Yesterday we shared an update on the progress of trail building and maintenance efforts at the Rocky Point Trail System in Scappoose. Lest you think those trails just magically appear, I want to share what it looks like when a community comes together to build mountain bike trails so we all have a great place to ride.
NW Trail Alliance Board Member Jered Bogli was a crew leader at Saturday’s Big Dig event and shared this dispatch:
“The weather was looking a bit questionable and it looked like the sky could open up at any minute, but the morning turned out to be dry as more and more volunteers continued to showed up. Upon arrival volunteers were registered and assigned to work groups. After being checked-in, the fine folks from Cyclepath Bike Shop (who sponsored the event) were on hand to keep to keep everyone fueled up with hot coffee and breakfast treats. Everyone was chatting and laughing, you could tell many of the volunteers were return customers as they recognized each other from previous work days (NWTA has hosted smaller, weekly trail work days at Rocky Point every Saturday since November).
As the last of the volunteers arrived we kicked off the safety talk. The talk went over the basics of using heavy duty hand tools — maintain ample personal space, watch out for others, give a warning to make sure folks know you’re there when passing by, keep the business end of the tools facing down, have a good athletic stance, remember to take breaks, drink water, have food, have fun. These are mostly common sense things, but it’s always good to get a reminder.
Armed with safety info, assigned to work groups, and all fueled up, we hiked into the work site.
The day’s project was a “climb trail” back to the top of the south side trails. We’ve already built and improved some great trails to get you down the hill, but there’s nothing to get you back up. The climb trail was laid out to minimize the gradient so you’ve got some energy left to take another lap. Keeping the gradient low meant following the contours of the hill and building a few climbing turns and switchbacks. The steep hill also meant a lot of “benching”. If you’ve done trail work before you know switchbacks and benching means you need to move a lot of dirt. Turns out with 84 volunteers all
working together you can move a staggering amount of dirt.
Everyone settled into their working rhythm and you could hear chatting, laughter the occasional dog and the sound of tools digging in the dirt. As the morning progressed groups finished their section of trail and leap-frogged uphill to find the next bit of trail that needed building. As we got closer to noon it became clear we were close to done. The crew leads put their heads together and a call was made back to the Cyclepath tent: Fire up the grill, the party is coming!
We got almost half-a-mile of trail built much faster than anticipated. Everyone walked the full trail and marveled at the work that got done and then headed back downhill where hot food and cold beverages waited. The crews were hanging around eating and trading stories about building and biking. It was an amazing day digging in the dirt.
All told 84 people logged 375 volunteer hours and built about half-mile of trail. That doesn’t sound like a lot; but when we showed up on there was just a flagged trail corridor, a bunch of fallen limbs, old logs, and underbrush had to be cleared away before the real dirt work and trail-building could even start. It’s amazing what a motivated crew of people can do!
Thank you Jered and all the volunteers who showed up to help!
Remember, if you want to ride at Rocky Point, you must be a NWTA member and have a signed waiver on file. And car parking is very limited (NWTA is working on solutions to increase parking by spring/summer) so please consider biking or carpooling. Do not block gates as the site is active timber land and log truck drivers must be able to get through. Learn more about Rocky Point Trails here.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and firstname.lastname@example.org
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