Friday, May 27, 2011

Inspecting Blue Trail Water Issues at Whiting

The blue trail at Whiting has some serious water and mud issues. I had mentioned these problems to the Tryon crew, and Frank offered to walk through the trail with me and analyze the situation. He's a trail manager who leads many of the work days at Tryon and Bay Park West.

Tonight we walked the trail and looked at the sections with issues.

We came to the conclusion that Whiting is a different animal than Tryon or Bay Park West. In those parks, there is so much elevation change that any standing water can typically be convinced to move. Digging a trench, de-berming, and pitching the trail can be used to shed the water. But at Whiting, there aren't as many opportunities for those techniques.

Looking back at my notes, Frank and I decided that at least part of the solution to the majority of problem areas was to add material. These sections are simply lower than their surroundings, so raising them is the only solution, aside from rerouting the trail. Building the trails up has already been done in much of Whiting. I've heard some of the long-time trail crew talk about it, and it's obvious in places. Sometimes there's four inches of standing water on both sides of the crushed rock trail. It's impressive how much material was brought in.

There were a few locations that could have been improved by de-berming and adding a pitch to the trail.

There were also a few hills that the water flows down. Although there isn't enough water flow to cause severe erosion, those section do seem to be wet. They also feed the water problems at the hill bottoms. To prevent this, having several pitch changes periodically down the hill would encourage water to the side, instead of continuing to the bottom.

Much of the trail was too muddy to actually work on. But I saw a few places that I had worked on at a previous Friends of Webster Trails work day. Some of the fixes helped keep water off the trail, but others were not doing as much good as I had hoped. Those were in very muddy sections that are still holding the water like a sponge. Once those areas dry up, the dirt can be raked and grading can be done to fix the problems for the next rains.

There were many places that had standing water at the side of the trail. Peering through the surrounding vegetation, I could see the water goes on for a ways. It makes we wonder if there is opportunity further within the overgrowth to drain the water to another area. Some exploration may be in order.

Frank and I took some pictures along the way. I also took notes, and recorded our hike with GPS. I hope to find the time to put all this information together so I can keep track of the trail conditions over time.
For now, here are the photos:

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