Sunday, February 11, 2007


Today was a trail work day at the new Raystown Lake trail project. The nested loop trail system is a collaborative effort between the US Army Corps of Engineers, IMBA, local bike clubs (RMBA, NMBA, LHORBA, and MBM), as well as other stakeholders (Southern Alleghenies Planning and Development Commission, Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau, and Juniata College). The project encompasses multiuse trails of varying levels of difficulty for mountain biking, cross country skiing, trail running, and hiking.

The goal for the day was to use handheld GPS devices, clinometers, and topographical maps to ribbon the trail corridor as it had been previously laid out by IMBA trail professionals. The trail corridors had been designed on a computer and the GPS cooridinates, or waypoints, were downloaded into the handheld units. We would use these to keep us on the right "track". The clinometers were used to "shoot" the grade. They optically measure the % grade between two points. IMBA recommends keeping trail gradients below 15% up or down; however, the local soil composition assessment indicated that the soil may not support grades in excess of 10%. So we would attempt to stay below 10% in this area (making singlespeeders around the state rejoice).

At first, the work was slow going as Clark Fisher of Laurel Highlands Off-Road Bicycling Association (LHORBA) patiently showed us how to interpret the maps and use the equipment. Soon enough though, we were rolling along quite well. In order to work more efficiently, we split into two groups and started on a loop from both ends.
Each group had at least one person reading the trail cooridinates from the GPS unit, one person shooting grades with a clinometer, and two people wrapping ribbon around trees in appropriate locations.Aaron Hofelt from Nittany Mountain Biking Association in State College with a clinometer. Aaron organized the trail day today in an effort to get some work days in at Raystown before his local trails in Rothrock State Forest reopen and need maintenance.

Shannon Dolte (l) from the Raystown Mountain Bikers Assocation (RMBA) and Clark Fisher (r)from LHORBA - two seasoned trail builders.

In all, we flagged over 4.5 miles of trail in about four hours - taking a big chunk out of the trail sections remaining to be flagged. The next step for this section is to have a professional trail building team, like the IMBA Trail Crew, come in and build the trail using mechanized equipment. Funds have already been allocated for this stage. The entire trail system needs to be flagged by the end of March and there are still a few miles to go. Please post a comment if you would like to help out.

Clark's vehicle is proof that they are using way too much salt on the roads in PA this winter.

Of course Larry and I got a quick ride in after all the trail work was complete.

We are looking forward to riding here:
Provided we can secure adequate supervision.

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