LEAVE THEM LEAVES ALONE!!!

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Re: LEAVE THEM LEAVES ALONE!!!

Postby hazbiker » December 9th, 2009, 10:50 am

Thank You!!! I've been telling people that since I've been seeing it this fall and no one seems to understand. I've seen some really good trails turn to crap because of over-grooming. So you have to slow down a little until the leaves get worked in, great time to practice your handling skills. Also I've seen some rocks being taken out that were totally ridable. They also help stop erosion too. If you can't make it over/ around something in the trail (other than a tree that's fallen across and should be cleared) instead of removing the object, learn how to ride it. If you want something with no obstacles stick to the dirt roads!
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Re: LEAVE THEM LEAVES ALONE!!!

Postby Geff » December 9th, 2009, 10:59 am

Right on Haz.
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Re: LEAVE THEM LEAVES ALONE!!!

Postby Di_bear » December 9th, 2009, 11:59 am

hazbiker wrote:So you have to slow down a little until the leaves get worked in, great time to practice your handling skills.


While I certainly love bombing around a clean trail, I have to agree with this. I tackled some technical trails at Michigan Tech in the fall of my first year riding. These trails are essentially rock garden after rock garden after rock garden. They are very cool. It was raining that whole October and there were leaves all over the trails. Needless to say, my handling skills were pretty darn good when it came time to tackle more difficult trails in Copper Harbor and Out West. Now, slick surfaces don't really phase me too much because I developed the muscle memory of riding technical terrain on wet leaves. It is an excellent skill.
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Re: LEAVE THEM LEAVES ALONE!!!

Postby Trailbanditt » December 9th, 2009, 6:56 pm

Well Im not claiming to be a expert by nomeans but I'll tell you what Ive done in the past and this year at my new trails.I rake the leaves a couple times in the early and mid fall then let the remainder of the leaves cover the trail.This seems to help the soil yet still offers a early re-entry in the spring.Half the problem with rutting is with people trying to ride to late or to early in the season.I also cover my dirt doubles and some of man made obstacles with tarps.This keeps mother nature from washing them away in the spring while im riding the skateparks during the off season..All this probably pretains to less used banditt trails and not heavy traveled ones.
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Re: LEAVE THEM LEAVES ALONE!!!

Postby fattyclark » December 17th, 2009, 10:11 am

centralRH wrote:No leaves here. If the blanket statement about leaves is true this trail should be an eroded mess in a few years due to sediment displacement.
Image

How much soil do you really think leaves build up to? I don't have any scientific studies either, but I'm guessing your same "proverbial bucket" can hold the soil. Maybe we can mix the two buckets together and make some mud :D

For some trails I don't think it matters much either way.


Part of the reasons this trail will not eroded badly are these:
    1. The root system of the plant life on both sides of the trail. I remember a trail planing day where I was looked at funny for bringing this very fact up of why we should build through here vs there.This is a key component to stream stabilization with trout unlimited for a reason.This is something I think the IMBA needs to point out and teach the benefits of.
    2. Notice the slope angle of this is hill what is it about 10 degrees or so maybe less.
    3. This looks more like a deer path that is used by MTN bikers now.Have you ever notice ho very few deer runs ever are in areas of easy erosion.
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Re: LEAVE THEM LEAVES ALONE!!!

Postby BTTAndy » January 1st, 2010, 12:03 pm

Nelg wrote:
centralRH wrote:
Jason,

I agree with you when it comes to soils that are sandy loam. As you have stated leaves or the addition of organic material will help create a more structured soil that holds together better. There are other soil situations where it doesn't really matter that much. You won't improve the structure of a nice clay soil that is packed hard. There is no place for the organic material to pack into the spaces between the clay particles.


Bingo!

Leaves at a place like Hanson Hills should be left on trail they need other material to hold the sand together. At a place like the tree farm, you may as well sweep them off as they won't be of any help. In fact, a hard packed layer of leaves creates a membrane that actually slows evaporation making it take longer to dry out in the spring or after rain.


I agree! Leave the leaves alone! Except when it comes to the tree farm. I doubt you could really "damage" that place with this simple gesture. Hey, if these guys got that kinda time thats cool! It really helps when taking people there for the first time in the fall.

Thanks Loren!! :D
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Re: LEAVE THEM LEAVES ALONE!!!

Postby mr_opjones » March 19th, 2010, 7:03 am

Loren wrote:Most but not all sections of the treefarm were cleared. IMO, there is not an appreciable difference in the current "greasiness" of the sections that were cleared and the sections that were not, but it will be interesting to watch conditions evolve over winter and spring. It's an experiment.


Any information to share on this yet loren?
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Re: LEAVE THEM LEAVES ALONE!!!

Postby Loren » March 19th, 2010, 7:38 am

Not really. As I posted in the trail conditions thread, it's still too soft to ride and there was snow and ice in shady locations as of Wed.
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Re: LEAVE THEM LEAVES ALONE!!!

Postby ibisman » March 19th, 2010, 10:16 am

even though I broke 4 ribs because of the leaves ( and my stupidity) out to Brighton last November...I say leave those leaves alone.
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Re: LEAVE THEM LEAVES ALONE!!!

