Trailbuilding alone... need advice- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1

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    Trailbuilding alone... need advice

    Ok so I ride around this 2 track big loop near the river by my home and it's all state property. I ride alone and today I rode off the loop and started to envision a nice path for some singletrack. My question is what sorta tools and advice can I get to help me? And has anyone tried to make there own track? I noticed at this time of year its easy to clear a path. The ground is kinda soft and the grass/weed are dead and loose. I'm doing this alone and I'm wondering if it's impossible to take on this job. Just today I made about 300 feet of track in about 2 hours just by clearing things away by hand and foot. Lots of zig and zag and tight track. Also I can't use any heavy equipment. I can only get to this area by bike and can only haul stuff on my back basically. Advice please. Any handtools that are best for the trail. Preferably no chainsaws either. I wanna be quiet.

  2. #2

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    I dont build singletracks but I do make dirt jumps by myself. Some advice on hauling dirt: I mostly get a wheelbarrow full of dirt and tie it to the back of my seatpost. Makes up for a lot of time and walking. One thing I find helpful is to hide your tools around the trails so all you gotta do is bike there and you got it. Sorry I'm not much help for a singletracker

  3. #3
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    Advice: get permission from the land manager

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    how do I locate a land manager?

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    You might start at the couny administration office. You have to find out WHAT kind of state land it is ( park? state forest? wildlife refuge etc) and then approach the land manager in a calm way about the benefits of a trail. There are many of us that read this particular forom that lots of different kinds of experience in these matters. Yes it's a pain, and can be very slow going to work on getting permissions for legal trails. It certainly lacks the instant gratification of just going out and building. However, if you do the process right, you don't have to worry about your stuff being "discovered" and torn down, either.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by giant24niner
    Ok so I ride around this 2 track big loop near the river by my home and it's all state property. I ride alone and today I rode off the loop and started to envision a nice path for some singletrack. My question is what sorta tools and advice can I get to help me? And has anyone tried to make there own track? I noticed at this time of year its easy to clear a path. The ground is kinda soft and the grass/weed are dead and loose. I'm doing this alone and I'm wondering if it's impossible to take on this job. Just today I made about 300 feet of track in about 2 hours just by clearing things away by hand and foot. Lots of zig and zag and tight track. Also I can't use any heavy equipment. I can only get to this area by bike and can only haul stuff on my back basically. Advice please. Any handtools that are best for the trail. Preferably no chainsaws either. I wanna be quiet.
    Given your situation and your prerequisites, the most important tool you are going to need is patience.
    If you follow what Formica has stated, and get all your legal issues squared away, then you probably wont' have to worry about being quiet.
    If you decide to continue covertly, you do know that you assume the risk of getting caught, and all your work getting destroyed. If you go this route, the best tools I can think of are; handsaw(ensure it's new/sharp), hatchet(100 times handier than you would ever think), machete, rake (2; leaf and debris), shovel, maddock, and axe. A cordless sawzall might be a quieter, adequate (but not ideal) substitute for a chainsaw.
    Those are if you are just making a trail itself. If you decide to make obstacles/stunts, you will also need either a hammer and nails, or a cordless drill and screws.
    To be honest, you are really shooting yourself in the foot (both labor and time-wise) if you cannot use tools like a chainsaw, weedeater(with metal or a sawblade attachment) and a leaf blower. And like Formica stated, you will also eventually be shooting yourself in the foot if you build this trail on land that isn't yours w/o the owner's permission.
    Jump it onto something off of something or over something.

    There's more to freeriding than dirt jumps.

  7. #7
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    *** moderator comment***
    MTBR cannot advocate or support illegal trail building, so lets talk about how to do this legally.

    ~thanks~

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by giant24niner
    started to envision a nice path for some singletrack.
    This is worth noting, technically a "path" is not the same thing as a "trail". Your first step is to determine the rules and laws that govern this state land. If bicycles are allowed and not restricted to designated trails then you could create a path or "social trail" and over time it could potentially become an established trail and legitimized. Trail "building" implies that you will be making changes to the land that require following specific procedures.

    There are situations where taking the "path" approach works, but it must have little to no impact. Explore, experiment, learn the system, it's all a fun part of trailbuilding.

  9. #9

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    If there is an IMBA trailbuilding school near you, go. I found the info to be invaluable. Also IMBA has several excellent books, Trail Solutions, and Mananging Mt. Biking. If you look on their website there are many success stories of folks who got permission to build the trail, and built it to last. I think if you build a trail, you should build it right! And getting any local mt. biking clubs and bike shops and the rest of the community involved is great. It is a ton of fun to be out there working with other folks and then at the end of the day going for a ride. You'll have lots to talk about. Yes, it takes time to get the permission, and to round folks up, etc. but in the end, you'll be a hero!

