here is the problem with trail building- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    here is the problem with trail building

    I am fairly new to the area so please take my opinions with a grain of salt, but here are a few problems I see with trail building at least around the Milwaukee (SEWI) area where there are probably the most riders.

    I am just like many out there one of those people that ride the trails, but never really get involved in trail building. Partly due to lack of knowledge of how to get involved (or ignorance whatever you want to call it), but partly due to lack of interest in wasting time to build a ho hum trail. For eg. the new trail that is built or being built up at Greenbush - its obviously more than appreciated by all, but being mostly done with DNR people as well as I am sure the "regular" trail guys from orgs such as WORBA etc. Where can the regular joes get involved?

    There are definently some good ones out there around WI, but MTBing is evolving heavily. Obstacles that keep the trails fun and errosion free IMO are missing from existing, heavily used trails around here. Catwalks, ramps, teeters, some nice hucking options, drops etc. Sure, not everyone is interested, but I think if the option was there or presented to build in some sections a ton of interest would occur. Start them small and fun as you can always expand and extend. We have a lot of resources in companies like Trek close by and I am just really surprised more of these things are not happening to keep the trails fresh and fun?

    I realize I may sound like I am complaining, but I am definently not. I do want to pitch in, I just don't see any sort of movement on adding things like this to existing or new trails like the Kettle trails (south and north). We have little to no elevation change as is, so a windy smooth single track with literally no obstacles simply to me just doesn't cut it anymore.

    Does it boil down the safety/liability issue, time, money? WI has a huge MTB following, even compared to some states I have been in, so you would think there would be some interest in big locations on some loops such as South Kettle?

    Thanks again for listening, hopefully I am not in the minority

  2. #2
    I need skills
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    You make some good points.

    It is possible these things you mentioned are proposed but are not allowed to be built. I am sure it is not because of a lack of imagination or creativity by the trail building community.

    The Southern Kettles re-worked connector trail has a "touch" of some natural feature obstacles. There were some very small log piles, but most were ripped out this Summer for some reason. there is a large rock or two, and one big scary log ride. I know the fine people there would love to build much more than what currently exists.

    Bluemounds shows a high level of creativity incorporating natural features.

    crystal ridge may build a pump track (or there may already be one there near the bmx track?)

    I am sure there are others but I have not traveled outside my own world recently.

    On our Roche trail in the Nicolet National forest we were progressing towards incorporating dozens of natural features ( nothing manmade such as ladders or teeters..). The June 7th tornado goofed us up a bit, but by this time next year we should be riding the loop again (tornado split the loop).

    I haven't seen the Green bush stuff, but spend some time walking around, scoping out the potential, and find out how to get involved. Then just show up to work. You will not be turned away. Other sets of eyes are often a good thing to keep the trail building interesting. I am sure if a person shows up to work a few times others will certainly listen to ideas and suggestions from them.

    Below is a link to our Roche trail. It is 3 hours from Milwaukee. We lost some features to the tornado, but others are being incorporated. All can be ridden around. If ridden around, the trail is not difficult. Physically demanding perhaps, but not that difficult. We don't have anything that will cause your wheels to leave the ground but I don't encourage beginners to ride there. (oh if a person travels from the S. part of the state, please wash your bike and shoe soles BEFORE leaving home. Trying real hard to keep out invasive plant species).

    I like to think that with the Wisconsin Recreational Use statue there would be little to zero liability for having a trail such as you describe. I know from my own experience the Forest Service wasn't keen on such ideas : ) I also agree that mt biking is evolving. Trails that are more than just fun twisty piles of spaghetti are (and will be), in demand.
    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.ph...49853#poststop
    Charlie

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by motard5
    I am just like many out there one of those people that ride the trails, but never really get involved in trail building.
    ...
    Thanks again for listening, hopefully I am not in the minority
    You're not in the minority and that's the root of your issue.

    It's a simple fact that the folks who get involved are the ones who get to design the trails and they are going to build what they want to ride. It's been my experience that most of the riders who do show up to meetings and work days aren't the adrenalin craving types, but the easy going folks who just like to be outside, and the design of the trails reflect that. I've noticed that the types of riders who want to ride the stunts tend to be more type-a and get frustrated by the inherent slow pace of trail building.

    Also, such a tiny number of riders actually help develop trails that most of the limited man hours go into maintaining existing trail. It takes planning and time to build new trails and magnitudes more to add in challenging-yet-safe features.

  4. #4
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    South Kettles

    Motard 5,

    You sound like I did three years ago before I started helping out trail building in the Southern Kettle. I loved riding in the Kettle but was frustrated with some of the methods used to "improve" the trails. However, once I volunteered I was suprised to see how open the group was to new ideas. For instance, the "big scary log ride" was built after our lead guy, trailblazer Dave, was showing me the the new trail route and I pointed the potential out. Dave was all for it and several other volunteers made it happen. That's as much effort as it took.

    Thanks to Paul Sandgren, the DNR is quite supportive of our ideas. Their primary goal is to make trails that are sustainable, relatively maintainance free, but yet as challenging as possible. Some ideas do get shot down, however, most are built.

    The trail work typically starts in March and runs into June. I am ususally only able to help out in the early sring but several volunteers are out every weekend. It's a great group of people who love working on the trails.

    I'm sure your ideas, and your time, would be appreciated and welcomed by our group. Even though the work on the connector is generally complete, we have many areas to improve, reroute, or create at Emma Carlin and at John Muir. Come on out this spring.

    I will most likely post the dates here once they are scheduled. You can also call the forest headquarters at 262-594-6200 in March for the dates. The Trail info line typically mentions the dates and times in the spring as well (262-594-6202).

