Trail Talk #3: Gettin real

Photo courtesy Josh Davidson

Photo courtesy Josh Davidson

This past week marks a major milestone for MBoSC and the Flow Trail project. We have broken ground on segment 5 and have rough cut almost 1000 feet of trail.

While this project has been in the works for over a year, it has remained a bit of an abstraction, an imagined ribbon of rad singletrack through the woods. It has been mapped out on paper, at the center of a huge fundraising campaign, the motivating factor for training a legion of volunteer trail crew leaders, it’s been through the environmental review process, designed and redesigned in the minds of its trail builders, and prepped, groomed, and cleared by crews of inmates. But as soon as the first bucket of dirt was moved by the Morrison Trailblazer trail machine, the trail became real. It is happening, and it is so tremendous. Continue reading

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Flow Trail at Demo Weekday Volunteers Now Needed

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Photo courtesy Josh Davidson

Our rain dance worked a little too well! After this weekend’s deluge, we’ll be in dirt digging paradise. Are you available to give us a hand during the week? We could use some help this coming TUESDAY through FRIDAY (2-11 to 2-14).

If you can spend an entire day, meet us at the CAL FIRE forest office on Old San Jose Road at 8am and be prepared to stick with us until 4:30pm.

Alternatively, you can meet us out there around 8:30am at Segment 5 (see map for details). Park at Highland Way and head up Tractor until you see the orange tool box.

Not that you need the motivation to work on this highly anticipated, super sweet project, but check out these inspiring images of the work that’s recently been done out there courtesy dedicated volunteers Josh Davidson and Bogdan Marian (via mtbr).

Please RSVP to trails@mbosc.org and let Drew know if you’re meeting at the office or riding/hiking in. Continue reading

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Trail Talk #2: Keep ‘em separated

Trail corridor cleared of slash and duff.

Trail corridor cleared of slash and duff.

Last week we had the CAL FIRE conservation camp crews out for three days to clear the trail corridor on two segments of the flow trail. Segment 5, where we will begin construction, has been cleared of debris and raked down to mineral soil. Removing all of the slash and debris from our corridor leaves us with a blank canvas to work with. We can see the exact contour of the ground, we are no longer guessing where terra firma actually lies beneath all of the logging debris and thick redwood and tanoak duff. Many trailbuilders skip this step of scraping away all of the organic material down to the pure mineral soil, and flag out their trails and dig away through the duff. This saves them time (and time=money), which is a major concern for a trail contractor who may have x number of projects lined up. As our focus lies in quality rather than quantity of production, we are taking pains to bring the good people who ride Demo an A+ #1 product, which means taking the time to do the trail layout the best that we can.

Lots of people have a credo which they live by, Muslims have Allahu Akbar, moral folks have do unto others,  drinkers have liquor before beer, the fashion conscious have no plaid with stripes, Marines have Semper Fi, the British God Save the Queen,  ya know. Well we have, keep your minerals and your organics separate. All day, every day, till the day, that we die. Continue reading

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Panel Discussion Examines Unauthorized Trail Use on Campus, Draws Full Crowd

The Forest Trails Talk drew a full crowd to UCSC’s Stevenson event center on January 29th. This panel discussion examined the issue of illegal trail use on the Upper Campus. The speakers all provided unique insight into the issue, and ultimately expressed the need for cooperation between the trail user community and the university to reach a compromise to allow legitimate trail access while protecting the more sensitive habitats on Upper Campus.

Drew Perkins, MBoSC’s Trails Officer was joined by a UCSC wildlife biology professor, a UCSC Natural Reserve steward, the captain of the UCSC Mountain Bike Team, and a city of Santa Cruz Fire Fighter. Notably absent from the discussion, was a representative from the University Administration that ultimately holds the authority to address this ongoing problem.

MBoSC president Mark Davidson was pleased with the proceedings. ”It was very well attended and had exceeded my expectations. The vibe was really respectful to all points of view. I’m pretty hopeful about future dialog on this issue which can have positive regional implications. There were some other local land managers who attended and I’m sure they could recognize sense of stewardship and solutions based focus of the local mountain biking community.”

A journey of 1,000 miles begins with one step. Thanks to Hilltromper for helping to organize this event and drive the dialogue on this issue in a respectful and non-confrontational manner.

For additional coverage of the Forest Trails Talk, read Traci Hukill’s excellent and comprehensive account Hope for Solutions at Trails Talk. Also be sure to check out Survey: Mountain Bikers and Upper UCSC.

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Trail Talk #1: Trail Layout

MBoSC Trails Officer / Flow Trail at Demo Construction Manager Drew Perkins and MBoSC Trail Builder Matt De Young flag the flow trail alignment. Photo courtesy Elliot Wilkinson-Ray.

MBoSC Trails Officer / Flow Trail at Demo Construction Manager Drew Perkins and MBoSC Trail Builder Matt De Young flag the flow trail alignment. Photo courtesy Elliot Wilkinson-Ray.

In anticipation of receiving the stamp of approval on our CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) document, and the green light to begin trail construction, Drew and I have been out refining the trail alignment on several segments of the Flow Trail. We are preparing for CAL FIRE Ben Lomond Conservation Camp crews to come out to clear the trail corridor to allow for machine construction. As much of the trail passes through a timber harvest area, this is no small task. Much of the trail alignment is buried in a tangle of slash, all the leftover materials from logging, which must be cleared before the fine flagging of the trail alignment can occur. Continue reading

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