Trail work during rides?- Mtbr.com
Results 1 to 19 of 19
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    1,053

    Trail work during rides?

    Hello,

    For the past several years, a friend and I have been doing trail work during rides. We always carry shears and folding saws in our packs in case we run into something. We never build anything new. Our typical maintenance is to close off new trail braids and take care of newly fallen trees that would create new braids from riders riding around it. Should I worry about asking permission for any of this? I've always figured that it wouldn't be an issue because we are only helping to maintain existing trails and prevent new ones from forming.

    I'm also bringing this up because of one of the local trails I ride there is a large tree that has fallen. Trail braiding has already begun and blocking the braid isn't effective. I am going to have to bring a chainsaw to cut it out of the trail (even a large bow saw isn't enough). Is this too much?

    Thanks for the input!

    Chris

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation: jmurray's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    405

    My take on it

    I can only speak for one land manager in our area. I have yet to meet the other in person yet.

    I general all trail users are allowed to do small pruning of the trail corridor. We can also move things if they can be handled easily by a small number of people (say 3 to 4). However anything that would require the use of a chain saw requires the staff of the local conservation authority (land manager). We let them know where the fall is, they eventually get around to removing it. Usually a reroute has occurred before they get to it. We asked to have this clarified so there was no misunderstanding. I would suggest that you do the same.

    One thought to keep in mind that whenever, there is a a tree fall you (or the land manager) have the opportunity to corral the trail and make it wander a bit, hence slowing people down. This is especially useful on straight runs of trail.
    Jason Murray
    Rep for Ontario, IMBA Canada
    Visit the IMBA Canada site to keep current on all things IMBA in Canada.

  3. #3
    Cleavage Of The Tetons
    Reputation: rideit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    5,859
    Turns are good. As are downed logs to hop over.
    Stop the brutal sanitizing.
    What is an obstical to one is a highly desired feature to another.
    "We LOVE cows! They make trails for us.....

    And then we eat them."

    Thrill Bikers Unite!

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation: jmurray's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    405

    Skill level is important

    What's brutal about developing a trail for it's intended users? Not everyone is an advanced rider. You were a beginner once and could not get over the logs.

    The property I was speaking about has really only one major trail that runs through the whole property. It needs to be able to provide an interesting ride for all levels of riding, as well as hiking, equestrian, etc. Using the down trees tactically makes good sense. Then you can have both the log-over and a gentle curve in the trail.
    Jason Murray
    Rep for Ontario, IMBA Canada
    Visit the IMBA Canada site to keep current on all things IMBA in Canada.

  5. #5
    Cleavage Of The Tetons
    Reputation: rideit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    5,859
    Quote Originally Posted by jmurray
    What's brutal about developing a trail for it's intended users? Not everyone is an advanced rider. You were a beginner once and could not get over the logs.

    The property I was speaking about has really only one major trail that runs through the whole property. It needs to be able to provide an interesting ride for all levels of riding, as well as hiking, equestrian, etc. Using the down trees tactically makes good sense. Then you can have both the log-over and a gentle curve in the trail.
    I agree in principle.
    There definitely should be easier trails available closer to trailheads for all levels...
    BUT, I was a beginner once, and learning how to bunny hop or 'thrust' over downed logs was something that I learned how to do in my first month of Mt. biking...it was part of the sport! (20 years ago!) If you couldn't ride the feature, you walked over it...but we never even thought of removing it! (knowing that we were noobs, and the older more advanced riders would want to kick our arses for it).
    What happened to that mentality? That mt. Biking is inherently hard, and requires technical skill? Why has it been dumbed down for the masses? How are people going to learn how to ride difficult terrain?
    "We LOVE cows! They make trails for us.....

    And then we eat them."

    Thrill Bikers Unite!

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    1,053
    Thank you for the advice, especially about having the log create added character to the trail (turns). Also, this secondary topic is a great one to discuss. Just so you know, this log is a large one, bigger than 99% of people could ride over and it's on a main trail, so I think that justifies it being taken care of.

