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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation: joshman108's Avatar
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    What machine to use?

    Hi.

    I recently had someone ask me to build trails on their property, which I have never done.

    Heres the thing. They aren't mtb trails, just walking trails. Some trails are already established. They run through thick brush and look like they have been cut with a brush hog. They run on flat ground. Very simple.

    Where I would be building is on sloped hills with no brush, so a brush hog would do nothing. What I need to do is be able to run along the side of the hill and dig into the ground itself in order to "cut" into the hill to make something to walk on.
    Basically like this...
    http://switchbacks.net/images3/trail_013.jpg

    Is a bobcat my only option? I know some mtb trail are built by hand. I know thats out of the question.

    And then, can I just leave them dirt, or will that erode them? Is laying gravel a must? Are there other erosion preventative measures?

    I would basically be building 1 mile of trails. He only has about 2 buildable acres.
    I am thinking somewhere along the lines of 1-3k for the job, plus materials. Any feedback?

    Bunch of newb questions, but oh well. You start somewhere. And yes, I am using the search function.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    featherweight clydesdale
    Reputation: Fattirewilly's Avatar
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    Dec 2001
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    At first I felt like saying sure, go get XYZ machine, but you have zero trail building experience? How much machine experience? A lack of one takes a little getting up to speed. I "hear" an experienced builder gets up to speed quicker that an experienced operator but I've seen an experienced department of transportation operator (big excavators) follow a pre-done flag line pretty good with a mini. No experience with either is recipe for a potential mess, which is a good learning experience if the land owner is willing to put up with you. Do you have a plan if you flip the machine over? If you get it stuck?

    I recommend searching and learning, 1) half rule, 2) 10% rule 3) clinometer or get a smart phone ap. for one. Getting the IMBA trail building book is helpful. VOLUNTEER with your local club and get some instruction building trail.

    After that, let us know more about the side slope. How steep is it, is it rocky? You could use a mini excavator or a mini skid steer with a 4-way or 6-way blade. One is better than the other depending on terrain. You'll likely have issues finding rental blades. A Bobcat works for building a road, not a trail.

    If your friend has some money, a there are always people who build trails for a living. Not me, I'm just in for the fun of it. I'd recommend looking at contractors on the PTBA website if you wanted to go that route... and if you want it done quick and good, go that route.
    Charlottesville Area Mountain Bike Club
    www.cambc.org

  3. #3
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    If you're only talking a mile of trail, you are better off learning with hand tools, especially if the desired trail is a narrow path.

    Get the IMBA book, go to some work days with local clubs, then start the design/build process.
    http://facebook.com/CharlemontTrails
    NEMBA Past President...

  4. #4
    featherweight clydesdale
    Reputation: Fattirewilly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joshman108 View Post
    Hi.

    I would basically be building 1 mile of trails. He only has about 2 buildable acres.

    Thanks!
    I missed this.... A super dense trail where you're high-5ing someone going the opposite way on the other trail leg, is about 1 mile per 4 or 5 acres. 2 acres might be enough for a 1/2 mile under pretty ideal conditions. For a more fun experience, one that feels like you're not on a gerbil wheel, you want at least 10 acres per mile.
    Charlottesville Area Mountain Bike Club
    www.cambc.org

  5. #5
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    The ditch witch dk 650 is the ticket.

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