2 fingers for me. :)
That's what she said
The MOST important thing to understand about trail design is sheet flow and drainage.
Rain falls over the entire hillside. Some is adsorbed by plants, and it slowly sinks through the organic duff and humus, and hits the hard pan, and begins sheeting under the organic layer slowly downhill, until it hits a drainage, and becomes a creek.
Water flows downhill, duh, so lower mountain receives all of the rainfall that has drained from upper mountain.
O- organic horizon: Duff, or plant litter. Undecomposed plant matter
We also have "red rot" decomposing hemlock, cedar, and doug fir. This is mulch. It holds water and does not compact. Super fun to slide corners in for the first 6 months, but quickly turns into blown out, swampy mess.
Humus - dark, organic soil
Subsoil, mineral or "gold" dirt. This is where the water stops absorbing, and starts sheeting.
Another thing to think about is local rainfall amounts and canopy. You are going to have a lot more energy or flow in an open meadow area then an area with a thick canopy above creating a little bit more of a filter. This does a lot here in Flagstaff, maybe not so much where you guys are at.
You are right, fall line can be sustainable if several criteria are met:
There is adequate drainage before the fall section to keep water flow away from the trail and,
1: the line is bedrock, or totally armoured with massive rock.
2: the line is smooth, uninterrupted and ends with either a grade reversal or a berm to change your direction while minimising braking.
There are a few spots where this is done very well, but the line choice has to be made very carefully when implementing a section like this, and these thoughts were not in existence when the shore trails were first cut.
Just to add to the disclosure statement that Woodro suggested; I've been digging with the NSMBA, BMBA, FVMBA and TORCC for 6 years, leading on some trail days. I'm currently helping Heckler on Pangor with the MuddBunnies, and Chris (who is working on Executioner) and I have built new trail which has held up to BC weather and the required drainage, and is still fun and technical.
Obviously you have experience building. I liked that armchair builder comment. I have been dealing with the same issues trying to convince my friends and other local riders that we CAN build challenging trails that are also sustainable here in Flagstaff, AZ. I am working on the final steps for our initial proposal for the Forrest Service and we are finishing up our NEPA study this year so if all goes well we should be building next spring! This is a BIG deal down here in the states so I am very excited! Also, those side walks you folks are complaining about is just the way to develop well built tread, the singletrack will be back as the forest grows back in and the lines are beaten in, that complaint is common with the inexperienced.
What's the length and vert? Would it run in winter for bc skiing access? And……why just xc trails? Why not dh and fr? Seems like it would make sense. Sounds cool to me, Euro style lift access is pretty cool imho.
Awesome! Thanks for putting these together. I love learning about the history of the sports I love, especially in such legendary locations like the Shore. Keep em coming!
Rad! Part 2? Yes please.
If Flagstaff were in Canada,I would live there
Me too. I am envious of you guys no doubt. We have NOTHING like what you have up there. If anything we are learning everything from you guys. Way to lay the pavement for the rest of us! Much thanks! Things are changing down here in the states but it has been a long road.
The riding is right out of town. It is usually under snow by December but during the driest years can be ridable most of the winter. I have been here for 10 years and the only winter like that was 2006 so don't count on it. The city of Flagstaff averages 110 inches of snow at 7k and the trails start on Mt. Elden at 9400k. Luckily though if the snow sucks for skiing we can just drive 45 minutes south and drop off the edge of the Colorado Plateau into Sedona which sits at 4300k and averages only about 6 inches of snow a year. Sedona has riding year round on red dirt and sandstone formations. Check out my other post. This place is a year round riding meca and with the current work we are doing for advocacy the legal fr/dh riding opportunities are only going to be getting better!
I enjoyed that. Hard to know where the trail goes in some places I imagine.
Do you guys get cacti punctures all the time? I bet cactus quills or whatever are always leaping up and ruining rides.
Nope, not in Sedona anyhow. I ride with dh tubes and tires so the prickly pare is not an issue.