Timber Turmoil

Monday, 25-Aug 2014 @ 12:46am

We really wanted to start construction of the new Three Hills line this weekend.  However, another bout of wet weather, the very heavy task of extracting large rocks from wet soil, then transporting them to site and being obliged to work in groups of 2 this weekend (not enough for big rock relocation) had us postpone the planned task on the tech turn up near the Exit Trail intersection.  

Instead, since the QPWS Region 2 controlled burn, lots of fallen timber across trails has encouraged construction of ride-arounds.  Not all have been made with love.  The concept of moving a trail line every time a branch falls is not QPWS standard, so we felt these trail obstructions should be removed.

On Saturday afternoon Doug and Ash cut 3 trees on Barney's, but I only have a pic of the lowest and smallest of the three

and the big one near the start of Bailey's, where there was no hope of a ride-around and any log-over would be at odds with the natural line of the trail and the hill

Today Doug and I did a saw loop starting on the trail below Barney's, then via Roy's to Happy Valley and back to the velodrome via Exit Trail.  We cleared lots of small obstructions quickly, knowing there were some big problems to be fixed.  

Here's how the day started between Barney's and Yarrayne Fire Road with a fallen tree and ride-around, coincidently at the intersection of a trail built by unknowns.  Sadly, the trail has been made pretty badly, as is normal when builders don't wan't to be caught and rush things.  It meets Roy's Trail on one end and at the velodrome end seems to go below the waterfall on Exit Trail, maybe towards the old Roots Trail.  Again and again we feel sad that the enthusiasm and effort going into this sort of trail is not made available to works supported by QPWS.  You can see that trail in the following "after" pics, coming after the before ones

Moving on to Roy's, the first bigger job was a pile of rotten and sad logs thrown alongside the terminal end of a tall tree, already dead, but claimed finally by fire.  We love a good log-over and we know that taking out trail features upsets rider, but if a feature is to be a trail feature, it must survive the assault of time.  This pile of rotton timber had no future and was already being ridden around

A little farther along Roy's was a large and complex mess that had been bypassed with a 30m ride-around.  We did not feel it was practical to dismantle this obstruction, given the section of track it covered (almost exactly falling along it), was already cupped, draining water along the trail and vulnerable.  We decided to make some simple changes to the bypass and leave the almost 1m diameter logs where they fell.  A couple of simple drains can be added later to ensure the new section of trail handles the effects of time, despite looking already established

Then it was on to Happy Valley, where the big work was done, starting with a very tricky, hardwood tree that had spawned a ride-around looping within a few metres of the existing trail.  Strangely, when people ride or run in the bush, it seems to be fashionable to cut corners.  In this place the cut corner would be 200m in length and not acceptable.  After using a metal wedge and logs to lever the trunk up onto other timber and a rock, we were able to unbind the large saw and get this log cut and moved

The next job was our prime objective.  When a massive tree like this falls over a trail, there will be big work to clear it

Closer to the action, the original trail past the large rock disappears into the mess

We cleared it all and disguised the new ride-around with some of the debris

Normally, completing this task would feel pretty good.  However, immediately after this fallen tree was another, just as large and making just as big a mess of the next 30m of trail.  Here are some before and after pics taken from the other direction, looking back down the trail

In the end the trail line was cleared

Here are some pics of the long detour riders had manufactured after the fire, the view of the original trail from the bypass and how it was all covered and closed

On the way home we puzzled over what to do where a red gum had fallen over a bit of trail QPWS wants closed (eventually) on Exit Trail.  While we prefered retaining the original line, in reality that was neither simple, nor a way to solve the issue of the new line pushed through by riders since the trails re-opened post-fire.  So we decided to improve the riding line through the new bypass and let the original line fade into memory

I am not all that good on the saw and it is hurting a bit tonight after working with Doug, an ex-pro forestry worker.  It's a good hurt though...


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