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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Lets start with soliciting comments from proven good examples and those who are using them - this is a trend thats in its relative infancy, and we can learn by sharing, and helping govt agencies and decision makers with need proven facts, on the ground examples,national studies, links for everyone to use and cite:

SDMBA? Land Managers? trail building experts?

CA Parks - Noble Canyon?
SD County-Mission Trails?
add to the list -



Skeej

search terms - trails, san diego, LCPC, Noble, carlsbad, elfin forest, SDMBA, IMBA, success stories
 
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Rancho La Costa preserve in Carlsbad - SDMBA and CNLM

this is the most obvious and best example in North County....shout out to Rich Julien at SDMBA and Markus Spiegelberg at CNLM.
 

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Its only 1" on the map!
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Skeej said:
Lets start with soliciting comments from proven good examples and those who are using them - this is a trend thats in its relative infancy, and we can learn by sharing, and helping govt agencies and decision makers with need proven facts, on the ground examples,national studies, links for everyone to use and cite:

SDMBA? Land Managers? trail building experts?

CA Parks - Noble Canyon?
SD County-Mission Trails?
add to the list -

Skeej

search terms - trails, san diego, LCPC, Noble, carlsbad, elfin forest, SDMBA, IMBA, success stories
You are asking for a lot. IMBA has a couple of great books out that covers a lot of the best practices. It is worth noting that the USFS forest service guidebook on trail construction has publically praised IMBA's work on developing sustainable trail standards. The issue is that many of the land managers and local goverment parks and recs people often have little real trail building experience. They think the triple wide DG pathway is a trail. Now take that up a step or two in the organization that the parks, rec, and open space mangers work for there is a good chance they will not know what the term singletrack means.

These folks are often the one's who make or approve plans and guidelines that are founded in a road construction specifications background, not modern and proven sustainable trail standards. Organizations like SDMBA often take on the role of training land managers and rangers on proper trail construction and maintenance techniques.

The problem is that city planner and developer by default use the county or cities trail specifications when planning trails.

--------This portion is mostly a paste from the earlier thread -------

One thing I find disturbing is the mindset of some land managers that trails should be outright closed or MTBs kicked out when a user conflicts occur. I view a user-conflict incident as the trail equivalent to a car accident on a road. There is absolutely no road that an accident can not occur on and there is absolutely no trail that a user conflict can not occur on either.

Now you can certainly try to build roads that reduce the risk of an accident occurring particularly high traffic roads. You would not however build a four lane highway on a cul-de-sac street. It's too expensive and all it does make a huge stupid looking asphalt gash down the middle of an otherwise quite street. That is however what often happens in our parks, open space, and new developments because the county and cities often follow overkill trail building specifications/guidelines that create triple wide DG sidewalks that are virtually devoid of any quality trail experience aspects. These wide pathways specifications are the result of a perceived need to reduce the risk of trail user conflict. For example two horses should be able to pass one another and stay on the trail or a bike and a horse should be able to pass one another while staying on the trail and the biker not spooking the horse. Nice concept, but my guess is that less than 5% of the county trails actually needs this kind of space. Wide DG pathways and "trails" are expensive (particularly on side slopes) and are much more disruptive to the environment than a quality built singletrack/narrow trail that is built to either IMBA or USFS specifications.

San Diego County's terrain and weather should make it a valedictorian for trails, but the most of the current trail building guidelines in the county are on the short yellow bus in comparison to the rest of the country. If the county would revise it trails specifications, they could more wisely spend our tax dollars while at the same time providing more trails and a higher quality trail experience for ALL users.
 

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Single(Pivot)and Happy
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Great idea Skeej. One place in town that has one of the worst, unsustainable trail systems is MTRP. We're presenting our Skills Park proposal for the MTRP CAC tonight. If the CAC and the City approve our proposal for the Skills Park, and after building the Skills Park, I would like to focus on bringing MTRP trail system into the 21 century, providing San Diego with a true trail system destination.

Senior Ranger has already discussed ideas that he has in mind, also lack of City funding. SDMBA has the knowledge, manpower, and desire. This could become a partnership that will benefit all.
 

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well

A shout out to the rouge trail builder(s) in area(s) that we will not mention.

Im always grateful and they do a damn good job.

Rich and crew do a great job. I would say it is becoming more and more known that Rich is a hard working mo-fo who is really in it for the long run (least I would say so).

