Squirrel Gap - trail redo?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Squirrel Gap - trail redo?

    Someone chime in and let us know what's going on w/ this trail? I keep hearing that it's getting totally redone in the near future and that our user group was not considered when planning this. I don't have all the data so I won't jump to conclusions however what a shame it would be to have the same type of work that was done in Bent Creek. Let me be clear - I think it's good to have that type of trail at a place like Bent Creek but most riders that travel to ride in Pisgah proper want roots, rocks, mud, off camber bench cut - Squirrel Gap defines this style of riding IMO. I'm sure that this is one of many people's favorite trails as it sits now...

    I'm posting this to gain information, not bash a certain trail style but if Squirrel gets widened and sanitized it would be a tragedy. I know the majority of trail users would agree.
    My one says BRAP!

  2. #2
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    It's out for contract. Along with many other Pisgah trails. What the final result is, only the future will reveal. I would be surprised if it did not involve machine work. Machines are not inherently a bad way to build trails. In most cases I'm a big fan of using machines to build trails. For a pro trail contractor there is no economically feasible option to using machines. It would be like selling furniture made without power tools. Sure it's nice but who can afford it.

    But in this case, machines + squirrel gap = paradise lost. I can't see how the character of the trail will not be completely changed after machines are introduced.

    Not just that... but if (when) the trail is machine cut then I can see no reason horses should not be allowed access to squirrel gap. The horse folks have been fighting for years for access to the full length of squirrel. The good news is this is the USFS and historically they are very slow to change trail designations.

    The PAS response is here

  3. #3
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    Good response.
    "You can make some of the people happy some of the time, but you can't make all of the people happy all of the time."

  4. #4
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    I don't think SG needs any substantial work. There are only a few spots (the washed out section between Mulinax and Pounding Mill) that are in poor shape. Maybe a couple of other single spots here and there. There's no other trail like it and I'd hate to see it changed.
    A bunch of my ride pics: http://uberfarm.com/mnf

  5. #5
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    It's a good response.

    I'm thinking there might be a way to contact the contractor w/ input?
    My one says BRAP!

  6. #6
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    plume and all-
    The contractor has been selected.
    This is ARRA $ - or "stimulus" money.
    Your local MTB advocacy group has been all over this like...a euphemism I'm not going to use here and now.

    Tomorrow am, I am planning on posting very detailed information regarding the work specified and what individual MTB'r's can do. Please monitor the forums accordingly. It will be extremely important that individuals look at this information and contribute in positive and polite ways.

    Briefly:
    The entire corridor of Squirrel Gap has been assigned for professional "maintenance" work. The contractor used to work for IMBA (not Ben) and is reported as being a good guy. We need to communicate our desires as user group. Importantly, the contract allows for the use of a 30" wide machine. In my personal opinion, we need to adamantly oppose any machine use on the hike/bike portions of Squirrel Gap save for the sole purpose of fixing the seep between Cantrell and Horse Cove. We will be requesting that the contractor meet with us and walk the corridor with the most passionate users.

    So, anyhoo, check the forums tomm. There will be more specific info then.

    plume-- that was a totally awesome ride today. jack is right- Squirrel needs little to no work on the hike/bike portion.

  7. #7
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    This was totally under my radar. Glad that you guys are on it. I love that trail and would hate to see a machine go in there.

    Of all the areas that desperately need work in Pisgah why is Squirrel slated for any of it?

  8. #8
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    Here is a sample email. Please review the linked memo in maida's post above for additional points.

    send to:
    deleted because somepeople are jerks and sent harassing e-mails. Send e-mails to Randy Burgess only.
    [email protected] (our ranger)
    [email protected] (so we know how many people respond and can develop a list)

    Mr. Burgess

    Congratulations on being awarded the contract to do trail maintenance within Pisgah District in the Pisgah National Forest. I was very excited to learn that the former supervisor of the IMBA trail crews was awarded the contract.
    This e-mail is concerning one particular trail within the contracts - Squirrel Gap trail. You have already received communication regarding the concerns of our local MTB advocacy group, Pisgah Area SORBA. I am writing to give individual reinforcement to these concerns. In short, Squirrel Gap is the purest backcountry trail we are able to enjoy as mountain bikers in the area. It is not supposed to be "flowy and smooth"- in fact, it is supposed to be exactly the opposite. As a member of the primary user group of this trail, I am adamantly opposed to the use of any kind of machine for the proposed work. Have you been on the trail? Using a machine will absolutely destroy the character of the trail. Let me use a simple analogy- how do you think regional hikers would respond if a machine was being used to maintain the Appalachian Trail through Great Smokies National Park? Mountain bikers in this area feel just as strongly about this trail as hikers do about the AT. Please bear this in mind when considering your work. Furthermore, I strongly suggest that you walk the corridor with users and review the contracted work. I think you will be surprised by the passion you will hear.



    Thanks.
    Mike
    Last edited by Mike Brown; 06-15-2010 at 04:46 AM.

  9. #9
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    Is there something similar happening on Black mtn, grassy road & Sycamore Cove?

  10. #10
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    MTB trails slated for contract work, in total:

    Squirrel Gap
    Fletcher Creek
    Grassy Cove
    Sycamore
    Hard Times Connector
    Deer Lake Lodge
    Kitsuma

    Blech.

  11. #11
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    if he is an imba guy, why are we gonna walk the corridor instead of riding it? im not trying to sharp shoot, just wondering..

  12. #12
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    ghostbear- walking promotes dialogue.

  13. #13
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    machine work slatted for kitsuma?

  14. #14
    mcd
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    how about giving those of us not local a way to voice our opinion... i ride out there a dozen times a year and feel the same way about the trails as you guys. perhaps some sort of online poll/petition/letter etc, something that would show how many users like squirrel as is...
    disclaimer: i (NO LONGER) live with my mom...

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by gtdrew
    machine work slatted for kitsuma?
    I was wondering the same thing (?).

  16. #16
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    FWIW - a lot of us absolutely LOVED the old Burnt Mountain trail in Dupont. It was so raw and weathered (exactly why it needed to be changed I guess). But Woody and crew did an amazing job with the re-work.

    Moral of the story - don't be too bummed about trail contracts. You never know if something good might come out of it.

  17. #17
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    Well, we can strap ourselves to the machine or across the trail.

    If they take a machine through there, I'll never go back and use that trail. It will lose what makes it so great.

    Who do we write to and what sort of materials are best for lashing one's self to a Dingo?

