Building a Singletrack... What am I Missing?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Building a Singletrack... What am I Missing?

    I love the trail building section so much but never enough threads so I thought I would post something to (hopefully) discuss…

    My kids' school has a parcel of wooded land behind it with a short hiking trail built by our Cub Scout pack. We have toyed with adding a few sections to make it possible to also use it for my hobby: Mtn biking. But since it tends to follow fall lines rather than topo lines it makes more sense to build another than try to modify it.

    So, I wanted put my plan out there to see if I am missing anything.

    The school is perched at the top of hill with a downhill horseshoe-shaped woods around it. No rocky or very few steep areas. And because of the that horseshoe shape it can only really be a one way path.

    Link to a map

    My plan is to build roughly two miles of "path" that is very smooth, somewhat slow, and very safe.

    Phase 2 I want to add another section that could add another mile or so to the length.

    Phase 3 I will assess adding areas for the older, more experienced riders, off the main trail, to limit boredom… maybe a mini pump track or skills area. Maybe.

    So to "not be a nuisance" I want to:
    1. build on weekends only so as to not block parking spaces, make noise, etc.
    2. I want to be sure there are no erosion problems.
    3. I want to be sure there are no non-natural additions that could deemed as "looking junky."
    4. Above all, it has to be safe for the 6-12 year olds.

    So, what am I missing (other than finding work-help from others)?

    I think the new trail will be a real asset. We have many kids who MTN biker in the school (though no formal club… yet), the cross country team loves using the trails for practice, the Cub Scouts can build/maintain trails, and the school often use the trails to teach special classes. The school is private so traffic will be limited to students/parents/staff. And yes, I have gotten permission from the Headmaster.
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  2. #2
    Wierdo
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    Overall pretty cool idea.

    Just a couple of thoughts that come to mind looking at your map:

    Are the trail routings just lines on the map that look like they will be fun, or have you actually scouted/flagged the trail route and make sure it's feasible to build where you want? Sometimes conditions in the field waylay the best laid plans.

    Where you are routing the bike trails right next to the walking trails, you are tempting fate with regards to poaching. And potentially degrading the experience for both bikers and walkers.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodway View Post
    Are the trail routings just lines on the map that look like they will be fun, or have you actually scouted/flagged the trail route and make sure it's feasible to build where you want? Sometimes conditions in the field waylay the best laid plans.

    Where you are routing the bike trails right next to the walking trails, you are tempting fate with regards to poaching. And potentially degrading the experience for both bikers and walkers.
    Woodway, the solid yellow lines on the map are already "done" and the dotted lines are possible (flagged but not yet assessed).

    Since I don't really know how others do it I have come up with a "system" that has yet to be determined if it works. I get out and study the land brainstorming the possible lines. When I commit, only then do I put flags down and lightly rake a thin path to give me an idea of how it will flow. This allows me to easily change my mind about any lines that just don't work (corners too tight) or get too steep (fast). Then I will rake it to about 1 foot wide and cut out vegetation that is in the middle of the trail. I should now be able to jog the trail to again assess. Only after feeling good about the line do I make it permanent by cleaning back limbs in the corridor and removing fallen trees. When I get it bike-able I will then smooth out rough bumps in the dirt and bank the faster corners.

    It is a very very slow process but hopefully limits how much damage I do while I learn.

    When you say poaching, do you mean visually... the feeling that you are alone in the woods? Yes, but not too worried as the trails are used so infrequently that the chances are low, at least at first.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by coopdad View Post
    Woodway, the solid yellow lines on the map are already "done" and the dotted lines are possible (flagged but not yet assessed).

    Since I don't really know how others do it I have come up with a "system" that has yet to be determined if it works. I get out and study the land brainstorming the possible lines. When I commit, only then do I put flags down and lightly rake a thin path to give me an idea of how it will flow. This allows me to easily change my mind about any lines that just don't work (corners too tight) or get too steep (fast). Then I will rake it to about 1 foot wide and cut out vegetation that is in the middle of the trail. I should now be able to jog the trail to again assess. Only after feeling good about the line do I make it permanent by cleaning back limbs in the corridor and removing fallen trees. When I get it bike-able I will then smooth out rough bumps in the dirt and bank the faster corners.

    It is a very very slow process but hopefully limits how much damage I do while I learn.

    When you say poaching, do you mean visually... the feeling that you are alone in the woods? Yes, but not too worried as the trails are used so infrequently that the chances are low, at least at first.
    he's talking about poaching in the sense of people riding bikes on the fall line walking paths.