  10. #10

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    Ok so here is the deal about the area. There is a long long stretch of land in between the railroad system and the river. and there is nothing in this section but thick woods, grassy fields and streams. Across the railroad are miles of state prisons. Therefore I assume the state bought or basically owned the excess land across the tracks. There are signs stating "State Property". There is no way for vehicles to get into this area other than 4 wheelers or bikes and right now neither do. Up on the one far end of this area is a shooting range but it's built in such a way that the targets are in front of a huge embankment therefore nothing is going beyond that point. I think the shooting range is for prison guards. but there is never anybody there. So basically I already know that I wont be given the permission I need. But it sucks because it is very close to home. The area could be easily manageable. Perfect for single track with rockgardens and streams. Beautiful area to see. etc. etc. I love this area. I'm not looking to alter so much stuff. I dont ride with anybody nor do I expect anybody to find this place. It takes miles just to get to the starting point of the area I'm talking about. But I'd still like to make it rideable. Like one person said... it would be more of a worn path than a trail. Maybe one small bridge or two by streams.

    Question: What's the typical punishment for riding a bike on state property without permission?

  11. #11
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    Hick Hucksters ...

    Look it up. You have been warned.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Giant24Yukon
    Question: What's the typical punishment for riding a bike on state property without permission?

    I was arrested last year for general trespassing, Ticketed then released. There were Two Officers on scene, one being really cool ( the one that found me at Gun Point ) and his partner. The Partner wanted to Charge me with Felony Trespassing (as it was an EPA clean up site that was Government owned)

    After going Court I pleaded Guilty as was placed on 6 months Probation. No Fine.

    I was blatantly breaking the law as I parked in front of the "No Trespassing. Clean-up site, etc.. " But I was doing nothing but walking around old building overgrown streets. The judge Recognized this and didn't punish me with anything minus the probation.



    On topic: By making this path you are are inviting others to join and eventually the quad/mx rider will move in. I understand we don't condone the building of illegal paths but if you keep the path entrance small and not park at the entrance you shouldnt have any problems, just keep your mouth shut as to where the location is.


    There is a Park very close to my house (ipswich) that started as a shortcut thru the woods between neighborhoods. The Property grew and grew as the BMX Crew and the Single track guys moved in. It has been known for years as a place to ride and the city recognized this and purchased the property. It has been turned into a BMX/Mt. Bike Park. The quads and MX guys still try to come in there but now that its city property it is harder for them.

  13. #13

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    Ok now that I'm scared to death to roll my tires off a public street I doubt I do anything. It's a shame. I don't even park a car. I ride from my house. And in the direction I ride I do not pass a single sign about trespassing. The signs are up near the railroad pointing at the railroad. It's a moot point now I guess. I didn't want to tell anybody about it plus the entrance is not visible to where I wanted to go. But again... who wants to be arrested no matter how small the punishment. Sucks! Building paths and trails seems so exciting and finding my own spot even better. I guess I'll just ride on the same old junk I always do. Thanks for everyone's advice and help.

  14. #14
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    two tools

    Once you have permission.
    it is easiest to carry two tools at any given time. Either a grub hoe, pulaski or mccloud & and a folding saw. it is amazing how much a person can do in an hour using just one of the above tools.

    All very quiet.

    there is tremendous satisfaction from building an approved trail.

  15. #15

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    You are giving up before you have even started! One thing that happened recently in my area is that at a local park where the land manager is a cool guy (letting the local bike group build trails etc) is that someone decided to do a bunch of stuff w/o his permission- making trails, painting blazes, making jumps, etc. Well, that caused more trouble with the whole mt. biking community getting blamed. Some us got together and fixed the problem, but what a waste of time. We could have been maintaining legitimate trails or fixing old ones to make them more sustainable.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Giant24Yukon
    Ok now that I'm scared to death to roll my tires off a public street I doubt I do anything. It's a shame. I don't even park a car. I ride from my house. And in the direction I ride I do not pass a single sign about trespassing. The signs are up near the railroad pointing at the railroad. It's a moot point now I guess. I didn't want to tell anybody about it plus the entrance is not visible to where I wanted to go. But again... who wants to be arrested no matter how small the punishment. Sucks! Building paths and trails seems so exciting and finding my own spot even better. I guess I'll just ride on the same old junk I always do. Thanks for everyone's advice and help.
    No signs = good to go to a certain extent, I wouldn't build anything you want to be there tomorrow but as long as your not destructive I say go for it. BUT I speak for Myself and no one else.

