Individual Trail Maintenance

I rode Allamuchy North yesterday and the trail was great except for its usual muddy sections. The only problem was the extensive leaf buildup in certain technical and downhill sections made the trail borderline unrideable and dangerous. This leads to my question on whether its cool for someone to go out to a trail with a rake and just do some deleafing. I'm not talking anything crazy. Just clearing some lines so it can be seen what's under the big pile of leaves.

Btw, I infrequently ride allamuchy, but boy does that place have a lot of cool obstacles. If it wasn't for that brutal initial climb partially up white and then its lengthy continuation when making a left onto yellow, that place would be ridiculous. I don't know if I'll ever be able to complete that without doing some hike-a-bike.
 

Norm

Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
This is just my opinion, of course. But a big "no" to that. Leaves turn into dirt, and dirt keeps the trails from becoming too bony. Look at LM, where they actually blow the leaves in the fall. Every year those trails get more and more bony with roots. Then every once in a while they need to reroute the trails because they erode so quickly. The yellow loop has gone from smooth singletrack to pretty rooty in a matter of 2 years.
 

xc62701

Well-Known Member
This leads to my question on whether its cool for someone to go out to a trail with a rake and just do some deleafing. I'm not talking anything crazy. Just clearing some lines so it can be seen what's under the big pile of leaves.

You just need to ride there more so you develop lines and figure out what's underneath the leaves. :D
 

BiknBen

Well-Known Member
But I'm just one man and a city worker at that. :(

So you get lots of extra days off to spend on the trails helping to pack down the leaves. :rofl:

The leaves act as a tarp over the trail and reduce the errosion caused by rain. It would be better to ride more often and pack the leaves down. Until then???...A bike with more travel will soak up those bumps nicely. :cool:
 
J

JORBA-Allamuchy

Guest
Allamuchy Trails

To de-leaf or not to de-leaf...source of great debate. When leaves decompose they turn into organic matter, which does not make a good base for trails. What makes a good base for trails is soil, specifically mineral-based soil. This type of material will compact nicely.

Yeah I see you are not local, but if you would like to give a little to the park and learn more about the trails and the goods check the TM schedule here www.jorba.org.
 

anrothar

entirely thrilled
pperhaps if you were to pick up the leaves with your hands, and throw them up in the air then jump around in the falling leaves like an idiot yelling "WEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!" it would be ok? and you could throw them up in the air in such a way that they might accidentally land off the trail.....

personally, i HATE riding on leaves.
 

mike_243

JORBA Board Member/Chapter Leader
JORBA.ORG
also the leaves make for a softer landing for those of us who fall alot :)
 

Maurice

New Member
To de-leaf or not to de-leaf...source of great debate. When leaves decompose they turn into organic matter, which does not make a good base for trails. What makes a good base for trails is soil, specifically mineral-based soil. This type of material will compact nicely.

Yeah I see you are not local, but if you would like to give a little to the park and learn more about the trails and the goods check the TM schedule here www.jorba.org.

A source of great debate indeed. What is soil, if not a mixture of organic matter and very fine rocks? I'm no geologist and I didn't sleep at a Holiday Inn, but I'm for packing down the leaves.
 

jbogner

NYCMTB: President
JORBA.ORG
A source of great debate indeed. What is soil, if not a mixture of organic matter and very fine rocks? I'm no geologist and I didn't sleep at a Holiday Inn, but I'm for packing down the leaves.

IMBA's guidelines, backed by lots of trailbuilding experience, are to clear "organic" matter from the trails when you have loamy soil like much of ours. But it's completely different in coastal areas where the soil is sandy, as the organic material actually helps thicken the soil and keep it from turning into sugar-sand. So management strategies for Allaire might be completely different from those for the Mooch.

Soil with organic material in it is great for growing things, but the thing that makes it great (its ability to hold water) makes it a poor trail surface.

I like clearing the leaves in the spring, once the freeze-thaw cycle is finished. The leaves do help keep the trails from being chewed up as people invariably ride them in wet conditions through the winter, but once the spring thaw is here, clearing the leaves helps the trails dry out faster, and keeps that organic material from being ground into the trail once the traffic spikes in the spring.

