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Offline moose7

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Trail closures
« on: September 11, 2008, 08:58:35 PM »
I am confused on the fact when a trail is closed such as the ones at Flatwoods and Morris Bridge , how come I read on this forum people still ride them? Are they closed for "everyone"? I for one am not afraid to get a little muddy while riding or running on these particular trails. The trails at these parks have been around long before most of us ever thought of riding a mountain bike and they will still will be there when we are through riding some day. Another thing that is when do they come and check the trails so the signs can be removed?I walked Grandpa the other day while the signs were up just to see for myself why the trail  was closed. I walked the whole back portion and it was dry as a bone?? I can certainly see why Alafia could be closed due to the makeup of the trail but closing Flatwoods and MB seems strange. Most of the trails are dry and if people come to a huge mud/water pit most likely they will turn around. For us not afraid to get our bikes dirty, keep the trails open.

Offline Garry

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Re: Trail closures
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2008, 09:45:53 PM »
I am confused on the fact when a trail is closed such as the ones at Flatwoods and Morris Bridge , how come I read on this forum people still ride them? Are they closed for "everyone"?
They are closed for everyone.  Some people simply ignore that, but they get closed when wet so the repair work is minimal.  People ride it anyway and it takes more work to fix erosion around the roots and the trail gets wider because people try to ride around the mud.

I for one am not afraid to get a little muddy while riding or running on these particular trails.
A little mud is not an issue.  Long stretches of it and widening of a wet trail is the issue.

The trails at these parks have been around long before most of us ever thought of riding a mountain bike and they will still will be there when we are through riding some day.
These trails have been around a long time.  They have gone from good condition to poor condition. Good=maintenance; Poor=ride it when it's closed.

Another thing that is when do they come and check the trails so the signs can be removed?I walked Grandpa the other day while the signs were up just to see for myself why the trail was closed. I walked the whole back portion and it was dry as a bone??
It's all volunteer so trail Stewards get there when they can.  Rangers are busy and they get there when they can.  They also rely on trail reports to let them know when a trail is ready to be reopened again; in addition to guessing from past experience how long it takes a certain trail to be ready to be opened.

I can certainly see why Alafia could be closed due to the makeup of the trail but closing Flatwoods and MB seems strange. Most of the trails are dry and if people come to a huge mud/water pit most likely they will turn around.
Not true.  A good portion of people riding a closed trail do not turn around but forge right through instead.  Someone else sees them go in or come out of a closed trail and they assume it is open, so they ride it.  Pretty soon the integrity of the trail is gone, it is torn up and widened and needs repair.

For us not afraid to get our bikes dirty, keep the trails open.
It's not about who's afraid or not afraid to get their bike dirty.  It's about having low maintenance trails.  For us who spend just about every week fixing what someone else tore up it gets pretty old.  It's not like one day it was decided to put a fence post up on a trail that may or not be wet; Trails will get wet and torn up, but if there is some temporary closing until it can once again be ridden without having to fix it, what's the problem in that?  It's only temporary.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2008, 09:52:10 PM by Garry »

Offline Gregg

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Re: Trail closures
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2008, 10:36:52 PM »
Moose,

My first question is when have you seen on this forum that people where riding a trail that is closed? I am on this forum everyday and can't recall any such postings.

I can tell you that I love to get my bike dirty (it gives me an excuse to clean it), I could care less about being covered in mud. However; there are other issue other than keeping your or my bike dirty.

When you go around the mud puddles you end up widening the trial. Very often those spots end up being sand traps when it dries out. When SWAMP builds or alters trails, park personell has to approve the route of the trails. If we reroute them without permission, it makes it harder to get permission to do things in the future.

That section of Grandpa was closed because at one point in the past couple of weeks, there was standing water. As of Sunday it was still a soggy enough that riding on it would have rutted the trail up, making it less enjoyable for everyone. I am not the only one that checks the trails, but as Garry said we can't be there everyday.

I opened Washboard on Tuesday, it had been bad on the powerline side. It was the worst I have ever seen it.

