What's the best approch to fix a mud bog?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    What's the best approch to fix a mud bog?

    Just wondering what are the best approches anyone has used to fix seasonal mud bog's from big to small.

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    Provide some more intel on your situation. There are many factors that need to be reviewed.

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    couple options

    drainage. make sure the water can flow away from the area. dig a hole, fill with rocks if you must

    force a smaller path with chokes. once the trails sides start to regrow from the mud, that will absorb even more water and help the situation. Plants are your friend (unless it is PI, then it can go F itself), riding on/killing plants is bad

    reroute. sometimes this is not an option... sometimes a spot 10' away has side slope which solves the issue...

    harden or elevate. boardwalks can be made from treated lumber and will last a while, you might have on site lumber as well. Large stones can also be used to raise/harden the trail tread.

    What I would avoid...letting people riding decide what should be done in a split second. most will avoid mud at all costs, even while riding in wet conditions (go figure). Fix it, make it obvious what a user should do, and check up on it as often as you can (to make sure chokes are still in place).

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    Problem is I am getting mud bogs in areas with side slope's its coming from seeps after rain water seeps for a few days in the spring time when the water level is high then once the seep stops it hardens and the trail is cool until next spring but these problems get worse each year depending on how much rain we get. i was thinking my best options are, First try and find a better route away from the seep, if that's not possible consider aromor or boardwalk it. I am just wondering what people have had success with so I don't waste time.

  5. #5
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    armor with rock
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    if only short distances,, harden or boardwalk,,

    not sure where you are at, but it sounds like people might be riding too early, how long does it take for the seeps to dry up?

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    hardening, this could create a dam and make your issue worse. make sure water can flow away.

    boardwalk, if your side slope is steep, it could get risky quick if you are working on a green trail.

    even this example will make noobs walk, hard for green riders to trust their bikes and abilities.


    other option is to leave it as is and remember to touch it up every couple weeks with dirt work. if it is dry 90% of the year... We have a known seep on a side slope and dirt work is our current method of resolution. once summer sets in it goes away. one touch up a year, ~2 hours.

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    yea people riding to early. I've notcied that they don't even give it 12 hours to dry after a day of rain.Seeps could take a couple or a few days to stop. And if it starts raining every 4 days then it a vicious cycle they put a rut there over and over again then it becomes a bog after a couple of seasons. Really nothing I can do about that just sucks that a couple of selfish riders ruin it for the rest and cause more work for us.

    I'll just work on getting rock to those spots and armor it, just want to make sure i'm on the right track here,plus looking for freash ideas never know. But its hard to fight nature and idiots at the same time.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ltrst68 View Post
    Problem is I am getting mud bogs in areas with side slope's its coming from seeps after rain water seeps for a few days in the spring time when the water level is high then once the seep stops it hardens and the trail is cool until next spring but these problems get worse each year depending on how much rain we get. i was thinking my best options are, First try and find a better route away from the seep, if that's not possible consider aromor or boardwalk it. I am just wondering what people have had success with so I don't waste time.
    I've seen three possible solutions on local trails in the Santa Cruz mountains. Even though we have a defined rainy season with dry summers, the soil, topography, redwoods, and summer fogs combine to create seep zones and boggy areas that can last well beyond everything else being dried out.
    - One local trail has a short section that was armored when built by bringing in turf block. The builders knew right from the start this section was going to be problematic, even though the trail is bench cut on a sideslope.
    - Another trail has a seasonal marshy area where it has to cross the bottom of a long shallow valley at the low end of the valley. Here the land manager built an elevated bed for the trail, by laying parallel rows of peeled logs down, then filling the area between them with decomposed granite.
    - The 3rd solution comes from an "elf" built trail. Trail was built through woods and brush in the dry season. Over the winter, it was discovered that one section was very problematic,, with standing water which led to mudpit problems and braiding. Riding it last summer, I was pleasantly surprised to find the elves had returned, done a re-route around the bog, blocked off the old route, and created what used to be known as a corduroy road on the new section.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ltrst68 View Post
    Problem is I am getting mud bogs in areas with side slope's its coming from seeps after rain water seeps for a few days....
    This previous thread looks relevant; similar situation with photos and solutions:

    http://forums.mtbr.com/trail-buildin...ue-710692.html

    So many possible solutions come to mind: elevate the trail tread surface, armour it, trench and redirect water, reroute it, bridge it, geotextiles, combinations of all of the above.... It all depends on how extensive the problem is, what materials and resources you have available, the lay of the land, what landowner requirements are, etc. So many factors in play, it's hard to say "solution X is the best approach." with any certainty.

