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#331016 - 01/13/08 06:09 AM Work Needed at City Park
Greg Offline
Vet AMSA Director

Registered: 12/18/00
Posts: 1277
Loc: Austin, TX
The CTTA and AMSA, both Austin clubs, had a work day today at Emma Long City Park where thirteen people showed up to clean up the main loop. With all the rain last winter and spring there was plenty of new growth that needed to be trimmed from over the trail. Thanks to everyone who showed up for that!

We don't have another work party scheduled, but we do have a request for some repairs. The park manager would like someone to repair some of the hardest groups of ledges so that people will stop making bypasses around them. I have argued against this in the past because the park is what it is and people who need bypasses might not belong there in the first place. The reality is that those people are going there anyway and they're making bypasses around whatever they can't ride. Whatever can be done to stop it needs to be done. The end result would be that more people could enjoy the park trail without feeling like they just did a lap of the Last Man Standing.

For those who don't know what the situation is like, the singletrack trail will reach a climb that has become a series of high ledges. People ride the sides of the ledges where they are the easiest, and over the decades those spots have widened to tens of feet wide. Then people start going into the woods to go up the dirt hillside and avoid the ledges altogether. The problem is that making new trail like that at City Park is illegal and it's the kind of behavior that has gotten the illegal trails and the sections of trail leading to and from the illegal trails closed for ten years in order to grow back.

This work would involve strategically placing large rocks to make an easier line up the climbs. We'd need to use some kind of cement or whatever the forest service uses like that so the ramps or small steps that are created with the large rocks will stay in place for a long time.

The results of this work would have high visibility and it needs to look like a professional job or we just won't do it. It'll be way too much work to be wasted if we do it wrong. Anybody have any experience doing this kind of trail maintenance?

Greg

P.S. The book I have that was written to be the guidebook for the people maintaining the Appalachian Trail has some good techniques described but they aren't exactly what we need for this work.

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#331017 - 01/15/08 04:41 AM Re: Work Needed at City Park [Re: Greg]
tracetrimble Offline
Gang Boss

Registered: 01/12/04
Posts: 312
Loc: Austin
Greg, I understand your position in the matter, and I certainly appreciate all the work you do for the local riding spots. That said, I don't like this at all. I think mortaring a few rocks (like 10 total for the whole trail) in a few key tough spots is fine, but I'm completely against any major sanitization of the trail. I almost think I'd rather see PAVED go-arounds on the hardest climbs.

This reminded me - I'm curious why the trail has been recently moved to the left at the climb right before the EMS point #2? That is/was one of my favorite sections.

Again, I know this isn't your choice, and you're just being helpful as usual.

Just my 2 cents...
_________________________
Trace
TORCS #598 Open A, KTM 300XC
www.powersportparts.net #iridedunlop #lucaslegion #twinair #leatt #spyoptic #hookit

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#331018 - 01/15/08 01:40 PM Re: Work Needed at City Park [Re: tracetrimble]
DeeKay Offline
Hall of Fame

Registered: 02/09/01
Posts: 1149
Loc: DeeKay Island
Hetz and I noticed this "illegal reroute." We saw many reroutes that appear to be made by mountain bikers.

The limestone has eroded in areas and some trail maintenance is in order. Doesn't have to be a "freeway" but making a more passable line if for only the smaller wheel bikes seems reasonable.

We need to work with the City to block ILLEGAL REROUTES...and post signs that illegal reroutes will not be allowed.

Deekay
_________________________
I was EXTREME....
Before Extreme was cool!

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#331019 - 01/15/08 05:28 PM Re: Work Needed at City Park [Re: DeeKay]
tracetrimble Offline
Gang Boss

Registered: 01/12/04
Posts: 312
Loc: Austin
Furthermore, about a month ago someone had piled up cedar logs in the regular route at that spot, but last weekend the logs had been removed and the main route sign had been moved. I don't get it.

That same spot is one of the prime candidates for a couple big rocks, though. The way it is now, it's almost impossible for anything but a trials bike to hop the first big ledge without something more to work with.
_________________________
Trace
TORCS #598 Open A, KTM 300XC
www.powersportparts.net #iridedunlop #lucaslegion #twinair #leatt #spyoptic #hookit

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#331020 - 01/15/08 09:10 PM Re: Work Needed at City Park [Re: tracetrimble]
Greg Offline
Vet AMSA Director

Registered: 12/18/00
Posts: 1277
Loc: Austin, TX
All good points - keep 'em coming!

