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  1. #1
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    Trail Damage - Education (examples)

    During this time of year, there are many looking to get in a trail ride during long stretches of sun. While no one wants to do any permanent damage, what are the long term effects of riding through mud? Why is trail widening a bad thing? What types of work do volunteer trail builders perform each year and what types of damage make this work difficult?

    Please use this opportunity to educate those like myself who may not fully understand the repercussions of riding when the trails are wet.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by nitecrwlr
    During this time of year, there are many looking to get in a trail ride during long stretches of sun. While no one wants to do any permanent damage, what are the long term effects of riding through mud? Why is trail widening a bad thing? What types of work do volunteer trail builders perform each year and what types of damage make this work difficult?

    Please use this opportunity to educate those like myself who may not fully understand the repercussions of riding when the trails are wet.
    Long term effects of riding in mud: Trail looks bad. Other user groups complain. Trail gets closed. Wide, muddy trails increase sedimentation and erosion. Increased sediment in waterways kills fish. Erosion can compromise root systems of trees and cause trees to fall. In extreme situations, erosion can result in compromising an entire hillside, endangering people and buildings, too.

    Why trail widening is bad: A linear feature in the landscape like a trail can be a corridor for some wildlife, or a barrier to others. The narrower the trail, the less of a barrier it will be to wildlife. A wider trail will be an impassable barrier to a wider variety of wildlife species. A trail consists of heavily compacted soil. In a moist environment with vigorous growth (frost heave helps by loosening compacted soil), vegetation can reclaim an area quickly. In a more arid environment with slow growth, it can take decades or even centuries for vegetation to reclaim a trail.

    When people ride in excessively wet conditions (what is acceptable varies for each trail according to many factors including precipitation, slope, temperature, soil type, growing season, etc), it creates spots that hold water, and volunteer crews need to keep on top of those or the trail will be excessively wet for increasingly longer periods of time. Repairing these spots will keep volunteer crews too busy to address other needs, add trail, or add technical features into the trail. Trails in different locations require different maintenance tasks, so I can't really describe everything to you. I can describe my local trail.

    Annual tasks along my local trail consist of trimming back vegetation. Here, greenbrier vines (with thorns) can grow feet in a week or two, so they need to be kept on top of. Most soil in the area is very sandy, so we spend a lot of time trying to make sure the trail design itself doesn't encourage erosion of that sand. Some places don't suffer from erosion, but rather accumulation of lots of loose sand. We need to amend that sand to make it a more solid riding surface or we need to move the trail. The trails are in pine forests, and pine trees have this handy self-pruning habit where they will naturally drop their lower branches. We're also in hurricane country. We clear lots of downed timber. Right now, our biggest problem is with unsanctioned trailbuilding. We have approval to build some chain link gates across a water pipeline right-of-way, and now we need to come with the funding for that project. Because idiots are bombing down that right-of-way which is crossed several times by our other trails, and we've already had one idiot t-bone someone. Some unsanctioned builds have involved digging which has altered drainage patterns and f'd up some of our most fun features. We don't yet know who's doing it, but we will find out.

  3. #3
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    On trail widening...singletrack is singletrack for a reason. Much preferred over doubletrack (by most) and significantly more fun. Wide trail is an eyesore visually, and any time you avoid a mud puddle by going around it, that mud puddle gets wider and wider until it becomes swamp-like. Then it stinks and the chances of drying up (ever) decrease dramatically. Wide trail also encourages use from ATVs, motos, horses, whatever. They tend to rip trail up. It's very difficult to fix this sort of thing from a traibuilding standpoint. It requires lots of time, labor, dry weather and a lack of traffic to patch it up - most of which are difficult to get all at the same time.

    As Natehawk said...it's pretty easy to figure out what's damaging the trails. Tire tracks through mud puddles are a dead on indicator and our user group seems to catch more flack than other user groups. Trail access takes a long time to acquire and can disappear in the blink of an eye.

    I'm itchin' to ride as much as (or more than) the next guy, but if it's super muddy I won't go. Not only will I not enjoy myself as much, but as a trailbuilder, dealing with the consequences later on sucks.

    Obviously this depends on a lot of factors. Places with little precipitation and lots of sun dry out way faster. Soil types and elevation dictate how fast an area will drain. Different user groups, and specific amounts of traffic have varying effects on how much damage will occur.
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  4. #4
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    I hiked to this trail after hearing reports of trail damage...a picture is worth 1000 words:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Trail Damage - Education (examples)-imgp0141-1.jpg  

    A dirty book is rarely dusty

  5. #5
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    NateHawk & Berkley took my answer.

    I will add that I've spent 30 hours in the past 2 weeks helping to reclaim a trail damaged by mud riding. There is still a lot of work to go. The trail has been officially closed until we can show the land owner that it has been repaired. Granted it was poorly designed in the first place but it would have been OK if people had obeyed the signs and stayed off it in wet weather. Now we will be elevating large portions of the trail and digging faster drainage for other portions. It drained OK, just not quickly.

    I took myself off a new trail build to help out with this repair. That will put the new trail back a couple of months and riders will miss a season on the new trail.
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  6. #6
    Mojo0115
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    Passion Post? (a good topic, but doesn't seem to fit the Passion forum - just one opinion).

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    Long term effects of riding in mud: Trail looks bad. Other user groups complain. Trail gets closed. Wide, muddy trails increase sedimentation and erosion. Increased sediment in waterways kills fish. Erosion can compromise root systems of trees and cause trees to fall. In extreme situations, erosion can result in compromising an entire hillside, endangering people and buildings, too.
    This is a pretty generic statement that doesn't apply to all trail systems. The Pacific NW, for example, handles mud riding just fine... it has to or there'd be a 3 month riding season!! lol

    If you find yourself on a muddy trail, ride right through the mud... NOT AROUND IT!! Or if you come on a muddy patch, you can get off and walk the bike through to "tread lightly".

    Of course, the hoof divots in the mud don't really help with trail conditions.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiahh
    This is a pretty generic statement that doesn't apply to all trail systems. The Pacific NW, for example, handles mud riding just fine... it has to or there'd be a 3 month riding season!! lol

    If you find yourself on a muddy trail, ride right through the mud... NOT AROUND IT!! Or if you come on a muddy patch, you can get off and walk the bike through to "tread lightly".

    Of course, the hoof divots in the mud don't really help with trail conditions.
    You missed something later in my post.

    When people ride in excessively wet conditions (what is acceptable varies for each trail according to many factors including precipitation, slope, temperature, soil type, growing season, etc),...

  9. #9
    is buachail foighneach me
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    Why trail widening is bad: A linear feature in the landscape like a trail can be a corridor for some wildlife, or a barrier to others. The narrower the trail, the less of a barrier it will be to wildlife. A wider trail will be an impassable barrier to a wider variety of wildlife species. A trail consists of heavily compacted soil. In a moist environment with vigorous growth (frost heave helps by loosening compacted soil), vegetation can reclaim an area quickly. In a more arid environment with slow growth, it can take decades or even centuries for vegetation to reclaim a trail.