  17. #17
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    Yeah to put it mildly, people who put their desire to ride in front of the community's reputation are remarkably selfish. Most folks would use considerably stronger words, especially those who have to get things straightened out with land managers after somebody does something they think is cool but is actually arrogant/stupid/rude/insulting/whatever. Look at it from the other side of the fence; assuming approval to build trails won't be granted and building anyway is a great way to piss off precisely the people who need to support trailbuilding for an area to become a viable place to ride over the long haul. For all you know someone may already be working with the land manager and your 300 feet just blew their approval to build out of the water; the diplomacy on this kinda stuff can get really tetchy.

    Speaking from experience, you'll get a lot farther a lot faster with an incremental, collaborative approach. Figure out who to get in touch with and start by asking questions like "Have trails been considered in this area?", "If they were rejected, what were the concerns?", "If they're under consideration, who should I work with?", "If I wanted to propose trails, what would the process be?", "What are the concerns about putting in trails?" and so on. Listen to what you hear and work constructively to step up and solve problems; I'm local to one of the top riding areas in the nation and it's taken tens of thousands of hours and dollars from the local mountain biking community over a couple decades to get there. The effort's been successful because bikers have stepped up to do trial maintenance, pull out unauthorized work, paid for environmental assessments, run trailbuilding classes, worked with local businesses, you name it.

  18. #18

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    To follow up... it comes down to this. I really dont think anybody will give me permission. There is a shooting range on one side miles away and would be a simple excuse as to why they'd never officially allow anyone to do stuff. But it's in an area away from civilization. I live in the country. Rural area. Nobody goes to this area. The signs are no where in my path from home to end route. They are up facing the railroad. So I can atleast play dumb if ever approached. I can say I've been riding alone here in this area for years which would actually be the truth. I just not want to do some minor landscaping. I'm not telling a soul about the place. I might make 1 small 6 foot bridge and the rest will just be a worn single path.

    Lets take a poll... Moderators close your eyes. Who here would just go and do what I initially wanted or who here would say don't do it. Let me here yay and nays.

    Yay!

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by giant24niner
    Lets take a poll... Moderators close your eyes. Who here would just go and do what I initially wanted or who here would say don't do it. Let me here yay and nays.

    Yay!

    Yay and I Pm'd you.

  20. #20
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    nay, you would be surprised what you might accomplish if you ask. State land around here is very forgiving.
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  21. #21

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    Ditto above! Work for the whole mt. biking community!
    And the whole "secret trail " thing never works anyway. One person shows another person, and that person only shows one person, etc, etc..... And whoever built the "secret " has to brag about it.

  22. #22

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    Yea! Ride to live and live to ride. Go for it.

  23. #23
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    if your county or town is the least bit modern, you can check the property appraiser's web site to find out who exactly owns the property. if it's government land, sometimes they have different groups that are strictly recreational and could help out. example: the state of florida has the department of environmental protection that oversees the trails and greenways. they have a lot to do with the santos trail system which is an imba epic ride (i think). write lots of nice letters and be persistent. it helps if your a member of a bike club but drop imba's name a lot. it's actually kinda fun but frustrating. try to make friends with someone in the government, usually someone there rides. maybe a local bike shop will offer some support.
    if the railroad owns the land, good luck. they are hard to deal with (imho).
    I'm never gonna be a Rock Star

  24. #24
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    ...and in the long range, it's satisfying. It's satisfying to hear the local state park manager say, "we love working with you guys".

  25. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by formica
    ...and in the long range, it's satisfying. It's satisfying to hear the local state park manager say, "we love working with you guys".
    That is great when the land isn't bordered by Prisons on one side and a Rifle range on another.

  26. #26
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    We share with hunters, hikers, wildlife, motos, quads, and a few other uses. Another way to get farther faster is to learn to distinguish between things which could potentially be problems and things which actually are confirmed to be problems. Maybe it's just me, but this stuff about ranges seems like tilting at windmills.

  27. #27
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    I would do a little homework and figure out if the land is owned by the prison, if so, I would not be back there, they REALLY don't like people on their land, even if its far from the actual prison. Theres a state prison outside of town here and they own a ton of land far from the enclosure for whatever reason and you do not want to be caught on that.

  28. #28
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    Not all jurisdication require permission to make a trail, most do not however allow felling of standing trees.

    On crown land a shovel can be used to whack off low hanging branchs and dead fall can be cleared by hand, don't bother to dig up anything.

    Stunts can be built over larger objects once the loop is in.