  18. #18
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    There is absolutely no way for Squirrel to retain it's character and have a tracked machine driven across it. I rode it twice this weekend. You would have to remove/bury to many things to get the machine through the corridor. While the machine is supposed to be only 30" wide, it is one of the only trails in the area that can possibly be described as truly narrower than 30". A four wheeler could happen. A tracked machine- no way. I guess you could bring a winch in and use it pull the machine through sections- but how much time/cost would that add? The contract is for only 100-250,000 dollars and includes several other trails- impossible, IMO.

    The difference is Burnt Mountain was already wide enough to accommadate a machine without changing the inherent nature of the trail. Click on the PAS link and then search the contract # for the prescribed work if you want details about what they're proposing. The proposed work would absolutely destroy the character of the trail.

    Non-locals: send the e-mail. Numbers count.


    Sorry, rant over.

    Kitsuma: Yes. I personally know no other details about this, somebody else is going to have pick up that torch.
    Last edited by Mike Brown; 06-07-2010 at 05:09 AM.

  19. #19
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    All- in my "sample" email above, you have the e-mail addy's of the Pisgah District ranger and the contractor selected. Just send your opinions and thoughts there. PLEASE stay polite. My e-mail is strictly a sample I made up when posting- it's not even what I actually sent. Use your own words to express your own passion. Copy me and I'll send out updates as things develop.

  20. #20
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    the details

    Start here: FedBizOps - Trail Maintenance , Pisgah National Forest, NC

    Check the Squirrel Gap Trail Log

    The description is pretty disturbing really.... the PDF is a blow by blow of the proposed work. The following quote appears all too frequently, "Rehab trail tread by removing or covering large roots and rocks." Next most frequent is, "Remove roots from tread" and then there's this, "Tread is extremely narrow and unstable" - their problem is our preference.

    While I agree that engagement is the proper course at this stage I'm not at all sure the contractor can do anything with our input since they've bid on work described in detail and are now obligated to conform to the specification.

    Here's the description of work for Cantrell Creek crossing.
    Cantrell Creek crossing.
    Move large stones downstream to create a small weir, fill behind with smaller stones to establish stable tread.Armor both approaches, Replace logs at both approaches with stone.


    The trail log has accompanying pictures which makes it pretty easy to follow. There are also logs for all other trails in the bid.
    many gears, some pies

  21. #21
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    ooch, Kitsuma. Say it ain't so.

  22. #22
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    thanks ridin29s.

    All- here's some more details.

    The reason why Squirrel and the other work was chosen appears to be directly because it is classified as "maintenance" and therefore does not require any public input. This really ticks me off, personally. I also agree that the work is scary in many ways- it would ruin the trail, especially if done by machine.

    Edit: After reading the proposal again right now with a point of reference of riding Squirrel twice in the past 2 days, I cannot believe the work proposed. It's just terrible. The largest sections of work on are on the messed-up horse-open pieces, but there's still far too much proposed in the hike/bike only corridor I've editted my previous post.

    Anyhow, what can still happen is that Randy Burgess, the ranger for Pisgah District, can change the contract or remove Squirrel altogether at his own discretion. In my opinion, engaging the contractor is a good way to help Randy see why he should consider this option. That's also why I suggest copying him on all e-mails.

    Other than that, there's no way for us to influence the process or work at this time. That's why I'm suggesting we approach this as a positive dialogue- there's no requirement that our opinions even be considered. If we are aggresively angry in our approach (which is how I feel, I will admit), they can choose to just ignore us and move forward anyway.

    Please send the e-mails!!
    Last edited by Mike Brown; 06-07-2010 at 05:37 AM.

  23. #23
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    trail classification?

    The Statement of Work mentions trail classification. So far I've found the whole Fed Register notice (11MB!) of the new regs from back in 2008. It's a pretty dense read and it is easier to understand the proposed work and assess based on the current definitions of the classifications. You can find the classification definitions here: http://www.fs.fed.us/im/directives/f...2309.18_10.doc

    Excerpt from SOW...
    Squirrel Gap (TR147) is 7.98 miles of Class 2 trail. Work begins at the intersection of South Mills River (TR133) and ends at End of Squirrel Gap Trail at junction of Bradley Creek (TR351). The east segment (0.00 to 2.46 mi) and the west segment (6.44 mi to 7.98mi) are designed for pack and saddle and managed for pack and saddle, mountain biking and hiking.

    The center segment (2.46 mi to 6.44mi) is designed for mountain biking and managed for mountain biking and hiking. Maximum equipment width shall be limited to 30-inches for this center segment of Squirel Gap Trail (biking/hiking portion). Maintenance needs are identified in the attached trail assessment log. All of Squirrel Gap is located within South Mills River Inventoried Roadless Area. Live trees cannot be removed along or adjacent to these trails for the creation of trail maintenance structures. Trees may only be removed if they present a hazard to public health and safety.



    What is Trail Class 2?


    Moderately Developed
    Tread and Traffic Flow: Tread continuous and discernible, but narrow and rough.
    Single lane, with minor allowances constructed for passing.
    Typically native materials.

    Obstructions: Obstacles may be common, substantial, and intended to provide increased challenge.
    Blockages cleared to define route and protect resources.
    Vegetation may encroach into trailway.

    Constructed Features and Trail Elements: Structures of limited size, scale, and quantity; typically constructed of native materials.
    Structures adequate to protect trail infrastructure and resources.
    Natural fords.
    Bridges as needed for resource protection and appropriate access.


    My 2 cents is that the work described doesn't conform to a class 2 trail and we should challenge it based on that. Eliminating roots and rocks simply doesn't make sense with respect to the Obstructions part of the definition "common, substantial, and intended to provide increased challenge".
    many gears, some pies

  24. #24
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    1) The email for the contract is "trails..." not "trail..." I have fixed this. Thanks to the forum user who pointed this out.

    2) Trail Class 2 specifications are referred to in the contract package. I've attached these design parameters.

    While I agree that some of the specified work does not fall within the parameters, much does. For example, they are not calling for the removal of obstructions less than 6" in height, widening the width beyond 30" (although using a machine would do this), etc.

    Again, these contracts have NO requirement for public input or accountability. That is, again in my opinion, specifically why the selected work was chosen. The ONLY way we have found to try and get them on not following the design parameters would be to file legal action. So far, we have not been able to find counsel willing to do this pro bono or otherwise low-to-no cost. If you know of somebody who'd be interested in doing this, please let us know. Or, if you find information about other possible channels, that'd be great.

    I could REALLY use a hand with following up on this. I'm supposed to be the "Richmond Hill" guy and do not have time for my 50 hour a week job, Richmond Hill, selling my house and buying a new one (something I'm in the middle of), this, and riding. I have to ride for my sanity. The only reason I'm "pointing" on this is somebody has to. If people are interested in taking over or getting formally involved, let me know and we can meet somewhere.