    The problem I see (at least here in CT) is that there aren't too many good spots to ride, so they are pretty heavily used. This log didn't fall more than a few days before we came across it and there was already a path worn. We put debris in the way of the braid on both ends...enough where it was obvious that the trail was intentionally cut off so they would have to stick to the main trail with the log on it. When we went back two days later, the debris was riden over. They didn't even try to move it, riders didn't want to get off their bike, they just plowed through it.

    I certainly understand having a secondary path around an obstacle and I agree that it's nice to have more challenging features, but where do you draw the line? We have a section of trail at the west hartford res that is so braided that there are about 3-4 lines that interweave on the trail. They are trying to block off sections, but it's tough to do once it's already developed. I'm merely trying to keep the singletrack as singletrack.

    I think the large log in my initial post needs to be moved because it's a main trail and can't really be ridden over, but in general, how do you decide if a reroute is good or bad?

    Thoughts? Opinions?

    Chris

  7. #7
    JmZ
    JmZ is offline
    Reformed Lurker
    Reputation: JmZ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    3,029
    Quote Originally Posted by ctxcrossx
    Thank you for the advice, especially about having the log create added character to the trail (turns). Also, this secondary topic is a great one to discuss. Just so you know, this log is a large one, bigger than 99% of people could ride over and it's on a main trail, so I think that justifies it being taken care of.

    The problem I see (at least here in CT) is that there aren't too many good spots to ride, so they are pretty heavily used. This log didn't fall more than a few days before we came across it and there was already a path worn. We put debris in the way of the braid on both ends...enough where it was obvious that the trail was intentionally cut off so they would have to stick to the main trail with the log on it. When we went back two days later, the debris was riden over. They didn't even try to move it, riders didn't want to get off their bike, they just plowed through it.

    I certainly understand having a secondary path around an obstacle and I agree that it's nice to have more challenging features, but where do you draw the line? We have a section of trail at the west hartford res that is so braided that there are about 3-4 lines that interweave on the trail. They are trying to block off sections, but it's tough to do once it's already developed. I'm merely trying to keep the singletrack as singletrack.

    I think the large log in my initial post needs to be moved because it's a main trail and can't really be ridden over, but in general, how do you decide if a reroute is good or bad?

    Thoughts? Opinions?

    Chris
    How do we decide? Depends on the trail.

    One of the local trails has six miles of trail in 40 acres of land. We try to guard against alternate lines pretty closely. We have to.

    If a tree falls there in the beginner section, it'll likely be taken out. In the intermediate section, it'll depend on the size of the tree and the location, in the advanced section it might get a another log to join it to make it a pile.

    On other trails I've been around, deadfall has become part of the trail, sometimes just another obstacle to ride over, sometimes modified (shaved top, dirt or log ramps to help ride over) or a small alternative line is allowed to develop, other times not.

    It really depends on who's riding the trail, where it's located, who (and how) it's managed. It's about using common sense.

    One thing to consider, (and something we've used) is how about a notch in the log? It can still be a challenge, and fun.

    I've seen one that's kinda like the following.... 000----00000_____000000

    Forgive the bad ascii art, but it gives ya the idea. There were two crossing points. The faster one is the harder line. The other cutout is a bit further away and robs quite a bit of momentum.

    JmZ
    JmZ

    From one flat land to another.

    Advocate as if your ride depends on it...

  8. #8

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    97
    if the land managers want obstacles they will either put them there or have someone do it.
    my advice would be contact the land managers and get their input. I did that in Petersburg National Battlefield whe I ran into a problem that I was unsure of how to resolve and now I have permission to do more than just cleanup. I actually reroute or rework trails with their blessing

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation: fully's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    173

    IMBA's trail difficulty ratings?

    IMBA's trail difficuty rating system (bottom of the page) is a functional yardstick. We use it with land managers here in Iowa.