    Where I live it is not yet illegal to be off a trail, lots of people think it is but it is not.

  29. #29
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    I have a similar situation execept I have asked for permission and the township has given me the ok to build trails behind my house on land locked parks and rec land.


    Back to the original question in this thread, what are some good tips for designing and building trail with limited or no help.

  30. #30
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    OK, you've already got your two-track big loop. It sounds like you have a prison, a shooting range, a river and railroad tracks as borders. You obviously want to stay clear of the prison and shooting range. You seem to think it's state land. The railroad may own the land within a certain distance of the tracks but you don't want to ride close to tracks anyway.

    I'd say proceed with caution. Have a plan to leave quickly. That double-track means a truck could patrol the area.

    Despite what others have suggested, I have seen great success come to the mountain bike community resulting from the construction of social trails (another name land managers use for illegally built trails) If they are built well and get used by many, they are often added to the existing trail system. In your case there isn't so much an existing trail system as there is a double-track you make into a loop.

    Maybe you could buy yourself a B.O.B.'s trailer for Christmas. They offer an accessory that fits into the trailer and it holds 2-3 hand tools in place so you can ride to your work site. I'd suggest a Pick Mattock, McLeod and a good quality folding limb saw. I'd also pack some work gloves and work boots to change into.

    First, you might want to hike the entire perimeter of the property to find your borders. Keep hiking it until you find the best features to ride near. Hang some flagging on the route you think works best. The first thing you should do is clear fallen trees and then brush back the route before you even start turning more soil than you already have. Take out any rocks that will cause problems. If you can, find some friends with motorcycles and ask them if they'd ride the route a few times. Many a mountain bike trail began as a motorcycle trail. They can break it in very quickly but you run the risk they will keep coming back and draw unwanted attention to your project.

    Don't connect to the double-track. If you want to keep this to yourself, you will want to carry your bike the first 50 feet before you start riding. You can use the McLeod to rake the duff and debris off your track and to cut the vegetation so it won't be growing back. If it doesn't get enough use the grasses will grow back in time. The best approach is to round up as many like-minded riders as you can and introduce them to this new loop so they can help ride on it and get it packed. The more people who ride it the less likely any of you will get into trouble. Without signage telling you to stay out, you can always say you just came across this trail one day. In all likelihood there is nobody assigned to patrol the land and only when someone sees or hears about the trail, will anyone come to check it out. Even then they might not care. On the other hand, if it were land managed by the USFS, they would want to be the ones to decide if and when a trail gets built, and only after the 3-5-10 years of NEPA work gets done. Even then they can find dozens of reasons to not move forward. You may be lucky the land is owned by the state. We built a trail on state land ten years ago and they still don't know its there.

    Good luck.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Megashnauzer
    if your county or town is the least bit modern, you can check the property appraiser's web site to find out who exactly owns the property. if it's government land, sometimes they have different groups that are strictly recreational and could help out. example: the state of florida has the department of environmental protection that oversees the trails and greenways. they have a lot to do with the santos trail system which is an imba epic ride (i think). write lots of nice letters and be persistent. it helps if your a member of a bike club but drop imba's name a lot. it's actually kinda fun but frustrating. try to make friends with someone in the government, usually someone there rides. maybe a local bike shop will offer some support.
    if the railroad owns the land, good luck. they are hard to deal with (imho).

    This guy has the right idea as does the other one ....try to approach the local parks dept. about the idea of a low use, mixed use trail and drop IMBA's name after you pick up a book or two study it a little and maybe xerox a couple of pages showing some nice looking trails like you invision. Start a scap book of things you want to do but DO NOT INCLUDE sloprestyle shots or somone hucking some road gaps! See if someone can meet you at the property and walk what you want to do. As stated above, Florida has an agency devoted to developing the exact thing you want to do. Be diplomatic....drag in a LBS and if you have a local bike club, run it by them to see if you can get more involved as the building goes faster with more hands and the organizations will show dedication and a serious attitude towards creating something all riders can enjoy.

    Plan your work and work your plan.
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  32. #32
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    I also wanted to say that my tools of preferance are a Zak McLeod( for cutting grade,shaping,raking rocks, tamping etc.), a wide plastic rake for clearing and shaping (it's amaizing how much dirt you can actually move with a 24 or 30" plastic rake). machete or two.(long and short), stiff back rake, pick and shovel. I also wear a carpenter's tool belt with a machete sheath and a hammer holder that fits a hatchet and a hand pick/three pronged tool. Don''t forget the camel back loaded with fuel and fluids for the day or a half. Gloves and safety glasses keep everything working and in place. Get some of the wire florescent flags and layout your ideas and them run them at riding speed to check the flow (just like the AmEx commercials!).

