We Need Training To Use A Ditch Witch SK650 for Trailbuilding- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    Bike Rider
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    We Need Training To Use A Ditch Witch SK650 for Trailbuilding

    Our local club is fortunate to work with a great land manager. They have agreed to purchase a brand new Ditch Witch SK650 and any attachments we want. The big problem for us is that none of us have any trailbuilding experience using a machine. Some of us have operated skidsteers before, but not for singletrack trails obviously. Every bit of building and maintaining we've done has been by hand. Now we have this great opportunity to expand our arsenal of tools and we want to make the best effort to do it properly. We understand that it is very easy to do more damage than good, and we want to minimize that scenario.

    Can anyone recommend a school or clinic or seminar that we could attend to get started on the right foot? We are based in Minnesota but could travel out of state if necesssary.

    Also, if there are any attachments that you would recommend, please chime in and let us know what you would get. This is all new to us and we can use all the help we can get.

    Thanks,
    RZ

  2. #2
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    I dont know of any school or clinic off hand but there maybe a for profit trailbuilder that could provide some training.

    I work for a small city parks dept and we were thinking of doing some mechanical trail work. One of the guys at a mtb trail building company mentioned during a work session that they would do training for mechanized trail building. The company has done alot of work with ditch witchs and is widely recognized. I dont know if they would want me putting their name out on the forums but you can pm if you want to know, although I'm a few states southeast of you.

    Best of luck and let us know what you find out.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I897 using Tapatalk

  3. #3
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    Trail Dynamics LLC , and Trails Unlimited are both good options for teaching a class.

  4. #4
    featherweight clydesdale
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    Quote Originally Posted by hazrdus13 View Post
    Our local club is fortunate to work with a great land manager. They have agreed to purchase a brand new Ditch Witch SK650 and any attachments we want. The big problem for us is that none of us have any trailbuilding experience using a machine. Some of us have operated skidsteers before, but not for singletrack trails obviously. Every bit of building and maintaining we've done has been by hand. Now we have this great opportunity to expand our arsenal of tools and we want to make the best effort to do it properly. We understand that it is very easy to do more damage than good, and we want to minimize that scenario.

    Can anyone recommend a school or clinic or seminar that we could attend to get started on the right foot? We are based in Minnesota but could travel out of state if necesssary.

    Also, if there are any attachments that you would recommend, please chime in and let us know what you would get. This is all new to us and we can use all the help we can get.

    Thanks,
    RZ
    Most useful is a 4-way or 6-way blade. You'll want to research the durability of the 4 way vs. the 6-way by looking at a couple threads on this site.

    A bucket is great too. Just don't get one wider than the machine, but it's nice to get one wide enough to fit your blade into so you can easily haul both into the woods. Narrower makes for easier digging to get dirt for berms and stuff. Also, a tilt tach attachment w/ a bucket makes the bucket really usable for building tread too.
    Charlottesville Area Mountain Bike Club
    www.cambc.org

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the tips so far. All good stuff, keep them coming if you have more.

    I did see the 4-way vs. 6-way issues, and I think we should go with the 4-way blade. Also thinking a bucket and a grapple of some kind. Which grapple is most useful, the one on a bucket, or the narrower one? We would mainly grabbing trees and rocks to move them around.

    Any other useful/fun attachments?

  6. #6
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    I have a 4way blade and a regular bucket on my 650. My 4way is the heavy-duty Bradco, not the flimsy 6way from Ditch Witch. It will need a rebuild after 2 years of intense work so I think it's pretty good.

    Another attachment I found pretty useful is the forklift. Not as much in the wood, but around the jobsite in general.

    One thing to consider is the type of track you'll use. The stock grass track were worthless in my north-eastern soil. Got the "agressive" tracks instead. Huge difference! And now I just found out they offer wide-agressive tracks for lower ground pressure.

    Plan for a little toolbox bolted on the machine. At the very least, keep the 2 keys (1-1/4 and 1-1/2) that you'll need to adjust the tracks. I also keep a pulaski strapped on mine to help remove bigger roots.

    I second Trails Dynamics for machine training. Woody's crew is pretty impressive.

    Good luck!
    I build trails for moose & beaver
    PTBA member

  7. #7
    fountainheadproject.org
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    Quote Originally Posted by HypNoTic View Post
    ....I second Trails Dynamics for machine training. Woody's crew is pretty impressive.

    Good luck!
    A third from me. A couple of years ago BLM up here in Northern VA offered a few spots in Woody's class to our local club. I was the only one who could attend the entire session and I'm glad I did. I learned a lot.

    If TD is booked up, you could also try Trail Solutions. I know Rich has given machine classes before but they were part of a bigger class curriculum about trail trail building in general. It definitely couldn't hurt to ask.

    L
    Last edited by MyOtherBrotherL; 01-04-2012 at 07:18 PM.
    Check Out: http://www.fountainheadproject.org/

    Let us know what you think!!!!

  8. #8
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    Yeah, Rich from Trail Solutions did a huge bunch of training on all types of mechanized tools for our advanced users within the MD parks staff. Bobcat, DW, dozer, mini-ex. I went to a few of the sessions and Rich did a really good job. He's exacting, demanding, experienced and patient. Oh, and busy.

    mk

  9. #9
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    The Michigan Mountain Biking Association Western chapter has some experience with these. I had the opportunity to play with the rig they developed for bench cutting that consisted of a tiller attachment on a tilt mechanism a couple years ago. It worked really well.

  10. #10
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    Trail Dynamics does indeed provide 650 training and we would be happy to help out. We have provided mechanized trail building training for a number of clubs and land managing agencies including: USFS, National Parks, SC State Parks, NC State Parks, HI-DNR (got to go to Maui for work this year, fun), BLM, 5 Rivers Metro Parks (Dayton OH), BUMP-SORBA, AL-DNR, Central Oregon Trail Alliance and more.

    We also did a few workshops associated with conferences this year:
    Mechanized Trail Building

    Shoot me a PM or email and we can talk details (price, length of training needed, location goals, etc).

    Woody Keen
    President- Trail Dynamics LLC

  11. #11
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    Mike Ritter of Trail Design Specialists is one of the best instructors out there. He's based out of GA, but travels to WI annually for trail master cert classes. Human Powered Trails will be hosting him for a class in May of 2012. You should contact him and see if a Mechinized trail building course could be scheduled while he's in the area.
    Trail Design Specialists - Home

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