Trail Maintenance Noob- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    mtbr member
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    Trail Maintenance Noob

    A local trail was in need of a volunteer trail steward so I put my name forward. Besides clearing overgrown brush and downed trees I don't know the first thing about trail maintenance and would love a "Trail Building 101" run down. I'm in Houston and the trails are very flat, wooded, and generally swampy so they flood with big rains. Drainage is priority one in my uneducated opinion.

    Any websites, techniques, tips or tricks you folks would be able to share with me? Thank you for your time.

  2. #2
    saddlemeat
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    I ride with the best dogs.




  3. #3
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    Thanks for that link!

  4. #4
    Dirt Monkey
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    Something that took me a while to learn but is very beneficial is the ability to visualize what water is going to do when it interacts with the trail. If you understand this, it makes it much easier to build trails that are low maintenance/impact.

    If your trails become swampy often, research armoring and other techniques used to harden the trail surface. If you can find higher drier ground close by to an area that is often swampy, it may be better to reroute the trail to the higher area than to attempt to armor it.

    Since you mentioned flatter terrain, keeping trail grades low and off of the fall line (path of least resistance for water down a slope) is a priority. Sandy/silty soils are very prone to accelerated erosion when water flows down the trail surface. Maintaining a 5% outslope of the trail tread and periodically incorporating grade reversals or knick drains are ways to combat this accelerated erosion.

    I would also recommend buying a copy of IMBA's Trail Solutions book that bsieb linked to. It is a valuable resource for all things trail building and the information within will save you time and money.

    There are many US Forest Service documents relating to trail design standards and techniques that can also be helpful. Quite a few of these publications relate to building trail in wetland areas which may give you some ideas for your drainage issues. Here is one example: Trail Construction and Maintenance Notebook 2007 [www(*)fhwa.dot.gov/environment/recreational_trails/publications/fs_publications/pdf/pdf07232806.pdf]
    Here is an index of other FS publications relating to trails: [www(*)fhwa.dot.gov/environment/recreational_trails/publications/fs_publications/]

    * I cannot post links, so modify those above to work properly by replacing (*) with "."


    Another thing that I like to do is keep a detailed journal of all volunteer work done. Logging volunteer hours, what was done, the date, and any other important information will be useful in showing what valuable resource you are providing and is a good way of keeping track of what needs attention and what works/doesn't work.

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