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Trail Rehab 101 in Lambert Park

Paying the price for riding in the mud...

Day three following the race. 1.5 miles of trail have been smoothed already, 2.5 more to go. On the River Trail, snow and freezing temperatures are slowing down the trail rehab. Pushing the shovel like a wood-chisel, we slice the top two inches off the "hump" between each rut and roll it into the adjacent wheel-rut. Frozen chunks are hacked into small pieces.

Now we stomp the area smooth. Deeper footprints are smoothed out with the shovel, using the blade as if it were a trowel smoothing cement. The trail here is 12 inches wide. The trail must lose moisture for a couple of days to firm up. Here we're at day five. Notice that a bike has passed over the damp trail, and the surface has held. (This is the same area as above.)

Second pass, day 8. Trail edges are buffed. Gravel is stomped into the damp trail surface, to harden it against wet-day bikers and horses. The trail is now better than before the race. Where riders have drifted off-trail, we place rocks and sticks to "corral" bikes and hikers onto the trail. Note fresh gravel in this damp area. Within a month, grass will fill in the trail edges.

The UMB crew and many racers reported to Lambert Park to work on the trails during the week following the race. Alpine City estimated the number of volunteers on Saturday at 30 workers!  At the time of the posting of this article (10 days following the race), over 150 hours have been spent on trail rehab and improvement in Lambert Park by race participants and organizers.

There were no "washouts" or other permanent damage from the race -- only cosmetic ugliness. All ruts were removed to demonstrate our commitment to trail protection (some ruts reappeared as enthusiastic bikers rode in the park between rain and snowstorms). Where standing water covered the trails, drainages were cut. "Cheater routes" were closed off. Wide spots were narrowed and roughened areas were covered and protected for rehab. Gravel was hauled along the trail and stomped into areas that have (always) been squishy during early spring.

We'll continue to monitor the condition of the trails as spring approaches, tweaking where necessary. UtahMountainBiking can say without reservation that we left these trails better than we found them on race-day.

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