    Out of curiosity, which species wont cross a trail? I've seen everything from insects, to worms, newts, mice, squirrels, rabbits, porcupine, lynx, coyote, mtn lion, bear, deer, caribou and moose happily cross or even travel along a human built trail. Are we talking microorganisms? What is the limit on trail width for them? Subterranean creatures that are affected by the width/depth of compaction of the trail?



    edit: Their crossing may or may not have been done "happily", I never got a response from any I may have asked...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by sean salach
    Out of curiosity, which species wont cross a trail?...
    Mountain Lions - that's why if you do see a cougar, just stay on the opposite side of the trail - you're completely safe that way
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  11. #11
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    I think a lot of this depends upon the nature of the soil and its substrate. I recognize a number of posters here are from very different parts of the continent. Because of the nature of the soils riding in wet can either be terrible or just part of the experience. Slop and puddles don't necessarily mean that damage will be caused to a trail.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by highdelll
    Mountain Lions - that's why if you do see a cougar, just stay on the opposite side of the trail - you're completely safe that way

    Should I point at them and laugh, or are they negatively affected/enticed by jeering?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by sean salach
    Should I point at them and laugh, or are they negatively affected/enticed by jeering?
    yes - they don't like taunting, but what can they do ya know?
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by sean salach
    Out of curiosity, which species wont cross a trail?
    ... one species in particular is repulsed by all MTB trails ... the MOHAs.

    The Miserable Old Hiker's Association people. MOHA members hate coming across MTB trails ... with a fervour exceeding that of rabid wolverines." (From the Dictionary of MTB slang).

    In Australia, dogs are (mostly) banned from National Parks because dogs are predators. With mammalian trails that may run into our human trails (or vis a vis), trails used by animals like the Pygmy Possum and the Mala, if a dog leaves a scent on a trail, the animals can abandon the trail, abandon their range lands, and even abandon their young. Many animals in Australia are threatened, endangered, critically endangered or believed to be heading rapidly towards extinction. Causing minimal impact is giving some animals a bit more breathing space.

    It is a hard ask to not be selfish as riders. I for one, want to see as much of my home range-lands as I can, before I cark-it. It is just as well that many riders are happy to ride MTB park circuits often, and not venture too far from suburbia with their blatant lack of respect, overt destruction and the polluting of their environment.

    I once read that, "For every Australian rider in a pristine environment, there are 10 North American riders in their pristine environments, and for every 10 North Americans, there are 100 Japanese riders not taxing their tiny environments."

    Think globally, act locally?

    Warren.
    Last edited by Wild Wassa; 02-21-2011 at 02:17 AM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hollis
    I hiked to this trail after hearing reports of trail damage...a picture is worth 1000 words:
    I guess you should have stayed off of it then. Didn't you believe the reports?

  16. #16
    Keep the rubberside down
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    one species in particular is repulsed by all MTB trails ... the MOHAs.

    The Miserable Old Hiker's Association people. MOHA members hate coming across MTB trails ... with a fervour exceeding that of rabid wolverines." (From the Dictionary of MTB slang).

    Wild Wassa, this is great, seems like weve had some of these sightings around the Pac NW. Strange creatures, unusually gruff, frowning and known to snarl and show their teeth too.

  17. #17
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    As a trailbuilder and maintainer of a trail system here in PA who dedicates EVERY Sunday to building/improving trails, I ask that people don't ride singletrack characterized by generally clay/woods loam soil types during wet periods in regions where the climate swings quickly between freeze-thaw. I realize that this doesn't generally apply in much of the PNW, Southwest, or South but in temperate regions during the late fall/early spring its a big deal on non-rocky trails here in the Northeast in particular.

    The ruts are hazardous to those who properly wait until things freeze up (and discover their tires locking into the grooves) and they channel water to low spots causing erosion along the way and ponding in the low spot people then start riding around during warm, rainy thaw periods. It's not just that people are being anal - improper riding turns SOME singletrack under SOME conditions into a horsetrail muckfest, minus the turds.

    I hate that this sounds like a lecture but most volunteer-maintained trail systems have limited manpower/available hours to fix damage and we care that people enjoy what we've built rather than ride away saying "Well, that's a lame-a$$ed crappy trail - somebody should do something about it." We just can't do regular trail maintenance and carry out improvements AND fix all the damage, especially when a lot of guys ride up on the work crew, look annoyed at the trail being closed, comment on the damage, and ride away. Only once have we ever had one of these guys offer to help work on what they're riding. And these are local guys, not out-of-state tourists, that we see regularly.

    Spring's on its way!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by nitecrwlr
    During this time of year, there are many looking to get in a trail ride during long stretches of sun. While no one wants to do any permanent damage, what are the long term effects of riding through mud? Why is trail widening a bad thing? What types of work do volunteer trail builders perform each year and what types of damage make this work difficult?

    Please use this opportunity to educate those like myself who may not fully understand the repercussions of riding when the trails are wet.
    Trails resist erosion from rain by shedding water across their width. Ruts created by riders riding in the mud make highly effective channels to route water down the length of a trail. Once that process gets started, it creates deeper channels and increases erosion even more. (As has been so ably pointed out, this process is highly dependent on local condtions.)

    If every rider in my area who currently rides in marginal conditions resisted the urge by helping out with trail work instead, I could build more trail for every one to enjoy when the weather is suitable for riding.

    Is that enough reason? If not,

    "YOU KIDS! GET OFF MY LAWN!!!"

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  19. #19
    The White Jeff W
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    Quote Originally Posted by roxnroots
    As a trailbuilder and maintainer of a trail system here in PA who dedicates EVERY Sunday to building/improving trails, I ask that people don't ride singletrack characterized by generally clay/woods loam soil types during wet periods in regions where the climate swings quickly between freeze-thaw. I realize that this doesn't generally apply in much of the PNW, Southwest, or South but in temperate regions during the late fall/early spring its a big deal on non-rocky trails here in the Northeast in particular.

    The ruts are hazardous to those who properly wait until things freeze up (and discover their tires locking into the grooves) and they channel water to low spots causing erosion along the way and ponding in the low spot people then start riding around during warm, rainy thaw periods. It's not just that people are being anal - improper riding turns SOME singletrack under SOME conditions into a horsetrail muckfest, minus the turds.

    I hate that this sounds like a lecture but most volunteer-maintained trail systems have limited manpower/available hours to fix damage and we care that people enjoy what we've built rather than ride away saying "Well, that's a lame-a$$ed crappy trail - somebody should do something about it." We just can't do regular trail maintenance and carry out improvements AND fix all the damage, especially when a lot of guys ride up on the work crew, look annoyed at the trail being closed, comment on the damage, and ride away. Only once have we ever had one of these guys offer to help work on what they're riding. And these are local guys, not out-of-state tourists, that we see regularly.

    Spring's on its way!

    I saw this first hand yesterday in Western PA.

    The ground froze solid after a few warm day but a group of 2 or 3 rode when it was wet and the ruts were frozen into the trail. It looked like someone on a moto had been through there too as Ive never seen a mtn bike tire that wide before. Made for an interesting ride to say the least.
    No moss...

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    You missed something later in my post.
    Oops, my apologies... I did miss that.