    For now
    Attached Files Attached Files

  25. #25
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    Sent a message to all above with my polite and clear opinion on this matter.
    Last edited by kkjellquist; 06-16-2010 at 08:15 AM.
    "Big Gulps huh?...Allllriggghhht....Welp, See ya later!"

  26. #26
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    For some reason I'm just doubting that anything with a 30" track width is capable of even making it up/over some of the stuff on that trail? Perhaps that's in reference to ATVs or other equipment they'll use just to bring tools and supplies in to the remote areas. I just think there's this notion that they're going to be sending a dozer up there to raze everything in it's path and I just seriously doubt that's going to happen. I'll write an email to whoever if it's deemed prudent, I suppose it wouldn't hurt.
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  27. #27
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    It seems to me that the money could be spent in a better way. For instance, the small slide that is keeping the road to trace ridge closed. Just a thought....

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim311
    For some reason I'm just doubting that anything with a 30" track width is capable of even making it up/over some of the stuff on that trail? Perhaps that's in reference to ATVs or other equipment they'll use just to bring tools and supplies in to the remote areas. I just think there's this notion that they're going to be sending a dozer up there to raze everything in it's path and I just seriously doubt that's going to happen. I'll write an email to whoever if it's deemed prudent, I suppose it wouldn't hurt.

    Exactly our point. They will have impact on the entire corridor to bring the machine in for use on selected areas.
    The contract SPECIFIES the use of a 30" walk behind machine- a "dingo" type machine. That's a fact. Look the contract over.
    One way to look at this- we've had this news for several days now. We had to find out about it through back channels- there was no effort to inform the advocacy group that is responsible for the trail. We've done our research. This is what's happening unless we somehow influence the process. Trusting the forest service/contractor to do the right thing is the equivalent of sticking our heads in the sand.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by sman12
    It seems to me that the money could be spent in a better way. For instance, the small slide that is keeping the road to trace ridge closed. Just a thought....

    There are several contracts using ARRA money. Road maintenance is included in some and this may be part of it- although I doubt it as the slide happened after proposals were due for ARRA money ( I applied for some myself, I'm a social worker).
    One thing we do question is the contractor's ability to do the proposed work within the budget parameters. With all the work proposed in the total contract (refer to riding29's post) it seems impossible.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by kkjellquist
    Sent a message to all above with my polite and clear opinion on this matter.

    [email protected] bounced.

    PLEASE NOTE...it's [email protected], you should edit your post...lots of people will not get down to this.

    Thought I had as noted in previous post to yours, but thanks K. Sorry about the typo the first time, y'all.

  31. #31
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    Mike do you think it would help if this was taken to a wider audience(paper, hiking groups etc) or would that ruffle some feathers?

  32. #32
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    Papers are likely. We need to wait and see on a few other irons that are in the fire first.

  33. #33
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    Has anyone checked out Mike Riter's web sit to see what he calls his signature trail? I've ridden Jackrabbit, it's a nice trail, I hope he doesn't leave his signature on Squirrel.
    SORBA-Woodstock Diggin' dirt since 1999.

  34. #34
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    Write those letters everyone! The more they get, the better! They will be read.I sent Randy Burgess a letter regarding the Brushy Ridge Logging and he called me to discuss it so I know they are reading what we send.

    The only way our voice will be heard is if we voice it!
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  35. #35
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    Mike Riter wrote back to me regarding the Squirrel Gap work. His position, in short, is Trail Design has accepted a contract to do the work as spec'd by the forest service. Taking a step back I can certainly understand & respect they must honor contracts they accept. I pointed out that home builders commonly enter into contracts and then have opinions and make changes to the original spec. I believer Trail Design can certainly influence what is done or not done to Squirrel Gap. I CC'd Mr. Burgess on my response.

    Like driftwood wrote, please send your polite and well thought out opinions to Randy Burgess AND Mike Riter.
    "Big Gulps huh?...Allllriggghhht....Welp, See ya later!"

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlloyNipples
    Has anyone checked out Mike Riter's web sit to see what he calls his signature trail? I've ridden Jackrabbit, it's a nice trail, I hope he doesn't leave his signature on Squirrel.
    There aren't any listed projects that I would consider backcountry... in fact many are well within urban areas and the primary mission "to create trails that provide users with
    the best experience possible" in those cases would dictate your basic 'built' trail (like Jackrabbit I suppose). I think our only hope is to convince Riter that the 'best experience possible' is a significantly raw and natural one on Squirrel.
    many gears, some pies

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by kkjellquist
    Mike Riter wrote back to me regarding the Squirrel Gap work. His position, in short, is Trail Design has accepted a contract to do the work as spec'd by the forest service.....
    Riter's stated MISSION is "to create trails that provide users with the best experience possible."

    So I think we should all point out in our correspondence exactly what the "best experience possible" is with regard to Squirrel. Hopefully we can strike a reasonable balance between the spec and the resulting user experience.
    many gears, some pies

  38. #38
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    He has a contract that dictates what work must be done in order for him to get payed. I feel like we are barking up the wrong tree. It is good that he knows our position but the ability to change the scope of the 'maintenance' lies with the FS.

    Has anyone talked with Randy Burgess about this? I am also interested in limiting the machine use on Kitsuma.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by gtdrew
    He has a contract that dictates what work must be done in order for him to get payed. I feel like we are barking up the wrong tree. It is good that he knows our position but the ability to change the scope of the 'maintenance' lies with the FS.

    Has anyone talked with Randy Burgess about this? I am also interested in limiting the machine use on Kitsuma.
    I cc'd Randy in my email. I think we should be sending the same message to both the USFS and the contractor,

    Not just Kitsuma. IMHO Sycamore cove has several sections that really should not see machines.

  40. #40
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    E-mail sent

    A very polite,nice email from a 56 year old that likes it wild

  41. #41
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    Very busy, replies now are limited.

    As suggested, e-mailing Randy should be part of what we do. The contract has been awarded, so what I'm trying to encourage is to actually get faces and passion related to the trail in the mind of the person who has been awarded the trail. Randy should be seeing all of this as well.

    We've had direct discussion with Randy. We were still in that process when the contract was awarded.

    Remember that Kitsuma is Grandfather district. Randy/Pisgah district has nothing to do with it.

    To those who have e-mailed me looking for a higher level of involvement, I will reply later tonight.

    Edit: One thing I'm considering organizing is a "ride in" where riders meet in Brevard, cycle to the Ranger station, and show a bunch of heads-in-helmets in the station to demonstrate solidarity. The biggest problem is that this would have to be on a weekday between 9-5 to have any visibility- so I most likely could not organize and lead.

    Back to work.

