Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Trail Building 101

The setup: …. Trail Building IQ!

Are you familiar with any of these terms: in slope, back slope, grade reversal? Do you know what an in sloped turn is? What about a climbing turn? How about a rolling crown switchback? Would you know what a Grip Hoist is if you saw it? Can you give one example of a trail section in our local parks where the trail builders blew it? Can you outline the challenges facing urban trail builders?

If your answer to any of the above questions is no, or your concept of building sweet single track is dragging a garden rake through the woods, or you think that building a technical trail feature is tossing twigs at a log, then you need the trail building class being offered this weekend by the James River Park System and RA-MORE.

The knock down: While I was too busy learning several things about trail building that I didn’t already know to get a proper head count, I can gladly say that several folks turned out for last weekend’s Trail Building 101 class put on by the James River Park System & Richmond M.O.R.E. The weather was kind enough to cooperate with us and allow the in class instruction to be utilized out in the field.

(class is in session)

The classroom portion of the program was held in the Old Stone House in Forrest Hill Park and provided a comfortable relaxed environment for Nathan Burrell and Mike Burton to bestow a wealth of trail building knowledge upon the class participants.

(James River Park’s very own Nathan Burrell and Mike Burton of Long Cane Trails explaining proper trail markings and signage to the class.)

(If only high school had been this much fun)

(Nathan answering a participants question.)

After the morning classroom session and a superb lunch provided by the good folks at Crossroads Coffee & Ice cream the class participants headed out into the field to put some of their new skills to use.

(The class is learning how to properly block off a now closed section of trail through the use of natural elements like rocks.)

(Mike Burton & Clark Jones instructing volunteers on properly “setting” large rocks into place to keep them from moving and how to utilize them as an effective traffic control barrier.)

(Filling in an old section of washed out trail that will soon be reclaimed by nature.)

(Cutting in some new trail and working on a grade reversal.)

By the end of the field portion of the class we were able to successfully cut in a short re-route around a problematic section of existing non sustainable trail, build a grade reversal and prepare the trail surface for traffic as well as clearing out ample sight lines to accommodate the newly re-routed section and get the old un-sustainable section of trail properly closed off and prepped for mother nature to reclaim her soil.

It was a great learning experience and very productive day for all of the class participants. Richmond M.O.R.E. would like to thank the James River Park System, Long Cane Trails, Crossroads Coffee & Ice Cream and all of you who came out to learn and contribute to your local trails.

Trail building season is upon us. Please do your part to help out and remember that even 30 minutes of your time really helps out. Keep an eye here or over on the official Richmond M.O.R.E. website for updates regarding trail work.

Happy Trails,

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