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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
While biking the other day on a connector-type trail, I noticed an area above it that looked like it could have a lot of potential for a trail. I hiked up to check it out further, to see how suitable it would be for a trail.

The lowest section looks like it would make a great trail and could be constructed relatively easily. The next section up had some thicker vegetation but a few periodic openings in the trees and wouldn't be that bad to build on either. Higher up, though, it was a different story. The slope of the land was still fine, but the vegetation is thick enough that it's somewhat difficult to walk through it. Above and beside this section is a logging road that I'm hoping to connect to.

The basic idea would be to connect from the logging road above and come down to the connector trail at the bottom, but that appears to be easier said than done. So I seem to have three options in my mind at this time:
- find a good riding line, regardless of how thick the growth may be and cut down stuff as necessary
- look for a different line that would be easier to build/require less cutting
- give up on this area all together.

Any thoughts? Another question I have along the same lines is related to vegetation. I know that ideally a trail would be built without cutting down any trees, but what's the call with bushes and other growing non-tree type things? How much cutting is too much?

I've been thinking more and more about trying to build a trail the past two years, and this area looks like it shows potential. There are other trails in the vicinity, but nothing close enough to interfer with where I want to build.

Any feedback from any trail builders on this forum would be appreciated.
 

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destroying the nature is bad. Use a trail already used by bikes, cross country skiiing or hikers and modify it. it's the best why to not get caught too . thanks
 

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Sounds like you've thought about the technical aspects of building the trail, why not devote equal effort to making it legal?

Find out who maintains the trail and talk to them about your idea. You run the risk of getting rejected. But in my experience, most groups maintaining or building trails are desperately short of manpower. Just by showing up regularly, you can get quite a bit of input as to what the maintenance/building priorities will be.

It might take a longer doing it legally, but you might get what you want over the long run, and you can certainly make a big difference immediately. I know because I've done it.

Walt
 

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this is what you do...

In my opinion if you aren't going to get in trouble for it don't ask anyone cuz their answer is most likely going to be no. Then go buy yourself a machete from home depote for like 10 bucks. I once did a community service project with a group of local eaglescouts (i'm not in boyscouts i was kicked out when i was 12), and all those dumb asses had saws and picks. Well to say the least i showed up late that day and they cut about 20 yards into the woods (took them about 2 hours). My buddy and I were outfitted with 2 machettes and a sameri sword (the sword was brought for Sh-its and giggles). To say the least we finished the 300 yard trail in about the same time it took 5 eagle scouts to do 20 yards, and our trail was much better. the environment was heavely covered in bushes and smaller size trees (ie 4 - 7 inch trucks). machettes ate that up real quick and are much quieter then a chainsaw (although chainsaws kick ass). A pick (or madagan) isn't a bad idea to clear out roots of sapplings (but a machette hacking thru dirt does a good job too). don't cut down any large tree, make the trail weave through them and don't make your trail stright. Switch backs and sharp turns are more fun then just stright. Also mark out what route you plan on cutting since its easy to get carried away and don't cut down more than like a 1.5 foot path.
 

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uofabill
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Talk to the owner or land manager

The best plan is to talk to whoever owns and/or manages the land. Since there are already some trails there that should help, unless they are outlaw trails.

Get your game plan together before you approach the land mgr. It might help to get some IMBA propaganda to lay on 'em when you go in, to show that you're serious about doing it right.

A good approach is to sell it on the idea that when you have official established trails it will cut down users going wherever they want and creating outlaw trails, causing errosion and damaging the environment. You should try to get the LM to walk out the proposed route with you and show them what you are considering. If you can get them out there then try to wow them with your trail building knowledge.

As far as cutting down trees, it probably depends where you are. If you are in a heavily wooded area and you keep tree removal to a minimum the LM will probably give you the go ahead. If you look at the IMBA information on their website and look at the USFS trailbuilding manual. They discuss the occasional removal of vegetation.
Obviously you want to keep that to a minimum and avoid removal of large trees.
I rode the Womble trail in Arkansas earlier this year. It was originally built by the CCC in the 1930's and then restored and improved in recent years by IMBA and volunteers. There is a ton of bench cut single track. I noticed numerous trees that had been knocked down and the trail went above the stump or roots.
One of the things that makes great single track is incorporating natural obstacles and winding and twisting around and through them.
Good luck!
Wild Bill
 

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You sound like you're about 12 years old and with your attitude I can believe it. For doing a proper job a machete sucks big time. A small ax, bush saw or loppers do a much better and cleaner job. As for this response: "In my opinion if you aren't going to get in trouble for it don't ask anyone cuz their answer is most likely going to be no." you're completely wrong. If you won't get in trouble then of course you ask. If it's not your property you ask. If the answer will be no then you would get in trouble if you did it. Come on. Show a bit of respect for others property, or in the future when you have some others may not show any respect for yours.
 