  42. #42
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    As you would have guessed, Trail Dynamics also bid on this project. Because of that, I have to be careful with what I say here on this forum but will offer some thoughts and info.

    First and foremost, we expressed concerns with the scope of work for SG in the pre bid conference. We noted to the FS that SORBA and the mountain bike community had a large investment in this trail and that it provided a unique trail experience. We were the ones who suggested limiting a machine max width knowing that the 30" would rule out most machines (standard walk behind width is 42" so too wide). The FS was not comfortable limiting it to 24" (some micro excavators go that small) as they want it to be a machine that was "readily available to rent". I responded that an operator lacking experience and skills would likely kill themselves on that trail with a small machine.

    Our bid was significantly higher than that of Trail Design Specialist, and we are local so would not have mobilization cost or lodging cost. We feel this is due to several reasons:
    1. A better understanding of all the trails to be worked on (we inspected all of the trails in the package) and 2. We pledged to do all the narrow part of SG by hand so as to not radically change the user experience.

    Here is what TD put into our technical proposal for the SG project:

    "Squirrel Gap Trail-
    The Squirrel Gap Trail has 2 different personalities. Part of the trail is open
    to horses allowing for loop options with Horse Cove Trail or Mills River
    Trail. This section is wider and mostly following old road-bed or rail-bed
    leftover from the logging era of the early 1900s. The “center” section
    however is only open to hiking and mountain bikes and appears to have been
    hand-built and certainly has only been maintained using hand tools for many
    Pisgah Area SORBA adopted Squirrel Gap Trail several years ago and has
    done a lot of clearing but also tread work to this trail. Unfortunately, PAS
    members were not informed (or given the opportunity to comment on) this
    trail segment was being funded with ARRA funds for contract work. Squirrel
    Gap is a favorite trail of many mountain bikers and offers a unique trail
    experience of a very narrow and primitive trail in a road-less area. Due to
    these reasons, mountain bikers are very concerned about the scope of work
    to be performed on this middle segment of trail and fear a loss of character.
    Trail Dynamics staff members also love this ride and are very sensitive to
    the concerns being brought forth by Pisgah Area SORBA and the mountain
    bike community. Like many others, we believe the current prescription to be
    somewhat heavy handed and will result in an unacceptable level of change
    for this alignment from the user’s perspective. Squirrel Gap is a great
    example of a trail alignment on contour and therefore mostly sustainable
    with little long term impacts on surrounding resources. The trail certainly
    could use some work to improve some minor issues, but the trail is a Class 2
    in a roadless area and as such needs a more primitive look and feel.
    We have bid this trail as per the trail log which was the instructions given to
    us at the pre bid meeting. Should we receive the contract, we would however
    like to work with the trail assessment team, USFS representatives and PAS
    leaders (and trail maintainers) to re-visit the trail logs and see if some
    compromise can be reached. A reduction in the scope of work would result
    in a cost savings and this could be negotiated after agreement is reached.
    Regardless, Trail Dynamics plans to work with mainly hand tools in this
    section of trail so as to minimize the impact to the trail experience."


    In the end, the FS went with a lower but still qualified bid from Mike. I called Mike last week as he is a friend and asked "do you really know what you are getting yourself into and is your bid not going to kill you on these projects". Mike B's concern of too low of a bid is well founded in my professional opinion.

    The bid docs statement of work says:

    "Contractors shall:
    • Review the project site on the ground prior to submitting a bid."

    I don't see how it was possible for Mike to have done that as I know he was in WI on a project during the pre-bid period. That also is a concern, again I just don't think he fully understands the project.

    In addition to logistics of getting into SG each day and the burly nature of that trail, others in the project are way structure intensive and thus expensive projects (Moore Cove, Rainbow Falls).

    Like many of you, we felt the trail log prescription was very heavy handed for this trail, especially considering it is a Class 2 trail in an inventoried area:

    http://atfiles.org/files/pdf/USFSTrailClass07.pdf

    http://www.alaska-trails.org/trail_c..._1_31_2005.pdf

    These are good talking points for your comments (email and letters):

    -SORBA has officially adopted this trail but was not consulted in this being part of an ARRA funded project.

    -The work prescription does not fit the trail classification and will greatly alter the experience for users in this roadless area.

    -SG trail is on contour and in pretty good shape, thus really does not need the level of work as prescribed.

    -There are trails with much greater need and higher priority than SG. Many trails in the Pisgah District are in bad shape and having a serious impact on natural resources especially water quality and those trails should be worked on instead.

    -Concerns/questions about if the contractor really looked at the project would be a valid question to get answered.

    Keep in mind the purposes for these ARRA funded trail projects:

    -Put America back to work (main purpose of the stim bill)
    -Bring trails into compliance with current USFS trail standards (many trails in Pisgah are way outside of FS standards)

    Other trails to be contracted:

    Woods Mountain and Kitsuzma on the Grandfather District (not awarded yet)
    Deer Lake Lodge and Hard Times Connector in Bent Creek (not awarded yet)
    Tsali trails-
    https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportun...=core&_cview=1

    The Little M ride (Grassy, S. and Thrift Cove, bottom of Black Mountain)
    https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportun...=core&_cview=1


    Final thought(for now): Get active and pro active instead of reactive. If the mountain bike community was maintaining these trails to current FS standards, then they would not contract these out. I know some of you do trail work, but way too many mountain bikers have keyboard calluses (from posting on MTBR, Facebook and personal blogs) but have little to no trail experience working with hand tools doing trail work. Kitzuma for instance has not had any tread work on it from the mountain bike community in many years (though I know folks keep it cleared of downfall, treadwork is a different animal).

    Woody
    Last edited by Woodman; 06-08-2010 at 05:32 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by drkenan
    FWIW - a lot of us absolutely LOVED the old Burnt Mountain trail in Dupont. It was so raw and weathered (exactly why it needed to be changed I guess). But Woody and crew did an amazing job with the re-work.

    Moral of the story - don't be too bummed about trail contracts. You never know if something good might come out of it.

    Kenan,

    Thanks for the props

    TD did all the road to trail conversion work under contract. The steep downhill section with all the rock armoring was TD donating our crew for 2-3 days (paid our crew but got no money in return) and machines, and leading SORBA work days (2- or 3 of these). It was a lot of work, but the goal was to show how we can make a very steep trail sustainable.

    Woody

  44. #44
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    Woody- thanks for the expert perspective. It sound like our hurried and harried attempts to respond to this are relatively on target, that's good.

  45. #45
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    Get PAS set up as a sub for Riter. Then go out and do all the trail work you typically do and let the checks roll in. Too simplistic?

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodman
    Final thought(for now): Get active and pro active instead of reactive. If the mountain bike community was maintaining these trails to current FS standards, then they would not contract these out.
    Woody
    Is this realistic? How far off the FS standard is Squirrel?

