Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Winter sun and warm temps=disaster

Well this past weekend saw a lot of trail damage, you just expect it when you have temps in the upper 60’s and low 70’s in the first week of February! It is hard to grasp the fact that it has not rained or snowed for about a month but the trails are a muddy mess! It happens every year, the ground freezes over periods of extreme cold and stores what little moisture there is in that frozen ground. Then as the temps start to rise that frozen tundra begins to thaw and the moisture rises to the surface creating a “bottomless pit” of muck. The frozen soil was down a couple inches so it took a bit of warm weather to get it out but MAN DID IT COME OUT! Hopefully we will not have any more extended cold snaps to create another mess the rest of this winter. This next weekend we will get out assess the damage. A lot of times just getting some traffic back on them can repair some of it but other parts we will have to go in and fix by hand. It could cost us lots of man hours doing repairs instead of building sweet new trail…………Think about it next time you see or hear of someone walking/running/riding muddy trails, remind them it IS NOT COOL!

Sunday February 8th was an opportunity to finish up the reroute on Old Granddad that we had started a month or two ago. We have had the corridor cleared for a while but the ground had been too frozen to do the necessary bench cutting. The ground finally thawed enough that we were able to get in there and finish it up. We took out a few hundred yards of old trail that came down toward the old pond and rerouted it to try and stay on higher ground and hopefully eliminate some really bad wet spots and badly eroded trail. We reclaimed the old trail tread a bit by breaking up the surface of the tread, pulling deadfall onto it and transplanting some small trees into it. Hopefully in a few years it won’t even be noticeable.

Trail building is an in-exact science for sure; slope, soil types, vegetation, rocks and exposure all have a huge affect on trail sustainability. ERTA has come a LONG ways learning about trail building over the years and we will continue to fine tune our skills as we look at our successes as well as our failures. They can only get better from here. Remember we need your help to make these trails great. Be an advocate, encourage new users, whether they are hikers, runners, birders or bikers. Educate yourself and your friends, if you have questions about getting involved, drop us a note.

Thanks and here’s to drying trails and warming temperatures!


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