    Best of luck with your fix. Let us know what approach you use and how it turns out.

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    Last edited by ray.vermette; 03-27-2012 at 03:11 PM.

  12. #12
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    This is a really common issue here over the last 3 years due to a massive increase in rainful and undersurface springs. Can't post pics from here, but some of these are 5-6cm tubes gushing like a firehose. The big problem is people riding in the wet. That forces organic matter to the downslope edge and it dams. Sometimes just clearing the dams (you have to spend lots of time out in the rain) can allow riders to harden the surface, sometimes you can excavate the area and build a parallel raised tread and sometimes it takes a more persistent effort over time.

    This is my favorite: gather stones rather than rocks and press them in until the surface oozes too much to continue. They will either get covered or exposed depending on taffic or further wetting. Then press in more with some soil as well. Continue the process until you have to hammer the stones in with a sledge hammer or similar. After that time water will start to run off or along rather than just pooling and appropriate drainages can be made/modified. It can be tiresome, but the outcome can be really good. Large rocks tend to get exposed by heavy rain and then you can't add small stones and soil without it happening again and again, so go for stones hand size or smaller and use gravel sparingly.

  13. #13
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    Our area saw over 80 inches of rain last year that was a record, plus all the bad storms. Trails did not dry out till mid July last year so we had a short season of only 4 months. We were just buzy clearing blow downs plus we built some new trail. Old trails got neglected at one of the worst times for neglect. then comes the warm winter and now its the worst I've seen since being a steward. Basically I'll just have to organize volunteer days and work it the best we can with what we got. And hope we get some dry weather.

    Thanks all

  14. #14
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    We just went out last weekend and worked on a lot of the problem wet spots. Most of the work was cutting out the downslope high spots so water can run off rather than pool.

    On slopes we cut diagonal water bars to direct water to the sides rather than down the middle of the trail. So far so good. Everything is greatly improved and should stay good for awhile
    No moss...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ltrst68 View Post
    Our area saw over 80 inches of rain last year that was a record, plus all the bad storms. Trails did not dry out till mid July last year so we had a short season of only 4 months. We were just buzy clearing blow downs plus we built some new trail. Old trails got neglected at one of the worst times for neglect. then comes the warm winter and now its the worst I've seen since being a steward. Basically I'll just have to organize volunteer days and work it the best we can with what we got. And hope we get some dry weather.

    Thanks all
    We were out trimming vegetation yesterday on a trail that hasn't seen any serious maintenance in years. There is one steep corner that has eroded and been widened by riders. We chatted about improvements that could be made there and one of the things that came up is how well this trail copes compared to some of the ones recently worked on. There are places that can deteriorate with attempts at improvement and it is often best to use a softly softly approach and just remove organic matter, get out in the rain and see how that has changed the lines of drainage rather than digging new reverse grades etc. Subtle drainage issues and overuse in the wet (the biggest problem everywhere and unstopable here) can be really hard to resolve unless there is a dry spell and then you get trails ripped to dust bowls because work meant to stabilise the area has not had time to setup/harden.

    Look on the bright side - you get to work more and learn more over time

  16. #16
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    we had a similar problem with the lowest part of one of our trails. It always gest super muddy and rutted up. Since it was the lowest point of one of our most popular trails most of the above options were ruled out since there would be no easy way to divert the water. The options boiled down to an elevated boardwalk or a reroute. We decided to go with a benchcut reroute which is only about 15 ft up the hillside. It has been widely excepted and the lower section (while not officially closed) has mostly been reclaimed by nature.
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    most recent case I had with this was a really big seep that really mucked up the original line down a hill. I helped reroute away from the worst spot, but we could not entirely avoid the seep. we chose a spot to cross it at a fairly narrow location, and we did 3 things to it.

    1: we dug out the sloppy organic mud and got down to the mineral soil (in our case, sand)
    2: we sculped the trail so as to create a funnel for the seeping water to cross the trail in the smallest area possible
    3: we armored the heck out of the trail in that spot.

    last year was a dry year and a lot of people got comfortable avoiding the armoring, but with more moisture this winter, it's been forcing people back onto it to avoid the mud

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ltrst68 View Post
    yea people riding to early. I've notcied that they don't even give it 12 hours to dry after a day of rain.Seeps could take a couple or a few days to stop. And if it starts raining every 4 days then it a vicious cycle they put a rut there over and over again then it becomes a bog after a couple of seasons.
    Seeps are a pain in the butt. Here's my take. If you are in a low, and have no side where drainage can go, then you need to pull the trail to a place where you can bench. In other words re-route, get the hell outta there if you can.