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by swoodbrn
    Get PAS set up as a sub for Riter. Then go out and do all the trail work you typically do and let the checks roll in. Too simplistic?
    That's easy for you to say. I already have a job and work all week long. I have a family that demands my attention. I have a house that is in constant need of repair. I barely have enough free time to get a ride in once in a while.

    Does anybody have an endless supply of free time that they want to spend on this?

  48. #48
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    Exactly, that's why I said, "PAS", and not "I", "we", or "us". I was kidding, really. But, I just figured the group did a bunch of work out there already, so why not get paid and maintain control. But, obviously, that wouldn't satisfy the contract. As I said, maybe a little simplistic.

  49. #49
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    Just sent my email, and posted to the interweb.

    If you have friends from out of town who have visited and ridden Squirrel, or who dream of it, be sure to send them info on this. The more voices the better, and non-local dollars sometimes speak volumes ...

  50. #50
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    Sent an e-mail.

    A lot of us TORCies agree with PAS, Woodman and TD assessment of the situation.

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maida7
    That's easy for you to say. I already have a job and work all week long. I have a family that demands my attention. I have a house that is in constant need of repair. I barely have enough free time to get a ride in once in a while.

    Does anybody have an endless supply of free time that they want to spend on this?
    yeah, I got some, opps, I just spent it typing this message....

  52. #52
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    I always appreciate Woody's commentary. He seems to be running a pretty open business that's interested in disclosure and getting the public involved, and isn't afraid to tell the truth or explain the logic behind his decisions. Anyway, lets hope that this all works out okay. I'm too far away to really get involved with much more than an email or a phone call, but I love to ride up your way as much as I can and would hate to see things destroyed or sanitized.
    Ocala Mountain Bike Association - www.omba.org

  53. #53
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    I just read through that PDF describing the detailed work for SG and cried.

    I'm composing my email ...

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by swoodbrn
    Is this realistic? How far off the FS standard is Squirrel?
    SG trail has a few problems, but not huge problems (at least the hike/bike section). As noted before, my professional opinion is that the current prescription is way overkill for this trail, classification and location. Do I think it possible that PAS (SORBA) could do the work called for in the current trail-log prescription in a timely manner, no. But the correct prescription for this trail is somewhere between what is currently called for (by the FS) and what many mountain bikers want to see (no change at all). Could PAS and the mountain bike community work and achieve this middle ground prescription, yes likely but it would take a large effort.

    Step one however is to get the FS to back off of the current prescription and meet with mountain biking public to look at the trail and develop a scope of work that better fits (in my opinion) the trail classification and roadless area designation. Land Managers are usually more willing to listen to those that have earned respect, and the easiest way to earn respect is through sweat equity (trail work).

    Unfortunately, the Bent Creek issue and recent work performed by PAS is having an effect on this (my opinion). PAS lost some hard earned respect with the FS on a Dirty Thursday project and though PAS leadership has asked the FS to treat these as separate issues, FS staff are not likely to do so.

    My comment was really intended to be more general and not specific to this SG issue. I made comments to the effect that we need to be more active in trails maintenance on the district well over a year ago at a PAS meeting. My message during that meeting was simple: "If you don't get involved and start maintaining Pisgah trails, then the FS will do so (with internal crews or through contractors) and you will not like those results". I guess my predictions were true and coming to reality now that the FS has some trail money .

    As noted by others, Mike Riter should not be the target of any message you want to deliver. He is under contract to perform a scope of work defined in bid documents (that others also bid on). The FS should be the target of any emails and letters, asking for a re-visit of the trail and a possible compromise of work prescription.

    Everyone should brush up on FS trail management info from the links provided. Trail Classifications have been around the FS for quite some time, but are just now really being looked at in Region 8 (southern region of the FS). Each and every trail is supposed to have Trail Management Objectives (TMOs) developed to help guide it's management. Trail Classifications, designed use, managed use, trail difficulty are all part of the TMO structure.

    I said this before but it is worth repeating, many Pisgah trails do not meet current FS standards. After the hurricane season of 04,many USFS folks from across the country came to do assessment work to help develop a budget to ask Congress for repairs. This included roads, campground damage (developed recreation areas) and trails. Perhaps all of these outside FS eyes on the trails in Pisgah was the start of a process really identifying
    how bad Pisgah trails really were. Though many of you love Pisgah trails, they are in fact having a large impact on water quality due to erosion (SG is not one of those trails). Go stand at the bottom of Lower Trace Ridge in a heavy rainstorm and see for yourself how much sediment this trail is dumping into the Mills River. The FS closed the Tellico OHV area last year due to violations to the clean water act and a lawsuit from many enviro organizations. There are non-motorized trails in Pisgah that are just as bad as some of the Tellico trails were.

    As we all know, the FS is way underfunded and understaffed. The forest lands are way important to all of us posting on MTBR, but less important to elected officials dealing with big issues like the economy, and stupid wars we can never win (it would be nice to give the FS the budget we spend in Iraq for one week). Southern states (region 8) rarely get a good trails budget, and when they do get some trail money they can tend to be a bit over zealous with the projects. The Bent Creek trails to be worked on with ARRA money were also over-kill prescriptions, but I was able to influence those trail logs during the pre bid conference walk through.

    Woody

  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by dhouskee
    Sent an e-mail.

    A lot of us TORCies agree with PAS, Woodman and TD assessment of the situation.
    I think a letter from out of the area bike club would help a lot, thanks for the efforts.

    Woody

  56. #56
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    1452 views. I've been copied on about a dozen e-mails. What can I do to make this easier for people? (that's a serious question- tell me and I'll do it).

    dwood and ridin 29's- I know you are waiting on e-mails from me. I will get to it as soon as I can. Thanks for your interest and support.

  57. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Brown
    1452 views. I've been copied on about a dozen e-mails. What can I do to make this easier for people? (that's a serious question- tell me and I'll do it).

    dwood and ridin 29's- I know you are waiting on e-mails from me. I will get to it as soon as I can. Thanks for your interest and support.
    It's all good, Mike. I've already figured out what I'm gonna do: chain myself across the trail
    More Trails, Not Less

    Adventures in Pisgah

  58. #58
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    Because some people are jerks and sent harassing e-mails instead of polite ones, I've had to remove the contractor's email. I know this is a hazard of soliciting public input over the interwebz, but thanks for being part of the problem, whoever you people are.

    kkjellkuist, if you could remove the e-mail from your post, it'd be greatly appreciated.

    Any future e-mails should go the ranger only. Feel free to copy me, although evidently some people haven't because I've never seen these harassing e-mails.