    I've worked with groups on some recent projects and also done 10 hour days by myself. Focus and determination will only get you further down the trail.
    IF YOU CAN READ THIS, YOU'RE NOT RIDING (or building)!

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cakegirl
    Ditto above! Work for the whole mt. biking community!
    And the whole "secret trail " thing never works anyway. One person shows another person, and that person only shows one person, etc, etc..... And whoever built the "secret " has to brag about it.
    It works just fine.

    "The reasonable man accommodates himself to the ways of the world. The unreasonable man attempts to get the world to accommodate itself to his way. Progress depends on unreasonable men." -George Bernhard Shaw

    Eleven years and several thousand hours of building. restoring, and maintaining trails has led me to conclude that most land managers are 10%ers, just like most government workers. They are not motivated or rewarded by an increase in performance. I've worked with them and seen it take 5-10 years for a trail to get built, whereas I once proposed a new trail that was on land managed by the county, that didn't employ a bunch of bureaucrats, and after walking the trail with the park and rec boss and telling him I was going to build him a cross-country ski course, I got approval with a handshake and took my crew out and began actually working on the trail ( it is a mountain bike trail that I knew would never get used for XC skiing) less than 24 hours later.

    Up until a year ago I mostly played by the rules, working with FS land managers. But I learned they are held to very low standards. Our local district has a volunteer coordinator who doesn't organize or attend volunteer events. The trail crews don't care much for trail work. They prefer to spend their first few weeks on the job getting red-card training so they can bail out on trail work at the height of the season, and go fight fires for twice the pay. The person in charge of trail and planning fails to apply for federal grants to pay for maintenance and then whines about not having the resources to get anything done. She has been at her position for maybe four years and is unfamiliar with the location of our local trails. The number two guy is a horseman and tries to steer the trail crews out to distant horse trails he and his buddies use. Our local bike club has helped by training young volunteers to do trail work. For better or for worse, most of them are free riders or down-hillers and volunteered only long enough to learn some skills they use to build themselves some very challenging trails (illegal social trails) they don't ask permission to build. The beauty is that the FS doesn't have the ability to stop them or to go out and find all of the social trails and remove them. Instead, they find the most used social trails and adopt them into the system trails, which is like rewarding the illegal trail building. They often ask who is doing the work but that is where it usually ends. Plus, if the work is well done, and it is getting used by many, they know they can't block off the new trail. It's like trying to enforce a 55mph speed limit. Too many people violate the law and you have to make a new law with higher speed limits. So after years of playing by the rules, I have decided to join the people who are out trimming tree branches, building drains, removing loose rocks, etc. I take pride in maintaining once abandoned trails. I even see others doing it. I suppose we are simply replacing our public servants who have gradually lost their passion for our trails. It's not selfish at all. It is a spirit of improvising to overcome, in order to preserve something we dearly love.

    I wish Giant24Yukon the best and ask only that he do good work that if discovered may well be used as part of a new trail system.


    Respect the land, defend the defenseless and don't ya never spit in front of women and children

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  34. #34
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    all this advice is legitimate in 99% of circumstances, but what is not being considered here is that there is a very good chance since it is adjacent to a prison, that this is state prison land and that goes by a whole other set of rules than any "normal" state, county, or local land. The prison people do not take kindly to people on their land, period. So it is very important for the OP to do some homework and figure out if this is prison land or not and if it is, just stay away.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by nmba guy
    all this advice is legitimate in 99% of circumstances, but what is not being considered here is that there is a very good chance since it is adjacent to a prison, that this is state prison land and that goes by a whole other set of rules than any "normal" state, county, or local land. The prison people do not take kindly to people on their land, period. So it is very important for the OP to do some homework and figure out if this is prison land or not and if it is, just stay away.
    Agreed. And if you do build trails and stunts on there w/o their knowledge, should a prisoner ever escape, you and I both know that they will go over the area around the prison like a fine toothed comb. In that process they will find what you have built, and ensure that it is taken down.
    Jump it onto something off of something or over something.

    There's more to freeriding than dirt jumps.

  36. #36
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    Or worse - you may show up some day and find a bunch of prisoners riding it

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by nmba guy
    all this advice is legitimate in 99% of circumstances, but what is not being considered here is that there is a very good chance since it is adjacent to a prison, that this is state prison land and that goes by a whole other set of rules than any "normal" state, county, or local land. The prison people do not take kindly to people on their land, period. So it is very important for the OP to do some homework and figure out if this is prison land or not and if it is, just stay away.
    I'm a former prison guard. There is a clearing on the outside of the fence-line to allow for prison vehicles to patrol, and also a certain amount of deterrents to keep other vehicles from approaching the fence as part of an escape.