    If you can't then you'll look to armor the tread either with rock or pavers. The tip of skimming all the organics out is a must, you may be riding in water but at least it's mostly clean water, AND you're NOT further eroding the trail.

    IF you think you can get the tread higher than the water level, go for it with a turnpike, but since you didn't leave a picture and your description isn't very detailed it's hard to say if you are indeed in a flat section with poor drainage.

    NOW assuming you are on a side hill with good drainage, you can take a look see at what we did in this video. The camera placement is not great, but i'll try to break it down. We have a seep.

    If you look at .08 in the beginning where 3 volunteers are at they are above a culvert that channels most of the water downhill. The area in the work zone is subject to a seep, it already has been armored with cobble, but with the organic soil and with horse traffic it was just a sloppy mess. The weep was occurring from the hillside below where the camera was sitting. We commence skimming as much goop from the area and tossing it on the downhill side. We are prepping to build a turnpike.

    .23 we find a nice log to use for the high side or the inside of our turnpike. We used a log instead of a rock because we were pushing the trail to the outside. By doing that as we built up the turnpike we are creating a gap between the trail and the exposed side hill where the water is seeping out. Or simply creating a ditch. Since we are building retention over sloppy goop, trying to "seat" rocks for retention would have been a struggle, so we went for the log retention on the inside.

    .58 we finally have carved out the goop where the log will lay flat. Also note that during this time we have a majority of people harvesting more mineral soil and more rock and stone.

    1.04 laying geotextile fabric, helps evenly distribute settling, creates a barrier from old and new soil layer. Forest Service brought it along, we felt obliged to use it.

    1.17 we're starting with the stone. To the right i'm standing on a huge stone used to cover and protect the existing culvert. We're also looking at this cover as being an armored tread surface that will also be the area where all the water from the seep will collect and drain. Multi-function. Also we are starting to build retention on the opposite side by placing stones on firm soil. Since the trail is being pushed out a little the outside is not being built on top of the goop so we can armor with rock, as the stones will "seat" properly. Properly seating means the stones you set don't wiggle... at all, no movement, zilch.

    2.39 we're happy with the framework of the turnpike it's time to start adding a layer of cobble that will serve as a good strong base. Meanwhile we're still harvesting mineral soil, and more stone/rock and working on the stone on the culvert cap/drain.

    3.00 we're happy with the cobble bed, we're ready to continue building the tread height in with a healthy topping of mineral soil.

    4.00 we're ending the turnpike with stone, so it takes alot of fudging, dialing, puzzling together large stones. So finishing up we spend alot of time over the area where the culvert/armored drain. Adding alot of soil as you will get some settling.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ltrst68 View Post
    . Really nothing I can do about that just sucks that a couple of selfish riders ruin it for the rest and cause more work for us.
    Just try to recruit these guy by being friendly. It's like fishing most of these types of riders won't do anything, but most people want to help. When doing trail work and i see people riding through i always try to strike up a quick conversation, and i will usually run the topic over our local groups website, talk about work parties etc.
    It will not help you as a steward to focus on riders perceived selfishness, it works better to be a recruit. i look at it like they might not help me on the project i'm working on, but maybe down the road they give a donation, or they help on another project later on when they're not so busy.
    If they're poaching an area that it supposed to be seasonally closed, i don't play trail cop, so much as just assertively describe who i am. Guy working for free to help the trails, and what their actions do, make more work, next time can you cut me a break please kinda thing.
    Most people are simply oblivious, and really don't want to be that big of an a$$hole about these things.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffw-13 View Post
    We just went out last weekend and worked on a lot of the problem wet spots. Most of the work was cutting out the downslope high spots so water can run off rather than pool.

    On slopes we cut diagonal water bars to direct water to the sides rather than down the middle of the trail. So far so good. Everything is greatly improved and should stay good for awhile
    A better solution than a water bar is a rolling grade dip. Similar to a water bar but far superior and will last a whole lot longer.


  20. #20
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    seeps

    When dealing with seeps, I like to get the water out of the ground before it reaches the trail. This work was in an area with maybe 1% side slope at Fort Harrison State Park in the Indianapolis.



    You can see riders tried going around the initial mud hole and have made a mess of the area.

    Since I had a very slight slope, the first step was to dig a channel down hill form the trail to help drain the standing water. Then I scraped out the muck form the low spot of the trail and rock armored it. We just got a REI grant and used $900 to have 12 tones of flat limestone delivered!



    Now that the low spot of the tail is armored and there is a drainage channel for water that crosses the trail, the key is to get the ground water to the surface before it hits the trail.

    Looking for the wet spots up hill, I dug channels that consolidated the water where it could cross the rock armored section.