  5. #5
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    Do you have wetlands/ vernal pools areas to deal with. How are you going to cross the streams? With bridges?

  7. #7
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    I think you are seeing those potentially wet areas at the bottom of the hill. The creek is dry most of the year so was planning to go right through it... no bridge. As for what the trail will be like just past it in the low-land I don't really know yet. I am headed out tomorrow to see how it will be when wet... it has rained heavily for what seems every other day for that past two weeks.

    As slowly as I am taking at the top, that section I won't be dealing with for a while.
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  8. #8
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    how did you make that map

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lewisnott View Post
    how did you make that map
    By "hand" in Adobe Illustrator with hints form Google maps and the GPS app on my iPhone.
    Actually been toying with making maps for others but have yet to figure out how to get started.
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  10. #10
    Wierdo
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    The IMBA resource is a good one. Also, get yourself a clinometer and use it when laying out the grades up and down the hill. If you want to make some of the trails "easy" you'll have to be careful with the grades.

  11. #11
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    This is great thanks

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by coopdad View Post
    I love the trail building section so much but never enough threads so I thought I would post something to (hopefully) discuss…

    My kids' school has a parcel of wooded land behind it with a short hiking trail built by our Cub Scout pack. We have toyed with adding a few sections
    So to "not be a nuisance" I want to:
    1. build on weekends only so as to not block parking spaces, make noise, etc.
    2. I want to be sure there are no erosion problems.
    3. I want to be sure there are no non-natural additions that could deemed as "looking junky."
    4. Above all, it has to be safe for the 6-12 year olds.
    Very cool! I always like projects for kids.

    I found it on Google Earth using the street name.

    Have you contacted the homeowners on the north side? Since the school is private property I'm assuming they won't have much to say, but perhaps they would like trail connection... or maybe the school doesn't want the liability issues?

    Does TN have a recreational use statute to protect private property owners in case someone gets injured? If you build it, they will come. And if people can see the trail from outside the fence it may become an "attractive nuisance" in the eyes of ambulance chasers. The school would become liable for injuries.

    IMHO I would look at the E & NE section where there aren't any trails and spread things out a little more. It looks like there are already some old roads you could use for the trail tread. Maybe try to eliminate those stacked turns on the north side?

    Good Luck!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by UncleTrail View Post
    Very cool! I always like projects for kids.

    I found it on Google Earth using the street name.

    Have you contacted the homeowners on the north side? Since the school is private property I'm assuming they won't have much to say, but perhaps they would like trail connection... or maybe the school doesn't want the liability issues?

    Does TN have a recreational use statute to protect private property owners in case someone gets injured? If you build it, they will come. And if people can see the trail from outside the fence it may become an "attractive nuisance" in the eyes of ambulance chasers. The school would become liable for injuries.

    IMHO I would look at the E & NE section where there aren't any trails and spread things out a little more. It looks like there are already some old roads you could use for the trail tread. Maybe try to eliminate those stacked turns on the north side?

    Good Luck!
    UncleTrail, Very good questions, especially about liability. In fact, that term has come up so many times lately that I have gone back to the school with a formal written plan. I want official approval rather than a being happy with the "as long as it is not a problem". Personally, I would never sue anyone for something stupid I did, but apparently I am rare today. So, now the plans are in the hands of the a few committees. It could be months before hearing back from them... just in time for the poison ivy to be well established (if it even gets approved).

    Oh well. Guess in the mean time, I will tell the kids to be patient and join the local mountain bike group with their trail builds. I am sure they would love the help.
    Last edited by coopdad; 02-18-2012 at 06:44 AM.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by coopdad View Post
    UncleTrail, Very good questions, especially about liability. In fact, that term has come up so many times lately that I have gone back to the school with a formal written plan. I want official approval rather than a being happy with the "as long as it is not a problem". Personally, I would never sue anyone for something stupid I did, but apparently I am rare today. So, now the plans are in the hands of the numerous committees. It could be months before hearing back from them... just in time for the poison ivy to be well established (if it even gets approved).

    Oh well. Guess I will tell the kids sorry and join the local mountain bike group with their trail builds. I am sure they would love the help.


    Basically, what a recreational use statute does is protect a private property owner from liability when they grant an easement for recreation to a government agency, or put the land under conservation easement. Every state is different though... so maybe contact a local MTB club to see if they have an attorney who can help you out? It looks like it applies to private property also in TN.

    I found this;
    http://www.nationalaglawcenter.org/a.../tennessee.pdf
    I'm definitely not an attorney so you'll need to have an attorney in TN give you his opinion. A local Parks Dept. might be able to help you out also.