  21. #21
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    Don't forget the hard work trail maintainers have to do after people ride in such a mess.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by sean salach
    Out of curiosity, which species wont cross a trail? I've seen everything from insects, to worms, newts, mice, squirrels, rabbits, porcupine, lynx, coyote, mtn lion, bear, deer, caribou and moose happily cross or even travel along a human built trail. Are we talking microorganisms? What is the limit on trail width for them? Subterranean creatures that are affected by the width/depth of compaction of the trail?



    edit: Their crossing may or may not have been done "happily", I never got a response from any I may have asked...
    It depends. Seriously, there's a lot of variability here. For one, it depends on how mobile the critter is. If it flies, then a trail won't be much of a barrier to its movement. If it crawls slowly, then a trail can be a big barrier.

    And FYI, when I say 'barrier' I don't necessarily mean a physical barrier like a wall or a river that the animal cannot physically cross. That is only part of what I mean. A biological barrier can be anything that prevents a species from moving. Sure, many animals can physically cross a trail, but there are many reasons this may not happen in reality. For one - mortality. How many discussions occur in these forums about one animal or another being killed by being run over or by running into the spokes on a wheel? But it's not just mortality from bikes or other trail users. A trail happens to be an area where predators will move through the landscape because of increased visibility and ease of movement. Predation rates increase along ecological edges, and a trail is a type of edge.

    There's the general disturbance factor, too. It's affected by traffic level, of course, so a remote lightly traveled trail will not have as much of a problem here as a busy trail in a suburban park. The simple presence of people including the noise we tend to make will make many animals avoid coming near the trail.

    They are the same sorts of effects that roads have in the landscape, but to a lesser degree. While a large 4 lane highway might be a significant barrier to a majority of terrestrial species and even some species that can fly, a trail will be a barrier to much smaller and slower species. It's all a matter of scale.

    Still, such barriers affect dispersal and reproductive rates, which messes with gene flow and creates isolated habitats, and result in local extinctions.

    A narrow trail will keep the impacts limited to the absolute smallest (and typically the most abundant) species that can absorb them. Widened trails expand those impacts onto larger species that do not tend to be as abundant and which have a harder time dealing with the impacts.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wild Wassa
    ... one species in particular is repulsed by all MTB trails ... the MOHAs.

    The Miserable Old Hiker's Association people. MOHA members hate coming across MTB trails ... with a fervour exceeding that of rabid wolverines." (From the Dictionary of MTB slang).

    Warren.



    Just to add balance , these "MOHA" members construct a good portion of the MTB trails in my area . YMMV , but have to acknowledge their contributions . http://google.ad.sgdoubleclick.net/p....K.S%2Bpinetop

  24. #24
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    I will do mud-recon rides. I go out hoping for a ride, but not expecting one. Last time I went out I made it a couple miles before being turn around by mud.

    Here is what the trail looked like at the beginning of the ride:





    And a little bit further up the trail:



    The North facing sections had been OK (the photo with my bike is Northeast facing), but then I turned a corner and saw the turning point. Went from tacky hero dirt to slop in just a few feet. I turned around, not wanting to wreck the trails, and called it a day:



    During the winter, when it freezes solid overnight, we can still ride in the morning before the thaw, but this time of the year doesn't produce those hard freezes at night.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbmb65
    I guess you should have stayed off of it then. Didn't you believe the reports?
    I did stay off the trail.
    This was a few weeks before 450VoltsDC made his post. http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=686802
    Not that I need to clarify, but I hiked TO this trail (as in I didn't get ON the trail) from Trails End (aka Liberty House) to the parking lot (Rice Pinnacle)

    Last edited by Hollis; 02-21-2011 at 01:20 PM.
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  26. #26
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    idk why, but my trails arent really affected by mud riding. ST LOUIS, MO.

    People hit it in the mud all the time, but it always seems to dry smooth (ish) without much damage. at least, thats all IMO. Maybe the trails are actually crap, but since ive never ridden anything else i just dont realize it haha

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffw-13
    It looked like someone on a moto had been through there too as Ive never seen a mtn bike tire that wide before.
    Unless that one set of tracks was far deeper than the others, this could be a guy on a Pugsley - they run a nearly 4" wide tire whose track could, with the extra squish factor of the mud,mimic a moto. He might have figured that he'd float over the mud but ultimately overrestimated the mud's capability and underestimated his own weight on that particular day.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by joshman108
    idk why, but my trails arent really affected by mud riding. ST LOUIS, MO.

    People hit it in the mud all the time, but it always seems to dry smooth (ish) without much damage. at least, thats all IMO. Maybe the trails are actually crap, but since ive never ridden anything else i just dont realize it haha
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but your trails are on black dirt, don't go up or down fall lines, and stay out of the bottom of any coulies, draws, or gullys. Translation, they are built to IMBA spec on soils that are very resistant to erosion.

    Still, be carefull as to which trails you ride when the weather gets wet. I know some trails in that area are more prone to holding water than others.
    "There are those who would say there's something pathological about the need to ride, and they're probably on to something. I'd wager though that most of the society-approved compulsions leave deeper scars in the psyche than a need to go and ride a bicycle on a mountain." Cam McRea

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frozenspokes
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but your trails are on black dirt, don't go up or down fall lines, and stay out of the bottom of any coulies, draws, or gullys. Translation, they are built to IMBA spec on soils that are very resistant to erosion.

    Still, be carefull as to which trails you ride when the weather gets wet. I know some trails in that area are more prone to holding water than others.
    what does the color have to do w/ it?
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  30. #30
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    Trail damage is more often to do with the way it was constructed than what people do to it. Some considered forethought and a design plan that avoids water pooling and running along the trail make a lot more difference than saying riding is only allowed in certain conditions. Unfortunately that means more work, slower progress, more rock and other drains and basically none of that happens when trails are hurridly pushed through before the culprit is caught making the trail.

    Water is a trail killer, especially where it rains hard, where trails enter the falline and where repeated switchbacks re-cross the hill at multiple levels. Allowing time to assess the effects of climate on a trail before allowing open pillaging by the masses identifies sites of concern. Not all puddles are the enemy. They can be used to allow silt to accumulate before modifying flow from above.

    There are no black and white rules that I can see and to be truthful, the paranoia about environmental damage can be overstated. By example look at some of the centuries old trails in Europe and the UK - they are longer lasting than modern roads. Do they mess with critters - yep, but so do storms, fire roads, parks, farms etc etc etc. Sustainability is not always about no nails in trees and limited access, but often more to do with planning.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ridnparadise
    Trail damage is more often to do with the way it was constructed than what people do to it.

    Water is a trail killer, especially where it rains hard, where trails enter the falline and where repeated switchbacks re-cross the hill at multiple levels.

    By example look at some of the centuries old trails in Europe and the UK - they are longer lasting than modern roads. .
    I abridged some of your comments, no offense intended.
    With all due respect, because you obviously have spent some time with your hands in the dirt, what you build with has a huge amount to do with how strong or weak your "building" is. Just ask the three little pigs. There are places that no matter how well you design it, ride it when it is wet and it goes to crap. If design was all it took then we would not need to compact or prepare construction sites. We would not need to dig down six feet for a one story building and put in lifts of varying sizes of gravel and compact them before we could put in a footer. I know jack about trail building. But building a trail or preparing a site for a building are both still construction. Some places need little to no prep, some need more time preparing the site than building the building. It's just the way it is. I live in Ohio, when it starts to rain and you are on the trail it can get so slick that you cannot keep your bike upright. The dirt turns to wet clay in seconds. Ride that after a good rain and you are sinking three inches into the most perfectly designed section. If it was not for all the trees I am sure that our single tracks would have turned into triple tracks long ago.