    The goal when armoring the trail, is to allow water to drain. If your rock armoring is too high, you are just damming up the water. It also helps to leave a seam down the middle to allow water to drain.



    This was a pretty bad one and final touch up work will be needed after things dry up a bit. In cases like this, I try to pile up the muck, so it will dry and can later be used for final grade work.



    This technique can be used on area with greater side slope. typically we cut deeper into the back slope and go down below tread depth to create a channel between the tread and the back slope. these channels run to the bottom of the next grade reversal, where we armor the trail and allow the water to cross the trail with out causing damage.

    I often work in areas that don't have lots of native rock. Notice the wheel barrel. It was used to bring the rocks in about a 1/4 mile. So I try to resolve wet ares with as few rocks as possible.

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    Thanks all for replies to this thread I'm getting some good ideas here. And I have learned that I have 3 underground seep's that are causing problems on one of the loops I maintain and now know how to fix. Recently I have done recon's on the problem areas and am lucky to have enough uphill slope to do re-routes for all 3 of these spots. All 3 spots you can clearly see where the water is coming out of the ground. Since the water table is high right now it's the perfect time of year to fix these issues.

  22. #22
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    Finding the source, digging it up, and routing its flow where you want it sounds right to me. A local trail has mud bogs many, many yards long. It's nasty. Eventually, the looong source of this bog will need to be re-routed, or that segment of trail will need to go about 20 feet upslope so that the seep comes out below it.

  23. #23
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    here's some turnpike shots from TM at Ceres Park, Mantua NJ. These areas were constantly muddy since they sit low. Water was diverted by creating a channel to get the water to the pipe and thru to the other side. These spots now are dry and ride fast. We added another one on the other side of the park that was atleast 30ft long.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails What's the best approch to fix a mud bog?-turnpike.jpg  

    What's the best approch to fix a mud bog?-turnpike1.jpg  

    What's the best approch to fix a mud bog?-turnpike2.jpg  

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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by pascale27 View Post
    here's some turnpike shots from TM at Ceres Park, Mantua NJ. These areas were constantly muddy since they sit low. Water was diverted by creating a channel to get the water to the pipe and thru to the other side. These spots now are dry and ride fast. We added another one on the other side of the park that was atleast 30ft long.
    That looks good, but treated or not, won't the lumbar on the edge eventually rot, fall in and fill the drainage?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ridnparadise View Post
    That looks good, but treated or not, won't the lumbar on the edge eventually rot, fall in and fill the drainage?
    Not as fast as you might think.

    Buried wood will as it doesn't have enough surface space to breathe and dry out.

    When it's completely encapsulated by dirt it retains water even when it's warmer out, expands, and breaks down alot quicker.

    As far as falling in, if you have a good stewardship group, you can keep an eye on it (retention) in the upcoming seasons. The trick is with this particular fix is making sure that culvert is clear of leaves/branches, so you don't get a back up. That will be more of what you will keep an eye on.
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    .\....FAILBOAT..../

  26. #26
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    This is one solution ...



    We dug a drain on the uphill side of the trail, left in the pic. Near the top of the pic, the drain crosses the trail at a 30-45 degree angle, which makes for nicer rolling and better sustainability than a 90 degree.

    The crossing and grade reversal are armored with a couple bigger plates. There is also a silt catch made of jumbly rocks below the drain exit.

    The trail tread is higher than the surrounding area, some of the elevation is the extra drain material that we dug out, some is rock. The armoring of the drain/trail crossing and grade reversal preserves functional integrity, regardless of how wet it is when people walk or bike on it.

    Good luck.

    John
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    p.s. There is an historic stone wall next to the trail, which we did not use for any material gathering. Aside from trying to respect the land and the traditions, remember to gather stone from above project locations, it's way easier to move downhill.

  27. #27
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    Here is another solution - a perpetual wet spot, downslope and against the property line... With some nice turns for the fun of it. Currently there are no tracks next to the new bridge, it's filling in with grass.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails What's the best approch to fix a mud bog?-img_3271a.jpg  


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    ^ Beautiful, fishbum! Any idea on the total cost of said structure?

  29. #29
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    About $40-45 per 8' of length.
    This is using Pressure Treated lumber. 4x4 stringers supported every 8 feet. Decking is 2x6 24" wide, spaced 1/2". The 8' spans keeps the lumber short and give us some flexibility to fit the bridge to the contours and make turns. We use 6" Timberlock fasteners to tie the 4x4's together and high quality GRK 3" fasteners for the decking.
    I attached some additional images, plus one other bridge we installed to get over a flooded beaver area!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails What's the best approch to fix a mud bog?-img_0043a.jpg  

    What's the best approch to fix a mud bog?-img_3269a.jpg  

    What's the best approch to fix a mud bog?-img_3270a.jpg  

    What's the best approch to fix a mud bog?-img_3267a.jpg  


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    Very helpful pics fishbum. Nice work too.

