Seeking information on trail building techniques in Riparian areas-
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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Aug 2006

    Seeking information on trail building techniques in Riparian areas

    Hi from Australia,

    I am writing this in the hope that the mass of learned colleagues out there in the trail building world can help me out. Here's the problem. Down in one local area in Australia there are MTB tracks that have been built in a National park that have existed for some years. A recent report by the land managers is recommending closure of some of the tracks for the following documented reasons:

    - Impact on riparian areas
    - Impact on heritage listed sites
    - Impacts to endangered ecological community

    On top of the need for them to quantify the extent of the issue eg in most cases heritage sites are localised to a small area, where a campground or initiation site use to exist. BUT the other line of attach I am planning to use is the application of good trail design techniques specifically for riparian areas. I notice that alot of trails in the US and Canada found in my websearch go through riparian zones. So what I am keen to find out is:

    - Did you use any different trail building techniques in these areas?
    - What arguments did you use for negotiating access to these areas with the land managers?
    - Did you have cases where the track existed there previously, and needed to the approved retrospectively?

    This information would be really great for our cause down here in Australia.

    Many thanks in advance.

    Trails Advocacy Officer
    Canberra Off-Road Cyclists (CORC)
    ACT, Australia

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation: JamR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Riparian trails are tough builds and I have not seen too much info on trail recommendations.

    Locally in Southern California, these areas are also highly protected and most local trails simply avoid them. Even trying to put a bridge over a riparian area can have undesireable shading issues that are not allowed locally.

    Basically in the area I work, we simply avoid riparian habitats.

    Good luck in your area

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Nov 2004

    Not specifically cycling trail examples

    I've seen trails in National Parks here in the US where they use an elevated boardwalk across fragile plants, wet ground, or thermal areas such as the geyser and thermal areas of Yellowstone. Same thing up at Paige Meadows near Lake Tahoe; portions of the Tahoe Rim Trail skirt these meadows that were lakes and are quite spongy around the edges in spring

    Locally, I've seen an elevated gravel trail or causeway where a historic route also happens to be following a creek. The agency built parallel tracks of wood on the surface of the ground, then filled in between the logs with drain rock and base rock "fines". The resulting trail is about 5 inches higher than the surrounding terrain.

    Also locally, we have trails that cross creeks. The creeks are usually a trickle, but can flood with heavy rains. The creeks are also habitat for endangered frogs, so stirring up the low water is bad. Bridges above the flood line are out of the question, so the parks installed float-away bridges, strong enough for a horse to walk across. The bridges are tethered, so a flood floats them out of position, but not very far.

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