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  1. #1
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    Highland Trail Project

    Hello y'all!
    I wanted to create this thread in order to get help on issues I encounter and provide updates throughout my project. I have just started revamping + extending a mountain bike trail near where I live in Texas. This trail was mainly abandoned about 3 years ago after a warm winter caused it to become overgrown and several fallen trees blocked off segments of the trail. That was around the last time I ever saw people biking on it. I officially got permission last week for my plans to revamp the trail, and make it a little safer in some areas that could be dangerous. I started work today, but tomorrow will be much more productive in terms of distance I will cover. I will attach photos below to show y'all what I will be dealing with.
    Attachment 1211360Attachment 1211361Attachment 1211362Attachment 1211363
    Last edited by MilesKim; 08-08-2018 at 12:10 PM. Reason: wanted to add that I have permission

  2. #2
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    oops

    oops, ignore this post, i'll add stuff to it later for tomorrows update
    Last edited by MilesKim; 08-08-2018 at 12:06 PM.

  3. #3
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    Do you have permission to work on this trail?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    Do you have permission to work on this trail?
    Yes! It took forever for me to find the people that own the strip of land it was on, but I found out that it was owned by the city and along with the park that runs along it, which is categorized as "Public Open Space". I called parks and recreation department and they didn't even know there was a trail there. After a few calls and messages they got me to the parks and recreation superintendent who I described my plans for the project to and he gave me permission to start work about a week ago. The coolest part about it was that he wanted me to call him back whenever I get the trail done, so possibly we can get some official signage to mark the trail?

  5. #5
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    IMBA has two books on the subject, looks like you're just doing rehab though. Got chainsaw safety gear?

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    I don't own chainsaw gear but my parents have a full set of gear that I can get access to if I need it. However, all of the trees blocking the paths are small enough for me to break up with my hatchet and then pull into the surrounding woods. I think the biggest equipment I will be using is the weed eater and leaf blower that I already own. I'll definitely look into the books you suggested which will probably become really useful for this project

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by MilesKim View Post
    Yes! ...
    Good on ya mate! Doing it legit

  8. #8
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    Nice job! Both on getting the correct permission and taking ownership for the trail. excellent!!! Be careful at your age though, it can easily become a lifetime passion.

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    UPDATE: What do y'all suggest I do with this section?

    So I have reached a part of the trail that is a little problematic. From each direction, there's a steep incline and at the top there is a tree with roots all across the trail. This part is nearly impossible and I have tried it going both directions. I figured that maybe I should dig another alternative path around this tree, which I marked in the picture below with the yellow lines. I am thinking about lining the new trail with logs and nailing in some metal bars along the logs to hold them in place. What do you guys think? I'd have to do some serious digging but I think it would make the trail much more accessible for mountain bikers of all levels of skill. And let me just say that the photo doesn't do it any justice, the roots at the top are impossible to cross without getting off your bike considering the incline and your wheels will get stuck in them even if you have enough speed since most of the roots go diagonally across the trail.

    Maybe I should build a boardwalk considering how steep this section is?

    Highland Trail Project-iqge1d7.jpg

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Switchblade2 View Post
    Milesbi want to commend you for taking the initiative to restore this trail by yourself.
    Thanks, I just feel like it would be great to see people enjoying this trail again if not more than before and being able to do that for them.

  11. #11
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    Fill over the roots with dirt and armor the steep sections if the trail is supposed to be somewhat technical or reroute to the yellow path if it's for beginners. Could leave the existing trail as an optional higher skill line and used excavated spoils to fill in some roots on the hill to make it rideable.

    Skip the logs/retaining walls if you can bench it properly by digging. Building log retaining walls is more work in the long run and another thing that will rot and require maintenance.

    Steep boardwalks won't be great for hikers if that's a concern.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by aero901 View Post
    Fill over the roots with dirt and armor the steep sections if the trail is supposed to be somewhat technical or reroute to the yellow path if it's for beginners. Could leave the existing trail as an optional higher skill line and used excavated spoils to fill in some roots on the hill to make it rideable.
    I like your idea for having two paths. I don't want to turn away beginners by making it too complex but I also don't want to make the path too easy and leave the fun out of it for more experienced bikers. I will attach a photo of the incline on the other side of the tree to show the more problematic part which is from the direction bikers will come in from. You can see that people who built this trail long ago used old railroad ties left over from the railroad parallel to the trail to retain the dirt but some have fallen out of place and erosion has left almost nothing to bike on in those parts. I want to use some wooden planks supported by rebar to retain that particular area, fill it in, and i'll try it out then. I feel like that is my only option because I can't dig into the cluster ___ of roots below it. For the easier alternative path, i'll try digging out that area tomorrow to see what is under all of those leaves and branches, and i'll see what I can do from there. Regardless, this will make a pretty neat section of the trail and hopefully allow a more diverse group of bikers to enjoy it. I will have an update tomorrow with some more progress
    Highland Trail Project-4buiay6.jpg

  13. #13
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    First, you should look at the overall difficulty of the trail. If there are numerous technical spots, it doesn't make sense to put alternate lines around each one. That will probably just make it confusing. In the photos, it doesn't look particularly difficult, but maybe it's steeper than it looks. If you consider it too steep, then I would reroute as you showed and cover the old trail up, as it doesn't look like it will really add anything particularly special to the ride. If you use the original trail, the boards are currently just channeling water down the trail and not helping. I'm thinking they are probably not needed here, and maybe you could just bench the trail a little better and perhaps move the bottom of it slightly up hill to even the grade out so it is not so steep at the top. Doesn't look like a rocky area, so I would guess armoring is not a feasible option. The RR ties are probably soaked in creosote, so actually make very good steps, which could be an option for effectively reducing the grade of the trail. If you make steps put them more than a bike length apart to make it easier to climb, and you can bury them a ways to shorten the step. If you put a step just below the roots, you can fill over them with dirt is you want, which might make the tree happy. Just make sure there is a slight outslope to the trail when you are done- just enough so water sheets off instead of running down the trail. Let us know how it goes.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by aero901 View Post
    ...Could leave the existing trail as an optional higher skill line and used excavated spoils to fill in some roots on the hill to make it rideable..
    After a year of use, one route usually becomes the primary route. In my experience it has almost always been the easy route. Do others find this to be true?

  15. #15
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    Yep, here too. The majority will take the easy line especially if it's on a beginner trail. I like to build in options to allow skills progression or spice it up for experienced riders when possible.

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