Saturday, March 10, 2012

Lake Manawa Reconnaissance

So it was in the upper 60s early afternoon, sunny, and very windy. For mid-March, I had to get out and on the bike. After all, it had been 3 weeks since my last ride. With the wind, it seemed to be a good day to check out the trail work that has been done at Lake Manawa.

The trails were underwater most of last summer - Missouri River flood waters. It was my favorite trail. Was a great place for me to ride.

I had commented that it would look that the trail system would need to be built from scratch. Recently, word was re-designing and trail work has started. A trail day was scheduled but the weather was nasty. Was some other work day while I was in Albuquerque.

Anyway, weather today was for riding in the woods (or at least trying to ride in the woods). Manawa bound.

Past the kiosk and the fence, I found the "Blue" arrow trail marker. A couple bikes have been down the new trail, leaving ruts. Except for the silt deposits, the trail looked that it just needed tread work (at least a lode of bikes riding the trail).

As I continued walking or riding my bike. I started seeing some problems with the trail. This was no longer the easiest trail in the area that I used to ride. It was not that the trail was re-designed, it was confusing. Coming out of on section, the trail changes to a "green" arrow trail. Then back into a "Blue" trail. Thought I was still on the same trail. No junction, just new difficult designation.

As I came to the old log crossing area, the new trail does not look to be sustainable. At the new ditch, the I noticed the trail becomes VERY narrow. The trail corridor width is for a black trail. There were more and more log crossings with no bypass, and I would judge at least needs black skill-level rider. Yet, I am still on the ONE trail.

At 0.9 mile, I bailed off the trail and hiked the bike up to the levee and rode the levee back to the parking lot.

Now, lest you think I am just complaining, I tried to offer helping with the trail design. I have seen some great trail designs during my travels. Lake Manawa needs lots of work (trail surface, by-passes, trail corridor). Otherwise, I will have to forget dirt riding, except for out-of-town trips. The local trail for unwinding, riding dirt, and getting into the woods, is gone for me.


dale said...

Tom, need to realize the trail is a work in progress. No treadwork has been done. Bypasses need to be put in. Manawa was much more difficult when it was first constructed. Weren't always bypasses for the ttfs. Over the years, the difficulties wear down and become easier. Manawa will take several years to get back to the mileage of the old trail, imo. I hope you will enjoy her as she grows from newborn through adolecense to adulthood. Maybe she will be more enjoyable as a walking trail for the immediate future, but her desolated state from the flood is something to behold. And from the seeds of destruction will come forth new vegetation and environment. Our trailwork is so temporary but still worth leaving one's time and effort into molding a trail to experience nature and a quiet place to contemplate God in this busy world. Let's enjoy the ride!

NaugaBike said...

I know I have not been riding that long, but I have been out sampling trails all over the country. I have seen examples of good and bad system design. With a "clean slate" I thought there would be more user input.

Newer trail systems seem to have bypasses for TTFs (specially on green and blue trails). At Manawa, the only TTF on the green or blue trails was the one log crossing - that I had always thought should have a bypass.

IMBA's #8 mistake trail builders make: "Finishing a Line Before Its Time - We heartily support on-the-trail training, but some new trailbuilders are so eager to keep building more! new! better! trails that they don't devote enough time or care to each new trail section. Resist the temptation to move forward. Don't finish a line before its time, and always patch past mistakes."

dale said...

Steve D is the trail leader, talk to him about your trail ideas or ask him if there is a section/area you can go and flag for review.

Good point about not opening a trail before it's finished. I try, but don't always succeed, to keep the ends untouched and work on the interior so that all you need to do is knock out the plugs in the ends and it is ready to ride.

Steve wants to do it differently. And given our outreach towards runners and walkers, the trail doesn't need to be rideable before these user groups can enjoy the trail.