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It Is Freeze / Thaw Season: Please Read

freeze/thaw freeze thaw mud damage trail erosion conflict

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#1 seamonkey

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 09:10 PM

Well, it's that time of year again, when warmer day temperatures, full sun exposure and freezing overnight temperatures wreak havoc on our local trails.

 

GORC asks that you please read this article written by one of our very own about freeze/thaw cycle and how to keep the trails in good shape for all.

 

http://gorctrails.com/thaw

 

GORC_Thaw_710x200.jpg

It's an important enough topic that we've included it on the sidebar of all of our website pages in hopes of reaching as many people as possible. Spread the word.


Matt Hayes
GORC Board Member
Greensfelder Steward


#2 lirch

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 08:00 AM

I think a large part of the problem is the department store bike, no helmet, it's a nice day out, I think I'll go for a ride even if it means getting covered in mud group. Likely the STLBiking Troll and crew that think rutted trails are more "technical" and "challenging" as well(I think of you every time I see a rutted trail now). Although frozen, the trails at CastleRock yesterday were pretty effed. There are ruts just about everywhere. We bailed an hour into the ride(it was pretty cold too). It sure would be nice if the state park and county parks would "close" the trails like they do in St. Chuck. At least then, when people are seen with a bike caked with evidence, a citation could be written. Bet they'd get a lot of revenue from it too. 



#3 Fahtrim

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 10:07 AM

I don't rut the trails, I don't like the mud b/c it means I'll have to repair my bike sooner, but I think this is a lost cause to get the info to John Q public.  The people who come here know about this and for the most part respect it.

 

I guess we can just keep passing the news so that as people move into riding more often and advancing they get the message as well, but the casual riding group won't bother..........



#4 oldiebutnewbie

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 12:01 PM

i've seen plenty of non-casual riders, at least if judging by expensive bikes and willingness to be out in forty degree weather, tearing up muddy trails, riding on while i'm turning around and walking out. i think there's more jerks who regularly mountain bike than are given credit.

 

speaking as a new rider who hasn't seen his first spring yet, how much repair work must be done to the trails after all this? does some of it fix itself with rain and hikers stamping it down and whatnot? 



#5 Craig

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 12:27 PM

 

i've seen plenty of non-casual riders, at least if judging by expensive bikes and willingness to be out in forty degree weather, tearing up muddy trails, riding on while i'm turning around and walking out. i think there's more jerks who regularly mountain bike than are given credit.

 

speaking as a new rider who hasn't seen his first spring yet, how much repair work must be done to the trails after all this? does some of it fix itself with rain and hikers stamping it down and whatnot? 

 

 

Trail traffic and rain will smooth out some of the tread area.  A big problem is that once the tread material is gone, you can't replace it. 

 

It isn't so bad for trails that cross a steep hillside (if you ignore the part about having to do trail maintenance instead of building NEW trail).  Deberming will restore a proper outslope to the tread, and eliminate the "rain gutter" effect that is left behind after trail users scrape the trail off their bikes/boots in the parking lot.  Trails with less hilly terrain - think parts of Spring Valley @ Cliff Cave - will need to be debermed 10' ~ 12' away from the tread to allow the water to escape.  That's fairly time intensive, and not particularly attractive to look at.  

 

That leads us to one of the side effects of tread loss ... root exposure.  They can be trip hazards for hiking/trail running users, and (most) cyclists will avoid riding over roots at all costs, mainly due to their momentum sapping potential.  This leads to trail creep and/or widening, braided trails, or both. 


Craig Seibert, GORC Board Member

GORC/St. Charles County Parks Liaison


#6 oldiebutnewbie

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 02:46 PM

hadn't really thought about how once it's gone it can't be replaced. but of course it makes sense. thanks for the in-depth, big-picture explanation. 



#7 KevinG

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 06:08 PM

Craig's explanation really tells the story.

I'd also like to add that in addition to tread being removed, I believe it also gets redistributed.

What I mean is that it as it gets squished down it moves sideways.

As this continues, it will force up a berm on the down slope edge of the tread and create a rain gutter.

This may eventually flatten out but the tread itself is now a bit lower and roots become exposed.

This rain gutter will funnel water after a  rain and is especially problematic when this rain comes after a thaw when the tread is  very mushy.

It will really accelerate the erosion.


GORC Trail Steward- Cliff Cave Park
You don't quit playing because you get old .... You get old because you quit playing

#8 The Krackheads

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 05:15 PM

This is what Kevin is referring to, Note between my gloves, This area is a minimum of 6" higher than the tread to the right. 


Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart. ~Elizabeth Andrew

 

 

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