I receive a lot of offers of help from trail users who would like to lend a hand in trail construction. It amazes me that so many people want to help. When working on the Flume Trail or the Tahoe Rim Trail, we get a lot of thanks and very few offers of help.
If I were to put it into numbers I would say 5% of the users I see on the Flume or TRT ask if they can help. Compare that to 98% of the users I see in Ash Canyon who want to help. This indicates to me that our trail users are hungry for more trails.
Though I want and need help, and I realize there are many of you who want to help, I’m still trying to figure out how to manage what few trails we have on the west side. With sheep grazing in the hills, I don’t feel comfortable working around and possibly interfering with the sheepherder’s job.
Consider this, last year at this time the Creek Trail didn’t exist and there were only a few users in the Canyon. Now not only does the sheepherder have to watch out for bears, mountain lions, and coyotes, he has to deal with a large increase in human and K-9 traffic.
After the sheep leave the area I will organize, for those who are interested, trail building field trips in and around Ash Canyon.
The first field trip will most likely be a hike where I’ll identify areas that need attention and explain what needs to be done to stabilize the trail. I know that might sound a little boring, but before I put a tool into the ground, I sometimes analyze an area for weeks before I commit to building, re-routing, or repairing trail.
I also consult with three people who have more extensive knowledge of trail building; including soils, drainage, and trail flow issues. Their advice is invaluable.
The Creek Trail is a fairly well planned trail (the upper section anyway), and there is a reason for every feature on it. The trail has a few problems I need to correct, but for the most part it’s pretty decent. I mention this because we are at an important juncture in our quest for trails in Ash Canyon. We are about to transition from user created trails to professionally built trails, so I believe it is imperative that all of us interested in trail construction coordinate our efforts.
Since the upper section of the Creek Trail will more than likely be incorporated into the King’s Canyon to Ash Canyon Trail alignment, it will serve as a representation of what the KC to AC trail will look like. This means when the Forest Service takes a walk on the Creek Trail, they’ll be looking to see if the trail builder knows what he/she (I’ve been called both) is doing. This is important, because the Forest Service knows what to look for (erosion, flow, speed control, average grade), and a well built and maintained trail will show them we mean business.
So for everyone that would like to help build trails in Carson City here are few very important things you can do:
I.M.B.A– If you’re not already a member, you should be. Check out their resources page and read all the trail building info you can.
Tahoe Rim Trail– Outstanding organization which maintains one of the coolest trails in the world, and it’s in our backyard. They offer plenty of opportunities throughout the summer for you to get trail building experience, and they
provide training classes for those who want to get involved. On their website you can sign up for crew leader training for the May16-18 trail class. I’ll be there. (I don’t know everything, I only think I do.)
Muscle Powered– We are not offering training yet, but we are leading the charge to bring trails to the Capital City. Join Now!
I.M.B.A.’s Guide to Building Sweet Singletrack– This book may be all you need to
get started, but read it and understand it thoroughly before you bring your tools to the trail.
Natural Surface Trails By Design– Troy Scott Parker’s book is essential reading. I promise you’ll never look at trails the same way again.
Free Publications– Your tax dollars at work
After reading these publications, go to the Ash Canyon trails and identify what was done right and what was done wrong, and what would you do to improve it?
The more we educate ourselves in how to construct and maintain trails, the sooner we will be able to complete our trails after receiving final approval.