Keep in mind that Builders Academy uses the IMBA Trail Solutions book as a guideline and reference, and the deadman log is cited as a possible solution for unstable trail beds where other techniques may not be successful. The book's suggestions are not always the best application in our local terrain, and the curriculum is constantly being updated. Your comments are much appreciated, Thad!
IMBA trail solutions book is based on the USFS trail guidelines. It covers the same info, but with an emphasis on solutions that work well for bikes, ex. knicks and rolling grade dips instead of waterbars. The most recent revision of the USFS trail guide added "Trail Solutions" to their bibliography.
There is a wealth of good information in there on bridge design, strength and rot resistance of native trees, geotextiles, etc, etc.
"Why write another trail construction and maintenance guide? Good question. Since publication of the first edition of the "Trail Construction and Maintenance Notebook" in 1996, several excellent books about trail construction and maintenance have been published by the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), the Student Conservation Association (SCA), and the Appalachian Mountain Club, among others. At the same time, this notebook has remained popular, especially because of its pocket size and its wide availability through a partnership between the Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Federal Highway Administration's Recreational Trails Program.
Based on helpful critiques of our earlier edition, we made numerous changes to reflect the latest thinking about constructing and maintaining trails. Much remains from the original edition."
I like the USFS manual, because it is available FOR FREE on the web, and FOR FREE from the parks in handy back pocket booklet.
The IMBA book is $40…. I also like that it is short and sweet, under 150 pages, while the IMBA book is almost 300… I think USFS did a good job of boiling it down to the essentials.
USFS Wetland Trail Design [HTML_REMOVED] Construction; gets into more detail.
I think there is room for improvement. For instance, the "how to build DH trails" chapter of the IMBA book is about 3 pages, and essentially says "get someone who knows how to build good DH trails help you."
Stoked that the NSMBA is working on Builder's Academy and making solid trail building knowledge more accessible.