Take care of Fraser Valley’s trails this time of year
Mountain Biking with Keith
I’m writing this and trying to be in denial that the weather forecast for sunny and warm was wrong. Of course, that is the forecast I wanted to believe and not the accurate one of unsettled weather with a strong chance for rain.
Rain and snow at this time of year makes it a bit difficult and sometimes frustrating to get out on the trails. What was dry last week is wet again.
he ground is already saturated from the melting snow. Add to that a bit of rain with some snow, and you have at times some muddy conditions. Some trails should best be left alone, and others will be wet in places. There are some things that you can do to help keep reduce the impact of use and water when you are out on your rides.
Often you will come across standing water in the trail. I see so many people ride through it and keep going. Standing water will not only saturate the immediate area but will also seep to the surrounding areas as well. Many users, not just bikers, will go around the standing water, which will cause damage to the area next to the trail. How about stopping for a minute or two to take some time to drain the water and divert it from the trail?
You don’t need any special tools to do this. I typically grab a stick that is laying on the ground and use it to dig a small outlet from the standing water. You may have to do this in multiple places in order to have the greatest success. Take a look at the source of the water while you are at it. You can also divert the water before it reaches the low spot or where the water collects. This minimal effort can often allow the trails to dry much faster and greatly reduce the amount of erosion caused by water and use.
Trees on the trail are an almost constant theme now. Trees that have died due to the pine beetle are reaching the point where their root structure is rotting. In addition the wet soil does not hold those roots as well. Toss in some good strong winds from our spring storms and you will find trees that have fallen victim to gravity and now block your path.
Many of these trees are fairly small in size. If possible move them off of the trail. If it is not possible to do that then let the U.S. Forest Service or Headwaters Trails Alliance know the location of the downed trees. Give them as much information as possible such as, how many trees, the size in diameter, are they tangled or easy to get to? Are they leaning on any other trees? This helps them know what type of problem they will encounter and be best prepared to clear the trail. You can reach the Forest Service at 970-887-4100 or Headwaters Trails Alliance at 970-726-1013.
These simple things can make a huge difference to the condition of our trails. Taking a few minutes during each ride to do a few minor maintenance tasks multiplied by the hundreds of users and we have a substantial amount of work done on our trail system.
Be careful out there, and if you have a great time then do it again! Enjoy your rides! Life’s too short not to have fun!
Looking for more information or want to get involved as a mountain biker? Like Grand Mountain Bike Alliance (GMBA) on Facebook. GMBA is your local mountain bike group. Check out Mountainbikecapitalusa.com. Great site by the Winter Park Chamber!
Keith Sanders is the President of the Grand Mountain Bike Alliance, 3x US National Mountain Bike Champion and owner of Beavers Sports Shop. You can reach him at email@example.com
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