moron.

  27. #27
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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.
    I love all of the ideas in this suggestion. But I would add a trail closure policy that involves compromise. Riders don't like the idea of having to stay off of a trail for a long extended period with no sort or reward or opportunity to do what they love. The BLM implements a trail closure in there OHV parks that consists of reopening there park after heavy rains upon assessment of trail conditions. I feel it would have to be more structured for it to work for mountain biking. But has great potential.
    Also im wondering if the trails that are being damaged are the new ones your club just built. It takes several years for trails to fully compact. once this occurs the trails will be less permeable and help to resist soil saturation.
    Maybe a short circuit ST can be built with some fun challenges that is specifically designed to be ridable during wet condition. This would give an alternative for people that just love to bike. There could be info posed at the entrances to closed trails so riders are made aware of an alternative.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by cppcboy
    Also im wondering if the trails that are being damaged are the new ones your club just built. It takes several years for trails to fully compact. once this occurs the trails will be less permeable and help to resist soil saturation.
    Excellent point, I wonder this as well. Are all the trails really all "officially trashed" or are there just some problem areas that are exacerbated by the rainy season?

  29. #29
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    Each trail is not trashed in their entirity (grammer here?).
    The most recent addition to our network is trashed in many long streches....some up to I'd say 1/2 mile.
    TRAIL CLOSURES ARE NOT AN OPTION........the reason is that we have 5 mile slivers that you connect by .5-1 mi of greenway or road. It's a logistical nightmare.
    The problem is not the construction or the compaction.....it's the relentless riding that all of the knuckleheads are doing. FYI, 5 yrs ago there were 3 shops here, now there are 7!

  30. #30
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    I would suggest taking a long-term view of the problem. Pick some trails that are short, heavily used, and close to the road to start some improvements on them. Do some fundraising and buy some rock by the truckload. Crushed rock (with the fines), when spread about 1" thick as a top coat to your trail, will help harden the surface and allow it to stand up to traffic without turning to slurry. Schedule workdays to spread the rock, focusing on the low points and areas that are in the worst shape in the wet season. Maybe buy a power wheelbarrow to help move the rock in on the trail. You can also do the work during the wet season and riders who come through the work party can be educated and recruited at the same time. Over a period of a couple of years, your trails will be able to withstand the boneheads, and there will be fewer boneheads. You might be able to get by with only rocking a portion of your trail system. People will stick to the trails that are in good shape if they have a choice.

    Good luck,

    Patty
    "...So forget all your duties, oh yeah! Fat bottomed girls, they'll be riding today..." Freddie Mercury

  31. #31
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    I'm frettin' over the same issue here in So.Utah, the thing with clay is that it doesn't matter where it's at in relation to drainage......the stuff is sloppy for weeks after a lot of rain, especially when it freezes and thaws between day and night. The bottom line is you've got two problems, one is people that may not know (although common sense should tell them otherwise), and jerks that don't care. One you can fix, the other is static. What also sucks is that people travel pretty good distances to come here and ride, so when, or if the trails aren't ready when they arrive they pretty much rationalize "I've come all this way and come hell or high water I'm going to ride this trail." Of course I understand their sentiments, but that doesn't justify the thrashing. Truth is how many people think like us? The majority of the trails here in St.George were built by a core group of about a dozen people or more, and I think you've had to do some trailwork before you can appreciate what it means to respect the trail.......kind of the whole I don't own it I don't care attitude that prevails in human nature everywhere is what's behind most destruction.
    I like bikes.

  32. #32
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    If the ruts bother you get a road bike.

  33. #33
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    That's the best you can come up with??

  34. #34
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    The attitude of rakerdeal on ruts is certainly the typical response of those who are in total denial about the impact of their actions. Unfortunately those ruts become significant mud holes and places in the trail where widening then occurs . Although many riders seem to view riding in sloppy conditions as a preordained right and a badge that they are a "hardcore" rider. This is rarely the view of those who spend time and effort in creating trails. Why not? I guess for the same reason parents dread teenage kids having a kegger at their home when they are out of town. It's easy to have a great time and tear things up, it is a lot harder to rebuild them.

  35. #35
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    That's probably the best explanation on the problem I've heard.
    FWIW, he posts on a local board with the same attitude....I wonder if he'll show up for the construction of a new trail we have going in?

