Trail Maintenance - don't do this

mtn

Well-Known Member
Many years ago I requested informational dvds and manuals on trail building from the USFS. Honestly, it helped a lot, however you cannot fix stupid. Some people don’t have the necessary common sense for trail building.
My pet peeve is the lack of a bench cut. And these are paid groups that I am talking about. If people are walking on the trail, bench cut it!!
 

Norm

Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
USFS manuals exist online. I read through some and realized TM isn't an amateur sport.

It’s not. But it’s also something you often need to tweak later no matter what your experience level. Trails need constant attention and things change year to year.

The better a trail is the more it gets ridden and the faster it erodes thus begging for more frequent fixing.
 
Over the last few years i've noticed a couple practices that should be avoided in our central NJ parks -
specifically 6MR, Sourlands, CR, the new section of RV, probably some of Nassau.

One item is leaving cleared logs/tree trunks to line the trail. (and the hikers placing them in the trail to bridge muddy areas.)
Hikers will walk on them, forcing them even deeper into the soil.

While I have no formal trail building training (@jdog teaches me a little each time we are out,)
it is obvious that water management with our soil is a key to sustainable trails.

Sometimes a fallen tree dictates the "new line" - no sense cutting into a 40+ inch trunk, when 15' away is a much easier cut, or going around a root ball is quicker.
Here is an example at CR, and what can happen.

View attachment 155390

The high side is to the left where a large tree fell, taking-out a bunch of smaller ones -
the trail between the two logs was a rutted mess a week ago - so this is improvement.
but why does the section leading in and away not have a problem? It is the embedded log on the right side.
(the right side bottom log is actually floating off the ground)

Water in the soil from the high side can not pass by the embedded log as easily - if at all. the trail softens,
and gets rutted - which then holds rain water which would run off the surface. take away that log, and that spot on the trail is just like the others.

A high side log also creates issues as it focuses water to pass around it.

Water will run uphill because of capillary action and adhesion (think about dipping the corner of a paper towel in water.) We want this capillary action to move water away -
with gravity doing the assist.

The same action results in all the exposed roots - only we don't have a choice there (actually we do). the roots keep the ground soft
between them after a rain - we ride it, loosen it up, and it washes away next storm. Esp on a hill.

We removed a bunch of these logs at the Sourlands over the last year with good results.

Got problem spots at your park - check to see if there are embedded logs/sticks near the trail.
Note that multiple sticks set perpendicular to the trail, or deep rock armoring without gaps between the rocks can also create a problem.

Now what type of work has J been doing at 6MR to remediate the perpetually wet areas? Rather than the water going where it wants,
he has been creating channels, and grade reversals to move water away from the trails. Creating low spots for water to collect and
drain away - We could use a few channels above the trails at the Sourlands,
to get the water to our armored crossings, or small bridges.

View attachment 155391

it looked bad when we did it - but dried quickly. Haven't been there this year. How's it doing?
Okay...looking at the trail above where the logs line the trail. What are we supposed to do (based on your notes is the idea to move logs perpendicular to the trail or is the advise to move the logs fully 6 feet from the trail) ?
 

Patrick

Overthinking the draft from the basement already
Staff member
Okay...looking at the trail above where the logs line the trail. What are we supposed to do (based on your notes is the idea to move logs perpendicular to the trail or is the advise to move the logs fully 6 feet from the trail) ?

Move them away from the trail - far enough that someone won't move them back (??)
If they are small like the one pictured, my guess is that walking on it is a factor.
We had a couple larger ones in the sourlands - too large to walk on - and they were def contributing to the problem.
 

stb222

Love Drunk
Jerk Squad
Okay...looking at the trail above where the logs line the trail. What are we supposed to do (based on your notes is the idea to move logs perpendicular to the trail or is the advise to move the logs fully 6 feet from the trail) ?
Just toss them randomly, using your best hammer throw position...I often undo people stacking branches at log overs and toss them in random directions , I.e., not easy to grab and put back.
 

ilnadi

Well-Known Member
I started to post an angry rant about the following on the Mahlon conditions thread yesterday and stopped myself...

Somebody has tried to “line” the beginning of Ghost with logs and branches and it has caused a complete cluster f*. They were trying to block bypasses on a twisty section where two parts of trail come within a few feet of one another so people were just cutting across. They didn’t do anything to actually block these cut through a amd now the “guide logs” have shifted and the whole section is confusing as fuck AND RETAINING WATER. I’ve ridden this trail hundreds of times (I think I might be local legend haha) and ended up completely off course yesterday because it was so confusing.

Sorry, rant over, but seemed relevant.
Hikers seem to like lining trails.
A few fall-line cut-throughs have shown up at Nassau. We've been trying to put any logs/branches in the cuts (in lien with the fall line). Hoping it will not impede water flow and make it harder to ride over.
 

Tim

aka sptimmy43
What's wrong with stacking branches in front of a log over (asking for a friend) ?
Here are my personal thoughts, which could be incorrect as far as trail building doctrine are concerned.

I don't see a problem with stacking a few decent sized logs in front of a big logover. By big I mean like 12 inches or more but probably more like 18". For the smaller logovers the stacked logs are in no way needed. You can pretty much just roll the log with minimal skill. The small size diameter branches needed to stack in front of smaller logs are fragile and don't hold up for very long. They don't stay put and become a liability in short order.