This being said, we need to keep a few things in mind.
We live in San Diego. This *is* the desert. Before the piped water, the cookie cutter homes with grass backyards and imported palm trees, well, way back before all of this it was still the desert.

Desert soil and erosion are nature. Water will (mostly) follow the path of the least resistance and while "sustainable" trails are excellent in theory, the bottom line is it would take a lifetime to make all of SD's current trails "sustainable"

I bring this up because it has been irking me a bit lately. There are miles and miles of current trails that are largely ignored and not maintained. When "approved" trail work crews start to drop shovels, the focus is on "sustainable" trails.
However, for Joe Schmuckatelli and crew who may have an hour here or an hour there to unfold the E-tool from the backpack and throw in a bit of trailwork filling in some ruts that popped up from the last rain, well, Joe Schmuckatelli seems to , in the last couple of years, be under all kinds of scrutiny "what are you doing to those trails" , "Is that sustainable" , "Have you been trained to do trailwork" and so on and so forth.

Thing is, many people who are willing to do trail work have kids, careers, commitments that often stop them from driving across the county on that one saturday morning a month and participating in group trailwork. Many of these same people would have no isssue packing in what they can, stopping for a hald an hour of trail work and continuing once or twice a week while they are out riding.

So I congratulate and thank those working on "sustainable" trails but my main point (that hasn't won me many friend in the past) is that San Diego trails need more than a trailwork day every three or four months that addresses a half mile of trail.

I say put the information (or links to info on the IMBA site) concerning making existing trails "sustainable" out there for all to see easily. Try to educate people on how and why to do this, then work with the rangers and land managers and general public to ease up on people who have an hour here or there and are willing to do some rut grooming.

Or we can all sit in our houses and play
:band:
on PS3.
 

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I <3 Dirt
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Armoring

I appreciate you starting the thread Skeej as I've been thinking about the whole armoring technique I read about on IMBA's site. I checked out Sycamore on Sunday after seeing plenty of cars at the trailhead. The place was a friggin mess and rutted up horribly in the usual areas. I won't be riding near the lakes any time soon.

Would this type of armoring work in the clay soil found on the south portion of Sycamore?



The trail is surrounded by cobblestone, and while it's not the flagstone described by IMBA I would think we could haul a wheelbarrow out there and move a little rock to firm up muddy portions of the trail.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Good points, Bill!

Bill, you're right - I notice from talking to engineers that you can even get different opinions on streets standards, so the challenge is not coming up with THE guideline, but engaging engineers.

I know personally they are interested, and open minded and progressive, as I've seen City staff take a risk to "go to the next step" and make or approve a change thats not necessarily the standard cookbook answer, but makes sense.

So, our job as citizens, informed users, and tech experts (And Bill - you are one of the best, judging by your website and broad experience) is to inform, educate, persuade and provide those excellent resources, and the applications.

In fact, I'd be so bold as to say what works in the Adirondacks, or the Everglades, or Moab, might or might not work every where else, SO lets have some fun and experiment!

And just so you know who you are working with - the conservation land managers who are the true scientists in their field, are open to persuasion, if presented with facts, because the fact is conservation land management is a multi-disciplinary business thats evolving every day, and they themselves use the buzzword "adaptive management" to describe best practices.

So, bottomline, City Planners, City Enginnering, Habitat Stewards, Land Managers, all know they need to be adaptive, and are willing to take input.

So, ya gonna stay on the porch, or get down in the mud and run with the BIG DOGS?
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Two trends from the hi-tech and blogging world -

Open Source - trail info and expertise can help everyone, including trail consultants because there is more work out there that can be done in the next lifetime -

An Army of Davids (Glenn Reynolds) - if we work in our own closest spot, under some general guidance ( and the IMBA book is the best place to start) WITH PERMISSION of the land owner, you can overcome the objections of what are you doing, is it sustainable, because you are already ahead of the game.

So, everyone step up to the plate - become the "trail captain" of your favorite place- find the land manager, explain how you and IMBA/SDMBA can help, and get to work when they say go.

step by step we go...
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Meals, dunno but it makes sense to me - I say, get permission from the land manager to give it a try and see what works.

