Building trails next to water?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    Killer of Chains
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    Building trails next to water?

    I've got some local trails that are right along the local river, and in some spots, the river when flooded will totally erode and wipe away the trail if its get too close.

    For some reason, over the last 5 years, when the trails are rebuilt (after floods or long periods of no use) they always take them right along the river (guess it looks pretty).

    Some friends and have start building more riding specific trails, and we're taking them as far away from the rivers edge is possible. We're working in a 150ft area between the rivers edge and the railroad tracks that confine our 5 miles section of wooded trails.

    Do you think its best for us to stay near the water where the river can "retake" trails easily? or make tough trails that last?

  2. #2
    Almost Human
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaintPeelinPbody
    For some reason, over the last 5 years, when the trails are rebuilt (after floods or long periods of no use) they always take them right along the river (guess it looks pretty).

    Do you think its best for us to stay near the water where the river can "retake" trails easily? or make tough trails that last?
    If the trail isn't on park property, then they're probably rebuilding them in the same location because that's where the trail easement is. Ask your Parks Dept. to try and move the easement away from the creek the next time they rebuild the trail.

    I'm having the same issue building our trails right now also. We have other entities trying to dictate to us where we should build our trails. They don't have to maintain the trails or pay for the repairs after the storms wash them away. We do. And we don't want to build them next to the creek. But when your boss, an elected official, tells you to build it next to the creek so he can have a pretty picture for the ribbon cutting ceremony before the next election, you really have no choice.

  3. #3
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    Town Run Trail Park

    I am the HMBA trail Rep for Town Run Trail Park in Indianapolis, IN. When Town Run became a park, we inherited old motorcycle trails in a flood plain. Many of the trails went down to the river's edge. The 2 main issues we had were, erosion of low trails and that in small floods, 10% of the trail would be underwater while the rest of the trail would be ride able. Most riders would say "hey 90% of the trail is good, so we just ride around the flooded spots". This created a rats nest of trails.

    We have put a lot of effort into moving the trails away from the river. And even though the trail is a bit shorter, we have save countless hours of trail work and minimized the number of days the trail needs to be closed due to flooding.

    I spent time at the park during winter and spring floods, getting an idea of how high the trail needed to be to avoid flooding in all but the highest floods. Once I figured out that the 9.5' flood level (luckily, there is a river level station near by for getting flood level data), I waited until the river was at 9.5' and then went out and put markers in the ground showing where the trail dipped into the flood waters.

    Then it was just a matter of rerouting the trails to keep them above 9.5'

    So I would suggest 1st determining river level that minimizes trail flooding while maximizing trail length. Then go out when the river is at that level and put down lots of markers at the rivers edge. Then work on building sustainable reroutes that stay above the river. At some point large floods are going to come on to the trails, but if you can keep that to once or twice a year, you shouldn't have to do much more than clear debris. We have trails closed to the river erode into the river or get buried under sand bars.

    As to being forced by the land manager to build along the creek. I would strongly discourage building near a creek, but if he leaves you no choice, I would lay out the trail such that when it is flooded, an obvious rouge line is available to by pass the low area. Once the rouge line is ridden in, you can quietly abandon the low line and blame the trail riders (If the land manager ever comes back to visit). Unless the ground is very rocky, trails along streams will spead errosion and eventually be claimed by the water.

  4. #4
    Killer of Chains
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    This is, the area isn't exactly managed by anyone. Trails are more or less just walking paths that fishman and hikers use.

    Up until this past weekend, there had been trees that had fallen over and hadn't been dealt with in over 2 years! My friends and I were the ones to finally cut them up so people could actually get around them without creating new trails.

    That's how the flow of the trail is down there, I remember when I was kid the trail looked completely different, it would go over the mounds and small hills , and was nice a straight, away from the river.

    Now'a days the trail just goes where-ever it can to avoid the fallen trees.

    I hate to say it, but my friends and I almost want to take this trail under our wing and make something of a winter project. Something both hikers and bikers can use all year round, even in the flooding months.

  5. #5
    Don't worry, be happy!
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    at least you don't have to do an EIS statement.

  6. #6

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    get involved with your local NEMBA chapter,get permission and with alittle bit of footwork and diplomacy you and your friends could very well be in charge.
    Mac,

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