    I think the key is "avoidable obstacles"... When constructing new trail we've found it easy to engineer the "avoidables" as an "A" line and put in a sustainable "B" line, too. With deadfall, its a toss up on who get the faster line (A or B)... Kinda depends on who's doing the maintance

  10. #10
    Ride 2 Work, Work 2 Ride!
    Reputation: thebigred67's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    1,469
    Ohh, in the day a fallin tree became a jump. The bigger the better!
    "Don't give up, Never give up!"

  11. #11

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    373
    Trail work is ok sometimes but not always. When we find a new log on the trail, and it is not ridable, we log ride it. Log piles are way more fun than smooth trail....beginners shall learn!

  12. #12
    beer thief
    Reputation: radair's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Posts
    4,900
    Quote Originally Posted by ctxcrossx
    ....I certainly understand having a secondary path around an obstacle and I agree that it's nice to have more challenging features, but where do you draw the line? We have a section of trail at the west hartford res that is so braided that there are about 3-4 lines that interweave on the trail. They are trying to block off sections, but it's tough to do once it's already developed. I'm merely trying to keep the singletrack as singletrack.

    I think the large log in my initial post needs to be moved because it's a main trail and can't really be ridden over, but in general, how do you decide if a reroute is good or bad?

    Thoughts? Opinions?

    Chris
    Complex question. What is typical maintenance for winter deadfall in the east is not comparable to the occasional tree that falls in some areas of the west. Here in NH, if we didn't do a spring clean up trails would disappear. What you're doing is right, IMO.

    I don't think the situation in say, the Tetons is equivalent to New England. I think a good rule of thumb is trails should maintain their same degree of flow. A downed tree in a slow technical trail should be treated differently than one on a fast flowy trail.

    My advice is to turn that big log into a log ride parallel with the trail, with a b-line for those who aren't up to it. With land manager approval, of course. Everybody wins.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  13. #13
    Hisforever
    Reputation: SHAHEEB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    1,834
    I think its great that you and your buddy take pruning saws out with you on every ride.

    Alot of people I have seen riding are so lazy all they do is ride. Today we passed a guy coming uphill. Almost immediatly after passing him going downhill we ran into a forked, (deadfall) tree branch that was pointing right at us. The forked part was lifted up about 4feet and pointing directly uphill, it could easily have caused someone a serious pain in the a$$ of an injury. I just wish more people would be considerate and help keep up the trails.

    Thanks for participating to all those who are passionate enough riders to do some trail building and maintenace along the way.

    Enjoy the ride...

    Ibis Ripmo -wifes
    Scout
    Saturn St
    G1
    Yz 250x - no ebikes



  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation: jmurray's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    405

    Learning and progression of skills

    The sport has evolved in the 20 years that we've been riding. Do you really expect a complete beginner who has next to no experience to be able to ride over a log? If anything that will turn them off the sport, which is not something I want to happen.

    Here's an analogy. When you learn to play baseball you aren't given a bat, ball, and glove and told to learn to play the game. You are taught how to throw, catch, hit, run, etc. Well if you have a good coach you are, I didn't have a good coach and struck out every at bat my first (and only) year. I switched to soccer. I don't want to see this happen with MTB.

    Use the log to provide alternate lines at appropriate skill levels for the trail it falls across. Then you can use the log as a learning opportunity for the beginners and novices that you have in your group. That is how people learn to ride difficult terrain, you teach them.

    Quote Originally Posted by rideit
    I agree in principle.
    There definitely should be easier trails available closer to trailheads for all levels...
    BUT, I was a beginner once, and learning how to bunny hop or 'thrust' over downed logs was something that I learned how to do in my first month of Mt. biking...it was part of the sport! (20 years ago!) If you couldn't ride the feature, you walked over it...but we never even thought of removing it! (knowing that we were noobs, and the older more advanced riders would want to kick our arses for it).
    What happened to that mentality? That mt. Biking is inherently hard, and requires technical skill? Why has it been dumbed down for the masses? How are people going to learn how to ride difficult terrain?
    Jason Murray
    Rep for Ontario, IMBA Canada
    Visit the IMBA Canada site to keep current on all things IMBA in Canada.