FYI, if that soil is anything like the slippery blue-gray clay at Calavera, you need something as its like oil when its wet, and you need something to keep traffic from rutting it deeper and deeper, which leaves a puddle that over time folks go around.

So, soon you have a big puddle with more habitat damage, all bad for land manager.

The only other solution is stay off it for a week like the Rangers do at LCPC, but that can be frustrating and unless there is full time enforcment or fences all over (and who can afford that these days) it will just get worse.

I defer to more experienced and tech experts tho - any other opinions?
 

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Mealsonwheels

The armoring in your picture reminds me of the work we just did on the trail leading to Martha's Grove. By working with the SDMBA crew you can get experience doing that kind of work. The look of satisfaction on the young guys faces after building that armored section said it all. The payoff was the great feeling of accomplishment the next great feeling was being the first guy to ride it.
Many land managers don't have the accumulative experience of SDMBA or IMBA because even they don't get to ply the trade as often as they would like. The change has to come from the paper pushers above and the trail guidelines they have to follow. See Bill's comment. We downloaded their trail specs and they are scary, expensive to build and misplaced in many places. Their over engineered trails are meant for areas of high volume multi use, which is usually defined as your gateway trail. Once you leave the majority of users behind and that doesn't take long then you should start to ramp down the trail into what they call "a primitive trail". We call it singletrack.
Calaveras should have mostly primitive trail once you get away from the lake and the old volcano. I hope they, the agencies, will consult with us when the time comes to discerning trail definition. The idea is to get it right the first time. We have such bad experience of not being asked to the table in the past.
So our focus is being directed to the decision makers. Enough relationships have been made in the field. But as everything it takes time.
But one thing that can effect change quickly is more participation on trail days and more membership in SDMBA.
I think there are over 15,000 Sierra Clubbers in town. That is an impressive number to the decision makers. We haven't pushed a 1,000 yet. Last year we were near 300???? How pathetic is that when you step up to the mic at a meeting or sit across the table with the paper pushers.
Help us out here folks. We are you and you are us. We are just starting to find our collective voice and it DOES WORK.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
How to create leverage and max ROI (return on investment of time)

Thanks Taffy - I agree, its my impression here in Carlsbad that SDMBA has finally cracked thru the general perception, or should I say, no perception of mtbkers as a group, with legitimate voices -

Thats largely thanks to

#1 the long and highly effective LEGAL trail work, thank you Andy, John, Rich and the many unsung heroes who have participated, as it earns you a place at the table and separates you from those who Talk the Talk (ie whiny "sierra club" types to use a negative expression) and those who Walk the Walk, and more important becomes a proof statement to the land managers, planning and engineering departments, regulatory agencies and enforcement, that you can do it, and be a remarkably effective resource

#2 the long patient, professional, polite, proactive and persistent lobbying to decision-makers, which again is thankless unsung hero work that because Carlsbad is so far from SDMBAs beginnings in Mission Trails, has taken years and years - a shout out to Daniel Greenstadt, Minette Ozaki, and now Eric Trogden - ITS HAPPENING!

AND THIS IS THE TIME TO SEIZE THE OPPORTUNITY to ramp up TIMES TEN.

Now, the key to making both of those work is
ALL MTBERS HAVE TO SHOW UP, AND WALK THE WALK =
at work events, workshops, and city council meetings when needed


GO TO THIS THREAD ON ADVOCACY TO SEE HOW
,
and like Taffy says, support SDMBA or lose these trails!
 

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Sustainable Trail Example

First I think it is important to explain what a sustainable trail is, because not everyone may know. A quick Google search led me to this from IMBA which is a relatively good explanation. As OCD points out, it will take a lifetime to convert all "un-sustainable" trails to sustainable trails built to IMBA standards. But as Rich proved at La Costa it can be done and provides a much better trail experience. Building sustainable trail can be as easy as the re-route SDMBA completed on the Crest Trail at Daley Ranch over two Saturdays. A steep, rutted and dangerous fall line fire road was replaced with a bermed, contoured singletrack trail. The key is to work with and educate land managers to show them the success stories. I for one will be working with SDMBA in the future as a part of the Advocacy Committee to identify and procure sites where re-routes of un-sustainable trails to sustainable IMBA standard trails are possible.

