IF YOU ARE A NEW TRAIL USER,
PLEASE FIRST READ THE POST BELOW ENTITLED
“A Few Words About Using the Trails”
Drainage Issues / Muddy Areas
If you have used the trail recently, you have seen the couple dozen active drainages that have created puddles or muddy spots in the trail. I am aware of these issues as is Trail Solutions. As a new trail moves through its first winter, it’s normal to have drainage issues that need to be addressed. Even though it was compacted with a machine, the trail will harden even more with a year or two of use and we will not have many of these issues going forward.
Importantly, there is no indication any of these issues have been caused by people using the trail when it has been closed. As best we can tell, compliance with trail closures has been excellent, which is awesome and very, very appreciated.
NOTE THAT I AM GOING TO STOP CHANGING THE PROFILE PICTURE ON FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM TO REFLECT TRAIL STATUS. Doing so generates a second post, which seems to create confusion because it’s not accompanied by any text. You’ll need to look up the Standing Boy Trails account and look for the last trail status post. This seems to work for most other trail systems.
Long term, the goal is to have a trail system that is ready to use about 24 hours after rain absent extenuating circumstances such as multiple days of rain, multiple inches of rain, freeze/thaw or very cold conditions, etc. While we are going to close the trail for a slightly longer period after rain until we get the current issues resolved, hopefully knowing the goal we are working towards will help you be patient with longer closures this first winter.
Through this first winter, if it’s been more than 48 hours or so since a normal rain event and there are no extenuating circumstances, we are going to use the trail. We’ll monitor to make sure we are not creating additional issues, but as a general matter if the trail isn’t ready within 48 hours, the solution is to fix the problem areas, not wait a week for every foot of the trail to dry out. So, within reason, we are going to hike/run/ride 48 hours after normal rain events and rely on all of you to help with armoring and otherwise fixing the problem areas.
Most drainage issues were addressed in construction. For every drain that is active enough to be a problem, there are dozens that are just fine. In addition to generally solid trail construction, extraordinary drainage issues were anticipated in a number of areas. For example, at the very west end of the north side of Bimini, a good chuck of the trail has a bed of aggregate under it. But, it was impossible to anticipate every single issue. If we wanted a trail that never had wet spots, we’d need armor every single drainage, which would be cost prohibitive and, in the vast majority of cases, completely unnecessary. Trail Solutions has done and continues to do an outstanding job.
I’ve talked with Trail Solutions about this extensively, and I’ll get with Keith Wills (and some of our other star volunteers) and the Trail Solutions crew the week after Thanksgiving to ride the trail formulate a specific plan on what we can do with volunteer labor and what needs to wait on machines.
We’ll classify all of the wet areas into three categories: minor issues that will resolve on their own (most of the wet spots), moderate issues we can resolve with volunteer labor, and the handful of significant issues that require Trail Solutions and machines (west end of north section of Bimini). On the sections that require Trail Solutions, we’ll use an excavator to strip back the top layer of the trail, lay down aggregate, replace the dirt, and compact.
The plan will be to monitor the minor issues to make sure we are not making them worse by riding too soon after rain, resolve most of the moderate issues by the first of the year, and then have Trail Solutions resolve the significant issues in January.
Regarding the moderate issues that are susceptible to being fixed by volunteers, the plan is to get the necessary rock onsite and have some volunteer trail crew leaders trained up by Friday, December 20th. Then during the weeks of Christmas and New Year while people are using up some vacation days, we’ll make a big push.
Puddles and wet areas will not be a significant issue every winter. No matter how well constructed, every new trail goes through a puppy phase. The entire trail will harden up after the first year, we’ll address the drainage issues we could not foresee in the initial construction, and while every winter will bring a few wet areas that need attention, this will not be as significant an issue after the first year or two. Just part of the process.
There are THREE MAIN THINGS YOU CAN DO TO HELP:
- Go straight through the middle of the puddles and muddy areas. Embrace this very limited-time opportunity to celebrate your inner child and make a big, muddy splash. If you don’t want to do this, then please don’t use the trails until we get the issue resolved. Going through rather than around prevents the trail from widening. We can fix the puddle or muddy area much more easily than the widened trail.
- Continue to comply with trail closures, even when they seem unreasonably long. Remember we are working toward a 24-hour closure (absent extraordinary circumstances) and be patient this first winter.
- Be on the lookout for opportunities to volunteer at trail work days. Once we formulate a detailed plan, we’ll hold workdays and post them on social media.
Quality Time Trail
Quality Time, the kids/skills loops to the left of the kiosk, has been completed for some time. However, it required a lot of lift and tilt construction (lots of borrow pits and movement of soil to create contours). While it was compacted with a machine, it’s impossible to get all the air out of the soil with just a machine – the trail needs to be used. Additionally, the soil in that area of the property is very, very clay heavy. While this will give the contours longevity, it means the trail may be quite tacky until everything firms up.
All this is to say that waiting longer is unlikely to be that helpful, so we are going to go ahead and open Quality Time. However, we will protect it more than the rest of the trail system, and there will be times when it is closed while the rest of the trail system is open.
We will monitor how things go and respond accordingly. Just like with the rest of the Trail, it is likely that a few areas will develop that require work (drains, armoring, etc.). The Trail Solutions crew will be here in January and February, and we’ll be watching closely in conjunction with them.
Construction of Other Trails
The green climb (segment 6 in the Master Plan) is complete and the crew is working on the green gravity descent back to the parking area (segment 7). There is a chance (but not a certainty or even a probability) it will be completed before the crew leaves for the holidays. However, please do not go exploring! We need to stay off until everything is complete.
The crew will be back in early-to-mid January to begin work on some of the blue trail. More on this to come, but we are going to need help fundraising to keep them here through the spring so they can finish Phase 2 (see other posts). We’ll make an organized fundraising push early in 2020, but 2019 donations are more than welcome. Please donate at https://standingboy.org/donate/.
I hope everyone is enjoying the trails. As we move forward, there will be more and more opportunities to help. Please be on the look out for these and be willing to pitch in.
See you on the trails!