Punchline Maintenance

Volunteers working on Punchline. In foreground, Adrian Montgomery and Muffy Ritz. Photo Credit: Peter Nestor

On Wednesday evening, May 10th, thirteen volunteers performed maintenance on the BLM Punchline Trail. The Wood River Bicycle Coalition and the Sawtooth Back Country Horsemen hosted the work session.

Punchline, a bicycle flow-trail. was built, in 2011. The trail includes rocky technical portions up high, and sweeping banked-turns and jumps on the lower areas of the trail. The trail gets a lot of use from skilled riders who jump and rail the trail’s technical trail-features. Less than advanced riders can approach the trail in a more laid back manner, improving their skills while rolling the route more slowly; cruising the turns and undulations, without getting air. On future laps, maybe getting a little air, here and there…, or not.

An alternate, expert-line near the high point of Punchline. The trail is rated as an advanced-difficulty route. Photo courtesy BLM

With use comes wear, and the trail was showing signs that it needed maintenance. On top of regular wear and tear from passing riders, the trail was impacted by the 2013 Beaver Creek Fire. It was time for the trail to receive some needed attention.

Brain Vaughn/Red Elephant Trails at work on Punchline.

This spring, the BLM Shoshone Field Office hired local trail contractor, Brain Vaughn/Red Elephant Trails, to give Punchline a face-lift. Brian is operating a mini-excavator to improve and strengthen the trail and its many technical trail-features. The goal is to improve its sustainability while making it even more fun to ride.

Its important to have soil-moisture when you are doing the kind of work being undertaken on Punchline. In order to compact the soil into lasting surfaces the soil must be damp. Once opened by the machine, its necessary to get the compacting done in a timely manner, before the soil dries out. Thus the need for volunteers to perform compaction work on the trail at this time.

Curtis Larsen, Mitch DeShields, Chip Deffe’, and Mark Carnes hauling in the component parts of a footbridge to a stream crossing on Centerline Trail. Photo credit: Cameron Lloyd

The crew of volunteers split into two groups. One small group broke off to haul wooden bridge parts in to two stream crossing sites, one on Punchline, and one further afield on Centerline Trail. The other volunteers headed up to the higher portions of Punchline, to rake, shape, and compact the re-worked trail.

Laurie Leman raking out tracks made by the mini-excavator.

It was a beautiful night to be out working. Frittilaria and phlox are blooming here and there, so that helped dress the scene up. Members of the Sawtooth Back Country Horsemen delivered pizza to the volunteers after the work was done. Talking trails and enjoying each others company made for a nice ending to the evening of work.

Partners on this volunteer work event included the Wood River Bicycle Coalition, Sawtooth Back Country Horsemen, BLM Shoshone Field Office, and the BCRD.

Doug Schwamb, Chris Leman, and Stacey Ward raking, shaping, and compacting. Photo credit: Laurie Leman

The next scheduled volunteer work event is May 17, Wednesday, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. on the Sunnyside Trail. Meet at the Adams Gulch Trailhead at 5:30 p.m. Hosts: Sawtooth Brewery (The brewery is the adopter of Sunnyside Trail), Wood River Bicycle Coalition, Sawtooth Back Country Horsemen.

For more information visit the “Volunteer Info” page at the BCRD Summer TraiLink site or contact the BCRD Wood River Valley Trail Coordinator, Chris Leman. text/call:(208)720-7713/email:cleman@bcrd.org