  59. #59
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    Mike, is it alright if we just start sending harassing emails to you directly? :-)

  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Brown
    Because some people are jerks and sent harassing e-mails instead of polite ones, I've had to remove the contractor's email. I know this is a hazard of soliciting public input over the interwebz, but thanks for being part of the problem, whoever you people are.

    kkjellkuist, if you could remove the e-mail from your post, it'd be greatly appreciated.

    Any future e-mails should go the ranger only. Feel free to copy me, although evidently some people haven't because I've never seen these harassing e-mails.
    Wow, what a shame. Hopefully all the civil letters we've sent don't lose their impact just because a couple people acted like children.
    This sport has enough problems getting respect from the powers that be. If someone can't compose a decent letter they should just refrain entirely. Vent somewhere else!

  61. #61
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    I had previously sent a note to the contractor offering my assistance, in any possible way. i explained how unique Squirrel is and described the issues with using machines in its repair. Very polite. This was prior to the 'don't bug the trail crew' message.

    And I copied Randy.

  62. #62
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    I removed the contractor's email address.
    "Big Gulps huh?...Allllriggghhht....Welp, See ya later!"

  63. #63
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    I love squirrel gap. It is by far my favorite trail in Pisgah. In it's current state, I clean everything out and back, and enjoy the exciting challenges in doing so. It stands out as the trail I ride most, and I know every meter of its length intimately. I've read the log and while I will miss some of the features slated for removal, everything listed in the log EXCEPT THE GRADE DIPS appear to be maintenance work that is needed to PRESERVE the trail. How the work is accomplished is what is going to have the longest impact on our experience. I don't see how a machine can be brought in and out without negative impact....there's just not enough room. The work can and should all be done by hand. On a positive note, almost the entire length between Cantrell Creek and Laurel Mtn. is left out of the log...that section is the heart of the ride, IMO. I've been watching tread creep occur on Squirrel Gap over the years, and believe that it is best in the long term to move the tread back up. In fact, I'm glad its getting done! It won't be as fun next year, but in ten years will have been work that was well worth the loss of 2" wide "barely-there" tread sections.

    As far as all the grade dips go, I just don't see the point. They are short term solutions at best, and are wholly unnecessary on a properly contouring and frequently grade reversing trail such as Squirrel Gap.

    I'll seriously miss the roots at station 304 as listed in the log; they stand out as one of the hardest single moves in Pisgah, but is there really anyone else out there who has made it up that section? Compared to how many visits way down slope I've witnessed, that work will be a net positive to the trail experience.


    Trails change over time regardless of if its tools or water that does it. Good tread work is needed for trail longevity. Most of this work is good, and needed. Some is bad, and unneeded. I think it's pertinent to specify the difference and ensure tidy execution of good maintenance. That doesn't seem like much, is it possible?
    -Marshall Hance
    EndlessBikeCo.

  64. #64
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    Marshall- thanks for posting.
    I think we're all in agreement that using the machine is by far the biggest concern.

    Using the example of the sections between Laurel>Cantrell, the rocky off camber bits with the frequent reversals are not navigable for a vast majority of machine operators without removing rocks in place but not listed in the spec's.

  65. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sideways
    I'll seriously miss the roots at station 304 as listed in the log; they stand out as one of the hardest single moves in Pisgah, but is there really anyone else out there who has made it up that section? Compared to how many visits way down slope I've witnessed, that work will be a net positive to the trail experience.
    I'm your huckleberry.

    Does anyone know why PAS was left out of the loop?

  66. #66
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    Letter

    I wrote a letter.

    Joe

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    I have come close to being anointed "huckleberry" at that particular section, but, alas, I am not.

    That said, I have witnessed several "huckleberries" clean that with apparent ease, and they all have sent in well penned opinion letters on this matter to the Forest Service. An intelligent opinion will always be considered while a crazy rant will always find the trash can.

  68. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by park baker
    I'm your huckleberry.

    Does anyone know why PAS was left out of the loop?

    The public at large was left completely out of the loop. For example, another trail in the same contract, bundle, Moore Cove, has been worked on extensively by Carolina Mountain Club in the past few years. They did not receive any prior notice either.

    Because this is AARA $ (stimulus money), submitted projects needed to be "shovel ready"- in other words, once the $ was assigned, work could go out for bid immediately. Including a public input process would have pushed this outside of that definition of "shovel ready." Work was specifically chosen for the contracts because it fits within the FS definitions for keeping a trail within it's designated trail specifications.

    Edit: I also want to add- for me part, of the positive of the Squirrel Gap experience is that there are sections I may not make and have to get off my bike on. There SHOULD be trails that challenge us to that degree- that only 5% or so of riders can routinely clean. Call me old-fashinoned, but what's so wrong with having to get off your bike for 10 seconds?
    Last edited by Mike Brown; 06-18-2010 at 07:30 AM.

  69. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by pisgahrider
    I have come close to being anointed "huckleberry" at that particular section, but, alas, I am not.

    That said, I have witnessed several "huckleberries" clean that with apparent ease, and they all have sent in well penned opinion letters on this matter to the Forest Service. An intelligent opinion will always be considered while a crazy rant will always find the trash can.

    I have still been copied on fewer than a dozen e-mails. Edit: Just organized e-mails received into a "group" thanks to the fourteen people who have copied me! God, I have got to get back to work...The intent behind copying me is so that I can coordinate future communications without having to rely on the (dangers of) a public forum. For example, if an invitation to walk the corridor with the Ranger and/or contractor is extended, I am not going to post it on the forums. They will not come out if they think random people are going to show up and threaten violence to them or their equipment, which is evidently what anonymous e-mail users feel is a good idea to do.

    If people want to be included on more specific information moving forward, please e-mail me at [email protected]. Myself or our club president will be speaking directly with the ranger about whatever happens moving forward. They won't be making any kind of effort to notify the public at large- again, they are not required to. Frankly, they aren't too happy with us about putting all this info on a public forum, although I personally think keeping y'all informed should be a primary function of PAS.

    This is a good example of why it is important (albeit a total PITA sometimes) to be involved with a formal group rather than just standing as an individual...

    Rambling semi-rant over.
    Last edited by Mike Brown; 06-18-2010 at 08:13 AM.

  70. #70
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    Sent my email to the contractor on 6/8

    Copied the ranger and Mike Brown

  71. #71
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    "they aren't too happy with us about putting all this info on a public forum"

    Frankly, I'm not too happy they decided to potentially ruin the best trail in Pisgah without informing the biggest group of people that use said trail.

    I sent a polite and direct email and copied Mike B, the trail builder, and the FS. The damaging emails should never have been sent, but the root of this problem is the lack of communication by the FS. It seems they are more concerned with a bunch of idiots with 'internet muscles' than doing what's right for Squirrel Gap.