But it's important to only clear a very small swath of trail- keep it tight, tight singletrack!
 

Bob W

JORBA: Allamuchy
JORBA.ORG
Actually...

A source of great debate indeed. What is soil, if not a mixture of organic matter and very fine rocks? I'm no geologist and I didn't sleep at a Holiday Inn, but I'm for packing down the leaves.

Actually, I am a hydrogeologist, and I did sleeep at a Holiday Inn Express last night. :) I did not want to start splitting hairs with definitions ans such.

What jbogner said is correct. The biggest issue fo us in the northern parks is the ability for orgaincs to hold water. Anyone remember the 24 HOA last year? That was a prime example of older trails with a significan organic base and too much water...the result organic mush.

So, I guess I am on the side of the fence that says to rake um if you dont like um!
 

Norm

Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
I'm in the process of raking up the leaves in my hard that I was too lazy to rake up last year, and I can say without question leaves are awesome at retaining water. So I can certainly see that perspective.
 

bonefishjake

Strong like bull, smart like tractor
Team MTBNJ Halter's
I'm in the process of raking up the leaves in my hard that I was too lazy to rake up last year, and I can say without question leaves are awesome at retaining water. So I can certainly see that perspective.

i am doing the exact same thing and have come to the exact same conclusion.

i remeber being at LM last year, it had to be pretty much right after they blew the leaves off of some of the trails b/c it was insane to see. just all of a sudden a trail appears like paved road. pretty crazy.

and, is bobw really a hydrogeologist?
 

Norm

Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
i remeber being at LM last year, it had to be pretty much right after they blew the leaves off of some of the trails b/c it was insane to see. just all of a sudden a trail appears like paved road. pretty crazy.

The thing is, the trails that they blow really wear down fast. The yellow loop has really eroded rapidly in 2 years. The new "cool" trail they cut was not blown of leaves and has handled the leaf cover really well, IMO.
 

Maurice

New Member
Actually, I am a hydrogeologist, and I did sleeep at a Holiday Inn Express last night. :) I did not want to start splitting hairs with definitions ans such.

What jbogner said is correct. The biggest issue fo us in the northern parks is the ability for orgaincs to hold water. Anyone remember the 24 HOA last year? That was a prime example of older trails with a significan organic base and too much water...the result organic mush.

So, I guess I am on the side of the fence that says to rake um if you dont like um!

Excellent information, thanks for clarifying!
 

Shaggz

A strong 7
several gneiss guys on the board

and, is bobw really a hydrogeologist?

yes, Bob W is a hydrogeologist, Shaggz is a (non-practicing) geologist, Sparta Brad is a geologist. i remember seeing that listed in a the bios of several other members, as well...
 

Norm

Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Too bad we don't have a proctologist to help out that chainsaw guy who bent his.

"I bent my wookie"
 

clarkenstein

JORBA Money Launderer
JORBA.ORG
Too bad we don't have a proctologist to help out that chainsaw guy who bent his.

i'm an accountant, is that close enough?

the only individual TM i do is moving larger sticks/branches that are lying right in the trail that generally just get in the way. i'm not talking logs or anything, but i'll move the smaller stuff - the sticks that are lying long ways in the trail that are ready to rock or flip around after being ridden over to fall in just the right position to the grab the next rider's spokes or dérailleur.
 

crash_in_nj

New Member
I will occaisionally try to take down a trailside tree if I think it poses a hazard. So far the track record is trees = 5, crash = 0. :) Seriously, even if everyone agreed that the TM you do off by yourself is a good thing, why not do it at an organized TM and help the mtb community get some recognition?
 

anrothar

entirely thrilled
i'm not a geo-anything, not even a george, but i do work with soils on a daily basis and have taken many courses on appropriate soil compositions for athletic activities. organic matter is just plain bad news. holds water, get's slimey, is more easilly displaced. sand, silt and clay(mineral soil) if you want the trail to drain or percolate well.
 
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