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsomtb
    That's probably the best explanation on the problem I've heard.
    FWIW, he posts on a local board with the same attitude....I wonder if he'll show up for the construction of a new trail we have going in?
    Guys like that have nothing to worry about because they have a bunch of hard working volunteers keeping the trails in good shape. Nothing worse than fixing problems caused by thoughtless riders. The added bonus is that all the time spent on fixing things that are ruined by thoughtless riders is time we don't have to add mileage or fun features to the trail. This discussion is a topic that comes up a few times a year on our local website. We just do our best to partner with the park managers and close trails during wet conditions and freeze/thaw cycles. Most of our park manager partners really appreciate the trails we have helped to build with them and they have really worked hard with us to protect their new mtn bike trails. It's a battle that we still are fighting, but we have less and less problems as time goes on.

  37. #37
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    Bull crap TrailYoda. I've built many miles of trails and I currently upkeep many miles of trails. And I ride them rain or shine and watch the bulldozers in my community do more damage in one swipe (that isn't properly fenced) than's all of us will do in our entire lifetimes. I also watch the slow erosion on the trails I've built over the years and I go back and fix them, over and over again. And I ride them. If you want perfection get a road bike and ride in your perfect world and stay off the trails I maintain because in both wet dry conditions you are making me, that's me, work hard to keep them up.

  38. #38
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    And one more thing Yoda, there are those of us that actually enjoy- yes we ENJOY- keeping up trails. I do an equal amount of riding and trail work.

  39. #39
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    Many of us have a very limited time to ride, and we give up ride time for trail maintenance.
    Given that, I'm sure I speak for most of the other posters on this thread when I say most of us would prefer NOT to spend time to maintain the same trail over and over again. Most of us would prefer to invest time in new trails. I certainly would rather invest my time to build and harden trails so they require a minimal amount of ongoing maintenance so we can use our valuable time for riding.

    Good that you (rakerdeal) enjoy trail work, but the majority of people that ride wet trails don't contribute time for repairs. And the idea isn't to have pristine, perfect trails... the idea is to have sustainable low maintenance trails.

  40. #40
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    each area is different

    Perhaps rakerdeal rides in an area where riding a wet trail isn't such a big deal. a high organic soil over gravel could be ridden within an hour of a heavy rain. If so that is fine. Ride. Respect trails that can be damaged by riding wet.

    This particular forum has been remarkably free of inflammatory trolling comments such as rakerdeal made. I would ask that if a constructive answer not be made, just move along.

  41. #41
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    Where?

    Quote Originally Posted by rakerdeal
    And one more thing Yoda, there are those of us that actually enjoy- yes we ENJOY- keeping up trails. I do an equal amount of riding and trail work.
    Exactly which trails are you doing so much trail work on......I live near you and do quite a bit myself...

  42. #42
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    I'm with rakerdeal on this one. Just as some people don't appreciate their personal impact, more often people OVER-estimate the damage caused by other people, by a lot. People love to rag on other people for not being 'sensitive'. Lame. As if that solves anything? Lighten up. You can't control human behavior so instead of whining, build your trail to withstand the wet and let people do what they will.

  43. #43
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    What????

    Quote Originally Posted by JosephSmith
    I'm with rakerdeal on this one. Just as some people don't appreciate their personal impact, more often people OVER-estimate the damage caused by other people, by a lot. People love to rag on other people for not being 'sensitive'. Lame. As if that solves anything? Lighten up. You can't control human behavior so instead of whining, build your trail to withstand the wet and let people do what they will.
    Obviously you didn't read my OP. I could see the damage being done. And yes, the trails were build to withstand it.
    You are the only one using the term "sensitive"....all I'm asking for is some respect for the work that others have done - pretty simple, straightforward and easy.
    No one is trying to control human behavior. The purpose of my OP was to ask other folks how they've addressed the same issue.
    Re-read my posts and you'll clearly see these are true and no one's whinning.

  44. #44
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    Words of advice.

    Oh boy. This was thread is too good to keep my comments to myself. After having designed, built and continue to maintain 4 miles of single track in the Charlotte/LKNM area I can honestly say there is some truth in everyone's posts on this thread.
    I will give a bit of advice to the OP and his band of trail builders...