    But, Giant24 Yukon described the area where he is living, and he said there is a long stretch of wooded land near it and next to a river. He said that the prison was on the other side of the railroad tracks. He didn't give an exact distance how far the prison was from the tracks but he sounded as though he was working on the opposite side, between his home and a shooting range far off at the end of the wooded area.

    So he stays clear of the tracks and doesn't go so far along as to get near the shooting range. After he is finished making a loop, he and his friends can ride it and enjoy it while they keep in mind that one day they might see signs posted for them to stay out or they might even see someone in a state vehicle, along the two-track section he currently rides, and have to explain what they are doing there. Until then, he is at little risk. I've built trail that turned out to be on state land (by accident). When I went to tell them, they had no idea we had built the trail. They also were unaware that for over ten years there had been horse jumping events on the land and over 20 huge horse jumps had been constructed. He never went out to check it out and the horse events still go on. The mountain bike trail ended up being used as the state championship course and is still in use today by runners, mountain bikes and horses.

    I mean, come on. He's clearing some brush and trimming some limbs so he can ride his bike.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by rmb_mike
    Agreed. And if you do build trails and stunts on there w/o their knowledge, should a prisoner ever escape, you and I both know that they will go over the area around the prison like a fine toothed comb. In that process they will find what you have built, and ensure that it is taken down.

    I go hiking or biking in the woods all the time. I live next to FS land and have trails leading out my back yard. I come across forts made by kids, shelters or barricades made by paint-ballers, homeless shelters, fire pits, jumps made by bmxers. Some are left alone and others are torn down. Hikers will also create their own social trails leading from where they park to gain access to the woods. The FS occasionally sends out a crew to investigate and naturalize an area if they feel they need to close off a social trail. More often, the hikers themselves decide what trail they prefer and even close off the others with debris and rocks.

    Law enforcement people won't get involved in tearing down or covering a social trail. If a prison representative would ever come to this spot (and we don't know if they are even within 2 miles of the area), they will hardly take notice of a bike trail. I doubt anyone would care or take any action at all. I'm saying this as a former police officer and a former prison guard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Box Elder

    Law enforcement people won't get involved in tearing down or covering a social trail. If a prison representative would ever come to this spot (and we don't know if they are even within 2 miles of the area), they will hardly take notice of a bike trail. I doubt anyone would care or take any action at all. I'm saying this as a former police officer and a former prison guard.
    Thanks for the info. I appreciate you clearing that up. That's good news for the OP.
    Jump it onto something off of something or over something.

    There's more to freeriding than dirt jumps.

  40. #40
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    build it. Laws are also meant to be challenged, which most people forget about. Where I live building trail seems to be the only thing that is protecting the land from being developed into housing. People have started using the trails and have seen why they should not put houses there, but if there is "nothing" there for people to use they vote to develop. remember cash is king in this society, meaning that all of the existing land owners and managers all want to make some cash and legitimize their jobs. Impact statements, paper work and buearacratic crap all make money on your wanting to go out work the land for a cool trail.

    I would be a little concerned about the prisons proximity to the trail. If "they" think it will compromise security in any way it will be stopped quick.

    Some folks talk about being selfish for doing your own thing, blah, blah... screw'em. You cannot read minds(?), but take into consideration what others may think about your trail: Steepness, rideability, erosion, proximity to existing trails..etc. There are lots of books and research thesis/papers that give great guidelines on building trail. The closer you make the trail to a good sustainable design your less likely to have it scrutinized, pulled, and destroyed.

    Keep up the good work, I wish more folks had your drive. Most people who get involved and vote on these issues don't even use the resources their voting on. Or even better, they use the first 200 yards of the trail to let their dogs crap in the creek and then leave and eventually write some sort of letter complaining that things need to get cleaned up.

    Your trail is not illegal it's waiting to be approved, and sometimes approval starts with a trail building ticket that turns into the areas greatest asset. Make it cool and enjoyable, something most will like.
    If you do something often enough it tends to define you.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by butryon
    People have started using the trails and have seen why they should not put houses there, :
    Ummm so you're saying that if someone tresspasses on private land, builds a trail without the owners permission, that is an effective strategy to halt development? Interesting, I've never heard that before.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Box Elder
    I wish Giant24Yukon the best and ask only that he do good work that if discovered may well be used as part of a new trail system.
    Box Elder.....good advice, but I particularly like this gem.....I couldn't have said it better. I know it's not politically correct to say what you said and others will say you should contact the land manager, go through the formal process, etc., but I'm with you.