If a trail is closed, you and everyone else need to not ride it. There were controlled burns out there over the past couple of weeks, so the trails that were nearest to the burn were closed. You might not have been able to see or smell the burn immediately, but they were closed for your safety.

I guess the bottom line is that these trails are for everyone, not just those of us that don't mind getting dirty. There are plenty of trails at WTA that you can easily get a 30 or 35 mile ride in. Please don't ride closed trails.


Gregg


Offline northbkr1

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Re: Trail closures
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2008, 11:20:19 PM »
Both GOOD answers Garry and Gregg. If more people would stop ignoring trail closed signs  and stop riding wet trails we could spend more time ( riding time that we give up for trail work) building new trails instead of fixing existing trails.

Offline moose7

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Re: Trail closures
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2008, 07:16:15 AM »
Thanks for the responses but still, with regards to Flatwoods and MB.... Those particular trails were ridden hard before Swamp or any other person ever thought of trail maintainance and they look exactly the same today. The trails built in those parks are generally tight single track and there is no where to go around a mud hole or a submerged trail. Do not get me wrong. I think that trail work out there is good but I have witnessed swamp group rides going around the closure signs and I was a participant in last years mud fest Squiggy race put on by Swamp. My point I am making is...if I drive 20 miles to those parks and the trails are closed due to some mud here and there, that is bs. If you guys are going to be the trail stewards please live by your own rules. I am not the only person concerned about this. Others at the trailhead during the weekdays are complaining about trails being closed for minimum water or light mud.

Offline moose7

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Re: Trail closures
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2008, 07:21:53 AM »
Check out the forum back in May posted by Sandpine. That is what I read. Obviously people were riding on closed trails or trails that were submerged under water.

Offline Gregg

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Re: Trail closures
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2008, 08:30:14 AM »
There is no doubt that the Squiggy event was muddy and wet. It was questionable whether those trails (gatorbait and indian) should have been open; however, both trails were closed after the race for some time to give them the opportunity to recover from the damage. Had they not been chances are they would have taken a lot of manpower to repair.

I am with you in the belief that the wet and muddy conditions of that day were part of the fun a challenge.


As to the Swamp rides that were guided into closed trails. I would like to know the circumstances of that. Remember the Tuesday night ride is not guided, just because the person up front doesn't care about the rules, then that doesn't me that you should follow.

As I mentioned. If you have seen me ride into a closed trail, It is to check the trail out. I report back to the ranger and either the trail is reopened or not.

I am not sure which thread you are talking about with Sandpine. I know that he would not intentionally ride an closed trail.

I am not sure exactly how long that Swamp has been maintaining the trails out there, but it is in excess of 10 years.

Offline KRUNNCHERO

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Re: Trail closures
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2008, 08:41:46 AM »
Not to divert the topic at hand, but I personally only ride at Alafia. That being said, I do not have an issue with a trail being closed. It is just like Jeeping up North, if there is a tank trap in front of a trail...you do not drive over it. However, I have a problem when a perfectly difficult and exciting trail is nuked. Yes, brake dragging and rain make the "erosion" worse, but it by no means should constitute the trail being nuked so that even a newbie on an entry level XC bike could do it. I really hope I am not flamed for this, but in my "opinion", some of the harder portions at Alafia should be just that, hard portions. If you cannot manage or do not have the bike to take on said trails, then don't do them. There are plenty of easy trails at Alafia to do, but far and few are there hard/technical trails to do.

On the topic of erosion, sometimes a little bit of controlled erosion can make a trail a very fun place to ride. That being said and I personally would be willing to work with anyone on this, but if a trail has a sole purpose of being a hard trail. Then please let me or someone who wants to work on those trails specifically fix the erosion in a manner that doesn’t nuke the trail. I guess I would call it, controlled erosion.

As state above, I will gladly step forward and help take care of those more difficult trails because that is what I come to Alafia to do and that is why I purchased the year pass as well as my Swamp membership. I love Alafia and it is the reason I am there EVERY weekend Saturday and Sunday riding them.