The best example I have found for where SDMBA is head is the Central Coast Concerned Mountain Bikers. CCCMB started in 1986 and spent their early years preventing closures and gaining access for mountain biking (sound familiar San Diego???). After 15 or so years of advocacy, trail work and establishing themselves with local land managers CCCMB has become the go to organization for trail building within San Luis Obispo County. They reached the tipping point, if you will, and currently are busy for the next 5 years building 30 miles of new, sustainable and IMBA standard trail.

CCCMB's shining example, which I recently rode, is the Hazard Peak Trail in Montana de Oro State Park. The Hazard Peak Trail replaced the Ridge Trail, which was a wide, fall line un-sustainable trail. CCCMB worked with California State Parks Trails Committee, Coastal Commission and County Planning Department. Funding and work hours came from mountain biker, equestrian and hikers groups. It took 5 years and over 3,000 hours of volunteer work to build 3 miles of sustainable trail. What an effort. It is because of the work and effort they put in on the Hazard Peak Trail that CCCMB is now seen as the go to trail builders and have 30 miles of trail on back log ready to be built.

Now, how does this apply to San Diego? SDMBA has been working hard for about 15 years on advocacy, trail work and establishing relationships with local land managers and trail czars. Is the work completed within the last year at La Costa our Hazard Peak Trail. I think so. What has been accomplished needs to be shared with every land manager, environmental scientist, trail czar and relative decision maker in San Diego County. There is hard work to be put in, meetings to attend and political red tape to deal with. However, I don't think SDMBA is too far off from being the go to trail builder in San Diego County with miles of trail waiting to be built.

Agree? Disagree? Please let me know.

Feel passionate about advocacy and bringing new trail building opportunities to San Diego County? Please join me at the next SDMBA meeting on 1/21/09 at the Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor's Center where the Advocacy Committee will be meeting for the first time. Can't make the meeting? Join the SDMBA Advocacy Committe Yahoo Group here and get involved in the discussion. Either way, if you care, let your voice be heard.
 

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J.A.M. said:
I am willing to help with maintenance in S. Sycamore. There was a wheelbarrow at the jump area last time I went through. Seems a couple hours of coordinated, instructed, maint. could go a long way out there.
Good call on the wheelbarrow although I'd like to get the kids' permission first. I would like to even try filling that first large mud pit maybe 150 yards north of those jumps with some rocks. There's the large riverbed adjacent to that mud where we could hand carry rocks and place them in the mud. I'll check out the armoring Rich mentioned at Martha's first to get an idea of what they did.

I'll PM you if I can find a day to get out to work on that section.
 

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taffy15 said:
The armoring in your picture reminds me of the work we just did on the trail leading to Martha's Grove. By working with the SDMBA crew you can get experience doing that kind of work. The look of satisfaction on the young guys faces after building that armored section said it all. The payoff was the great feeling of accomplishment the next great feeling was being the first guy to ride it.
Thanks, I'll have to join gardner and you on one of SDMBA's trail maintenance days. I totally agreed with much of what OCD was saying including his appreciation to the hard work of you, SDMBA and the "rogue" trailbuilders. He nailed it for me when he said

ocd said:
Thing is, many people who are willing to do trail work have kids, careers, commitments that often stop them from driving across the county on that one saturday morning a month and participating in group trailwork. Many of these same people would have no isssue packing in what they can, stopping for a half an hour of trail work and continuing once or twice a week while they are out riding.
Due to the same commitments mentioned by OCD it's difficult to give up half a Saturday to work on trails. I don't mind extending my weekend rides by 30 minutes to an hour to help maintain trails that I use. I guess that's why I typically maintain trails that are "off the grid" rather than participating in organized trail maintenance days in parks and preserves which conflict with my schedule.
 

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mealsonwheels said:
Due to the same commitments mentioned by OCD it's difficult to give up half a Saturday to work on trails. I don't mind extending my weekend rides by 30 minutes to an hour to help maintain trails that I use. I guess that's why I typically maintain trails that are "off the grid" rather than participating in organized trail maintenance days in parks and preserves which conflict with my schedule.
This is a huge deal for me.
Quite simply there are tons of people who cannot give up 6 hours (total time from door to door) for trailwork.

This needs to be recognized by all involved. Land Managers, SDMBA, users etc.

BUT 30 minutes each ride can be stretched out.