  32. #32
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    Thank you! So much depends on the soils.

    It doesn't matter how time you put into a bentonite trail in our area, if you ride it when it's wet, the sticky peanut butter-like goo will destroy your drivetrain as you destroy the trail.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frozenspokes
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but your trails are on black dirt, don't go up or down fall lines, and stay out of the bottom of any coulies, draws, or gullys. Translation, they are built to IMBA spec on soils that are very resistant to erosion.

    Still, be carefull as to which trails you ride when the weather gets wet. I know some trails in that area are more prone to holding water than others.

    I dont know my dirt, So i dont know if its "black dirt". I think ive heard that its alot of clay, but alot of it is gravel too. And yes, its not at the bottom of coulies or gullys or anything. Most of our trails are on the side of hills, so the water doesnt really collect on the trail. And even if it does, it doesnt seem to affect it much

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    Quote Originally Posted by joshman108
    I dont know my dirt, So i dont know if its "black dirt". I think ive heard that its alot of clay, but alot of it is gravel too. And yes, its not at the bottom of coulies or gullys or anything. Most of our trails are on the side of hills, so the water doesnt really collect on the trail. And even if it does, it doesnt seem to affect it much
    What I think of when you say "black dirt" is typical of upper midwestern farming areas. It was formerly HIGHLY productive tallgrass prairie, but almost all of it has been converted to crops. Its location is characterized by low slopes and it has a very high organic content. It holds a great deal of moisture, and so it would be a very poor substrate for a trail and very sensitive to riding in the wet.

    The clayey, gravelly soil you describe for your local trails is quite different. Soils with a high content of larger particles (sands, gravels, and crumbled shales and such) tend to handle moisture very well. There's a lot of pore space for water to drain through the material, and too much pore space to create a semi-impermeable layer that will cause pooling if surface flow is impeded by a rut (like what happens on trails with a high clay content). My local soils are extremely sandy in most places and are actually BETTER when they're somewhat wet. The moisture helps the sand particles stick together. When it's dry in late summer, the sand is very loose and it doesn't take much to displace it.

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    No doubt PoorBehaviour and screampint are correct about the soil types, but almost all areas offer some variety of soil types, terrain features and route options. Our soils vary from sandy to loam to some clay and lots of loose embedded rock and pebbles. What we do have is rain - heavy. 12 inch (300mm) falls are not uncommon and no soil handles that when it comes over 12-24 hours. We add LOTS of rock and chanelling to assist the soil and trail to survive. I'm going digging. Will try to get some pics but I've had problems with uploading lately.

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    Where do you get this stuff?

    Wikipedia? PinkBike?!?

    You've implied that some of these critters won't cross a trail because of 'mortality'. Surely you jest?!

    Predation increases at edges because that's where prey prefer to be. Which side of the trail (or meadow, or clearing, or even smack dab in the middle) they're on has nothing to do with it--not that they noticed.



    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    It depends. Seriously, there's a lot of variability here. For one, it depends on how mobile the critter is. If it flies, then a trail won't be much of a barrier to its movement. If it crawls slowly, then a trail can be a big barrier.

    And FYI, when I say 'barrier' I don't necessarily mean a physical barrier like a wall or a river that the animal cannot physically cross. That is only part of what I mean. A biological barrier can be anything that prevents a species from moving. Sure, many animals can physically cross a trail, but there are many reasons this may not happen in reality. For one - mortality. How many discussions occur in these forums about one animal or another being killed by being run over or by running into the spokes on a wheel? But it's not just mortality from bikes or other trail users. A trail happens to be an area where predators will move through the landscape because of increased visibility and ease of movement. Predation rates increase along ecological edges, and a trail is a type of edge.

    There's the general disturbance factor, too. It's affected by traffic level, of course, so a remote lightly traveled trail will not have as much of a problem here as a busy trail in a suburban park. The simple presence of people including the noise we tend to make will make many animals avoid coming near the trail.

    They are the same sorts of effects that roads have in the landscape, but to a lesser degree. While a large 4 lane highway might be a significant barrier to a majority of terrestrial species and even some species that can fly, a trail will be a barrier to much smaller and slower species. It's all a matter of scale.

    Still, such barriers affect dispersal and reproductive rates, which messes with gene flow and creates isolated habitats, and result in local extinctions.

    A narrow trail will keep the impacts limited to the absolute smallest (and typically the most abundant) species that can absorb them. Widened trails expand those impacts onto larger species that do not tend to be as abundant and which have a harder time dealing with the impacts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by screampint
    Thank you! So much depends on the soils.

    It doesn't matter how time you put into a bentonite trail in our area, if you ride it when it's wet, the sticky peanut butter-like goo will destroy your drivetrain as you destroy the trail.
    The good thing is only about 10 feet of trail will get destroyed because that is about how long it takes for your bike to stop rolling.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    Where do you get this stuff?

    Wikipedia? PinkBike?!?

    You've implied that some of these critters won't cross a trail because of 'mortality'. Surely you jest?!

    Predation increases at edges because that's where prey prefer to be. Which side of the trail (or meadow, or clearing, or even smack dab in the middle) they're on has nothing to do with it--not that they noticed.
    I'm a biologist. These are established concepts in ecology and there are piles of research demonstrating them.

    References for edge effects:
    Dijak, W. D. and F. R. Thompson (2000)
    Donovan, T. M., P. J. Jones, et al. (1997)
    Larivière, S. and F. Messier (2000)
    Conner, L. M., J. C. Rutledge, et al. (2010)
    Winter, M., D. H. Johnson, et al. (2000)

    Some predators do prefer edge habitat, so yes, that's true. But not all critters prefer it.

    Road effects on wildlife references (because, face it, a trail is just a scaled-down road):
    Ashley, E. P. and J. T. Robinson (1996)
    Brody, A. J. and M. R. Pelton (1989)
    Forman, R. T. T. (2000)
    Forman, R. T. T. and L. E. Alexander (1998)
    Forman, R. T. T. and R. D. Deblinger (2000)
    Getz, L. L., F. R. Cole, et al. (1978)
    Kramer-Schadt, S., E. Revilla, et al. (2004)
    Lyon, L. J. (1983)
    Mader, H. J. (1984)
    Oxley, D. J., M. B. Fenton, et al. (1974)
    Wydeven, A. P., D. J. Mladenoff, et al. (2001)

    These are just a small number of the references out there I have entered into my EndNote library. I have the full text articles for all of them, and have read them.

    The actual effect of the road depends to a large degree on the species in question and the type of road. A trail (even a wide one) isn't going to present much of a barrier to a raccoon or deer, but such an animal can be pretty effectively isolated by a large, high-traffic freeway. A trail would serve a similar function to much smaller and slower critters like some species of insects, invertebrates, and whatnot. The effect of a pretty narrow ribbon of singletrack could be said to be pretty negligible to most species. The wider that trail gets, the more difficult it becomes for larger creatures to cross it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    I'm a biologist. These are established concepts in ecology and there are piles of research demonstrating them.

    References for edge effects:
    Dijak, W. D. and F. R. Thompson (2000)
    Donovan, T. M., P. J. Jones, et al. (1997)
    Larivière, S. and F. Messier (2000)
    Conner, L. M., J. C. Rutledge, et al. (2010)
    Winter, M., D. H. Johnson, et al. (2000)

    Some predators do prefer edge habitat, so yes, that's true. But not all critters prefer it.