Postby Loren » March 19th, 2010, 6:47 pm

So I wandered around Novi some tonight trying to decide if it helped or not...

It's feels like things dried out there earlier this year, but then it's also generally quite dry out there. The swampy areas are lower than last spring, there's not a lot of running water in the streams, and maybe it's just the weather this year that makes it feel like it dried faster. Not definitive.

I didn't clear any of the 2 track except that shared with the singletrack. In those cases, I cleared a singletrack path. The two track that I didn't clear seems softer than the path next to it that I did. The 1.9 semislick tires that I had on the bike could tell the difference, and you could see my tire tracks in the soft areas but not the cleared part, but it's not that dramatic.

There are areas where people veered off of the dry, cleared singletrack in the past few days when the ground was softer. Here's an example:
Image
This is flat ground and the trail tread is slightly lower than the surrounding ground so there shouldn't be much difference, but there is. Someone's tire sank over an inch below the level of the trail next to it. So maybe it helped in places like this.

Anyway, that's what I saw tonight. Others have many more years watching the Farm in spring than I do. Let's hear from them...
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Re: LEAVE THEM LEAVES ALONE!!!

Postby jajones » March 20th, 2010, 7:55 am

I checked out Poto trail conditions in the past couple days.

No doubt about it, sections with leaves were dry and stable. Sections that had been "swept" by the Poto's notorious "Sandman" were greasy. Tracks (foot and bike) could be seen on the swept sections, but not on the leaf covered sections.

The frost layer still isn't out everywhere. Organic debris acts as a protective layer and sponge, absorbing moisture coming out of the earth and facilitating evaporation to keep the trail dry and stable.

I've discussed this with a soil scientist from MSU who has validated the above to be true.

Removing leaves is not good for the trail tread and shouldn't be done.

Loren, I think your pictures and comments are misleading. The ground to the side of the trail is naturally softer, debris or not, as it is not a compacted section. Of course, going off to the side of the trail will be softer, leaves or no leaves.
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Re: LEAVE THEM LEAVES ALONE!!!

Postby Geff » March 20th, 2010, 3:43 pm

jajones wrote:I checked out Poto trail conditions in the past couple days.

No doubt about it, sections with leaves were dry and stable. Sections that had been "swept" by the Poto's notorious "Sandman" were greasy. Tracks (foot and bike) could be seen on the swept sections, but not on the leaf covered sections.

The frost layer still isn't out everywhere. Organic debris acts as a protective layer and sponge, absorbing moisture coming out of the earth and facilitating evaporation to keep the trail dry and stable.

I've discussed this with a soil scientist from MSU who has validated the above to be true.

Removing leaves is not good for the trail tread and shouldn't be done.

Loren, I think your pictures and comments are misleading. The ground to the side of the trail is naturally softer, debris or not, as it is not a compacted section. Of course, going off to the side of the trail will be softer, leaves or no leaves.


Thanks for this Jason! It's great. I am trying to educate the trail runners about this and conditions during this time of year for the trails and how any impact can scare their seasonal rejuvenation. Most are heeding and appreciating their new found knowledge, there are a few knuckleheads who insist to go right ahead.
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Re: LEAVE THEM LEAVES ALONE!!!

Postby Roy » March 21st, 2010, 10:08 am

I agree with Jason that we should not rake leaves off the trail. I would go 1 step further, we should not rake when we cut new trail. It just starts people thinking that a trail should be groomed.
The tree farm is a good example where not to rake. The soil contains a lot of organic material. Leaves help to build soil back and add fiber to the soft muck. If anything,we should be racking duff back on that trail in the spring. Once compacted, organic material takes a long time to break down.

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Re: LEAVE THEM LEAVES ALONE!!!

Postby dirt » March 21st, 2010, 10:10 am

Roy wrote:I agree with Jason that we should not rake leaves off the trail. I would go 1 step further, we should not rake when we cut new trail. It just starts people thinking that a trail should be groomed.


While I agree with Jason and yourself regarding the removal of leaves, how exactly would we cut trail if we didn't even start with the raking of the leaves? Plus, the duff that is removed is often what is used for closing older trail. I can't see how you would cut in the trail if you didn't remove the leaves as a first step.
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Re: LEAVE THEM LEAVES ALONE!!!

Postby Di_bear » March 21st, 2010, 8:54 pm

dirt wrote:
Roy wrote:I agree with Jason that we should not rake leaves off the trail. I would go 1 step further, we should not rake when we cut new trail. It just starts people thinking that a trail should be groomed.


While I agree with Jason and yourself regarding the removal of leaves, how exactly would we cut trail if we didn't even start with the raking of the leaves? Plus, the duff that is removed is often what is used for closing older trail. I can't see how you would cut in the trail if you didn't remove the leaves as a first step.


I agree. On the trail I'm currently building, I couldn't bench if I didn't rake away the leaves. Some sections really, really need benching because they're on the side of a hill. Other sections have to be benched because, while they're "flat" enough for riding as an intermediate trail, they are higher on the far side so water moves along the trail rather than across it. Since this requires "moving earth," the theory of leaving the leaves on the trail really doesn't apply.
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