The question needs to be asked: Would it be as beneficial if not more beneficial to be more proactive with learning/teaching about sustainable trails (within reason, this is san diego, this is the desert, you can only do so much) and work with land managers and the public to make them more accepting of riders squeezing in trailwork when they can?

Personally, I believe this would be a very needed approach.

Again, SDMBA is a good group and filled with good people but the fact of the matter is that San Diego is a large county. The numbers just are not there in membership at this point and for those who are member, anyone with a family (especially with young kids) can agree, time is limited. As much as I love to ride bikes, time with the kid(s) will always take priority.
 

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Lord of the Chainrings
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This sparked my interest....

From: http://www.imba.com/tcc/trailschool.html

IMBA Trailbuilding Schools

Are you ready to move beyond simply riding your local trails and learn to build them? The Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew program is providing that opportunity in a series of more than 70 Trailbuilding Schools this year. The Trail Care Crew experts crisscross the U.S. in their Subaru Outbacks, from Connecticut to California and Texas to Montana, teaching the art and science of trailbuilding.

Trailbuilding Schools are generally hosted by an IMBA affiliated club, and include a day and a half of classroom and field instruction. Each school combines interactive learning, hands-on trailwork and top-notch instructors to develop skilled trailworkers and trailwork leaders.

Topics covered include:

Sustainable trail design
Basic construction
Turns, drainage and bridges
Trail Reroutes
Trail Reclamation
Rockwork
Fostering volunteer clubs and partnerships
Effective Use of Signage

Since 1997, IMBA Trailbuilding Schools have taught more than 150,000 people - including the land managers that make decisions about bicycle access - how to build durable, fun-to-ride trails.
 

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ocd said:
This is a huge deal for me.
Quite simply there are tons of people who cannot give up 6 hours (total time from door to door) for trailwork.
Gotta throw the Absolute BS Flag here. There are tons of people who choose not to give up 6 hours (total time from door-to-door).

Plain and freaking simply they chose not to. I'm okay with that as long as they don't complain about trails. For me, doing a little trailwork gives a person a license to complain about trails. I don't buy that someone who rides a MTB once a week just about all year long, can not carve out 6 hours a year to do a little trailwork. If 50% of the once-a-week or more riders gave up one Saturday or Sunday morning per year to help out with trailwork SDMBA would have a tough time coordinating all of the work that could get done.

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On the other portion of your comments, there has been some discussion concerning specific projects where the idea of designating a specfic trail crew (by name) that after an initial meeting and trailwork could then work on specific sections at thier own pace as individuals or pairs under the physical and/or online/phone coordination from SDMBA trail captain.

I sure it would have to be on a case-by-case basis. Here is one, for many years (no longer the case as the guy moved), most of the Cowles Mountain singletrack (Big Rock) was taken care of by one guy who rode there two times a week or so. He knocked out a 20 mins here, 30 mins there. In this case a specific arrangement was made with the Rangers and the person kept (believe so) them informed of his efforts.

One thing is for certain, we don't want a bunch of potentially untrained folks doing free range maintenance.
 

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Mudd said:
This sparked my interest....

From: http://www.imba.com/tcc/trailschool.html

IMBA Trailbuilding Schools

Are you ready to move beyond simply riding your local trails and learn to build them? The Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew program is providing that opportunity in a series of more than 70 Trailbuilding Schools this year. The Trail Care Crew experts crisscross the U.S. in their Subaru Outbacks, from Connecticut to California and Texas to Montana, teaching the art and science of trailbuilding.

Trailbuilding Schools are generally hosted by an IMBA affiliated club, and include a day and a half of classroom and field instruction. Each school combines interactive learning, hands-on trailwork and top-notch instructors to develop skilled trailworkers and trailwork leaders.
March 6-9, Alpine Ca.

I have emailed for more details (i.e. cost?)

Sort of sounds to me like a weekend of camping at Lake Morena (or the closest campground), some riding and trailbuilding instruction.

(this is assuming it is in the area of Lake Morena, I seem to remember something out there before)
 

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ocd said:
March 6-9, Alpine Ca.

I have emailed for more details (i.e. cost?)

Sort of sounds to me like a weekend of camping at Lake Morena (or the closest campground), some riding and trailbuilding instruction.

(this is assuming it is in the area of Lake Morena, I seem to remember something out there before)
Eh, those dates were for 2008, nothing is planned yet for 2009: per the email from the contact.
 
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