Now, last part of my post, I promise. With what was said above, I would like to say that I do appreciate the care and grooming that Swamp routinely takes care of out there. I notice it everyday I am out there. More often then not, when it is not groomed, I am smacked in the face with LOTS of branches and down trees. Therefore, on a more positive and hopefully non-flammable post, I appreciate what you do. I just want to help keep some of the more difficult trails, difficult. If need be, maintain them myself or with a group of people who like a harder challenge. We can setup some sort of warning or sign that lets riders know of the difficulty of the trail and what they accept by doing it.

I am only providing my feedback and opinion of Alafia and apologize if this diverts the topic, but I felt it kind of fit the topic at hand. If anyone of you would like to discuss this matter over the phone or in person, I will be at Alafia this weekend as usual Saturday and Sunday. Just let me know.

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Kristopher
We continuously seek feedback from you as to how we can improve our policies and procedures since our primary goal is to act in partnership with you. If you have any questions or need to report any problems on the SWAMP forum, please send me a PM and I will get back with you ASAP.

Offline Garry

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Re: Trail closures
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2008, 09:48:48 AM »
Thanks for the responses but still, with regards to Flatwoods and MB.... Those particular trails were ridden hard before Swamp or any other person ever thought of trail maintainance and they look exactly the same today. The trails built in those parks are generally tight single track and there is no where to go around a mud hole or a submerged trail. Do not get me wrong. I think that trail work out there is good but I have witnessed swamp group rides going around the closure signs and I was a participant in last years mud fest Squiggy race put on by Swamp. My point I am making is...if I drive 20 miles to those parks and the trails are closed due to some mud here and there, that is bs. If you guys are going to be the trail stewards please live by your own rules. I am not the only person concerned about this. Others at the trailhead during the weekdays are complaining about trails being closed for minimum water or light mud.

We have great trails to ride because of SWAMP's efforts and the steward program.  Some land managers in other areas close trails indefinitely.  Luckily we have a great rapport with the land managers here and follow their advice and instruction in return for the trust they have in us to maintain the trail systems.  What you may see as BS we see as following the rules on property we DO NOT OWN.  We are guests on the property and allowed to have quite a bit of leeway in the design and structure of the trails.  With that comes responsibility to maintain a certain standard and condition of those trails.  I will take TEMPORARY closure of a trail that needs to heal over land managers stepping in and CLOSING the thing outright.  There will always be people who feel they have the in alienable right to ride whatever they feel like whenever they feel like. I know this because we have often had to sit down with the land managers and address that damage with dialogue so they don't close the trail period. I hear ya' - driving some distance to find a certain trail closed is no fun, but it is part of what makes the whole system work, and it is only TEMPORARY.  Please try to understand the whole picture.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2008, 10:08:00 AM by Garry »

Offline Harvey

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Re: Trail closures
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2008, 10:31:49 AM »
Thanks for the responses but still, with regards to Flatwoods and MB.... Those particular trails were ridden hard before Swamp or any other person ever thought of trail maintainance and they look exactly the same today.
Just curious, but how long have you been riding out there? I ask because back in the mid 90s every trail at Wilderness Parks was 12" wide singletrack. Now most of them (except the newer ones) are like riding down my driveway.

It was also back in the early 90s, before any of the trails there were "legal" that SWAMP kept them open when faced with permanent closure by the land managers. Without their efforts, there would be no trails to ride there, at least legally.

Offline moose7

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Re: Trail closures
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2008, 03:03:25 PM »
Thanks guys for helping me understand your side of things. With regards to Harvey, I along with a few others rode out at Morris bridge and Flatwoods in 1990. Have been riding there ever since. The trails look almost the same. Any serious damage or widening of the trails at those particular spots are primarily caused by wild pigs, not a bike or hiker. I am not stating that we should all just go crazy and ride, hike, run or whatever on muddy trails, I am simply stating that, in my opinion, the trails at these locations get closed for some standing water. Other places such as Boyette and Alafia trails remain open in these conditions and get tore up. I see what I see and it does not make sense for a park ranger at Morris bridge to ride a 4-wheeler down the trails to see if they need to be closed?? Talk about widening trails? Anyways, thanks to all of you that do work on the trails. Remember that these parks are multi-use trails and other less damaging also like to use them.