My original position when this came up about a year ago was that if they can't ride the ledges they should ride elsewhere. That would keep the traffic down and reduce the wear on the trail. I still think that would be best. Just as I don't like to mountain bike at Muleshoe Bend because it's non-technical and boring, some people don't like to ride at City Park because it's technical and hard. Maybe I should make some illegal reroutes at Muleshoe Bend so I can have more of a challenge when I ride there. That's the mentality we're up against.

We shouldn't even have to think about this issue except for the, ahem, "riders" who insist on riding at City Park time and time again when they cannot actually ride the loop. They don't care what's legal. Who is going to catch them? So the next best thing would be to make it so they don't feel the need to make reroutes. Oh, without ruining the challenges that make it such a great place for the rest of us.

The way Albert put it, he'd like an easier line up the worst ledges so people wouldn't be motivated to make reroutes. It wouldn't have to be the whole width of the trail at the ledges, just an easy line and leave the rest of the section alone. I'm guessing it would mostly be the most outside, sweeping line that would get altered but it would have to be determined on a case by case basis. You're right, it's probably something like ten locations that need work.

We could do a trial run with a small crew in a couple of hours. We could alter one bad set of ledges, block off the existing reroutes, and just wait a few months to see how it works. The spot you mentioned would be good because we could drop off stuff like cement, big rocks, tools, and wheelbarrows at the side of the road at the EMS entrance, right by the work site.

Greg

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#331021 - 01/15/08 09:18 PM Re: Work Needed at City Park [Re: Greg]
DeeKay Offline
Hall of Fame

Registered: 02/09/01
Posts: 1149
Loc: DeeKay Island
I concur Greg. And would just reiterate we need to post signs at the points of "illegal" routing that these paths are against the rules and hurt our relationship to the Park Manger.

A simplified path is a fine addition. Not everyone has the technical skills to get up multiple 2-3 foot ledges. Making some cemented rocks at strategic locations seems pretty reasonable to me.
_________________________
I was EXTREME....
Before Extreme was cool!

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#331022 - 02/21/08 11:50 PM Re: Work Needed at City Park [Re: Greg]
oldnewbie Offline
Gang Daddy

Registered: 05/29/05
Posts: 497
Loc: Andice, Tx.

In reply to:

All good points - keep 'em coming!

My original position when this came up about a year ago was that if they can't ride the ledges they should ride elsewhere. That would keep the traffic down and reduce the wear on the trail. I still think that would be best. Just as I don't like to mountain bike at Muleshoe Bend because it's non-technical and boring, some people don't like to ride at City Park because it's technical and hard. Maybe I should make some illegal reroutes at Muleshoe Bend so I can have more of a challenge when I ride there. That's the mentality we're up against.

We shouldn't even have to think about this issue except for the, ahem, "riders" who insist on riding at City Park time and time again when they cannot actually ride the loop. They don't care what's legal. Who is going to catch them? So the next best thing would be to make it so they don't feel the need to make reroutes. Oh, without ruining the challenges that make it such a great place for the rest of us.

The way Albert put it, he'd like an easier line up the worst ledges so people wouldn't be motivated to make reroutes. It wouldn't have to be the whole width of the trail at the ledges, just an easy line and leave the rest of the section alone. I'm guessing it would mostly be the most outside, sweeping line that would get altered but it would have to be determined on a case by case basis. You're right, it's probably something like ten locations that need work.

We could do a trial run with a small crew in a couple of hours. We could alter one bad set of ledges, block off the existing reroutes, and just wait a few months to see how it works. The spot you mentioned would be good because we could drop off stuff like cement, big rocks, tools, and wheelbarrows at the side of the road at the EMS entrance, right by the work site.

Greg





Maybe I'm wrong here but isn't this a "public" riding area? It seems to me the trials guys have brain washed the parks dept. into thinking this should be a trials park not a trails park. From reading about the man who donated the land for this I'm sure this is not what was intended.
Make it so difficult that if you can't ride it you should go home? Pretty elitist attitude if you ask me.
In my opinion You absolutely should have to think about this issue. What is wrong with making the park enjoyable for more than the 8 trials riders that use it now?
Are you sure the folks that go around don't care? Or do they not have a choice as the trails are one way and they have gotten into a situation that is over their riding ablilty?
Just my 2 cents worth as I don't ride the park, ( don't wanna go round the marked trails and prob. can't muscle my 450f around it.)
I understand you 8 guys don't wanna lose your trials area by opening it up so regular guys can ride here, (and can understand not wanting to deal with some of the more undesireable issues that come with more people)
In short lol I say do your best to leave it hard with optional bail out spots for us dweebs.