    I suspect 99% of the people involved, including those that sent "damaging emails", would agree some amount of maintenance is needed. What's also needed is a consensus on what needs to be done and NOT done. Formulating a plan for excessive & destructive work, and secretly awarding a contract for the work only benefit$ one party mentioned in this thread.

    Let's just hope Squirrel Gap doesn't end up like TrailDesign's "Signature Project"
    "Big Gulps huh?...Allllriggghhht....Welp, See ya later!"

  72. #72
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    What's really annoying is how backward the FS is to the real issue's. The real issues are economics. One of the main goals of the USFS is to provide an economic resource for the USA. They also have to balance that with protecting the fish and animals, etc... In some forests the management goals are directed towards recreation as the economic benefit. In Pisgah the main directive for economic benefit is timber harvest. Essentially, Pisgah is managed as a tree farm that is to be used to support the local furniture industry. Well times have changed. The majority of the furniture industry has moved to China. The local economy has shifted to tourism, recreation and retirement. It's time the USFS wake up and change the policy to manage the forest with recreation as the primary economic benefit. Stop with the stupid timber harvests all the time.

    Back to Squirrel Gap, The stimulus money is intended for economic benefit. Sure the short term is that this contractor gets some work and that is a good thing. But the people at the USFS have made very poor choices on how to spend the money. The sanitation of Squirrel could have a negative effect on the local economy. People come from all over to ride squirrel (and other trails like it) and spend money here. If squirrel is altered to the point that it's "just another trail" then those people have no more reason to come here. They can stay home and ride jackrabbit or blankets creek or whatever they have local to them. Squirrel Gap trail is an economic resource and this is how the USFS want to manage it.

    I'm really angry with the USFS. Blah blah blah

  73. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Brown
    They won't be making any kind of effort to notify the public at large- again, they are not required to. Frankly, they aren't too happy with us about putting all this info on a public forum, although I personally think keeping y'all informed should be a primary function of PAS.
    As a Triangle-based rider who frequents Pisgah but isn't in the "local loop" w/r to this sort of information, having PAS folks like yourself take the time and effort to make the information available is appreciated. I sent you my letter via email, and I'm not sure how effective trail user feedback will be at this point in the process, but I think that providing trail-user perspectives can't hurt as long as they are passed along in an appropriate manner.

    Building on Maida's comments and what I mentioned in my letter, SG is truly a destination trail for some out-of-towners, and I really hopes it remains that after the work is done.

  74. #74
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    Ride squirrel gap.
    Read the list of work to be done.
    Ride squirrel gap again.

    Everything listed (except the grade dips) needs to be done. It's getting paid for to be done! This is great! I'll miss the roots, but they have been leading to the trail sliding down the hill over time; I've watched it and thought, "this needs to be fixed". Next year, it won't be as pretty or challenging. But in five years, it will be great where otherwise Squirrel would have become a mess.

    I really don't get the point of the grade dips, though, and hope they are as minimally executed as possible.
    -Marshall Hance
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  75. #75
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    Marshall-
    I've done that.
    If the work was being done by hand, I could agree.
    The plan is still to take a 30" wide machine in there. The only machine with a 30" wide tread is a mini-ex. While this has the least impact of a machine when used by a skilled operator, it is still the feel that machine work will leave and the impact of bringing the machine to job sites that worries me most.
    My other fear is how the specs are implemted. You read the contract and ride the trail tihnking about how to do it in a way that maintains the character and feel. We need to be ensuring that the contractor who does the work looks at it through the same lens.
    What I do agree with: It's 98% likely that the work is going to happen. That's why my sample e-mails have not called for just stopping the work but rather try to open channels of communication regarding how the work ends up looking on the ground.

  76. #76
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    I've done it too, and second what Mike is saying. There are clearly some areas that need help, or the trail will destroy itself with another season or two of weather and use.

    However, part of the charm of Squirrel is its remote nature -- and there are no easy access points to haul in that excavator. That's the crux of the issue, in my opinion -- getting the machine in to where it "needs" to be will require messing up parts of the trail that don't need to be messed with.

    As anyone who's ridden with me knows, I'm pretty much a nancy boy when it comes to some stuff, and I'll be the first to admit that I'm walking parts of Squirrel as it exists today. I'm excited to see more sustainable trail in certain areas. But I don't want to see other parts that are in decent shape destroyed just so that repair can happen on the parts that are further in.

  77. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maida7
    What's really annoying is how backward the FS is to the real issue's. The real issues are economics. One of the main goals of the USFS is to provide an economic resource for the USA. They also have to balance that with protecting the fish and animals, etc... In some forests the management goals are directed towards recreation as the economic benefit. In Pisgah the main directive for economic benefit is timber harvest. Essentially, Pisgah is managed as a tree farm that is to be used to support the local furniture industry. Well times have changed. The majority of the furniture industry has moved to China. The local economy has shifted to tourism, recreation and retirement. It's time the USFS wake up and change the policy to manage the forest with recreation as the primary economic benefit. Stop with the stupid timber harvests all the time.

    Back to Squirrel Gap, The stimulus money is intended for economic benefit. Sure the short term is that this contractor gets some work and that is a good thing. But the people at the USFS have made very poor choices on how to spend the money. The sanitation of Squirrel could have a negative effect on the local economy. People come from all over to ride squirrel (and other trails like it) and spend money here. If squirrel is altered to the point that it's "just another trail" then those people have no more reason to come here. They can stay home and ride jackrabbit or blankets creek or whatever they have local to them. Squirrel Gap trail is an economic resource and this is how the USFS want to manage it.

    I'm really angry with the USFS. Blah blah blah


    Maida you absolutely nailed it. That is the best post so far. I sure hope someone from the USFS is following this thread and this touches a nerve. USFS is so out of touch it is silly. I am certain the USFS has a crap ton of other projects/issues on their plates with only a limited number of folks and funds to make them happen. But to ignore or just plain shut out mtb (and from the sound of it other user groups) on issues that are so important to that particular group is just dumb and down right unprofessional. They just need to look at any parking lot from Bent Creek to the Fish Hatchery that are over flowing with cars/trucks with bike racks, horse trailers and outdoor enthusiasts. Most are from out of town and are there spending hard earned cash with visitor dependent stores and restaurants in the area. Yet they would rather share their bed with the timber industry. Which to my knowledge is an industry that does not fill hotels, campgrounds, and restaurants on a weekly basis. Go figure! They will wake up one day, hopefully.