  15. #15
    Cleavage Of The Tetons
    Reputation: rideit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    5,859
    Quote Originally Posted by jmurray
    The sport has evolved in the 20 years that we've been riding. Do you really expect a complete beginner who has next to no experience to be able to ride over a log? If anything that will turn them off the sport, which is not something I want to happen.

    .
    Hmm, I would think that just a ride or two in Whistler would have changed your tune on that. Beginners aren't daunted by 'river runs through it', even if they have to walk a bit. They are intrigued and thrilled, and challenged and haunted by it. There is a higher level of skill imparted to them through the shops...beginners in more advanced riding areas become more advanced much faster. let the progression benefit everyone, I say. And no, I don't expect a beginner to immediately roll over a log...but i really don't think anyone will be 'turned off' because god forbid they might have to dismount for a technical feature. Besides, downed logs keep those damn pesky off-road Zorb's off the trails!
    "We LOVE cows! They make trails for us.....

    And then we eat them."

    Thrill Bikers Unite!

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation: jmurray's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    405
    Quote Originally Posted by rideit
    Hmm, I would think that just a ride or two in Whistler would have changed your tune on that.
    I just got back from Whistler (I was at the IMBA Summit/World MTB Conference). While there I rode XC 4 times. I did get to ride "river runs through it" and "the lost lake loop." Very nice. I didn't have time to do Comfortably Numb, **** Happens, etc. Maybe next trip.

    I can see the point you are making. Let me make a fine distinction.
    • A beginner is someone who just bought their first "mountain bike" this could be a CCM (Huffy for the Americans).
    • A novice is someone who has gained some skills but more importantly they have decided they like the sport and aren't afraid of scrapes and bruises from falling off the bike.


    I think that in the interest of attracting people to the sport it is ill advised to bring a beginner to intimidating trails. It is potentially overwhelming. You wouldn't stand a 6 year old child at the plate against someone throwing 90mph fastballs would you?

    A novice on the other hand I might take to such trails because the novice is likely to have the reaction you mentioned. They will be intrigued, and see the trail as a test of skill that they hope to one day pass.

    I'm not just blowing smoke out my ass here. I rode with both types of riders through some of those trails. The beginner (literally third time on a bike) was only comfortable riding on the crushed gravel and didn't even want to look at the single track. The novice and I went on "river" and she loved it, even though she walked a fair portion of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by rideit
    There is a higher level of skill imparted to them through the shops...beginners in more advanced riding areas become more advanced much faster. let the progression benefit everyone, I say. And no, I don't expect a beginner to immediately roll over a log...but i really don't think anyone will be 'turned off' because god forbid they might have to dismount for a technical feature. Besides, downed logs keep those damn pesky off-road Zorb's off the trails!
    I agree with what you are saying. Hence why BC riders tend to be better then those from other areas of Canada. However you have to accept that a beginner starts with no skills. You have to get them past that initial hurdle and turn them into novices before the accelerated learning can happen. That hurdle can happen after one ride, or it may take a whole season, it depends on the rider.

    Anyway that is my $0.02. And we're way off topic now.
    Jason Murray
    Rep for Ontario, IMBA Canada
    Visit the IMBA Canada site to keep current on all things IMBA in Canada.

  17. #17
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Walt Dizzy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    1,434

    Yes!

    Quote Originally Posted by ctxcrossx
    Hello,

    For the past several years, a friend and I have been doing trail work during rides. We always carry shears and folding saws in our packs in case we run into something. We never build anything new. Our typical maintenance is to close off new trail braids and take care of newly fallen trees that would create new braids from riders riding around it. Should I worry about asking permission for any of this? I've always figured that it wouldn't be an issue because we are only helping to maintain existing trails and prevent new ones from forming.