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I am a 21 year old and I act 12 ... so i guess your half way right. Also if its a park they are probably not going to let you cut stuff down, and if its going to make the trail really sweet you might as well do it (nobody will probably notice anyhow). if you know how to use a machete it works much better than an axe since its lighter and has more power if its a larger type (ie around 22 inches). also its a much more diversfied tool since you can not only chop down small trees but you can clear brush and root systems. Basically it takes the place of a ax, hatchet, saw, loppers, and almost a madagin. Also its much lighter than any of those tools aside maybe from the saw. So there i win, and i am so good i'm great.

PS. eat me
fred³ said:
You sound like you're about 12 years old and with your attitude I can believe it. For doing a proper job a machete sucks big time. A small ax, bush saw or loppers do a much better and cleaner job. As for this response: "In my opinion if you aren't going to get in trouble for it don't ask anyone cuz their answer is most likely going to be no." you're completely wrong. If you won't get in trouble then of course you ask. If it's not your property you ask. If the answer will be no then you would get in trouble if you did it. Come on. Show a bit of respect for others property, or in the future when you have some others may not show any respect for yours.
 

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fred³ said:
For doing a proper job a machete sucks big time. A small ax, bush saw or loppers do a much better and cleaner job.
Not necessarliy. A sharp machete in the right hands (think land surveyor) is much more efficient.
 

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heres what you want to do. If you have any doubts as to whether or not its legal, dont do it. If it is legal, you want to be extremelly careful. For example, the trail i built in my backyard has rules that my parents set, since my friends ride it often and the insurance doesnt cover them. I cant have jumps over a certain size, and I cant build north shore type bridges because of the risk of falling. If you get permission from the landowner and they come over one day and see a massive jump and 6 inch wide north shore bridges, he will stop you. Also, dont piss off the neighbors. Use a manual weedwhacker instead of a regular engine one. Dont disrespect them, or they will report you to the cops, which is also why Bruce And Tom's freeride park in Massachusetts got shut down...
 

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My bike was -TWO- Wheels!
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Wouldnt hurt to have a "ride thsi trail at your own risk" sign

I had a friend who had a cement BMX ramp in his backyard, made people sign a waiver to ride it.
 

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1. If there is a local advocacy group join it.

2. Go to an IMBA trail building school.

3. Buy IMBA's new Trail Solutions book and read it 3 times.

4. Approach the land manager/owner to ask permission to flag a new trail route.

5. Flag the route using your knowlege from the school and book.

6. Map the route using GPS and propose it to the land manager/owner for approval.

7. Design the trail, bench cuts, grade reversals etc.

8. Get help, build trail.

9. Get final approval from land manager.

10. Ride trail.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I appreciate the suggestions so far. I'm not necessarily planning on building the trail next weekend, but rather it is something I would do down the road if it did proceed. Despite all the feedback, I don't think anyone really answered my two questions.
A.) Any trail builders have any opinions on the 'build regardless/look for an easier to build line/give up alltogether' question?
b.) In terms of cutting down vegetation other than trees, how much is too much?

At this stage, I'm thinking my next best step would be to help out with the local bike organization with trail maintenance. Not only would this improve my own building skills but it would also give me insight to how 'things' work around here in terms of just building vs getting permission, etc. I also think I need to spend more time wondering through the trees looking at possible lines. My latest theory is that if much of it was logged semi-recently, they might be some old logging roads somewhere in there that could aid in finding a line.
 

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uofabill
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Art vs. Science

It doesn't sound like your hearing what's been said here about talking to the land manager/owner. I still don't know if this is private land or public land. Anyway.
Assuming you've got permission to build a trail, new trails are usually a good thing.
Trail lay out and design is more art than science.
There's no way to know without seeing it whether you should build the trail you're proposing or not. Some experienced trail builder is going to need to scope it out and give you their opinion on that.

As far as vegetation removal goes there are some guidelines to follow.

Any trail should be built with having the least impact on the environment in mind.

Having said that, the less vegetation you damage or remove the better.

The bigger the trees the more important they are. If you are in a high rainfall, dense vegetation area removal of brush and smaller plants are probably not going to hurt much.
Removal of some smaller trees may be necessary and will not be a problem. Removal of really big trees should be avoided at all cost.

Get the trail building literature suggested in the other posts, there's a wealth of information in there. USFS, and IMBA (on line).

Good luck.
 
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