    Giant24Yukon, you should be prepared to get your trails ripped out if the rightful owner deems it "illegal". That's just how it goes....and you gotta be prepared for that if you're gonna put the work in. I recommend hiding the entrance and exit until it's totally done. Make it a hike in / hike out and don't clear those areas until you're totally done with the entire trail. Hell, keep them hidden if you are really worried and just be sure to hike in from different areas......believe me that folks will see the wear if you use the same location.

    FWIW, there is a place for the formal permission process. Folks are doing it all over the place and making it happen, but in my neck o' the woods, folks ride a helluva lot of "gray trails" that are built without permission on private land (usually logging company owned). Someone builds those........I think.

    Cheers,
    EB

    P.S. Ride into your area with a tool each time out there and then stash them in a good location (off trail) under a log or behind a big stump, etc. I recommend a Mcleod, pulaski, shovel, hand saw and a bucket as a good starting point. Along the lines of what Box Elder said, build it right or not at all. I flag a trail and then rough it in before I invest too much time in fine tuning it.

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    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by ebxtreme
    P.S. Ride into your area with a tool each time out there and then stash them in a good location (off trail) under a log or behind a big stump, etc. I recommend a Mcleod, pulaski, shovel, hand saw and a bucket as a good starting point. Along the lines of what Box Elder said, build it right or not at all. I flag a trail and then rough it in before I invest too much time in fine tuning it.
    Thats the creative input I'm looking for! Thanks ebxtreme. I spent most of the afternoon Saturday, solo, flagging and roughing in a trail (which i have permission to build on). It is amazing what you can do with a small folding saw, a pair of pruners and a roll of flagging tape! I had never though about stashing the heavy hand tools back in the woods. I mean who would steal a Mcleod even if they found it! Anyone else have solo experience?

    I am new to trail building and have never laid the track from the begining. What a blast! As I sat on a stump imagining where the trail could lay, I started to see it... like looking at one of those 5D posters at the mall. The trail started revealing itself to me. Wierd....but very cool!

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    Just to keep you updated. I went out yesterday and flagged about a half mile and then went back and did most of the rough stuff to it. Removing shrubs, thorn bushes, excessive logs, etc. I also took some tools and stashed them. I have a half sized handsaw, a machette, one of those things ya swing that has a long handle and the bottom has a blade with half loop brakets on it for cutting weeds (dont know the name). And I have a shovel. I've been to Lowes and Tractor supply and neither place has a McCloud or a pulaski or whatever you guys called it. I need to build an 8 foot bridge and it seems like a major undertaking. I'm worried the creek will get much larger and wider if we get lots of rain. I have a problem with the ground being really soft. The parts I already cleared I tried riding on and it was a real ***** pedaling through it because of the soil being so soft. It's probably because I live in an area where fall has set in and we've had frosts and dampness lately. Gosh I wish it was spring already. Oh and another note... on the other side of the tracks over by the prison on their side of the fence one of the guard trucks drove by and the dude pretty much waved to me as I was heading into my area yesterday. HA!

    Question. How big of a tree as far as diameter should I use when laying down the base of a bridge?

  45. #45
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    home depot calls them ax head mattocks. Mcloed order from Forestry supply

  46. #46
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    I had a pile of tools stashed in the woods to work on a trail: Comealong, shovel, mattock, bowsaw, steel prybar, and an old junker wheelbarrow. Last fall I didn't have time to get them before winter, and come spring they were all gone. Hunters must have found them and came back for them. The wheelbarrow was still there, I guess it was so bad they decided to leave it. Good thing they were cheap tools, but still I'm out $100...

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by fishbum
    I had a pile of tools stashed in the woods to work on a trail: Comealong, shovel, mattock, bowsaw, steel prybar, and an old junker wheelbarrow. Last fall I didn't have time to get them before winter, and come spring they were all gone. Hunters must have found them and came back for them. The wheelbarrow was still there, I guess it was so bad they decided to leave it. Good thing they were cheap tools, but still I'm out $100...
    Wheelbarrow's are easy to spot. Put the tools in an area separate from that. Also, be sure to cache your tools off the trail (well hidden) in the off chance that someone finds your work. FYI, I'd never open up the entrance and exits until 95% of the work is done and just hike into your work (picking your bike up) while working on it. That way, you can work without feeling like someone's going to stumble across you.

    Giant24niner, scouting, flagging and building in the wet months is actually preferable, imo, because it allows you to locate any potential problem areas (e.g. low lying areas that'll get super soggy) to avoid or that'll need additional work. Also, after the initial build, the water helps firm everything down. Beyond that, the lack of foliage on the trees / bushes this time o' year allows for better sight lines and you can figure out a better flow.