    I'm also bringing this up because of one of the local trails I ride there is a large tree that has fallen. Trail braiding has already begun and blocking the braid isn't effective. I am going to have to bring a chainsaw to cut it out of the trail (even a large bow saw isn't enough). Is this too much?

    Thanks for the input!

    Chris

    I am responsible for maintaining about 8 miles of trail, soon to be more, and I'd be thrilled if some of the riders using the trail would clean up small branches and loose rocks from it. Same for raspberry canes.

    The issue with larger deadfall is more complicated, as you see from the variety of responses. I have authority to cut with a chainsaw from the Park Manager. The general users don't, and are prohibited by state regulation from doing so. Your situation may be different, but I would not assume so without checking.

    I clear everything from the beginner section. A log across the intermediate or expert trail is a new feature if:

    It's not too big. I won't maintain a trail for the 1-2 % fringe of extremely talented riders without at least offering a bypass.

    It's lying on the ground (not sprung up with branches), at a semi-reasonable angle (<45% to the trail) and doesn't mess up the flow to another feature. Logs across steep uphill sections on a one way trail are not fun.

    A lot of the deadfall I've seen is a mess of branches and spring poles (trapped small trees). I don't think anyone seriously wants this stuff across their trails.

    Who gets to decide this stuff? Me. If anyone wants to argue, I will politely invite them to attend the work days. People who show up to work get a say, everyone else is just a spectator.

    Walt

  18. #18
    Ride Responsibly
    Reputation: LWright's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    1,946
    A lot depends on the area and type of trail. Private or non public trails you should find out how the others riding them feel. we had one guy trying to sanitize our "cow paths", we discussed it and let him know we appreciated his chainsaw work on large trees, but asked him to stop bench cutting our nice "off camber" sections.
    Trails run by State Parks in my area are tried to be kept clear of brush to avoid blind corners, We have equestrain and bike patrols that notify Parks when something needs their attention.
    I carry a folding branch saw and will often clear paths. I also have been certified as a volunteer crew leader and can run a chainsaw. Now, Parks wants you to file a report, plan a date, get a crew, check out and return their equipment, yada yada yada. We get a few huge Digger Pines across the trails each year, I just grab the sthill and get her done.
    It is best to build a relationship with the land managers, take trail classes if they offer them.

  19. #19
    horseman
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    354

    it all depends...

    There never is going to be a clear cut answer (no pun intended). Ther are times I go out with a folding saw and other times when I go out, with a partner of course, with a chain saw and caps in a backpack (the downs are definitely faster and the ups more painful). A lot of the trails we ride are /were shared. the horse ones, we leave large, & medium to smalls on the ground for jumping, but if the 4 wheelers use it, we cut an end shorter so they can go by and still be on the trail. [I hate it when the 4 wheelers create the bypasses. Of all the groups who could bring a saw with them, they don't]. The shortened large logs also give the horse folks the option of jumping or not (I ride horses too).
    For the most part it usually seems like its the tops that that create the most nuisance. The whole branchy/bushy thing needs to go. I haven't read anything that suggests that part of the tree should remain on the trail. Another group that must go or at least be modified are the logs that cross the trail in the air. If it should stay, I'd just as soon it actually rest on the ground.
    The cross country ski trails we use seem to prefer little or no log jumping. The nature of the trail needs to be considered. A primitive single track vs a wider more intensively groomed trail. There are three big blow downs on one technical trail we ride fairly regularly and they have the making of a "chainsaw ride".
    The same could be said for the snowmobile trails we ride. Those folks aren't too big on jumping logs.
    Believe me, "we" are not for any of that sanitized riding. Far from it. But flow is important and technical trails should be expected to be consistent. If the owners and other users, however, feel you are contributing to their enjoyment by performing a valuable function, then everyone stands to win. Tolerate the sanitized highway portion so you can get to that more selective technical bit you really enjoy

Members who have read this thread: 0

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

THE SITE

ABOUT MTBR

VISIT US AT

© Copyright 2020 VerticalScope Inc. All rights reserved.