    70-7-102. Landowners; safety; duty of care
    The landowner, lessee, occupant, or any person in control of land or premises owes no duty of care to keep such land or premises safe for entry or use by others for such recreational activities as hunting, fishing, trapping, camping, water sports, white water rafting, canoeing, hiking, sightseeing, animal riding, bird watching, dog training, boating, caving, fruit and vegetable picking for the participant's own use, nature and historical studies and research, rock climbing, skeet and trap shooting, skiing, off-road vehicle riding, and cutting or removing wood for the participant's own use, nor shall such landowner be required to give any warning of hazardous conditions, uses of, structures, or activities on such land or premises to any person entering on such land or premises for such purposes, except as provided in § 70-7-104.

    70-7-103. Landowners; permission; duty of care
    Any landowner, lessee, occupant, or any person in control of the land or premises or such person's agent who gives permission to another person to hunt, fish, trap, camp, engage in water sports, participate in white water rafting or canoeing, hike, sightsee, ride animals, bird watch, train dogs, boat, cave, pick fruit and vegetables for the participant's own benefit, engage in nature and historical studies and research, climb rocks, shoot skeet and trap, ski, ride off-road vehicles, and cut and remove wood for the participant's own use upon such land or premises does not by giving such permission:
    (1) Extend any assurance that the premises are safe for such purpose;
    (2) Constitute the person to whom permission has been granted to legal status of an invitee to whom a duty of care is owed; or
    (3) Assume responsibility for or incur liability for any injury to such person or purposely caused by any act of such person to whom permission has been granted except as provided in § 70 -7-104.

    § 70-7-104. Liability; applicability
    This part does not limit the liability that otherwise exists for:
    (1) Gross negligence, willful or wanton conduct that results in a failure to guard or warn against a dangerous condition, use, structure or activity; or
    (2) Injury caused by acts of persons to whom permission to hunt, fish, trap, camp, hike, sightsee, cave, or any other legal purpose was granted, to third persons or to persons to whom the person granting permission, or the landowner, lessee, occupant, or any person in control of the land or premises, owed a duty to keep the land or premises safe or to warn of danger.

    § 70-7-105. Duty of care; waiver
    Any person eighteen (18) years of age or older entering the land of another for the purpose of camping, fishing, hunting, hiking, dog training, or cutting or removing firewood for such person's use for a consideration may waive in writing the landowner's duty of care to such person for injuries that arise from camping, fishing, hunting, hiking, dog training, or cutting or removing firewood for such person's use, if such waiver does not limit liability for gross negligence, or willful or wanton conduct, or for a failure to guard or warn against a dangerous condition, use, structure or activity

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by UncleTrail View Post
    Very cool! I always like projects for kids.

    I found it on Google Earth using the street name.

    Have you contacted the homeowners on the north side? Since the school is private property I'm assuming they won't have much to say, but perhaps they would like trail connection... or maybe the school doesn't want the liability issues?

    Does TN have a recreational use statute to protect private property owners in case someone gets injured? If you build it, they will come. And if people can see the trail from outside the fence it may become an "attractive nuisance" in the eyes of ambulance chasers. The school would become liable for injuries.

    IMHO I would look at the E & NE section where there aren't any trails and spread things out a little more. It looks like there are already some old roads you could use for the trail tread. Maybe try to eliminate those stacked turns on the north side?

    Good Luck!
    UncleTrail, again, thank you so much for sharing your expertise with me (us).

    The neighbors next to the trails has been a concern of mine while building. Not so much for the worry that they will use the trails but the construction noise and seeing people near them would make them grumpy. There is a section that is very tight between the Outdoor Chapel and the property line, maybe 20yards. Even though it is not their property, people can get grumpy that we are "too close".

    I have not talked to them. To be honest, pretty afraid to go up to their houses. Around here, people that live in trailers way back in the woods don't want to be disturbed. Was hoping someone would stick their head out and I could talk to them but hasn't happened yet. The Outdoor Chapel was built (with bulldosers) a few months back so I am hoping a single guy with loppers and the occasional chainsaw would not bother them.

    About that large Eastern area, yes, tempting area for a trail set. The only problem with that area is it is big open field adjacent to a major road. Like you said before... build it and the will come. People WILL see bikers there.

    And agree with you, where those stacked turns will be a challenge to design/build right.
    Thanks again!
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  16. #16
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    10 Ways to Make Your Mountain Bike Trail Awsome!

    Just a primer for getting into the "mindset" of trail building
    "I am hard at work right now, you just can't tell because I'm wearing an apron!"

    BikeFAT.com

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