    After you fine tune your roughed in trail, walk the trail with a McLeod (or a tamper) and pack everything down with that and let it sit up. Regardless, it'll stay soft for a while, and will require tires going over it to do the final pack in. When it packs in, then come back and fill any areas that collect water with rocks and dirt. If you're going across a real muddy area, you may need to put a pvc pipe (or two) into place to keep the water moving without mucking up your trail.

    BTW, this is all hypothetically speaking...........

    Cheers,
    EB

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    Actually they were about 100 feet apart hidden in a garden of granite boulders... The Wheelbarrow blended right in, tools stuffed among the rocks. Live and learn!

    This trail is on private land, the landowner was out hiking one day and I was riding and met him, he was telling me how much he hates ATV's because "look what they have done to my trails". That was my open door, so I asked him right then if he minded if I made tight singletrack trails in the woods parallel to the doubletrack if I don't cut any trees, and he was all for it.

    I made the entrances pretty tight, and figured the ATV's would much rather bomb straight down the road than try to navigate the slow and narrow trails I've added. So far I've personally built about 1 mile of trail, and the woods seem endless. Wish I had more time.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by giant24niner
    Just to keep you updated. I went out yesterday and flagged about a half mile and then went back and did most of the rough stuff to it. Removing shrubs, thorn bushes, excessive logs, etc. I also took some tools and stashed them. I have a half sized handsaw, a machette, one of those things ya swing that has a long handle and the bottom has a blade with half loop brakets on it for cutting weeds (dont know the name). And I have a shovel. I've been to Lowes and Tractor supply and neither place has a McCloud or a pulaski or whatever you guys called it. I need to build an 8 foot bridge and it seems like a major undertaking. I'm worried the creek will get much larger and wider if we get lots of rain. I have a problem with the ground being really soft. The parts I already cleared I tried riding on and it was a real ***** pedaling through it because of the soil being so soft. It's probably because I live in an area where fall has set in and we've had frosts and dampness lately. Gosh I wish it was spring already. Oh and another note... on the other side of the tracks over by the prison on their side of the fence one of the guard trucks drove by and the dude pretty much waved to me as I was heading into my area yesterday. HA!

    Question. How big of a tree as far as diameter should I use when laying down the base of a bridge?
    I've never seen McLeod's at Home Depot or Ace HomeCo. You have to find them online. You should be able to buy a pick mattock from Home Depot or Lowes for about $20. They are a much better tool than the Pulaski because you can pry rocks out of the fround without snapping the head off the handle. Be sure to buy the Hickory handle and not the yellow plastic handle.

    If you have a chain saw, you can either fell a tree or find an already fallen tree and cut it down the middle, leaving you two halves that when faced flat side up, can provide a good platform to ride across the creek. I would be extra safe and add planks from one end to the other so you don't risk having your tire wedge into the crack between the two halves of the tree you laid down.

    Also, in places that get a big spring run-off, they often attach the bridge to either oil drums (if the water is deep enough) or to chains anchored to the ground. That way the bridge can float when the water rises, but it won't float away. Fast moving water carrying debris can rip apart any well made bridge so you might anchor only one end so that when the other end gets lifted and pushed downstream, the other end will hold the bridge over on one side. After the water recedes you can reattach it.

    Keep up the good work (post some pictures)

  50. #50
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    When I was building trail for a living, I used to wrap my tools up in a cameo plastic tarp and stash them welll of the trail. I never had a problem with tools dissapearing.

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    ZRM,
    It didn't actually stop development, but it went from a 65 home developement to a 30 home one. I am pretty sure it wasn"t from the trespassing piece as to why they didn't dev. more homes. I believe the thinking was along the lines of "people of the city really enjoy this area. Maybe we should use this area wisely and recreate responsibly on it and not pave, pound, develop and dispose of it like we do everything else. Housing Dev. is a hot topic here and the trail users/builders have been fairly effective protecting our ridgelines where most of the newer dev. want to go. I wasn't really trying to be original with the thought, but since you brought it up, thanks.
    I am sure you have built so much trail "legally" you know! because you were paid to do it and all, that no one would ever take your tools. Wow, an omnipitant trail builder, give up some of that wisdom, please. It is not a good idea to leave your tools where people can find them, they will get stolen eventually, IMO.
    If you do something often enough it tends to define you.

  52. #52
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    It is not a good idea to leave your tools where people can find them, they will get stolen eventually, IMO.
    Brilliant.

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