//Trail Status mouse over Java // Working in the Trail Tread?

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Pat Dotson

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Working in the Trail Tread?
« on: September 17, 2014, 08:02:15 AM »
We have about 3/4 mile of trail cut through a woods.  All leaves and debris are cleared from the tread. 


The dirt is soft and the surface is uneven.  How do we best get from here to having a smooth hard-packed surface?






David Kuehnen

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Re: Working in the Trail Tread?
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2014, 08:45:40 AM »
Make sure you are scraping away the soft, loamy topsoil. Topsoil will not compact adequately. 
As you remove the topsoil, shape the underlying dirt to allow water to easily drain to the the lower edge of the trail.  Over time it will compact from bike and foot traffic.
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Paul_Arlinghaus

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Re: Working in the Trail Tread?
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2014, 09:51:32 AM »
It would really be worth your time to come to an HMBA trail building session and spending some time building with experienced builders.  If you are asking this question, it seems to me that you trying to build trails without taking the time to learn how to build them.  You are likely to make big mistakes that will be difficult to undo.


We are building trails in Yellowwood State Forest and Brown County State Park soon.


http://www.hmba.org/smf/index.php?topic=13203.0



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Pat Dotson

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Re: Working in the Trail Tread?
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2014, 11:52:44 PM »
I can see how the approach of scraping off the loose stuff would work, especially on bench cut trail.  We are working mainly in almost flat woods.  Seems like this approach is going to lower the tread below the surrounding ground, causing it to hold water?

David Kuehnen

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Re: Working in the Trail Tread?
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2014, 08:22:40 AM »
Then you do not have a good location for the trail.   This is why it is best to build on sloping ground so that water can easy run off to one side.


As Paul mentioned, it is really helpful to attend a work session at another trail to pick up trail layout and construction fundamentals.
David Kuehnen, PE

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nelliedawg82

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Re: Working in the Trail Tread?
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2014, 12:12:56 PM »
Hmmmm, flat here in Indiana, say it isn't so! How would IMBA trail building methods address that issue?  "That forest won't take a trail, too flat gotta have ur 5% run-off grade."   :o

gmcttr

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Re: Working in the Trail Tread?
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2014, 01:31:37 PM »
Ride them in.

IF you are building trails for your private use where you can strictly control riding to only be done when the trails have dried sufficiently, it is my experience that you can get by with things that would never last on public trails.

Before learning 'best methods' by working with HMBA trail crews at BCSP, I started my private trails through wooded areas by only removing the leaves and riding it in. Several sections are flat. These sections of trail are still in excellent condition after many years of use. The key here is that I am the only rider on these trails and I never ride them until they have dried. 

If your trails are going to be used by multiple people and in less than ideal conditions, organic topsoil layers are not your friend, so ignore the above info.

I agree that getting to several trail building sessions will provide a good knowledge base to construct and maintain the best trails for your site conditions.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2014, 01:34:28 PM by gmcttr »

Paul_Arlinghaus

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Re: Working in the Trail Tread?
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2014, 04:27:00 PM »
Hmmmm, flat here in Indiana, say it isn't so! How would IMBA trail building methods address that issue?  "That forest won't take a trail, too flat gotta have ur 5% run-off grade."   :o


The two main things to strive for when trail building are to avoid building in flat areas and to avoid building fall line trails.


But of course you can't follow those rules 100% of the time unless you have perfect terrain.  When building in flatish areas, you should do every thing you can to lay out the trail on the highest sections of ground. Even just one foot of elevation can help.


If you build a trail in flat areas, eventually the trail compacts and becomes the low spot.  Water then drains to the trails and sits, unable to soak into the compacted ground. 


We have a lot of trails in flat areas at Town Run.  So we have learned some technics for dealing with trails in flat areas.


1) Dig drains.  dig out wide shallow pits along side the trail.  Use the dirt to raise the trail tread.  Tread needs to be higher than the drainage pits.
2) Rock  or gravel armor.  Rock works best.
3) build wooden boardwalks.


All of these Technics require a lot of effort and maintenance.  So make sure you have the long term commitment to live with the extra maintenance. 


But if you have side slope of any kind to work with.  It is worth it in the long term to put in the extra effort upfront and bench cut the trail.
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mtbikernate

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Re: Working in the Trail Tread?
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2014, 10:22:17 PM »
I have some experience with flat trails in other states.  Sometimes it's all you have to work with.  Because of the limitations of drainage, it takes more work to get it right.


We used the "turnpike" method a bit on the trail in Ohio.  We had to add material to raise the trail bed, especially as it compacted and began to "cup".  As we raised the trail, we also had to make drains so water could move from one side of the trail to the other (slowly) without creating a swamp.


We used wooden boardwalks in some areas, especially to cross very waterlogged locations.  We armored with gravel.


It was a LOT of work, but it kept the trails in good shape in an area where they should have been garbage.  Because we had no other choice.

Pat Dotson

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Re: Working in the Trail Tread?
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2014, 08:37:53 AM »
Thanks for all the advice!


I have used sideslope wherever possible.  There is some small elevation change available in most places in the woods.  Overall the trail is very rideable so far.


At this point there are only a few places that didn't dry out and firm up within a day after the last rain.  There is probably 200 feet total where the top soil is staying moist and pliable.  Looks like we will have to scrape that off, or re-route to some higher ground in those spots.


I've watched all the videos and read all the web sites I can find.  From those videos, and what I'm hearing here, it sounds like I wouldn't learn much more that would be applicable to our situation.  Unless maybe I can get with Town Run people while they are working on the low sections of that trail.


Planning to talk to a local expert trail builder tomorrow, and hoping he might be able to come out and give some pointers. 

mtbikernate

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Re: Working in the Trail Tread?
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2014, 06:28:16 PM »
You will learn more, the longer you stay a student of trailbuilding.  The learning is never done, and there's no technique that isn't in some way applicable to your situation.  You may choose another option due to cost or available help or whatever, but it doesn't mean you won't learn something.


I attended my first IMBA trailbuilding class possibly 12 years ago.  I learned just as much (though different things) at the class I took this summer.  Take every opportunity you have to learn more and the trails you build will reflect that.

 

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