Offline eclark

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Re: Trail closures
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2008, 06:42:29 PM »
this response is to kris about alafia.
 I talked to you the other day, actually, this past saturday at the workday.  If you want to provide any input about the trails, show up at the next one to work.  That is the only way you can reasonably expect anyone to listen to your concerns about the trail.  I hope to see you there, it is Oct 4th, I already put it on my calender. 
  That being said, I see no hard trails that have been nuked into submission.  I see a rainy season that destroyed trails left and right, and people had to fill in big ruts to make trails passable.  Please listen to my stupid story about it. 
  Shelleys loop has a very hard climb in the back.  Over the course of the summer, it developed a nice lip at the top, but then it became huge, 2 ft straight up of root heaven.  That was still cool to me, my crew was out there one day running a train trying to get up it, maybe one of us made it, so its borderline impossible, but still cool.  Then a huge rain comes, now there is a 3 ft gully going right smack down the middle of it, it looked like a cave that would fit a bear.  I saw it, it was unpassable, seriously.  Plus, now the rut threatens to cave the tree that holds all of it together, the hill would have fallen down.  So the entire section had to be excavated, back filled with big rocks, which don't just appear by the way, they get gathered, then find good dirt and bring it over to fill in around the rock.  So the trail was rebuilt, but as a baby, with soft skin and a lot of baby fat.  But more rain and however many people ride it every weekend will turn it back into a beast again in a few rides. 
  Last workday, I filled in a little drop at the end of moonscape last week, it hurt me but it had to be done.  The root that had been the lip of the drop was exposed, hanging almost a foot beyond where the dirt now ended.  If we cut the root, the section melts into dust, plus I hate to cut roots.  I killed the drop and built a little rock shelf on the left.  It sucked but had to be done.  I tried to keep it interesting though, there is still a fun line or two. 
  Art and swamp did a lot of the work for a long time with little help from those of us that do ride and rip the hard trails, and we all looked like tools for that.  But that is changed now, and every workday people that I ride gatorback with show up to labor.  Come out and ride one Sunday with me and slowfatguy, and art if he can make it because he actually is a bike badass.  We will see if we like you and decide to let you come do slave labor next workday.  Seriously though, I can't ride with you this sunday, as I have been invited to go ride Mr Cottons trail, but lets try to get together next weekend. 
  And thats right people, I got invited to ride Mr Cottens trails!!!!   WooooHoooooo!!!   
 erik
« Last Edit: September 13, 2008, 09:26:18 AM by Garry »

Offline Garry

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Re: Trail closures
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2008, 07:07:49 PM »
Boyette has a workday tomorrow morning.  There is new stuff waiting to be built.  There is old stuff waiting to be fixed and trimmed.  If you have a few hours of free time stop on out and help them.  RSVP to trails at swampclub dot org.  There is plenty of work to be done before the Fat Tire Fest.  I'm out of action for the next few months but I am working at making more workdays accessible so we can get more work done.

Offline Gregg

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Re: Trail closures
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2008, 08:41:08 PM »
ALLTrails at Flatwoods/Morris Bridge/Trout Creek are now OPEN! I have a mark on my arm the shape of one of the signs to prove it

Gator Bait is in ok shape, there are still a few standing puddles ( one with an unusual shade of green foamy stuff), but it is easy to navigate around.

Indian also has a couple of puddles that are also easy to get around. There are currently 3 trees that are down that you will need to dismount to get around, or under. I have called Ken, he said he would get the rangers out to cut them.

All of the other trails are in really good shape. Unfortunately sand is starting to show back up.

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Re: Trail closures
« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2008, 09:46:50 PM »
We got a nice shower tonite, the trails should be packed nicely tomorrow :)

 

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