    Road effects on wildlife references (because, face it, a trail is just a scaled-down road):
    Ashley, E. P. and J. T. Robinson (1996)
    Brody, A. J. and M. R. Pelton (1989)
    Forman, R. T. T. (2000)
    Forman, R. T. T. and L. E. Alexander (1998)
    Forman, R. T. T. and R. D. Deblinger (2000)
    Getz, L. L., F. R. Cole, et al. (1978)
    Kramer-Schadt, S., E. Revilla, et al. (2004)
    Lyon, L. J. (1983)
    Mader, H. J. (1984)
    Oxley, D. J., M. B. Fenton, et al. (1974)
    Wydeven, A. P., D. J. Mladenoff, et al. (2001)

    These are just a small number of the references out there I have entered into my EndNote library. I have the full text articles for all of them, and have read them.

    The actual effect of the road depends to a large degree on the species in question and the type of road. A trail (even a wide one) isn't going to present much of a barrier to a raccoon or deer, but such an animal can be pretty effectively isolated by a large, high-traffic freeway. A trail would serve a similar function to much smaller and slower critters like some species of insects, invertebrates, and whatnot. The effect of a pretty narrow ribbon of singletrack could be said to be pretty negligible to most species. The wider that trail gets, the more difficult it becomes for larger creatures to cross it.

    You sir, just got schooled

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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    How many discussions occur in these forums about one animal or another being killed by being run over or by running into the spokes on a wheel?.
    This is a bit like people that think air travel is DANGEROUS! because they have heard about plane crashes.

    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    References for edge effects:
    Dijak, W. D. and F. R. Thompson (2000)
    Donovan, T. M., P. J. Jones, et al. (1997)
    Larivière, S. and F. Messier (2000)
    Conner, L. M., J. C. Rutledge, et al. (2010)
    Winter, M., D. H. Johnson, et al. (2000)
    Sorry if I'm not willing to sort through hundreds of pages of dry research to find the specific parts that apply. Fortunately for me, I don't have to prove a negative.

    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    road effects on wildlife references (because, face it, a trail is just a scaled-down road):
    That seasonal creek behind my house is just a scaled down version of the Amazon river. Right?

    If you can show any hard evidence that non motorized singletrack trails inhibit the movement of wildlife I would be happy to read it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moustache rider
    If you can show any hard evidence that non motorized singletrack trails inhibit the movement of wildlife I would be happy to read it.
    I did, and you refuse to read it. Not my problem.

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    I really do not care about the critters. Adapt or die, like 99% of everything that has ever lived on this planet.

    Some of our trails ride wet with no problem, some don't. Figure it out for yourself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    I did, and you refuse to read it. Not my problem.
    The burden of proof is on you. Please quote the relevant research right here.

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    Someone call mythbusters..

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    You references are impressive. Or at least I trust that they are--I haven't taken the time to read through any of them.

    But your basic argument hinges on the assumption that a trail is a scaled down road. And that's a laughably simplistic way of looking at it. You even backpedaled and implied the same in your comments further below.

    Are there situations where some varieties of trail can be an impediment to wildlife movement? Undoubtedly. Are these situations prevalent enough and harmful enough that we should be legitimately concerned? In the case of many roads, definitely. In the case of trails, I guess it's possible, but frankly I'm just not buying it.

    I'll go so far as to agree that the situation needs to be defined and studied using varying widths and traffic levels of *trails*, not roads, to begin with. And from the results of those studies we can, maybe, extrapolate causes and effects.

    I think most of us here can agree that a wider trail is less desirable than a narrow one. How to keep them narrow in the face of increasing use, misuse, abuse, and at the hands of The Sanitization Fairies is the question at hand.

    I'm not trying to derail this thread, actually doing what I can to keep it on topic. Statements like the ones you're making, if taken at ~face value, can lead to some dangerous and erroneous conclusions.

    Cheers,

    MC

    P.S. Just back from a refreshing ride where minimal mud was encountered and all of it was easily surfed through on the back wheel, while remaining in the center of the trail.


    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    I'm a biologist. These are established concepts in ecology and there are piles of research demonstrating them.

    References for edge effects:
    Dijak, W. D. and F. R. Thompson (2000)
    Donovan, T. M., P. J. Jones, et al. (1997)
    Larivière, S. and F. Messier (2000)
    Conner, L. M., J. C. Rutledge, et al. (2010)
    Winter, M., D. H. Johnson, et al. (2000)

    Some predators do prefer edge habitat, so yes, that's true. But not all critters prefer it.

    Road effects on wildlife references (because, face it, a trail is just a scaled-down road):
    Ashley, E. P. and J. T. Robinson (1996)
    Brody, A. J. and M. R. Pelton (1989)
    Forman, R. T. T. (2000)
    Forman, R. T. T. and L. E. Alexander (1998)
    Forman, R. T. T. and R. D. Deblinger (2000)
    Getz, L. L., F. R. Cole, et al. (1978)
    Kramer-Schadt, S., E. Revilla, et al. (2004)
    Lyon, L. J. (1983)
    Mader, H. J. (1984)
    Oxley, D. J., M. B. Fenton, et al. (1974)
    Wydeven, A. P., D. J. Mladenoff, et al. (2001)

    These are just a small number of the references out there I have entered into my EndNote library. I have the full text articles for all of them, and have read them.

    The actual effect of the road depends to a large degree on the species in question and the type of road. A trail (even a wide one) isn't going to present much of a barrier to a raccoon or deer, but such an animal can be pretty effectively isolated by a large, high-traffic freeway. A trail would serve a similar function to much smaller and slower critters like some species of insects, invertebrates, and whatnot. The effect of a pretty narrow ribbon of singletrack could be said to be pretty negligible to most species. The wider that trail gets, the more difficult it becomes for larger creatures to cross it.

  46. #46
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    what is loamy soil?

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    Loam = mixed soil type with silt and sand making about 40% each and half that amount of clay. Give or take. When it separates due to water flow the individual components often end up in different parts of the trail.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moustache rider
    The burden of proof is on you. Please quote the relevant research right here.
    Influence of Recreational Trails on Breeding Bird Communities
    Scott G. Miller, Richard L. Knight and Clinton K. Miller
    Ecological Applications
    Vol. 8, No. 1 (Feb., 1998), pp. 162-169
    http://www.jstor.org/stable/2641318

    Abstract. We investigated the influence of recreational trails on breeding bird com-
    munities in forest and mixed-grass prairie ecosystems in Boulder County, Colorado, United
    States, during 1994 and 1995. Species composition, nest predation, and brood parasitism
    by Brown-headed Cowbirds (Molothrus ater) were examined near and away from existing
    recreational trails. Bird species composition was altered adjacent to trails in both ecosys-
    tems. Generalist species were more abundant near trails, whereas specialist species were
    less common. Within the grassland ecosystem, birds were less likely to nest near trails.
    Within both ecosystems, nest predation was greater near trails. In forests, the rate of brood
    parasitism was not influenced by trails. No brood parasitism was found in the grassland
    ecosystem. Our results may be useful to natural-lands managers who must implement
    management policies regarding the spatial arrangement of trails and trail-use restriction.
    Here's one. The lack of brood parasitism illustrates that a trail does not create edge habitat at a scale perceptible to brown-headed cowbirds (an example of one species that does prefer edge habitat). But that scale is perceptible to other species of birds, which choose nest sites related to their proximity to trails.