  5. #5
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    Partly relevant....

    Quote Originally Posted by motard5
    I am fairly new to the area so please take my opinions with a grain of salt, but here are a few problems I see with trail building at least around the Milwaukee (SEWI) area where there are probably the most riders.

    I am just like many out there one of those people that ride the trails, but never really get involved in trail building. Partly due to lack of knowledge of how to get involved (or ignorance whatever you want to call it), but partly due to lack of interest in wasting time to build a ho hum trail. For eg. the new trail that is built or being built up at Greenbush - its obviously more than appreciated by all, but being mostly done with DNR people as well as I am sure the "regular" trail guys from orgs such as WORBA etc. Where can the regular joes get involved?

    There are definently some good ones out there around WI, but MTBing is evolving heavily. Obstacles that keep the trails fun and errosion free IMO are missing from existing, heavily used trails around here. Catwalks, ramps, teeters, some nice hucking options, drops etc. Sure, not everyone is interested, but I think if the option was there or presented to build in some sections a ton of interest would occur. Start them small and fun as you can always expand and extend. We have a lot of resources in companies like Trek close by and I am just really surprised more of these things are not happening to keep the trails fresh and fun?

    I realize I may sound like I am complaining, but I am definently not. I do want to pitch in, I just don't see any sort of movement on adding things like this to existing or new trails like the Kettle trails (south and north). We have little to no elevation change as is, so a windy smooth single track with literally no obstacles simply to me just doesn't cut it anymore.

    Does it boil down the safety/liability issue, time, money? WI has a huge MTB following, even compared to some states I have been in, so you would think there would be some interest in big locations on some loops such as South Kettle?

    Thanks again for listening, hopefully I am not in the minority
    I see the issue as a combination of:

    1. Lack of land
    2. Fear of liability
    3. Lack of participation

    Lack of land: There is almost no federal land in the southern half of Wisconsin. The state and county parks are underfunded and the managers have no time or material resources to devote to bike trails.

    Fear of liability: What is the upside for a park manager to allow stunts to be built? If someone gets hurt they can file a lawsuit regardless of the merits and lack of supporting law. At Blue Mound we can use the rocks to make any kind of feature we want, but adding a wooden ladder to get up or off of it is forbidden.

    Lack of participation: My club (corp_madison, on Yahoo Groups) has been developing a small city park in Fitchburg, Quarry Ridge. At the initial meetings, we had great turnout. Many gravity riders were excited.

    Since that time the turnout for work days has dwindled to the point where a very small group of people do all the work. And none of the ones remaining are really into the stunts. As a result, the development of the advanced features is going very slowly.

    We built some jumps out at Blue Mound but in the last 3 years nobody has volunteered to help maintain them. I'm not into riding off drops. I have 11 miles of trail to maintain, mostly by myself. The freeride area goes to the bottom of my priority list. Unfair to gravity riders? Maybe, but from my perspective they don't participate.

    The world is run by people who show up for work. To be blunt about it, the problem is that the riders who want man-made features are willing to complain, and occassionally build unauthorized stunts, but not much more than that.

    I'm not ripping on anyone in particular or you specifically. The difference between the gravity/stunt riders getting what they want and the XC riders getting what they want is literally a hand full of people. Most XC people don't show up either. Just enough do that we get the job done.

    Walt

  6. #6
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    Walt,

    Thanks for all your work at Blue Mound. I love the challenge and how you have incorporated all the natural rock formations into the trail. I wish we had the natural features you have at Blue Mound in the Kettles.

    If I lived closer, I'd help you out on your trail days as well.

  7. #7
    Bear
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    Want some trails or stunts?

    Walt sums up the problems with trailbuilding quite well. I would be quite adamant about bumping lack of participation straight to the top of the list. What our group (corp_madison at yahoo groups) accomplishes with only a handful of faithfuls is really tough. Strength in the trrailbuilding arena really lies in numbers. If we had 20+ people show up for work days on a CONISISTENT basis it would exponetially increase what we were able to accomplish.

    Live in the Madison area and have ideas for trails and stunts you like to see in the near future? CORP has our planning meeting for 2008 on 10/25 at Ten Pin Alley in Fitchburg. Look for us in the meeting room at 7:00pm. Show up, voice your opinion, and come spring dig some dirt or build some TTF's! See ya at the meeting.

    Bear

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbaryenbruch
    Walt sums up the problems with trailbuilding quite well. I would be quite adamant about bumping lack of participation straight to the top of the list. What our group (corp_madison at yahoo groups) accomplishes with only a handful of faithfuls is really tough. Strength in the trrailbuilding arena really lies in numbers. If we had 20+ people show up for work days on a CONISISTENT basis it would exponetially increase what we were able to accomplish.

    Live in the Madison area and have ideas for trails and stunts you like to see in the near future? CORP has our planning meeting for 2008 on 10/25 at Ten Pin Alley in Fitchburg. Look for us in the meeting room at 7:00pm. Show up, voice your opinion, and come spring dig some dirt or build some TTF's! See ya at the meeting.

    Bear
    Just wanted to say hi to you Bear. I'm friends/relatives with Scotch. He's been great and keeps inviting me to your meetings and yes it's the whole time factor(18credits school and work),but I graduate in December and my boyfriend (working 80 hours a week) and I are looking forward to start helping this spring. We only get a chance to ride now maybe once week, which was obvious by the way Mark creamed us when we rode together

    Looking forward to working with you in the future! Mark will make sure we get out there and give some sweat!

    And a shout out to Walt too!

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