    1. Accept that a lot/most people that ride do NOT do trail work whatsoever. By my estimates over that last 10 years, 10% or less of riders. ( And that's high.)

    2. This time of year (winter) soil types with a lot of clay, especially red clay here in NC do not drain. Period. Don't care how much out slope or drainage you do, it will not counteract the freeze/thaw cycle. That's freeze, ground expands, is solid, can ride, then thaw, ground is now aerated and wet = MUD. The only thing I've found that will counteract it is crush'n'run packed with a gas powered tamper or rock armoring.

    3. People are going to ride when it's wet and muddy. Some out of ignorance, some out of a "I don't give a crap" attitude. Accept it, cuss, swear and get over it. It is what it is. (Yes I have gone through this whole process.) And you'll be a lot happier and less stressed in the long run.

    4. Realize that even though the trail looks torn up, Mother Nature has a wonderful way of repairing/healing herself and in the spring you may realize that it's just not as bad as it looks right now. NOTE: This is still no excuse to ride wet, muddy trails. This comes from 4 years of watching and maintaining a trail I designed and built. Making observations about what works/worked and what doesn't/didn't. It can be vastly different for two trails that are geographically close.

    So if closure is not an option, look at doing some armoring. If that still doesn't work try to educate riders why NOT to ride wet/muddy trails. If all else fails, screw it and don't worry about it until the spring.

    Hope this helps.

    Mark

  45. #45
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    Thanks again for all the responses guys.
    FWIW, I GET IT that we're not going to change the world, that we're not going to prevent it all together, that it comes with the territory, that in the end the trails will be ok, etc.

    What I'm looking for - and have largely recieved - is how others have dealt with the issue. It will never be completely solved, but spending some time/effort doing the right things about it NOW will make at least a small difference now, get alot of folks around here thinking and, hopefully get the responsibility momentum rolling for the long haul.....

    Thanks again for sharing your experiences and knowledge.

  46. #46
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    I have a thought.
    My area has a very heavy clay like soil almost everywhere. lots of trails have been built fantastically, durring the summer, normally only a day or two after a heavy rain the trails are for the most part dried out and ready to go. however, durring the winter, even with the driest february on record, our trails STAY muddy. I do my best to not ride trails when they are too sloppy to ride, however a couple times over the course of this winter, by late feb. the trails were sopping wet mud bogs. i rode twice in these conditions, and felt guilty the whole time.
    but i have a thought... in areas like mine, where the trails get muddy for a few months every winter, is there truly A LOT of harm in riding a few muddy days a winter? i mean assuming there is ample volunteer time to help fix the rutted out mud holes when spring time roles around? I'm not a big fan of riding mud for a lot of reasons, but i am a big fan of riding, and I'm just wondering, if the trails are allowed to get rutted and muddy durring the winter, and fixed in the spring, is that an option?

  47. #47
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    Ha...oh this is great. I just found your best friend....

    Muddy Ride

  48. #48
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    How is that type of riding even remotely fun????
    I just don't get it even after almost 20 years of riding......

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by shelbster15
    Ha...oh this is great. I just found your best friend....

    Muddy Ride
    ok, if this was directed at me, that link is simply pure ignorance... but anyway, i mean to say, can you really blame somebody for getting out on a muddy trail a couple times a year? (we're talking 3 times, max) as long as they pitch in thier fair share of volunteer time repairing the winter/muddy seasons rider inflicted damage in the spring?

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iridethedirt
    ok, if this was directed at me, that link is simply pure ignorance... but anyway, i mean to say, can you really blame somebody for getting out on a muddy trail a couple times a year? (we're talking 3 times, max) as long as they pitch in thier fair share of volunteer time repairing the winter/muddy seasons rider inflicted damage in the spring?
    I think it's just a MATH issue. In your mind 3 times a year is acceptable provided that you and some friends dedicate ample hours to repairing trail damage.

    However if you multiply your three rides by every other rider in your area then you start to get some significant mud riding going on.

    Lastly, itís a perception thing. How many MTB'ers still think of Mountain Dew and the mud commercials (And what - Those commercials stopped airing over 15 years ago). Every rider trying to practice restraint during the bad times only has their resolve weakened when they see another riding.

    In the winter time we try and lead some road rides or MTB rides on cinder and paved trails. Admittedly they are poorly attended as compared to our normal events but every little bit helps.

    L

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