_________________________
WORK HARDER!!! Millions on welfare are counting on you.
Round Rock Plumber

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#331023 - 02/22/08 01:29 PM Re: Work Needed at City Park [Re: oldnewbie]
tracetrimble Offline
Gang Boss

Registered: 01/12/04
Posts: 312
Loc: Austin
Since I posted against trail sanitization, I guess it's worth stating now that I don't ride a trials bike, I ride a regular dirtbike (see sig) and sometimes a mountain bike out there.
_________________________
Trace
TORCS #598 Open A, KTM 300XC
www.powersportparts.net #iridedunlop #lucaslegion #twinair #leatt #spyoptic #hookit

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#331024 - 02/22/08 02:50 PM Re: Work Needed at City Park [Re: oldnewbie]
Dave Offline
AMSA Gang Boss

Registered: 02/13/01
Posts: 2349
Loc: Spicewood
Dan, I think you might have misunderstood Greg and the trials group. Yes, Greg is a trials rider and he happens to be the current CTTA (trials) club pres., but Greg is also on the BOD for AMSA and he rides a KTM out at CP too. CTTA and AMSA recently had an official trail work day and both clubs represented well. CTTA and AMSA are committed to helping maintain and improve City Park motorcycle trails for all users. The trails have gotten harder and more dangerous over the years from use and erosion. Those trails have been in use for 30+ years. We want to help make the riding area safer and more enjoyable for the average rider and hopefully decrease the number of emergency calls to the area. The improvements are coming that I am sure everyone will like, be it trials riders, trail riders, or MTBers (wow, did I just say MTBers?).
_________________________
Dave
Austin MotoSports Association


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#331025 - 02/22/08 04:21 PM Re: Work Needed at City Park [Re: Dave]
Greg Offline
Vet AMSA Director

Registered: 12/18/00
Posts: 1277
Loc: Austin, TX
Thanks Dave. You're right on all counts.

There have been really strict rules about doing any trail maintenance out there. You aren't even supposed to possess trail cutting tools unless you are there on a park-sanctioned trail work day. Making bypasses around the hard parts is specifically forbidden. People have done extensive, unapproved, cutting in the past and there are signs and fences blocking portions of the trail for ten years while they recover from the trail work. The parks dept. is serious about the rules.

Yet, the hard parts have gotten harder over the years.

A friend told me he used to ride the loop on a dirt bike with his girlfriend on the back. I was impressed! But he said 20 years ago there were few ledges and they were short. Now there are over a dozen sets of ledges with each ledge in the set over a foot high. They are so close together you have to carry a wheelie over several and ride them on the back wheel to go right up. It's fun to ride them if you can do it but the percentage of people who can negotiate such an obstacle is low. The alternative is working as a team to get the bikes up. So bypasses get made by bushwhacking or by illegal use of loppers etc.

People come out there on their dual-sport bikes or their brand new dirt bikes because it's the closest free place to ride. They don't know anything about CTTA, AMSA, clubs, rules, protective gear - nada. They get out on the loop and "holy crap" they're in trouble!

What to do?

That so many of the trials riders even care is a mystery to me. We don't even ride the main loop for fun. We just use it to get to some of the trials sections. Most of the time we ride in the creek beds that are off the main loop.

When we have our annual two-day state trials event there, one of our many concerns is getting the novice riders around the loop to get to the sections. Even on a trials bike, it takes considerable skill to get around the loop.

The CTTA trials club simply wants to help so that the park can stay open. More traffic makes absolutely no difference because the dirt bikers will never spend time where we are.

The AMSA club wants to help for a different reason. We (AMSA now) want more people to be able to ride someplace close to town. But it needs to be safer for that to become possible.

The plan is to use some of the existing bypasses and make some new ones, but to "harden" them so they don't become an extension of the hard section they were intended to replace. We'll leave the hard ledges there for the hard core.

It is amazing to think we have top-level MTBers living here who can ride the whole loop without getting off the bike! When I ride my bicycle there I carry it a lot, both up and down. And we have some excellent dirt bikers who ride there frequently too. Trace and his friends have undoubtedly upped their skill level by practicing there. It's a piece of cake on a trials bike and the best place I know of to ride one, mainly because of all the great sections that the trials riders have built over the last 20-plus years. There are over a hundred of them hidden in the woods that you could ride right past and you wouldn't even recognize them as something that anyone used.

It's really a great place to ride and all the groups who use it get along pretty well. It's the only city-owned park in the country that is for motorcycles. If you've never ridden here, you should give it a try. It's really a unique place that just needs some TLC now to keep it attractive for a long time to come.

Greg

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