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Author Topic: Spring Thaw Could Damage Our Trails!  (Read 1266 times)

Paul_Arlinghaus

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Spring Thaw Could Damage Our Trails!
« on: March 05, 2014, 01:14:40 PM »
Our trails in Indiana are most at risk from user damage during freeze / thaw cycles.  Moisture in the ground causes the ground to expand as it freezes, leaving the trails very soft and wet as they thaw.  While trails maybe fine to ride when fully frozen, they can be easily damaged by hikers, trail runners, and mountain bikes as they thaw out.  With the long hard freeze and moisture from rain and snow, this spring could present unusually fragile trails until the ground completely thaws and dries out.  Also, keep in mind that shaded areas deep in the woods could take several weeks longer to thaw that areas exposed to the sun.

Please stay off of HMBA (and most other Indiana) trails when the temperatures go above freezing in late winter / early spring.  If you are leaving tire tracks or foot prints, then the tails are too soft. Please exit the trail immediately and let other trail users know the trails are too soft to be used.
Most mountain bike trails in Indiana are maintained by volunteers.  Those volunteers would rather be riding or building new trails, than fixing damage from trail users.  A year’s worth of maintenance work can be created by damage done as the trails thaw out.

Some special notes:

If you need to ride as the temperatures increase, please do so on paved and gravel roads/paths. Mountain bikes do just fine on paved trails and gravel roads. There are lots of gravel roads in our state and many south of Brown County that provide a real back woods feel. There are also multi use trails in Hoosier National Forest that may be used (if you dare!), but please also avoid Nebo ridge.

If you need to ride as the temperatures increase, please do so on paved and gravel roads/paths.  Mountain bikes do just fine on paved trails and gravel roads.  There are lots of gravel roads in our state and many south of Brown County that provide a real back woods feel.  There are also multi use trails in Hoosier National Forest that may be used (if you dare!), but please also avoid Nebo ridge.

HMBA trail status: Blue (Freeze/thaw):  The Blue indicator means that the trail may be ridden if frozen.  It does not mean that the trails are frozen.  There are too many variable that determine when a trail will freeze or thaw. It is the rider’s responsibility to avoid muddy trails even if the indicator is blue.

FAT BIKES:  While Fat Bikes make a shallower but wider tire track, they still cause trail damage in muddy conditions.  Fat Bikes are also expected to avoid muddy trails.
Hikers and trail runners:  Use of trails when muddy, even by foot traffic , creates trail damage. Please seek paved or gravel paths when the trails are muddy.  This message from HMBA applies specifically to trails built and maintained by mountain bikers.  It makes your user groups look bad when they damage trails primarily maintained by another user group.  It is up to your groups how you wish to treat your hiking only trails.   

New trail construction (Brown County, SWW, O’Bannon, etc…) will not begin until regular maintenance is complete.  More volunteers for trail maintenance and less trail users in bad conditions means that we will start building new trails sooner.

We have some great trails Indiana, thanks to the hard work of volunteers.  Please show your support and appreciation for their efforts by respecting the trails in the next couple of months.



Tire tracks and foot prints hold water, which leads to mud holes.  mud holes aren't fun to ride through or fix.
 
HMBA: Director of Trail Development / Secretary

mtbikernate

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Re: Spring Thaw Could Damage Our Trails!
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2014, 01:37:42 PM »
This is a good topic for a sticky post on our website's front page for the springtime.  I will work on a writeup and probably copy a good bit of this post (and the picture).  If you have any others I could use, feel free to e-mail them to me.

 

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