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    We had a seep problem on a trail here in San Diego. Trail was built last year. As soon as the horses got in it and left 12" deep post holes (happened about 5mins after the trail was completed), we knew there was a problem.

    The section of trail is nearly flat and is on a gentle side slope, maybe 3-4%. It was a wide, slow seep and affected about 30ft of trail, keeping the trail surface and underlying dirt wet. Not muddy, but wet enough that carnage from horses was bad. We looked at a number of options and in the end we decided to try something I had seen work well up in BC.

    We dug out the entire length of trail, down 1.5 to 2ft depth. We dug 3 drains on the lower side and outsloped the bottom surface so water would run into the drains. We backfilled with a 12" layer of rock taken from a nearby fire road that was being rehabbed. Then we put the dirt back on top of the rock layer and tamped it down.

    18mos later there has been minimal damage from horses or any other user. Water seeping down the slope drains down into the rock crib and then across the trail and out the drains to the slope below. The trail surface stays dry. You can't tell there is any sort of structure below the trail surface now, looks the same as the trail before and after.






  32. #32
    gran jefe
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    nice work!

  33. #33
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    So apart from the stone and labour, you obviously budgeted for bullets to rid the trail of equine scum? They aren't volunteering for your trail crew either hey?

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    evdog, that is some serious back breaking work! great job to fix an issue that shouldnt have been one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ridnparadise View Post
    So apart from the stone and labour, you obviously budgeted for bullets to rid the trail of equine scum? They aren't volunteering for your trail crew either hey?
    We get most of our money (95% - the rest is memberships) from "equine scum" and we do not have to fund raise, five figures a year. On work days, about 15-20% of the volunteers are horse/wo/men, depending on the area. And our major trails area is multiuse, so no hikers or equestrians, equals no trails, no bikes on them.

    Our parks land managers demand trails be built to handle multi use. That means they have to withstand a 1000 pound animal, but that also means they get features for bikes as long as hikers and horses can get through. Win, win, win.

    If you have not learned to work with them, you are missing out on great funding, thousands of dollars of funding.............

    Put another way, money talks, bull**** walks.
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  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ridnparadise View Post
    So apart from the stone and labour, you obviously budgeted for bullets to rid the trail of equine scum? They aren't volunteering for your trail crew either hey?
    Haha, no equestrians in San diego don't really do trail work. One even told a ranger at another park "thats what mountain bikers are here for"

    I would much prefer if more mountain bikers would come out to work. Thanks for the props guys!

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    Never seen a horse rider at a trail day. Never heard one care about being on a no-horse trail. Never seen any concern about 20-30cm deep holes in muddy trail or tearing the downslope edge away. Have heard "we can ride anywhere we like". There's nothing like a dozen horses in single file down a muddy trail to redesign it. The balance of funds here is they spend big on their critters, kit, flash vehicles and no time and no money on trail. They honestly expect it to be created for them. Money may talk, but respect talks louder. Dont even start me on seed transfer in piles of horse crap in so-called sensitive environments.

  38. #38
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    Short stretch of trail we repaired last year at Nine Mile County Forest in central Wisconsin. This trail was never a problem but last spring we had a lot of snow melt and rain in the spring so about 50' of trail was under about 4" of water. We built a rock causeway using 10-15" diameter stones for the edges, filled the middle with smaller rock and top filled with crushed granite and added a small bridge to allow for some drainage. We raised the trail bed about 5-6" and it stays dry and solid now.

    Before and After


    Before and After


    During

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ltrst68 View Post
    Problem is I am getting mud bogs in areas with side slope's its coming from seeps after rain water seeps for a few days in the spring time when the water level is high then once the seep stops it hardens and the trail is cool until next spring but these problems get worse each year depending on how much rain we get. i was thinking my best options are, First try and find a better route away from the seep, if that's not possible consider aromor or boardwalk it. I am just wondering what people have had success with so I don't waste time.

    I saw trailbuilders dealing with this issue in Southern Indiana. The cave systems naturally absorb and leak water.

    The strategy they were taking was to cut gutters on the upward side of the trail. Then periodically, they dig down and build a rock wall trail that provides adequate space between rocks to allow the collected water to drain.

  40. #40
    Rod
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    I just wanted to bump this thread and say thanks to everyone for the details posts and pics. I need to fix some seeps on some of my local trails. This has been an invaluable resource.

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