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Thread: Trail Question

  1. #1
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    Trail Question

    So I ride a trail near my house that borders the bow river in Calgary. The trail is on a mix of public and private lands. Based on my local knowledge, the trails were mostly cut by people walking thier dogs and I donít believe that anyone actually owns or maintains the trail it just seems to exist.

    in arts of the trail there are young saplings that are growing, with the tallest being about 5 feet tall. There are sections of the trail that are tight for a bike to navigate and if you are riding with speed they whip your arms and legs.

    I have been considering taking my saws all and making the trail more bike friendly OR would I be completely in the wrong doing this and should I and any other cyclists who ride this trail just live with this.

    ridng around these sapl8ngz is not an option is most spots due to the ground cover that is there, and a well defined trail is cut.

    part of me hates cutting down a living thing.
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  2. #2
    Single(Pivot)and Happy
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    If you don't own the land then you do not have the right to conduct any type of work on the land without permission of the land owner/land manager.

    Your desire to make the trail more enjoyable for all is a characteristic that most land managers appreciate.

    You may want to consider meeting with the land manager(s), introduce yourself, find out the status of the trail you mentioned above. If the trail is part of the official trail inventory, hand them a brief proposal of what you would like to do for maintenance. Briefly explain the issue (overgrown), associated problems (poor sight lines, promotes off trail use to avoid saplings), the solution (trimming back and dispersing the cutoffs).

    You should do a little research to see if any sensitive/protected plants or habitat or wildlife exist in or near this trail. You also should realize that even if your suggestion is accepted, either staff will perform the actual work or you may be invited to participate with a volunteer crew, under supervision.

    Watch out, a simple thought of trying to make a trail user experience a little better by volunteering to do some work can turn into a decade of advocacy work if you are not careful.

    Trails need more people like you. Go make something happen. Cheers.
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  3. #3
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    I support everything Boulder Pilot said. I would like to add that if you are able to remove the small saplings, please don't simply cut them off at the base. This leaves a pointy stump as the trail wears down and creates a hazard. Dig / chop out the whole sapling at the stump so there is no trace of it when you are done.

  4. #4
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    See if there is a trail care crew that works on the property. Hiking or biking. They would have some insight on that.

  5. #5
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    I believe the trails were mostly "cut" from people walking their dogs. Given the trails span part of what I believe is property owned by the city and some private property owned by a cement company I beleive there is a a trail crew.

    Personally, I'd be reluctant to approach the private company that I believe owns the land, as I would not want to stir the pot. I am assuming that they know about and can clearly see the trails in the are, plus you can almsot always see folks walking their dog - but perhaps they don't, or just turn a blind eye to the situation, so why force something.

    personally, ifeel that if i did remove some of the saplings (from what i can see they are typical native saplings that are the same as the saplings two feet away), that hardly anyone would notice, but i'd have to live with myself for not being a good mountain biking citizen.

    There is one dead tree that has fallen over, were the top two feet or so, are in the way, so i think i could feel ok about making that modification.
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  6. #6
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    I find it hard to picture a trail where people regularly walk their dogs but that can't be navigated on a mountain bike. Got any pictures by chance?
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  7. #7
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    This sounds like a situation where you need to ask yourself if you are willing to accept any consequences.

    If you feel it is acceptable to trim up a fallen tree on property owned by others, to which the property owners come back and find you (or worse), are you okay with that because you decided to go ahead and chance it.

    There is no 'right' internet answer. it's based on what the property owner will allow.

    I think I'd rather just carry the bike around the downed tree before I carry a neon sign indicating I cut trees in private property.

  8. #8
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    Around here you can go online to tax maps to see who owns what. Then you can talk to them if you want to change stuff on their land.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocky Mtn View Post
    part of me hates cutting down a living thing.
    I'm sorry but I lol'd at this one. Nature loves killing nature. Right now in my woods the big trees are killing thousands(if not hundreds of thousands)of small trees because they are being shaded out.

    Just don't be the guy that cut down the world's oldest tree so he could count the rings to see how old it was

  10. #10
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    I will snap a few pics on my next ride.

    You can get past the saplings, but if you ride with any speed you get whipped. Eventually there may be spots on this trail where it will be a very tight squeeze to get a handlebar thru.
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  11. #11
    saddlemeat
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    I would not hesitate to do minor pruning and cutting back. Make it so no one can tell it was done.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by bsieb View Post
    I would not hesitate to do minor pruning and cutting back. Make it so no one can tell it was done.
    This^

    The MOU (from year 2000) for the property I maintain states that pruning will be the minimum to maintain a 36" wide trail corridor*. This was and is completely unworkable. We work hard to minimize the damage we do in maintaining the trails, but failing to cut the brush back from the trail will quickly lead to a trail that is not usable. We've never had any question from the park management regarding our maintenance practices.

    In my opinion, it's less intrusive, less obvious, and less damaging to chop brush down to the ground. Or even uproot it. In a well-watered climate, smaller plants will quickly move in to replace the brush. I have no experience with dry climate vegetation, so disregard if that's your situation!

    *Just checked this and the document states "The understory brush is cleared to a width of 18" to 24". It appears this was intended to be the total width of the corridor, because the sentence prior is "The normal width of a natural surface trail is 6" to 8" wide (no paving)."
    Last edited by Walt Dizzy; 01-10-2019 at 08:06 AM. Reason: Add quotes from MOU

  13. #13
    saddlemeat
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    ^Doesn't make sense, and is false actually, if interpreted as the whole corridor. Is pretty standard if measured from the center of the tread. Hmm...
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by bsieb View Post
    I would not hesitate to do minor pruning and cutting back. Make it so no one can tell it was done.
    I third this. As I said above removing the stump is a good way of making sure no one notices.

  15. #15
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    I'd trim with small hand cutters only - given you don't know who owns or manages the property.

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