    There's a mention here about some wildlife impacts of trails on wildlife:
    Trails, and the presence of visitors, also impact wildlife, fragment wildlife habitat and cause avoidance behavior in some animals and attraction behavior in others to obtain food (Hellmund, 1998; Knight and Cole, 1991)
    So, looking up those two articles, I first find the full citations:
    Hellmund, PC. (1998). Planning trails with wildlife in mind: a handbook for trail planners. Denver, CO: Colorado State Parks.

    Knight, RL and Cole, DN. (1991) Effects of recreational activity on wildlife in wildlands. Transactions of the North American Wildlife and Resource Conference, 56, 238-247.

    Okay, then.

    The first, I can't find, but I see it mentioned elsewhere, like in this IMBA article under the section: Impacts to Wildlife: General Research.

    The second one is difficult to get - I'd have to do an interlibrary loan to get my hands on it. But the reference led me to a book that RL Knight co-wrote with some other folks, that also happens to have some excerpts posted on Google Books.

    ..documented declines of soil invertebrates in trampled places (Chappell et al 1971, Duffey 1975).
    and
    Recreational activities clearly have substantial and generally adverse influences on terrestrial vegetation and soil, and on aquatic systems. Since these places provide living space, shelter and food for wildlife, animals are affected by these changes. For invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, small birds, small mammals, and many fish, these indirect effects are likely to be more substantial than direct impacts of recreationists.
    /*****slap

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    On the subject of really dodgy soil like bentonite. If there are "legal", organised trails through large areas of it, would there not also be the opportunity to mix some stabilising compound in? Sand, small gravel? Otherwise there would be a case for closing the trail in (almost any) adverse weather condition.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ridnparadise
    On the subject of really dodgy soil like bentonite. If there are "legal", organised trails through large areas of it, would there not also be the opportunity to mix some stabilising compound in? Sand, small gravel? Otherwise there would be a case for closing the trail in (almost any) adverse weather condition.
    The stabilizing materials can be expensive, but yes, they're an option.

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    You references are impressive. Or at least I trust that they are--I haven't taken the time to read through any of them.

    But your basic argument hinges on the assumption that a trail is a scaled down road. And that's a laughably simplistic way of looking at it. You even backpedaled and implied the same in your comments further below.

    Are there situations where some varieties of trail can be an impediment to wildlife movement? Undoubtedly. Are these situations prevalent enough and harmful enough that we should be legitimately concerned? In the case of many roads, definitely. In the case of trails, I guess it's possible, but frankly I'm just not buying it.

    I'll go so far as to agree that the situation needs to be defined and studied using varying widths and traffic levels of *trails*, not roads, to begin with. And from the results of those studies we can, maybe, extrapolate causes and effects.

    I think most of us here can agree that a wider trail is less desirable than a narrow one. How to keep them narrow in the face of increasing use, misuse, abuse, and at the hands of The Sanitization Fairies is the question at hand.

    I'm not trying to derail this thread, actually doing what I can to keep it on topic. Statements like the ones you're making, if taken at ~face value, can lead to some dangerous and erroneous conclusions.

    Cheers,

    MC

    P.S. Just back from a refreshing ride where minimal mud was encountered and all of it was easily surfed through on the back wheel, while remaining in the center of the trail.
    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    The actual effect of the road depends to a large degree on the species in question and the type of road. A trail (even a wide one) isn't going to present much of a barrier to a raccoon or deer, but such an animal can be pretty effectively isolated by a large, high-traffic freeway. A trail would serve a similar function to much smaller and slower critters like some species of insects, invertebrates, and whatnot. The effect of a pretty narrow ribbon of singletrack could be said to be pretty negligible to most species. The wider that trail gets, the more difficult it becomes for larger creatures to cross it.
    I think it's totally plausible that a trail can act as a barrier to wildlife movement. Depends on the scenario really. Here's one scenario that leads me to have this opinion...

    There's a doubletrack trail that I frequently ride - it's in a wooded are and connects much of our singletrack. It was built 50+ years ago and hasn't been used by any sort of motorized vehicle in quite some time (with the possible exception of the land manager patrolling on his ATV, but I don't think he even uses it).

    There's a low point at the base of one of the climbs on this trail, which collects water. We get precipitation quite regularly and it can take some time for trails to fully dry out (if they even get the chance). Although the trail hasn't seen motorized use in years, it was never graded or leveled and there remain two wheel tracks, which riders end up riding in. At first the two wheel ruts filled with water, so riders started riding the raised center strip between the ruts. Eventually that got torn up, compacted down and now that's covered in water too.

    So riders started riding the edges of the doubletrack, trying to stay close to the trail and inevitably the trail got wider and wider as the edge of the puddle grew. What used to be an 8-10ft wide doubletrack trail has now grown to at least 20ft in width, as riders continue to ride the edge. As well as width, the length of the puddle has grown along the trail as wet, muddy tires moisten dry earth.

    The water at times can be 6" deep. It has become swamp-like and has no hope of drying out, ever. Even if it did, it would refill with the next rain. I've seen frogs in the puddle, and even frog eggs. I imagine to a smaller animal, especially an insect, a 20ft x30ft puddle is an impassable obstacle.

    For the record, we are allowed to ride these trails but have no authority to build or maintain them. Even if we did, we don't have the tools or man power to correct a problem of this magnitude.

    As usual when it comes to trailbuilding discussions: context, context, context. But in this case, it's totally plausible to believe that this has impeded movement of wildlife in the area.
    Axle Standards Explained

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  52. #52
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    Trail damage costs $millions and can ruin a multi-day trip or make a day ride a pain in the butt.


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    Quote Originally Posted by lidarman
    Trail damage costs $millions and can ruin a multi-day trip or make a day ride a pain in the butt.


    lol, thats a mining road, not a trail.
    I hope you posted that as a joke..

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    Quote Originally Posted by the_owl
    lol, thats a mining road, not a trail. .
    I guess.
    Last edited by lidarman; 02-23-2011 at 10:08 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    Influence of Recreational Trails on Breeding Bird Communities
    Scott G. Miller, Richard L. Knight and Clinton K. Miller
    Ecological Applications
    Vol. 8, No. 1 (Feb., 1998), pp. 162-169
    http://www.jstor.org/stable/2641318



    Here's one. The lack of brood parasitism illustrates that a trail does not create edge habitat at a scale perceptible to brown-headed cowbirds (an example of one species that does prefer edge habitat). But that scale is perceptible to other species of birds, which choose nest sites related to their proximity to trails.

    There's a mention here about some wildlife impacts of trails on wildlife:


    So, looking up those two articles, I first find the full citations:
    Hellmund, PC. (1998). Planning trails with wildlife in mind: a handbook for trail planners. Denver, CO: Colorado State Parks.

    Knight, RL and Cole, DN. (1991) Effects of recreational activity on wildlife in wildlands. Transactions of the North American Wildlife and Resource Conference, 56, 238-247.

    Okay, then.

    The first, I can't find, but I see it mentioned elsewhere, like in this IMBA article under the section: Impacts to Wildlife: General Research.

