Trail Maintenance Update: July 2018

July is a difficult time for trail maintenance: the heat has turned the dirt to dust, driven the fire risk too high to run power tools, and  sapped out energy before we even start working. Never-the-less we’ve kept going, and, with the help of several new team members, we’ve been able to get a lot of work done this month.

New Team Members

This month we welcomed three new members to the team. Jonis and Troy both returned for their second summer with the trail crew via the snappily named Squamish Nation Summer Student Career Placement program. At the same time Henry joined us for his first summer here from New Zealand.

Jonis and Troy

Jonis and Troy on one of the bridges they helped build on the new Griz reroute.

As part of getting the new team members up to speed, and helping the rest of us brush up our skills, AJ from IMBA Canada was good enough to spend a day with us early in this month giving a class on the fundamentals of trail building. After a morning in the classroom with some really useful theory we took class out to the trails and worked on one of the more eroded corners on the new SOT exit, using the abundant rock to build a seriously solid retaining wall and catch berm that’ll be getting nice and rough and in character about now!

Henry and AJ laying rock

Henry and AJ laying rocks on the SOT new exit.

Reroutes

With the dry soil, high temperatures, and fire risk all limiting our options we’ve been putting a lot of time into several new reroutes this month, on both The Griz and Hot Tuna. On the Griz we’re building a new section of trail to replace one of the steeper and rougher sections of the existing alignment. Work here is very mixed, with short sections of beautiful dirt right below the duff followed by long sections of nothing but bedrock to work with!

The early stages of a bridge build

Andrew framing up a bridge over bedrock while Zen dog tries to stay cool.

Fresh turns on the Griz

Fresh turns on a dirt section of the Griz

Full water bottles by a stream.

Water runs become essential work in this heat!

On Hot Tuna we’ve been helping build a series of optional reroutes around the gaps for those who prefer to keep their wheels on the ground. Here we’ve been fortunate enough to have help from the kids attending the inaugural Squamish Mountain Bike Program camps who have come out for two days so far to learn about trail building, and give back to the trail network. They’re taking on the bottom of the three reroutes, and will be working away at it with us over the course of the summer.

Learning the basics of trail work.

Some of the kids from the SMBP learning how to remove duff for sustainable, predictable trails.

SMBP kids and coaches carrying a rock with Troy.

Troy helping SMBP kids and coaches learn to move large rocks safely with a rock sling.

A nest of critters

This nest of critters was found in a rotten log we were clearing. We quickly recovered the nest and left that log there for now.

Brushing

We did manage to get a fair amount of brushing done over the last month before we got shut down by the fire risk, with Panda climb, Brodown, Throwdown, Cheshire Cat exit (with help from STS), and Fools Gold / Another Man’s Gold all getting cleared.

Freshly brushed Panda Climb

A freshly brushed Panda Climb

Thanks

Big thanks this month goes to Commencal Canada who loaned us two beautiful Metas so that Jonis and Troy could join the Commencal / Backcountry Social ride, get to sample the trails they work all summer to build, and experience the amazing bike community we have here.

Jonis riding a Commencal Meta

Jonis was pretty stoked to get to ride Half Nelson on a Commencal Meta.

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