Adopters with the valley’s adopt-a-trail program come in all shapes and sizes. Some are simply groups of friends who come together to take on the maintenance of a beloved trail, others are businesses who want to give back to the trails that mean so much to them. Still others are organizations or clubs that have a common concern for the trails and their upkeep. Last week saw a couple of groups out on their respective trails doing their thing.
The Smoky Mountain Pedalers is a gathering of friends who love to ride mountain bikes and who want to give back to the trails. They got the week’s trail maintenance sessions going by hosting a Wednesday evening work event on the Oregon-Fox Connector Trail #311.
The next night the Wood River Bicycle Coalition (WRBC) hosted work on their baby, Forbidden Fruit Trail #159. The coalition was instrumental in helping to get this unique and fun trail built in 2010, and they have been its adopter ever since. The group rallied a lot of help for a productive outing on the trail Thursday night.
On Wednesday, the Smoky Mt. Pedalers had a calm night and lots of mosquitoes. We were glad to have long sleeves to roll down and some bug repellent to apply. As always, we concentrated on performing quality work, and I used the session to bounce back and forth between the volunteers to give instruction and to fine-tune the techniques being applied. It’s important that adopters do good work, and we saw that in spades from the volunteers on Wednesday.
One of the primary tasks asked of adopters is to clean out and improve existing drains. Good drains don’t clog up every year, so improving the drains can make a big difference. Having drains that don’t clog up every season allows adopters to bite off a manageable amount of trail work each year. Where larger groups may be able to tackle all of the periodic maintenance on their trail in a single season, smaller groups can strive to get a third (or even a fifth) of their trail work done in one year. After a few seasons of work they will have completed a circuit of their trail, cleaning and improving every drain to a standard that helps them stay clean and working well.
It’s the same with brushing back encroaching vegetation, or the raking of rocks and forest litter from a trail. It sounds so simple; as if such work isn’t really needed. I think most people would be surprised to find out how much of this type of work is required to keep most trails open and functioning well.
Thank you Wednesday night’s volunteers with Smoky Mountain Pedalers: Julian Tyo, Josh Zuck, Zoe Walchli, and Brenna Partridge. Ya’ll do great work!
On Thursday I worked with the WRBC’s Adrian Montgomery and Cameron Lloyd to ferry tools from the Adams Gulch Trailhead in to the Forbidden Fruit Trail. We hauled them up so that the coalition’s volunteers could ride their bikes right to the work site. This allowed us to spend more time digging and laughing!
As many of you may know, the Forbidden Fruit Trail is a one-way/downhill-only bicycle flow-trail that is a lot of fun to ride. Its large trail features (jump lips, landing zones, bermed turns) need periodic maintenance to keep them riding well. Loose rocks accumulate in the low parts of the features and along the trail. These rocks require frequent raking and removal. Additionally, the trail needs to be brushed back to help keep plants from blocking sight lines or otherwise limiting the safe use of the trail. Also, like any trail, the drains need to be cleaned out and improved upon from time to time.
The bike coalition crew got a tremendous amount of work done. The group cleaned and improved all of the existing drains, brushed back much of the route, and raked and shoveled off accumulations of gravel from the top to the bottom. Some of the more hardy volunteers took an after-event lap and found the trail to be riding very nicely.
Thank you Wood River Bicycle Coalition for all of your work in the valley and way to go Greg Bearce, Stephen Thompson, Mitch DeShields, Dave Bell, Brett Stevenson, Mary Geddes, Cameron Lloyd, and Adrian Montgomery. Thank you also to the Zach Poff, Ketchum Ranger District Winter Sports and Recreation Program Manager for coming out to help with the diggin’!
For more information about adopting a trail or to help an adopting group on their next outing visit the “Volunteer” section of the BCRD Summer TraiLink site at trails.bcrd.org or contact me, Chris Leman at (2zero8) 72zero-7713 or email@example.com.