  78. #78
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    The problem with the trails in WNC is that they are victum of this area becoming a mtn biking mecca. Trails are getting used more than they used to be and need more work to keep them in shape. Used to it took a act of congress to get directions to a lot of the exclusive Pisgah trails besides Bent Creek. Now every month this area is in a mtn bike magazine of some sort. It's good for the local biking economy but the locals that was mtn biking pre-2000 will tell you the trails are way over used now. Sorry for the rant, but it's what I think is the main problem why the trails are getting reworked.

  79. #79
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    Management focus/ policy

    Our local district's management of forest resources is dictated by policy sent forth from the regional office in Atlanta. Until that policy changes, our local district cannot change their management focus. Most government jobs do not allow for that degree of local control.
    This regional management plan has been expired for many years but to my knowledge no efforts are being made for it be changed. An effective means of changing this long-term could be to have our local represenative (Heath Shuler) start advocating to update the management plan. That would depend, however, on if his interests are vested in the timber or recreation industries...

  80. #80
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    The pisgah management plan can be found here http://www.cs.unca.edu/nfsnc/nepa/na...plan/plans.htm

    The last revision was done in 1994.

  81. #81
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    Mgmt

    Not the hipster band...

    The Pisgah Management Plan is outdated, but still the law of the land. A new one is on hold pending a large scale revision of the National Forest Management Act (NFMA), which dictates every facet of USFS land management. A better plan will yield better results- not just in Pisgah, but across all NFs.

    The USFS recently held the first round of public input on that process, but the closest ones were in ATL and DC. Several conservation and recreation groups like mine attended and advocated for a more recreation and forest restoration based management prescription, and we'll keep it up. We have a good window of opportunity here to make gains after years of management for timber/resource extraction.

    There should be more chances coming for public input and I'll post up anything I see.
    Dirtbag since '89

  82. #82
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    I'm from Texas but am currently in Illinois... Just happened to check the NC forum to see what's going on down there lately, and found this news.

    Sent my out-of-towner email to the ranger. Hope it helps, and this situation works out okay in the end. Looking forward to getting back to NC one day and again enjoying SG and the rest of the Pisgah goodies.

    Cheers,
    Carey.
    "Rollin' on 20s and 27.5s" ride reports and more at WWW.DEBCAR.COM : Debbie and Carey's RV Travel Website

  83. #83
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    Any updates on this?

    As recently as last night I was thinking that this isn't necessarily a bad thing. The trail does need work and I was thinking, I mean hoping, that the contractor would be able to perform the work as spec'd without ruining the trail. I'd ridden the whole length of Squirrel a few weeks back and saw the reroute flags and they looked good and made sense. Chaining myself to a tree didn't seem necessary.

    Then today I went for a ride and saw the work that Trail Design Specialists have started doing on the bottom of Black. The machine that they have there is bigger than 30" (but looks like it has a 30" blade that they can put on it) and in the process of moving it a few thousand feet up Black have managed to make the trail even wider and have managed to kick up rocks that I never even knew were there. I won't even mention what the work itself looks like. If this is any indication of what is to come with Squirrel we should all be very concerned. Machines like that simply do not belong on a trail that has never seen a machine. I'm guessing by the time Mike Riter and Trail Design Specialists are done Squirrel will be wider and more sanitized than Bent Creek or Dupont. And to make matters worse there is a fair chance he low balled it so bad that he won't have any choice other than to do a rushed job

    The fact that the email addys were pulled tells me that there has been some dialogue and I would love to know what is being said. This is a public forum and both the contractor and the forest service could sign up and join in the conversation instead of being pissed that their email addy was posted (check out the contractor's website for contact info) I have some specific questions for Randy Burgess that I am going to raise in a personal letter to him. The biggest being why Squirrel Gap? There are so many other trails that are in much worse shape so why Squirrel? Looking Glass Rock needs desperate help and is one of the most heavily used trails - why not fix that instead?

    I agree with Woody that we should be proactive instead of reactive but I wonder if that would really make a difference. If active groups like the Carolina Mountain Club aren't being informed by the forest service of what is going on what reason is there to think that PAS would be treated any differently?

    Go check out what is being done on Black and then picture what Squirrel is going to look like. If you see Mike Riter behind that bulldozer tell him what you think!

    This could make a good news story for Mountain Express or Blue Ridge Outdoors. Anyone got a contact?

    I guess that is enough ranting for now.
    More Trails, Not Less

    Adventures in Pisgah

  84. #84
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    I agree about Black. I rode down it at night recently and it was really startling how unfamiliar the trail looked. There was one section where the woods on the side looked like they'd been hit by a tornado. I thought my mind was playing tricks in the dark or something. I haven't seen it in the day but I can only imagine.
    There are definitely some sections on Black that need some TLC, but it was already a wide trail and it will still be steep and rocky when the work is finished. I think it will bounce back.
    Squirrel, on the other hand, I doubt it can keep its character if similar equipment goes through. I don't have time right now to go through the documents, the work is the same for the two trails? it will definitely be the same sort of machine? because that is not going to be pretty.

  85. #85
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    FWIW - Black is now closed from the bottom to the split @ Thrift. I rode the very bottom before it was closed and it was a wide-ass muddy mess. But that was work in progress so who knows what it will finally look like...

    Also, there were some track tracks going up Thrift so I'm wondering if they couldn't easily get the machine across the first creek crossing and are working their way downhill instead. If it's that hard to get the machine through a stream crossing and up Black I've got no clue how they plan to get it deep into forest on Squirrel.
    many gears, some pies

  86. #86
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    simple, uproot the trees move the machine, then plant the tree back... i dunno, it will be sumpthin to see tho.

  87. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by ridn29s
    FWIW - Black is now closed from the bottom to the split @ Thrift. I rode the very bottom before it was closed and it was a wide-ass muddy mess. But that was work in progress so who knows what it will finally look like...

    Also, there were some track tracks going up Thrift so I'm wondering if they couldn't easily get the machine across the first creek crossing and are working their way downhill instead. If it's that hard to get the machine through a stream crossing and up Black I've got no clue how they plan to get it deep into forest on Squirrel.
    Probably has more to do with small machines work better downhill with gravity working with you than against you.

    I too wonder about Squirrel. I'd say it could use a good gas powered hedger on some sections of the vegetation, but I don't think that is what they have in mind.

  88. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by ridn29s
    Also, there were some track tracks going up Thrift

    It looks like they went up Thrift to scrape off all the gravel and expose the dirt better.
    Yeah, it's strange. But oh well.

  89. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by seenvic
    I too wonder about Squirrel. I'd say it could use a good gas powered hedger on some sections of the vegetation, but I don't think that is what they have in mind.
    Rode it Sunday...definitely took on my share of brier wounds! But I'll take that over a dingo path anyday.

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