As someone who has a pretty practical bunny hop in my bag of tricks I can say one of my biggest pet peeves is coming to a small logover and having to deal with a bunch of small broken sticks laying all over the trail on both sides of the log at a time when I would really want clean trail on both sides. This is a prime example of totally unnecessary and, in my opinion, detrimental stick piling as this log can pretty much be rolled with minimal skill.
20210317_195518002_iOS.jpg


Now here is an example of a sturdy logover that does warrant the stacking of a few smaller logs on each side. This log could only be hopped by exceptionally skilled riders so the logs are a help. The logs used are also of a sufficient size and weight as to not move when the obstacle is ridden.
20201229_201421276_iOS.jpg


Again, just my $.02 and not based on any actual trail building doctrine.
 

Patrick

Overthinking the draft from the basement already
Staff member
Here are my personal thoughts, which could be incorrect as far as trail building doctrine are concerned.

I don't see a problem with stacking a few decent sized logs in front of a big logover. By big I mean like 12 inches or more but probably more like 18". For the smaller logovers the stacked logs are in no way needed. You can pretty much just roll the log with minimal skill. The small size diameter branches needed to stack in front of smaller logs are fragile and don't hold up for very long. They don't stay put and become a liability in short order.

As someone who has a pretty practical bunny hop in my bag of tricks I can say one of my biggest pet peeves is coming to a small logover and having to deal with a bunch of small broken sticks laying all over the trail on both sides of the log at a time when I would really want clean trail on both sides. This is a prime example of totally unnecessary and, in my opinion, detrimental stick piling as this log can pretty much be rolled with minimal skill.
View attachment 155741

Now here is an example of a sturdy logover that does warrant the stacking of a few smaller logs on each side. This log could only be hopped by exceptionally skilled riders so the logs are a help. The logs used are also of a sufficient size and weight as to not move when the obstacle is ridden.
View attachment 155742

Again, just my $.02 and not based on any actual trail building doctrine.

looking at your second pic - we did something like that at CR. cut out the trail,
ramped log on one side of the trail, and left the other. Options!
(at least i think we did it on purpose - it might have just turned out that way)

is it a true logover if it has a ramp?

Let's build a progressive log over and drop area!
 

Tim

aka sptimmy43
Everyone thinks that smaller logs are useful when the main log is above X inches, where X is totally subjective.
Very true. My own opinion on this has certainly changed over the years. For me the issue is when the sticks/branches piled on the sides are so small that they break and/or end up at odd angles all over the place. At that point I think they hurt more than they help.
 

Tim

aka sptimmy43
looking at your second pic - we did something like that at CR. cut out the trail,
ramped log on one side of the trail, and left the other. Options!
(at least i think we did it on purpose - it might have just turned out that way)

is it a true logover if it has a ramp?

Let's build a progressive log over and drop area!

So in my second pic that is definitely more of a feature than a logover, I guess. The log was cut to clear the trail and the pieces were used to make a fun line to the side.

I think it would be awesome if we could get the green light to build some sort of skills park or even just a few progressive features. It would be a really fun way to hone some skills.
 
I have been a branch stacker...but have recently had two nasty nose-overs where I cleared the log and hit a smaller log which became dislodged. I frankly love the challenge of log roll-overs and want to encourage people to try them (is there a "for dummies" version of trail building?)
 

Patrick

Overthinking the draft from the basement already
Staff member
I have been a branch stacker...but have recently had two nasty nose-overs where I cleared the log and hit a smaller log which became dislodged. I frankly love the challenge of log roll-overs and want to encourage people to try them (is there a "for dummies" version of trail building?)

Trails or obstacles?

I'm a proponent of line choices when it comes to obstacles.
In a multi-use environment, hikers aren't really interested in the really cool bermed turn that is so much fun on a bike,
or hopping over logs. Others get crazy that the trail has to be "the trail" - which the hikers then dumb down.
/rant

i need to go look at an upcoming project. :D
 

ebarker9

Well-Known Member
My favorite is the pile of sticks on one side of a large log with either absolutely nothing on the other side or maybe like a random 4" wide rock that you can't see until you've already committed to a line.
 

Patrick

Overthinking the draft from the basement already
Staff member
My favorite is the pile of sticks on one side of a large log with either absolutely nothing on the other side or maybe like a random 4" wide rock that you can't see until you've already committed to a line.

ramp on other side, just in case i ever get over it, and hang up my back wheel!
coming the other way, ramp->nothing scares me just as much!

1618418715962.png
 

Ian F

Well-Known Member
Here are my personal thoughts, which could be incorrect as far as trail building doctrine are concerned.

I don't see a problem with stacking a few decent sized logs in front of a big logover. By big I mean like 12 inches or more but probably more like 18". For the smaller logovers the stacked logs are in no way needed. You can pretty much just roll the log with minimal skill. The small size diameter branches needed to stack in front of smaller logs are fragile and don't hold up for very long. They don't stay put and become a liability in short order.

As someone who has a pretty practical bunny hop in my bag of tricks I can say one of my biggest pet peeves is coming to a small logover and having to deal with a bunch of small broken sticks laying all over the trail on both sides of the log at a time when I would really want clean trail on both sides. This is a prime example of totally unnecessary and, in my opinion, detrimental stick piling as this log can pretty much be rolled with minimal skill.
View attachment 155741

Now here is an example of a sturdy logover that does warrant the stacking of a few smaller logs on each side. This log could only be hopped by exceptionally skilled riders so the logs are a help. The logs used are also of a sufficient size and weight as to not move when the obstacle is ridden.
View attachment 155742

Again, just my $.02 and not based on any actual trail building doctrine.
What I don't understand about the second picture is "Why?" The log has been cut for the "B Line". So why does the log have anything in front of/after it? I'd remove all of that and make the log an actual challenge for practicing good log-over techniques.
 
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