Rau: Heavy downpour wrecks havoc on trails
The rains of the monsoon season have been wonderful for our gardens and flowers this summer. But the heavy downpour of the last few weeks have created havoc with many of our popular trail. My husband Charlie and I maintain much of the Fraser to Granby Trail from Tabernash to Tim’s Tunnel and some over to Granby Ranch. We have several steep hills that developed deep ruts in the last several weeks so we spent many hours with our tractor filling ruts, unclogging culverts, and moving class C and gravel to fill in ditches and resurface the trail tread.
A couple thoughts about creating and maintaining trails that come from the International Mountain Biking Association. Do everything you can to keep water off the trail and users on it. Build on the contour lines and utilize the ups and downs to help create interesting riding or hiking and the encourage the water to run off the trail. Reverse the trail often on a steep hillside and even bank the turns slightly on the switchbacks. Keep the grade under 15 percent which means avoid the fall line which only focuses water stripping soil, exposing roots and creating gullies. Take soil from above the trail and move it to the lower edge, known as bench-cutting but keep a slight outward slope to the trail tread known as outsloping so water does not pool. Create sloping waterbars to lead water of the trail and open a path for the water to go once it leaves the trail. These are just a few tips to consider that save lots of maintenance work at a later date. That is known as trail sustainability, a huge factor with our large volume of trails and never enough volunteers or funding.
The ground is so soft and, in places, as muddy as springtime so be careful about leaving ruts or braiding the trail by riding around the mud puddles. Please do your part when walking to open up clogged runoff areas with a stick or shovel. It’s so simple to do. Participate in a project lead by Headwaters Trails crews and learn some simple techniques. Upcoming projects include Jones Pass improvements with Brew Crew Aug .11 and 12. HTA is partnering with The Continental Divide Trail Coalition and Colorado Native to help improve sections of the CDT on Jones Pass. This project is exclusively open to Colorado Native Brew Crew Members-the official adopters of the CDT from Herman Gulch to Berthoud Pass. (If you are not a member and and are interested in joining, visit http://www.coloradonative.com/brew-crew/register/.)
For this volunteer project we will be improving the trail by widening the tread, clearing and fixing drainage structures, installing CDT signage and trail markers. This project will include moderate hiking at high elevation. This project is open to ALL Brew Crew members, but may be suitable for individuals with some previous outdoor experience. Volunteers are asked to arrive Friday evening for dinner, introduction and a campfire with HTA, CDTC, and AC Golden Brewers. Optional camping will be available Saturday evening for participants who would like to stay on their own. The work day will be on Saturday.
Another more local project is the BURNOUT TRAIL TURNPIKE INSTALLMENT -AUGUST 15 – AUGUST 17
The goal for this project is to fix a common muddy wet section of this trail. By installing a turnpike in the low lying area, it will elevate this section of trial keeping it dry and rut free. HTA will need 10-20 volunteers to accomplish this.
More details to come on these and other projects on the HTA website www. headwaterstrails.org or call HTA for questions 970-726-1013.
There are also two worknights scheduled on the Fraser to Granby Trail on the east side of Rd Dirt Hill in August – Aug. 8 and 22 from 5 p.m. -7 p.m. Meet on the trail side of Highway 40 and County Road 86. Call Diana Lynn Rau 970-887-0547 for more details.
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