    The second one is difficult to get - I'd have to do an interlibrary loan to get my hands on it. But the reference led me to a book that RL Knight co-wrote with some other folks, that also happens to have some excerpts posted on Google Books.


    and


    /*****slap
    Everything here only shows trail corridor itself to be degraded wildlife habitat. This should be a surprise to no one. I think it is a perfectly good idea to have healthy buffer zones in between trails for wildlife to live in.
    None of this shows non motorized singletrack to be a hindrance to the movement of wildlife or a factor in habitat fragmentation. Animals will readily travel across terrain that would otherwise make a poor place to nest or breed or graze or hunt etc.

    The first study also has a factor that limits application elsewhere. It was done on City of Boulder open space where many of the trails are much more heavily used than you would typically find. Below is a picture of a Boulder trail and it is not an uncommon sight. Do your local trails resemble a hiker superhighway?


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    .....

  57. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by highdelll
    what does the color have to do w/ it?
    Black soils in midwestern regions have lots of vegtable matter in them and are high in plant nutrients. They also seem to resist erosion better than some other types of soil such as red clay, or sandy soil types.
    "There are those who would say there's something pathological about the need to ride, and they're probably on to something. I'd wager though that most of the society-approved compulsions leave deeper scars in the psyche than a need to go and ride a bicycle on a mountain." Cam McRea

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    I agree with your outlook on trail damage. The internets doesnt know sarcasm unless you insert winkie smilie
    Quote Originally Posted by lidarman


    Live in AlbuTurkey or something? I've ridden all over your trails.

    Trail damage is taken way more seriously than it really is. Maybe you can join us on our next one day trip on this mining road.

  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_owl
    I agree with your outlook on trail damage. The internets doesnt know sarcasm unless you insert winkie smilie
    It's not sarcasm.

    -- It's a trail--or a road. The white rim is called a trail and a road.... and it's not for mining exploration anymore. We can argue the definition of trail if you want. Was the Santa trail a road?

    --That damage actually affects travel outright. It's harder for white rim in a day and impossible for multi-day trips. It's also difficult for the rafters on the green river.

    --When the damage blocks travel, it's hard to argue whether it's not damage anymore.

  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by lidarman
    It's not sarcasm.

    -- It's a trail--or a road. The white rim is called a trail and a road.... and it's not for mining exploration anymore. We can argue the definition of trail if you want. Was the Santa trail a road?

    --That damage actually affects travel outright. It's harder for white rim in a day and impossible for multi-day trips. It's also difficult for the rafters on the green river.

    --When the damage blocks travel, it's hard to argue whether it's not damage anymore.
    Human impact on the environment will only stop when you and the rest put a bullet in your head.
    Not sure why you post a pic of a road used for excavation by 12 ton vehicles, and reference mountain biking and your entitled right to ride these roads.
    I could post a picture of a potholed, smogged up daily commute in phoenix. Will it prove your point of our impact on mother natures work?
    Your picture shows a route that was built for excavating ***** out of the ground, not for hikers and bikers. They are probably pulling stuff out of the ground that built your coffee house, and maybe your home.

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    One of the best MTBR threads I have seen.

  62. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by joshman108
    idk why, but my trails arent really affected by mud riding. ST LOUIS, MO.
    You might want to double-check to make sure: http://www.gorctrails.com/trails/trailtips.asp.

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    Good thread.

    Nate--thank-you for providing the sources for your positions. I think you got off on the wrong foot by initially stating trails can be a barrier to some species and then citing to studies that involved roads and later a study that involved changes in bird behavior--neither of which supported the statement that a "trail" creates a barrier. I don't think anyone would dispute that trails inevitably have effects on wildlife--both positive and negative, depending on the species. However, I am not sure how much trail damage (except in the extreme) exacerbates those effects. Most studies, to my recollection, have found that the volume of human use of a trail as opposed to the existence of the trail itself have a fare greater impact on wildlife. Anyway, just my 0.02 on that issue.

    As to trail damage during rainy seasons, I think the issue goes far more to the potential of trail recovery and long term versus short term damage. Some areas can rejuvenate extremely quickly and therefore handle a significant amount more trail use in bad seasons--i.e. the damage is short term. Other areas do not regenerate very quickly and are therefore much more susceptible to long term damage. My rule of thumb is to follow local custom for the area you are in.

  64. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by thorkild
    Good thread.

    Nate--thank-you for providing the sources for your positions. I think you got off on the wrong foot by initially stating trails can be a barrier to some species and then citing to studies that involved roads and later a study that involved changes in bird behavior--neither of which supported the statement that a "trail" creates a barrier. I don't think anyone would dispute that trails inevitably have effects on wildlife--both positive and negative, depending on the species. However, I am not sure how much trail damage (except in the extreme) exacerbates those effects. Most studies, to my recollection, have found that the volume of human use of a trail as opposed to the existence of the trail itself have a fare greater impact on wildlife. Anyway, just my 0.02 on that issue.
    It's really all just a matter of scale. Animals all perceive landscape features at different scales, so what affects one won't be noticed by another.

    Singletrack trails, dirt lanes, paved county roads, and multi-lane freeways are just different points on a continuum of linear disturbances to the landscape that are used as corridors for some species and serve as barriers to other species.

    As I mentioned earlier, a barrier need not be a physical impediment to travel. A behavioral avoidance response (regardless of the cause of that avoidance response) serves the same sort of function.

    As someone previously brought up regarding steams vs. rivers, they serve a similar function in the landscape as roads and trails. And the small unnamed creek in my neighborhood is at the opposite end of a continuum as the Amazon River with regards to the scale of these types of features. It goes without saying that the Amazon River serves as a barrier to some rather large, terrestrial animals that do not swim. The creek in my neighborhood could also be a barrier to much, much smaller creatures.

    But really this whole line of discussion has gone far more in depth than it really needed to go. Suffice to say, trails impact wildlife. For some species, that impact is detrimental. A wider trail would serve as a larger impact to those species that are detrimentally impacted by the existence of the trail. That is all that I was initially trying to say.

    Most studies, to my recollection, have found that the volume of human use of a trail as opposed to the existence of the trail itself have a fare greater impact on wildlife.
    Yes, you are correct. There's a lot more research out there related to the impacts of human use of trails on wildlife than to the direct impact of trails (in the absence of people) on wildlife.

    Everything here only shows trail corridor itself to be degraded wildlife habitat.
    Yes, and by that logic, a parking lot or a strip mine is also degraded wildlife habitat. These become barriers to wildlife because the degraded habitat is hostile to them in some way or another. In many cases, that hostile habitat offers higher mortality. That can come from increased predation or from some other environmental cause (being run over by a car, unavailable food or water sources to name a few). There's also the physical barrier aspect. An insect that only lives on the undersides of certain leaves will not be able to cross a trail that disrupts its leafy habitat. Arthropods that live within the organic soil horizons will be unable to cross a trail that has been compacted and had its organic horizons removed.

