Dumbing Down or Righting the Wrongs.....

Sunday, 06-Jul 2014 @ 2:31am

MTBtrailcare has bigger issues to manage in the park, but this little one has become a thorn in the side.  It was not listed on Gillian Duncan's trail audit, but that was some time ago and things have changed.  Casuarina Loop is a green trail.  Beginners are supposed to enjoy green trail and if it is a good green trail, everyone else can enjoy it with them.  

Two problems very close together were our target today. As well as re-aligning a problem section of trail and removing an unpopular trail obstruction, we closed five trail braids and shortcuts.  One shortcut became the new trail line!

First things first:  this fallen tree became a dodgy log-over some time ago.  Despite reincarnations, the combined impacts of damage by the trail saboteur and being ridden continuously by families and beginner riders have inevitably seen a ride-around form.  The ride-around has become popular and unfortunately, the lower exit lines up with an old DNR trails that leads more directly to 5-Ways.  

The lads got to it before I even had the camera out

They were apparently also very enthusiastic about our $30 wheelbarrow

Or maybe they were enthused about the saw - either way, they made a better trail for average trail users and closed several shortcuts like the one around the fallen log

Then it was on to the bigger task of rehabilitating a terminally eroded, blind loop of trail.  For years this short section has been a disaster.  In the past, Ash and I have worked here multiple times with the club and alone and never made one scrap of a difference to the fact the trail line sucks.  

No more:  our plan was to remove all the falline trail, permanently rehabilitate the old trail line and braids and give riders an enjoyable alternate.  While we were working today, many beginners and some kids rode by.  It was so fun to see one young lady beginner repeat the section after failing to handle the original line with a confident smile on her face and a smiling partner as well.

Here's how the trail changed.  It is hard to imagine convoluted falline trail.   At least some part of a convoluted trail should drain water..........  Not here.  It has been a total mess for years

Trail braids have been continuous, but within the constrains of trail line and terrain, they have just added to the mess

If you are designing XC trail, there is no (ZERO) reason to align it with the falline without effective drains.  Water following trail is a guaranteed fail and wheel erosion increases the problem.  In this place riders skidding down the two slopes into the super-tight, bottom corner have accelerated trail breakdown and increased environmental impact.  

Evidence of previous attempts to fix this place with embedded "rock drains" can be seen in these pics: don't ever embed rocks and expect water to drain through them.  Water drains through drains, not through leaves, sticks, rocks or other rubbish damming outflow.  Call it forward planning, but we dug up all those old rock drains and used them as barriers to slow water flow through our trail closure to encourage regrowth!

In the next pic you can see another small shortcut.  It is not the one straight ahead that we used as the new trail line, but the inside line shorcut in the foreground that has seen the original, even more convoluted line become ignored and partially hidden with bush debris.  We blended it into a drain using the old trail line and covered the original, twisted line for permanent revegetation

Here's the start of works to close the old line.  It includes part of the fallen tree removed from farther uptrail.  Other bits of tree were used to close shortcuts uptraill.  All sorts of barriers were salvaged to slow water flow and encourage regrowth

We closed the old trail line in part as we created the new line

In the next pic grass on the left becomes the new trail line and the original line becomes a drain

We have had to temporarily block some drains to help riders find the new line instinctively.  Note the obstructions are designed to allow water flow, but disguise old trail.  We will remove them as soon as possible and the bush will look more natural again

After the trail was ready, we added natural vertical barriers of extracted lantana to encourage riders along the new trail line.  No-one rides into lantana.  We think nearly everyone will like this new line and will no longer take the adjacent shortcuts because the new trail is too rad to miss (in a green trail sense)

While it may not look too exciting to most people, we are really happy with how the original line was closed.  Without an appropriate closure, the new trail line would not be acceptable.  While the following pics show what was closed, it is hard to see exactly what was there before.  That's partly because it was dark when we finished, but we hope it will stay that way forever

Maybe the last pics were not too exciting, but something made these bozos happy and I don't think it was the communal ride (thanks Doug who has been consistently providing the test ride bike this year) or the nouvelle helmets

Here's to closure.  It's not dumb to be down on bad trail....If you know how to fix it

Have fun riding in this great weather


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