"Professional" trail building?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Reputation: LarryFahn's Avatar
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    "Professional" trail building?

    I got an email from McLane associates the other day. They contacted the 4 of us on Hubbards web site. I found this interesting that we're being approached by "businesses" now, and not just the typical trail users. The Nature Conservancy, The Department of Parks and Recreation (of Lackawanna county), and now McLane. Being on the news several times, being in the news paper for the Merli timbering several times, and the work at TNC was put in 3 different newspapers (Scranton, W-B and Hazelton) apparently gets peoples attention.
    • Jenny Case from TNC was at a LBS getting her bike fixed when she said that a 1,500 acre parcel purchased and she was interested in working with riders. Jay DeJesus recommended Jenny contacted HBC. We have worked with TNC for the past 2 years building a strong relationship and sustainable trails for riders and hikers to enjoy. This is the first time east of the Mississippi that riders are not only allowed on TNC's land, but the first time we're in charge of trail layout and building.

    • When Merli-Sarnoski county park was doing their timbering, HBC organized and showed up for the meeting. We had over 60 riders in an auditorium with a total of about 80 people. It showed who we were to the county and to McLane Associates. MCA was in charge of laying out a blueprint for the park. HBC was well organized with stats, pictures, slide shows, and petitions on the park and rider input. Nate and several others traveled from as far away as Syracuse, NY. McLane listened to us and stayed in contact with us through the park development plans and kept us more aware of what was going on than the county did.

    • McLane remembered us from 3 years ago and contacted us for this trail that's going in at Mount Airy Lodge in the Poconos. I'm thrilled to be getting contacted from the professional businesses about building "sustainable" trails. The work done at TNC is really paying off and getting us, HBC and the biking community, respect.

    • The Department of Parks and Recreation contacted me about a year ago through Maureen McGuigan (a Hubbard rider who now works for them) about how to bring people back to Merli and/or make it a destination. They gave me the OK to put in 2 trails to complete the trail system where the timbering was done. They would need approval before cutting, but we could at least begin the layout. DPR is interested in bringing a race back to Merli (not this year).


    Here's the message.

    John, Rob, Neil, Brian,

    Hello, my name is Paul Bechtel. I am an environmental scientist with McLane Associates. I am from Scott Township and have joined you on a few rides on Hubbard Mtn. in the past.

    Our company is working on developing a trail system at Mount Airy Resort and Casino. My main goal is to have a finished product that is useful, fun and sustainable. I am not too proud to ask for constructive criticism or ideas, thus, I am looking for some creative thoughts and criticism of the current plan from local experts in the Mtn. Bike field regarding trails riding and construction. Basically, I was wondering if we could meet to discuss the possibility of using your years of experience to assess what I currently have completed. I did much of the field work last summer - several off road trails already exist, many are on fall lines and too steep in their current condition. Thus, we are looking to abandon a few trails and create a few new ones as well. Of the existing we are trying to retrofit some grade breaks and reversals. There are a few wet crossings as well. Although much of the layout is complete, there are problematic areas that could use tweaking and I would love your opinion. The plans already received comment from the Monroe County Conservation District and before any permits are granted we really need to assure the trails will be sustainable and not exhibit major erosion. The best bet would be to eliminate fall line trails and ride the contours where possible and try to keep the trail at or below 10%. This is not always possible, however, the soils in spots should allow for a steeper grade. Creative solutions around trouble spots is really where I am looking for your guidance. I can only toss these ideas around to myself for so long.

    Eventually this project will need to be built and I personally believe groups like yours can or should be hired to build at least the new portions of trail.

    Please contact me at your earliest convenience. I believe our company has corresponded with Rob in the past regarding Merli, however, that was prior to my employment. Regardless of your interest in this email, please contact me for any future trail building your club has planned. Lastly regarding compensation (volunteer vs. consultants). I will see if I can potentially get your group monetary compensation or I would at least buy you lunch and the gas needed to visit the site. Thank you for your time.

    Paul Bechtel


    To some, this doesn't mean too much. To me though, this means we're getting noticed and respect from not only other trail users, but professionals in the business too!

    ttyl, Fahn (Rob)
    Last edited by LarryFahn; 05-02-2009 at 07:10 AM.
    Hubbard Bike Club

  2. #2
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    Cool! It shows that all that hard work really CAN pay off in the end, both figuratively and possibly literally. It's awesome to see mountain bike trails not only allowed, but actually in demand. Thanks for sharing.

  3. #3
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    Nice Work...

    What a great story....really good to see the recognition and the promise of potentially more to come. Thanks very much for sharing. Ride On!
    There are two paths you can go by but in the long run........

  4. #4
    Ride da mOOn Moderator
    Reputation: NEPMTBA's Avatar
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    Good job!

    Rob:

    Personally... while out building trails I think of the opportunities lots of people have to expereience nature in many different ways because of trails! It gives us a place of escape and peace to be out and about! The surprise of what's around the next corner.

    One of my favorite places "the woods"

  5. #5
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    Rob...as soon as I get clearance from a project I'm working on with a pretty big development I and the company I represent will be in touch with you as well as your name has been mentioned to me as being the person to contact when it comes to what we need done.

    Kevin

    wvmtba.com

  6. #6
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    Reputation: LarryFahn's Avatar
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    Cool. Thanks guys. Here's an update

    We met with Paul after the ride on Thursnight. John, Jay 1-9, Paris, Jeff Feather, and myself were interested in seeing what was on the table. Others came and went as they pleased, but we really wanted to see what we had to deal with.
    Paul had about 10-15 maps that he printed out with the lay-of-the-land and areas where biking and hiking trails are wanted. He pointed out some old fall line trails and areas that they want to reclaim by replanting. A lot was from jeeps and quads. Paul was able to draw a pretty good map on a topo using the right ideas, but as we know- You can't plan trails on paper and expect them to be right. As Paul was explaining what he noted, we had ideas in our heads from the other local areas. Old rock walls- Prompton and the Lackawanna State Park. Pitch pines- Moosic Mountain. Flat rock- LSP... I asked if Paul had some pictures with him. He kindly got his laptop, but warned that some pics were taken in the winter and he didn't know if they were detailed enough for us. Just looking at the pics, Paul was intrigued at how we identified the wetland areas, specific rock sections, erosion and how to avoid it, comparing the pics to local areas and ways to fix certain sections, and how to build in these areas without having a "lost" look on our faces. We're going to schedule a meeting with him in the near future to see the land and help revise the maps.

    Here's the idea-

    • They want a machine built trail for the novice and hikers in general. The main loop.

    • Off this main loop, there will be 4(or so) "side loops". When I saw the map I said it was like Merli. Paul said that's what he modeled it after! Thanks to Gene Katapski who built Merli and is a huge hand in Moosic now.


    • The side loops are going to be singletrack!

    • The inital project is relatively small in comparison to MMP. Maybe 4 miles as it's drawn now. I'm thinking of puting an "X" in the middle. It would keep the advanced riders off of the "rec path" and allow more options by riding a trail forward and backwards.


    BUT...

    • Eventually there will be another resort across the street that is required to protect land (county and state enforced) that will be used for the same ideals- Recreation.


    • Paul is hoping to run from one resort to another. Connecting more trails in the same area to make a bigger trail system is the projected idea.


    All of this is in the starting phase. There aren't any final drafts or certainties yet. But I think we're off to a pretty good start! Ttyl, Fahn
    Hubbard Bike Club

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