    None of this shows non motorized singletrack to be a hindrance to the movement of wildlife or a factor in habitat fragmentation.
    Wrong. The grassland bird habitat described in the study done in Boulder was fragmented by trails because the grassland birds would not nest within a certain distance of the trails. When it comes to migratory birds, breeding habitat is essential. If doesn't matter if there's plenty of food available to them if that habitat is unsuitable for breeding. Populations will decline and eventually they will no longer inhabit the area. Breeding habitat is key to birds, even though they can physically fly across the trail as they please. Many grassland birds require undisturbed grassland patches with a specific minimum area. Less than the minimum and they won't breed there and if there's no suitable breeding habitat nearby, they also won't feed there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by the_owl
    Human impact on the environment will only stop when you and the rest put a bullet in your head.
    Not sure why you post a pic of a road used for excavation by 12 ton vehicles, and reference mountain biking and your entitled right to ride these roads.
    I could post a picture of a potholed, smogged up daily commute in phoenix. Will it prove your point of our impact on mother natures work?
    Your picture shows a route that was built for excavating ***** out of the ground, not for hikers and bikers. They are probably pulling stuff out of the ground that built your coffee house, and maybe your home.
    Good grief does Lidarman ever have a dense one hooked this time around.

    Owl_tard, you might want to Google "white rim" which will lead you to this gem:

    http://www.nps.gov/cany/news082410.htm

    Then you'll want to find someone to explain to you why your replies here are so entertaining to normal folks.

  66. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt Dizzy

    If every rider in my area who currently rides in marginal conditions resisted the urge by helping out with trail work instead, I could build more trail for every one to enjoy when the weather is suitable for riding.

    Is that enough reason? If not,

    "YOU KIDS! GET OFF MY LAWN!!!"

    Walt
    Jeez Walt, you're starting to sound like me. Be careful, you'll be waving your cane at them soon.
    Quote Originally Posted by Trail Ninja's Son
    You may be happy to hear that my dad has kicked cancer's ass. Now he's looking for whoever sent it.

  67. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_owl
    Human impact on the environment will only stop when you and the rest put a bullet in your head.
    Not sure why you post a pic of a road used for excavation by 12 ton vehicles, and reference mountain biking and your entitled right to ride these roads.
    I could post a picture of a potholed, smogged up daily commute in phoenix. Will it prove your point of our impact on mother natures work?
    Your picture shows a route that was built for excavating ***** out of the ground, not for hikers and bikers. They are probably pulling stuff out of the ground that built your coffee house, and maybe your home.
    Sounds like you should just sit at home and knit some stolen wool. Get rid of your internet and tv....and lights. Burn some compost for heat.

    Live the life. grow your garden and power down completely. Posting is only hypocrisy at this point.

    I so envy your devotion to the environment. ...Thanks for the winky
    Last edited by lidarman; 02-24-2011 at 11:15 PM.

  68. #68
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    Nate schooled us all. Literally, he took us to school and educated us. If you don't get it, it is not his fault.
    If a trail fragments an ecosystem, I.E. creates distinctive zones where there were none before, then it is a barrier. The effect of that barrier may or not be significant.
    The fear here is that this well documented conclusion can be used by anyone who feels that the human impact of mountain biking is too high and should be avoided due to it's effect on the environment. It seems to me that most of the arguments in the past opposed to mountain biking have not held up well to cross examination.

    I personally don't see a reason to fear this approach because the biggest opponent of the MNT Biker does not seem to be the standard eco freak (no offense intended) but the hiker. In this case, the hiker has just as much an effect on the environment as the mountain biker, same with the equestrian. No leverage gained.

    Nature makes her own trails anyway, they are made by weather and animals everyday. Ecosystems adapt and change, it is part of our world. Use it to our advantage I say, use this as another reason to keep our trails to singletrack width. Most of those old grumps want to walk side by side anyway. If all our trails were true singltrack width the old chubbies would have to walk at the park because they couldn't leisurely walk down the trail swinging their over sized "walking" stick like they were Bilbo Baggins off for another adventure, (No offense to Bilbo, I'm a big fan). They would actually have to HIKE .
    Last edited by PoorBehavior; 02-25-2011 at 09:52 AM.

  69. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by Itchy The Clown


    Good grief does Lidarman ever have a dense one hooked this time around.

    Owl_tard, you might want to Google "white rim" which will lead you to this gem:

    http://www.nps.gov/cany/news082410.htm

    Then you'll want to find someone to explain to you why your replies here are so entertaining to normal folks.
    Itchy, your presence here has warmed my day. Thank you.

    This is actually a good place for this thread. Only so many people visit the trailbuilding forum.

  70. #70
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    This thread has thousands of views. It has started a great dialog. It has encouraged us to define what trail damage really is. This thread acts as a sounding board and a great way to "crowd source" real world best practices for trail usage and preservation. Please take the time to document trail conditions with location, before and after pictures, soil type, trail segment type and grade as well as proposed changes that will reduce maintenance requirements. Taking just a few minutes of your ride to document the "root cause" of the problem will allow all trail users to benefit from your experience.

  71. #71
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    How To Determine Soil Type

    HOW TO DETERMINE SOIL TYPE

    Pick up a marble-sized hunk of moist soil and roll it between your thumb, forefinger and middle finger, as if trying to shape it into a little ball.

    * With a clay soil, your rolling will be successful: you’ll end up with a ball the size of a marble.
    * With a sandy soil, your attempt at forming a ball will be completely unsuccessful: it will fall apart.
    * With a loamy soil, your attempt will show some promise, but ultimately fail: the ball will fall apart once you leave off applying pressure.

  72. #72
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    I am really glad nitecrwlr has hung with this bunfight.

    Quote Originally Posted by PoorBehavior
    If a trail fragments an ecosystem, I.E. creates distinctive zones where there were none before, then it is a barrier. The effect of that barrier may or not be significant.

    Nature makes her own trails anyway, they are made by weather and animals everyday. Ecosystems adapt and change, it is part of our world. Use it to our advantage I say, use this as another reason to keep our trails to singletrack width.
    The quote (sub-quoted to suit me, journalist style) sums it up. This is our world. A lot of people who make rules exploit it. Badly, Somehow the morals of trails and trail use have been tainted by complete disregard for the totally f@@&in% obvious. If the trail you are making, repairing or using enhances the use of the land for everything that resides there and looks after the terrain, then it should be there.

    And you should be there too.

    I would love some help to upload some pics if anyone has any ideas - see this thread.. http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=688782

  73. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Itchy The Clown


    Good grief does Lidarman ever have a dense one hooked this time around.

    Owl_tard, you might want to Google "white rim" which will lead you to this gem:

    http://www.nps.gov/cany/news082410.htm

    Then you'll want to find someone to explain to you why your replies here are so entertaining to normal folks.
    yea first time. his wit and sarcasm are only as good as mine on the internet.
    Like I give a **** about the environment..
    Im surpised this banter has hooked a vet troll like yourself.
    drunk?
    Lidarman, winkies and the envrionment wont make us friends.
    Booze and ammo might.
    EDIT: for you stoned hipsters that think Utah backcountry has only been around long enough to serve you some gnar gnar trails: oh know! weather hates mountain bikers an voted for bush!!!

    In the early 1950s uranium was discovered in the shales overlying the White Rim Sandstone, and the flat bench became a natural access route for building roads to the mining claims. Thus the White Rim Road was born. The uranium boom lasted for only 3-4 years, however, and the primitive road was never improved. After the mid-1950s new discoveries in more accessible places caused the price of the yellow ore to plunge, and by the end of the decade the mines in Canyonlands were abandoned

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